Yesterday I spent a superlative afternoon at Rickaro Books, Horbury, to celebrate three events: the launch of Holding Your Hand Through Hard Times, by A Firm Of Poets (some of whom are now also Firm Friends of this blog!) on the first day of this year’s Books Are My Bag festivities; the birthday of one of Rickaro Books’ regular customers; and last, but by no means least, the thirteenth birthday of Rickaro Books itself. Toasts were drunk in sparkling wine while it rained outside: a wonderfully cosy and pleasantly decadent way of spending a Saturday afternoon!
The four poets who performed yesterday were Ralph Dartford, a founding member of A Firm Of Poets, accounts of whose at once tongue-in-cheek and poignant performances (‘Now then! / In November 1950 / Pablo Picasso / visited Sheffield / for a hair cut, / Peace, / and some toast.’) have graced this blog before (he has a lovely wife who always supports his performances);
Matt Abbott, a born performance poet, whose rendering of a pathetic yet comic drunk was particularly hilarious (‘I’ll have a bottle of Beck’s from the fridge / ‘cause you all might have stopped drinking / but I’m from Horbury Bridge / and I’m – yeah, I’ll have some gravy, love …’);
and, new to me but very impressive indeed, the goth poet Geneviève Walsh (‘So many love songs which compare desire to sunshine, / a practice as futile as comparing art to dust. / This is England, see, and the sunshine’s more akin / to a tax rebate / or a lottery win’).
The work of all these poets, as well as that of John Darwin and Matthew Hedley Stoppard (whom I’ve also met and been wowed by at an event at Rickaro Books, so I was disappointed that he couldn’t be there yesterday) appears in the beautifully-produced, chapbook-style Holding Your Hand Through Hard Times.
If you happen to be in West Yorkshire, you could do no better than to buy it from Rickaro Books and have a look round the shop at the same time – it is a very distinctive shop which sells both new and antiquarian books.
But I mentioned four poets and I’ve only described three. There was, in fact, a fourth poet present, who also performed, joining A Firm Of Poets as he regularly does; his poems (which he read from his mobile phone, having forgotten to bring the text with him!) don’t feature in Holding Your Hand Through Hard Times. His name is William Thirsk-Gaskill.
Perhaps because he now has a double-barrelled name, my husband and I didn’t recognise the former plain William Gaskill at first – though my husband says that he knew the voice as soon as he heard William speak. When we first met, he was a very talented schoolboy and we were also young, though not as young as he was (William obligingly informed us that my husband was twenty-nine at the time, so I will have been twenty-eight!). To see him again gave the day an extra special bonus. William was also selling a book: Escape Kit, a novella, which we have bought but have yet to read. I’ll review it here when I’ve finished it.
Events at Rickaro Books are always distinctive, memorable and successful. It was a great privilege to be able to attend its Books Are My Bag launch and celebrate with A Firm of Poets. I am therefore extraordinarily proud to be able to tell my readers that Richard of Rickaro Books will be supplying the stock at ‘Tea at Sausage Hall’, Wakefield One’s wonderful way of celebrating the publication of the third of my DI Yates series, on November 19th. And I’m thrilled that some of A Firm of Poets have said that they will be supporting me by attending. Riches indeed! Thank you all so much. I’m looking forward to it already. Meantime, I wish you every success with your books.
7 thoughts on “In in verse proportion: half the stress; double the delight!”
What a superb review! Well-written, well-illustrated and very timely. It was a wonderful surprise to see you and Jim again after something like 30 years. I’m looking forward to seeing you again.
Thanks, William! Nothing like mutual appreciation! We really enjoyed your performances yesterday and we’ll doubtless be hearing more before long! Congratulations for a great event at Rickaro Books. 🙂
Reblogged this on iamhyperlexic and commented:
A wonderful review, written by the crime-writing wife of my high school English teacher, of my accompanying performance to A Firm Of Poets at Rickaro Books in Horbury.
Lovely Christina. About your Sausage day at Wakefield….. might there be some sausages?
Funny you should say that, Marjorie! Although the refreshments at Wakefield are out of my control, I’ll have to put in a word for sausages!!! 🙂
Firstly, I’m catching up here, Christina, so apologies for the late response. I love your title 🙂 And congratulations on the event AND knowing that your books will be stocked at the Tea at Sausage Hall event. Above all, though, these photos are just wonderful. I love the animated expressions you have caught so perfectly! Congratulations on some great photography 🙂
You’ve probably gathered that I’m doing some catching up myself, after a busy working visit to the Netherlands (more on that anon). I hope that you will forgive my having taken so long to respond here and accept my sincere thanks for your spread of these posts on FB and Twitter. I’m glad that you were able to get a sense of the poetry afternoon at Rickaro Books; I’m convinced that you would have enjoyed it very much. 🙂