Thursday, September 9

Wendy & The Poetry of Food

Wendy phoned yesterday evening, as I was tidying up before my friend Ian came around to watch the England v. Poland football match on Sky. She has great timing. I think this was the first time she’d phoned me and not been drunk, or on the way to it. All she wanted was a chat; all I wanted was to open the wine. So it goes. She seemed to be in a very good mood. She asked me what I’d been doing all summer, and I told her “Not much, just working, and reading my Jennings books in the wake of Anthony Buckeridge’s death. Oh, and getting the goldfish house-trained.” Apparently, she’s been to Whitby for a holiday, and eaten a lot of cooked fish. She says that’s why she’s in such good health, and also she’s really “getting her teeth into writing poems.” That’s what she said, I swear. I was a bit surprised, but also I could see the red wine on the counter in the kitchen, and the corkscrew next to it.

Wendy said she’s noticed how the most popular poets these days seem to have books on themes. She mentioned someone whose new book is all about one of his sheep that disappeared, or something. I was only half listening. And also, Wendy has noticed that Literature Festivals are often “themed”. You know, it’s like everything is about Travel, and everyone has to be a kind of travel writer to be invited to work there, even if the most they travel is to work, on the bus. She said that National Poetry Day this year is all about Food. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it wouldn’t surprise me. Things keep on getting worse, and some bits of poetry world become more banal by the day.

Anyway, Wendy is writing some food poems. I said I had no idea what a food poem was, but I wouldn’t want to eat one. She didn’t think that was funny, and I don’t suppose it was. She asked if I might take a look at some of her work, and let her know if it was any good. I hate when people say that, and I told her so. It’s like me telling you that Bright Eyes makes great records, and you think they’re miserable shit. We’re both right. Anyway, she said she could pop something in the mail tomorrow if I liked. “If I liked.” There are quite a few things I would like, but that isn’t anywhere on the list. But I said Alright, as long as she was prepared for me to say I didn’t like them if I didn’t like them. I think I used the word “loathe” in there somewhere. She hesitated, and then said Okay. Then she said she had to go, because a pan was boiling over on the stove. I didn’t have the chance to ask her if she’d won anything at Bingo this afternoon. It’s Wednesday, after all, and that’s her Bingo day, and I would’ve asked her. I’m sociable like that, and keenly interested in other people’s leisure activities, even when they threaten to delay mine.

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