I was tagged ages ago by Walks Far Woman at Kissing the Dogwood with a meme when I thought I was just about fed up with memes; but I actually really enjoyed musing on this one. Firstly I had to choose three dinner guests - not easy but great fun, after running through a list of possible celebs and academics I found myself, last Friday, alone with whisky singing along to Bruce Springsteen in his live acoustic gig from Dublin. I scrapped my original list and decided that what was needed was a matey night in with a few nice people and a good sing; so here goes:
Firstly I wanted someone who could be witty, clever, tell a story and be rooted in the language of northern Britain. I also wanted someone who could be my new best friend and teach me everything they knew about creative writing, so I chose the poet Simon Armitage. I just love the way that he has the poets alchemical trick of creating something magically meaningful and witty out of words we all use; and feelings and thoughts we all have.
Next I wanted a singer who would know loads of songs, has the voice of an angel, again is from up north, could arrive on the bus from Barnsley with her guitar and bewitch us with beautiful interpretations of traditional ballads, bringing tears to our eyes before leading a great throat busting sing-along. I chose Kate Rusby - the Barnsley Nightingale.
Thirdly I wanted someone who I had admired for ever, who could add a bit of unpredicability to the evening, might be irrascible and/or drunk but, as the shadows grew long and we all had that tired, full, friendly feeling: sat in the near dark with only candles for light, could sing mellow songs full of warmth, about life, love and loss. I chose John Martyn.
The eating bit was easy. I have a feeling that this would be a fairly easy going gathering where the companionship and conversation was more important than the food; so I decided that we would play it by ear, have a few beers and then nip out to the traditional English chippy round the corner for fish, chips and mushy peas; or the home made cheese and onion pie is good.
The final part of the meme is to choose a time when I would love to have lived. I had real difficulty with this - and I'm sure there is a psychological reason - but despite the naval novels of the eighteenth century, sagas of sixties swingers, war time tales of daring do, I cannot think of a time I would prefer other than now. I am very much a believer in now: dealing with life as it comes along: "deal with life as it is, not how you want it to be" I'm fond of saying - of course that doesn't mean you ought not to have dreams and plan ahead, but I just feel so grounded now, here, this second, minute, hour.