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So what are we doing exactly? We are touring a poetry library round Europe. We are carrying this all in a rucksack on our back. We are also couchsurfing the whole way as we can’t afford to pay for hotels, hostels, beds, floors or really anything except maybe a meal a day. oh yeah, and coffee obviously. We definitely can’t afford our usual Guardian newspaper habit thas for sure. We are interviewing poets at each place we get to. And producing a podcast, i.e. MP3 audio file of the sounds and poets and stuff we hear along the way, from each city or country. Why? Because we had the idea in bed one day. And we sold all our belongings, quit our job, and moved out of where our former roof was. Just so we could bring a poetry library to the people. Cos hey, if the people can’t get to the library, well, we’re just gonna have to bring it to ’em. Don’t forget that we love technology so much, that alongside our podcasts, this blog, and the Google Earth map of our journey, you can also text our poetry librarian to find out where she is right now. Text the word POETRY to +447797805300 (text charged@yr own network rate) and you’ll get a FREE automatic text message back with our current library address so you can turn up and join! Are we crazy? No. Look, we can spell complicated words like gynandromorphic without looking them up. Do we like poetry? Er, a little, yes. Are we skint? Definitely. So you can click on our PayPal donate button if you feel like it. Do you like our Blog? We certainly hope so . . . leave a comment or email us with questions (for poets), queries, or just some advice if you like. Read on and enjoy . . .

Wednesday April 18, 2007 17.54 PM (ET)

A Note For New Readers . . .

The project 'Europe ConVerses' was active from May 2006 - January 2007, as part of The Poetry Cubicle's Libraries & Archives projects.

'Europe ConVerses' as an independent Libraries & Archives project has been completed, but you are welcome to scroll through this archive, listen to digital audio clips and look at images as they exist here.

Please note that all relevant data has been re-archived and labelled at The Itinerant Poetry Librarian: our new project site. More information on all our concurrent projects, events & archives will be going live soon. Keep checking The Itinerant Poetry Librarian for the latest updates and information. Finally, thanks for reading, and any comments, feedback and suggestions are more than welcome, just get in touch: librarian(at)

Monday January 22, 2007 17.54 PM (ET)

San Francisco here we come . . .

Two suitcases of poetry books? Check. One cape? Check. One cycle helmet? Check. One flagpole? Check. Passport? Check. One way ticket to San Francisco? Check. Looks like the Itinerant Poetry Librarian is good to go. We’ll see you over there boys! The Itinerant Poetry Librarian adventures continue in the USA

Wednesday November 22, 2006 14.59 PM

Antwerp Audio

powered by POETRY in ANTWERP

A poem called Family Room, written and read in the original Japanese by Yasuhiro Yotsumoto, with a Dutch translation read by Erwin the Antistresspoet. Performed and recorded live at the Hopsack cafe, Antwerp, Belgium on November 12 2006

powered by POETRY in ANTWERP.2

A sound poem performed by Peter Waugh, of Labyrinth poetry group (Vienna). Recorded live at the Hopsack cafe, Antwerp, Belgium on November 12 2006

powered by POETRY in ANTWERP.3

A poem performed by Philip Meersman, of the sound and wordscapes experimental group Artiesten Collectif JA! (Belgium). Recorded live at the Hopsack cafe, Antwerp, Belgium on November 12 2006

Wednesday November 15, 2006 11.32 AM

Antwerp Joins Library. Librarian Joins Dots.

So. Our intrepid Itinerant One is called over to assist in the NACHT VAN DE POWEZIE in Antwerp. This consists of taking part in the all night poetry reading as well as walking around signing up members to the library with our little brown suitcase. It all took place at TNIEF BADHUIS, BURCHTGRACHT 14, which for those with inadequate belgianflemishdutchtypelanguage skills means The Bathhouse, 14 Burchtgracht, Antwerp. Which really was a former bath house, currently an awe-inspiring four storey squat. The Librarian arrived in the daylight, and so was able to help decorate the place. Which was a slightly sisphyian task at some points. Especially when helping cook Tomas try and staple gun gold brocade to the ceiling while balancing on a step ladder and the staple gun keeps breaking open and thus losing its staples every second shot. Everything finally got hung in place though and it looked beautiful. Several hours, a bowl of north african soup cooked by Tomas, a finished copy of Nicholson Baker’s ‘Double-Fold&rsquo, and a free beer later, two hundred people came to the squat to see all these poets and experimental musicians perform: H.J. Claeys, Hans Plomp, DJ Bert Lezy's experimental drawing space, Aixia, De Antistresspoweet, Chi-Trung Nguyen, Oam Boca Sista, Yasuhiro Yotsumoto, Barry Fitton, Mario Salis, Louise Landes Levi, Claude Lammens, Sara Wingate Gray, Peter Waugh, Irene, Ernest Marechal, Marleen van Joolen, Max Lerou, Pom Wolff, Freek Lomme, Xavier Roelens, Verde Ben-Kiki, Pieter Hemeryck, Richard Steegmans, Luk Paard, Cralan Kelder, Gijs Ter Haar, Manu Bruynserade, Stoffel Hendrickx, Els Dams, Stijn Vranken, Marc Tiefenthal, Artiestencollectief JA!, Sacha De Backer, Kaatje Wharton, Wosky, Waxinelichtje + Mariette, Bart Van Peer, Didi de Paris, Sven De Swerts, Frans Vlinderman, JMH Berckmans en Kris Verdonck, Bart Van Peel, Philip Van Beek, Peter Holvoet Hanssen, David Van den Bosch, de Transformateurkens, Daan Goor, Hilde Droogné, , Gunther De Wit, Sandra Verheij, Tania Jooris, De Jazzpoëtici, Pisteffo en Fronk, Bart De Wildeman, Herman van Lunen, Maarten Redstar, Joran Van Windt, Wil Fraikin, Het Venijnig Gebroed, Danny Danker, David Boulée, Nico Rubens, Mario Janssens, Emile Wouters, Enak Kortebeek. It was amazing. We will be getting pictures sent over soon, and will post them up. Highlights included the Artiestencollectief performing their brand of improvised sound and vocal compositions while projecting live images onto a screen on the back wall - this was also in the still-tiled and mosaiced former bath area with fittings still intact - (and we had a nice chat with Maarten from this group too), Peter Waugh’s sound poetry, the Pyromancer Poet we saw back in June in Ruigoord, this time dressed head to toe in English Gentleman tweed rather than covered in fire . . . and much more until the small twee wee hours. The Librarian made it to bed at 4am. We are not sure when the event actually stopped itself . . .

Important Library Note

New Antwerp Library member Xavier Roelens. You borrowed ‘The Heart of the Ancient Balcony&rsquo by Glynn Pursglove and DID NOT RETURN SAID ITEM. This is in breach of too many of our ByeByeLaws to list here without scaring you (e.g. for reference see the one about when you are liable to pay off our librarian’s student loan). Please get in touch to return our book. Best wishes. The Itinerant Poetry Librarian.

Where we performed: The Bathhouse

The front of this space. If only all houses looked similar . . .

‘Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal, the Cathedral of Our Lady’ in Antwerp

Statue of Brabo

According to folklore, the city got its name from a legend involving a mythical giant called Antigoon that lived near the river Scheldt, exacting a toll from those crossing the river. On refusal, the giant severed one of their hands and threw them into the Scheldt. Eventually, the giant was slain by a young hero named Brabo, who cut off the giant's hand and threw it into the river. Hence the name Antwerpen from Dutch hand werpen (hand-throwing). This is what my Belgian friends told me anyway. And Wikipedia says it too so it must be true. Hah.

Someone having a treasure hunt in Antwerp? We found these signs on the street. ‘Which Belgian city has a tram stop called Moscow’?

Het Steen - The Stone, Antwerp’s oldest building, built in 1200 - 1225, and previously known as Antwerp Castle

The Ship Musuem next to Antwerp Castle

The sky as we left Antwerp

What we like about Squats in Belgium: cool poster art

What we think of this particular squat

A Belgian film in directorial process at our departure lounge. What is going on?

Our Librarian gets to Trafalgar Square demos too . . .

& has friends who lose things after Halloween escapades . . .

We also did a reading at the Hopsack cafe while in Antwerp and got to hear poetry in Japanese, Dutch, English, French and probably Flemish. We’d like to say thanks to poets Louise Landes Levi and Yasuhiro Yotsumoto for donating copies of their poetry books to the library too. And finally we send librarian thanks to Frans and Nip who offered couch surfing Antwerp facilities and didn’t freak out too much when our librarian started to cough up some spots and dots of blood. Luckily, the Librarian has since been to the Doctor and does not have TB. Just a cough. We were a little worried seeing as one of our favourite poets is Keats and as ole Tennessee wrote ‘As a poet, I have a weakness for symbols’ . . . Doei!

Fully signed up Antwerp Library Members! Hurray!

Total Library Members as of today! As poet Salena Saliva Godden might say . . . She-Booooooooooom or as poet Barry Fitton might say . . . Hallelujah! Either way . . . We say, FUck yeAH!

Wednesday November 01, 2006 10.40 AM

Itinerancy (cont.)

York. City of walls, tea shops, bridges, cobblestones, and, er, not much in the way of local news, it appears from the ‘hot off the press’ sign our librarian caught on her way to her latest library installation. . .

. . . Which was a racecourse. With wonderful signs reminding Gentlemen they are required to wear a shirt and tie in the Enclosures. If only everything was as smartly enclosed eh? Anyway. Being billed as the 'uber strict' itinerant poetry librarian in the programme, we thought it best to rise, or perhaps, more likely, fall to the challenge . . . thus not only did the YLAFestival find us banning on the spot one new member for an offensive hairstyle (as well as telling over half the other new members they had borderline offensive hairstyles, which strictly speaking, even if we’d had the chance to not actually be strict, they really were borderline), we also refused membership to 2 likely souls on the grounds of not enough immediate enthusiasm, and were similarly rude to another new member who wanted to swap her free haiku for another one. Static on a stall on the Friday, Saturday saw us fully itineranted and carting around our new mini wheel-able poetry trolley, plus miniature suitcase with ‘OFFICE’ sign stuck on the front. We also affixed ‘LIBRARY & ARCHIVE’ and ‘OPEN/CLOSED’ signs to the front of our librarian suit and generally itineranted around the racecourse convention centre with portable poetry trolley looking mean, stern and, well, thoroughly strict. It seemed to work. Especially when wearing a 'CLOSED' sign on your person and smoking a fag outside, which meant we appeared so intimidating and strict that it seemed people did not even dare talk to us, let alone try and sign up. So. Job done. In the strictest sense of course. End of day’s takings? Well. It seems, even when we turn down members we are still fighting them off. A total of twenty-eight new members signed up in two days: it may well be a record membership uptake in terms of timescale, but it aint quite enough to take the total membership crown. It does mean however, that York storms into joint second place with Prague in the library membership stakes. Blimey. Didn’t see that one coming. But then again, you can’t always anyway, can you?

York Library Members. Well done chaps and chapesses.

This weekend was also a speedy affair for our librarian as she had to travel 500 miles in 24 hours, equalling a median librarian speed of 20.83 recurring miles per hour between Saturday 19.40 hundred hours and Sunday same time. We left York, spent the night in Brixton then had an afternoon in Norwich broadcasting librarian radio then made it back to Brixton for bedtime. All in day’s work for the Itinerant One. Oh yes. Things seems less visible when one travels at the speed of librarian light anyhow.

We will soon be itineranted in London. We promised the Circle Line tube and we keep our promises, stay tuned for details. In the meantime, here is some visual stuff (especially for Kelly):

There are newts in Brixton in October

Norwich. Friendly place. Or . . . how to get rid of a city in one go . . .

Peterborough newsagents. Friendly place East Anglia.

Norwich has a church for every week. That be at least 52 last time I counted

In St. John Maddermarket church in Norwich . . .

. . . Our ByeByeLaws are currently concealed

They have nice tombs there too

Most of all about Norfolk though, we love the sky

Thursday October 19, 2006 15.55 PM

Appreciate The Art . . .

So. Our last day of poetry library installation at Norwich Fringe Festival saw us stack up another five members, two of whom, it has to be said, required a full explanation of what exactly the terms ‘free’, ‘poetry’ and ‘library’ meant, alongside the actual physical demonstration of how to borrow books in the ‘present moment’ (our librarian mimed taking, reading and placing back on the trolley a poetic title), which we thought was a bit much considering we were actually installed at an Art Exhibition innit, and thus it might not be a thought too far to realise that something slightly up, out and away of the usual might be taking place on the factory floor. Nevermind. Our librarian persisted, and these two members, once convinced of the merits of library membership in fact borrowed three items between them for several hours, whilst milling around the factory checking out the art. What did they borrow . . . ? One of the current favourites, Ho Chi Minh’s ‘Prison Diary’ was on their list, alongside ‘Poetry 1972’ which was favoured for the Ted Hughes and Philip Larkin poems it contained. All in a day’s recommendation. Job done! Five members also means . . . that Norwich slides into joint first position in the library membership stakes, alongside previous reigning champs Budapest, both with 34 fully carded-up new library members, with Prague stealing up the rear with a qaurterbacktastic 28. Maaarvellous. Meanwhile, back at the Factory, we also enjoyed some ART . . .

‘Indian Runner I, II and III (marble and resin)’ by Ann Richardson

‘Bronze work’ by Jen Fox

‘Sculpture’ by Helen Breach

‘Peoplescape’ by Chris Wade

‘Found Objects’ by James Epps

‘Thongs’ by Lena Ollmark and Marion Lindsay

We enter Thongworld . . .

‘Woman, man, why? Because it is a fish made from bicycles’ by Nick Ball

‘MOVE COUNTER MOVE ZUG UM ZUG’ by Jo Hincks and Susan Putnam Villers

‘ Portrait of Shirley’ by Keith Fox

‘Sculptures in wood’ by Sarah Caputo

‘Control Alt Delete’ by Papa 41

‘Digitally printed canvas’ by Richard Baker

‘Textile installation’ by Nnenna Anisiobi

‘Sticks and Stones’ by Rachel Greenwood

‘Cast (mixed media)’ by Andrew Campbell

‘Pomegranate’ Group Show

‘Slip (mixed media and cold cast marble)’ by Louise Richardson

‘Tide (mixed media)’ by Andrew Campbell

Tuesday October 17, 2006 19.23 PM

Norwich Fringe Festival: Library Members

We Keep On Truckin’ in a ‘borrowed’ shopping trolley cum mobile poetry library way

Hobo Road Style!

Art Innit

So. Norwich, it seems, after all, really is a fine city as since we’ve been here, we signed up 28 new library members, and we’ve still one whole day left to go. You know what that means? It means that if 6 members sign up tomorrow then Norwich is on a par with Budapest, currently crown champions of library membership. Can Norwich steal in there and grab their head gear? We shall have to wait for tomorrow to find out . . .

What’s going on tomorrow at the Norwich Fringe Festival . . . it’s all in a crypt . . . ooh spooky!

Total Library membership as of right now . . . One Hundred and Eighty! Yeah Baby!

Tuesday October 17, 2006 10.29 AM

Norwich Arts Centre: Library Members

The Poetry Library selection on offer at Norwich Arts Centre

Someone picks up a poem

Someone else also investigates the poetry washing line

Our Itinerant Librarian entices people to her poetry washing line . . . in a crazed manner

Our Itinerant Librarian being Officious with Official Rubber Library Stamps

Tuesday October 10, 2006 13.35pm

Where we be . . .

Right. So. We are back in tha Nar-wich. It is slightly weird. Not least cycling around on Charlotte Morris’s bicycle which is stuck in third gear, only to find one’s own bicycle a few hours later conveniently chained up outside Norwich Arts Centre and ready to go go go. Luckily, this one librarian had her ELSHO device on her (see prevous post and diagram) which obviously has such useful things as bicycle lock keys on it. So we gonnagottabikeback innit! Hurray! Another bike with no brakes, dodgy gears and a very sticky right handlebar. At least it does actually belong to us though. Our librarian has also been heavy on the hardwork stakes, we promise, and Norwich has already thrown up and out twelve new members who signed up to the poetry library. We did our first stint at the preview for the Norwich Fringe Festival on Friday, and it was also our first exciting use of a stolen shopping trolley in order to be fully itinerant and roam around the Bally Shoe Factory with said library in tow to sign up members. We did have to stick a quid in the trolley to er, ‘borrow’ it from Homebase, which was our dinner money for that night, but hey, that’s the commeuppance of an Itinerant Librarian wethinks. Luckily, the people of Norwich have been fully forthcoming in the ‘Feed and House the Poet’ stakes so we are being well looked after. Apart from the events listed below, where we are setting up the library, broadcasting our radio show and facilitating some workshops you can ALSO catch the Librarian at . . . Norwich Arts Centre on Thursday 12th and Friday 13th October, from 12 noon until 4pm, on Thursday in the cafe/bar and on Friday in the foyer. Come along and join! Help Norwich beat Budapest in the library membership stakes! Or just come and laugh at our librarian! Whatever you like . . . we think we’ll enjoy it too!

Thu. October 5, UK National Poetry Day, 2006 14.34pm

Itinerancy Continued . . .

LIBRARIAN RADIO: Sundays 4 pm ’til 5pm (UK time) from 15th October up to and including November 5th

A one hour broadcast featuring spoken word readings of contemporary poetry, and exclusive to this broadcast, the highlights of our Itinerant Librarian's European Poetry Tour, including recordings of poetry in Slovenian, Hungarian, the sounds of the cities of Europe and interviews with poets from Vienna and beyond!

All backed to some fabulous ambient, soundscape music from the Leaf Label and others. Plus interviews and live sessions with poets and musicians; information on the latest literature and poetry events; and some damn fine tunes: Spoke; Jimi Tenor; HowlBackHum; Blue Note Divas . . .

Live on Future Radio 105.1FM (Norwich area) and streaming on a computer near you by going to the Future Radio site

You can also watch us on their webcamera. Erm. Yes. Thanks Future. It has taken us quite a few shows to realise we were being watched. Ooops. Big Bruva us here

Friday October 6th through to Sunday October 22nd 2006: 8th Norwich Fringe Festival

Itinerant Poetry Librarian seeks Norwich members. Dare you contravene our Poetry Library ByeByeLaws? Fancy picking a poem from our poetry washing line? Or borrowing some poetry in English, Farsi, Slovenian, Hungarian, German, Gaelic or Spanish (borrowing limited to the present moment only). We've just toured Europe & joined up 151 members in Amsterdam, Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Paris, Barcelona & London. Want to help make Norwich take the Poetry Library Membership crown? Then come on down & sign up today! To find out where & when our officious librarian is installing her library, text the word POETRY to +447797805300 (text charged@yr own network rate) & you will get a FREE automatic text message back with our current library address & times so you can turn up & join! For more information or if you have a poetry emergency email our Itinerant Librarian

Tuesday 17th & Wednesday 18th October at Norwich Fringe Festival

3-6pm Creative Writing Rocks! Join 'inspiring' (The Guardian) Sara Wingate Gray from The Poetry Cubicle for some haiku, texting, performance and concrete poetry writing workshops. Learn how to create your own DIY pamphlet and record clips for radio broadcast. For children.

Wednesday 18 October, 7.30pm

‘The Naked Voice’ Poetry & Acoustic Showcase

At The Crypt, The Halls, St Andrew’s Plain, Norwich

Norwich Fringe Festival and New Writing Partnership present a night of poetry and song at this intimate and atmospheric venue with international poet George Szirtes plus Mark Miller, Mary Lovett, Ann Leech, Nathan Hamilton, Hilary Mellon, Bev Bishop, Sara Wingate Gray, Claire Hamburger and friends

Friday 27th & Saturday 28th October at YLAF, York racecourse

Itinerant Poetry Librarian seeks York members. Dare you contravene our Poetry Library ByeByeLaws? Fancy picking a poem from our poetry washing line? Or borrowing some poetry in English, Farsi, Slovenian, Hungarian, German, Gaelic or Spanish (borrowing limited to the present moment only). We've just toured Europe & joined up 151 members in Amsterdam, Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Paris, Barcelona & London. Want to help make Norwich take the Poetry Library Membership crown? Then come on down & sign up today! To find out where & when our officious librarian is installing her library, text the word POETRY to +447797805300 (text charged@yr own network rate) & you will get a FREE automatic text message back with our current library address & times so you can turn up & join! For more information or if you have a poetry emergency email our Itinerant Librarian

Monday October 02, 2006 15.55 PM


This is the sound of now. Now we have been listening to the sound of underwater. It sounds like a sound we have never heard. It sounds like a sound we heard before we were born.

Underwater sound

We have also been watching sounds. It sounds like we are under the spell of sound, right? You may be right. We are under spells. Or possibly dreams. We have nets to cast. Things drift. We like flotsam. See some sounds here (you’ll need to open the file in Quicktime or some such suchness)

We also wrote a poem with water in our head. It came out and then Jose Saramago chipped in, as we were reading one of his books in the middle of writing the poem. Skin? Water? Water? Skin? Same thing?

The B in the Water

Friday September 22, 2006 10.40 AM

Prague ConVerses: Our Third Poetry Podcast

Wow. Despite the machinations of Newcastle Public Libraries, which currently include: the main Public Library being closed until 2009; printing facilities being out of order at the one place I was able to find a free computer; a public computer which logs you off indiscriminately every 15 minutes . . . so, despite this, oh, and a stolen bicycle, let’s just throw that l’il curveball in their - thanks Newcastle - despite, in spite, whatever RIGHT we decided to have no more . . . and have promptly somehow persuaded this damn terminal to let us upload our third poetry podcast: Prague ConVerses. Hurray! Something nice! Yay! The podcast includes music from the Nuclear Bunker session in Prague, featuring Mark (The Earl of Rank), Bubu, The Duchess, some Flamenco and a belly dancer, our attempts at tracking down invisible Czech poets, a Slovenian poet, and music from the Czech band Bran plus much more. So tune in now innit!

powered by PRAGUE POETRY or very slowly by Eric on crutches . . . take your pick

Prague ConVerses

And in the meantime, we get Back To Basics . . .

Where we sometimes are

Where we try to be a lot: BED



We are British after all

One new member for Newcastle bumps up our total. However, Newcastle, you are currently not allowed any more

Sunday September 10, 2006 13.40 PM

A Librarian Hermit We Be

Our couchsurfing adventures continue, and we’ve since moved from London to York, and back again, and then mega-bused it up to Newcastle (anyone seen the outrageous UK train fares recently), where we are currently residing on two couches. Not at the same time we hasten to add. We’re not that huge for a start. It’s just that we had been been offered a flat oop north where we intend to hermit away and finish up our sound editing (and get some poems down dude!) and then since we arrived on Friday we happily met up with our very old friend Clare (old as in long time no see not old as in like OLD dude!) and ended up couchsurfing her co-op Georgian house in the centre of Newcastle. Nice. But after this debauched weekend of catching up, we fully intend to catch up with our sound and written word. So there. Our librarian has also been helpfully operating undercover as an audio engineer for artist Angie in Brixton though, where we recorded the sounds of Tooting Lido including the water fountain and sounds of the outdoor swimming pool, so we have been workingnotshirkin we hasten to add. In the meantime, here are some pictures from our travails, and a message about submissions for any Czech litbods out there. More from us soon! Over and out boys!

On the way from London to Newcastle, via the Megabus, our itinerant librarian found she couldn’t help herself when it came to more toilet door graffiti

The ancient walls of York

We left the kittens under our last couch in London. All together now . . . ahhhh!

The Angel of the North

PRAGUE TALES 2007 New Europe Writers Ink is now seeking submissions for their next print publication: Prague Tales 2007. They are interested in short stories, poems, memoires of literary merit. They are not interested in journalism or sociological tracts. Each submission should reflect upon the writer’s experience of Prague or in the Czech Republic. Send your submissions together with a short biography. The deadline for submissions is February 10th 2007.

Wednesday August 30, 2006 01.35 AM

Notting Hill Carnival . . . we couldn’t resist

Jose enthusiastically endorses our project at Notting Hill

The Carnival in action

The kittens under our current couch we are surfing on

Current library membership as of right now! Yeah!

Plus more sound editing is still under way, get ready for Prague, Vienna and Budapest audio to be hitting the site ASAP. In the meantime, you can also check out what the hell people have been writing about our librarian. Yes. People have been writing about us. Crazy we know. Check out what The Guardian newspaper (UK) wrote or BCN Week, Barcelona’s very own cultural weekly paper (Edition 12). And we swear our librarian is hard at work. She is in no way taking an extended tea break now she is back on English soil. . . she may however exploit the fact that the Circle line tube means she can set up her poetry library all day and attempt to sign up the rest of London to the poetic cause, all for just the purchase of a one day travelcard (zones 1 - 4 we thinks). Stay tuned for pictures!

Thursday August 24, 2006 16.12 PM

Germany ConVerses: Our Second Poetry Podcast

Hurray! it only took us three days of editing 40 hours of audio. In this podcast you can hear interviews with poets and novelists Jan Wagner, Martin Jankowski, Andreas Schendel, Eric Piltz, Slam poet Roman, as well as a few words from bookstore owner Dave of Books in Berlin (at a Bordercrossing Berlin - The English Language Literary Magazine - reading), plus music by Berlin based musicians Dennis and Ichier, the sounds of the cities we visited in Germany including the bells of Dresden & Berlin, an organ grinder on the streets of Dresden and much more!

Germany ConVerses . . . is ready and listenable here!

You can play the podcast directly from the flash player below . . .

powered by GERMANY

Or click our Podcast badge below to go direct to the feed where you can see more details of its content and access our previous podcast, Holland ConVerses, too

My Odeo Podcast

With the help of our super-lovely-talented-good-looking-does -not-have-a-girlfriend-but-he-should-cousin Jim we have also designed the first in our ELSHOTM product design series, Every Librarian Should Have One. Take a look at our first product off the conveyor belt . . . and in our poetry shop ASAP. When we get a poetry shop that is. Hah.

Tuesday August 22, 2006 18.27 PM

Meanwhile, inbetween sound-editing . . .

. . . we have also managed to update the Europe ConVerses Google Earth map we originally made of our journey. So take a look at our all new annotated and updated version here.

Tuesday August 22, 2006 11.38 AM

We are sound editing. This may take a while.

Friday August 18, 2006 14.40 PM

London & Library = At least 5 GBP to step out your door = Cous Cous for librarian dinner (again)

Where we are at

Where there’s poetry there’s normally not many people . . .

Today’s poetry library book selection

Our signs in English for the first time . . .

Our librarian travels by boat back to the UK as A. poetry library too heavy for plane; B. UK air travel a total mess and C. Librarian paranoid about library going missing if got a hold of by baggage staff

Nice to know there is a plan somewhere . . . even if it is sealed and a bit rusty

Thursday August 17, 2006 14.52 PM

The Poetry Society Cafe in London . . .

. . . is a little empty. Or at least, it was when our librarian turned up for her first shift of the day there, yesterday (Wednesday 16th August) from 2pm - 8pm. Very few merry poetic souls even dared drift through the door to sample the cafe’s delightful cakes and drinks, let alone take the opportunity to peruse a poetry library (and a travelling one at that). Oh well. I guess the fact that it is a Poetry cafe does indicate that, much as the rest of the genre, it’s of interest to a minority audience (otherwise known sometimes as a mug’s game). Things heated up however a little later in the day, and we did manage to bag two whole new London members, so it wasn’t all emptiness and ennui. Taking the advice of the cafe staff however, we are going to do 4pm - 8pm shifts, as they reckoned that more people came later in the day. This is why it is now past 2pm and we are not there yet but instead posting on our blog. We have changed our times. So, from 4pm til 7pm TODAY (Thursday - we have an evening engagement that infringes and shaves off our last hour unfortunately) and then 4pm until 8pm on Friday you can catch up and sign up. We will also post pictures and get some of that damn audio editing going on, now that we are located in the same environment for at least 4 days (yippee! No lugging the entire library for at least 48 hours to foreign places!). And it is looking likely that the next library installation will be in Norwich in the near future. Stay tuned for further full details! In the meantime, total library membership now stands at 141, with members in Amsterdam, Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Vienna, Budapest (winning with 33 members in total), Paris, Barcelona and London. And we are open to offers of other visits - so if you desperately need a travelling poetry library in your shed, school, taxi or town, get in touch today!

Monday August 14, 2006 23.58 PM

A one way ticket to the UK for tomorrow please. Thanks.

So folks, the London library installation is on. Go go go!

An excerpt from our onsite report for Radio Ruigoord at Landjuweel on August 13th

A poet reading on Friday night (11th August) in the Dichter tent

It’s that shiny suit trio we loved so much playing Teenage Dirtbag in the middle of a field in Holland!

This band rocked. We will try and find their audio we recorded at Landjuweel too

The noises we recorded coming from this tent sounded interesting also!

These Dutch people eh? A sense of humour in all weathers

And as we promised back in our Barcelona post, now that we have a more stable environment (i.e. not in a tent in a field in Holland somewhere - though we are still somewhere in Holland we might add) here are the pictures from our installation of the library at Hibernian books . . . in Barcelona. Last week. Wow. It seems like last year after all the Ruigoord radio, mud and mess. And with our additional Landjuweel new library members, it seems our current Library Membership total has now risen to. . . tan tan ta raaah . . . where is the trumpet we recorded when we need it . . . 139. Can we make it to 140 fresh poetry souls? Very likely actually, since don’t forget, this week we are heading on over to The Poetry Society Cafe at 22 Betterton Street, London, where we will be installed, library, librarian, and likely a dash of mud, from 2pm onwards on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 16 - 18th August. Do join us. We think you’ll like it.

The librarian goes off duty for a spot of lunch

Librarian in situ at Hibernian books

Where we were at

Our library selection for the day

What have Hibernian got on their poetry shelf?

Two new library members share poetry. Ah

The owner of this haircut has left a comment on our blog re their library banishment. The haircut is still banned. They are our rules. But this does mean we can interpret them. So. Banned member in Barcelona, your haircut is banned. You are not. Feel free to make your way over to our upcoming London installation where your library membership is still valid

Ray from Hibernian books at work. Or playing solitaire

Can you tell we like signs?

And we post them everywhere we can*

* Fly-posting at Otradovice station, Prague

‘How to join a library’ - our Spanish sign

Don’t forget we have some good poetry to borrow

. . . that other libraries don’t want . . .

One donation to our library by Hungarian poet Kalman Farago when we visited Budapest. Luckily, for our librarian, not in hardback

Monday August 14, 2006 14.24 PM

Just before we go. If we can figure out how to leave.

. . . as it is still raining, we are still in the radio tent, and just going to quickly upload some more audio before we head off site and realise that probably we are too late to get a ticket back to the UK to arrive er, oops, tomorrow, so perhaps we will end up staying in Amsterdam a little longer. Taking a wild guess I wonder if this happens a lot to people when they get here. Quite possibly. Right, we are going to brave the rain . . . have some Landjuweel festival sounds to see us off site:

It’s the Alpine horn woman who we saw at the poetry festival here back in June! AKA Her Divine Mistress of Craziness. Photograph by Herman Kolkman, who has more pictures on his site here

It’s the Banjo man, playing in the Groovy Movie tent at 4am on Sunday morning (August 13th)

Sunday August 13, 2006 16.00 PM

How to wake up to Reggae . . . and don’t forget we are STILL live on air in Ruigoord, Amsterdam here

. . . the easiest way is to fall asleep in the Radio tent and wake up with the JourneyMen Soundsystem at full blast on the decks, booming out some Reggae man to the Ruigoord site. Not that anyone necessarily is taking any notice, as it seems that quite a few people, who we bumped into last night slash this morning, on our recording travels, had no idea there was a live radio station broadcasting (on 90.3 fm) and streaming live from the Ruigoord site. Nevermind. At least the radio DJs are having a good time. So, well, we have had erm, maybe six hours sleep, and have already been out capturing August 13th sounds . . . which included bagpipes, a saxophone, and a visit to the cosy corner where some accordion and singing was taking place. We also need to work out how the hell to get out of here as we are supposed to be installing The Poetry Library at The Poetry Society Cafe at 22 Betterton Street, in London, on Wednesday, so we need to find out how to move our librarian, and library, back to the UK. . . we’ll figure it out. In the meantime we are going to take advantage of some audio editing which provides us with desk space in the radio tent and access to the wi-fi, so here are some more sounds from the site recorded by our trusty librarian. Here we go:

The end of a children’s theatre show

A Dutch poet in the Dichtertent on August 11th 2006

The Fake Scottish McBastard clan member1 – we thought we heard the sound of Bagpipes somewhere on site . . . August 13th 2006

We also heard this dude on saxophone when we woke up and went to find some coffee on site . . . August 13th 2006

And finally . . . last night in the bar tent we stood by the mixing desk and heard this . . .

Sunday August 13, 2006 04.41 AM

We are awake. And attached to a recording device. Still.

The Librarian is staggering at the moment. But she has been able to nab 26 minutes of a man playing banjo in the Groovy Movie tent, so even though it’s been a night of, well, obviously, bogs, but also dancing Dutch people (dangerous when trying to record reggae live, especially when they accidentally spill whiskey down the back of your already skanky trousers) and the constant search for electricity, the bonus is that everyone has left the radio tent at the moment, so we can both go live on air and talk to ourselves and use the Wi-fi to update the blog while no-one is looking. Or listening. Or whatever. Everyone outside the radio tent seems to be fairly oblivious of well, quite a lot, at the moment, apart from neon glow sticks, chai and the nearest drum beat. We are going to try and upload some audio at the ridiculous hour of 4.55 AM . Here goes:

Poet Julius Joker provides us with an appropriate soundclip

Saturday August 12, 2006 12.40 PM

Mud. Solar power. Radio. Rock on!

. . . well. We have made it through the last 2 and a half days, and survived the floods, which have covered the Ruigoord site in mud, mud, and er, mud. Oh, and an ice cream van which drove up, parked in a bog and started serving. We brought our toothbrush, some pre-made cous cous, and of course, the poetry library. What more do we need? Nothing. We have already signed up 7 new members, most of whom, we have to admit, were fellow Radio DJs like us, hangin’ out in the Radio Ruigoord tent. But hey, who cares. It was wet outside and our librarian is precious about her books. So we had a private Poetry Library installation inside, in the warm, next to the mixing desk. Our trusty librarian cum sound editor cum DJ has already done 2 shows, one special ‘Europe ConVerses’ programme, where we showcased some of the best sound clips and poetry we have recorded over the last ten weeks of the poetry blog, podcast and library tour. We then also did a special report from the site, which we will try and upload right here now. However, bear in mind we are still sitting in the radio tent with solar powered electricity for the laptop, wifi, and stream, which has a tendency to disappear at any point . . . but we shall have a go. Enjoy!

Awesome. Wi-fi uploaded audio from a tent in Ruigoord, Amsterdam, recorded live at Ruigoord August 11th 2006 by DJ Babybarb

These are the dudes who are making this sound

The Spiritual Jam people DJ Babybarb recorded at 2am on Aug 11th, this is them when we met the next day, doing another mini session for us . . .

And this is how the electricity is powered. Pedal power!

On site at Ruigoord

Ruigoord tee pees. Good to sleep in when it doesn’t flood

On site at Ruigoord2

The squeaky cloudbus

Ice cream in all weathers

A flamenco dancing poet

It’s a Journeyman. He was chopping wood for the stove, inbetween playing his Jamaica reggae radio show. . .

Ever seen a mobile solar-powered cinema. No? Here you go . . .

A Dutch poet on stage on Friday night in the bar tent

A Ruigoord boat. Handy in this weather

Thursday August 10, 2006 21.54 PM

We lost electricity. Then we found it again. . .

. . . and we are still live on air here, 3 hours later. This is because everyone left the radio tent except for DJ Babybarb. SO we had to keep the show on the road. Even though we needed the toilet really badly, and had no lighter for our cigarettes. We still had fun. We played some poems, some audio clips from the tour and also some Sunday Music. . . we are still playing stuff now as we post. Probably we will wake up tomorrow and still be here next to the mixing desk. . . we shall see. Tune in to find out!

Thursday August 10, 2006 17.44 PM

Wow we are in a tent . . .

. . . yes. An hour or so ago we left Amsterdam on the bus and made our way with one poetry library in a rucksack and a laptop with our MP3 audio files on our back. And here we are. In the Radio Ruigoord tent, live on the internet . . . and about to go LIVE on air as well as internet radio with our poetry and music show. Tune in to our show here. It is really is here. We just checked. I think we are about to go on air in about 10 minutes (Dutch time 6pm that would make it)

DJ Babybarb in action on her laptop in the Radio Ruigoord tent right now!

The Radio Ruigoord mixing desk

The Radio Ruigoord tent

Our sign . . .

Landjuweel festival itself, taken from the side of the radio tent on August 10th 6pm

Thursday August 10, 2006 13.34 PM

Amsterdam arrival

So. Tuesday night we left Barcelona. Wednesday morning we woke up in Paris. Wednesday afternoon we arrived Amsterdam. And we are now about to go and catch a bus to Ruigoord (half hour from city centre) and try and find the Radio tent and a person called Silvia, so that A. we can get in to the Festival and B. we can sleep somewhere tonight. Tomorrow we are going to sign up some more Dutch library members - Barry and Anja had a private poetry library installation in their house last night, and signed up, so we are currently on two. Amsterdam has some catching up to do as we didn’t manage to set up the library when we were here the first time back at the beginning of June, so our librarian is ready to roll out the library stamps and get some wrist action in to up the ante in the membership stakes. At some point in the next 48 hours we aim to have installed the library amongst 4000 people at Landjuweel Festival, and also done a poetry and sound clips show on Radio Ruigoord. We just need to find the bus station right now, and perhaps some breakfast. Which will definitely not be cous cous. Or cheese sandwiches. We hope. You can click on the Radio link in the sidebar on the Ruigoord website to listen in to our show. And once again, we are writing from some internet cafe with the less than useful ability to log on to the internet, and not be allowed to upload a thing. So picture and audio updates will have to wait. Landjuweel Festival has no electricity whatsoever this year, so unless we find an internet tent with solar power (we wouldn’t be surprised with the Dutch though) we will post all this as soon as we find...anywhere! In the meantime folks, we have library members to seek out . . .

Tuesday August 8, 2006 16.50 PM

Bye bye BCN

Well, we just finished our final Barcelona Poetry Library installation, at the wonderful Hibernian bookshop, which brings us to a total of 15 library members for Spain, not a bad total considering how much we got messed around by the first few places we wanted to install the library in. So, all things works out in the end - this is one BIG lesson we learned here in BCN, and we’re grateful. Thanks for the sun, sweat and lazy, ambling time. We also got interviewed by Barcelona’s very own english language newspaper, BCN Week, which will be out soon . . . and we just tried to upload our photos for today but this internet cafe is not playing the blogger pop-up window game very well, so you’ll just have to wait to see what we got up to today. And now we gotta run to squeeze the books into our rucksack, swap our sweaty suit for some travelling gear and hop on a train the hell outta here to Amsterdam, via Paris. So, one picture which did somehow manage to get through the stuck ether is our current library total. Although, it just got bumped up by one as we were packing up at Hibernian, so actually we are on 133 EU members, not 132, but we’ll sort* this out in the next couple of days and upload the rest of the pictures and more news when we find a more stable home than a railway carriage. Vale. Hasta Luego BCN . . . Amsterdam here we come! Venga! *sorted in Amsterdam 14.08.2006

Library members! Yeah!

Monday August 7, 2006 15.30 PM

Just before we set up Monday’s library . . .

. . . take a look at yesterday’s fun. And six new members takes us up to 125 signed-up personas! Go Barcelona go!

Where our library was yesterday . . .

Open at Frank’s

All Frank’s books

Our library selection for the day

Our librarian in situ

Yes. It’s Frank

The ladies at Frank’s place

The writing on Frank’s wall

A Spanish miaow

A Barcelona window ledge

And finally . . . our first offensive hairstyle of a new member. She got BANNED!

Saturday August 5, 2006 15.40 PM

We back in business baby!

Alrighty. One bed. Check. One poetry library still intact after hefting over half of Barcelona to find said new bed. Check. Venues for installing poetry library. Check. Let’s go! So, first up our librarian will be donning her suit and whipping out her signs, washing line of poems and 30 new titles for ye Barcelona citizens at Elephant bookshop, Creu Dels Molers, 12, 08004 BCN (metro poble-sec), on Sunday August 6th from 2pm until 8pm. Then on Monday and Tuesday we will be at Hibernian bookshop, Carrer Montseny, 17, BCN (metro fontana), from 4pm until 8.30pm on Monday and from 10.30am until 2.30pm on Tuesday. Then we are legging it over back to Amsterdam by train (as we cannot fly as the rucksack full of poetry books is way toooooooooo heavy) to go and do a live radio show at Landjuweel Festival at the awesome Ruigoord site we were at back when we started this whole shebang at the beginning of June. You will be able to listen to our live feed from their site when we start on air from Wednesday or Thursday next week! Rock on people! In the meantime, here is a little Gaudi, a little audio, and a little graffiti to prove that as well as finding beds in 12 hours we also shift our ass when it comes to our other work. And just before we go we have to say a little word of thanks to Jillian who helped save our ass with the bed shenanigans yesterday, and while we are at it, Frank, who is letting us use his laptop right now to update our blog. Thanks dudes!

Gaudi’s Casa Batlla

We are really diggin’ the graffiti round here folks

Barcelona Street guitar

Friday August 4, 2006 10.48 PM

Our first unhealthy couch . . .

So, if you’ve been following our intrepid librarian’s blog, you’ll know that she has been couchsurfing her whole way round Europe. Which means she has met some awesome, lovely people, who she hopes to stay in touch with wherever the hell she ends up. So, up until now she has been a happy bunny, but our Barcelona experience is turning into a bit of an unhealthy one . . . turns out our current couchsurfing host does not live with three other guys like his profile stated, nor does he have any form of hot running water, any kitchen facilities, and the first night we arrived we had to share his double bed as there was apparently another couchsurfer in the next room (who mysteriously never turned up). As of last night, at, ooh, 11pm, he also came back with 2 Lithuanian chicks and asked our librarian to leave. Now. Being the toothful, mouthful, stand-uppish kinda girl she is however, our librarian stood her ground and insisted that trying to find a bed in busy Barcelona at 11pm on a Thursday night, and with a poetry library in tow, was just not going to happen. So that’s where we are up to folks, and no library today for us, as hey, er, we still gotta find a bed! And we have 12 hours to go . . . We do have a meeting with the Slovenian Consulate General later this afternoon however so it’s not all rain. In the meantime, get in touch if you can help!

Thursday August 3, 2006 21.16 PM

Imposible . . . vale?

. . . so we had one fiesty ready to rock librarian this morning, just raring to go and jump on out onto the Barcelona streets and set up today’s library installation at Horiginal cafe, restaurant and seller of poetry books for some random reason. Anyway, we made it on down to the place, and took the respectful step of going in first to alert the staff to our presence, reminding them that we had been given permission on Tuesday to come and do what we do. But there seemed to be a problem . . . porque ahora . . . es imposible. No reason, not much of an apology to our sweaty librarian, already in suit and with today’s selection of thirty titles sitting on her back in the mini-library rucksack, just a shrug of shoulders and that was it. Apart from a suggestion we could set up on the Calle. Well we know we can set up the street Mister, we can do that anytime, it’s just a little dirty and rather far to stoop for potential library members to scrutinise our books, so gee thanks but not today amigo. So we walked out. And headed on over to Placa Bonsucces, which is just round the corner, has a load of cafes where people hang out, and is a much better passageway for ye folks roamin’ around possibly interested in a free poetry library. So we set up on a small wall cum steps archway affair, in the shade (just) . . . and it seems like a good place. So manana, instead of el stupido Horiginal we will be here, same times (2 - 8pm) so come and find us! And apologies to anyone who came to Horiginal today and looked for us, but as we set up straight away somewhere else we couldn’t update our address info . . . and epsecially sorry to Rudolpho the Chilean poet who we met yesterday and who said he would see us today – come to Placa BonSucces mi amigo and we will sign you up inmediatamente! We also took some more pictures today of this damn hot city. Here we go:

More Barcelona graffiti

Biblioteca Jaume Fauster, near where we currently live

On La Rambla, people ‘dress’ up for the tourists . . .

. . . in the hope of getting a few euro cents . . .

While our librarian drooled over this 1941 typewriter with its own wooden box

Her friends have been doing some photoshop fun . . .

Wednesday/Thursday August 2/3, 2006 16.16 PM/00.52AM

The Sounds of Europe II . . .

. . . just before we whack up our next podcast, we thought you might like a best of collection, or cacophony or might that be concatenation, whatever, of the sounds of the cities our travelling librarian has been to with her library and recorder. So here you go, the sounds of Amsterdam, Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Munich, Paris and Barcelona coming up . . .


A Dutch mic test

Erwin the Antistress Poet’s Belgian Baby at Ruigoord Poetry Festival, Amsterdam

Dutch frogs get mighty hot in a pond at Ruigoord poetry festival


A German kettle on a stove in Berlin

Brazil vs. Croatia match, a crowd in a park go wild

Swedish football fans on a nightbus in Berlin

A Track by Berlin musician Dennis

A Track by Berlin musician Ichier


Windy Dresden

The bells of Dresden ring out


A Czech train

A Czech train announcer


The Sound of an Austrian ‘ooh’

Accordion in the Vienna Naschmarkt


An accordion player underground in the Budapest metro

A Budapest train announcement

Water and wind and a starry, starry, night at Lake Balaton

How an Hungarian bird talks to an Hungarian cat

An Hungarian train passes through

How to confuse Michael Palin at a fashion show in Budapest by talking about poetry . . .

Budapest rain


Munich Thunders

Munich goes Brazil!

Street violin

Street violin II


Paris Thunders


A Portuguese band play in a Barcelona street

Wednesday August 2, 2006 15.21 PM

Donde esta la Biblioteca Poesia en Barcelona?

Esta aqui! Si, we’ve found ourselves some suitable premises and our librarian is hoping that the sun aint gonna shine too much and sweat her on outta her wool suit. A denuded librarian would not be a good sight. So, where we at huh? Well, manana, as in Thursday 3rd August, and also Friday 4th August, from 2pm til about 8pm or when our librarian gives up the ghost, our biblioteca poesia will be at Horiginal cafe + poesia Restaurant which is on Ferlandina, 29 en Barcelona.

Then we hope as of Saturday 5th August we will shimmy on over to Lletraferit Galeria, Llibreria y Cafe which is on Joaquim Costa, 43 en Barcelona, though we are waiting to hear the A-OK from the owner that they are down with this. So vamos aqui chicos y chicas y come join our library! Muy Bien!

Tuesday August 1, 2006 15.13 PM

Installing la Biblioteca Poesia en Barcelona . . .

. . . you would think would be an easy thing. What with Barcelona una cultura capital non? But it seems that las personas en las liberias that we tried were a little, shall we say, suspicious, and even though we talked to them in Spanish, did not dig our idea. Or want to suggest anywhere else. But after a three hour traipse around the area near Placa de Catalunya, we accidentally found ourselves on a street next to a cafe with its very own library. So we went in to ask. We got a phone number, rang up the chick who was in charge of permissions for this type o thang and explained what our librarian would like to do in her cafe. . . and so we have a meeting in about 2 hours with said owner to go over the full story and then hopefully we will be installed in Barcelona for the next few days and our blossoming librarian (finally tanned! No longer the white, pasty specimen espied between shelves of dark books at their ideal storing temperature of 16 degrees) will be able to offer you Barcelona citizens membership de la Biblioteca Poesia. So we will post our addresses for the library installation later today if we are successful! In the meantime, here are some Barcelona sounds, and some pictures of what we have seen so far. We also know we keep promising to upload our Germany podcast, but right now our librarian also needs to find a new couch as some Canadian couchsurfers are about to turf her outta her current couch and onto the street unless she can find a bed somewhere else . . . so er, get in touch if you can help! Our librarian doesn’t take up much room, it’s just her library that needs more space! Hasta luego chicos y chicas! Vamos!

The first thing we always do is find the local library!

The poetry shelves at Biblioteca Jaume Fuster

En la placa de Catalunya, this street band bring on the Barcelona beat . . .

Mirador de Colom

. . . which is so tall . . .

. . . it won’t fit in one picture

Barcelona graffiti

. . . which is great

By the docks at night

The fountain at Placa de Catalunya

Taking down the Mexican promo building, so it now looks like a mechanical insect

Where our couch host works . . . he is in the blue T shirt. And he is kicking us out from his couch today. Ouch.

Port de Barcelona

La Rambla . . . Barcelona’s famous street market. . . and toursists galore

Monday July 31, 2006 12.26 PM

Hola Espana . . .

. . . yes, the librarian and her entourage of books, which right now feels the heaviest she has ever noticed (something to do with the heat, the sun, and for some reason the French additions to the library, it was only one title, but it seems like it has taken us over the top and it may be the straw that broke the camel slash librarian’s back so to speak), have made it to Barcelona. We are here for the week, installing the library and garnering some fresh poetic souls to the cause. As soon as we have the addresses of where we’ll be, as usual, of course we’ll post ‘em right on up. It took us three days to get here however, as we had to go via Switzerland, Italy and Nice. Which was a nice view. But a long trip. At least we took some pictures to amuse ourselves . . . la voila:

First up we found ourselves in Bern . . .

. . . which was pretty . . .

. . . and then we drove past lake Interlachen

. . . then made it to Lauterbrunnen . . .

. . . noticed a sign for our favourite cheese on the way outta France via Italy . . . Mmm. Brie de Meaux. . .

. . . and then there was a cow. Again.

Thursday July 27, 2006 20.21 PM

The Sound of the Police . . .

. . . so we begin our day on over at the lovely Paris Plage, comme ca:

. . . and it is going swimmingly, as in we find a tight spot, avec deckchair and plus de personnes who might like to join the library so our librarian est tres ‘appy, non? Mais then . . . being the law-abiding regulation upholder she is, she thinks it prescient to check with the Plage authorities that they are not going to kick her off the Seine beach. So la mademoiselle heads over to ask one of the men in blue. He tells us that he couldn’t possibly give us ‘accreditation’ and that we need to go ask at the blue box further down the Seine. Which we do. There, two men in blue also agree that they too cannot possibly give ‘accreditation’ and in fact we must ask Le Directeur de la Plage himself. Which we do. Although we have to get through two further security checks first before we meet the man himself and then finally . . . after explaining who and what we are . . . the answer is . . . ‘Ce n'est pas possible avoir une bibliotheque de poesie ici parce que il y a un autre bibliotheque’. Why of course, we can’t have two can we? Citizens might go crazy with reading too much or something . . . anyway, this is what we think . . . it rhymes aussi!

Anyway, our librarian aint put off that easy so we head on over to Luxembourg Gardens, that veritable Parisian Park of delights and set ourselves up on a bench . . . only to . . . you guessed it . . . find ourselves facing two more men in blue who tell us we cannot set up a free poetry library in the gardens, we can do it outside apparently, on the pavement next to the busy road, but certainly not in the park where people are chilling out reading and lolling around, almost, you might think, as if waiting for a poetry library to turn up and enlighten their day . . . but not today folks!

This Luxembourg Garden . . .

Aint got no soul for poetry neither . . .

Still, it wasn’t an entirely interdit day, as after we’d shaken off our police escort out of the gardens, we wandered past Berkeley Books and hopped on inside to ask for a tip on where we could set up. Turns out that the chick behind the counter was a bit of a poetry fan, so you know what we did . . . yep, our librarian whipped out her ‘Open’, ‘Office’ and ‘Library & Archive’ signs right there and then and did the tiniest library installation yet, of four poetry titles on the counter front. One new member bagged finally for jeudi! And that’s it for Paris boys and girls . . . we iz off to Barcelona . . . Hola chicas! Vamos!

Thursday July 27, 2006 00.00 AM

And while we are up . . .

We thought we’d just add a few pictures and the LOUD sound of the scary Parisian thunder storm that kicked out the day’s earlier heat about 3 hours ago. Man was that thing blazin’.

Paris Thunder

And then here are some pictures of us outside Shakespeare & co. yesterday . . .

Our membership now stands at one hundred and seventeen members, as we nabbed seven yesterday at Shakes plus we had the pleasure of interviewing and signing up to the library Christian Ide Hintze while we were in Vienna. Ide is Director of the Vienna Poetry Academy as well as a poet in his own right, and we had an interesting conversation with him and his friend Peter Waugh (founder member of Labyrinth, the Association of English Language Poets in Vienna), which will feature in our Vienna podcast . . . Germany is due to be loaded asap as we have just about finished the sound editing!

In the meantime, here is Ide joining the Poetry Cubicle Library in Vienna AND donating his book and CD

And yes, we really are in Paris . . .

Wednesday July 26, 2006 21.58 PM

Shakespeare & co. shenanigans

A day spent in the environs of Shakespeare & co. is a day spent amongst the weird and wonderful of Paris. And we’re not talking about our own librarian here. Our morning started off well, with us setting up the library and immediately being accosted by an old French woman with a very long cigarette holder, who talked to us alternately in French and English, said she didn’t have her glasses with her so she couldn’t read any of our books - but she would join the library anyway - and also that she was blind in one eye which affected her poetic appreciation. We read her free haiku to her, that she bagged as a new library member, but did not attempt to translate it into French so she could understand it better: we don’t know what mechanicalise in French is for a start. After this point library members came at us fast and furiously, and within 3 hours we had bagged a whole six live ‘ens. What stopped us in our tracks somewhat however, was the French dude with one left crutch, one 2 litre coca-cola bottle that sure wasn’t full of coca-cola, and an insatiable level of jealousy when it came to people talking. As in, as he told us in French (which we sensibly chose to pretend not to understand), why were we talking to people when he was trying to talk to the same people as us? Why indeed. We didn’t bother pointing out that shouting ‘ta gueule’ and pointing in a deranged manner at said people happily minding their own business and slash or perusing our library wasn’t quite what we might consider ‘talking’, but nevermind. So . . . we spent the longest hour known to librarians sitting next to this dude as he shouted at potential library member after library member and we were just about to give up and go when he did instead. YEEEEEEAHHHHHH! Librarian 1. Annoying French Geezer 0. Take that and shove it in yer gueule matey. Despite seeing off the competition, so to speak, things slackened off somewhat in the afternoon library session and although we became the latest Parisian tourist attraction - we counted thirty YES THIRTY photographs of our librarian being taken by assorted members of the public, who knows what got taken when we WEREN’T looking - we only bagged one more member Post Meridian, who was again possibly a member of the weird and wonderful we were talking about earlier. Why? Well, we wonder what you might keep in a bottle that you can: A. rub under your armpits. B. rub on your rolled-up cigarette and C. drink. In that order. Still, we generally don’t discriminate when it comes to signing up new poetry borrowers so we asked the chap very nicely if he’d like to join. He declined but did request a poem. So we read him one and gave him a receipt. At this point the French woman with the extremely long cigarette holder turned up again, and she seemed to have forgotten entirely that she had already joined the library, as she asked us what we were doing here. We explained (again) and pointed out that she had actually joined earlier that day. She seemed very surprised to hear this, and told us that this was very unlikely as she could not read very well. We said we knew as she was blind in one eye. She asked us how we knew this. And so it went on . . . And finally, as if our day wasn’t weird enough . . . there were also the 3 secret policemen who convened regularly outside the shop (and consequently, the library) front. How do we know they were secret policemen? Well, we don’t for sure, but since two of them were wearing wires in their ears, sunglasses, and covered in khaki we are making a pretty good guess. We don’t know exactly how secret they were meant to be however, as not long after we had first set up the library outside Shakes in the morning we saw the first khaki man stride down the street, briefcase in hand and enter the shop. We thought he might be doing a spot of performance art slash caricature too when he came out to look round a few minutes later. He was wearing a compass around his neck, a wire in his ear, a fat watch which must have been able to tell the time 230 million miles underwater, a badge with the initials DAE on it and a mean looking picture of his face, plus an army green coloured armband on his left upper arm with a load of zip pockets. He was startling similar to a geek version of GI Joe. Or maybe Ken after a stint in the army cadets. Anyway, we thought he was taking the piss. Turns out he wasn’t, and him and his two mates regularly had mini briefings outside the shop front for the rest of the day while our librarian looked on. She also saw GI Joe vs.II take a surreptitious picture with his camera too. So, if we stop posting regularly please do get in touch with our Head Librarian as something may be up . . . In the meantime, we’ve been reminiscing about Budapest as we had SUCH a good time . . . so here are some pictures to keep the memory fresh . . .

Balaton . . .

. . . Europe’s largest lake . . .

The Budapest Cows . . .

. . . were everywhere . . .

. . .and what with Munich lions . . .

. . . we are wondering what type of animal we may meet in Barcelona and Madrid

The real Budapest . . .

. . . as taken by a very real photographer . . .

Thanks Bianca!

Monday July 24, 2006 20.44 PM

The obvious choice for a Parisian Librarian . . .

. . . would be to set up shop over at the infamous Shakespeare & co. bookshop, at 37 Rue de la Bucherie, 75005, Paris. Which is exactly what we are going to do.

So, if any of you Parisian citizens fancy a spot of poetry dans votre vie, come on over on mercredi le 26 juillet from 12 noon onwards (and probably until 12 midnight as our librarian is a bit of a slave-driver when it comes to manning her books). You’ll be able to borrow poetry in Persian, Spanish, English, Hungarian, Slovenian and German as our collection has been added to by donations from the people and poets we have so far met. They like to give us books. Either that, or they like to watch our poor librarian struggle fitting her expanding library into her rucksack . . . which is now so heavy that she has to lean at a 45 degree angle otherwise she’ll fall over backwards onto the pavement. If you can’t make it to the library tomorrow, never fear, as jeudi sees us jump to the beach, the city beach that is. We are setting up the library on the Paris Plage along the Seine in the morning and then hopping over to the Luxembourg Gardens for an afternoon poetry slot amongst the trees. On y Va!

Sunday July 24, 2006 01.29 AM

Munich Lions

A brief hop over to Munich before we head Gay Paris way . . . and it seems that we are being followed. Cows in Budapest and now . . . lions in Munich. Something is going on. We also took the time to record some Munich city sounds, these were all recorded today (which is now yesterday as we type: Sunday July 23rd). Enjoy!

We arrive in Munich . . . and it Thunders

But this band at Odeonplatz are brimming with sun

While this street violin catches some melancholy in the air

And this street violin sings a different song . . .

Friday July 21, 2006 13.37 PM

Budapest and Out . . .

Michael Palin gets sweaty over poetry

So . . . Buda BYEBYE. After a record breaking week of membership and similar affiliatory behaviour, this week in the pest side things slo-o-o-wed the hell down. Tuesday saw the library installed at Kultiplex. As if anyone noticed. Oh no. They were too cool for a poetry library we thinks. Wednesday we jumped over to West Balkan, where members were more forthcoming, and some Hungarian dudes really dug our poetry washing line. We were also able to recommend some particularly good poetry titles to one of the young chaps, who then subsequently went off and spent a good half hour or more reading Ramona Herdman’s first collection, ‘Come What You Wished For’, and was so enthused about it when he came back to return the book that he asked if he could buy it. ‘We're a library’ we said. We don’t sell anything. But you can get it online through the small independent publishing house that made it, and we gave him the web address. Cool. We were then about to head on over to bed, but instead found ourselves at 2am in some random ‘artist’ warehouse slash abandoned building slash bar slash out there ‘space’. We talked to some Ssssss-TRANGE people. And set up the library on someone’s couch bed. And bagged one member, who by 4am had fully absorbed all our ByeByeLaws and realised he was entitled to submit a notice to affix within the library space, so he wrote out something and gave it to us. We will now affix said notice wherever the library is next. By 6am we made it to bed. . . and then had to get up very soon (on Thursday July 20th) to do a little more of the hard-core librarianship. We did a double shift, in the morning signing up 2 members at Bookstation, a lovely bookstore with a fantastic selection of Dictionaries, second-hand books, new titles and 3 whole shelves of poetry. We even got donated some poetry in Hungarian . . . huzzah! After the AM shift we had to lug the rest of our bags over the city and then slammed over to Kuplung, for our last shift of the Budapest stop. Despite approaching every person sitting in the courtyard where we were set up, no-one wanted to join, so we spent a few hours reading some short stories (no we don’t read our own library books that often - we have to take a break from poetry some of the time!). . . and so. Budapest. We iz lovin’ and leavin’ ya. We’ve 34 Budapest members since we arrived 2 weeks ago, and a whole lotta lovely people in the mix. We think there is potential here so we might have to be back . . . in the meantime, here are some of our sights . . .

Hoh-hee-hoh-hee-hoh . . . Budapest celebrates Bastille Day

West Balkan’s door where someone stole our poster from . . . yee gads!

Installed at WB

Half buildings. Budapest’s defining feature

West Balkan bar . . . a cool place to hang tight wit ya library

A new member carefully filling out his library card at WB

We read FICTION not POETRY dudes!

How we take our coffee on a Budapest boat

We see the light at the end of the Budapest tunnel. We like light.

Hold on to that child!

Tuesday July 18, 2006 12.39 PM

The sounds out of the city . . .

Water and wind and a starry, starry, night

How an Hungarian bird talks to an Hungarian cat

An Hungarian train passes through

Monday July 17, 2006 15.08 PM

Library Administration

What is perhaps the most banal of tasks in our poetry librarian’s world (we don’t count lugging approximately 65 poetry titles around Europe as banal, more like just ludicrously inane) is making sure we have enough library cards and ByeByeLaws as obviously we take our paperwork extremely seriously, being a Good Librarian. So, since Budapest was so keen to sign up to our poetry library, we’ve doggawn run outta cards. Damnit. So this is today’s task. As well as locating our emergency tobacco, leftover from Amsterdam, as we have just run out of cigarettes, and are currently located on a boat somewhere in the Danube, which doesn’t appear to have a cigarette vending machine on board. It does have a comfy bed though. So . . . thoughts on Budapest. It is hot. You can easily get lost in the underground when trying to find the right metro exit. It is very easy to burn your face and half your arm if you go and visit Europe’s largest lake in the Balatan. So we recommend that instead of going during the hot, hot heat of the daytime Hungary sun, you trek on over at night and then you can also watch the stars. Which is what we did. What we don’t recommend also, however, is sleeping over, waking up the next day and then laying around some more out on a deck in the lake. This is because you might fall alseep again. And wake up very red. You get the picture. Unfortunately we didn’t take one of a red us. What a shame. If you are still keen on Balatan though, it is highly recommended that you watch the sunset. And if you are lucky you might find yourself colonised, like we did. One moment you’re sitting there, looking out at the crashing, stroppy, steely waves and the sun slipping down, the next thing you know, there’s two Hungarian fishermen either side of you, one rubbing his hands together gleefully everytime he’s set up his auto device which beeps when something bites (and if you are as lucky as we were you might find one behind you too). Then there’s a dude putting together his hang-glide-water-surfing-type thang ready to surf on into the sunset, and a small child is running towards you with a rather large fishing net. And Beagles. High times in Hungary huh?

So, Prague having been routed in the new library member stakes, we thought it prescient to whack up some of the lovely pictures a Mr Randy Travis Esq. took, while we were in Prague and at that awesome nuclear bunker music session we posted about a little while ago. ‘Cos Prague, you may have been beaten in the library member stakes . . . but we still had a great time, and love you lots!

Outside the Nucelar Bunker

People enjoyin’ the show

Inside the Nuclear Bunker

Flamenco and Bellydancing . . . nice!

The Duchess and Mandolin player Bubu

Saturday July 15, 2006 23.12 PM

Michael Palin in leather . . . making the magic number 100 new library members . . . It’s Whack dudes!

So . . . can things get any more WHACK. We don’t know. Quite probably. But in the meantime, we hitched on in to a Budapest fashion show and caught Michael Palin in a leather suit. He looked quite sweaty. Even more so than our poor librarian gets sometimes in her wool suit. The shirt just got a wash though, courtesy of our wonderful Budapest couchsurfing host Kriszta . . . so we’re not entirely skank. Yet. And guess what? As of Friday July 13th we signed up our one hundredth member to The Poetry Cubicle Library. Wooooooooooohhhhhhhhooooooooooo. Budapest takes the crown. 28 new members in a week. And on that note, we are off to P-A-R-T-Y. Somewhere outta Budapest with water and beach. At Midnight. ROCK. In the meantime, you can check out how we confused Michael with some poetry thoughts in the audio clip below, and take a look at the er, delightful model shots below. We also had the rockabilly Bianca take a snap of Michael Palin holding up our library and archive and open sign which we will post soon too . . . Plus, here is the info for where we are stationed with the library next week in Budapest: Tuesday July 18th, Kultiplex, Kinizsi utca 28, 1092 Budapest, from 6pm - 10pm. Wednesday July 19th, West Balkan, Kisfaludy utca 36, from 5pm - 10pm. Thursday July 20th, Bookstation, Thököly Utca 18, from noon - 5pm and then Kuplung, Kiraly Utca 46, from 7pm - 11pm. Come on down and get us over the hundred mark baby! P.S. The Guardian newspaper also did us a favour and gave us a plug today . . . hurray! Our daily 70p we spent EVERY day for the last year since we couldn’t get student discount vouchers anymore finally pays off!

One model . . .

Two model . . .

Three model . . .

Four . . .

Five model . . .

Six model, seven model . . . score!

Three photographers in a row. Quite sweet really, from a distance at least . . .

Photographer Bianca who later helped us snap Michael Palin. Thanks dude!

How to confuse Michael Palin at a fashion show in Budapest by talking about poetry . . .

We hit the magic one hundredth Poetry Cubicle Library member. Yeeeeeeeehahahahahahahahahahaha.

Thursday July 13, 2006 22.44 PM

No Sleep, More Fun, Librarian inside has yet to see the Budapest Sun . . .

Budapest, although on this Hungarian keyboard, or just the way my brain currently sends signals to my tapping fingers . . . I keep writing Budabest. Maybe this ain’t that wrong. Budapest library members as of right now stand at a total of 20 highly intelligent and articulate souls who’ve joined up. Four more similarly sensibly choosy folk, and we’ll have broken the current reigning champion’s tenacious hold and knocked Prague into 2nd place . . . any takers? Join us! We’re not a society, we may have rules but they’re in your interest! (You are allowed to create your own books, teabags and other contents to add to our library, ref. ByeByeLaw 8; you are not allowed to supply us with your false teeth, ref. ByeByeLaw 3). We know you like rules, as yesterday two of you new, doe-eyed Library members (of the Hungarian variety, we might add) signed away your entire lifetime’s poetry rights by becoming members and then taking our ByeByeLaws extremely seriously. You requested permission to stand up when you had finished reading one of your first borrowed items from our library, just so that you could walk over to the library table and pick another choice poetry selection to browse. Then you requested permission to sit down with said item. We granted these requests obviously with our usual cool librarian demeanour and aplomb. Then your phone rang and you gave our librarian a harried, scared glance and requested permission to break your own silence and answer your own phone. It was at this point that we told you that under ByeByeLaw 16 we had already designated the small, 30cm squared portion of air to the left of said librarian as the only designated area of silence in the library and that where you were currently sitting was well within the regulation non-silent space. This confused you however, and you moved with phone (again, requesting first permission to stand) to the designated silent area we had just indicated. Whew. Being a strict librarian isn’t all that easy. So we decided that we could ignore your violation (ref. ByeByeLaw 2). Budapest Library member 18 consider yourself a lucky man. . .

In the meantime, apart from all this serious library business, we have also had a chance to do a couple of poetry readings, which went swimmingly, alongside fellow readers Chad Fairies and Chris Finks, one at the Budapest Bardroom and one at Treehugger Dan’s. The reading at Dan’s was a blast, it was also a hot, steamy vent of Budapest evening air which meant one sweaty librarian. We think it may be time to wash our wool suit . . . anyhoo . . . we also met up with rockin’ photo journalist Bianca at this gig, who took the following pictures, and has done a nice little write up on the whole shebang here . Thanks Bianca! You can also check out her full photo gallery of the gig here too. Bianca has also been doing some legwork on the alternative venues front, so we hope to enlighten you in the next few days about where we’ll be at with the library next week in Budabest. In the meantime, have some Budapest soundclips we have also been busy recording and check out these pix . . . Bye for now!

Chad Fairies reading at Treehugger Dan’s

Poet Dani Daniy whose interview will feature in our Budapest podcast coming soon . . .

Inside Treehugger Dan’s Store . . . how glad are we that we’ve been installed in an English language bookshop for a week! The books are on us kids!

Treehugger Dan and Chad swap literary notes

The Poetry Cubicle Library installed at Treehugger Dan’s

One steely librarian . . . dare you contravene her ByeByeLaws?!

Our librarian poet also read her poetry at Treehugger and went down a storm

Hungarian cake

How we close our library when we allow ourselves to get off work

The Cow Parade has also hit Hungary . . .

And finally . . . some Hungarian dudes play chess at a bus stop

Ever wondered what an accordion player underground in a Budapest metro sounds like?

Budapest National Railways . . . and in fact, how VERY British . . .

Monday July 10, 2006 23.33 PM

In Budapest it rains mainly in the West . . .

. . . not really, but it does rain, and it was raining Buda side when we arrived on Friday night. We recorded the Hungarian rain, have a listen below. Since Friday we have been having a blast, we’ve met and interviewed poets, recorded rain, accordion players, bellydancers and drummers, performed some well-received poetry at the Budapest Bardroom on Sunday night, and installed the library both at the Bardroom and at Treehugger Dan’s, which is where we remain for the rest of the week. We are also doing another poetry reading, tomorrow night from 7pm at Treehugger if you can make it down. Otherwise, please come along, sign up as a member or come and talk to us about poetry. Library members as of 23.33pm, Monday July 10th, 81. Woo hoo Budapest. We love you.

Budapest rain

The first thing we do when we arrive in a new city...flypost!

Where the library is installed all this week, from Monday July 10th through to Friday July 14th from 10am until 7pm. Do we have a dedicated librarian on board . . . ? Yes we do!

How to say Free Poetry Library . . . Would You Like to Join? in Hungarian

What new library members are entitled to when they sign up . . . to bag a free haiku!

Our itinerant librarian at her poetry library office today . . . Monday July 10th

The Poetry Library installed today at Treehugger Dan’s

Everyday we also set out our washing line of poems and a new selection of books . . . yes we are carrying that many . . .

The Poetry Library installed at the Budapest Bardroom where we also performed our poetry reading on Sunday July 9th

Bellydancers we happened across on a Budapest street . . . audio to feature in our Budapest podcast!

A Budapest bar

Where we lived on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night in Budapest

Thanks couchsurfing host Lilla!

The Alibi. Just like in Norwich

One for the ladies . . . Hungarian ones perchance?

An old Budapest street sign sits above the new replacement complete with new name . . .

Friday July 7, 2006 00.33 AM

Goodbye Vienna . . . Hello Budapest!

Yes. We have made it to Budapest. Just. Our train from Vienna left at 15.45. We got to the platform at 15.43. We also had to ‘borrow’ ten euros from our wonderful couchsurfing host, Christina, in order to buy the one way ticket, thanks Christina, we’ll send you some exciting stuff from erm, Hungary!? So. Goodbye, and GoodLuck Vienna. We had a blast. We’d also like to take a moment to mention a few Viennese wonders. These included: a random final library installation day at the DELI in the Naschmarkt. A nice bald chap let us set up at 1pm - see, we arrived on our own set time, wonders will never cease - and we set out the library in the relative shade of a table outside the cafe, in the middle of the hustling, bustling Naschmarkt, which is a veritable cornucopia, or should that be feast?, of food. There were stalls down both the left and right hand sides of this long street, selling cheeses, olives, gorgeous Viennese pastries, you name, they had it, and we couldn’t afford it, but we looked and salivated anyway. So. We are set up. We hold up our wonderful hand made and lettered i.e. permanent markered on a bit of paper signs, announcing ‘Biobliotheken fur Dichtung’ and bang . . . straight away two obviously highly intelligent Viennese citizens wander over and sign up. We are in business baby! So we sit with our books, and signs, and stamp pad and merrily while away a few hours signing up the odd library punter. And we mean odd. It is going along swimmingly until two separate incidents present somewhat small challenges. First up, is a bespectacled Vienna lady, slightly sagging in the large chest area, who wanders over in an interested way then proceeds to rip off our posters advertising the library, then turns to us and says ‘danke’ and walks off. Yeah, thanks lady. Peeling off our small advertising hoard really did us a favour. Anyway, after she had left we stuck ‘em back up again so no harm done. The next challenge was possibly more random and direct. A man in striped red and white tights, a red cape, and red and white skull cap walks down our aisle and suddenly holds up a large poster above his head. It reads ‘Kulture fur alle’ i.e. if your German is really that bad, ‘Culture For All’. A-hah, our librarian thinks, a direct challenger. She mulls over swiftly the correct librarian duelling technique, realises she hasn’t sharpened her pencil recently (quite lucky considering prior Viennese pencil experience - see earlier blog post) and instead goes for holding up a poster which says ‘Bibliotheken Fur Alle’. Laughs all round from watching Viennese cafe socialites, and a confused man in red and white tights. Librarian 1. Cape Man Nil. If we were keeping score that is. Which we ain’t as that would be a bit like football wouldn’t it . . . indeed. Swiftly moving on. So, two direct challenges later and we have arrived at the startling total of five new library members by around 4pm on Thursday, July 6th. Then disaster strikes. In the form of a heavy-set Turkish dude who turns out to be the chef of the place, and he’s just clocked on for work, doesn’t give a toffee that his earlier comrade gave us permission to be at his cafe, and promptly turns up at our table and rants a little in Viennese German, points and laughs at our office sign and then gets the waitress to translate into English that we must leave. Now. At this point the woman at the table next to our library turns to us, asks if she can become a member and sternly tells the chef that what he is looking at is ART. If you say so Lady, thinks our librarian, and swiftly whips out a library card and in full view of said chef stamps the card, joins the nice Lady as a member, then holds up the OPEN sign, flips it over to reveal the word CLOSED X, packs her books and gets the hell outta there. Vienna, it was great, we hope to visit some time soon again . . .

So . . . on the train to Budapest today, Friday 7th July, and we plug into the nice free electricity and edit some audio. Yes we know we are taking forever, but we do have about 20 hours of interviews, music, sound clips and images to edit from Germany, Prague and now Vienna. As a pro-fresh-nal travelling poetry librarian and part time sound editor cum art director type thang, this takes a while. But we are on the case. In the meantime, here’s a bit of a Greatest Hits of the tour so far . . . enjoy.

A Track by Berlin musician Dennis

A Track by Berlin musician Ichier

The old Berlin Metro map showing how the wall cut off your stop . . .

Flyposting in Berlin. Heh heh.

A Berlin cat

A dead chicken . . . Art innit . . .

The art also moved . . .

When you put your euros in it . . .

A lovely Dresden bus

An awesome Czech band we caught playing some damn fine folk, a track or two coming your way soon in our Prague podcast. The band is called Bran and you can check out their website

They played two awesome 45 minute sets at this tiny bar called Ralbinova Poeticka Hospudka, and the man taking tickets on the door was also one of the candidates in an upcoming Czech election.

A sign from a brothel in Prague. Don’t ask.

A famous Prague clock. Modern no?

Obviously you see Czech tanks everyday being carted by rail

Ah. What a nice view of Prague from their TV Tower

This is the Prague river I swam in

I start to feel a little like Mark Twain . . .

Hungarian biscuits!

Salman Rushdie in Hungarian!

And just to prove we really are in Hungary . . . have a sign!

We are incredibly excited about Budapest, not least because we have a ton of poets to interview, we have a cool place to set up the library already sorted out at TreeHugger Dan’s Bookstore, plus fame has struck in Hungary and we are doing a poetry reading at the Budapest Bardroom too. And not forgetting . . . tan tan tah rah . . . current New Library Members signed up as of leaving Vienna on Friday July 7th is . . . 72. Damn we’ve one persuasive li’l momma of a librarian on board. And we’ve sorted our blog all by ourselves. Wooooooohooooooo Hungary here we come . . .

Thursday July 6, 2006 03.05 AM

Vienna Rocks Tha Poetry Library . . . seven new members at Cafe Wuk

P.S.We are jumping over to the DELI in the Naschmarkt tomorrow...oh look it is tomorrow already, so I guess I mean today, Thursday 6th. This is instead of Cafe Leopold. We did them already peeps, we want some new environments and bodies to sign up and experience, so head on over to this place instead of what we told you before. We will be there, er, maybe in like 9 hours if we go to bed now. Unlikely. Let’s say from 1pm - 8pm or until we give up. Last chance Library Viennese dudes!

One Poetry Library installed at Cafe Leopold, MuseumPlatz1, Vienna

One batch of gratuitous toilet graffiti in Vienna

One sign which indicated all our stops. Nice.

One Librarian viciously stamping at her library installation on Wednesday 5th July in Cafe Wuk, Vienna

One Viennese citizen decides she should read her ByeByeLaws after being warned of potential consequences of breaking them

More Viennese Library Members

A Tired Librarian photographically taken advantage of by her couchsurf host

More Viennese residents sign up!

Oh yeah. Ever seen a toilet from a nuclear bunker? This is it from the wonderful nuclear bunker bar in Prague!

At the end of a long Poetry installation day in Vienna, we’re still good to go!

Wednesday July 5, 2006 13.16 PM

Can You Help? . . . the Couchsurfing site has died!

Hmmm. Yeees. Interesting. So, if you’ve been following our travels, you may have noted that we have been getting around by Couchsurfing, a wonderful site that has enabled us to find a bed for our travelling librarian and her poetry library. Guess what? The site has died. It died this week, which means it not only lost our profile, but it lost ALL the data stored about us, who we had contacted to couchsurf, and it also means that from now on we cannot couchsurf anymore . . . aaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhh. So, Can You Help Us Find a Bed? We need only one space, it can be a floor, a couch, a bed, any flat surface whatsoever as long as there is a roof involved. We need this for the following places and dates: PARIS from night of Saturday 22nd July through to the day of Friday 28th July; BARCELONA from night of Sunday 30th July through to the day of Friday 11th August; MADRID from night of Friday 11th August through to the day of Saturday 19th August. We can promise you a private poetry library installation in your own home if you can help us out! Post a message on this site in the comments sidebar (which has dropped to the bottom left of this page as we have messed up our blog code again - hey, any coders reading this? Can you tell us where we html-d wrong?). This gets emailed to us direct also, as well as appearing as a comment...right. After that swift appeal for help, we had better leg it over to Cafe Wuk to install the library for day2 in Vienna. Byeeeeeeee.

Tuesday/Wednesday July 4/5, 2006 18:13/13.08 PM

How to fall asleep in your own library in Vienna

First up, we need to tell you WHERE the hell we are in Vienna. The Library is installed at Cafe Leopold, 7 Museumplatz 1, Vienna, from 2pm - 6pm on Tuesday July 4th. We then hop over to Cafe Wuk, 59 Wahringer Strasse, Vienna, from 2pm - 8pm on Wednesday July 5th and then we are back for a later-day shift at Leopold on Thursday July 5th from 2pm - 10pm or until we give up and go back to our lovely couch surfing host Christina to pack ready for Budapest the next day. Today’s library session was enlivened by being woken with a sharp tap to the head from our own pencil. Yes, it seems we had fallen asleep in our own library, not in contravention of our own ByeByeLaws. . .

. . . we hasten to add, since they state that you must be caught falling asleep, and since we were unable to actually catch ourselves in this act - we tried but everytime we thought we might have fallen we realised that as we were consciously aware that we had nearly slept that technically we were not asleep - it didn’t quite count. However, a Viennese chap, desperate to sign up as a library member, was brave enough to pick a pencil from our table and give us a quick tap on the head. Which did the trick. We woke up. We signed him up. So, well done that man. He then proceeded to enjoy some English Love Poems, one of the titles in our collection, and came back to ask how one became a library officer, as it appeared he had quite thoroughly perused the ByeByeLaws and noted that minerals, vegetables etc. could become such bodies. We told him that the Library Authority got to designate such bodies with Official Authority, and that today that body with such authority was the librarian in front of him. Tomorrow we were thinking of designating our new addition to the library, a C. K. Williams title, as the official authority but we hadn’t made our minds up yet. He said he would come back tomorrow to Cafe Wuk to try his luck as he really wanted to have some authority. If he does, we shall point him in the direction of the ByeByeLaw that states we can ban anyone we deem unnecessary from the library. Roll on Vienna . . . in the meantime, in case you haven’t been able to make it down to where we are to borrow our books, or you are thinking of joining but are not sure what we have, take a look . . .

Shade by Charles Bernstein, 1978

Dada Lama by B. P. Nichol, 1968

Citizen 32 magazine edited by Jackie Hagan, 2006

Blatt Magazine Issue I: Vol. I, 2006

Concentrate edited by Michael Butterworth, 1968

Validate & Travel by Gabi Bila-Gunther, no date

Detik-detik Indonesia by Martin Jankowski, 2005

Square One edited by Barry MacSweeney, 1977

Come What You Wished For by Ramona Herdman, 2003

Krak by Jeff Nuttall, 1975

Signs by Peter Middleton, 1983

Another Royal Wedding Souvenir edited by Christopher Weir & Milford Harrison, 1975

Other titles we are touring include: Will Walker’s Very Gruntled Footbook, no date; The Biro is Mightier Than the Pen by TheNoiseThatWeMade, no date; Hommage an die Dichtung Europas, 2006; Short Time (4 or 5 New Poems by Philip Sharpe), 1969; Love by Pablo Neruda, 1995; Every Celebration by Alex Allison, 1967; Girl in Red and Other Poems by Vicki Feaver, 2003; The Heart of the Ancient Balcony (for Parvin) by Glyn Pursglove, 1977; after Rainer Maria Rilke - Orpheus. Eurydice. Hermes & five poems from Sonnets To Orpheus translated by Estill Pollock, 2002; Greatest Hits by Lisa D'Onofrio, 2004; Casual Flares by Tony Langham, 1971; And All Livings Things Their Children by Dan Georgakas, no date; Codestones of Venice by Paula Claire, 1978; The Best Bloody Job in the World by Lawrence Bradby, 2002.

Monday July 3, 2006 14:39 PM

The Libarian arrives in Vienna . . . finally

So we have managed to make it to Vienna, despite the machinations of a rowdy and mutinous crew aboard the fair ship boat where we were couchsurfing (exceedingly literally in this case, ahem) for the last half week of our library stay in Prague. We became known as the Libarian on the basis of . . . not sure. However, it stuck, it sticks and we quite like how it is vaguely similar to barbarian...bare...liberian. Probably in that order also. We can emphatically announce that Prague was our favourite library installation, on the basis of: the wonderful places we got to set up the library (Cafe Metropole, Shakespeare & Sons, Eric’s house The Boat); the number of new library members we signed up (23); the free SPINACH meal English chap Nick provided us with; the awesome Nuclear Bunker music session with a heart-breaking rendition of Blue Moon by The Duchess (soon to be posted in our Prague podcast); and the first contravention of our Bye ByeLaws which resulted in Eric being catalogued and added to the Library (ref. Bye ByeLaws 15 & 25). He has to make his own way to where we are next set up however, in order to be put on display and potentially borrowed. So, we are in Vienna for the rest of this week, and interviewing the Director of the Schule Fur Dichters, Christian de Hintze, and we are about to leg it out of this internet cafe and on over to persuade some Viennese bookshops/cafes/flat surfaces that they need a travelling poetry library set up in their vicinity. As soon as we have the addresses folks, we’ll post them here so you can come on down and borrow our poetry books. Speak soon!

Friday June 29, 2006 13:02 & also 19:23 PM

Oops. That would be your bus going without you to Vienna then . . .

Ah-hem. Yeeees. We seem to have missed our next connection. Silent alarm clocks which do very little in the way of encouraging one to wake up and go go go eh? Nevermind. We are having a Jolly Good Time in Prague, and it DOES mean that we get to go to a poetry and music gig tonight in a bunker somewhere the hell in Prague. So, obviously, it was all planned for me without me knowing. Vienna on Sunday it is then folks. And if you miss us in Vienna you can catch up with us in Budapest. . . in the meantime, just in case you thought we had on board a slack librarian, here’s the proof of the pudding so to speak . . .

This is our library installed earlier this week at the wonderful Cafe Metropole in Praha, where we had our best day yet on the tour so far, signing up twelve whole members in just one day!

This is how we advertise locals-style, it says: ‘Free poetry library. Would you like to join?’ So now you know some handy Czech!

And inbetween setting up the library at Metropole and Shakespeare & Sons, we came across this damn fine vehicle.

We also do rather classy advertising too . . .

Wednesday June 28, 2006 19:47 PM

How to find . . . a bed . . . a Slovenian poet . . . an American word whore . . . and a boat in Prague . . .

We think it is Wednesday. We are not entirely sure, as for certain that full dandelion head we found in the forest in Prague has worked its full effects, and we no longer have any need for the concept of time. Or maybe it no longer has any need for us. We’re not sure. One thing we are sure of, however, is that an American dude called Eric who lives in a place called the boat saved our ass, bed-wise. Monday and Tuesday saw the poetry library installed at Cafe Metropole, where the fantastic Robert, owner extraordinaire also fed and drinked us. This helped a lot, and meant that we were able to pursue the herculean library task, that only a really officious and dedicated librarian would be able to, of running the library from noon til midnight, viciously stamping people’s library cards and telling them that under Bye Bye Law 20 of The Poetry Cubicle Library Bye Bye Laws (based, we hasten to add, on the original 1964 UK Libraries & Museums Act Bye Laws and obviously amended for our own purposes) they were not allowed to spit on us. Other Bye Bye laws include the Library Authority being able to ban people from the library who have an offensive haircut, and the fining of one poem if members return a book late. . . In the meantime, Tuesday was our best day yet in Prague, a total of 12 whole new members were signed up and reminded they could not spit on the Librarian and had their hairstyles perused for signs of offensiveness. All but one English chap passed this last test easily. Before setting up on Tuesday morning however, we had the harrowing task of finding a bed for Tuesday night. Yes, we had nowhere to stay, let alone leave the library in a safe space. Luckily, the power of email came to the rescue and Eric got in touch. So, we hot-footed it - in the er not very quick but temperature-wise sense, as after the walk in the Prague forest we had an allergic reaction to mosquito bites and currently STILL have a huge swollen left foot and right calf - round to his place to dump the rest of our essential travelling crap (expresso maker anyone? Goose feather stuffed booties? Poetry Library? Washing line and clothes pegs? Yes, obviously you need all these things as a travelling itinerant poetry librarian!) Eric took a while to let us in. Not because he didn’t want to, but because he fell out of his five storey window and landed on a car and is thus on crutches. Which kinda sucks if you live at the top of a five storey building with 107 stairs (look who counted them today when carting the damn poetry library down them on our way to install ourselves at Shakespeare & Sons) . . . and no lift. Anyway, thanks for the bed dude! And thanks to Shakes and sons where we joined two new members to the library today, and met our first Slovenian poet, who is coming back to talk to us tomorrow. So, more from us soon about all of this, and then Vienna on Friday. We also haven’t forgotten our podcasts, we just do not have a lot of internet access at the moment. But we are stopping in Vienna for a whole week and will have more time to do audio work. In the meantime, library installation calls...we are off to Eric’s with the library to install it there for tonight, and join his word whore friends in another game of Boggle. Hooray for Prague! Current Library Members as at 20.16 PM Wednesday 28th June: 51. Yee and Hah.

Sunday June 25, 2006 22:47 PM

What a poetry librarian does on her day off in Prague . . .

. . . we went swimming, and also recorded some more sounds for our Prague podcast. Yes, we know we haven’t put up our Germany podcast yet, but we’re working on it, and in the meantime, we are still recording sounds around the city, which just happens to be Prague at the moment. Or rather, a forest and lake cum stream we went swimming in today. After a 10km hike I might add. And mosquito bites. And a snake sighting. So . . . here is the sound of a Czech train arriving to pick us up and take us back to Prague.

A Czech train leaving

We also have a bit of an obsession with train announcers and conductors, as you might be able to tell from listening to our poem Destination, over in the sidebar there somewhere, so following on from this theme, we recorded the Czech arrivals and departures announcement, which we think kinda has a poetry twang to it.

We also took some pictures out and about in Prague yesterday and on our hike today. Which also happened to enable us to indulge in a spot of illegal flyposting. Hurray!

How to illegally flypost a bench next to a railway track in the Czech Republic

We found a full dandelion head in the forest. We are wondering if this means time has stopped for us entirely?

We illegally flypost a tree next to the stream we swam in. We think this might really confuse the load of Czech locals who swim here a lot.

Not sure why this girl is chained up. Or why she is a bit Gollum-shaped.

The Czech train we caught back to Prague today

Saturday June 24, 2006 23:10 PM

Poetry Library Arrives in Prague . . .

. . . and within twelve hours we’ve found ourselves two places to be installed. First up is Cafe Metropole . . .

where the wonderful Robert agreed we could either take over a corner of his cafe, or take over the entire space where Anagram Books used to live, as they appeared to be moving out just as we arrived to persuade Robert he needed a travelling poetry library in his cafe. So, we’re going to get our very own bookshop space to set up our library and poetry washing line. Yee and Hah as the Royal Grub might say. Not only are we going to be installed at Cafe Metropole, but we also wandered over to Shakespeare & Sons

(yes, a librarian’s work is never done and we do not take lightly our duties!) and got as far as telling the bookstore guy we had a travelling poetry library. He said Yes. ‘But I haven’t said what I am doing yet’ I thought to say. I opened my mouth to say more. Yes he said, before I could say anything else. Then he took the limp posters dangling from my sweaty paws and whacked them up in the front, back and middle windows/doors/walls. Wow! So, we’re in business, the library business, and what a welcome to Prague. Yee and Hah indeed.

So . . . the travelling itinerant poetry librarian and her library will be installed @ Café Metropole, Anny Letenske 18, Vinohrady, Praha 2, on Monday 26th & Tuesday 27th June from 12 noon onwards and @ Shakespeare & Sons, Krymska 12, Vrsovice, Praha, on Wednesday 28th & Thursday 29th June from 12 noon onwards. Come along and join the library and browse our poetry books and poetry washing line of poems, or come along to have a chat about poetry

Friday June 23, 2006 02:48 AM

Just before we leave Dresden for Prague . . .

We’d like to say thanks to Mona, our couchsurfing host, for being such a rockin&rsquo bed provider. Actually, technically it really was a couch, and we really did surf it. We also installed the poetry library at Mona’s house tonight, and she joined along with her friend Susie. Here they are enjoying our library . . .

We also allowed ourselves ONE WHOLE DAY OFF today, well, actually, what with blogging and all, it was only half a day. Come to think of it, since we’re posting the pictures we took on our 1/2 day off here, and we did set up the library (albeit at midnight), maybe in fact it wasn’t a half day off at all . . . hmm. Maybe we need to rethink this ‘time off’ thing a little . . . seems like we’ve turned into a ‘tweaker’, of the blog and library variety I hasten to add, not the erm, less salubrious kind. ANYWAY. Here are some pictures of Dresden. In all the conversations we’ve been having about what the hell poetry exactly is recently, I think one definition might actually be Dresden itself. Thanks to Kurt Vonnegut and Philip Gross for convincing us to come here is all I can say. Here is our poetry of Dresden in pictures . . .

Thursday June 22, 2006 14:21 PM

How to Install a Poetry Library in Someone's House in Dresden

Our second day in installation at the bookshop was met with a thundery sky and sudden spots and then a burst of rain. Wednesday in Dresden saw grey clouds, and very itinerant weather. We had just laid out all the books, like so . . .

. . . when the sky opened and downpoured the rain. We grabbed our books, flyers, bags of haikus, and scrambled for the relatively safety of the entrance to the bookshop. We stood on its ledge. The edge to its entrance. The bookshop owner is still a little suspicious or perhaps confused about our motives, or indeed, motivation, so we didn't want to venture in too far. Ah so. Rain. Rain + installing a library outside = Bad idea = Books get wet = Librarian gets wet = Librarian's only library suit gets wet = grumpy librarian. So we moved. Boy did we move. Andreas had left a message at the bookshop saying if it rained we could find him and maybe he could help. This we did. And he suggested we could perhaps set up the library at his friend's house, a poet called Eric. This we did. Thus we had two new poetry library members, and we were fed delicious dessert at the same time as sitting with our library, observing our borrowers, in their own house. We liked this installation so much that we think we are going to try and find some more people who would like a travelling poetry library installed in their own house, living room or kitchen too. So get in touch if you would. Later that same day we were also installed in a pub. It’s called Hebedas, and we were to meet a group of slam poets there. These were the instructions we were given on how to meet the poets: ‘we are sitting on the round table left from the door. the first will come between 8 and 9 pm’ and this was true. We found the round table. We found the poets. Then, as a good poetry librarian always does, I set up the library and made everyone join. Due to our environment I was also pressed into drinking beer and smoking cigarettes. We also managed to persuade a poet called Roman to read us one of his poems, which we recorded to include in our poetry podcast about Germany (coming soon!). After everyone had joined and had their fill of browsing poetry books I closed the library. Like so . . .

Tuesday June 19, 2006 22:53 PM

Dresden Street Art

So, we spent our first official Poetry Librarian Day in Dresden today. We are set up outside the bookshop Buchhandlung Im Kunsthof, owned by Christian Bahnsen, who we went along to speak to as soon as we arrived in Dresden yesterday. He was a little sceptical . . . or shall we say . . . dubious at first I think, but after we kept repeating the word free and library plus the fact that we promised to remain outside in front of his shop, this seemed to do the trick and he agreed. So we arrived and set up at 11am. At around 4pm we had the amazing total of ZERO new members. Jeez. These Dresden residents just didn't seem to be down with the whole free poetry library thang. We had by this point however talked to ourselves quite a lot in our head, finished our book we bought from Dave at Books in Berlin - ‘Amy and Isabelle’ by Elizabeth Strout, smoked seven cigarettes, sweated far too much in our woollen librarian suit and eaten the sum total of an apple which was all we remembered to bring. Then our Dresden Hero Arrived. Andreas Schendel. He joined the library. He looked at our poetry books. He enthused about our touring library and collection of lost poetry. He showed us round Dresden and took us to a soup bar. And tomorrow he is bringing a real live Dresden poet to join the library and hopefully agree to talk to us too! Hurray for Andreas! We are burning a CD of one of our favourite band's music for him right now cos he was so great. So, here are some pictures of our Today in Dresden

We love the Dresden Graffiti/Street Art scene! We think it rocks. Andreas says his ‘male intuition’ reckons most of the drawings of people are by this Dresden graffiti chick. Who are you? Where in Dresden are you? Whatever. We love your work . . .

Monday June 19, 2006 21:44 PM

We have made it to Dresden . . .

In fact, we just got in a few hours ago, but have already managed to wander around and get caught in a thunderstorm. We recorded the sound of Dresden wind at full blast, and also some lovely church bells ringing out the 8am chimes as we left Berlin this morning . . . check ‘em out:

Windy Dresden

Bell Ringers with large muscles I expect

We are setting up our library outside a Dresden bookshop tomorrow and encouraging Dresden citizens to join! And quickly, a hello to Niko and all the other lovely Berliners who made our time in Berlin just flash on by. We loved it. We love you Berlin. It was hard to say Goodbye. . . but a poetry librarian has a job to do . . . so off we continue on our mission of bringing the library to the people. I am sure, however, that we will be back! In the meantime, check out our NEW theme tune that we composed and recorded at NikoStudios in Berlin last night. We think it rocks. More from us soon! We are in the process of editing our Europe ConVerses Second Podcast: Germany, which will include interviews with the poets Jan Wagner and Martin Jankowski amongst many other cool sounds and people we found and met . . .

Thursday June 15, 2006 2:51 PM

Ruigoord Review . . .

Poetry festival at Ruigoord, Amsterdam, June 3-5th, 2006

On my last night at Ruigoord (Sunday, June 4th), we had wandered back to the relative luxury of our borrowed house and bed (actually the ‘Director’s’) at around midnight, eschewing the continuing celebrations that seemed to emanate from every part of this island of grass. And it is almost an outcropped island too - I wandered round the perimeter early Sunday morning and came across a mosaic white statue, of a woman crowned and triumphant, as if she’d just been rescued from a ship’s prow and was now saluting her rag tag crew of rescuers by guarding the entrance to Ruigoord from the sea, which now I look it up on a map I see was the Noordzeecanaal. There were several huge tugs in the water, and a wind that rippled the surface of my coffee as I walked my way round the camp. Tents of all shades and hues. Funky, large buses painted brightly & madly, a few caravan style homes, and masses of Dutch children running barefoot in the morning sun while it seems that all their parents had partied too hard and remained locked in lethargic sleep. . . Back to Saturday night though . . .

Rhian (another UK poet) and I made it to the house, rolled cigarettes, boiled water for tea and then motioned to an apparition outside, who came in and turned out to be a neighbour and also one of the Ruigoord festival filming crew who was on her way to bed. But it seems that when the Dutch are about to go to bed, good company and coffee can tempt them to remain. And so we talked. And then another apparition appeared. The film-maker knew him, and as he walked through the door he staggered, as if taken aback. ‘It’s so clean’ he exclaimed, and promptly sat down next to me, and cap in hand, began to explain . . . He was the first squatter at Ruigoord. He had arrived at the empty village and taken over a house to mend. Some politicians did not like this and tried to stop him. Another politician perhaps saw an opportunity he thought, and supported this man so that 36 years, and a buoyant political careeer later, these once empty houses here have been lived in, and made ‘clean’. This man could not believe that everything was clean again because he said that Ruigoord had started out this way, empty but at least clean, and then people came, and more people, and there were parties, and drugs, and chaos, and painters, and artists and singers and poets and dancers and mess, and more mess and now people have left Ruigoord and no longer live as a settled community here . . . and yet . . . once again ‘everything is clean’. ‘It is like the beginning again’, he said, ‘even though it is the end’. I knew what he meant.

Sunday morning also saw me perform my ‘Activate the Poet’ installation at the camp. I chose the shelter of the Why Not ? circus tent, possibly to the surprise of the woman who was laying out fruit for her children and who read my signs (in Dutch & English) which said ‘Press Button to Activate Poet’. I sat still for an hour or so. Even though I really wanted to scratch my nose. The Dutch, fruit-eating children came to watch me, read my sign, and slightly afraid perhaps, decided not to press anything. I sat still for another half hour. No-one but this circus woman and her children seemed awake. I decided to move site, and packed myself up suddenly and moved to park by a pathway near the church, on a folded out camping chair, next to a fire being tended by a dreadlocked Ruigoord resident.

I put out my button, my sign, sit in the chair with my hat on my head and wait to be activated. I sit for 3/4 of an hour. People begin to wake up and wander past me towards the church in search of breakfast . . . or beer . . . I’m not sure which. No-one stops to activate me. The dreadlocked dude finishes building the fire, reads my sign, says something to me in Dutch and then laughs as I remain completely still and de-activated. Then he starts giving me a massage. This is great. I am stiff limbed and shouldered from 2.25 hours of de-activation, and 3 days of hulking a poetry library in a rucksack round on my back. He massages my shoulders, neck, arms, and the whole time I remain still in my ‘de-activated’ form, not turning my head nor moving my eyes or speaking or anything. I am full in my Art. Then he starts massaging my front and my first Performance Art Dilemma arises . . . he and no-one else has pressed the button to activate me so I must remain dead and still . . . but at the same time I’m not really down with a full-on breast massage by a total stranger in a camp site at about 11am near Amsterdam on a Sunday morning. . . what’s a girl to do . . . ? Does ART win the day? Does our heroine lance the scoundrel with an acerbic poem or batter him over the head with her trusty wireless doorbell . . . ? Stay tuned to our blog for the next episode in our ‘Adventures of a Poetry Librarian’ to find out . . . !

Thursday June 15, 2006 02:59AM

Aaah. The delightful sound of Swedish football fans on the night bus home in Berlin.

Well, another day at the British Council. Three whole new members to add to The Poetry Cubicle Library. A veritable feast of a meeting with poet Maroula Blades who is also going to show us the sights (poetic and otherwise - thanks Maroula!) and then the night bus home to Amrumer Str. With a bus load of Swedish fans. Who were awfully excited, despite the fact that their team aren’t playing for another 12 hours or so. Testosterone eh? As always, our trusty librarian had her digital voice recorder on her, so she could catch their dulcet tones. Take it away boys . . .

Swedish fans. Rather vocal huh?

Tuesday June 13, 2006

More British Council Antics . . . and finally the World Cup gets us in Berlin

So, our second day of installation . . . and apart from noticing the same man from yesterday (baseball cap, spends a lot of time watching what appear to be internet videos on a computer screen across the other side of the room from me . . .) we also had the excitement of welcoming five new members to the poetry library. One surprised German. One dubious German. One excited German. One co-erced German. And an Australian who kept telling me how much she wasn't really interested in poetry. I made her join anyway. And she gave me a poetry tip so I don't quite believe her lack of poetry interest. Or it just goes to prove that there's a little bit of poetry in everyone. We also took some more pictures at the British Council . . .

Getting ready to be an officious librarian

We find our uncle's book in the BC Library....shock horror. Hope he doesn't read this blog and get a big head.

Our poetry washing line

We also went to a screening of the Brazil vs. Croatia match, after librarian-ing it for the day, seeing as we’re in Berlin and can’t get away from the football. The Germans are totally down with it though. There’s this huge big screen set up in my host’s local park, where everyone has been congregating to watch matches. There are benches set out for everyone, a tent with smaller screens in case it is too hot (or unlikely, cold / wet), beer stalls and a beach volleyball and football pitch for people who are rather more active. Tonight there was also a dude sitting in a beach chair smoking a sheesh pipe with his mate, and rooting for Croatia. We thought you might like to hear what a crowd of locals sound like watching the match: it’s a compilation of crowd ‘oohs’ & ‘aahs’.

And while I was going through the audio I came across this snippet from the commentator . . . heh heh.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I’ve been smoking nightly on these stairs,

. . . avoiding areas that say these kind of things . . .

. . . and have decided the collective noun for spinach is a ‘sink’ of which I need to get my daily dose. Mmmmm. Spinach.

Monday June 12, 2006

I just said A-Hah out loud and realised there might be some alan partridge in me. In the meantime, here’s some Gilberto Gil live in concert, that was recorded, er, about 4 hours ago, after a long hard day at the library . . . enjoy!

It’s recorded live from an open air concert with lots of excited, rowdy Germans in the background.

* STOP PRESS * . . . Our first poetry podcast is now available to listen & subscribe to! Click the Odeo link in the sidebar . . . * STOP PRESS * . . .

June 12, 2006 PM

We install ourselves . . .

We are installed in the British Council Library RIGHT NOW with two tables displaying our poetry books, plus we have hung our washing line of poems up also. Come along and join the library and we will stamp your library card to validate it and give you a copy of our Bye Bye Laws which you are bound by when you become a member of our library. We are here all week (12noon until 6pm, June 12th - June 16th) and we may even read a poem to you if you are nice. Plus don’t forget, you can TEXT the following number (text charged at your local network rate) and we will send you a FREE TEXT back telling you where our Poetry Librarian is installed RIGHT NOW so you can turn up, join the library and begin to borrow our poetry books and poems! Poetry Goes Technological! Huzzah! TEXT the word POETRY to +447797805300

We are installed

in a poetry library kinda way

. . . and we like it . . .

We must encourage Young People to witter

. . . or just take tea with us

June 10, 2006 PM

Out and about . . . just about

Well, we’ve been exploring Berlin, for a whole...ooh one day, since we haven’t been allowed outside until we’d finished creating our first poetry podcast. Thank everything Germanic that the lovely dude I’m staying with has a handy ethernet connection. Phew. Anyway, here are some fabulous pictures of us getting ready to be activated by Germans. Enjoy. We did!

Activation Reichstag

Activation Book

Activation Book2

June 09, 2006 PM

. . . woops we’ve hacked our blog in Berlin!

Yes, we‘ve been hacking our own blog and somehow have erm, gone a hack too far?! We‘re figuring it out, and luckily the cool dude we are staying with in Berlin happens to know all about this stuff and hopefully will help! Well, at least we made it to Berlin . . . we are spending the next few days inside editing the Ruigoord audio ready for our first podcast. Then we are allowed outside to explore. We do officially have our first library member though! Niko Topp who is providing accomodation also . . . thanks Niko. More coming soon. Especially the bit about unexpected massages in places you didn‘t want to be massaged - a full commentary on our Dutch Ruigoord exploits will be written soon! In the meantime, to keep you entertained, check out some great pictures of Ruigoord at Nippy Noya’s site. We are also heading on over to the BastardSlam tonight to check out the Germanic Poetic Innit and interview some more poets. This is what is going dahn: MC: Wewalt Kosslowski, DJ: Wanja, Featured Poet: Anselm Neft. Mit: Micha Ebeling (lsd), Frank Kloetgen (Agrar Berlin), Udo Tiffert (zwei Texte), Felix Roemer (Agrar Berlin / Smaat), Paul Hofmann (pony hamburg)...

Here are some photographs of Ruigoord that Barry Fitton & friends took:

Entrance to Ruigoord Church

Hans Plomb introducing the Saturday afternoon poets

Barry Fitton reading on Zondag aanvang - Podium Kerk styleee

Erwin, De Antistresspoweet, who you‘ll also hear interviewed in our podcast

Georgia Scott accompanied by Nippy Noya

June 05, 2006 PM

Actually, just a quickie -

We are broadcasting live on Radio Patapoe, I am typing this and should probably stop as you will be able to hear the keys live on air. If you are reading this at Dutch time 22:50 Monday June 5th (or UK time 21:50) if you click here you can listen to us on Radio Patapoe, an underground radio station in Amsterdam. The programme is presented by Mattheus.

June 05, 2006 AM

Greetings from Ruigoord . . .

Wow! This is a VERY quick post to just exclaim our TOTAL and UTTER amazement at the beautiful landscape and atmosphere of Ruigoord. It‘s a small artist colony, a half hour bus journey outside of Amsterdam, which was squatted in the 1970s and reclaimed. It was originally an island, then had huge amounts of sand dumped around it to turn it into the industrial wasteland that it has been rescued from (and just about remains rescued from) today. There is a huge Starbucks factory, plus oil containers and chemical plants that surround it . . . while the village itself, or rather, community, exists in this state of artistry: by that I mean . . . well, there is a 19th Century church with vast stained glass windows that is the fulcrum of the camp and performances: it is also the bar and contains three original confessional boxes which have been turned into lavatories. Once again the Dutch excel themselves! People live in houses surrounding the church, on a few acres of grassland that has been cultivated and maintained. There are chickens wandering around. People riding horses. People riding motorbikes. A circus tent. There was a guy [Ed. We‘ve since found out he is called the Pyromancer poet] reading from a towering wooden pulpit, holding a flaming torch, who proceeded to perform a poetry set in-between fire-breathing, setting himself on fire and commanding the audience. That was just one of the shows I caught last night. I also managed to interview Erwin - the AntiStress Poet from Antwerp, as well as 2 Dutch poets, and record some electronic Balkan folk, plus some really loud frogs, hot frogs, one of the Dutch poets reckoned! I will be editing this audio and posting up our first podcast in the next few days, before dipping my toes into the Berlin poetry scene. But basically, after Ruigoord, I think the rest of Europe might have rather a lot of catching up to do! There is only one word to describe the Poetry Festival at Ruigoord . . . awesome!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Poezie en muziekfestival Vurige Tongen

So we’ve arrived in Amsterdam, and are about to head off to Vurige Tongen in Ruigoord ready for the poetry performances tomorrow evening. You can tune into Radio Ruigoord and hear everything broadcast by going to the Ruigoord site. You need to type into their search box the word 'radio' and then click on the link in the list of links which says "Radio Ruigoord (/radio.html)". We’ve already started our poet interviews, and bagged Georgia Scott (a US poet based in Poland). She’s the author of the collections The Good Wife (published by Poetry Salzburg 2001: 2nd ed.2002) and The Penny Bride (Poetry Salzburg 2004) and we’ll be gathering interviews with the poets at the festival, ready to upload our first poetry podcast next week! Hurray!

Friday, May 02, 2006

The Librarian Look

It is also very important, obviously, that we ensure that the Good Name of Librarians is Carried Onward and Upward. So. We have been practising our 'Librarian Look'. La Voila . . .

It is similarly important, however, that we rescue the Good Name of Librarians Who Wear Hoodies. Here we go . . .

Thursday, June 1, 2006

Activate The Poet

We've also figured out how to perform our PerformancePoetryArt installation, 'Activate The Poet' while touring round.

Wireless doorbells: aren't they great! Press Button to Activate Poet! This is one of the installations we performed at the Norwich Fringe Festival 2004, alongside our 'Head in a Box' installation. You can also see a video of me 'being activated' on the BBC's Video Nation site.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Don't You Just Love Norfolk?

Incidentally...before we blow this joint, we thought we'd take the time to show you the wonderful sights of this fine city (and county). First up, spotted in Fakenham's cemetery:

Meanwhile, the young people of Fakenham similarly enjoy getting their own back . . .

Friday, May 19, 2006

Obviously we have to get rid of all our belongings before we can fully poetically engage...

We have . . .

Books. . . A lefthanded electric guitar. . . Wednesday's moustache (previously worn). . . A well-loved steamer. . . What every poet should drink their tea from. . .
Belongings eh? They just kinda creep up on you and next thing you know you've gone a small child's blackboard, eight gin shot glasses, and a half full bottle of green chartreuse too far. But hey. There's an easy way out: get rid of them. I was going to give every item a 'chronicle' but me and a friend started cataloguing and after 4 hours we were as far on as...ooh...item number 37. Which incidentally was a polyester, herringbone weave, red shirt popular with merchant bankers in the 1970s. We gave up. Since this week I've had people coming round and realising they've always needed a lemon slice stuff is depleting. Slowly.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Poetry Tour Shapes Up...

Thank you to Swede for designing!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Pre-tour poetry starter

So, we thought we'd wander over to Amsterdam for a pre-tour mini performance...and here we are. We came to celebrate a poet's birthday, and take part in a night of wonderful performances at Cafe Bax. The Dutch are really serious when it comes down to providing entertainment. These guys actually built a stage from scratch on the spot, hung it with curtains, and brought in a full PA system, so what with resident piano and chandeliers the joint was very fancy indeed. And an amazing array of artists: mime, comedy, theatre, cabaret, Dutch poets, English poets, guitarists and singer-songwriters: all took to the stage to perform their work. What an amazing night. I can't wait to come back properly and spend some time with these guys and their artforms. Hurray for Holland!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Welcome We Are Still In England

In anticipation of pending Poetry Podcast and Blogging Tour of Europe...we welcome YOU the Poets of Europe to get in touch and kick off our Exquisite Corpsical of a poetic dialogue. We have The Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland and Spain in our sights so far: please get in touch to let us know where you are in Europe so we can come and interview you and record your poems. We intend to wander far and wide, clouds & daffodils not necessary, but potentially quite nice.