Dovegrey is one of the bloggers who will be generously hosting my tour of Balancing (beginning in the new year) and she is currently offering a prize draw copy of the book inside one of those fabulous Salt hessian bags. To enter the draw simply ask in the comments of her post.
This has perked me up no end, and boy did I need a bit of perking. Not that I haven't been having a great time over the last few days - I have, so much so that I haven't had time to blog - but also a cold has been persecuting me by coming and going like some kind of tricksy goblin. On Wednesday I thought I'd banished it, but it came sneaking back up on me just as I was about to get ready to hear Nick Royle, Conrad Williams and Thomas Fletcher read at Didsbury Library, and I felt too ill to go, which was a big disappointment. Next day the cold had vanished again, and I was able to go to a reading by the wonderful Elaine Feinstein
Elaine is one of those who first ever helped me on my way as a writer, once choosing a very early story of mine for an anthology she edited with Fay Weldon. She always remembers it, and this time, maternally pushing my hair off my shoulder, she remembered it again. Her poems, as always, were tough and precise yet moving.
Next day I went to London, to the Salt Christmas Beano at the Horse Hospital, which was a really great do. Great readings from Jane Holland, Julia Bird, Mark Waldren and Sue Hubbard, and chats with Salt authors such as Vanessa Gebbie, Jay Merrill, Vincent de Souza and Alex Keegan. Here are Vanessa and Jane:
Saturday it was out to Bermondsey to the Coleman Gallery, which artists Eileen Simpson and Ben White had turned into a shop (complete with screen-printed paper bags and open/closed sign on the door), selling their own discs of the out-of-copyright music they collect on their website, Open Music Archive, and of the covers made by contemporary musicians for the pair's projects and artist residencies. The sleeves of the discs were artist-designed, some by Simpson and White, others commissioned from other artists, many of them also screen-printed, and the walls were covered with posters, screen-printed by the pair, advertising the music.
Here I am trying out some of the discs:
Perhaps it was due to the fact that we then walked in the heavy non-stop rain along the river to Borough Market before going for our train (which turned out to be cancelled due to the floods!) that yesterday, on a Christmas visit to relatives, the cold came back with a vengeance, hitting me with a very sore throat which still hasn't gone away...
PS. You can see my big Salt book bag on the gallery windowsill...