Monday, 12 January 2009

From London

The Eliot readings last night at the Queen Elizabeth Hall were good as ever, in fact one of the best. A very big audience. The 900 seater 95% full. Good for poetry. A lot of people I have met before of course, but it's not an occasion for long talks. This morning found Robert Crawford at breakfast so talked long to him, partly about Eliot (we're both big fans) and partly about painting (he paints, I used to paint - that's after 5 years of art school and a number of years practicing afterwards with a few passing exhibitions of no great consequence.) I don't think we had ever met before but he was in the audience at my StAnza reading last year, he tells me. The hotel room was tiny. Just room for the bed and a wall-fixed TV at 90 degrees to it. My feet and head were practically touching opposite walls. Hotel describes itself as 'minimalist'. Truly, I lead the life of Riley. The trouble is you can never know which Riley. Tried to catch the grand 3-0 but too late, even at 90 degrees. Saw microseconds involving the goals. Meaningless.

It is much warmer today. Almost too warm. Gusty and edge-of-showery. Eliot's 'Preludes' weather. 'And now a gusty shower wraps / The grimy scraps / Of withered leaves about your feet / And newspapers from vacant lots...' (OK, so too late for withered leaves.) I spent much of the morning in the British Library reading a doctorate, with another to read on the late late train home. The lighting is truly terrible, though the proper 'Reading Rooms' may be fine. The only reasonably lit public place is the canteen. I don't think they want to encourage reading on the premises.

Tonight I make the 'thank you to everyone' speech at the award. Home very late. Tomorrow back down again. I think I have a form of madness but am too busy to work out what it is except that it involves trains.

In an internet cafe. I have developed a fondness for such places. I remember one in the back streets of Bombay / Mumbai. I think of myself as a pigeon roosting on a chimney stack. This one is relatively clean and bright.


Poet in Residence said...

Sad news about T S Eliot short-listed poet Mick Imlah on the Guardian website. It says that he has passed away at the age of 52. He suffered from motor neurone disease.

Dubois said...

Ferguson's boys will win the league title for sure. Chelsea looked second rate and light years away from the Mourinho heydays. No bite. I wonder what Mourinho was thinking as he watched anonymously from the stands. Deco, Ballack and Lampard looked like has-beens and Drogba almost a has-been. No doubt Le Sulk sulked.

George S said...

Yes, terrible pity for Mick. I didn't know him well at all, but had some contact now and then, and years ago, twenty-two years ago, I think, he wrote a long piece about my work,

People will have seen that the winner is the youngest yet, Jen Hadfield, a Bloodaxe poet (one of three on the list).

Dubois - it looks good at the moment Le Sulk is still the leading scorer in the premier by some way. I think Berbatov may be coming good though, bit by bit.

Dubois said...

If Berbatov's shorts had pockets his hands would be in them.

George S said...

Smoking a fag behind the bike-sheds too.

Football prevents him hanging round street conrners, I suppose, just as it stop Rooney boundcing up and down on car bonnets.

An interesting project: imagine what crimes or minor misdemeanours other noted footballers would be engaged in if they were not gainfully employed kicking each other.

Dubois said...

Some manage to do both quite well, kick and thump each other and other people. No names mentioned of course.

Samantha said...

What's the name of the hotel? Sounds like my kind of place; large, strange rooms make me edgy.

George S said...

Euston Square Hotel. Euston Square. Give it a go, Samantha. It is custom made for the agoraphobic.