blue peter

Life recently has been a little like an episode of Blue Peter. Not because I’ve been cutting things up with round-ended scissors, not because I’ve been using old Fairy Liquid bottles – with the branding carefully taped over so as not to advertise on BBC prime-time – to create a space rocket, and not even because I’ve covered some old wire coat hangers in tinsel to make an advent decoration (rewarding though that may be).
And not – cynics amongst you – because I’ve found a grown-up to help me with the difficult bits, either. Though god knows that wouldn’t go amiss.
What I have in mind is the episode of Blue Peter where some bloke would come in to the studio and attempt to break the world record for spinning the largest number of plates on top of poles. An utterly pointless activity which made for compelling TV, at least in the ’70s, and which amused John Noakes no end.
It feels like that’s what I’ve been doing for the past few months. Working on one project while keeping half an eye on several others to make sure they don’t fall crashing to the floor. Writing a book while hunting down poetry gigs while earning some kind of crust while touting for work while typesetting a book while chasing up a new printers because the one we use has gone into administration while scribbling down a few new poems while trying to have a bit of free time so I don’t burn out. And all this with the ghostly chuckle of Mr Noakes ringing in my ears.
And – finally – I think I’ve made it.
I’ve even found time to knock out this blog, and they’ve been thin on the ground of late. That was one plate/pole combination I didn’t keep my eye on. For the next few days all I have to do is get on the motorbike, point it northwards, and ride up to Lancaster (this Friday) and Wigan (Saturday) for two gigs which I’m really looking forward to. If you’re at a loose end, come along. Bring your friends. It’ll be fun, honest.
From here on in, the summer’s looking a lot less frenetic. Which is a relief. All I need now is some sunshine, some twisting, swooping, empty roads for me and the bike, and a beer garden or two at the end of the day.
And the really good news? If Blue Peter is over, it must be time for Rhubarb & Custard.
Brilliant.

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