I was in the Deansgate branch of Watertsones in Manchester yesterday to meet Ray Robinson, the author of Electricity, which was shortlisted for a bag of awards and his new book, The Man Without. He has a great website, www.Themanwithout.com . I will be reviewing his book next week. He told me a great story about a well known poet that got punched at a funeral that they were both attending. Now that's what I call the ultimate critique. Of course not all poetry is that bad but what a fantastic reality TV show that would be. BEAT THE POET. I'm already on the case and will give that man Cowell a bell.
Before I met Ray, I was doing some shelf surfing and was stunned to see that Waterstones are suffering from an outbreak of stickerage. Its as though someone from Head Office has been let loose with a sticker machine gun on the shop floor. One title had 3 large stickers on the front cover. A 3for2 sticker, a Richard and Judy and then a £2.99 if you spend £10 sticker. You could hardly see the damn book. It did the job I suppose as my eye was drawn to this 'measles bound copy,' but you could hardly tell what the book was about when you got there. It reminded me of teenagers who have just found their political voice. They too adorn their jackets with numerous badges and you know that if approached by one, you cross the road. They are political scouts and are programmed to bore you into submission. Like some poets really.