Yesterday’s event was rather a fine diversion. Mum turned up and sat beside throughout. We had a good old natter as a steady flow of people bought books. Old Stokie and his clan arrived to cause trouble, though when, at one point, the Police turned up this was apparently something to do with one of Huddy’s entourage. That, in any event, was what Joe-in-Oz, who had been bystanding and eavesdropping, told me later when I picked him up from a bus stop. Joe is a regular Oatcake poster; earlier in the day he had given me his business card, a card that advertises his services as an ‘Advanced Conversationalist’ who ‘specialises in drinking and football arguments.’ At the end of the day I walked away with a bagful of merchandise including: an Abdoulaye Faye mug (a present from OS’s grandchildren, as a thank you for the book being dedicated in part to them – they also signed a copy of ASLNM for me) and a Longthrow t-shirt both from Stoke Shirts dot co; signed books by Steve Mifflin and organiser David Lee; a cd by Boothen End bard Ian Dyer (who stood up at one point and simply stopped the traffic by performance-poeting them into submission); a 2010 calender of football images by local artist Sid Kirkham. They are calling Kirkham, ‘The Potteries’ Lowry.’ He has perfected a technique, particularly in his pieces that represent older days, whereby the red and white stripes of the Stoke City colours and/or the red of a bus are the only illumination in an otherwise monotone landscape; it seemed to me, as I looked at the originals, that that was indeed how it used to be. Sid is represented by Fenton gallery, theartbay.
Then there was a further signed book and dvd by Alan Hudson. Hudson is my new muse. It will take me a while to collect my thoughts on him properly and begin work on a bleak, comic, tragic novella which will be my masterpiece. He makes no secret of his drinking, for which, in one way and another, he has always been notorious; he nearly lost his life getting knocked down crossing the road a dozen years ago. Yesterday he had his right arm in a plaster cast from elbow to wrist. ‘How did you do that?’ I asked. He just gave me a look in reply as if to say: How d’you think? Every time he signed a book he said to the signee, with a twinkle in his eye, ‘The doctors told me I should do nuffink at all wiv this arm.’ We never did do the panel thing, we just had a broken conversation in-between doing our stuff; amusing, fragile and alert in equal degrees, I found him very good company.
Calling Potters, Sid Kirkham