Rochdale Rocks!

Then I began the workshop. This is what I was here for. I could see the penine mountains through the window – cold and relentless against these warm people, who had come to spend time with me of all people and I with them. What I can say is this: the poetry that came out of what amounted to a one hour talk and a one hour workshop was moving. The workers who were also at the workshop were moved. These were strong survivors, mainly male from the ages fo twenty five to sixty. I was moved, proud to be there and in some ways I knew my place – it was here. Read more [...]

Violence on the way to the theatre

Walking into The Victoria Palace theatre is a bit special. I walk past Mr Bill Wyman who has passed his guitar onto a fan and who is talking a picture of her on his instrument. Jenni Murray, presenter of Womans Hour, is sat reading her script and for the life of me I don’t remember her name until I am on the bus home. Carol Grimes the amazing singer is sat down gently reading her script, a perfect twinkle in her professional eye. We sit and talk about her memoir being written with the encouragement of Desmond Tutu's Literary agent who is hers too. What a woman. Not Tutu, Carol! John Hegley is resplendent and lovely with his band sat on the floor going through the set list. And there is John Shutleworth, a fantastic comedian. “fifteen years ago” he says to me with a sharp eye memory. It was fifteen years ago that he interviewed me on his radio one show with Rod Stewarts wife. But jeez does he go over time on stage. And I am following him. The stage manager points me to my mic and after an intro by Jo Brand I am on stage. Read more [...]

From Scotland to Bradford or Bust.

He knows of my Scottish childhood connection and as we cut through the night he tells me of the Canadian woman searching with her two daughters for the place of William Chisholm said to be her long and distant Scottish ancestor – her fathers father. Sometimes I think the term ancestor seperates us from our “ancestors”. How about calling it, family. She wanted to se were her family was from. Read more [...]

Diagonal Sheep.

Earlier last evening I saw it. It’s a point in time, particular to Arvon courses, were the strangers recognise each other - strangers in a house on a moor, away from home and writing in the wilds of their own imaginations. It was last night it happened the dinning table was surrounded by them. I was sat deep in a couch by the fire watching. They were falling over laughing virtually in tears at some joke or other. It was that unstoppable stomach clutching laughter. Read more [...]

You’ve Been To Egypt?

I’ve been to Egypt. I’ve been to the part of Egypt just off the red sea Taba Heights. I stayed their five days and spent afternoons diving with The Journalist into coral reef. In those evenings across the sea we could see the borders of Jordan Iraq and Israel the most violated areas in the world. The Egyptian immigration officers stamped the passports right at the front. Wherever I go in the world the Arabic text is seen by all - EGYPT land of promise. It’s a freakin advert is all. And the only promise it left me with is the promise that I will be stopped at more airports. Read more [...]

Fingers in so many pies I can’t tell which is burning!

The nights have got darker and the days shorter the work load heavier. October is as such. The Christmas adverts have begun. The inexorable slide into enforced cheeriness is upon us all. The Adverts, the dancers with stiff smiling faces, the high pitched game show host voice overs, the squeaky pig tailed children clutching dolls in the Ritalin world of Bright things. Primary colours ooze out of the LCD screen with the electronic voice in a loop Buy Me… Read more [...]

You shall not go to the ball. Doh!

The journalist has an article in the national newspaper she works for and it highlights the event that she asked me for earlier the week. I call her and say “yes” I really want to go. It’s a black tie affair. The black national screen awards this following Monday. But it’s too late. On Tuesday of this week I said that I didn’t want to go. It must have been connected to the queens gala that I couldn’t go to either. She’d already asked someone else this morning. Nyaaaaaaggghhhhhhh. Read more [...]

Eastern Europe, Racism and Norwich Arts Centre

You can tell where someone is from by their accent and shape of face. So as I stepped in the lift I said to the gentleman “from South Africa? ” . He was about forty dressed in a suite and looked tired. He brightened upon my question and replied in the affirmative. I tell him how much I like South Africa and mention some of the cities I have been too, so that he gets the message that I really do like the country. It turns out he is on a break between business in Belgium, doing a little sight seeing in Europe and has just returned from eastern Europe. I sense something and asked “how did they treat you?”. There is alot of subtext to this question. His eyebrows raised in understated exasperation. Read more [...]