The Hidden Door was finally opened at the weekend. And what an event it was! The Roxy was pretty busy throughout Saturday and Sunday, but on Saturday night it was absolutely packed upstairs and down. (That’s no mean feat, given the size of the place.) It was stuffed with interesting, stimulating, beautiful, fun work; there were brilliant touches, like the hidden piano, watchable only through a row of easily missable peep holes but reverberating through the main space in the lull between certain bands; there were some tremendous bands, and there was, of course, some superb poetry.
My collaboration with Geri Loup-Nolan went very well indeed. More of it later but, in the meantime, to give you a flavour, here’s a shot of Geri putting the finishing touches to the display (I say “finishing touches” but it was, and continues to be, a work in progress):
Geri and I were both very pleased with the level of audience interaction and participation. People of all ages wrote lines for us on the boards you can see in the postcard rack, and some of them got really creative with the presentation, in reaction to Geri’s lines on the boards. The next stage is to decide what else will go on the painting, which you see uncomplete in the centre. Geri wasn’t able to add anything over the weekend itself, largely because of how much time she spent discussing the piece with audience members.
Aside from that, I read twice in the lounge: an integrated set along with Rob Mackenzie on the Saturday night and a short set from the “Pilgrim Variations” along with Jane McKie and two Edinburgh Uni creative writing PhD students — Miriam Johnson and Aileen Ballantyne — on the Sunday afternoon. Both went down very well; good sized audience and attentive.
Rob and I also read in the performance space in the middle of the art maze on the Sunday evening. We didn’t have a set worked out, but each decided what to read in reaction to the other’s preceeding poem. It worked pretty well. I’d like to do it again. It would be fun to do it with someone else as well, but not quite as easy, given how well Rob and I know each other’s work and reading styles.
So, when’s the next one? I’ll keep you posted.