I am in Leicester at De Montford University taking part in Cultural Exchange a series of talks and readings by artists and culture-listas. The list includes Bonnie Greer, Chris Cowley, Trevor Nelson Billy brag and more. Tonight one of the events is me. I’ve driven from London and arrive exactly five minutes before I am on stage. It’s not as much a stage as a small lecture Theatre.
There’s about seventy people and the place is about three quarters full. I am determined to give them a reading which opens doors and lets the flocks out. And by the end I am flying. Is a bird flying or constantly falling. The event ends and I am swirled into the green
room for a book signing and then an interview.
And before I know it I am driving again, on the motorway, into the slipstream. It’s about 9pm. Hundreds of breaklights merge and the motorway becomes a stream of molten lava. At last I reach Watford Gap Services order a latte and sit with my computer.
I shall be here now for the next fourteen hours. At 11pm Neil George the BBC Radio Four Producer turns up. It is time for us to embark on the second half of the 24 broadcast hours recorded at Watford Gap Services. It’s the fiftieth year of the most famous service station in Britain and I am making a five part series on the people that use it.
We take a look outside at the traffic that race through the night as if to catch the
disappeared daylight. The sound of the motorway is the sound of sea… a constant
shhhhhhhhh… The moon is the headlight of a lone motorcyclist weaving his way through the mist towards the gap. And the cars in the car park in front of me are turtles basking in the moonlight to return to the sea after hiding their eggs. I’ll be here throughout the night through till noon tomorrow watching eggs hatch.