Saturday, 5 June 2010

Art, Poetry and Britain's Got Talent.

Having a good day people. See me with the big smile.

Started off by visiting my local library. Yeah, I know, I buy loads of books, receive more than a few freebies to review for AND I go to the library. I am the book world equivalent of Imelda Marcos, so sue me.

I had some books that were overdue; they had to go back today and lo, I walked in to see that the Library staff have revamped their crime fiction section and verily it is freakin’ fantastic. I’m way too manly to squeal and do the fast handclap thing, but for a moment it was a close run thing. 10 minutes later I left with a Ken Bruen, a three in one of George Pelecanos, an Elmore Leonard, a slice of Walter Moseley and some homegrown talent in the shape of Karen Campbell.

Oh man. Somebody tell my boss I won’t be in next week. Love it, love it, love it.

The library was a wee detour on the main business of the day which was a poetry reading the divine Miss Sheila T and myself were giving in Ayr Town Hall. This was part of an Ayrshire Arts Network event. There was an exhibition in the main hall of various art groups including the literary, visual (paintings/ crafts) and auditory (opera/ choral) and some events in meeting rooms where various arty types got to do their thing. Which was where Sheila and I came in.

This part of Ayrshire (south) has a poor record in the arts and this was a brave salvo from the organisers to get something going in the local scene. Given the parlous financial state of the country there is very little in the way of funding available for the arts; it is up to the people to do something about it. So this is me tipping my hat to the organisers.

To be honest, the reaction from the public was nothing short of pathetic. Was this to do with the weather? It was a beautiful day; most people would be on the beach/ in their garden? Or was it due to poor marketing? Or perhaps a lack of appetite for these things? You just know that if people got off their collective arse they would enjoy this stuff. But it’s not fronted by Simon Cowell or featured in the gossip rags we call newspapers so it passes completely by the great unwashed.

If folks (and I include myself in this) could get their snouts out of the trough of populist entertainment for just an hour a week it would make a huge difference. Art is not a luxury, people.

I know, I know, I’m pissing into the wind.

Anywho, first thing we did on arrival was to go to the hospitality room. Man, was the food good. All local produce lovingly produced and beautifully presented. Well, the “chef” was an artist. And as for the desserts!!! A pavlova the size of my garden table, crested with a mound of summer berries and a chocolate tart that was so deliciously gooey it stuck to the knife. Yum. My teeth were sweating just looking at them. Oh right...that was saliva?

Being violets of the blushing variety, Sheila and I were first to the food...and first to break the crust on the pavlova. It was almost a sin to disturb it. Almost.

Fed and watered, we made our way to the room where the poetry reading was to take place – with no real expectation. If there were more of an audience than there were poets, well that would have been a success and ...I’m happy to report we had around 18-20 people.

The audience were appreciative, fully engaged and asked some fascinating questions. Modesty prevents me from repeating the comments afterwards (yeah, right) but it is fair to say that Sheila and I were chuffed to go down so well.

After all that art stuff, I have an evening in front of the black box and the final of Britain’s Got Talent. See, I can do popular entertainment. But I’ll record it and watch later. (I have part 2 of Mesrine to watch on DVD) Then when I watch BGT I can speed past the cloying fillers with the contestants repeating “this means the world to me” ad nauseum – can someone not teach them to say something else? I’ll also be winding past the comments of the judges, especially Piers Morgan and Amanda Whatsername. Who are they? The former editor of the biggest rag of them all and a – what is she famous for again? Feckin’ clueless the pair of ‘em. With the people they put through into the semi-finals we should change the programme title to Britain’s Got A Little Talent, Quite a Few Transvestites and Plenty Bullshit Artists.

I prescribe a day out at a local art fair for Piers and Amanda. Might learn something.


  1. As a book 'collector' I avail myself of all avenues - libraries, audible, Audiobook catalog, used book stores, BAM, Amazon (iknow), Abes-

    Glad the poetry reading was rewarding. America's Got Talent is worse and Idol is fast on its heels.

    Oops, I'm supposed be on my third day of no complaints...

  2. Martie you could complain about me ruining your third day of no complaints.

  3. I love the idea of sweating teeth.

    But where do you find the time for all this, Michael? You've even got a bloody job, too.

    I must, though, second what you say about it being worth listening to you and Sheila do your stuff. In the flesh, it's terrific but for those of your followers too mean to make the transatlantic trip to catch one of your gigs, I'd recommend Lip Synch - great reads, the real flavour of Scotland, plenty of laughs, and even a guest appearance or two by the Wee Man.

  4. Thanks for the plug, Bill. You the man!

  5. America's Got "Talent" seems to have a plethora of lam-ooo break dancers...