Strike a Pose
I’m at The Southbank centre this morning and each day this week except tomorrow. I place a screen print of one of the Head series, by Whitney McVeigh upon the wall of The Riverside Rooms. She’s a star on Saatchi online. I get some admin done shifting papers like a master card player.
By twelve noon I’m on the 6th floor of The Royal Festival Hall in a photo-shoot with Dominique Brewster. With a one hour lunch break the shoot lasts two hours. Brewsteris so obviously talented that it’s a pleasure to watch from my side of the camera.
After this I trawl the London Literature festival brochure proofs then race over to the literature department for conversations on changes. At 5pm I get a call from BBC’sNewsnight requesting a poem as advice to the new poet laureate. In truth I haven’tthe time. They shall be putting the poem on their website tomorrow night when the poet laureate is announced.
But within five minute’s of putting the phone down an idea (!) which out of respect I can’t do anything but write. Eight lines fall out of me and gather themselves and whereas normally I would put them in the oven to cook, so the chemicals react to the heat of time, by six pm I have pressed send. The poem is called Rest.
Earlier on today I saw Jude Kelly the artistic director who asked if I was going to the Slambassadors event in the evening . I took this as a sign to go...I was verging on giving it a miss due to my new York trip the following day. At 7pm I walk from my office to The Blue Rooms below the royal festival hall. It’s the 100th centenary of The Poetry Society whohave chosen this event to be the launch of their celebrations.
The vent keeps surprising me. Andy Burnham the culture secretary turns up and delivers an impassioned speech about poetry and how it changed his life particularly through a film called V and a poem by Tony Harrison. But this was directed by Peter Symes who was twenty years later the executive producer of my film Internal Flight which shall be shown at the literature festival this year. Synchronicity comes to mind and lots of light.
I didn’t know Burnham was going to be here. But what with him his speech and the young people it was a real treat of an evening and rather than feeling tired I'm invigorated. But believe it or not a photo-shoot can take it out of you. I get on my bike and cycle home for 10pm. BBC’s Newsnight will launch the poem on line tomorrow when the laureate is announced