On Poetry, Ducks & English Weather…

Still filing, I’m afraid, so more recycled stuff. Before that, however, a bit of personal trumpet blowing…

On Wednesday I read some of my poems at an open mic ‘slam’ competition called Word Up. This is the first time I’ve ever done this, ladies and gentlemen, and leaving all false modesty aside it is fair to say I STORMED IT! It may only have been a bottle of PG and a small event at a local venue, but I can now, completely legitimately (hem hem), bill myself as a prizewinning performance poet. I probably won’t, because I wouldn’t want to get lynched or be accused of misleading advertising, but technically… 

This was the second such event in Tunbridge Wells, and you may remember a previous blog detailing the first, where my friend and fellow Tunbridge Wells Writer, Jess Mookherjee, achieved similar success. Not bad going for the TWWs eh?

Not sure when the next Word Up will be, but obviously it would be great to see another TWW making it a hat-trick. In the meantime, myself, Jess and several other TWWs, will be reading at the Javabean Cafe in Tunbridge Wells on May 23rd. This is not exclusively a TWW’s event, and there will be other local poets and writers reading their stuff as well. It’s not a competition, just a sharing opportunity and a bit of a social. The cafe has a full license too, which is nice. It would be lovely if you joined us…

Oh, a couple of pics were taken of me at the mic, but I refuse to reproduce them here. In the first I look like a boiled pig – an unflattering effect produced by a combination of mobile phone photography and tealight candle lighting – and in the second like a cross between John Goodman and Captain Pugwash. I don’t know what it is about me that cameras dislike so intensely, but it would be nice occasionally if they could throw me a bone by catching my ‘good side’.pugwash

Here instead is a picture of me, aged 19, standing next to a poster of Captain Kremmen while wearing my girlfriend’s blouse (check the buttons). I have cropped it so you don’tme pants crop have to look upon the nylon ‘comedy’ underpants I was wearing, which featured a drooling troll and the legend ‘lick my decals off, baby’. They were all the fashion then (comedy underpants, not drooling trolls). Even ladies wore them – my girlfriend had knickers with the days of the week on, which I reported down the pub as ‘months of the year’, earning me a punch on the shoulder and a brief entry ban (see what I did there?) –  though I rather went off the whole concept when I dropped my motorbike and subsequently had to drop my trousers in front of a very pretty nurse at Pembury Hospital… but I digress…

SO. Winding back the clock, here are a couple of blogs from March 28th and 30th 2011, commenting on the mercurial weather. Seemed very topical somehow:


Ahhhh…. springy old spring… springy old spring spring…Wasn’t yesterday (yesterday as in Sunday, I mean, not as in ‘memories of green’ and childhood idylls, salad days and swallows and amazons etc) lovely?

Because of my very interesting tootorial (well done, as per, Lesley) on Saturday shopping day got transposed (although I did buy a mallard for the freezer and a rather nice courgette and tomato tapas style thingy for my lunch at the farmer’s market on the way out of the AE centre) and we had to do that, but once that was done and dusted we had a lovely walk by the river and through the park (we tried through the river and by the park last year, but that just got us very wet). The daffodils were doing their thing (sans Wordsworth – who needs an arrogant tosspot like that when you’ve got the real thing to admire), the tweety birds were a-tweeting, the duk duks were a-paddling and the squirrels were running about all over the shop looking startled like they always do. What is it with squirrels – you’d think they would have got used to it by now, wouldn’t you?

We had a lovely lunch out, regretted not taking the bikes, threw bread to the mallards (how ironic, considering my earlier purchase) and did all the other lovely springy style things that people do in spring. Then we came home and had a delicious evening meal of turkey and salad served with puy lentils and various olive-oil drenched delicacies (olives, red peppers (hot and cold),  courgette, tomatoes, onions etc) with great chunks from a fig, sundried tomato and sultana rustic loaf we’d picked up reduced in Waitrose. Goodbye roasts! Hello cold collations! Hello birds, hello sky, hello trees… Fotherington Thomas, eh? He knew what he was on about, even if he was utterly wet and weedy (chiz chiz). I had red wine, Ben had seven up, BTW.

While in Waitrose we walked past the newspapers, and one had the headline ‘Jordan drove me to suicide’ with a picture of Alex ‘no, not in the face’ Reid next to it. I asked Ben what was wrong with the headline and he said ‘Well he isn’t dead, is he’. Dat’s my boy. At 13 and autistic he’s already got more going for him than yer average screws of the news reader, and he’s got great taste in salads too!

Oh, he also made oi larf when I was moaning at the cat this morning ‘cos she wouldn’t stop meowing, by offering the observation ‘perhaps she’s got a meowing disorder…’



So what happened to spring then? Who broke it? Own up. I’m resisting the temptation to put my heating back on, but have battened down the hatches  because the icy wind blowing across the field opposite my house was whistling straight through the window of my boudoir into my ‘writing corner’. And I’m still fer fer fer fer fer freezing. And it’s wet. (The weather, not my writing corner. Oh wait… sniff, sniff… I’ll kill that F*****g cat!)

I had an exchange with a woman yesterday who was telling me all this improbable stuff, but because I am, like Shakespeare’s Moor, ‘possessed of a free and open nature, that thinks men [and women] honest that but seem to be so’, I took her at face value. Later, I learned she was feeling ‘much better’ after visiting her ‘alternative practitioner’ and getting her ‘energies balanced’. Sadly I was not in a position where I could say ‘Oh, right. Sorry, I didn’t realise I was talking to a nutter. She mentioned a massage as well. I hope she had a happy finish.

Actually, I’m not entirely dismissive of ‘alternative medicine’. I’ve recently found myself a new German ‘palm healer’ (named Hans, appropriately enough). He’s a member of the Third Reiki. I’ve got an appointment tomorrow; he’s unblocking my chakra and purging me of my negative energies in the morning then invading Poland in the afternoon. Very industrious, these Germans. He’s certainly got my Chi running on time. (If you like Chis, you’ll love these.)

Wandering back from Tesco Metro I passed the village pond again and got a menacing from the Canadian geese. Individually they’re not as dangerous as swans, supposedly, but for my money they’re ten times worse ‘cos they tend to work in gangs. They’re like the ‘hoodies’ of the duck pond, hanging around just waiting for an excuse to kick off. And there’s always a little mallard knocking around with ‘em that’s got all the gob but disappears as soon as the trouble starts, ennit? The poor little dowdy ducks (the brown ones: I think they’re mallardyladies) just mooch about over the other side of the lake trying to avoid ‘em but you can tell they wish they’d just piss off back to Canada. I’m not a racist or anything – Peking ducks, Mandarin ducks, I love ‘em all – but Canadian geese are just a bit too lairy for my liking.

Oh, I passed a woman looking at a big bird on the lake the other day, and she said to the little boy with her ‘look, a snow goose!’ I said, ‘That Snow Goose – it’s a swan’…Sorry. I thought of that while typing and should have put the brakes on.

Talking of which…goose


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