Stuff

Lots of poetry going on.  Good things.  A few anthologies coming out this year, plus there is a plan to release another book of my own stuff too.

Oh, and, a small thing, I’m about to become a US citizen (assuming I don’t flunk the Civics Test) 😉

But then, a week is a long time in poetry.

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Extract from a letter to a British friend

It’s odd for me to cast my mind back to England. British TV programmes that people rave about on Facebook are a mystery to me; British weather forecasts seem shockingly cold (it was 0c in the UK last Friday whilst we walking around in shorts and 32C sunshine). It’s weird how your memory can’t remember if you had to wear a jumper in May in England. Then of course there’s the fact that I no longer say “jumper” to talk about a “pullover” since a “jumper” is a little girl’s school dress. The same language, used differently. I get annoyed about UK prejudices toward America and American misunderstandings of British ‘ways’. I would say it makes me mad – but then that does not make sense here where you must instead say “it makes me cross”. Mad people are…well, crazy people…although, confusingly, crazy people are cross. It’s a wonder I manage to understand a word people say sometimes.

It was a long letter…sometimes saying “no” nicely requires it.

April and the change cometh…

So, Facebook and Twitter have destroyed my enthusiasm in connection with blogging and distracted my attention away to the world of 140 characters or less.  The lazy man’s blogging ensnares the lazy man; how predictable!

We’ve had all sorts of things triggering my Google alerts about Milton Keynes in the last month due to Google Street View descending on us.  When it came down my road I happened to be at home and I spotted it with just enough time to spare so I could pin myself to the window of my apartment like one of those stick-on Garfields you see suckered to the back of people’s cars (or a generally redundant “baby on board” sign – you get the picture).  I have no idea if I will appear on their pictures but I thought it might be funny and gave it my best shot.  🙂

When the Street View car went down one of the local suburbs and the locals spotted it if the newspapers are to be believed they all rushed out and blocked its way.  There was no actual mention of pitchforks or wickermen. Amusingly most news agencies referred to the area – Broughton – as a village “just outside Milton Keynes”.  Most locals scoff at this description because Broughton stopped being a village outside Milton Keynes about 20 years ago and is now mostly a sprawling new housing development well within the environs of good old MK.  As the increasingly interesting Rory Cellan-Jones said via his Twitter account and various online blogs it was slightly ironic that the “villagers” stand against Google’s street photography resulted in half a ton of news crews arriving on their doorstep and broadcasting pictures of their closely-guarded private front doors to all and sundry possibly making them for a brief time one of the most world-famous streets with the possible exception of the home The Rover’s Return.  In the final analysis their whole argument did seem fairly daft; that it would provide a tool for burglers to case the properties at a safe distance.  Who knows?

Anyway, I’m off being a poet again tomorrow (Easter Saturday), first stop the centre:mk (a.k.a. Central Milton Keynes shopping centre) for poetry busking and then in the evening I’m up performing , judging and generally mingling and being useful at The Poetry Kapow.  May, in particular, seems to be a whole month of lots and lots of performances and gigs.  There does seem to be some kind of poetic renaissance going on around these parts.  Woop woop!

Work is going well – sorry if you’ve been hit by the recession – we seem to be hitting an upward curve and have been given bottles of champagne (a sign of a HUGE order being signed) twice in the last 30 days plus champers and cakes on another occasion too.  There are still customers out there for people like us so it seems.

Oh, and I wrote a daft poem for the BBC the other day – perhaps we should spare a thought for the feelings of telephone boxes and give them our love.  Read it here.

Pygmalion

So in what must be one of the ultimate blog Blinks we have been fostering Anglo/American relations.  The full programme of events has, as yet, to unfurl but we have already ensured that Lisa has done the following:

  • Visited the dreaming spires of Cambridge.
  • Looked at people on the Cam who are tourists and seen people who can control a punt.  They are not the same people.
  • Had her picture taken in a red telephone box.  (We’ll ignore the fact that the phone inside could send and receive email and surf the web – it was a traditional cast iron phone box).
  • Had a “proper English” curry.  Chicken Bhuna – before you ask.
  • Drunk ‘too many’ Leffes – despite dire warnings from the rest of us that the fact the two males in the party could pour it down their necks at an alarming rate yet still apparently walk and talk was actually an illusion and, in reality, Leffe is only slightly more safe than depleted Uranium.  Lisa discovered that our advice should have been followed later in the evening when she lost the power of cohesive speech.
  • Lisa and I have been enjoying the full effects of the subtle “sounds like the same language but actually isn’t” thing.  English person: would you like a cup of coffee?  American: Sure.  English person: Do you mean yes? American person: Sure.  English person #2: That means “I’d love one”.  English person: Ohhh.
  • Yes, despite her previous “don’t be silly, I could drive over here” Lisa now accepts that to do so, particularly in Central London and the insanity of the Milton Keynes round-abouts, would in fact be an act of suicide.
  • Oh, and driving across the same round-abouts at 60mph (considered “dawdling” in Milton Keynes) does not help at all when your passenger suddenly notices the effects of jet-lag.
  • Our McDonald’s “do different puddings”.  The burgers are the same – only three times the price.
  • Fresh fish is a wonder to behold and you must stand and stare at it in awe if you come from the mid-West of America.  They eat catfish and carp.  If we catch either over here we throw them back into the river.
  • We are off to see the canal boats in a minute.
  • Gemmak and Fletch are  f a n t a s t i c and incredibly generous hosts and all-round lovely people.
  • Lisa wants to steal my sister’s dog.
  • I am apparently “too ‘onery to blog” today.  When I find out what ‘onery means I might say “humph”.
  • We had home-cooked American pancakes, maple syrup and bacon.  Everyone had seconds.  They were yummy.  Fletch described them – correctly – as drop scones.
  • Gemmak is a looney and is the original inspiration for the Energiser Bunny.  Fletch is a dude.

…and there’s still a whole week left.  🙂

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