Saturday, 13 September 2008

The word at the bus station

And so the catch up continues.

This month sees a celebration of my town: Discover Middlesbrough is the name they've given to this festival. There's all manner of events going on and I happened to be flicking through the booklet and came across something called Word on the Street. I knew straight away that it would be something that would appeal to me, I also had Cat down as a supporter and we asked Lara Croft and the Wicked Witch of the East/West but they were both busy, so Cat and me it was. Anything that describes itself as "live music and spoken word in an exciting cabaret format" has to be good...right?

Evening started out well enough. There were hot cheese scones. And decaf latte. And a little bit later deeeeelicious icecream. First up has to be describing the attendees. There was Cat and I obviously, as stylish as ever. I was rocking red fishnets and leopard print flatties that day, Cat was rocking her boho chic maxi dress and cardie. There was checky shirt guy who was alone. And there was white shirt guy who was also alone. There was a table of indie boys who turned out to be the band, Shoebox. There were a few more tables of other groups, and then there was the couple who looked like they were on a first date (but more about them later).

And so the evening began. The writing was hard going. The young people responsible were from a Barnado's project and are what is politely termed vulnerable and exploited. It was a lot about their point of view of the street, about people and places in their lives, there was one about an owl that was spotted round Middlesbrough...some of them were read by the organisers, but a lot of them were read by the writers themselves. It was often hard to hear them as they spoke really fast and far away from the microphone but for me, it was more interesting and I felt, awe inspiring, considering the subject matter.

But it wasn't all like that. The band played a few songs and they were pretty good. One of them reminded me of Tony from Skins in that he was obviously very much in love with himself and in charge of his group. And then there was a didgeridoo player. I've never actually heard anyone play a didgeridoo before and it was AMAZING! Who knew that so many different sounds could come out of one? And then the organisers threw the floor open. Thus enters the odd couple for the rest of this tale.

Turns out they were both poets. They took to the stage. And it was like they were different people. Like watching a butterfly emerge out of a cocoon. His was about dwelling and so he started off kneeling down and then stood up to slowly match the words. And she was swaying and almost dancing to match her storyof lipgloss and wardrobes. It was really quite wonderful.

Suddenly it was 8pm and the evening was over. Cat and I began the walk to our respective places to be. And the odd couple were in front of us the whole way. I left Cat to head to the bus station, with them still in front of me. As I hit the concourse they were still there and I could see it happening. They turned. They spotted me. They realised I'd been part of the crowd. They were going to speak to me...."oh hello" said very shyly. I had no choice. I had to do it. I had to be polite. And so the conversation began.

It would have gone okay if they hadn't been so incredibly shy that I did my usual of not being able to keep my mouth shut in the face of such nervousness. So I rattled on about all manner of things - cake, coffee shops, answering questions of where I work, was I a student. But I rush ahead of myself. Before all this, just after the first shy hello the guy had handed me a flyer for a national poetry day event at Borders. Oh says I, it's at evil Borders. Why evil? asks he. I launch into my explanation of how it's so hot in there that they warp the books and it bothers me, plus I buy all my books from charity shops cos I like the know how it goes. Fast forward again to us having the above conversations. So how do you two know each other then? Oh I know P from Borders as he works there...cue the tumbling weed as Dizz realises that she has, yet again, inadvertantly put her foot in it with a total stranger. And a very shy one at that. How? How do I manage this? If it was a special skill at the Olympics, I'd be the country champion. I couldn't really think of a way to get out of it so I gave him my best smile in the hope that he'd be so dazzled it wouldn't occur to him to be offended. And then "oh is that my bus" and promptly scarpered.

And there you go. That was Thursday. Stay tuned for Friday night treats xx

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