National Poetry day in London, October 5thth 2001
The Queen's theatre was not sold out, imo due to very poor promotion
Since the attack on the WTC in New York, airline companies came with such promotions I decided to go to London by plane. I arrived on Oct. 4th at 9:30 am in the morning and I immediately went to Soho Sq. to check if Paul was there. I was not the only fan waiting (e.g. Naoto Ito was there too) but it was an uneventful day except that Geoff Baker left the office a few times to make a phonecall with his mobile phone. Then suddenly at 4:20 pm I saw Paul's merc MPL900 arriving. I immediately went up to the car and he seemed to be really relaxed. By that time there were about 8 fans. Most of them got an autograph. I didn't ask for an autograph because I already have 2 and I prefer having a picture of Paul and me. With that purpose in mind I gave my camera to a girl walking by but it went all to quickly for her to take a picture of me and Paul. All in all, Paul was 15 - 20 seconds with his fans. He left the building again and this time James was with him. It was also James who drove the car. Paul came out the office and said to the now 30 fans: "Sorry, I love y'all but I can't do that." When the car drove off I ran to the Queen's theatre, which is about 3 blocks away from Soho sq.
This picture was developped by Boots in Liverpool Street Station. My film was the first they developped after a maintenance of their 'equipment'. This was the first picture of my film. 'nuff said, except that i will NEVER go back to Boots.
It took Paul about an hour to arrive at the Queen's Theatre so he had time enough to pick up Heather Mills. When they arrived at the back entrance of the Theatre, people were surrounding them and it was hard for them to get out of the car and reach the door. I couldn't see a thing but after climbing on a lamppost my view increased drastically. When they were in, we went in to find our seats. I had seat G16 but after the interval I moved forward to row A (which was in fact third row) as there were quite a number of empty seats anyway. These were the nine contemporary poets (one for each muse) in order of appearance:
1) Patience Agbabi
2) Tom Pickard
3) Fran Landesman
4) Inge Elsa Laird
5) Michael Horovitz
6) Lemn Sissay
7) Frieda Hughes
8) Adrian Mitchell
9) Paul McCartney
When came on stage a lot of people started taking pictures with the flash of their camera's on. Personally I thought this was a over the edge. The first picture I took was all the way at the end, when the audience was standing up and shouting 'Why don't we do it in the road'. Moreover, after the reading there was plenty of time to take pictures. Anyway, I enjoyed the reading very much even though it was very similar to the reading in Wales... He read one new poem 'pretty little girl next door' and before the poem 'wedding invitation' and he made a reference to his upcoming wedding with Heather. At the end of the concert Paul also made a reference about the concert in Madison Square Garden in New York City. Paul said it was Oct. 20 (I think most of the audience already knew about it but it's nice to hear it from Paul himself).
I seem to remember that the 'massu masseur' story which Paul told again was a little bit different then in Wales but it was as funny as then. All in all, Paul was the star of the evening, which was sometimes a bit embarassing for the other poets.
When Paul left the building, it was slightly raining and there were even more people waiting then when he arrived. He and Heather drove back to his office on Soho Square. Apparently he has a loft there too...
A close up of Paul, who is leaving the Queen's theatre
I was pretty tired after the poetry reading so I went back to my hotel near King's Cross. The next day I had a long walk trough London and arrived back in Brussels at 6 pm.
The National Poetry Day was well worth all the effort and I hope to see you all on
one of the coming events,
P.S. Please e-mail me whenever you like!
Go back to homepage