Saturday, 2 April 2011
In Cheltenham yesterday (Friday) reading with Nigel McLoughlin and the trio of singers singing Georgian songs very beautifully in the chapel. Decent reading to a decent sized audience. Very nice to see Angela Topping present. She gives me two publications, one of hers and the other in memory of Matt Simpson, our mutual good friend. Nigel is a fine poet - much more landscape than I have ever been. I feel at a bit of a loss afterwards as it is too late for John Cooper Clarke and after five hours of travel I don't much feel like it anyway, but there being nothing meal-like, I pick up a cheap Chinese on the lift home from kindly Carolyn Finlay, giving me an unofficial lift, and eat it back at the very nice B&B. Still, it is glorious that a poetry festival should be established in Cheltenham, which has more Regency buildings than Regency England ever had. My taxi drivers are affable. One is a gambler, a poker player, who has won £12,000 at a single sitting, but then lost it over the next few months. Two books on betting systems on his dashboard.
Now in Sheffield after a very full day, with four events in a row, pretty well non-stop. I'll write more about that tomorrow. Highlights: Maurice Riordan, Peter Robinson and Geraldine Monk, though Helen Mort belts it out too. Monk is fascinating. More on her tomorrow, when I do my conversation with Simon Armitage, and the reading with Agi Lehoczky.
And the PBS v ACE battle goes on. Who knows if we have any chance at all, but we have to fight.