On the buses…

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Well the first four or five days of being a poet in residence for all Peterborough bus routes has been so much fun and I am genuinely enjoying getting to know the city better, especially as I assumed I knew all there is to know about this place that is often my muse and somewhere I consider to be like a honeycomb of memories and security that as a hungry bear I can’t help but gorge myself on. So far, surprising and romantic are the two words that are brought to my mind when thinking of this project, I have seen street names I never knew before, landmarks that I have heard of but have never seen and so much more.

What I can say is that the surprise comes from going to places that people can often say are the crap areas to live and being amazed at how much pride people have in their houses and gardens and how much effort they make to care for where they live, so don’t believe the hype, next time take a harder look.

Also I have been really pleased that when I have mentioned to bus drivers what I am doing they don’t look at me like a bag of frogs but actually relate to what I am doing, so I might have hit on something here.

Apparently the romance comes from the work I am producing after the routes I have travelled on and so far I have done 3 of the proposed 12 I am aiming to do. As I am sitting quietly listening and looking intently at everything like a deranged bus spotter I make notes on my phone of what I see and encounter and then when I get home I write a list poem for each route.

When I read out two of my finished ones out to my best friend, critic and husband he commentated that I had actually made bus travel romantic in some way. So I am going to keep this up. I have also included one below which is based on the Citi 2 bus, take a look and let me know what you think?

If you see me then please do say hello as you might end up in on of the pieces.

Bus 2

Ticket brought,
£4 day rider,
Rumbled start,
Push chairs,
Pushing people further down,
No grumbling,
Chatter about who did what to whom,
in fact she talked all the way to the harrier.
Cherry blossom,
St George’s hydro pool,
Warm memories,
Cherry blossom,
A chapel that was,
Enlarged in 1853,
Cherry blossom,
Sheridan road,
Cherry blossom,
Tennyson road,
Cherry blossom
‘Bye bye Skye’,
Cherry blossom,
Paston ridings but
no horses,
Witham way, I thought it said Walt Whitman way,
Throwing stones,
hidden school uniform,
the ties were off
so as to not complain to their teachers.
Everyone ignored them,
Lake District heroes,
Campbell way,
Coniston road,
Gypsy ponies in Gunthorpe,
Honey hill,
The Bluebell pub,
The sandwich shop opposite the fire station.
I passed Julie and Michael’s house,
We passed Kate and her children.
I smiled at her,
she did not see me.
I was glad to glimpse her,
It reminded me to make her cake sometime.

Getting People to say yes is joyful!

Happy Solar eclipse day! I could not think of a better day than this one to announce what I will be getting up to in the next couple of months and to talk about all the wonderful people I will get to work with and meet.

I have been commissioned by the brilliant Peterborough Environment City Trust as an artist as part of their forthcoming Green festival on May 23rd and I am working with the fantastic theatre maker Tom Fox and also public art extraordinare Stuart Payn who have also been commissioned too. This is also been supported by those grand chaps at the Arts Council. Each of us have come up with an interactive piece of work that will get people thinking and engaging with issues around Sustainable transport. I don’t want to give too much away about what Tom and Stuart are doing but I can tell you that I am with StageCoach’s blessing the un-offical Poet in Residence for all buses in Peterborough!! So in the next four weeks if you see me on a number 2 heading to Gunthorpe looking befuddled then you know why. I am using the buses and the routes of this city as inspiration for a set of poems that I will ask real voices of Peterborough to record instead of my old poetry voice. Already I have had offers from bus drivers and market stall holders to be the voices of the work. So cool!

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This recording will be done with the stupendous Beat This and there will be two community recording sessions in April which if you interested in taking part then you should email me at keelyjanemills@gmail.com

Then just to hot things up slightly this recording will become not only a ten minute sound installation but also a 20min pod cast too. So, who is going to hear it, well that is where the title of this blog comes into play. I have been able to get some huge support from people that I wrongly thought might poo poo the idea and I am just so blooming joyful that people do and want to say yes to art. So far the work will be played in the city market, shopping centres, local radio, websites and much, much more and the incredible offers of support have been quite humbling. I really believe more than ever if you have a good idea that people can relate too and understand then do not be afraid ask for help as you will be surprised and charmed by the responses you might get. Boy, when you get a yes then it seems to breed more and more and your confidence can carry you through. I also know that my work will be far more enriched by working with these people than it would have been without them and that gives me so much support.

Tonight I am getting ready to meet with 5 out of 6 other poets that will also be writing a piece of spoken word for the podcast and sound installation too and again straight away they all responded to the idea and I can’t wait to see how they make the commission their own. Now I have got people to say yes it just the hard work od making good and what they have said yes too and now that means me on the number 1 to Millfield and lots of hard work!

I will be keep you all posted on what is occurring and if you see me on a bus then please offer me a humbug.