Don Paterson apologised throughout his reading at Toppings in Bath: he's dying with a cold, he'll be coughing a lot, his poems are all about death and divorce - is there nothing on television tonight? His new collection Rain is certainly dark but not depressing; even the renku for My Last 35 Deaths has moments of dry humour:
Here's your book back, world.
Good story. I underlined
a few things. Sorry.
A brilliant reading - and then questions, for which despite his cold, his cough, and his rainfilled silent skies, the poet finds fascinating answers. Self-consciousness, he says, is death to poetry: simple language enables the poem, but it will always be 'a bit twisted, naughty, beyond language.' Hence the joy of rhyme, which 'makes it weirder. Because English is a rhyme-poor language, so you have to forget what you wanted to say and that's a good thing.'
UP has been acclaimed the funniest Pixar film ever. There's more than a curmugeonly nod to The Wizard of Oz in this fabulous fable of a septuagenarian dream-chaser flying off in a house weighed down with the pain of the past and equipped with a superflous random tracker cub, and finding in the end that home is where the heart is.. ahh.
And so Halloween arrives, filling the mild evening streets with its entourage of mummies, vampires, and ghouls. La Strada staff leapt zestfully into the spirit of the day - but would you buy a raspberry ripple from this man?
And anyone who heard my monologue for Stage Write at the Merlin last month will realise how spooky it was for me to glimpse this hooded scream behind me on the hill...
Awen, I discovered this week, is a celtic word for poetic inspiration, and The Garden of Awen opening night featured a fascinating array of awenydds. Bath's Chapel Arts Centre was atmospherically transformed by rural backdrops, flower poems, candles and laser lights as Kevan Manwaring compered this 'showcase of Arcadian delights offering something different from the post-modern cul-de-sac.' Nikki Bennett launched her poetry collection Love Shines Beyond Grief, joined by poets from Stroud, a vampiric story teller, and several excellent musicians including 'guitar-shaman' James Hollingsworth. The theme tonight, in keeping with Samhein, was endings and new beginnings; the aim each month will be high quality diversity of spoken word and music. Great to see such an atmospheric venue join the local network of alternative entertainment.