“Ground control to Major Tom.
Yes Major Tom quite a few of us at Ground Control have been quarantined. Best you stay up there. This is an illustration by Sarah McIntyre on 24th March. That’s my actual wall. It’s social distancing Major Tom. But you’ll know all about that. If you want some great listening then click the upcoming link. There wasn’t an empty seat and as host and MC for the evening I delivered the words “Welcome to The London Paladium”. It was 50th Anniversary of Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel. It ended on a standing ovation for Will Young. So many other artists performed. Major Tom you can hear it here up there in space you’ll definitely have better wifi reception. I bet. And if you subscribe to this blog this will be the last notification cause I have thousands of spam subscribers. Aliens. Can you hear me Major Tom?. I have to scrap all subscribers and start subscription all over again with a subscribe form. Very frustrating Major. I have got to say. Very frustrating.
And you are right when you say “Planet Earth is blue” because right now it is. But might I say you’re wrong when you say “there’s nothing I can do”. Because there is. There is something you can do. Look at the stars Tommy. Count your blessings. Not my apartment. The photo. Not mine. Wall’s are similar. Talking of desert islands.
while you’re floating up there in the desert sky why not have a listen to my desert island discs. Or at a time like this when we’re both in a bit of a pickle why not listen to My Name Is Why on audible. It’s not laugh a minute but it makes you think. On other matters Major Tom Here’s a laugh. These were the last words I said on stage since the… the…. ‘take your protein pills and put your helmet on’ moment.
It was on March 14th at Plough Arts Centre. I was sending a message to Robin Ince to prove there was an audience.Earlier I tweeted there wasn’t one. He’s a great guy. And I’ll be doing The Stay at Home Festival next week onine with him (Robin Ince), Josie Long, Katie Mackas. Dates and details are here . Proceeds to NHS. “Can you hear me Major Tom” You say you’re “sitting in a tin can”. Mine’s not tin but metaphorically it is. I’m a Booker prize judge so I am using this tin can time to read books. See how many stars you can count. That’s how many books I’ve got to read. It’s Major, Major Tom. Major!
Backstage before the event where I made that video for Robin Ince on 14th March I had a thought. So I sent lovely @BryonyKimmings a message to consider it. My thought was this: There are some artists who presently have money. How can we get it to other artists who need it now? Cash. Bryony and I considered this over text/whatsapp/twitter then I walked onto the stage. By the time I returned to my dressing room Bryony had raised £5,000 and withinin 2 days on 16th March the figure climbed to £21,000 and The Guardian covered it. Bryony is a star. She’s on a spaceship of her own. And it’s going right out through the stratosphere Tommy. Can I call you Tommy?
Also Tommy, talking of stars, on 27th March “These are the Hands” came out. It’s a poetry anthology written by workers in the National Health Service. All proceeds to @NHSCharities COVID fund. It’s in The Guardian too. How cool is that Tom. Can I call you Tom or do you prefer Major Tom, Tom.
Quietly pleased with the economy and precision of this quote inside.
In other news this month on 17th March Superkids was up for an award. So far our TV documentary film has been nominated for a BAFTA, a Grierson and now a Royal Televsion Award . The awards ceremony was at Grovesnor House but alas it was corona-cancelled and… we didn’t win. But you can still watch Superkids on All4 in space and sky. You say There’s “Nothing I can do” but it’s not true. There is loads you can do.
Or you could write a micro poem cause on March 21st The Centre for New Writing and Creative Manchester launched a Micro Poetry Competition. The subject is Climate and Major Tom I am one of the judges. To enter all you need do is tweet your micropoem through Twitter, including the hashtag #micropoem20 You could win first place and get £500 or you could be one of two runners up to win £250 each. Honest Major Tom it’s a steal. All that time you have up there in the atmosphere “floating in a most peculiar way”. You, and everyone down on earth have until 21 June 2020, to submit your short poems via twitter. All details are here. Oh go on. Tom. have a go.
The globe has closed. No parking. No Docking. No Dogs etc. From Abu Dhabi to Northern Ireland, The New Vic to New Dheli many of my live events and filming shoots have been cancelled. My beloved Brighton Festival Tom. I was the guest director and guess what. Cancelled. The Flags of the Imagine Nation.
Taken down for the safety of us all. But we’d printed stuff up and everything Major Tom. Lots of people have lost more than me. We’re all in the same boat managing ourselves through the same storm concerning ourselves with what matters and less so with what doesn’t. We. Will. Get. Through. This.
Major Tom the other day March 22nd I was a sitter on the final of Sy Arts Portrait Artist of the year. That was fun but I think you could do better than I to be honest. I felt like a space oddity. This is the view from where I sat .
And this one below was taken from the artists side. That’s me there by the painting. Anyway it was broadcast and it is repeated today on Sky Arts at 6pm on March 29th and as you are literally in the sky Major Tom?
And also today on 29th March I was on Sunday Miscellany which is a great programme on RTE in Ireland. It’s been going 50 years We recorded it in Ennis. That’s me below on the end there. The whole programme is here and I’m at forty minutes and 20 seconds
It was Mothers Day on on March 22nd RTE broadcast a favourite poem of mine called She Read as She Cradled. I was happy as Larry about that. I have spoken to Larry and he is happy too so it’s a win win Major Tom. Click the pic below for a link to the poem.
So all in all Major Tom that’s us as they say in Norn Iron. They say Norn Iron for Northern Ireland in Northern Ireland. Well you can’t say They say. As soon as anyone starts with they say someone will shout how do you know what they say . Truth be told I don’t. Enough said about that. The less said about that the better. So it is.
As I said to the young woman in Dunnes Stores on a wet Saturday afternoon in Ennis “Grand”.She placed a spoonful of fried mushrooms on the breakfast plate. “Grand now is it?” she raised an eyebrow “So it is” I said. “It is?” she said. And you Major being far above us wouldn’t have known Major Tom, “Floating in your tin can”. Hold the beans I said to her. And she did. She held the beans. And you can’t ask more than that.
But enough with the trumpet blowing poet and the one man fanfare of this particular creative as he likes to call himself and on with the show. What really matters in this tin-can–quarantine is a message I received yesterday 28th march in my Twitter DM.
You might think all the spelling mystique’s in this blog and shenanigans with my morning tweets are something rubbish and you’ve no right not to think exactly that. And yes I did have to look up how to spell shenanigans. So wit!
(10) But here’s the thing Major Tom. (9) You might be a space oddity some might say a space cadet but you’ll never know how 8. many babies were born because (7) of that one song or how many times (6) it was played at a funeral or a wedding. (5) Or how many times it made people feel less (4) alone out here on earth. So I will continue (3) with my morning tweets . (2) Until next time Major Tom. Over and Out. Not ‘Out’ cause we can’t go out . Over and In. Over and in (1). Can you hear me Major Tom Can you hear me”
Zoom. I think you should hear this. This isolation connects us all.