The Gay Hussar. Soho
The front door bell rings and rings again. I wake thinking yesterday might have been a nightmare. One hundred books have arrived from my publisher as well as postcards. I sign for them. The delivery man grunts. I grunt back. We both grunt together. I have to do a mammoth book signing for California State University and lug the books into the hall.
The day begins. Grunt. The phone rings. I wave goodbye to the journalist who swishespast, out and away. It’s a call from The BBC Radio 4 from Saturday Live. It’s a long phone call about tomorrows guests. Sunand Prasad the head of RIBA The Royal Institute of British Architects and Wibka Bruhns whose book My fathers Country was serialised onradio fours book of the week. Her father was in the failed plot to kill Hitler. I make notes. I shall be sat with them both, live on air, in front of two million listeners tomorrow and for the broadcast I must write a poem that may connect them both. Nice.
In no time I’m on my bike racing to Soho. I enter the The Gay Hussar and walk up a challenging Georgian staircase into a private dining room where about ten people arestanding drinking wine and water. I grab a glass of water. Eventually I sit round the table with six Angels. These Angels contribute thousands and thousands of pounds to Arvon. I once went on an Arvon course at 17/18 years old (1986) and have since taught at least fifteen public and closed courses there. The next one is in June. It’s open to the public and advertised on my webpage. The Director of Arvon is here and various Arvonworkers.
I think I’m here as a sort of ambassador for its incredible education programme. The other writer/ambassador at the lunch is Mathew Hollis , editor at Faber and Faber and writer in residence at The Wordsworth Trust. Nice guy. My time came to make a short talk. I waxed on about the education programme and its redeeming properties. It’sonly afterwards that I realise that the event wasn’t for the education programme. Theywere angels for Arvon as a whole. Feel like a fool! After a venison ghoulash I get on my bike chained to a post outside the restaraunt and return to hackney. Love it all.