Monthly Archives: August 2015

Postcard from the Pier

For my third mini-post, I thought I would write a postcard to you about my visit to the Carsten Holler exhibition ‘Decision’ currently showing on the Southbank. I am sure, like many people, I was attracted by the sight  of the gleaming metal slides serpentining their way down the side of the Hayward Gallery. I missed riding the slides at Tate Modern so I assumed the helter-skelter exit would be the best part of my visit. In fact, the whole exhibition, whilst not a particularly profound experience – I said yes at every conceivable decision-making opportunity –  gave me the same kind of thrill as the Coney Island boardwalk. I enjoyed the rickety, ratchetty, end-of-pier feel of it all. My favourite bit was the entrance: the dark, sensory-deprived thrill of a haunted house with its labyrinthine tunnels and unexpected twists and turns. That was genuinely unnerving and perhaps says something about what I like in art: a stumbling in the dark with the occasional slide into the light.

Wish you were here!

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My Industrial Ear

You might think that a post called ‘my industrial ear’ was going to be about my interest in writing about the nuts and bolts of certain trades and occupations. My forthcoming pamphlet The Frock Enquiry uses the tools, materials and context of early sweat shops to imagine the voices of women who worked in those industries. In some of them, I have tried to use ‘blocky’ forms to suggest the heft and toil of the work. You might think this post was going to be about having an ‘industrial ear’ when it comes to poetry.

But no. This is the second in my series of mini-posts and it is actually far more literal. I have just returned from a visit to the body-piercing shop with more metal in my ears. Arthur, a gentle giant with a hipster beard, looked proudly at his handiwork when he’d finished my latest piercings and proudly pronounced that my ear looked ‘industrial’. I was delighted. I hadn’t realised that was a look I wanted until he said it. Here it is. Still a wee bit swollen. My industrial ear.

My industrial ear

My industrial ear

(The Frock Enquiry will be published by Annexe Magazine this Autumn. More details to follow)

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Mini-Posts

If you drop into this blog from time to time, you may notice that I don’t update it that often. Some of you will understand why. If you work a full-time job, the amount of time for writing is constrained. Evening, weekends, holidays. Of course, that time has to be subdivided into compartments into which must be shoved family, friends, domestic chores, health and, oh, sleeping. Many of you will have much bigger responsibilities that I do and will have to eke out the time even more. Of the remaining time for writing, some of it is ‘good time’ – that is, time when you are refreshed enough to flex your creative muscles – some of it, not so good, more useful for research, note-making etc. Most days, I have time and energy for one creative burst and have to choose what I spend it on. Energy budgeting. It goes

Writing versus housework = writing.

Writing versus TV = writing.

Writing versus cooking/eating/early night/catch up with emails = writing.

Writing versus buzzfeed quiz on whether I am really Wolverine = uh, writing (but I am Wolverine).

Hence writing versus blog = writing.

If it’s any consolation, I treat my friends and family as badly as I treat my blog followers.

So I am going to try something new – a slightly more regular drip-feed of mini-posts. Let’s see how that goes. Should be fine unless there’s a new buzzfeed quiz on how long I would survive in a Zombie apocalypse…..

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