If you have CALL OF DUTY – the newest release as of a few days ago – you’ll know the screen is blood splattered once you’ve taken a hit. All landscape is blurred by the blots of your demise. This is what it’s like driving through the
rain to Oxford. From East London it takes nearly three hours and feels like
one long traffic Jam.
I arrive at the parking spot outside Blackwell to meet Caroline Bird who helps run The Oxford University Poetry Society. From there we walk to the venue through early evening Oxford. The venue is The Big Bang, a restaurant that sells Bangers and Mash only. Previous poets of this series have beeen Luke Wright and Simon Armitage.
I haven’t eaten all day so I order Bangers and Mash in a red wine gravy to test the produce. Though it’s not the best I’ve had nor is it the worst. To be the best the bangers must be fat and meaty and almost uncomfortably large, but it did the job. For those outside the United Kingdom Bangers are sausages and mash is potatoes.
About thirty people turned up to the reading on a wet dark Thursday evening below the spires of this historic city. It’s at readings like this in the pokey basement of a restaurant in the bohemian quarter of a university city that I feel the transformative power of a reading, to turn this dark night to light. I begin with The Waitress more a painting than a poem. And from there the gig unfolds.
Getting back in the car to return home is like entering the video game again
except this time there’s no traffic and I swoop from Oxford to London in no