Being late to your own launch isn't a good start, but I badly misjudged the A42 and A453's ability to produce delays at any time of the day or night. Add to that a problem finding parking close to the Jam Cafe (I gave up and went over to the Playhouse), and I walked in halfway through Jane Holland's open mic slot. A shame, too, because the sci-fi-themed poem she was reading fairly fizzed with energy.
There were loads of good open mic-ers, in fact, leading into Robin Vaughan-Williams' reading, which included plenty from his HappenStance chapbook, The Manager, as well as some new material. Having lived in Iceland, he's now based in Nottingham, so I look forward to hearing more from him soon.
The same goes for Sarah Jackson, who gave a really poised reading that highlighted the taut, tense atmospheres of her poems. I bought her chapbook, Milk, and it's terrific. Really nicely produced, too (by Pighog), in a large format that gives the poems space to breathe.
After the musical interlude, and more open mic, David Morley read from his forthcoming Carcanet collection, Enchantment. It's the final part of a trilogy of books (the others were Scientific Papers and The Invisible Kings) that explore both Romany culture and the role of story-telling in all our lives. It's another handsome volume in physical terms, too, with two great drawings by Peter Blegvad (yes, that Peter Blegvad), and I can't wait to get stuck into it.
I read a set entirely drawn from the new book, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's strange how, even though you've spent months seeing first drafts and proofs and so on, to the extent that you don't think anything about it can surprise you, the actual book in your hand looks entirely new, fresh and exhilirating. For that, thanks are due to Jane Commane and Matt Nunn at Nine Arches Press, who are utterly unflagging in their effort.
A word, too, for LeftLion Magazine, who co-hosted the reading. It does a great job for Nottingham and the East Midlands in general, and long may that continue. Great venue, too, with an attentive and appreciative audience (which included an Amazon Parrot*). Oh, and they sang Happy Birthday for me at the end - how nice is that?!
More information on how to buy hydrodaktulopsychicharmonica is here, or you can email me for more details.
My set-list was:
Prelude for Glass Harmonica
The American version
Worst Case Scenario
Fantasia for Glass Harmonica
Variations on a Theme by J. A. Baker
Drinking With Godberd
Warning Against Using These Poems As A Map
West Leicester Lullaby
Nocturne for Glass Harmonica
* The parrot was an excellent listener. But on Saturday, I'd been doing a quick run-through my reading while watching a small flock of Lapwings and a Curlew about 100 yards away. The Lapwings hunkered down and stuck it out, but the Curlew gave up and flew away, calling loudly, about halfway through.