Friday, 27 June 2008

Sing it, Cliff

Well, no, don't...but it is summer holidays of 12 midday. I think that's why I've been blog-crazy this week - the beginning of summer holidays from school means I will be more Mum and less poet for seven weeks. I think I'm quite looking forward to it actually. Picnics, days by the sea (we live very close to it), sand everywhere in the house, children everywhere, cousins, outlaws....busy, busy, busy.

Speaking of children, Small Girl is so lovely at 8 - it almost makes me wish I could keep her at this age forever. This morning (when she should have been getting dressed) she called me in. There she was (half-dressed I'm glad to say) lying on the bed with her legs in the air. 'Look, Mum, I'm a V shape, I'm a V shape!' Her smile was as wide as a smile can be. I am very proud of that smile - when you come from a family with a tendency to misery a big smile is pretty much everything you could ever want. I don't expect (or want) her to smile all the time..but I love it when she does.

Then on the way to school she really did sing 'Summer Holiday' - they've been singing it at school it's not that I am not a closet Cliff fan! It led to an interesting conversation about summer holidays and why it doesn't have to be flying for two weeks in the sun (something we don't do for lots of reasons). I was quite emotional by the time we got to school...but then I'm always emotional...certainly more emotional than intellectual.

Last night's reading/book launch at Dead Good Poets in Aberdeen was a success, I think. Friendly people, a warm evening, some great music (listen out for singer Grace Banks - she was tremendous) and Verona and I weren't bad either. Thanks to Gerard and Haworth and everybody for looking after us. I even enjoyed the poetry open mic - I have more experience of music open mics but this was a great selection of lots of different kinds of poets, all of them good in different ways. I hate to single someone out but...I will. Judith Taylor read a poem about a Barbara Hepworth exhibit in the Aberdeen Art Gallery. I like Judith's poems more and more.

As you might be holidaying here's a few tips for holiday reading...or indeed reading any old time:

'Strange Bamboo' by Hugh McMillan
The man we know as Shug sent me this book as a swap for one of mine. It was a good deal. Mr McMillan has, for me, a fine blend of beauty and dirty old reality, of humour and heart-breaking observation. I'm glad he's not the father of my children with all those tales of bottles of beer and all-terrain prams but I do like his poems. Hope was quite right when she recommended his 'The Man whose Last Kiss was Me' - it is to be adored. How I love it when gruff Scottish blokes show their soft and wobbly don't want to see it too often but now and again it is irresistible. I also have a fondness for 'Oz Aerobics', 'Marked' and lots of others.

'Things the Grandchildren should know' by Mark Oliver Everett
This is the book by the Eels bloke I referred to previously. I'm still only about a third of the way through it but I love it to pieces. It has a lot of subject matter that I know well (the family misery - hello again - the bad living, the music fixation...) but it's the way he tells his anecdotes...the type of human he is that is making the book into a friend for me. I do like good writing but I like good people too. For me the greatest challenge is to be the best writer I can be but also to be the best person too...I'm not sure exactly what that means but I know it involves kindness and gentleness and laughing as often as you can. I don't think this is a very fashionable (or intellectual) point of view. Oh well...

'The kids will be alright' - an interview with Camila Batmanghelidjh in the Independent newspaper from Tuesday 27th May 2008.
I'll try and sort out a link later on...oh, look here it is...I found this paper lying around the house the other day (I don't think it had been used in any puppy training...) and the interview brought tears to my sad old eyes. There's a lot of talk about violence on the streets and young people and our society and all that but here's someone who tries to do something - who does do something. Really, properly inspiring.


shug said...

Gruff Scottish bloke showing a wobbly side? I'll have you know I'm a wobbly Scottish man who shows a gruff side.

Now, must get back to making two pairs of fairy wings for my daughters for Saturday's gala.

PS Ta' for compliments re strange Bimbo

Rachel Fox said...

I dare you to wear some fairy wings as well. Fluffy ones...

hope said...

Oh, I want a picture of that...and not just a mental one. ;)