Manchester International Festival London Literature Festival

I wake and decide to stick around in my town for a little while more. I feel no – and I mean absolutely none –  stress about manchester or returning which is a breath of fresh air. Half way through town the rain pours down so  I drop into a store and get myself some sun glasses – i’ve been meaning to get some. I got a pair of Vivinne Westwood and a pair of Police sunglasses. By the time I do this it stops raining.  I’m loving the buildings and the general hum of the city. I’m loving saying hello to folks. This is all sounding a bit Mary Poppins isn’t it. Cause there is another side to this, another side entirely.  I walked past the Manchester International Festival offices and decided to experiment with this Other Side theory by peeping through the window. It wasn’t a scientific experiment, but random. It confirmed my theory – one based on twenty years experience observing the pop culture of this city. I talked through it with Shobna last night and it is as clear as the day to both of us .

 I try to broach the subject with other less colourful friends but the subject is soon misappropriated and swept aside in such a way that only serves as confirmation.   I know why I left Manchester.  I see it all around me here, reflected in all stratas of the community from the police to the arts workers, from the tv companies to the shop managers. I’m glad that I left and I wish it well.   So I meet Jason a friend at a starbucks and catch up on what is going on in his world and catch the train home, to London.

And straight to The South Bank to the launch of The London Literature Festival .  It’s a quiet affair led by the acting head of literature Martin Colthorpe and the artistic director Jude Kelly.  Fortunately they both mention the poet in residence which is good of them.  Unfortunately you will not see myname mentioned or the residency in any of the publicity for the festival.  It was an administrative error of sorts whcih i come to terms with by doing my work their as best I can.  Tomorrow a poem of mine will be displayed on the front of The Royal Festival Hall.  The brief was thus – the poem should be eight lines long between and between seven to ten words per line and the poem should be about my arrival into London. To be honest I wanted to write the poem about the royal festival hall and its launch. I said this but the brief was insisted with upon.  So I wrote  BULLET IN. And it’s  a bulletin via poetry and is probably a nod to the administrative Bulletins  distrubuted throughout all institutions. It also alludes to arrivals “to bullet in” and much much more. 

I wanted to put a bit of punk rock into the lit department which is why the first three lines are what they are. When it goes up, tomorrow I’ll print it here.  No forget it I’ll put it here now.  Tomorrow the Literature Festival will make Television News. I knwo this cause I am writing this tomorrow. hehe.  The event tonight is glamourised y the presence of the liverpool poets Roger McGough and Brian Patten. I meet Margaret Busby who gets younger and Maya Jaggi who is  fun and I have a wonderful conversation (amongst many) with Christina Patterson about Moira Dooley a mutual friend. It’s free champagne and wine with great food but i wasn’t hungry and I don’t touch a drop. I’m glad I was here even if I am/was getting/got my tenses mixed up/mixing up. Cya.

Bullet In

This joint is built on artists By construction workers Immigrants and travellers.  

Like the Thames and them I arrive in London

With each wave each mood

A tide, a life force, like you. Eyes swill to the end of a line Beginning and made of light.


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