Besos Invisibles is the title of the Spanish translation of my poem Invisible kisses. The
translator is professor Esther Gomez. Helene, a French friend from Manchester, is to read the poem at a civil Wedding in Seville and has brought it to The Southbank centre for me to sign. I haven’t seen Helene and David Rudlin and their children in ten years or so. I am extremely proud of the Spanish translation and that they shall read it on Spanish soil under Spanish sun and then present the framed poem to the wedded. I sign it in The Royal Festival Hall cafe.
At 3pm I catch the train from Paddington to Bath for Nod Knowles Birthday Party. I arrive at two hours and an half later . Nod Knowles is the chief executive of the Bath festival. I’ve known him for fifteen years at least, maybe twenty. Such was the traffic outside bath spa station that I walked to Woods restaurant to surprise him. The iphone has a GPS facility. It’s
gorgeous. He wasn’t expecting me either. His partner Fiona Quinn organised the whole surprise party.
We finish the meal to much laughter and lively conversation.it’s an intimate gathering. I had Moules Mariniere of sorts. The wine flowed while I drank water. After the birthday cake and just outside the restaurant a milk float, of all things, awaits. Ha! It’s our transport to the next venue. The milk float speeds five of us through the city. The others make their way by foot. This is ACE. We get off at The Ring O’ Bells where upstairs a private room is booked for the next party. In the private room are two men wearing fez’s. One is on piano and the other master of ceremonies is stood with a loud hailer. There’s another group of people here. Another party of people to add. The show by the two men, comedians magicians is fun fun fun, magic too – real magic.
Towards the end a black shirted gentleman actor walks into the room with a giant cocktail glass filled with a fluorescent yellow drink and a daffodil in its centre. “right ladies and gentlemen… darlings darlings… Collect your bags and follow me”. We are marched through the back door of this private room and into the early evening, the lush Georgian back streets of Bath, then through another door and into the most surreal place.
Twenty umbrellas hang from the wall and loads of walking sticks. There’s wigs and cowboy costumes. it’s a warren of costume and then through another door we enter a room with another group of people and champagne and a throne where Nod is sat
and crowned and another party of people to add to the group. I meet Joanna Mcgregor
the great pianist and lovely person. This is a theatre that specialises on the entire world being its stage. Not just any theatre. It is the world reknown Natural theatre company
“Right ladies…” says the man with the transluscent drink ” off we go..” again into the now night lit streets. In five minutes we are stood outside a door with two sax players. Great sax players Iain Bellamy and Pee Wee Ellis who once played for James Brown. We are at widcombe social club and the entire night is themed seventies. But the night for me is
encapsulated by drummer Tony Orrel, I will tell you about that in a while.
We poured into the social club at the top end was the food, all seventies themed… sausage on a stick pineapple and cheese on a stick, trifle scotch eggs. It was like the silver jubilee. Really well thought out. At the other side of the room was the dance and performance area. The backdrop was old school tinsel from ceiling to floor and right int he middle of the stage area, infront of the dance floor, a drum kit
The party is merry. Nods family are here. All the sections of the night are united and
conversation food and drink are flowing in the same river. It’s a joyful noise. Quietly but not like a shadow though a guy walks onto stage as if oblivious of anyone else. Tony Orrell is hairy. He has a hairy face and hairy hair. He sits upon the drum kit like a sultan and starts
to play as if no one else is there. He’s playing to the rhythm he lives by... that Nod lives by… that I live by…
Then with the lasso of rhythm an addictive bass line comes in. The sound is so perfectly mixed that it seems the bass player must be hidden behind the tinsel. Al Greens chocolate and honey voice comes in “Take Me To The River”. Tony continues: a drummer on his throne thrashing inside the music.
We are in bath a city of invisible rivers. “Take me to the river…”. They gush beneath us, beneath the earth I am standing upon. I sip my tap water my Bath water and take a
look around. Nobody is looking at the stage and yet the drummer is leading the procession. It’s exactly as it a l should be. Soon enough dancers drift to the floor. The drummer, the heartbeat, the rhythm of the entire night. I didn’t drink a drop of alcohol and I had a wonderful time. As the burlesque dancer wraps her feather boa around Nod as he sits blushing on the stage I leave for the 9.58pm train to London, arrive Paddington at 11.30pm and I’m home at 1am and dream of invisible kisses and rivers beneath.