Hi Mr Mistoffelees. I have always been a poetry wallah and like so many before me produced my own volume, which like most such solo efforts eventually sank without trace, but I did manage to get most of my production costs back, which few do.
It was a fascinating experience. I had been down-sized as a result of company amalgamation but decided to branch out as a freelance consultant. So, to show I could operate solo without a multi-million pound international company behind me I produced a weird selection of the poetry I'd written until then.
I say 'weird' because it was based on areas in which or about which i had written. The selection logic being that I marketed according to those areas for local interest. TV wasn't local then and really isn't now despite declared intentions when cable came in but it gave me access to a range of local radio stations for interview and a few poetry readings. In a much smaller way than Hayley it might be thought as my literary equivalent of her street busking--except I did it somewhat late in life.
It was great feeling arriving at a radio station and announcing myself and being told, ah the producer is expecting you, you'll be in studio 3, if you'd like to wait in the Green Room.
The problem with doing everything yourself is that you are not too sure which talent it was that made you successful, if you are. In my case I think it was because I was pretty good at selling myself rather than being much good as a poet. But I had a lot of fun, denying the usual excuse of my position of being 'made redundant' by stating blatantly i had been fired.
i hadn't but I vaguely recalled a quote from someone that most successful people had been fired at least once in their careers or badly messed up, so I thought that by declaring i had been fired I would start on that upwardly mobile ladder.
A few years on the view doesn't seem to have got any better but I've survived and had quite a bit of fun along the way.
Any way, I digress. My acquaintance with Eliot was hearing a broadcast of Four Quartets on the radio as I was walking along the Thames near Marlowes, where, I believe Danny la Rue once owned or part-owned the main pub by the bridge, 'The Angler'?
I was about nine and did not understand that opening phrase which I quoted in my review of Hayley at Gawsworth Hall (now on the main Review link on this site). The concept fascinated me and has continued to do so, 'Time present and time past are both perhaps contained in time future and time future contained in time past...'
It may be from that experience that my fascination for the eternity of spiritual values and concepts of Past Lives took root as well as an interest in spiritualism and multi-dimensional existences and parallel lives.
You may not be aware that the phrasing is derived from the period when it was written, shortly after the publication of Einstein's 'Theory of Relativity', which is what that passage is about. A fascinating example of how art and science interweave.
However, as usual, I digress. Because my introduction to Eliot was long before Andrew Lloyd Webber's music my favourite cat is McCavity, for its wonderful alliteration and assonation. It may be from there that I gained my appreciation of playing with words.
Anyway. I've wittered on as I frequently do. Glad to have a response from you. Glad to find a fellow Eliot lover.
Her eyes were the blue of cornflowers that dance amongst ripening wheat, Her hair the colour of golden sands bleached by summer's heat.