“The Bells Are Ringing Out”

At 7am I am sat at the kitchen table reviewing two pieces of  york.  It’s the contemporary equivelant of staring at the fire.  The flickering is in my head.  The first,  1,500 words for Poetry Review and the second 3,000 words for a book due in Holland next October.   I’ve been working on them this past month.  Both contend with  contentious matter. 

I’ve  crawled  through the terrain of the subject mattervon on hands and knees and  placed  red flags next to each land mine so others know.  But it is not my land per se.  And there will be complaints by those who want to use the land to build.   I’m not saying they can’t.  All I am saying is that it is dangerous and to be careful: the wounded are the last to speak up. At 9am my finger hovers over the button and I press send.  As the emails whisk through cyberspace I throw
on my coat and leave.

First to Waterloo,  The Riverside Rooms at Southbank centre where I drop my bags,  set up the computer and then straight out back over the dividing river to Hammersmith,   to Jongleurs  – Britian’s premier live comedy empire – to
meet Maria Kempinska the figure head of the company.  From 11am we watch  and discuss comedy and comedians.  At noon I skip  across the road to Riverside Studios where Professor Deirdre Osborne has brought  “ The
Emperors Watchmaker” for me  to sign. They are Christmas presents. Bloomsbury no longer print my children’s books so she bought them online for twice the price.   I run back to the Jongleus office and the  meeting with Maria continues to 1pm.

2pm Southbank Centre – lunch:   I Receive a call from the Southbank centre   press office.  The Times want an article. Four hundred words by Wednesday 4pm.  At 3pm I sketch out a rough skeleton for the piece then throw it in the oven to rise. With articles I find that I can do them in pieces of time rather than throw them out. Next time I look at those words more will come to light.

At 4.15pm  Jean September from  South Africa  and her colleague,  both from The British Council, come to The Riverside Rooms, my office.   Gill Lloyd my projects manager and Rachel Holmes breeze in .  British council are bringing five young writers to Britain and taking five young writers from Britain to South Africa in spring 2010.   I suggest Inua Ellams (they’re already on it) and in particular encourage  Jean to consider Janine Van Rooy from Mitchells Plain in Cape Town.   The meeting ends at 5.30pm.

Tonight  is the workers shindig, a  Christmas party in the reception area of The
Queen Elizabeth Hall it kicks off at 7.30pm with an X factor spoof on a  largescreen suspended above the stage in which I am a dysfunctional contestant. Typecast again.  The party peaks  on Alan Bishop the CEO and
Jude Kelly the artistic director  performing live   The Pogues  Christmas song.  That song  reminds me of  in New York in the snow.    It’s cold outside,  The Thames glistens or glitters or gazes  or glides or slides or slips.   And with the  duet  in my head   “the bells are ringing out for Christmas time” I go  home.   

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