June 2009

wordpress note – This should appear for the 30th June, but I am late posting, and I cannot see a way of changing the posting date.

Sat down with Dave Pendleton and this laptop in the City Vaults to write the first draft of City Heroes (The search for Robert Torrance), Bradford Cathedral, 11th November, 2009. Dave has all the stories and could easily talk for 2 hours, and it would be a good talk. I have now learnt enough of the discipline of show writing to give dramatic form to the stories. This will be a powerful drama and a major event.

A very full day, starting at 06.00.

Took the new iPie. Bus – Keighley – Skipton, where I was photographed for the Craven Herald & Pioneer, Met lots of lovely people, but Sarah from the Town Council is the only one I have a name for, cause she gave me her card. I cannot remember the name of the girl at the newspaper who remembered me from seeing me once at a party a dozen years ago, at Ponden Mill, Stanbuty, and remembered the name of the l;lass I was stalking at the time. I used to get asked why I wasn’t married, but I think the women who asked, soon realised just how numb I was.

I also got chased out of the Yorkshire Bad Book Clearance shop. My poster had been taken down. I went in and waited for the old man to finish on his mobile, like he owned the place and was doing it a favour, and asked why my poster had been taken down. He said We don’t put posters up. Alright!?. Seeing I had to wait for him to finish on his phone I said No. You’re a miserable git, and I will not be recommending your shop. Having said all I needed to, I left, and the tosser ran after me, and was shouting at me to come and face him instead of running away. I had the new pie out, and a bus to catch so did not take the chance and trade insults. After I missed me bus and packed the pie I went for beer at the Woolly Sheep, where I told the story on Mr Miserable Bookshop Man. Much more enjoyable than helping a angry twat towards a heart attack.

All personal injury lawyers are parasitic scum. The ones in the house Kipling’s granny lied at could not be bothered to answer my personal request for just £60 to pay for an advert, and told me they were not interested, but only when I went in today, so they are obviously tight as well.

The photographer called me a professional after he had taken photos! I must be getting good at looking more of a twat than I do normally with a foot wide pie in my hands. He took me into the street to get audience reaction, and the first person I got to react was a good looking woman who knew him. I hope he uses that picture. P.J.O”Rourke once wrote: Nothing will change unless there are babes involved. I have had a far few good looking women buy my books, and pay to see me, but being photographed with one is a big career plus.

I discovered stuff about Rudyard Kipling’s grandparent’s gravestone that I sure the Kipling Society do not know, and had a conversation at the Town Council with Sarah and a man with a sense of humour. I will be helping them get the graveyard opened. It is Terry Pratchett’s Johnny and the Dead. Graveyards have votes because they contain the reason we are here (having helped bury realives in Finland I know this is obvious to other countries) but saving one is only ever easy in Britain if someone famous is planted there.

Not sold a ticket yet, but I am enjoying this so much I am not sure I care.

Bus Skipton – Cross Hills, Chat with lad at bus stop about his mate getting a kicking in Colne, and how his mate’s many family and friends now know the lad who did the kicking, from watching the cctv fotage.

Bus Colne. Walked down to the Admiral Lord Rodney in the fiercest sun I have met this year. It was shut! Walked slowly back up the 1 in 1 hill (you walk it with 2 hour old beer boots and then call me a liar!). Went to the Shepherds Arms and had a good chat with the barman, and saw one of the pub dogs run through the bar after managing to jump off the roof garden for the first time.

B=Went back to the Rodney. The barman was called Matt, he was ill, and said I had given him his first laugh of the day when I showed him my pie. It is still a brilliant boozer, but it was better when Richard was there.

Back up the hill with fresh beer boats. The police had closed the high street, probably just cause they could, but one of the Burnley bus driivers gout out of his cab and asked the WPC why. I was tempted to do the same, but as I said to the irish lady also waiting for a Keighley bus I have the smell of beer on me and that will be enough for an arrest. I’m no villain, but I am no lover of the police when they forget who pays them.

Bus Keighley. Went round Roger’s and got fed. There was some comment around the table about my tales being something you could not make up; which is fair enough, but I then heard stories about librarians that made me laugh so loud my nose hurt, and I have intimate experience of librarians remember.

Bus Bradford. Did not talk to anyone, well not much, really. Did not get of at Fanny’s as planned because I realised I do not like it and nobody there will ever come to any show I do.

Still no dole money or payment from the magazine or the elections. I am weirdly unworried.

I do not know if I want to spend my life doing shows, but I do know I would quite happily walk around with a big pie I had baked myself advertising a show of mine. Actually I would happily just walk around with the pie, pretending I was doing a show.

Frustrations piled up Friday, including another exhausting time with the strimmer, a nightmare with the inkjet, non-payment of of Income Support and Bradford Council telling me I was not getting Council Tax Benefit (they spent my money of a glossy leafleted campaign to get people who are intitled but not claiming to claim, then make it almost impossible to claim what should be an automatic entitlement when in receipt if Income Support). On the other had I finally got a cheque for my £80 from the Walburgas show at Bradford Playhouse, but only after threatening the administrators with a complaint to their registering authority.

On the other hand I have made a new tray to carry the big pie on, out of a woven tray that cost £2 from a charity shop and spare carrying straps from holdalls and laptop cases. It is a tenth of the weight of the old one (mad out of mdf and toweling dressing gown cord), looks far better, and works brilliantly well.

I bought a black inkjet refill kit on Friday for £7, but it did not work. The cartridge is obviously too old and no knacked. I spent many hours trying to print tickets, posters and flyers to take to Skipton. I managed to do some, but of poor quality.

I got a rail return to Keighley and Roger drove us to Skipton and parked up at the Cross Keys. They have sold no tickets and had no interest, but that does not surprise me, and I am not panicking (which does surprise me). I only need two groups of more than four and the room will look and sound full, and while I sold no tickets today I had an immense amount of interest.

As I wrote when I went out with the last pie, it is brilliant way of making instant judgments and attracting questions. Miserable, angry people seem to be made more angry by seeing a foot wide pie; stupid people will grin gormlessly, not say anything and retreat when I talk. It is also not something that works in very crowded places, like Skipton market.

On the other hand sitting outside the Narrowboat, with the sun catching the pie and us drinking beer while a steady but not overwhelming stream of people passed was wonderful, as people could stop if they wanted to talk, or be out of range in a few steps.

The best part was that we were sat next to a happy group of young people, who seemed to be on a narrowboat works outing. The nicest were Ceri and and her fine, red headed friend.

Stop at Roger’s on the way back, where the pie broke whilst showing it off. I had already said that I doubted it would last a second trip, and so it proved. It was far too thin, but it tasted nice as a result. 6 year old Amber enjoyed it, though see could not eat all the letters of her name (though there is no m in http://www.bradwan.co.uk).

Today I am catching up. It was relaxed until I found one of the dirty gets just to the front (ie behind and to the side of my back-to-back) pissing in our alley! I also finally lost my temper with trying to run a shdow of my original blog on myspace. I now have a blog on wordpress. I have no idea what it is like, but it was rated well on a couple of sites about blogs.

I have run my own blog at <a href=”http://blog.bradwan.co.uk/blogpage.php”>bradwan blog</a> for a few years. I used to run a shadow blog at myspace, even after it was taken over by the bedsheet stain of Satan, but I am now finding it impossible to use. So here I am.

I will try and set up this page, but at the moment I just need to record the last week from my own blog. I would normally make sure all links and photos are the same on here as my own site, but that may have to wait.


<Thursday, June 25th, 2009

John the Baptist

Quite a lot of this week has been frustrating.  Part of that was due to the strimmer but most is to do with money, and people not doing what they said they would.  That reads better than saying people broke promises, and that is better than calling people liars.


Because the strimmer ran out of petrol so quickly it did not do the 10 minutes recommended for first use, and that, and the poor manual, made it immensely difficult to start the next time I tried it, and I flooded the engine, which involved taking the spark plug out and pulling the starter cord 5 times (not enough) before trying to start it repeatedly, with the choke in all its different positions.  It is a fair weight and I found pulling the start cord such hard work I had to give up.  Today I did it all again and finally got it running well.  I strimmed most of the grass and used the clipper attachment to cut back the bushes from next door that hang over my garden.

I want to use it in my garden once more for practise and to get more used to the physical work (I swear one of my brests is already bigger than the other);

Bradford City, Fallen Heroes Searching for Robert Torrance

Finally met up with Dave to start properly sorting out this show for 11th November in Bradford Cathedral.  It went well and we agreed to meet next week and start writing it on my laptop; this despite the fact he casually mentioned that he had given the Cathedral a title without bothering to ask me.  There was no chance of him not realising just how angry I was.  He claimed he could not exactly remember the title he gave and sensibly suggested it could be a subtitle for anything but the Cathedral’s stuff, but things are still made clumsy by it.

<b>St John the Baptist’s Day in Manchester. Thursday 24th June.


I went to the first ever meeting National Association for Literature Development.  It says it represents freelance writers.

I took the opportunity to drink beer before and after.  It was a gorgous, sunny day, so I obviously stayed inside the pub, mostly The Briton’s Protection.  A wonderful boozer I have never been to before.  The cellerman is a Bradford City fan, the redheaded barmaid from Sydney is jaw droppingly good looking, and the evening barman knew a lot about whisky,

It was a nice group at the meeting, and there was grapes, strawberries and pretsels, so I had a well balanced dinner.  I asked advice about what happened to me at Crawley (see first paragraph) and prompted a discussion.

It could do me good to join, but it costs £30 a year!  Not much for a professional association, but it is nowhere near being such an association yet, and the fee is a hell of a lot for me.  I think everybody else worked as something other than a writer, and most of them worked for agencies associated with literature.  I think there were only two or three of us who had gone to find more out about freelancing and the help to be had.

I contributed a fair bit, and provoked a good laugh with an emphatic comment about Ilkley Literature Festival.  I will go to the next meeting, which should be this side of the Pennines, and see,

Saw the last of the sun set from the train back and thought about mother’s village burning boats on this day.


<b>Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Proper mid summer</b>
it is late on the 23rd July, the day be St John the Baptist’s birth day, the old Finnish Midsummer’s Eve, and my mother’s village of Karku’s feast day, when they burnt the boats on the shore of Lake Ladoga.

When I started I hoped I would not post this when i wrote it.  I am having a proper Finnish Midsummer, drinking vodka out of a Finnish wooden vodka measure.  Puska, why not?

Yesterday I did a lot of stuff, including not managing to restart the strimmer, it was hot and very close, I had no alcohol, and I felt dreadful.  Today I woke up feeling good, did more work, it was not as close but even hotter.

Hve new external hard-drive with all the missing stuff on, and met Dave to move the renamed by Dave without asking show at the Cathedral on.  And well on.

I will not be connecting the drive until I am sober enough to do the simple instructions, the strimmer proves I cannot cope with badly translated instruction when stone cold sober.

<b>Sunday, June 21st, 2009

Midsummer high

Downbeat mid-summer’s eve and sunrise, but the day’s turning into a cracker, and it’s not over (so plenty of time for things to happen).

Got to the bus stop on St Enochs Road, the traditional watching place, just 15 minutes before the due time for sundown last night.  Lots of cloud.  I think there may have been more red in the sky earlier on.  I took photos, and this morning as well, but left the lead at the parent’s and have not got around to getting a new one.

A few minutes past the official setting time a couple of 12-13 year old girls climbed the steps my side of the embankment, crossed the road and sat down.  I guess they were there for the same reason I was.  It’s quiet and isolated but people assume you are waiting for a bus, so do not look twice.

I felt odd and out of sorts anyway, so pretended to txt (inadvertently sending Fraser a message more nonsensical than even the ones I get from him) and walked home.

Up at 4.00, after a dream like a tv play set in village fete.  Did not see the sun come up thanks to cloud, then went back to bed.

Got up to listen to Iain Burnside.  He introduced the programme by referring to the soltice.  I sent an e-mail and got a reply.  Reproduced below to save me some typing.  The last time I got my midsummer morn mentioned on radio was on Wogan whilst Pauly Watlers was still alive, that was probably the last occasion Jenny O texted me spontaneously as well.

Thank you Glyn – I’ve just passed this over to Iain and heard him utter
the words ‘that’s lovely’ as I left the studio!  Thanks for thinking of
us, and all best midsummer wishes to you.

—–Original Message—–
From: Glyn
Sent: 21 June 2009 10:11
To: Iain Burnside
Subject: Bradford solstice

Dear Iain

I watched the sun rise from my traditional spot, the attic window in
inner city Bradford, so splendid to hear Delius on the morning.  From my
attic the sun rises majestically between the tower blocks of Manchester
Road, at least it does when there is not a thick bank of cloud, as there
was this morning.

The potents were mixed this morning.  A police syren suggests trouble in
the coming year, but the local minicab picking a double fair up and
sending out another car out suggests prosperity, and hearing goldfinches
for the first time is a good thing regardless.

Hope you take the downhill to winter without falling off, and at a grand

Glyn Watkins


I had to go out straight after sending the e-mail, but I have listened again and he read the lot out!Whoo-hoo! (it’s about 15 minutes in).

I rushed out to get to White Wells on Ilkley Moor to meet up with Fraser at noon.  He could be a role model for my future development.  If you met the pair of us for the first time you certainly would not pick me out as the most eccentric.

The shortest path to White Wells is up a 1 in 2 path and the sun was shining.  When I got there I went in the bath room, with its fenced off 200 year old plunge pool, dipped my hat in and wiped my head, much needed.

The couple who own it are doing pie and peas for £2.50, and very nice too, and I would like to do an event there, but they do not push the business, and the maximum capacity is 20.  So not economic for a ticketed in-door event, and too much hard work on my own for an outdoor event.

I wanted to get the 13.53 train back and Fraser could not make that.  My battery was nearly flat and sent him Y/N choice and a warning I could not text again, he texted back suggesting a completely different venue,

Went to the Midland and met the new man in charge, and an old bloke who lived in Ilkley when very young, who had just moved back.  Then went to the Bar Tat and had some brilliant beer from the Great Heck Brewery and impressed the elfin barmaid with my Hayseed Dixie connection.  Had 10 minutes chat with Fraser before leaving for the train.

I did a laundry when I got home, and then got the new petrol strimmer started for the first time.  First time I have been in sole charge of an internal combustion engine, and immensely satisfying to something deep inside.  I only put a tiny amount of fuel in so it ran out after doing half the haymeadow lawn, but that was enough for now.

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Printed draft flyers and tickets for next show.  Bus Keighley, got pork pie in market. 

Bus Skipton.  Went Craven Herald office, them eager to take photo and story of event.  Got beef pie from butchers on Otley St.

Called in to lawyers based in Kipling’s granny’s house, asked for sponsorship.  To Cross keys to give Caroline posters and tickets to sell (&pound;10 from her, me, or anywhere else in Skipton who’ll sell for nowt; &pound;11 off here when I have done the PayPal button).

Bus Keighley.  Call out Roger.  Cricketers.  Boltmakers, Roger home.  me not moving for an hour, or two.  Talked to Andrew, who was at the Bradford Fire (11th May 1985) but at the opposite end of the ground to where I was.  Am thinking now.  It was good to meet and talk.

Bus.  Man got off at Binley and claimed he had been over charged at &pound;1.60, <em>It should be &pound;1.30!</em> Man in front of me turned round and quiet voice the bloke at front was an idiot.  The next time the b.a.f said that it was &pound;1.30 I told him I was 6 foot 2 and looked like Brad pitt, at which point the man in front of me gave full voice to his opinion.

Saw Rob, ex-Fannys, outside Tramshed, so got off (had K Day rover ticket) and went for pint and chat.

Bus Bradford.  Got talking to a nice couple who asked if the bus went to Wibsey, and who had just seen <em>Dinner Ladies</em> at the Alhambra.

I intended going to Whitby tomorrow to watch the sun set on mid-summer’s eve.  May still, but less certain than it was a half dozen pints ago

Forth and back
Well, I was up before 07.00.  Printed out the account for the dole.  Got a taxi to Three Bridges station.  Train to St Pancras.  A pleasant and refreshing pint in Betjeman’s as soon as it opened.  Train to Leeds, I slept for 30 minutes.  Train and taxi home.  Straight out to sign on.  Bus back.  Designed and printed proof for poster/flyer for Kipling, Curry & Yorkshire.  Went and got a big doner kebab.  Designed and printed tickets for proofing.  Got a call from Marion, who said nice things I can use in a report on the last show.

I have been home for 7 hours and it feels like I have been here a week, and I feel far less tired than I did last night.

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