Luke Wright fears his baby face will never age and he will always look like a child, although eventually a rotting child. Maturing gracelessly is a theme that gives him plenty of material, as he takes us through the chapters of his life from school-days taunts of 'Big Gay Face' to 'I bet that you look good on the sofa', now that married life means a night on the tiles involves grouting rather than dirty dance floors and dreams of naughty-Arctic-Monkey-ness.
Around 60 people came to see Luke's brilliant 'Poet and Man' show at the Merlin, not a bad turnout for a boy bard on a wet & windy March night in a small town. Most stayed for the Q&A in the foyer, and quite a few came to the pub with Luke and support act DockersMC after that. From then on, the night's performance contained haze, as Northern Broadsides might say...
Sunday night was more of a cakes-and-tea event - excellent cakes too, well done Ramscombe Kitchen Foods, caterers to the Mission Theatre where I was guesting at Bath Poetry Cafe. Sue Boyle organises this monthly event with a wonderfully convivial atmosphere and wide range of varied voices, from Helen Moore's passionate commitment to ecological awareness to Duncan Tweedale's evocative word-paintings inspired by romantic mystic Caspar David Friedrich. And I especially liked the understated elegance and warm humanity of Emily Wills, whose second anthology is due out soon. These sorts of events, as one reader said, are so important, "not just for what we hear, but for what goes on under the surface." Thanks, Alan, for the image.
Ashes to Ashes ended this week, though disciples of the Gene Genie have a fourth coming to look forward to. How was it for you? For me, several scripts disappointed, and the mother-Drake storyline stretched fantasy into frankly tedious, but hey, it's still an excuse for a picture of that 'overweight, over-the-hill, nicotine-stained, borderline alcoholic homophobe with a superiority complex and an unhealthy obsession with male bonding'. Bolly-knickers never got a line as good as that one but Thursday nights will be the poorer now.
Meetings, meetings... Writers groups are just the best, aren't they. I've been to 2 this week. On Monday Rosie Finnegan hosted the Frome Writers Circle and shared her brilliant work-in-progress script, and on Tuesday the Fromesbury Group reconvened at Emily's for another extraordinary evening of sharing and listening... It's a challenge, a privilege, and a fate, says Emily of family life. And maybe the writer's life too.
And finally....Luke Wright has a wickedly scathing link on foreign travel, pointing out that "if you grew up in Warminster you're unlikely to find your soul somewhere in Goa". While I don't leave home to 'find myself', whoever that perverse elusive person may be, for me such journeys are a necessary irrigation. I'm a passionate advocate of my (now) home town Frome, but I need to know that each year will bring pilgrimages to distant places, that I'll see the sun rise and set over unfamiliar horizons and hear voices in other languages. Next trip for me, coming up soon now, is the Greek island of Paxos, to report on a project to reclaim ancient footpaths. Dionysus, god of wild vegetation, satyrs, and nymphs, will, I hope, be pleased.