All my upcoming performance dates in one handy place... may I present "sarah-clare conlon's cache-cache book tour flyer". cache-cache is my debut poetry pamphlet, out with modernist poetry press Contraband Books very soon, and I'll be reading bits and bobs from it at all these fabulous dos! I'll try and read different extracts at different events, if that's possible, just in case you have the misfortune of being at them all. cache-cache is hide and seek in French; thanks to David Gaffney for this photo peeking through a hole in a door at Victoria Baths, where I've had the pleasure of being their first-ever writer-in-residence.
02 April 2022
Yesterday was 1 April, so the annual event of Daily Permissible Exercises In Style – one hour of observation, from the window where I work onto the street where I live. I note down everyone who passes on foot, on bicycle, en voiture, and any birds and planes that fly over, and if no one passes I note down any other points of interest: washing on a line, flowers in bloom, cats atop walls, noises off, the weather. I then, eventually, type it all up, condense it down to a specific wordcount, and play… swapping nouns, messing about with translations, relating the “story” backwards, that kind of thing.
This is the third year I've done it, having started during the first UK lockdown (lockdown measures legally came into force 26 March 2020, I’m sure you’ll remember), basing it on Georges Perec’s Tentativement d’épuisement d’un lieu Parisien (available in English as An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris) and then sprinkling over some of Raymond Queneau’s Exercices de style (Exercises of Style) magic. Some of the results from 2020 and 2021 will soon be available for your delight and delectation in my debut pamphlet, cache-cache, due out with Contraband Books next month!
It's interesting, and très Perecian, to record specific places on an annual basis, and the other thing I've been doing three years running is pose for a photograph down by the river Mersey in Didsbury, Manchester, near Simon’s Bridge. The photograph is taken each year in the dying days of March by Nicholas Royle, after we met him there the first year to swap DVDs and gather wild garlic, obviously with a suitably spatially aware, socially distanced gap. Nick sits on an adjacent bench; David and I sit on the Bench Of The Two Susans, a bench bearing two plaques, both dedicated to people called Susan.
I wrote a poem mentioning the Bench Of The Two Susans, partly written there. Will Finches Inhabit Me? appeared in The Interpreter’s House last October (submissions are currently open until 14 May, and I recommend sending something over – they are a joy to work with, taking such time and care typesetting my piece) and it has also found its way into cache-cache (you really must buy it; pre-orders available 29 April!). Pictures, top to bottom: March 2022, March 2021, March 2020.