Sunday, 31 May 2009

Back from CC

Just back from the delights of Cliff Cottage to see that I have a back garden that needs an army of machete wielding navvies to clear it. OK, I’m prone to exaggeration. One machete-wielding navvy would probably do it. Given enough time (two weeks, say) and some sharp implements. Us poets shouldn’t have to do such mundane things. We should be able to sit with our writing tools to hand, staring out into the blue yonder while our servants get busy with all the boring stuff. Like gardening, ironing, the washing, the shopping, cleaning – basically, pretty much most things that end in ING. Apart from eating and drinking, of course. Oh, and I can think of something else, but that’s too rude.
Oh – and can I change the occupation from navvy to Girl Friday? Might as well have something nice to look at as well. Any takers out there? Just think of the job satisfaction. The pay is crap, but I’ve got a nice big smile with all my own teeth and everything.

Aberdeen was fantastic. Big thanks to EG for her amazing hospitality at CC. What a cool lady. The reading at Books n Beans was also a big success. We had a full house, with such luminaries in attendance as the crime-writer, Bill Kirton and up and coming literary star, Gillian Philip (and her equally talented mate, the shoe queen, Ruth). This reading was part of the Wordfringe Festival, an annual, month-long round of poetry and prose readings throughout the Aberdeen area. The guys who run it deserve a medal for organising the whole shebang. To get more than 40 people in a bookshop on a beautiful night – and to do that every night for a month takes some going. What’s more the audience was discerning, intelligent and appreciative. And they laughed in all the right places.

A bonus was the weather, sunshine from sun-up to sun-down for the whole weekend. Which got me thinking. Every time I’ve been up to CC there has been uninterrupted sunshine, whatever the season. The common denominator? Moi. So ladies ... need some sunshine in your life? Geezashout. (remember what I said earlier, own teeth and everything)
While I’m in the praising mode (I was. Keep up), can I just say what a pleasure it is to work with my fellow Makar Press Poets, Rowena M. Love and Sheila Templeton. Classy ladies, who write world-class poetry. We’ve been doing this for around 5 years now and there’s never ever been a cross word, never even a hint of ego and always complete professionalism. Except for the occasional chatting up of select members of the audience. Sheila, down girl.

The two days after the reading I was able to concentrate on some writing. 16,000 words on the work in progress are not too shabby over two days. Read it and weep, Toots.

We had a movie night on our last night up in CC. On the bill was “Dean Spanley” and “The Diving Bell and The Butterfly”. The former had a stellar cast including Peter O’Toole, who was brilliant as the cantankerous old father. The actors had a fantastic script to work with and managed to add nuances that I’m sure the writers hadn’t even considered. A quiet and wickedly funny masterpiece. The other film is about one of the editors of Elle Magazine who suffered from a massive stroke some years ago. All he could move was one eyelid and with this he managed to write a book. No silly, he didn’t stick a pen in his eye socket. He woke every morning at 5am and between then and 8am he decided what he wanted to say and then when his assistant arrived, he blinked out the passages he had stored in his memory. True story. Any writers out there with “writers block” should check this out, see what challenges can be overcome and then give themselves a bloody good shake. Writers block my eye!
(see what I did there?) If I’m being honest, I preferred the actual book, but that is no slight on the movie which had quality written all over it. Rowena would also testify to this – if she hadn’t fallen asleep half way through.

A weekend well spent? Absofuckinlutely.


  1. It was a great evening, Michael. Poetry like what it's s'posed to be - not just the poncing about crying over sunsets and autumn leaves and stuff but populated by real people, covering many experiences, funny, touching, elevating. Some poets do themselves a disservice with weak readings - not you lot. Brilliant.
    (Oh, and good luck with the Girl Friday search.)

  2. Cheers, Bill. re the girl friday. Any ideas where I might find one? You being a man of the world and all.

  3. Cheers Michael. For the nice comments about me and Rowena. Totally reciprocated, man! Totally.

    It's true. It's always been the case that if we Makars have ever had a difference of opinion on any of our enterprises...and we've covered the lot in the last 5 years...writing, editing, publishing, marketing, publicising ..all as a team!...we are honest, talk it through and sort it out.So no cross words.

    Our dear pal Jim used to say he had never come across any group who work together as well as we do...and he had many years experience in business. Guess we were just lucky to find each other at the right time!

    Now one teensy little thing, Michael. Just to point out I WAS being totally professional with the man in the front row. Just to get him in the right mood for the forthcoming reading...I may have batted an eyelash or two...but he started it! I swear. You know he did!


  4. could i have a job description please?

  5. a handsome countenance, strong thighs and a willingness to work hard. Actual tasks can be decided upon at interview.

  6. and how do you go about getting an interview?

  7. Email me your CV with details of availability and we take it from there.

  8. what if one cant find your email anywhere?!

  9. R, I am so rubbish at this - if you go to my profile you can send an email from there.