Antony Gormley’s front page and broadcast news today as One & Other comes to its end. I cycle to my office in The Riverside Rooms and who should walk through the doors but Paul Morley who will soon be artist in residence here. Come noon I catch a bus to Kings Cross and then a train for four hours to Grimsby, on the far side of the country by the ocean.
“no receipt kid” says the taxi driver At Grimsby town rail station . In three words he’d denied my right to a record of expense and infantalized me. I suspected him of having dyslexia and being racist. In the journey to the hotel he probed with queries into my mortgage, yearly income, marital status, reason for being in Grimsby. Fortunately we arrived at the hotel before he got to comparitive genital size.
I’m here as part of Lit.com a literature and comedy festival in the N.E. Lincoln area. “We’ve sold out” says the bubbly blonde organiser with pride and panic as she sees more audience wander past the front window towards the entrance of The Chocolate Lounge. There was no stage lights and no stage to speak of but a great sound system. Finally I took to the microphone and read poems. Then in a warm blanket of applause I walkedback to the hotel only five minutes from the venue and slept.
There's something I can't tell you. it's something to do with a magical reading: something to do with presence and laughter and the turn of a reading from high light humour to deep thought. It's a magical thing. And as for audience, speaking generally, cynisim, or is it desperation, undercuts its capacity to enjoy. There was none of that here and so the poems came out to play.