The Bells of Toynbee Hall

7am. In the glow of the computer screen  I’m writing an article for The Times and it’s
shaping up nice.  It reminds me to upload
onto   Global Poetry System   a website inspired by my residency  at  Southbank Centre.   At 9am I
take off to Southbank Centre,  about 40 mins
via public transport, 30 by bike,  three
days by car.  At 11.30am I meet   Rachel
and Martin
, the literature team. They have turned out to be quite the hermetic
team, contrastingly  complimentary of
each other.  We finish at 1pm.

 At 2.30pm in the
Riverside Rooms I meet Cornelia
from Lancaster university,  in town to visit the British Museum. We first
met in Holland.  Cornelia is the editor
for whom I am writing a 3,000 word article finished earlier this week.   At 4.15pm  I meet  Trish
Edwards who  implements  the digital strategy for the Southbank
Centre.   I want to know how to transfer this blog to
the literature blog. We talk about GPS.

Tonight is the Artsadmin Christmas Party.  I have been with Artsadmin for about  2 years. It is where my projects are managed
and has been a gratifying mutually beneficial  working relationship.   If you
were to ask me how I achieve the myriad of responsibilities the answer is that
I am surrounded by experienced good people.

Artsadmin is thirty today. It’s their  party so I leave Southbank at 6pm for Toynbee Studios on commercial
st, east London.   A  poem I wrote called
“i Test”  has been placed upon the
sloping ceiling as you walk inside
It has been photographed and included as one of the artworks published
in a 30th Anniversary book published today in celebration .  It’s also in The

There’s hundreds of people  here. I’m at home amongst artists.  Always have been always will be.   I spend the first part of the evening blowing
thistle fluff into the air in a spookily lit rehearsal room called The
Court  then downstairs for the drinks and
the food and good conversation. I hadn’t eaten all day so food was  good. 

Later in the evening artist Graeme Miller walked
onto the stage and in his hand a large bell. He tried to ring it and get our attention
but the  tongue  of the bell had gone missing. He looked at the
bell and then at us, at the bell again and at us again.  His tongue had gone too.  He spurted out a word “Bell”. Then looked at
the bell again. “Gone”  Somehow he had
lost his capacity to string a sentence together. This continued for twenty
minutes in a seemingly unconnected stream of consciousness and rhyme. It is the
best speech I had heard all year.

At some point he resolved on the word Artsadmin.  The audience cheered.  He  repeated 
“Artsadmin” and raised his right hand in the air. The one with the bell
in its hand.  He  thrust his arm down and the bell rang solidly.
“Arts admin” he shouted. And rang the bell again.  As he did this someone else in the crowd rang
a bell and then another and another (where did all these beautiful bells come
from)  until the whole hall echoed with
the unified clanging clatter  of…
well… peeling Christmas bells.  

As this happened  the  fireworks (not candles) upon the gigantic 30th
anniversary cake  threw  Fountains of hissing
golden sparks  to the ceiling. The
bells continued ringing causing  a  mexican wave of goosepimples  to ripple   through the crowd and through me.

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