The Poetry Show and Stairwell Books Presents: POLITICS AND BLAME, followed by a chat with John Wheatcroft

John Wheatcroft at Cull Valley Book launch

On Monday, 12th February, The Poetry Show episode is “Politics and Blame” (brought to you by the Department of Redundancy Department). Following that, former newspaper columnist, now novelist and playwright John Wheatcroft joins us to talk about newspapers, his first book Here In The Cull Valley, and his upcoming operetta, a work in progress being created with his wife Kay.
John Wheatcroft’s debut novel Here in the Cull Valley, is a ‘why-dunnit’ beginning with three deaths in an apparent road accident. It unfolds through articles and features written in two newspapers, one of them a ‘national’ publication which exists only in the head of its dying protagonist.
Despite the engagingly eccentric format, Wheatcroft has produced a novel which also plays by traditional rules of character and narrative, and features a grittily realistic West Yorkshire setting.
John says: “The story came first – then the format. I set out to tell the tale of a more-or-less decent man who is destroyed by a consuming passion for a woman he doesn’t even like, and by his struggle with a troubled past.
“So Here in the Cull Valley is not a book about journalism. However, the format I’ve chosen and my own experiences on newspapers do give me an opportunity to provide a picture of life on a regional publication in an industry which is on the cusp of real crisis.”

Before John sits down in the Corner Pin, enjoy the Poetry Show episode about POLITICS ….and by that, we mean our culture of BLAME. Frankly the show will just write itself and then throw a tantrum.
What is going on? What happened? I thought that old arc of the moral compass was bending toward justice but it’s taking a detour out past No Rights Lane and down by Blame The Other Blvd. Srsly wtf. And I REALLY thought we were past all the so-called race hatred stirred up lately. Oh, MY.
Its everyone’s damn fault except the real villains! Blame refugees…. but not war mongerers. Blame the desperate but NOT those who slashed the social safety net AND taxes. When you cut taxes? You replace them with FEEs. As an example, in the USA, that’s become the loss of fire fighters in small towns, and the rise of VOLUNTEER fire fighters.. .who work for FREE. These guys can just go burn their arses off for free. Guy will hear the alarm and think “Oh no, I can’t walk out on yet another shift! I need the money! Probably another brush fire” and no, it’s a house. Or a fee for fire fighting services…. when GW slashed taxes, towns had to instigate Fire Fees and if you didn’t pay? They’d spray the neighbour’s house in case your fire spread, but not put water on your actual burning house. Yes. This happened in Ohio. Woman didn’t pay the $75. Her house burned down while the fire crew watched.
Here, we close hospital wards, throw the ill people out, then arrest them when they beg for food money, or sleep rough. We slash tax on the wealthy and then complain that scroungers are not working at jobs that aren’t easy to find. We blame incomers for ‘stealing’ jobs but you can’t steal a job, like stealing an election or dodging tax in offshore accounts. Jobs are given out, by the one in charge. Tune in to hear us talk about politics and blame.

Job Share and Tom Dixon. The Poetry Show and Stairwell Books Presents:

On The Poetry Show episode (1pm ’til 2pm) , Job Share, we have the original crew of Charli, Laurence, Alan and me, but also with guest Lucy Furlong up from London.  So the ep was a job share too. If I recall it was a seat share too!  The recording studio at Eden Agency is a small space with four chairs, but we somehow fitted five of us in the room.

Job sharing is popular among parents of tiny kids. Back in the 1990s, job sharing became a feminist issue, a way for women to keep a foot in the job market and yet still have a life. Sort of.  Tiny babies are HARD WORK!  When I first had my baby, I had dreams: I was gonna learn sign language, maybe brush up on my French….. and I was grateful when I managed to get dressed and clean my teeth the same day.  I then went back full time and it was hard.

Then, following the Poetry Show episode, we have Tom Dixon joining us on Stairwell Books Presents:

Tom has a book out this summer called ON SUICIDE BRIDGE and Tom will talk to us about the inspiration for the book.  The featured picture above is of Tom at the Spoken Word, December 2016. No, the people gazing down at the floor aren’t praying, they’re listening intently. That was a very packed night!