Better

I had forgotten this about writing. It can make you feel better. It can solidify your thoughts and feelings about something- but then cause them to become fluid again. It can represent you accepting something and thus beginning to change it. As soon as I wrote about being Grumpy Poet and not having a Platform, illustrations of why not to be Grumpy Poet and how I do have a platform flooded in. A workshop session with Gifted and Talented students in Newton Aycliffe in which we explored ways for them to spread creative teaching and learning. An inspiring community arts worker (Katy Milne) at Greenfield School who is passionate about embedding creativity in schools in a way that goes beyond the box ticking. Twitter reminding me of the Creative Agent Gayle Sutherland who I worked with on a slightly ill fated radio project but who is getting all sorts of amazing digital type projects into schools (including ones by Ewan Macintosh, the man who masterminded the SNP’s massively successful Internet campaign). A few offers of interesting gigs. Reading poems by clearly enormously truthful poets like Maitreyabandhu and David Tait (Both winners in the Smith/Doorstop pamphlet competition).

I went on Radio Newcastle’s Breakfast Show panel. Remembered how I prefer to feel I’ve been truthful in order to feel like I’ve had a platform but that it’s not always so straightforward. The show involves provoking listeners to ring in and respond. A few years ago I’d do that by being an extreme version of me as Mad Libertarian Poet, which provoked the more vocal of the show’s right wing listeners to ring in and be cross. Then the show remit changed to be less about controversy and more about discussion. Now I oblige by sharing my very average liberal views about things like Geordie Shore (daft), Super injunctions (sort of wrong/right) and hospital parking (Gasp-too expensive). That’s somehow less satisfying than being the pantomime me was- and feels weirdly less truthful- though I was taking both approaches to satisfy a show remit rather than myself. My most ordinary opinions bore me rigid. Maybe that’s why I do poems. Then last night, the short slot I did on Arthur Smith’s Balham Bash show was on Radio 4. I haven’t listened as I will cringe- besides, I was there. But I did a bit of stand up and some poems. More me I suppose than me talking. I remember being conscious of not wanting to go over my 5 minutes time and may have done under. Kevin Eldon was also on and very funny as the spoof poet Paul Hamilton. Couldn’t spot much gap between him as spoof and me as real poet. Though, talking to him after, it sounds like he has something of the real poet in him, as I have something of the pantomime in me. Anyway, to conclude- writing something might lead you to the opposite and pantomime can be closer to reality than prosaic attempts at truth. Therefore, find the right platform for you, but don’t get too big for your shoes. Sorted.

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