I slept sound through night and morning onto the train leaving the station onwards from Shropshire to manchester and the new hotel The City Inn. Last time I was at a City Inn was the launch of The John Lewellyn Rhys Prize in Westminster. It’s a growing chain. I was booked to open this one in manchester by reading a poem and cutting the ribbon but the event was cancelled as it wasn’t built in time – or so I was told.
As someone who virtually lives in them it’s a kinda cool thing to be asked to open one. I once opened a penguin pool with then speaker of the Houses of Parliament Betty Boothroyd…. doesn’t have the same ring of cool though does it…. delivering a poem through the PA while unconcerned penguins back flipped into their new pool.
The performance in Manchester at the newly named New Islington is bang on the money. An encore is cool at any poetry reading. Some people come over for a few photos and I feel truly welcomed back into my home town. I get to catch up with friends, old and new.
I awake at 6am to work on the City Commission poem – the deadline is today. On the way home to hackney in London on Sunday Juliet Lewis is in The Observer with Ken Loach at The Venice Film Festival. And finally after four hours travelling from Manchester to London I arrive into The Journalists arms. Later that evening I open an envelope, It’s an invitation to an event and begins with the line “In the presence of Her Majesty the Queen”.