Tuesday, November 07, 2006

End of Aldeburgh

Where did it all go? One minute the weekend dizzies delightfully before us, the next it's over. Sunday was a modest blur, beginning with the hugely popular reading by the Joy of Six, whose venue - like that of many other events - was full with a queue of hopefuls. TJOS is in fact five people, all well established poets in their own rights. André Mangeot, Andrea Porter, Anne Berkeley, Peter Howard and Martin Fugura write and perform together, reading a combination of individual and group work. The hands down favourite piece for Sunday's hall of poets was Poets' Retreat, from Martin Figura's 2005 collection ahem, and read by the group. If there was a sub-species of poet from whom this hilariously sinister poem did not take the mickey I don't know which it would be:
The concrete poets, for obvious reasons, were less quick
and paid the price. But they have found a certain peace
and are with their own kind holding up the flyover
at the Junction with the A66.
Following a less than swift cup of tea in the White Lion, we set off for the finale reading: the ever wonderful Vicki Feaver, an incredibly good German poet, Durs Grunbein, reading with his unfortunately almost inaudible translator Michael Hofmann, and - once more to the microphone - Sharon Olds reading work selected by and on behalf of her friend Philip Levine.

Supper was a delicious trip to the Crown and Anchor in Orford, proving ground for Ruth Watson's imaginative food in a cosy and friendly hotel which has in the past delighted the likes of Nigel Slater. We sipped some sublime old sherry while considering the menu, deciding upon guinea fowl on a pea and chervil risotto; a towering portion of crisp, juicy pork belly on a well seasoned kindling of vegetables;

and a perfectly pan-fried fillet of hake on saffron mash with fresh spinach. The desserts were not so successful, the pumpkin cheesecake a bit watery - maybe not sieved? - but for whatever reason a bit too vegetable-textured for my taste.

The cheesecake looking a bit lonely with its luscious loganberry companion at its side, after half of it had been spirited away to another plate... and I found the bitter chocolate souffle cake pretty much inedible - hard and uninteresting even with a darling little pot of cream to pour over it. I'd been reading up on the pudding recipes beforehand (the chocolate one came from Something for the Weekend) but not carefully enough, as I thought there would be some give to the texture. Oh well. Everything else was so good it was overkill anyway. And it did look quite majestic.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home