October 16, 2009
In case you missed it (and how could you, it was in the Edinburgh Evening News) I recently answered 10 Questions to help promote National Poetry Day. Here’s the un-edited text as well as a clip from the paper. I’m not sure if I am proud or embarrassed about all this.
What is your earliest memory of Edinburgh?
My earliest memory is getting off the overnight London to Edinburgh coach. This was at the old station in September 1999 — the city had that 6am grey hanging over it. I think of that dismal morning every time I arrive in a new city at an unwelcome hour. It is almost always the same: L’viv at 4.55, Manchester at 6.15, Kroakow at 5.39. The difference is that we have that terrifying, Tolkien-esque, Walter Scott monument stabbing the sky. I always feel the same trepidation that the city will stay like that forever, that the sun will never come, the people never wake, I will get lost looking for an open cafe, and will starve to death without my mother ever knowing. Luckily, that September morning I found the City Diner on South Bridge. And then the sun came out.
2 What are your memories of school (remember to name the school even if it wasn’t in the city)?
The strangest thing about Branford Intermediate School – Now Francis Walsh Intermediate School – is that it was designed without walls. This was a fad in America during the late 60s. “Open classrooms” were meant to increase creativity – which sounds nice – but I’m not certain it worked. Mostly, this wall-less school increased my distraction especially when Mrs. Ewan’s overhead projector burst into flames in the classroom next door.
3 Where is your favourite place in Edinburgh and why?
The secret garden outside the Scottish Book Trust — shhh.
4 What are the best things about Edinburgh?
Well, it isn’t council tax. The best thing about Edinburgh, to me, are my friends and the people I’ve been lucky enough to work with at various arts organizations. Of course, that includes the Scottish Poetry Library, but also all the amazing friends who help keep The Forest running over at Bristo Place.
5 What would you change about the city?
I would rename it — “Hotel City 3000!”
6 Describe a perfect Edinburgh day/night out.
Remarkably similar to the the SPL programme for National Poetry Day (Oct. 8th). An all-day poetry carnival!
7 Which sports interest you?
Interest is too strong a word. But I do “train” at the best jujitsu gym in town. Cross Combat in Tollcross – aka “The Barn of Legends”.
8 What was your most embarrassing moment? (We really do need you to include one as everyone tries to wriggle out of this!)
Forgetting my own poem when I had to read at Poetry Schmoetry at the Bedlam. I had the whole thing memorized but could only remember the first 3 lines before curling up into a ball and crawling off the stage. Also, I imagine this getting published will be pretty embarrassing.
9 What is your greatest achievement?
I’m not dead yet.
10 Sum up Edinburgh in three words.
We live here.