So i recently wandered into a tent by a river and realised the man on stage, gesturing wildly about his crazyily wonderful relationship to astronomy was none other than Dr. Feelgood guitarist, Mr. Wilko Johnson. No sooner had Mr. Johnson peaked in his oratical lightning storm he quite literally fled the tent. Gawn. I gestured meekly in his direction but he shot off into the night. He was brilliant. Nervous, but that just made it better.
Outside the tent Bill Drummond (ex KLF, the guy who burnt a million pounds?) spent two days building a bed - a great, jutting longship of a thing. Round the back the drummer from Elastica gave a workshop on the esoteric secrets of the drumstick. I loved it all. The tent (which i tried to buy for the School of Myth for three bronze groats and a used Wishbone Ash LP) belongs to a very fine organization called THE IDLER, British eccentricity at its best. They pay their writers in gold pieces which they procure from a small man in London. All of this is true, as their website will no doubt attest.
I salute their sanity, and advise you check them out. There was a freaky little band called THE PRINCES IN THE TOWER, who used to be in something called Circulus i believe (please You Tube Circulus and their song about bodies and sunlight - (however you react, know this, they thought it was a good idea at the time). They wore very, very tiny shorts, drawn on mustaches and claim their music is influenced by 1972 and 1272. True, as you will see. I'm still in a wonderful kind of shock.
TIM YOUNG IS COMING
On a saner note, the great American poet Timothy Young will be performing at the Westcountry Storytelling Festival, the last weekend in August. Tickets just about still available at: www.weststoryfest.co.uk
Tim has a mighty new collection just out: HERDS OF BEARS SURROUND US. It's solid at 101 poems, takes risks but also consolidates some deep ground he has been burrowing into these last few decades. It's a triumph. Very powerful work.Tim will read at the School of Myth tent as well as the wider festival, and we are hopeful that he will facilitate some sessions with emerging poets. So here's something from Tim:
HOMAGE TO WHITMAN
This day, this arch of birch over the log pile,
this large sky as blue as a sunfish fin,
this pine grove as green as a hunter’s coat.
This bluff, this corn, this mud-wrinkled road
where immigrant Swedes were captured
by the hills, ravines, creeks and oaks--by beauty.
This melting snow, this thawing ice, this heart of mine,
twisting, turning, dangling, wringing, watching and singing
in the clasp of beauty’s large fist. I eat beauty,
I breathe beauty, I rub beauty onto my chest hairs.
The loping dog, the horned ram, the sleek Ford pickup,
the echoing chortle of a strutting tom.
The taupe fields, the cut stalks.
I love the curve of the contoured rows.
The rattling maize leaves slice into my heart,
the plum bush swings its thorns to my throat
Beauty infects me. I accept
the natural hypodermics, all briars and canes,
nettles and thistles, dried and dead and working.
These skin strippers, these clothes tearers,
the ones who wish me naked with them.
I love, too, these stinkpots, this manure bed,
this nest of opossum, rank with winter refuse,
this dormant pile of rot, this embraceable torso, this limp cock.
This stirring, cracking, shuddering heart opens for them all.
Come in maple sap, lanolin, wet resin, cedar scent,
birch bark, elder root, ash gatherer, tractor hum,
horse fart, skunk tread and pocket gopher mound dust.
Put me in your furry mouth, wrap me in your diaper,
bathe me in your silky hide, scrub me with your stars.
Find more about Tim at www.twoboots.net
Off to Spain next week, following Lorca's trail as research for next book, but will try and tap out some more signs and symbols before then. Got some plans for the School of Myth tent.