Monday, August 01, 2011

Glasses, guillemots, and the difference between Daleks and dogs. John Hegley at Mostly Books

After an aborted event back in July, we were finally able to welcome John Hegley to the shop today, for a simply fantastic event. I still couldn't quite believe that someone who I have always loved to watch - and did so a lot during my student years (don't forget John started performing his poetry in 1980!) - was standing in the courtyard garden of our shop, holding everyone enthralled and making them laugh:
Originally we were going to do the event in the shop, but the weather was so gorgeous today we were able to do the whole thing in the back garden. Though still hot, it was shaded - and perfect.
The poetry was sublime, and whilst all John's favourite themes were there, lurking in the background (glasses, dogs, Luton) his performace took the form of an A to Z, and included poems and songs. The guillemot song involved audience participation (as did the discussion on what we could give Daleks to stop them exterminating us), and low humming was required for a poem about a bee...
John also did a reading of his fantastic picture book "Stanley's Stick", and finished with a reading of a brand new poem, still in draft form, about his sister.
John then stayed behind to sign copies of his books, before heading off into Oxford for a poetry event at the Jam Factory. The weather, audience and performer combined into a near-perfect event, and what better way to finish off than with a picture of the bookseller, having swapped glasses with his hero, staring out of *those* famous spectacles. How many people can say that?

Having got home this evening, amongst some lovely emails received from big John Hegley fans who thoroughly enjoyed the event, was this one:

"A poem on the problem of wanting to read your book of John Hegley poems as soon as you get out of the bookshop door, but having to cycle home first...

What I’d like
is a book stand
for my bike
to hold a book freshly signed
one of a kind
to improve my mind
I could speed
as I read
taking in ideas
as I change up through the gears
I have a basket
But I couldn’t ask it
To perform this task
It
needs a special stand

by Thea (10), with a little help from her Mum (44)"