May 16, 2011
Boudicca at Lincoln
'The Reading Room' is an event run by Lincoln's community radio station Siren 107.3 FM and broadcast last night to the world. The event also closed the 2011 Lincoln Book Festival and as I was last on, I can claim to have the closed the festival, something my Norfolk heroine - Boudicca - certainly did in AD 60 when she wiped out the Ninth Legion. Lincoln is a big city for us, coming out of our Norfolk village for the day, and it is certainly a happening modern place but it still feels very Roman and mediaeval and the historical buildings and glimpses of buried Romnan walls - and the Miss Marple tea rooms - all add to this effect. We loved it, even if Boudicca seems (as so often though perhaps here more understandably than usual) written out of the his story. The kaleidoscopic stained glass of the Cathedral windows was just as described in Lawrence's The Rainbow and after the welcoming smile at the door no-one rugby tacked you for a fiver before they let you in. The Bishop Greave theatre where the Reading Room was broadcast and staged is part of the University College and took me back to gap year Sunday afternoons gate-crashing Weymouth Teacher Training College residences in 1975 visiting a girlfriend: probably the combination of being very there (psyching myself up for an evening performance) and not there at all (modern students living a life for me gone by.) There were fourteen performers in all and I enjoyed the passionate acts of communication taking place. Being a writer /performer is a solitary life so it was good to share it as a community like this. As my own bardic persuasion has moved more and more into narrative, theatre and sound/music, I have half forgotten how good it is sometimes to just present an image, how eloquent and timeless the haiku end of the poetic spectrum can be. There was plenty of that and also some well told stories from very different places than my own furrows and we got some humour in the second half too and a striking singer songwriter with great lyrics and a great voice in both halves. I loved every second of my my eight minutes of Boudicca on voice and punk bodhran at the end knowing that the microphone was broadcasting it to the world (I had emails from Spain and Wales when I got home) as well as to the generous theatre audience in front of me. This is a community radio station that really cares about community and a community we certainly were. And it's going out as a podcast so all you need to do is click in the link on the Siren radio webpage and you can experience it anywhere in the world all over again - even (my dear Uncle Tom) in darkest Weymouth.