Hey, Barbecutie

Archive for May 2010

Eurovision, traditionally the bastion of the loudest, sparkliest operatic power ballad with leather clad backing dancers, trite lyrics of peace and love in pidgeon English and a section where the vocalist engages in some rhythmic drumming. So far, so But occasionally, something magnificent will break through.

Well, twice. Twice, something magnificent has broken through. And they’ve both been French.

Firstly, France Gall’s 1965 winner, Poupee de Cire, Poupee de Son, a thumping ye-ye classic, written by Serge Gainsbourg and performed with spectacular charm by 60s icon Gall.

And merely 40-something years later, France, having long since given up hope of winning the popular vote, turned to sexual raconteur Sebastien Tellier, friend of Air and Daft Punk, for his particular brand of louche lounge lizardy and sultry quirk. He appears onstage, driving a moon buggy. Tellier missed the win, but doubtless shrugged it off and lit another cigarette before going back to write a song about his bisexualité*.

Will tonight’s entrants live up to these ideals? I will take a wild guess and say no.

* He actually claimed the same when I saw him live.

To calm her down, I asked her to recite what I knew to be her favourite American poem.

‘Okay, James Joyce-‘ I prompted.

‘James Joyce was stupid. He didn’t know as much as I know. I’d rather throw dead batteries at cows than read him. Everything was fine until he came along. He started the Civil War. He tried to get the French involved but they wouldn’t listen. They filled him up with pastries and desserts. They tried to get us to use the metric system and we said, No, go away, we like our rulers. Thomas Jefferson said, You always get the rulers you deserve.’

‘Do you know any other poems by heart?’


(An extract from “A Very Practical Joke” by Sheila Heti. This is my favourite collection of letters, words and phrases in lingual history, and has been a great comfort to me at times like these.)

tortured poet
(This is not me, but I expect to be pulling similar fists of pure emotion)

This Tuesday (4th May) I will be appearing at wordPLAY, one of London’s finest spoken word evenings, based at The Good Ship in Kilburn. There I shall be reading that modern Fegan classic, “People Are Awful”, a character monologue that explores through the medium of words and sounds and stages and loud noises why, when, where, how, when and why people are, in fact, awful. I will also be hoping that the audience can understand my accent.

Glibness aside, I am really excited about this. It feels like forever since my last public reading, and to get to do it at wordPLAY is amazing as it is an event I have enjoyed on many occasions, and has an inclusive attitude and passion that I admire greatly.

Additionally, my appearance here has bumped my results on Google to 5 pages, only some of which refer to a different girl with an identical name. Take that, younger me with an interest in cross-country running and more of a future ahead of you!

I shall be performing alongside John Osborne, Catherine Martindale, Christopher Horton, Liz Adams, Ray Morgan and Verity Flecknell, and I’m really looking forward to hearing their work. wordPLAY always finds a great variety of writers and they’re uniformly spectacular (hence my shock/delight at my invitation), so it should be an excellent night out!

Support your local literary events, yo!

More information
People Are Awful

#4 Ian McEwan
Behind the wall of his garden on a warm spring day

Me: Oi! Oi! McEwan! Can we have our ball back please?
Him: No, no, I’m sorry.
Me: Come on!
Him: This is the last straw, and I warned you before, I don’t know how many times.
Me: We’re sorry, we didn’t mean to!
Him: You’ve completely flattened my begonias!
Me: Oh, McEw-an!
Him: And that crawler has never recovered from last time.
Me: We said we were sorry, just give us the ball back!
Him: No, no, absolutely not. My mind’s quite made up. Now why don’t you all clear off? Should be off playing in the park anyway, not in the street.
Me: We can’t play without a ball!
Him: Well, you should have thought of that, shouldn’t you? Now, get out of here!
Me: Grumpy old git.
Him: I heard that!