Owed To Paddy O’

I did my second recording session with Adam today for my ‘pAUSE fOR a pOEM’ installation. We put the music to ‘Owed to Paddy O”. Me on guitar and Adam on low whistle. What a soulful sound he makes on that thing. A single note played the way he plays is enough to send shivers up your spine. His timbre and vibrato reminds me of a hero of mine in my New Orleans Jazz days: the clarinet player George Lewis. Have a look at and a listen to George on You Tube playing Burgundy Street Blues. A different kind of music to Adam’s but the same life vibe. I’ll get the Paddy O’ track posted on our Up To Scratch MySpace page. It qualifies because we have been doing that poem on our duo gigs.

Joyce of the CCC has agreed to do the Braille copies of the installation poems, which is brilliant. I was intrigued by Braille. How did it work? I knew that the black squiggles on the page that we interpret as sounds were changed into bumps but in exactly what way I could not imagine. It turns out (if I have understood Joyce correctly) that there are two kinds of Braille: 1 & 2. Braille 1 has an arrangement of bumps for each letter. Braille 2 is similar but has some short cuts built in. Some commonly ocurring parts of words – like ‘ing’ for instance – have a single collective symbol representing the three letters. The effect of the transcription on my poems will be that the line lengths will be much extended – perhaps one line becoming two lines – but the all-important line breaks will be preserved. My pictorial poems will lose their shape but that hardly matters as that element is an addition rather than essential to the meaning. I’ve been asked why I am doing an installation for blind people? Well, I’m not. I’m doing an installation for everybody. I’m just trying to make sure visually impaired and blind people aren’t left out. I am well pleased with how it’s progressing. I’ve even found time for a couple of new poems. They’ll stay on ice for a while and I’ll have another look at them before I release them into the wild.

I bumped into Alaa, one of my uni students, by the sarni shelves in Tesco. My teaching was cut short this year as reported. I didn’t realise how much I missed the students and the Writing workshops until I spoke to him. They are such good people and talented writers with such goodwill towards other people and their work. Roll on the new academic year.

I heard yesterday that some venues have been holding back from inviting me to do poetry gigs because they thought that I was still recuperating from the road accident I was in. The happy fact is (happy for me, anyway) is that I am up and running and up for anything as of yore. So thanks for the consideration but bring on the poetry gigs. I have the words. I have the desire. I have the motor . . .

My poem, READ / A / BOOK, commissioned for the National Year of Reading is to be sent to not only all Cheshire libraries but to all Cheshire primary and junior schools. I have sent in the photo Lynda took of me reading to an amusing tree to be put on it. I thought if it is insisted my picture’s on it then it would be made more tolerable if there was a smiley tree in it too.

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