Sunday, October 28, 2007

Always gratifying when people say 'Simply the best...' as they go, and satisfying too to see half a dozen of the audience sitting on the floor 'cos we ran out of chairs... "Madabout Words" in the Merlin foyer on Friday night was a fabulous smorgasbord of stories, poems, and songs. Effusive thank-yous & virtual bouquets to Hazel, Howard, Niamh, Rosie, Alison and Willow, Gordon, Dave, Tracy, and Jill and Mick, for an evening that everyone – performers and audience alike – enjoyed so much. This was also the launch of the ‘Live and Lippy’ DVD, poems from Hazel & me with Howard’s amazing graphics, and I’ll post the Youtube link to the newest track as soon as I’ve got it. More pix at Haz's blog here.

Also this week: An 'Evening with Alan Bennett', billed as 'a great honour and a major occasion for the city of Bath'. Disappointing, even though I didn't expect much. A Forum-full of the city's burghers and a lion of the middlebrow establishment is a recipe for sychophantically cosy rather than stimulating. 'Literary musak' Peter put it, kindly. The readings were anecdotal to the point of trivia, embellished with name-dropping ("Prince Charles was in the audience, laughing loudly") and the sort of louche humour that works better at dinner-parties or on Scott Mills show. It's only that trademark flat fastidious voice that lets him get away with it, I thought, as the auditorium shook with yelps of mirth at the word 'scrotum'. Alan Bennett wrote brilliant observations of ordinary absurdity but this wembley-esque setting simply showed that Peter Kaye does it better. Perhaps authors need a self-help group to protect us from self-exposure beyond our skills. But when so many people are rattling their jewellery, or at least their books for signing, would any resist?

Did you know - and why should you? - that Pride & Prejudice is named as a favourite book in 18,000 blog profiles? I found that out by citing it myself in a retro moment. If the percentage of readers who also blog is quite small, that means around 250,000 people might also rate P&P as a favourite. And many more readers will have enjoyed it. In fact, using the curve-of-normalcy model, about 6 million. Not bad for an English spinster.

And finally... not a cute-cat tree-rescue but a photograph taken by a fireman in California and sent me by Mo. I thought it needed wider viewing.

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