Monday, 27 September 2010

The ode less travelled

I'm not entirely sure what to do about this.

A week or so ago I was approached by someone and asked if I had any plans for a particular evening toward the end of October.

Don't worry.  It wasn't that sort of request.

A friend of a friend is taking a year off to good things (working with the street kids of Honduras, if you're interested) and so needs to raise some funds for this to happen.  For starters, I don't think a Travel West Midlands bus pass is going to get him there.

So a night of blues and poetry at a city centre pub is being arranged as a fundraiser.  "You'd like me to buy a ticket?" I asked.  No.  She wants me to take part.  I'm assuming that I'm not contributing to the 'blues' element of the evening - although my alter ego Dyspeptic Willy Madison might have something to say about that omission. 

"But I don't write poetry," I protested.  This is at least partly true.  Despite my pretensions to culture, I'm not a complete Renaissance man.  In my forty years, the grand total of two poems have flowed from my quill.  One, when I was 12, about my hair.  ("Look at my hair/It's my despair/It goes everywhere/But I don't care/Oh yeah").  And another about the contents of my fridge.

Not exactly the sort of thing to have them awarding me a Laureateship.  Is that a word?  It is now.

"Don't worry," my tormentor said.  "There will be other people there.  And some of the other stuff you've written will work, I'm sure."

I could have done without the "I'm sure".

Are the good people of Birmingham  ready for an entreaty on the qualities of Marmite, I wonder?  My proprosals to generate electricity from hamsters?  My re-imagining of the Titanic disaster as a customer service experience?  I don't think so.  I'm already giving this stuff away for free on the Internet and still hardly any takers.

"You'll be fine," she said.  "Look, it's over a month away.  Plenty of time to write something."

Now I'm torn.  Let's weigh up the pros and cons:

Pro: I am actually a bit of an attention-seeking tart.
Con: People will might throw things.

Pro: It's for charity.
Con: Having parted with real money, the audience may actually expect quality.

Pro: It might be a good way to get my writing 'out there'.
Con: Do I really want my writing 'out' anywhere?  (Well, yes I do, but I couldn't think of a 'Con' for this one).

Pro: It might be a challenge to actually write something meaningful.  You know, poetry.
Con: Poetry, schmoetry.  I have difficulty writing awkward prose about things I actually do.  You want me to be creative, and get it to rhyme?

Ok, gentle reader, so what do I do now?


alejna said...

Do it! Do it! But don't feel stuck thinking that you have to write something meaningful--some of my favorite poems are largely meaningless! Or at least silly.

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

Oh come on, rhyming is sooooo 1970s. All I know is that you must do it. And you must sell it. Act like it's awesome serious poetry and people will buy it. What do they know? They're only there because it's a charity too. Maybe. People don't actually like poetry. They pretend to like it. So if you act like you know what your orating about, they will act like they understand. In fact, the more lofty nonsense it is, the better.

And lastly, you must do it if for no other reason than to have the name "Dyspeptic Willy Madison" announced before you take the stage. And make sure you look like a Dyspeptic Willy Madison. Whatever that is.

Also? I like your blog.

- Margaret

fatboyfat said...

Hmm. It seems that silliness may be the way forward.

And welcome Margaret. The kettle's on, so put your feet up and I'll crack open a fresh packet of HobNobs.


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