Friday, 18 February 2011

Driving John Hegley

I was going to entitle this post: What to do if kidnapped by a 'comic beat poet' but to be fair - I wasn't exactly kidnapped and it was all my own fault.

Comedian/ performance poet/ 'people's poet laureate' John Hegley came to my library to do a writing and drawing workshop* today. And blooming marvelous it was too. He dealt very nicely with all ages (7 -70) with an intoxicating mix of comedy, rapid-tempo songs and mind-bending tasks that left everyone with a home-made booklet of their own thoughts, pictures and ideas.

It was life-affirming dammit.

I made some special big glasses for the event (see right). Sorry the picture's a bit blurry. (You can't get the staff you know.) He's mostly famous for is glasses and his dog. I didn't make a big dog. That would have been silly.

Here's a short example which includes both:

My doggie don't wear glasses

my doggie don't wear glasses
so they're lying when they say
a dog looks like its owner
aren't they

© John Hegley

Anyway, I could have just walked away - but I offered to give John a lift to the station... and then felt bad because he had lots of stuff to carry so said I'd take him to the Everyman Theatre where he has a gig tonight... but I was a bit over-awed and went into garbling mode...and then I didn't have my purse so had to ask for money for the tunnel... and enough to come back again please?... and then he was too early so he said let's have a drink ... and I didn't like to ask for money for the parking metre but I did want to have a drink because this was John Hegley - famous poet!... and we had a nice chat, then he said and by the way could I type fast? (I can!) and could I type some new stuff he'd written on the train... so then I wasn't in Kansas anymore - I was carrying a mandolin up Hope Street (rock 'n' roll!) and I was in a back room of the theatre, typing and trying to read his crazy-paving hieroglyphics while he distantly yodelled a sound check ... and I had a bite out of his quiche when he wasn't there and then tried to cut a straight line across it with a breadstick so it looked less like a bite (which doesn't work - in case you're wondering)... and then it was time to go so we filled my handbag with Green Room goodies and I came home. If I'd had any money I'd have stayed for the show. But hurrah - no parking ticket!

But I digress. How great was this cake - made specially by the sugar-craft group that meets at the library - with a dog shaped like a carrot and all his book covers on ( the most well-known are Glad to Wear Glasses and Dog)

Visit John's Wild World Website and have your own fun and games, or listen to his unique style of mandolin-backed performance here.

My favourite poem is Love Cuts - a fine antidote to Valentine's Day excesses.

* Every time I hear the word workshop in this context, I think of my friend G who always used to say: 'It's not a workshop unless it involves heavy machinery'


  1. Who ever said libraries are boring? Love the glasses, by-the-way. Am I right in thinking that you had the safety lock on the red button? Not having money is one thing but imagine if you had accidentally pushed the...unmentionable button!

  2. The glasses are a fashion statement that is definitely going to catch on!

  3. Enjoyed the cake, the glasses, the dog poem (I have a Bull Terrier myself, she prefers carrot peelings to cake, though...)


  4. After such an exciting day it would be cruel of me to point out the two or three minor typos/spelling mistakes, wouldn't it?

  5. That sounds like a great day, Clare. And I love the big glasses. They suit you, actually, but getting through tight spaces could be awkward.

  6. Martin & Rainy - They look better in the pic than in real life! he ran off with one pair but I have the others!

    Theresa - Thanks (and welcome! 8-D). I think he has a carrot that thinks its a dog (or vice versa) in one of his books.

    Dave - It would a bit. 8-(

    Fran - That's why I like to look at life sideways!

    Mounen - Yay! Superstar poet! Well worth seeing if he's in town!