Concern accompanied my first drink down my throat on Wednesday night two weeks ago, but the first allowed me to forget to regret the next few- you see, I was supposed to be getting an early night on account of that fact that I’d be getting up fairly early the next day to pack my bags and hop, skip, run outta the house and to a bus to meet a Mr. Bob Hill and a newer acquaintance; Carrie. (Ended up returning home at 5am, of course, but these things happen.)
By midday Thursday we’d be on our way to Banbury, Oxfordshire.
It’ll be difficult to explain the excitement (and terror), but let me give it a go.
I’ve been writing poetry for a long time. Years and years and years, actually, but I’ve only been performing since late last year; September 2014 – and usually just once a month at a poetry evening I frequent. In ten or eleven months, that’s about ten to twelve performances, during which I’m often (in my opinion) a very nervous wreck. Knowing this, perhaps you can imagine the surprise, the joy and the disbelief that momentarily overwhelmed me after being offered a chance to travel up from the South (budding poet on tour) and not only perform in Banbury, Oxfordshire, but join Beatnik Boulevard and Poetry on the Spot (run by the lovely aforementioned poet and writer, Bob Hill), and perform upon The Other Stage at Cornbury Festival.
Sounds far-fetched huh? The fantasy of an overactive imagination. And yet…
Thursday night’s gig at Banbury was great; I met a number of amiable poets who’s pieces I really enjoyed, a couple of whom I’d be performing with at Cornbury, and the night was headlined by poet and comedian John Hegley. I was certainly made to feel ashamed of the fact that I hadn’t been aware of him before the event, but his wit, words and interactive poetry were quick to win me over.
What a funny group we are, rhymers of words and authors of verse. Stick us in a room together and we’ll drink wine and give words free reign to fall as we talk about most everything deep into the night. I, at least. Whether the written or the spoken word, I’ll swig, swirl and swallow it. Any kindred spirits out there?
When Friday dawned the nerves still hadn’t settled, but upon stepping foot on the festival grounds reality began to spike (as is always the way). Now that I think about it, I was probably too hot to feel the usual panic I do before a reading with the weather doing the ridiculous thing it was, but regardless, the performance went on without a problem. It wasn’t exactly a full house, but we were on at 4 (or was it 4:30?) on the Festival’s first day, people were only just arriving. Or so I tell myself. (Of course, that theory flew out of the window on Sunday evenings performance, but hey; the opposite works pretty well too. Where has the love for words gone, monde moderne!?)
Not that I really gave much of a rat’s passport about it; far as I was concerned, we’d done a “Cracking good job, Gromit!”, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching the poets I’d heard once again and those I had not do their thing.
And then, of course, I saw The Fratellis, and Razorlight, and nothing else mattered. (Hyperbole.)
I could (and likely should) say a great many more things about the beautiful existence of the hot showers, the irresistible yet shady choice of music provided by the Disco Hut (in what is likely the most family friendly festival dans l’Angleterre), the three wall-jumping musketeers ring-led by the ex-Boscombe-ite, the fly I fell in love with, the haiku, the gluten-free (struggle), Tom Jones retaining ‘It’ and croonin’ ’bout “my sexbomb”, J. Cooper Clarke reciting words that preceded laughs, the Cloud Father, the walking Mun, Selena Godden exciting kids with tits and Sunday’s impromptu/improvised poetry fun, but it’s 2am and I finally managed to write this down. I’ve got notes. I’ll update as I go.