So in the morning I ask the receptionist who the artist was, the one who the autograph hunters were waiting for last night “jack master flash” she replies “yes jack master flash”. She is exuberant about him “at four oclock this morning he came in and I said to him you wrote OOps Upside Your Head didn't yer, dint yer” that was the gap band I tried to interrupt her flow “no I am sure it was jack master flash. Anyway..” she continued “… he only asked me to dance in the reception. So we got on that floor and sat on that floor right there and did that dance.”. I remember that dance well, whole lines of people sat on the floor with their legs splayed on each side of each other “Ooops Upside Your head, Oops upside your head”. There is no Jack master Flash. It was Grand Master Flash. The Grand master Flash.
I went back to my room and googled Grandmaster flash with the receptionists singing voice ringing in my head. It was he that was in manchester last night. He was djing at a bar I used to drink in and sang such great poems as The Message “It's like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder how I keep from going under” . It was the Gap band that sang Oops Upside Your Head. But to think of Grandmaster Flash in the reception of the malmaison sat on the flor at 4am singing Oops Upside your head, is a memory to behold. Knowing that it was not his song and a case of mis shapen identity too.
I walk across the city and enter the conference and at about 12.30pm Beverley Hughes The Minister for Children spoke and took Q and A. It had clearly been a brilliant conference. And then I was introduced onto the stage to read the two poems I had written. One was called Night Training and was written using Night mail as its structure and the second poem Who Can Bear Feel Themselves Forgotten – title taken from last line of Audens poem Night Train. The entire event was caught on film for the Babycow productions piece. I am enjoying this experience of having my life as writer telivised. But it's the poems.
Sometimes poems are a whole eco system in themselves, with storms and calm entwined, leaving the listener with the sense of being thoroughly drenched and then dried slowly but perfectly by sunshine. This, if it didn't happen for them, happned for me. The truth is that if it happened for me, I can be sure it happned for them. It was magical. Someone passed me a note after the reading. it read “Poetry has never made me cried before. But yours did. Thankyou”
Conference over and filming finished Megan (the director) and I travel to Withington and interview Hacienda DJ Dave Haslam and entrepeneur Mark Attwod. By 6.15pm on the train to London and by 10pm I'm Home. I love what I do, as a writer and as a reader. Nobody else need like it. I do it for reasons bigger, much bigger, than that. I write therefore I am, is all.