Cardiff you old devil…
At the invitation of my friend, and daring wordsmith, Mab Jones I travelled across land and fields, over bridges and through tunnels and I arrived in Cardiff.
The bus to Cardiff was as pleasant as any £5 journey on the MegaBus is – but when I arrived I walked down to the bay, had a beer and bought some Welshcakes and that brushed away the transport dust off my rucksack carrying shoulders. The view was magnificent, the welshcakes delicious, but I must express my displeasure that Charlotte Church wasn’t busking at the water’s edge.
The night I went to a party, kindly hosted by Mab, and met some very kind hearted writers, activists and assorted good eggs and we drank into the early hours.
On the day of the gig I took an excursion, with Mab and her partner Johnny, to the town of Caerphilly to see the Norman castle. If you’ve not been to Caerphilly castle, then I recommend you do visit when/if you’re in that part of the world. Sadly for such a glorious monument it was eerily free of visitors.
Mab runs a night in Cardiff called HeartSpoken and for her first gig she asked me to line up alongside Susie Wild and Joao Morais. The gig was only the second time I’d performed outside of London, and I was nervous but a few friendly faces that I’d met at the previous night’s party showed up and that relaxed me.
So it began, I was on first after introductions from Mab, and it went well. I was pleased with how I read, what I read and the reaction. I’m starting to me able to gauge what people may like, what could provoke a reaction, and so I was happy.
The good folk of Wales were a delight and a pleasure and I didn’t even have to go all Vinnie Jones and get a dragon on my chest for them to applaud me.
The next day I travelled back to London with Mab (Megabus Gold with a free muffin, coffee, mini irn-bru and a chocolatey thing) and we did a gig at my Listen Softly London event – then the next morning Mab departed back to Wales and a weekend of Anglo-Welsh poetry was alas over. Consigned to happy memories, red wine and welshcakes.
The week after I performed for UCL Women’s Network in aid of the charity Refuge. For those of you who haven’t come across them, it’s worth looking into the UCL Women’s Network because they’re not only a lovely bunch of people but they also put on some great events and talk a lot of sense. I was really honoured to be asked by them to read as part of their Zero Tolerance to Sexual Harassment campaign, and it gave me the opportunity to see a couple of poets who I’d been really keen to see perform, namely Sophia Walker and Hannah Chutzpah.
I thought the gig went quite well, although a big metal bar across the ceiling creating feedback on the mic penned me into the corner, and the crowd were very sweet and applauded suitably so that was all okay. I do also believe they raised a decent chunk of dosh to give to Refuge too…so that’s good but obviously it will be much better when such organisations don’t have the need to exist.
The day after that I performed at Y Tuesday, a night run by my dear friend Ceri-May and the marvellous Steev Burgess, in Clerkenwell where as well as reading I got to enjoy the amazing tunes of John Hassall (bassist in The Libertines)!
Anyway, you’re bored because I’ve just listed things I’ve done…but 2014 is nearly over, I have irons in the fire and I want a snooze!