Friday, April 13, 2007

Liverpool's Georgian streets around the Anglican cathedral were all I remembered, but much smarter than 20 years ago, of course. During the day we were based in Hope Street and on Wednesday evening were taken on a tour of the city's ghost landmarks - the two guides being part of a company called Shiverpool. It was fun, less scary than it might have been in the dark, but yes, shivery, given some of the stories we were told about the grimmer aspects of Liverpool's history. And the guides were young actors, very accomplished.

It's been tricky coming down to earth after the intensity of the time there and lack of sleep. There's rap booming downstairs and a siren, perfectly timed between beats, somewhere on the main road.

In the Indy today, a column by Jerry Hall, who's going on an Arvon course to write poetry with Hugo Williams. Could this mean that Arvon, that brilliantly kept secret, is discovered? That residential writing courses become the next thing for celebs to do, rather than festivals? But good for Jerry Hall, actually, acknowledging that there is some benefit in learning the craft from established writers, and Hugo Williams is one of the best around. Good for her, too, signing up for a course on which every student takes a turn with the cooking and washing up when she probably has the means to pay for one to one teaching. In fact, the more I think about it, the more impressed I am. Arvon, and its Welsh equivalent, Ty Newydd, is wonderfully democratic, down to earth, and one of the best places there is to spend a week focussing on words - reading and the writing them.

Let's hope she puts word around that there's a lot of good poetry being published, too.

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