I won’t go on about the New Year cliches like making new starts, being fitter, more energetic; embracing veganism and cabbage diets or any other heavily promoted purgatorial stuff. Or, for that matter, the rollcall of What I Achieved During The Previous Decade. I’m just broadly wishing you all happiness and success before the reality of Britain alone really hits us. Because, after being pleasantly connected through laws and obligations and equalities to our neighbours over the channel, we’re rowing off into the distance with – er – very little to support us, actually. So, my friends, cling onto your associates and re-tie those strings, because heck we’re gonna need them after January. This view isn’t shared by the folk who live on my road, judging by the bigger than usual cannonade of fireworks at midnight on the 31st Dec. I can’t normally see them from my front window, but it was party like it’s 1999 out there.
I’m still working on poems left over from last years’ notes; and thanks to the workshop offer I’ve been sending around, I’ll be delivering a words and collage session at the Spalding Gentlemens’ Society Museum in February. This is the amazing treasure-house I’ve been visiting on their monthly open days, and when you are surrounded by so many priceless books and artefacts, it makes sense to join in. I’m fortunate to live in a county where such things exist; yes, everywhere has its curious places, but few of them have first editions from Isaac Newton and other scientific luminaries, all contained on premises with rooms opening off other rooms like an ever-expanding Terry Pratchett universe. Therefore, if you are near Spalding on 16th February, go along to their next (free) Open Day between 2pm and 4.30pm. If you’re not interested in writing a few stanzas, you might enjoy the orreries, ushabti, navigational instruments and rare manuscripts on display. They don’t allow photographs inside the building, so here’s a shot of their weather vane, which is a good indication of the detail and quality you can find within.
Proper Pens & Stationery – one of my favourite nerdy habit-forming things. I’m a dedicated Rotring Isograph user as a result of my Dad, who gave me an old Variant mapping pen at an early age. I love the wiry line and the density of the ink, and the little quirks from their scratchy nibs. Since you ask, the nib of choice is an 0.35 – but I’ve recently discovered the 0.4 Fineliners done by other companies which are near-as-dammit similar, and I’m almost converted. They’re certainly a lot cheaper for daily use. Given that my dayjob involves carrying a substantial case of assorted lost biros for students who never seem to have any, plus picking up and disposing of leaking, stuttering and broken plastic items, whenever I start on creative work I love to have something that gives a perfect line and feels just right in the hand. Here’s to another year of poems and assorted writings, and to minimal criticism all round! Life’s too short, people. Don’t sit on the sidelines; don’t be a passenger. Be that writer you dreamed of being when you were little.