Monday 13th March 2017
Not liking the waking up around six regardless of when I go to bed. Nearly two o’clock when I turned out the light. Hard to get back into the swing of regular session prep after all the work on the book. Got my two big worshops prepped but still need something for Wednesday. By the time this blog post hits Facebook I’ll have done promo for the next Poetry Jam. Don’t think the standard format poster is going to cut it. I’ve done a bit of a mock-up but it looks shit. Gonna wait until I get word back from Rose tomorrow. Chuffed the temperature has risen considerably in the last few days. No need for a hat indoors. No work on the book today. 11.15 pm.
Tuesday 14th March 2017
Rose Condo was in touch this morning. Unfortunately she won’t be filming at Waddy, but she’ll be at Poetry Jam on 6th April with her full 'How To Starve An Artist' show. I posted the event page just before ten. Anticipating a good turn out. Today was good. I got a mint cover mocked up for the proof copy of my book. The real thing will look brilliant. Session at Waddy was relaxed. We ended up doing a Univocalism. During this evening’s class at New College I felt a bit of a sniffle coming on. I have a big Lemsip and it’ll be lights out by half ten. Already done sixteen days without a proper break. I’ll be going till Sunday if I can keep this cold at bay. Missed my stop on the bus home. Walked back from a few streets away. Cherry pie and custard for supper. Lemsip tonight, Lemsip tomorrow. 10.27 pm.
Wednesday 15th March 2017
Got a bit lost on the bus to St Cuthbert’s Hospice this morning. ‘Oh, you can’t always trust Traveline,’ said the Arriva driver, bringing me back towards Neville’s Cross. Still got there in time. Session was brilliant. Lovely place. Eleven of us in the Hawthorn Room. Simple warm-up games – absurd words, acrostic poems, objects and lies. A good hour and a half filled with fun and laughter, surreal imagery, nonsense and some cracking little pieces of poetry. A privilege to be asked to work there. Afternoon at Cambian was collaborative poems and self-editing. Went to Jenni’s this evening. It was the longest time we’ve spent together in the last two weeks. But I’ll be in Gateshead all weekend. Been averaging about five and a half hours sleep a night for the last two weeks. Then nodding off on buses and at Jen’s. No proofreading or editing since Monday. Last session tomorrow afternoon then straight home. 11.15 pm.
Thursday 16th March 2017
Great day today. Nice and warm and I got loads of proofreading done on the bus to Durham. Made some more flyers for the Rose Condo gig at Poetry Jam. Did a standard week seven conflict and suspense workshop in Newton Aycliffe. Looked at lots of flash fiction from David Gaffney and the big book of tiny stories. Been working on some final punctuation revisions on the book. Just the bike poem and ‘Haunted...’ Been battering Jen’s head for over an hour or so. Need to get fresh proofs printed out. Have one more big read through and see how it looks. Been listening to Alison Moyet. She is touring this year. Dates announced tomorrow.
Friday 17th March 2016
Good to have a morning in the house. Talked on phone with Sheila about final tweaks. We have quite a bit of time to get it 100%. Went to Consett for food and bank transactions. Third ream of paper in as many weeks and second toner cartridge. Went to Barry’s for my Bonners soups and curry. Saw some bloke new to the Bargain Store getting a selfie with the man himself. I’m at Jenni’s tonight. Good to have an evening off and not talk about work so much. Enjoyed watchng The Likely Lads, drinking hot Ribena and eating crisps. Serious change of diet needed soon. Want to get out on my bike after the book launch. Probably not stand on the longboard until summer. I have a 30-min gig tomorrow lunchtime then off to The Sage for The Verb at The Free Thinking Festival at seven. Bed soon. 10.43 pm.
Saturday 18th March 2017
Had a great gig at North Tyneside Writers Circle workshop at lunchtime. Thanks to all for making me so welcome, listening to a 30-min set and chatting afterwards. Thanks for buying books and asking about upcoming events and publications.
Saw Gus Gunnion in Tesco before going to the Sage. Was shocked to hear of his health scares but he says he’s now feeling the best he’s been for decades. Free Thinking was good. Kate Fox, Richard Hawley, William Fiennes and Emmy the Great hosted by Ian McMillan. Theme was trees. Enjoyable evening – until about nine o’clock.
In addition to the hassle with lousy staff at Gateshead metro raising my blood pressure by being lax when asked to oversee dodgy ticket transaction this morning, I could have lost another of my nine lives when struck by a taxi - that made an illegal left turn at the junction near the bridge just up off the Sage - while the pedestrian crossing lights were on green. A group of women behind me were well shocked, phoned the police, took details. 'Really, I’m okay,' I said, 'I’ve had worse damage from a supermarket trolley.' I didn’t want to put anyone to any trouble. The women, however, were furious with the taxi driver. I wasn’t thrilled about it but didn’t want the hassle of legalities. He made a stupid mistake. He was lucky. I was lucky. He wasn’t going fast.
Pleased to be back at Jen’s. Had my ravioli on toast and some crisps. WiFi signal isn’t strong. Sick of being online so much anyway. Jenni is out at a music gig somewhere up Westgate Road, Don’t expect her back before one. 11.05 pm.
Sunday 19th March 2017
Up around nine o’clock, prepared breakfast for Jenni’s guest (our friend Caroline, who was staying in the spare room) then got ready to walk back down to The Sage. Me and Jenni saw The Verb this morning, this time on Englishness. Guests were Jacob Polley, Scott Tyrrell, Beccy Owen, Rahul Kohli; and a man from Sheffield Uni – whose name I missed – reading Caedmon. Met Caroline at the Baltic for a look round the exhibitions. They were okay but nothing really noteworthy. Then a walk along the quayside looking at the market stalls. Then back to The Sage to see the Writing Life discussion featuring Simon Armitage and Alexandra Harris chaired by Philip Dodd. We got home about four o’clock. Had pizza and waffles then cherry pie with custard and attempted to stay awake during a game show and an episode of crime drama Vera. Didn’t quite manage it. Missed who committed the murder. Bus home is the one that goes through Chopwell. Will be midnight by the time I drag my wheelie case over the doorstep. 10.37 pm.