Baroque is Back!

I never officially closed it down; I just stopped posting. Anyone who doesn’t yet know the story of the apocalypse that befell in Baroqueland can find it on the blog I started a year and more ago, A Far Cry from Hackney. Though that one has also been intermittent, for perhaps obvious reasons.

The cataclysm came, in any case, and I went, and I spent last summer living out of a suitcase, sofa-surfing, pet-sitting, and visiting friends. Since the end of September/beginning of October I’ve been in Faversham, Kent. You can tell that from my cunningly redesigned header. I overwintered, as it were, in an empty 1780s cottage belonging to old Stoke Newington friends, opposite a restorative little duckpond, and in April (thanks to a work in progress grant from the Society of Authors) I was able to rent a little Tudor garret in the centre of the town – which is to say, in a little red-brick-paved, pedestrianised, medieval street, leading to the market square – a street in which ‘Tudor’ counts as a bit late – for not all that much more than the landlords were trying to increase my rent by, last year.

It’s central, for Faversham. And it’s small. Well, the floors are big enough, but most of the walls are sloping, and the little casement windows, overlooking rooftops on every side, are recessed in deep alcoves. I keep thinking of Ursula Le Guin’s time-travelling short story, ‘April in Paris’. Over two difficult months (& with the help of a couple of kind friends with cars) I managed to get most of my remaining household goods down from London, emptied the garage where I’d been storing things, and continued the massive downsizing exercise begun last year. Last week saw about 400 books leave the premises, and that broke the back of it.

So now I’m living by myself in Kent.

One thing leading on to another, and the main one of those things being time, and life perforce going on regardless, I’m flinging open the doors of Baroque again. As you can see, I’ve had a big Baroque de-clutter, because nothing is really the same now and space is everything. I’ve spent this week dusting out all the cobwebs.

I’m writing a book, loosely memoir, with context and background around the rise of hidden homelessness and precarity in Brexit Britain, which will be published by CB Editions. It’ll be called A Far Cry from Hackney. That blog is where I’ve been writing about homelessness, and the subsequent displacement – though less that, in the recent months, as it feels tedious; I simply have to learn to make it work. Faversham is a lovely little town and has been a kind (if lonely) haven. It’s not anyone’s fault that I’ve been dropped from Mars.

Baroque in Hackney is – as always – for poetry, books, movies, art, culture, general news, and funny stories about things that happened. I’ve been writing off for the new poetry collections, and am in discussions with a few reviews editors, and am making plans for more workshops and things, so there’s plenty to write about. Baroque needs to be about the things that give us reasons to carry on, rather than the opposite. There’s quite enough doom around; I for one am full of it; but Baroque, even not in Hackney, has the power to transcend that.

Please do subscribe, if you want to, so you get new posts as they appear. And if you’re interested in poetry and workshops and things to do with writing, do sign up for the newsletter. The big yellow box in the side bar. That’s going to be starting up again too.

It’s good to be back.

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