This touring thing can get you down a little. After the startling ceremony at
Huddersfield University on Tuesday I went to The Three Acres (Hotel) while The Journalist returned to London to interview Annie Lennox on Wednesday morning.
Alone that following morning I had my breakfast, got picked up and whisked away in The Chancellors car to The Cedar Court Hotel in Wakefield where I spent the day and evening writing an article for a future book on performance poetry. It’s all rock and roll eh.Twenty four hours alone in an hotel writing an article called Lost In Action can have an effect.
Thankfully at 9pm I watched my close friend the artist Whitney McVeigh on a BBC4 documentary in which she iss splendidly articulate and fluid clearly the shining light of the documentary alongside luminaries, Grayson Perry, Tracy Emin and Damion Hirst. I call Whitney when it finishes. I call The Journalist too.
So I wake this morning for another hotel breakfast – oh Joy. All the names of the rooms here are trees which is a bit like the children homes
I was in Woodfields, Oaklands and Wood End. By 9.20am I am sat quietly in The Cedar room as it fills with two hundred people. They are the hard working public sector workers in adult and children’s services, from CEO’s to residential social workers.
Social workers deserve a break. They are castigated left right and centre. The social worker has to deal with problems in direct relation to family they are the ones who identify its shortcomings an protect the abused. “what happens between these four walls is family business” It’ s an oft aid phrase. But there are many times when what happens between those four walls is so bad, so horrific, so destructive, so unbearably manipulative that someone has to make it their business to break through. It is the social worker.
It’s time for conference to begin. It’s 9.35 am. Representatives from all the different boroughs in North Yorkshire are here, child protectio units, adoption units, sat around large tables in what is the main function room. The tables have elegant vases of water and glasses and orange juice. The room hushes itself for conference to begin. After an introduction by Paul Johnson I can just sense the positivity.
And then I’m on and I’m looking out to the serious audience“I was brought up in care of the social services for eighteen years. Legally the government was my parent.” I paused “Margaret Thatcher was my mother.” The audience burst into laughter. I raised my eyebrows “Let’s not talk about breast feeding.”