Now that Storm House is officially OUT (and very much available to purchase!) I found myself in a very unusual situation on Saturday: Pretty Much On Top Of Everything. There's still the Totally Acoustic all-dayer to do and the London Premiere of Still Valid later this month, but otherwise most things are either DONE, UNDERWAY or AGES off.
With unexpected FREE TIME I thus set about finding something to DO. I've got LOADS of books piled up in a queue for reading, so I thought that I might as well treat myself to a BATH and a READ. Top of the pile of books was Sheffield Almanac by Mr Pete Green, so I picked that up and headed for the TUB.
I must admit that I've had a copy of this hanging around for several weeks. When Pete released it I naturally JUMPED to get a copy, but didn't get around to reading it for various reasons. Firstly, I do most of my reading on the TUBE these days, and a slender volume of POETRY (for LO! that is what it is) didn't seem appropriate for the rough and tumble of public transport. Also, to be honest, it's POETRY, which tends to feel like HOMEWORK (before you read it, anyway), and also I always worry about reading stuff my CHUMS have written. Logically this is DAFT - all my chums are CERTIFIED GENIUSES and their works are MIGHTY - but I always start reading/listening/watching with trepidation, ANXIOUS lest I have to dodge around the edges of saying I didn't like it.
I need not have worried in this case because "Sheffield Almanac" was ASTOUNDING. I guess I should have known it would be - I've seen and THOROUGHLY enjoyed Pete doing poetry at gigs - but this was really something else altogether. It was MOVING, FUNNY, full of THORTS and really pretty bloody GRATE. As I say, I went in afeared that I would have to GRIND through Proper Poetry, but it was a breeze of a read which moved me to actual real-life TEARS at various points, and also made me say "HA!" out loud several times.
My favourite thing about it was that it did that thing that RADIO is meant to do but generally doesn't i.e. created PICTURES in your MIND. I could see Pete driving a car, standing at Pedestrian crossings, or plodding up HILLS with a VIVIDITY that amazed me. I also loved the way he doesn't shy away from LIFE ASSESSING, and the bit where he thought back on his own life after seeing fresh new students arriving in September SPOKE to me especially!
I also liked the RHYMING SCHEME he used, and the way you don't notice it's happening until there's a REASON for it, and the way that made me LARF out loud sometimes. AND I liked the way it got ON with it - it took me half an hour to read the LOT, and it felt like every line was PACKED OUT with meaning and ideas. With rhyming poetry it is EASY to get distracted and wander off topic in search of a Clever Bit or Good Rhyme, but Pete seemed to achieve that while still moving the whole poem forward.
What I'm saying, basically, is that it was DEAD GOOD and I would wholeheartedly recommend getting a copy! Go on, it's only a fiver!