22nd July

I had been planning to go to the Under Siege concert in the grounds of Rochester Castle today. The event has been running for about 5 years now off the back of the annual Rochester Castle Concerts (which this year featured Steps and Jools Holland!!!). The idea is that before they take the stage and PA away local kids get to showcase their talent on the big stage to a huge audience. We went to the first two but I think we missed the last couple of years so I was looking forward to going again especially as the sun was shining. However the day before I spotted that local poet James Hill had posted on Facebook to say he was going to be reading at an event in Eastgate House Garden in Rochester that same afternoon. I knew Sarah wouldn’t be interested so I agreed to meet her in the castle after I’d seen him.

I’d dropped Lissi and our French students in Rochester so they could go to the concert (one of her friends was playing) and then gone back for Sarah and Ben. We collected one of Ben’s friends on the way back and I left them to go to the poetry reading. IT was held in the small walled garden behind Eastgate house where the Swiss Chalet that used to belong to Charles Dickens now rests even though the Dickens museum has now gone. The sun was shining and there was a small crowd gathered around the stage. I was either earlier than I thought or it was running late as there were 3 very entertaining poets on before Jim. It was a lovely day for sitting and listening to poetry and all of the people I heard were very good.

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I can’t remember how I first heard about the James Worse Public Address Method but I suspect it was via a friend of a friend on Facebook. It’s difficlut to describe the style except maybe by saying if you imagine Viv Stanshall meets Stanley Unwin you’d get the idea. Every other time he’d announced a performance I’d been either elsewhere or otherwise engaged or I’d missed the announcement and found out about it afterwards. The recording I’d heard on Soundcloud of a track called Vusk of Penetrex is probably the best thing I’ve heard all year so I was really looking forward to hearing him perform and I wasn’t disappointed.

Here’s a video I found of the performance:

Afterwards they announced the next poet who turned out to be Phillip Kane who I know of because of his connections with Wolf’s Head so I stayed and listen to him as well. In fact I could happily stayed there all afternoon but I felt I should go and find Sarah and the kids. So I sought out Mr Hill and asked to buy a copy of his little book of poems which when I didn’t have any change he gave me anyway! Meanwhile another poet Bill Lewis had taken to the stage and I had to tear myself away!

As I was walking down the High Street Sarah rang to say that the French Students had disappeared. I caught up with her in the Castle Grounds and ended up taking Ben and his friend down to the moat to run around while Sarah and Lissi tried to find the students. It was so hot I ended up having to put sun cream on, amazing what a difference a week makes, last week it was wellies! I listened to the end of the Under siege concert from the most and to be honest I wasn’t as impressed as in previous years – most of what I heard were uninspired cover versions rather than the original material I’ve heard in the past.

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Eventually we had to give up looking for the students and assume they had gone off without telling us rather than getting lost. We walked back to the car and dropped Ben’s friend home and sure enough they were waiting outside the house when we got back – Sarah wasn’t impressed at all! The weather was still nice so we sat out in the garden for a while and I made the cat a cup of tea and took some shadow pictures her and me.

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