Sunday, October 12, 2008

Children’s Book Festival 2008 part one

Day 1 – Fingal Libraries

Our Cafetierre got broken last week…

Bear with me, it is relevant.

Without our Cafetierre, I have been starting each day with instant coffee. Now I do not believe I become a real poet until I’ve had my morning coffee. The students, teachers, librarians I read to, probably think I wake up rhyming, but no…

The question should be though, am I any less of a poet if I start the day with an instant coffee rather than a filtered one? (Also the question should be if the opposite of instant is delayed, how come filtered coffee is not called delayed coffee?)

This question would be answered today as I start my run in the Children’s Book festival 2008 in my resident county of Fingal, therefore I not in a B&B, I am at home for breakfast and I start my day with an instant coffee. Getting the 0820hrs dart from Howth, I arrive at Malahide at around 0900hrs for my first reading at 1000hrs.

Now although I have lived in Fingal since May this year, I must admit, with some shame, I had never ventured over to Malahide, therefore I have no idea where the library is, but I must commend Malahide town planners for 2 reasons:

1) There is a town map at the station showing the library,
2) There is an insomnia coffee shop outside the library.

So it was to Insomnia I went for a coffee, maybe I did not need to worry about the instant coffee question. (Although I maintain the first coffee is the most important.)

After Coffee, I enter the library and set up my stuff…

A group of 25 kids enter at 10 and I start with ‘The Coat-hanger song’. This seems goes down well and is confirmed by positive comments received at the end. I then start to read my poetry. I must be more nervous then normal, as the teacher announces that she’s enjoying my poetry but I am reading a bit fast. I slow down, but the nerves still get me as I mess up a few chords of my song, ‘mis-spelt football team blues’, but apart from this everything else goes well, especially my blues song, ‘New Shoes Blues’, which receives wonderful comments.

During the Limerick section the teacher tells me she is very impressed and even hints at wanting to purchase a collection of my verse.

At the end of the session the comments received were exceptionally positive… Even my hair and Charlie Brown T-Shirt (More on that in a later blog) received praise.

After Malahide, I get a bus to Baldoyle Library 1.5 hours early, I store my stuff at the library and go to a pub called Graingers for a Paul Tubb approved breakfast with a delayed Coffee.

I go back to the Library and pretty soon a class of girls arrive and I immediately mess up the start of ‘The Coat-Hanger Song’ I apologise and then say, ‘Let’s all pretend that didn’t happen.’ This gets a couple of giggles, and for the next hour I do not put a foot wrong.

This time there is no hint, the teacher actually asks to purchase my poetry as does a girl in the front row.

During the Limerick session I am surprised to find out that Louis Walsh, the grown man who gets an inappropriate amount of pleasure making young girls cry, writes Limericks… I also got the impression that the girls were fond of him, so I will refrain from giving my opinion of him.

Also, although I received totally positive comments from the Girls, a couple of girls did say that I should not sing my Blues Song… I imagine this is what Louis Walsh would say, in fact I can imagine singing this to Louis and Simon, who respond with, ‘John Lee Hooker? You are more like TJ Hooker…’ Oh well, I was not planning on queing up 4 the X-Factor anyway.

Also in the Comments, one girl did write, in response to the question, ‘What would you like to see at the next reading?’ That they’d like to see fashion and make-up tips. Believe me I am no Brendan Courtney, I will be of little use in this department…
Honestly, Mothers of Ireland, would you like your daughters receiving fashion advice from this man?

So all in all an exceptionally positive day. As I write this, the old-Fashioned way with a pen and paper as I intend to type this up later, in a café in the CHQ whilst I wait for my wife. I feel pleased with the way things have gone today, and also pleased my wife will be accompanying me tonight to Kilkenny, for my next set of readings… Looking forward to it immensely.

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