November 2009

I had my ‘restart interview’ when I signed on today. I was concerned that I would be sent on a pointless coarse, but I learned that that does not happen until a year’s claiming. I also learned that any NVQ Level 1 or 2 at Bradford College can be done.

Creative Partnerships are a Government scheme aimed, as far as I can tell, at getting artists, or rather creative practitioners(?), into schools. I do not understand it actually works, but I have at least managed to apply to register with the Yorkshire agency. I was asked: What learning can you gain from this work? I started by saying:

Apart from my general passion for learning, I have specific learning objectives.

I need to learn how to engage with the process of public arts funding. I got a business start-up grant to become a poet; and I have received local council loss guarantees for some shows; but nearly all the art I have created has been driven by desire to make an idea work, usually at my own risk, or with minimal private support. I need more experience of, and in, public arts.

I went to a Fabric event called, something like, Marketing Yourself in the Arts. This was run by Lisa Baxter. It was a challenging event; both for me and Lisa, once I contributed. She may have put her arm around by shoulder, and her check close to mine, as a means of control, or because she liked me. Does not matter for me. I am Wally of Dilbert, a man who pretends to be chocking so someone that that chest press thing, and then spins round to make it a hung, so he gets some physical contact.

I also started off really angry because I did not bring anything to take the free food away in! I do this every time, even if I manage to take at least a half bottle of free wine away internally.

The best advice was from Anyony, from Shepley; who also said I was Andy Capp meets Dilbert. Now that is a judgement I am proud of.

Met the most boring Bradford Park Avenue fan ever in the Vaults. Fair do’s, he left before he started on the same stories for the third time. Dave came in be chance. Talked mostly of the future things to do. He asked me about things I had suggested about next year’s Bradford Fire date (11th May 85). I do find it difficult to write about it, but I am writing. I have said before that I am grateful to have had no counseling for what I saw on the 11th May; it was very little compared: and I judge my own life in a very harsh comparision of my own parents, but I feel I must help make something that makes a difference to those like me.

Today I did some pruning and painted the gate for the widow. I had been told she was a very good cook, and I finally got fed today Every single thing on the plate was well cooked, but there were 9 different things, including noodles and rice, and the powerful smell of fish sauce, I enjoyed the work more than the food.

I also roasted a pheasant for myself in the evening. I had bought it for the last time I was expecting to entertain a lass, and I decided it needed cooking after a year in the freezer. I got it out to cook for Thursday, but just could not face it. It had to be cooked today. I did it with Finnish swede and breadcrumb pudding and wonderful onion and red wine gravy. That was good.

It’s Michelle’s, of my local, birthday. I gave her a rose from my garden last year. This year I gave her 3, one from the earlier pruning, and a card of a photo I took yesterday of a rainbow seeming to come out of the top of the pub. I took it down when the bird was in the oven but didn’t see her. I have just been back down and she kissed me and told me she still had last year’s rose.


Yesterday the Light Up the Odeon</a< was brilliant! I was in the pub beforehand and only met one couple who said they were going. I then got to the Odeon just before 4.30 (the final given time – wt?) with my 12 foot pole, to meet just one family, who were lovely, had glow sticks to spell SAVE ME, and it turned out their granny was one of the Kirkgate 20, people arrested for refusing to leave the old Kirkgate Market when it was about to be knocked down; but with just 6 of us it was looking a bit sparse.

It did really pick up after 5.00 though, at which time a young woman asked me lots of hard questions, and turned out to be a plain clothed policewoman. She was nice, but did warn me there was a match on and warned me of possible trouble. I did say it was against Bournemouth, the least aggressive fans in football!

Once the grand brass trio started we really got going.

With the help of the brass all five carols listed earlier on this wall were sung, and at least 20 people asked me for song sheets so they could join in. There is a photo on here to prove it! And I’m holding me pole!

I used my pole to help hang things up, and kept blowing it in lots of 3, in memory of Bradford’s coat of arms.

Lots and lots of cars hooted as they passed. I met lots of friends old and new friends, and felt proud of the people of my town at the end. We’re not a big city. We are a poor town, but a poor town with so many good people rich in promise. We just need to break the bad habits of lazy and stupid rulers.

Dave Pendleton has posted photos of the City Heroes show on facebook.

Good day. websearch ‘save the odeon’ or come back when I wake up and get to the state of typing again (a few hours after the state of hangover has been defeated in a civil war).

Yesterday I felt much better than I would have felt after a show a few years ago, but still did not feel great (and in truth felt pretty grim on the day of the show). I actually feel better, and proud, today. Yesterday the weight of the oncoming Restart interview and the feeling that my arts are just dilettantism were oppressive. This compares to Dave who had to get up less than 8 hours after the shows end to do an early shift.

The local paper covered the story but I have not yet seen it. The reported that 200 people turned up, for which I am grateful.

I did have a meeting yesterday about getting bird and bat boxes put up with money allocated from Parish Council funds. I talked to a semi civil servant, who was good, but his acronym would have to charge £30 an hour to do the job. He has promised to get a woman who runs projects for anti-social children to call me. Making and fixing bird and bat boxes might be right up her street, or rather: It may fit aims and objectives of her statutory duties funding profile. I had a brief meeting today to pass this info on to the Parish Council.

Did more Odeon odes cum carols for tomorrows protest.

Most professional show I have done. In large part due o the people I created the show with. People cried, not one or two, but most. I doubt I will get any money, and if I do it will be nowhere enough to sign off before my Restart inerview, but as I wrote on here months ago: this was a show that had to be done. The content was Dave’s. The theatre was mine. Together it changed everyone that saw it. The end was me reading Priestley with The men who were boys when I was a boy are dead. Slides in silence of the 9 players we had already talked about; their regiment and rank in the First World War, and a shot of their gravestone and date of being killed in action. To black. The playing of The last Post by Lucie Sanderson. Brilliant trumpet. My poem up on screen.

Those of left to remember
Should always remember
Those who are not here
To share
The wealth we have gained.

Written by Glyn Watkins in reflection of 11th May 1985

It is a few hours before the big show and I am feeling cold (the house is 14 C) and more. Dave took me to digital John’s house yesterday to go through the slides and do a full run through. It will be a good, and very moving, show.

Had a call this morning from today’s producer of BBC’s tv’s Look North (called Graham). They said they were going to come and film the F.A. Cup at Valley Parade and interview me about tonight’s show at Bradford Cathedral. Graham said that will all the things they had to cover on Armistice Day covering our event (produced to honour the Bradford City players killed in WWI, including Jimmy Speirs, the scorer of the goal that won City the F.A. Cup for City) was A step too far. !? I doubt he meant it the way it sounded to me, but you can supply your own words at this point.

Radio Leeds, the Pulse and the local paper have all covered the event so we should have a crowd. Dave sent Jim Greenhalf (oldest and most miserable of the journalists still left at the paper). He used it almost word for word, apart from taking just my name out! He has done this before to mme. I laughed out loud when Dave told me, which surprised me. I probably did because the event is much more important than me gaining fame from it, unlike most of my other shows,

Later I met Dave again and went to see the Bradford City Vs Port Vale Johnstons Paint Throphy cup tie. The lower tier of the Kop was closed because of the pitch invasion at the last tie. City went behind, went ahead, and ended up drawing 2-2. Winning the penalty shoot out 6-5. Exciting game. City are in the Northern Semi Finals (really the quarter finals) and have a 1 in 3 chance of having L**ds United in the next round.

Wrote words to O little town of Bethlehem</i? for the Save the Odeon facebook campaign. A copy is below

Odeon Ode
(To the tune O Little Town of Bethlehem

O Odeon stark of Bradford town

How sad we see thee stand

Amongst the dark, decrepit streets

That concrete men have planned

And yet our hopes still shineth

Our council sees the light

Ends Mistakes and tears of all the years

And does to you what’s right!


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