Friday, 20 March 2009


Gateshead Millennium Bridge

Back after four days, four very good days. The three lectures were, I think, a decent arc, much like those Tyne bridges, with Elizabeth Bishop at both ends Tom Paulin and Derek Mahon at either bridgehead and Eastern Europe in the middle, so Newcastle wasn't only Peru (via John Cleveland and Tony Harrison) but also Hungary, and the Tyne was the River Hernád / Hornád, down which the First World War corpses float, as featured in Sándor Márai's 'The Rebels'. All this seemed to make sense to the audience which is what really matters.

I had a very good time generally, especially once the second lecture was over. Bill Herbert gave me a guided one hour quick trip round the city centre, taking in the Crown Posada, the Central Shopping Arcade, the city wall, the Cathedral, the Lit and Phil Library, the Paolozzi sculpture, and many other fine places, and, chiefly not to be forgotten, the Vampire Rabbit round the back of the cathedral, which in honour of my Transylvanian maternal ancestor (nodding distantly but vigorously to Elizabeth Bishop's maternal ancestor, courtesy of Tom Paulin) I feel duty bound to display.

Not a well disposed rabbit, I would say; a rabbit gone to the bad; almost the apocalyptic Anti-Rabbit that will surely appear at the end of the world seeking to rip us all into lettuce-leaf sized shreds .

The fact is it was bliss, Messrs Herbert, O'Brien and all who sail with them, and as a last blessing there was Newcastle's own version of Kertész's Meudon, which makes Newcastle not only Peru and Budapest but also Paris.

Not much has changed there. The Millennium Bridge at the top is what I saw from my hotel window, directly opposite it. Except mine was multi-coloured and constantly changing.

Now to tidy up the lectures ready for publication, but first to prepare another one.

ps Note the preponderance of arcs in the three photos.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I came across your blog, George, you write about a lot of interesting things.

I've never been to Newcastle but it looks like a fascinating place.

Thanks for posting the wonderful pictures,