I’m in Cranbrook, a quaint little Kent town a few miles south of Royal Tunbridge Wells. I performed Petty Concerns on Tuesday night to a lovely crowd of about 50 people and yesterday I worked with students from the local Grammar school to prepare for a poetry slam, which is being held this morning at the same venue I did my show.
Cranbrook school is unusual in that it is a state grammar school. It feels like a public school, with excellent facilities, nestled in a pretty little country town with its independent businesses and pubs. The girls wonder around in long skirts and are called Floss and Milly and the boys have shaggy mop tops and answer to names like Finn and Rupert. The school also melds into the town the way a public school does, as teenagers cross roads in their hoards to get to hockey and rugby pitches.
I’m staying at a B&B that is effectively just someone’s house. I feel a bit like her teenage son, sulking in his bedroom and heading off to school each morning across the field at the back of the house, but its strangely comforting. When I arrived I was feeling very sad, the combination of leaving my wife and son and having listened to six This American Lifes in the car had left me downbeat and dangerously pensive, but I feel alright now. Cranbrook, it seems, is good for soul.
After the slam today I’m heading straight to Bath for a Petty Concerns gig at The Rondo. My mates Byron Vincent and Nathan Filer are coming down and afterwards I’m heading back to Bristol with them to stay with Byron, which’ll be great. Nasty Little Press are publishing Byron’s debut collection in May, so there’s plenty of shop to talk about.
After Bath it’s London to Saturday Live and then Brighton to round my week off. I then have two days at home with my son before heading up north for two gigs and a workshop. Onwards!