Last week I went along to Hebden Bridge for a reading by Tony Curtis at the Crown Inn organised by Arc. If you're going to be left with an hour to spare in cold, windy, snowy conditions - then Hebden is not a bad place to be left in. One of the best Mochas ever in one of loads of cafes.
Tony doesn't so much read as envelope an audience in his own world which takes in so many places around the actual world that it seems quite normal that one should go out and find oneself driving along a small country road in Kansas, or whatever, trying to find an Old Peoples' Home and ending up in a mansion.
His imagination, in his poetry, is such that a Pony Society asked him to write a book about their breed of pony. He replied he didn't know anything about horses - which wasn't a good start. They said they didn't care as they were sure he could do the book. And he gave a few examples from the eventual book which proved their point.
Charisma can be a derogatory word but in Tony's case it fits. He's not putting it on. I heard him as I was getting off the train and he was exactly the same as when as in front of an audience. You'd love to have a few beers with him in the pub after.
To prove a point - the reading was taking place in the main bar of the Crown and people were coming in just for a pint. They looked a bit bewildered at first but all of them stayed to listen.
And thanks to Arc for holding the event.