I’m writing this because something unusual is happening, and extraordinary high amount of people who look at my website who come from Brazil. I’m quite pleased with this, because Brazil is a country which I know almost nothing about except for the fact that Ayrton Senna came from there. Another reason I like this is that the Pet Shop Boys are big in Brazil. So maybe we could tour together sometime. I mean, you never know.
Now I’m aware that there could be an error, of sorts. Perhaps it’s just one person in Brazil who looks at my website several times a day because he really likes whimsy. Perhaps I’ve got a friend who’s on holiday there. Perhaps there’s a mechanical breakdown which means that most of the people who look at my website automatically get registered as having done so in Brazil, and not Basingstoke. Whatever’s happening, I’m not complaining, because at least it means that someone is looking at my website.
But it allows me to daydream. Of a hidden fan base, and invitations to perform somewhere really exotic, like Manaus, in fact I’ve already written a poem where this happens. I try to imagine my book becoming incredibly successful there, and I’m asked to go on Brazilian tv and be genial and humorous while the translator does her work. I daydream of becoming a household name in Brazil.
I know that none of these will happen. But it’s good to daydream, and enjoy the moment while it lasts.
A POETRY GIG IN THE AMAZON BASIN
Thick dense jungle vegetation.
A circle of audience members in a hut by a swamp
By the banks of the mighty Amazon,
Peering at me, nervously, I approach
A microphone which buzzes, or maybe it’s the
wondering how I ended up here,
And whether to do my famous poem about Lidls.
Thirteen hours by plane from Heathrow, six hours
By internal flight to Manaus, seventeen hours
By pick-up truck then a boat ride followed by
Six hours trek through jungle vegetation led by
A man in a hat with a machete, to this place,
A hut near a mining settlement, only to be
Greeted by puzzled frowns, there’s been a
Booking mix up, they were expecting Pam Ayres.
Preliminary chit chat to break the ice.
Isn’t it annoying, I tell them, when you’re baking a Soufflé,
and it doesn’t rise properly?
The rainy season floods took my house away, someone
Helpfully pipes up, I decide not to perform
My new poem about temperamental vacuum cleaners.
I decide on a joke.
‘I hear you have electric eels here
In these parts’, I tell them, ‘I’ve heard about them,
In the silence that follows I hear the
Distant hooting of parrots.
The relentless humidity causes beads of sweat
To roll down my face like the last lingering hopes
I once had that this would be a good gig,
Having taken with me through the jungle, on the back of
A mule which complained most vociferously all the way,
Twenty copies of my book titled
‘101 Things Not To Do At Junction 13 Of The M25’,
plus the sudden realization
They my fee of sixty quid probably wouldn’t cover
The four days of travel from Basingstoke to here.
Headlining next month, apparently,
Is Kate Tempest.
Distant thunder rumbles.
Fat lazy drops fall from the sky
Falling on fleshy leaves like polite theatre applause.
I make a final effort to tell them some half-baked
Anecdote about a wellie-throwing contest at the annual
Village fete in suburban Surrey where I grew up, only
For the audience to respond with a smattering of applause,
Possibly glad of this sudden exotic interlude into my set,
The chance to learn about a different, strange culture.
The next act after me does some
Urban street dancing, and the audience loves
It’s always difficult going on first.