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Thursday 12th February 2004


Last night I read at Gateshead Library, where there was a floor spot for anyone in the audience who wanted to stand up and read a poem. The novelist Louise Trondeur had turned up at lunchtime…(she wrote a great novel called The Water’s Edge, set in a hotel in Bournemouth). We hadn’t met before but I think when you really like someone’s work, you always feel as if you know them. Anyway, she came along and read which was lovely. She also had all her long hair cut off in the afternoon. It was a day for courage and bravery. The people who read for the first time at Gateshead were incredibly brave. It’s so exposing to read your work aloud, and such a victory when you have done it. Some of the poems that poeple read were so tender, about little details of magic in their lives. Anyway, it was a good night in lots of ways. There is something wonderful about a room full of people on a February night who are willing to listen to, or read poetry. Also, bravery pays….you feel taller and stronger and better afterwards.

I am listening to Rhapsody In Blue every day. It’s so dramatic, and sounds like the narrative of my childhood ! I’m writing a story based on the music for Radio Four. I thought I would write about jealous old people, but now I am writing about early television watching. What I can’t remember is if we watched American films on tv in the sixties in the afternoons. I’m sure we did, but a little voice tells me that maybe tv was just programmes like Doctor Who and odd quiz shows then, and there was probably only one channel. Does anyone remember what we watched on tv in say 1965, on a Sunday or Saturday afternoon???

I must go and eat some lunch. I get stuck in my room and forget to eat. I wish there were more trolleys in universities. A soup round would be wonderful. But I must go and eat a boring university sandwich, and have a plastic cup of tea.