Wednesday, April 20

On Observation (at least, it starts out that way....)


Writers have to be observant. Or, writers are observant. Whichever way you put it, this is a truth about writing I learned back in school. I probably mentioned it in one of my GCE examination answers. “One thing which is clear from ‘Middlemarch’ is that George Eliot was a very observant man.” My grades turned out not to be as good as I had expected them to be, but that’s not my point. Nor is how if you come across a writer who has been run over by a bus they didn’t see coming it proves they weren’t a very good writer.

My point is observation: I’ve been doing some. Yesterday on the walk home from work at lunchtime I saw two things. I almost wish I’d had my swish digital (I don’t carry it with me because I can’t be bothered) camera with me.

One thing was the sign outside the church. This church has a big billboard type thing outside it, and it always has an eye-catching slogan on it. You know, like “ A Jesus Isn’t Only For Christmas”, that kind of thing. Currently it says “God Loves Everyone?”. I was completely thrown by that Question Mark, and was still pondering it when I got home. Of course, I worked it out, and I shall be writing to the Vicar to congratulate him on being more eye-catching than usual. But I wonder if everyone will figure it out, or simply remain puzzled. Not everyone is as clever as me.

My puzzlement was briefly interrupted by someone I saw. I’m not sure if he was a chav, strictly speaking, but he was wearing some decidedly chav-type things. He was around twenty, I reckon, although he may have been twelve. I guess the stubble on his chin mitigated against that. He was wearing some spectacularly bad taste trainers, sports bottoms with a stripe down the side and some kind of designer logo on the leg, a hooded fleece-type thing which was too big for him and was also adorned with logos (the sleeves of this were pushed up, to make him look, I think, somewhat ready for anything, preferably a fight), and he had on one of those shapeless hats which probably have a name, but which I don’t know the name of. They are like skull caps but are big enough to get your entire head in. He was a bit grubby looking. He scowled in a very street way. If I’d had my camera and taken a photo of him I suspect I wouldn’t be here now to tell you about it. Anyway, it was the furled umbrella he was carrying which caught my eye. It’s such a simple thing, a black umbrella. You wouldn’t think it could undermine anyone's image so completely and so wonderfully.

Then I went back to thinking about that Question Mark, and I was so wrapped up in my thoughts I almost didn’t see the bus bearing down on me as I crossed the road. It was a narrow escape, but I survived and was able to go to a poetry reading at The Flying Goose in the evening. The readers were Adrian Buckner, who now edits the fast-improving Poetry Nottingham magazine, and Andy Croft. The latter is probably the better known of the two, and his entertaining, fast-moving and (big deep breath) rhyming poetry went down very well. I tended to think that by the time the introductions to and explanations of the poems were over I wasn't all that bothered about hearing the poems, but even I have to admit the poems were funny and well done. But later, in the pub, my cronies and I were in general agreement that we preferred our poetry to be slightly more challenging. Adrian Buckner read really well. The last time I saw him read (the only time I'd seen him read, actually) was in a cold and dispiriting (and closed) library cafe, and he'd been somewhat diffident and quiet. Last night, when I and others had been in fear of him being blown aside by the exuberance of Andy Croft, he delivered a sound, confident and assured reading of some excellent poems. He was serious and funny. I was pretty impressed, and you don't find me saying that very often about poets reading their poems out loud.




Powered by Blogger

British Blogs. Listed on Blogwise Subscribe with Bloglines

Song Lyrics

Search Engine Submission and Optimization Blogarama - The Blog Directory

Get Firefox!