Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Quite a week


New Poetry Bus magazine cover - “Red Wolf” by Abby Diamond

The Monday just gone was my 45th birthday and whilst some birthdays can be pretty crappy this recent one was really quite enjoyable. It started well on Sunday night when we managed to see the Aurora Borealis out of our bathroom window. We didn't get any great pictures – partly because it was all a bit last minute (“get the camera!”, “where's the tripod?”) but it was amazing to see it anyway (our first time). It seemed a good early birthday present.

I remember back on my (very drunken) 30th birthday saying I'd like to try and see the Northern Lights on my 40th. The thing was that once I got to that next milestone I had other priorities so instead of Mother Nature's greatest light show I managed a (very welcome) trip to the Glasgow music festival Celtic Connections in 2007 (saw Kate Rusby and Crooked Still – both grand). All this considered, I thought it very considerate of aforementioned Mother Nature to arrange the lights for my 45th. Better late than never.

On my birthday itself (this year) ever-thoughtful and beloved man took the day off work and away we went to Aberdeen to just be somewhere different (we like that)... to look at stuff, eat, drink fancy coffee, watch a movie. A friend had recommended “The Artist” so we caught a matinée of the silent one (friend was right – it is a gorgeous film). Whilst the star (Jean Dujardin) is great and the little dog cute-as-cute a lot of the gorgeousness, it must be said, is down to the actress (Bérénice Bejo) who is simply stunning (and on screen a lot so why she is nominated for Best Supporting Actress and not Best Actress I have no idea). It did make me remember once again that whole “male gaze” thing I studied years ago though and how so often, in movies and in life, women are pretty much allowed to be beautiful/sexy above all else (depressing) whilst men can be “interesting”, “tortured”, “deep”... all sorts of things... as well as beautiful/sexy. People debate about this don't they (has it got better? has it got worse?) and to an extent it depends which film you saw last (I saw “Bridesmaids” the other night on DVD... it had some good moments and certainly not all the actresses were out of the cookie cutter... but still... it was just a rom com with a few feistier bits... everybody did get their guy in the end...).

Anyway, all that considered I did really enjoy “The Artist” – the music, the acting, the writing (not many lines as such, obviously, but still a lot of writing in there somewhere!). You really have to look and concentrate on it (and I liked that). I especially liked that for much of the early part of the film we could hear the guns of the First World War (coming from a nearby screening of “Warhorse” I imagine). It added another dimension of strange (and I like that too).

Then we went home, ate fish and chips (lovely), ate chocolate birthday cake (delicious – thanks cousin, Jo!) and, as if my day wasn't going well enough, there, amongst the post, was my copy of the new Poetry Bus magazine! Hooray!

If you haven't ordered a copy of the new Poetry Bus yet you can do that here (and don't forget you get a magazine and a CD too). I haven't read the magazine at all yet but I listened to the CD yesterday and the pieces that first jumped out at me were the ones by Quincy R Lehr, Pamela Clarke Vandall, Paul T Dillon, Kalle Ryan and Kate Dempsey (though it should be noted that not all poems from the magazine are on the CD, as before). I'll be interested to read the magazine now and see how my first favourites hold up as I get to the know all the writing in the magazine better. I was very excited to hear the song “Happy Ending” by the Watercats at the end of the CD too (I am more and more of a fan of theirs – I wrote about them not long back, here) and in a way the CD needed it because there's a lot of sad stuff on there – a lot of winter, a lot of wrong... another reason Kalle Ryan's lovely, funny “The Night Before...” spoke loudly to me on first listen I suspect. Also listening to the CD I was horrified to learn that I seem to have picked up a bad case of “poet's voice” (ugh! Where did that come from? I never used to do that...). Maybe I'll get someone else to read for me next time (if there is a next time...).

My poem in the new PB3 is “Mélodie” which I wrote for the old online Poetry Bus so I'm glad it's found a new direction. I first posted it here (and you can see the, ahem, intended lay-out there...) and I was interested to go back and read the comments it provoked (y'all were too kind!). It was especially interesting to read, PB editor, Peadar O'Donoghue's comment (“poetry is pain”) and on a more personal note it was a bit weird to see that I posted that poem on 29th May 2010... and that my Mum died on 14th May 2010! I guess I was still in shock...

Anyway, you can see some of the Dublin launch of PB3 here and the rest here (though you might want to fast-forward now and again... unless you really like watching people buy Guinness). It was funny to see our editor in the flesh, as it were (after all this time...) and I don't want to get soppy here but I so love what Peadar does with the poetry magazine format. I love that he does a CD (yay for audio... well, apart from my voice obviously...). I love that he writes “yabbadabbadoo” in the introductory 'words from the editor' (poetry editors can be soooooooo up their own seriousness...). I love the artworks he chooses and the music and the mix of poetry (though a rhyme here and there wouldn't kill you, you know...). And will I (once again) change my mind when he doesn't pick a poem of mine for one of the issues..? Will I hate his guts and want him slaughtered by bedtime? Possibly but let's not think about that right now...

So, here I am... 45 and, thus far, enjoying this (bus) ride over the hill. Next stop Boo Hewerdine at the folk club here tomorrow night.. and here's one of his many lovely songs (it matches the name of this blog too):





We get slower but maybe we get better at the same time. Well, we can hope.
x

23 comments:

Kat Mortensen said...

Happy Birthday! (belatedly - sorry about that)

I'm still waiting for my copy, but if PB3 is on a slow bus to China rather than my little town in Canada, I can wait.

I'm looking forward to seeing "The Artist". It's playing at the local cinema, and your mini-review just adds to my anticipation.

How wonderful to have seen the Aurora Borealis! A great gift from the heavens, indeed.

Rachel Fox said...

From our experience Canada Post were pretty slow...

Hope you enjoy the movie. Sure you will!

x

Medicine Vick said...

Ahh I really love hearing when people have brilliant birthdays, it's not too much to ask is it? To have one perfect day year! You are so blessed to have seen the aurora.. It's one thing I have to see before the proverbial end of things, I think at this stage I would sit and weep when I see it finally. Cheers for the mention, I need to sit down and spend some proper time with the bus, I've been so mental since it arrived that I haven't had a chance to fully abandon myself to it, poetry needs quiet and many, many hours to be fully appreciated I find. :)

Rachel Fox said...

I'm very lucky - any day I spend with my man is a good one. Now please clean up the vomit on your way out, folks...
x

The Weaver of Grass said...

Late happy birthday Rachel. Hope you come this way during the year - if so do call again. We are coming to Northumberland for a week in May (Embleton) as neither of us know the county. Sounds as though you had a good celebration.

hope said...

I'm glad you had a good birthday...and I am a bit jealous about the light show outside your window.

Since our birth dates are so close, I had to laugh at your age. It appears we are mirror images of each other. ;)

The Bug said...

We like to get away for little day trips too - we should do one this coming weekend now that we've been back from Chicago for a couple of weeks :) I'm so glad you had a good day.

We ordered our PB3 late - somehow missed all of Peador's announcements about it being ready to order. I know - amazing! But I'll have a listen once it arrives to see what I think of your reading.

Emerging Writer said...

Hiya Rachel, thanks for the call out. Peadar asked me to send some of my more upbeat poems for him to choose so the final list was balanced and I think it works. I see you point about rhyme though...Oh your poem is lovely, sad echoes. Bears rereading.
And while I'm on the subject, rather audio than video!
We were supposed to see the Artist tonight but there was no food in the house so we went out to eat instead! Maybe tomorrow.

Tomás Ó Cárthaigh said...

Yes, the magazine is quite a read!!! The CD idea is fantastic, butwhen I leave it down its a job to find it again, so I must do up a sticker for it.

Prehaps someone whose good at that sort of stuff might do up a lot of them for the next CD!!!!

I had the Swallow haiku in PB3 beside the lovely drawing of Crónas!

Will grab a gander at your verse again when I get the chance!!!

Rachel Fox said...

You need a CD pen, Tomás!

Thanks for all birthday wishes too... and happy reading those PB3s.
x

Dominic Rivron said...

A belated happy birthday!

They keep saying you'll be able to see the Northern Lights from here - I haven't yet, though.

Have you come across aurorawatch?

http://aurorawatch.lancs.ac.uk/

They'll email you if they think an aurora is in the offing.

Titus said...

Happy Birthday (late)! Looking forward to PB3, I love that fox so much.
Also looking forward to The Artist, but it hasn't hit Dumfries yet. I am a huge devotee of silent films from the first time around, so it'll be interesting to see what they've done with format in the 21st Century.
Envying the chocolate cake, and I didn't know Paedar was available to view anywhere, so ta!

Eryl said...

Your birthday sounds perfect.

Rachel Fenton said...

I got my copy last week - still haven't had a chance to blog about it - enjoying reading it - keep forgetting to put the cd on whenever I get a minute without the kids...

Happy Birthday for t'other day.

The film sounds very cool, btw.

Rachel Fox said...

Yes, came across that aurora watch the other night... though it was actually someone's facebook status that alerted us first! FB's not all bad...

I think you'll love "The Artist", T (and all).

x

Roxana said...

Happy birthday!
i love the song very much, and his voice, tender and melancholy.

what does 'a bad case of “poet's voice”' mean? :-)

Rachel Fox said...

Glad you liked the song.

Poet's voice... I suppose I meant "serious poet's voice"... that certain rhythm and drone that poets (in English) often use when reading "meaningful" poems. I'm not aware I've used it much before (maybe I have!)... I think it's worse (for me) when making a recording with no audience present. I get more self-conscious I suppose. Whatever I wished I'd redone the recording for this one! Though we always dislike our own voices, don't we?
x

Roxana said...

:-)

do you know this? Leonard Cohen's advice as how poetry should be read. i think it is gorgeous.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2XkfBWSmcs&feature=player_embedded#!

Rachel Fox said...

That's the second time today I've seen mention of that clip. He's quite the drama queen in it himself. But I like it.
x

A Cuban In London said...

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday, dear Rachel, happy birthday to you! :-)

And you got to see the Northern lights. Lucky you.

Greetings from London.

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks, Cuban. LIfe begins at 45, no?
x

Marion McCready said...

Sounds like a lovely birthday! Never saw the northern lights - cloudy here as usual (everytime you post a gorgeous pic from Montrose on fb I nag Jamie a little bit more to look for a job up there!!!). I really like the look of The Artist, not really Jamie's cup of tea, even with beautiful wimmen in it :)!

Rachel Fox said...

Sounds like you need a new man (only joking...). It is beautiful up/over here. We get the odd week where the haar digs in and won't move but even that can be beautiful in its way (as long as you don't have visitors you want to show the sights to!). Someone I knew from the west said she found it weird over here though. "Where are the islands" she said... "the sea is so empty!"
x