Oh, God, I said we were relaunching in time for things to get moving, and moving they certainly are. Baroque Mansions has taken delivery of six books in the past two days, and there are now – thanks to the afternoon’s emails – four more on the way, one of which is a 704-page biography of Basil Bunting, written (however improbably) by one Richard Burton.
I mean, I only got to page 35 or so of Georgian London: Into the Streets, yesterday! There are about 365 to go! I flipped ahead and discovered that our new Baroque mascot (or patron, if you want her to sound less like a giant orange teddy bear), Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, was a great early proselytiser for inoculation. I did know that, but I’d forgotten. She had her children’s veins slashed, and smallpox germs put in, to build antibodies. It was only one of the things she was Ostracised by Society for, and it was after her own considerable looks were completely ruined by the disease… (& she was one of the lucky ones.)
The most wonderful moment today was when the postman came and dumped a little stackette of padded envelopes outside my door, and I took them straight into the bath, and undid them actually in the water. Yes. And took out both versions/volumes of WN Herbert’s Omnesia – both ‘Remix’ and ‘Alternative Text’ – and and the first thing I saw (after reading the Preface, which is the same in both books) was:
thin as pith
You know those moments when you’re just done, you have to stop reading? I don’t know; the rest of the stanza seemed like an anti-climax after that. The whole concept of the two books is very interesting: ‘a book in two volumes and neither, its title both a portmanteau and a sort of oxymoron, pairing “omniscience” (“You must know everything”) with “amnesia”, an often traumatic condition of forgetfulness.’
In other news, the other website is being a complete pain – database issue – and no billable work on just at the mo… I have like tons of pitching to do, I need it to work! & Mlle Baroque’s phone was lost when one friend left it on the roof of a car without telling her, and the other friend then drove his car around and around a field, in Epping Forest. That’s like a chapter in itself, that one. But I am getting my head ready for the Wise Words Festival next weekend in Canterbury, where I’m doing a reading with Nancy Gaffield and then running a workshop on blogging and social media. I think the workshop might be more like a talk. It’ll be fine, though.
Tomorrow – or probably today, as you read this, but in any case Saturday – is the third annual Free Verse Book Fair, this year in Conway Hall, Holborn. Come along if you see this in time and can. It’s a once-a-year chance to see a vast array of poetry books all in one place – the glory of Britain’s small presses, beautiful and wonderful books that never make it into the shops – and hear lots of poets reading their work, as well. There’s an evening afterwards in the nearby pub. Well, I’m going.
Er, and that’s it for now. There’s always more, life is a hall of mirrors, but like a hall of mirrors it’s impossible to capture. Books are the best we can do and even they go by on roller skates.