Thursday, 15 August 2013

Echo Speaks Panegyric

Sing me the chorus of solos
And say true, my brothers and sisters...
These double wicks blister fingers,
A sinister glint in the eye
As we burn -
A pyre, sky-high - sacrifice
To the first Gods of civilisation
Nations crush nations,
Then go home and make oblation
To Apollo's horses -
We let others let the beast out.

We walking mirrors, thinking
That we express our true selves
Are conduits,
Priests of fear-of-failure
Of the terror of success
Of the gift of gesticulation
In the face of the infinite.

We double in time -
Lambs in the train,
Baring our tender necks,
And the goat who leads the way.
Dance, goat, dance.

We are will o' the wisp,
Stepping stones through
The quagmire.
And we will never,
Be truly seen
Except by the blind eyes of love,
And the faith of our own kind,
Lights in the dusk of a world
That processes its pain
Through these hands,
These eyes and voices,
And then rolls on.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Addendum - Day 1

Can't sleep for some reason, so I'll post this.

One of the things of which I'm most proud yesterday is my trilingual flyering conversation with a deaf couple. From France. I can speak French to conversational level and sign BSL similarly, so combining/ switching between the two (and mostly miming) was fun; an intense patch of silence in amongst the bustle...

I now know the French Sign Language sign for French - every day's a school day! :)

The sleep-persuasion methods are kicking in. Wish the shouting people would stop, though...

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Day 1

This will be brief as I am KNACKERED but:

1. Troops rallied in PBH Free Fringe Spoken Word meet 'n' greet. Good to see and hug so many poets and storytellers... :) Great to have cohesive "presence".

2. Housemates bloody lovely.

3. First Other Voices show was awesome - tight, well-performed, good audience (20+ by my count), nice "set" decoration.

4. Got a parking ticket through incompetence, and dodged another through blind luck.

5. Still fighting incipient cold.

6. Still can't do nail polish well.

7. Have been skipping physio exercises - need to remedy that or I'll be back on the walking stick.

8. Still fit into my corset (tried it out last night just in case - question: if you get stuck in your corset at midnighy and there's no-one to see you struggle, is it still funny?). Totally forgot the order that putting on the costume needs to follow in order to actually work.

9. Lovely flat is above two nightclubs. There's your other shoe, right there...

Thursday, 1 August 2013


So, second leg of the Big Road Trip is done and look - I'm in Edinburgh. On purpose!

Not, however, on time. In a complete reversal from last night, I left in time, but traffic made for some funtimes, leading to arriving 90 minutes later than planned. At least the landlord was only waiting 30 of them...

It's a pretty straight line from Cambridge up to Edinburgh, however you do it. You can either get on the A1 and never leave it, or cut up through the middle of the country via Jedburgh and A68 after the A1.

This latter is a route that's becoming familiar to me. I have my favourite bits of driving, which include some very loopy uppy-downies through border country, and the bosky roads approaching Jedburgh, as well as the wild actual border country itself. There's some boring country roads that are mostly straight lines across moorland, but we're ignoring that, except to mention all the outrageously cautious drivers I got stuck behind.

OCDs (hahaha) don't like gradients or corners, and are wishy-washy about the straight moorland bits. Theyonly go fast just before they slam on the brakes at a bend or just before a village. They just don't enjoy the ride, I feel. Which is a shame, but at least no-one died through overconfidence. I managed to overtake a JCB on a single carriageway, and that's not something I tend to do - my own driving cautiousness include just chilling out rather than overtaking. It pisses the people behind me off, so I reckoned more Zen would be accomplished (wrong use of the term, I know, but fuck it - I'm a poet...) cumulatively if I overtook. Behold the overtaking. Well done me.

An hour or so later and I was alternately drumming my fingers in Edinburgh traffic jams (they appear to have, with stunning timing, decided to rip up as many central streets as they can, and block off others with fairground shizzle) and gazing at the buildings and famous landmarks and people, people, people. It is now about twice as difficult to park in central Edinburgh (legally) as before, but I found a nearby loading bay and used it to unload my stuff. Then followed the landlord's advice and found paid parking nearby.

Dan Simpson arrived about the same time as me, so we explored the flat together (and he helped me drag all the shit I'm keeping in the flat up the stairs.)

I want to say a word about Dan here. He, along with other such notables as Tina Sederholm, Dave Pickering (and his merry Stand Up Tragedy crew), and Dom Berry (all for slightly different reasons, but hey) has helped to keep me sane in the run-up to Edinburgh. He pitched into making administrative things happen, totally made the London fundraiser fly, offered advice where it was asked for, and kept telling me I was doing a good job. I'm chuffed to be sharing a flat (and several stages) with him and getting to know him better. :) I'll also, oddly enough, be sharing with Tina and Dom as well...

All these people have shows at Edinburgh Fringe this year which you should go and see. I'll go back and put the hyperlinks in later, when I've more brain but, for now, Google 'em.

Where was I? Oh yeah - flat.

HOLY CRAP! Last year we paid at least 50% more each (and I paid a great deal more, covering various costs that I should have shared out) than we are for this one, and got a tiny basement dwelling I shall be discrete about in terms of location but fucking hell. We shared it with the landlords and their grim pets and hygiene issues, and it was TINY. And smelled bad. And the one (mouldy, noisy) bathroom we shared with them broke for a week and we had to use the scary one upstairs.

This one is HUGE - 6 bedrooms spread out over three floors, clean, airy, bright, and IT'S ALL OURS. There are three (count 'em) bathrooms, a massive kitchen, communal living room, nice dining/ hall thing, and more storage space than you can shake a big pile of flyers and costumes at (and I intend to). The landlord has provided clean towels, toilet paper, and nice kitchen goods. There are two fridges, so we can keep the vegan and vegetarians happy, and it's just. So. Nice.

I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop but maybe this is it - we found a nice place, and now we're staying in it. And maybe we needed the shit experiences of last year to be able to appreciate thia place properly.

OR we're going to get burgled...

Anyway, that's it - I'm safe, sound, settled, and starving. Time to investigate food.


So, after months of preparation, and two weeks of saying "no" ("can I make a last-minute sjow application?" "Can I have some extra days fir my show?" "Do you print my flyers?" "Do I get paid?" "Can I have a feature slot on your show?" "Will you watch my poem on YouTube and tell me what you think?" "Are you going to pay £600 more for your accommodation at the last minute?"), I set off on the first leg of my northward migration last night.

To say I was running late would be the kindest analysis. Try four hours delay. First I had to negotiate work argh, then greedy landlord emails, a recalcitrant printer (or, rather, it was my until-now collaborative laptop that refused), and a hire car a class smaller than the one I'd paid for, into which I was trying to ram a bewildering array (and quantity) of stuff.

Fucking lollies...

When the last stuff was rammed, the rear windscreen viewable from the inside, the last random things pocketed, the last goodbyes said, and the course plotted on my almost-trusty phone, I was off! 11:30pm is, in some ways, a good time of night to be driving, but a terrible time to set off on a 3:20 journey after a full day of work. Ach well, at least my lovelies made sure I ate first (Co-op posh pizza ftw).

Via mostly-deserted roads, lorry-racing (each other), absent roadworks and variable speed limits, a haunted roadside toilet, and the world's most random music mix, I found my otherwise untroubled way (thanks to Lucozade and Google) to