Saturday, 17 March 2012

Actual Mortification

I shall share here, on t'internet, where nobody goes, my most embarrassing moment of this week/month/year/life.

I was lucky enough to get a ticket to see  Carol Ann Duffy , Gillian Clarke and Liz Lochhead at the Aye Write Book Festival at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow tonight.  Turned out to be a truly excellent evening.  These are three incredibly inspirational women- the Poet Laureate, National Poet for Wales and Scots Makar- and mistresses of their craft. There was a leaning towards poems about mothers, including Carol Ann Duffy's Resurrection, a poem about her dead mother, made even more poignant as her father was in the audience.  Thankfully, my snuffles were well hidden by the enthusiastic applause.  I hadn't read too much by Ms Duffy but I will now.  There is an intelligence and dry sense of humour (veering towards bitterness) that was very appealing.  So, when the readings finished, this new-found enthusiasm for poetry saw me dash to the signing table.......

.....where I stood in a long queue caused by someone paying by credit card, where the Waterstone's bookseller couldn't take credit cards, where the menopausal ladies behind me were complaining loudly about the Waterstone's bookseller who couldn't take credit cards, where I had to pay by credit card until eventually, harassed and confused (and £40 lighter- starving poets, my arse), and with a copy of each poet's book clutched by my stubby digits, I was shoved towards the first poet, Liz Lochhead:

LL- Who would you like the dedication to?
Me- Oh, no, that's ok.
LL- Sorry dear, whose name would you like?
Me- Yours please.
LL- *eyebrows raised* and your name?
Me- Oh, no thank you.  I didn't write it.
LL- I know dear, I did.

I hastily moved on to poet #2, Gillian Clarke.

GC- Any particular name?
Me- Oh good God, not this again!
GC- Sorry?
Me- What? [cue Liz Lochhead sniggering to her left]
GC- I beg your pardon?
Me- Just your name please.  Not that I'm not a fan or anything, it's just I don't really like people writing in books.  
GC- Hmmmm?
Me- *sweating profusely*
GC- I'm so glad you chose this [At the Source, 2008] book.  It's my absolute favourite.  Did you know that when it came out, no-one reviewed it?  No-one!
Me- I'll review it if you like, I can write about any old rubbish......
GC- ????????????

I look around for help, any help and find it in the form of Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy.

CAD- *laughing hysterically* You're quite right, it is rubbish. Who's this to be dedicated to?
Me- PleasecouldyousignthisformydaughterFlorasoIcangetoutofherebeforesomeonearrestsmeforbeingsuchadick? 

I can honestly say that's my most embarrassing literary fuck-up since I stood on Terry Pratchett's hat.  It's right up there with unspeakable youthful indiscretions and referring to amoeba as a single-celled orgasm in a very public lecture at university.  Truly dreadful.

Let this tale not detract from these amazing women.  I urge you to read some of their poems and to ignore the fact that I was a doofus.  In public.  Again.

Luv Egg on a Stick x


  1. You are hilarious! If it gives you any comfort, I am far more awkward......I would have probably tripped and fallen on top of the author ladies all while blushing a furious crimson red. LOL.

  2. Hah! I love this. You sound just like me... :-D Great blog!