First up was Borth’s Station Master who told us the story about his lighter, which he bought on holiday. This vacation was the worse he’d ever been on; in fact – it was a verifiable nightmare! While he and his wife were out there – a massive storm flooded four rivers and drowned fifty people. The island he was staying at turned into a disaster zone. He saw a tidal wave of filthy water speeding down the mountain – it slammed into a shopping maul, drowning many unfortunate people who got stuck in the underground car park. He saw lots of ill-fated scenes of devastation. Because of power-cuts all over the island, he needed some matches and candles. He thus found himself risking his life to get to the shop. On that day, he ran across a rickety bridge, as millions of gallons of water frothed under his feet. After numerous adventures, he did manage to find a shop. Eventually, he bought himself some supplies – including candles and a lighter. The lighter he showed us in the pub, was the same one he’d kept as a keepsake to remind him of his disastrous holiday. He mentioned how this event had impacted him, making him respect the fragility of life.
The second storyteller recited a wonderful tale about his student days. He told us how in the 1970’s,
I read next. I contributed a set of poems – Museum Ad Nauseam – a poem about the mental illness, electrocution, and incarceration of the artist William Kurelec. I also read Drunk, a poem about the affects of Aden (a forgotten war) on the mind of an alcoholic ex-soldier and the breakdown of his family life. I recited Proteus (a personal favourite of mine) - a poem about the world famous Elephant Man. This illuminelle – recounts Mr Merrick’s reflections on love, life and death. I finished with a small piece called Last Train – a poem about a man who falls in love with a beautiful passenger. I enjoyed the reading very much. The weather was awful and I got soaked but the landlord built up a lovely log fire, which soon warmed me up. The audience seemed to like my stuff and gave me a lovely applause. After the event a couple of people came up to me to thank me. The Postmaster kindly said my poetry was ‘profound.’ It’s always great when an audience is friendly and appreciative.
The last storyteller was the poet and playwright Mathew Francis. He bought to the fireside, a wonderfully witty essay about the magic of smell. It was full of riveting facts. He said, a bloodhound can sniff out objects better than his Human owner, but when it comes to distinguishing different smells, Human Beings are (according to Francis) more specialized. Apparently, we are able to smell a wider variety of different scents without confusing them – so in some ways, a man’s sense
of smell is more sophisticated than a dog. More importantly this characteristic of the human olfactory system helps Human Beings distinguish more smells and thus they can categorise a wider variety of scents, without mistaking them or mixing them up. He informed us that human’s can pick up a scent that has been diluted one part in a billion… So we may not be able to follow a scent like a tracker dog, but in some cases we can smell dilutions of aromas that perhaps a dog would be unable to pick up or distinguish. In general a dog is far better at smelling scents – but our system is extremely sophisticated and specialised. Mr Francis contributed a fabulous essay, full of witticisms, and all kinds of interesting information and trivia. He quoted poets and scientists and read from sonnets, even touching into the depths of Marcel Proust’s, Remembrance of Things Past. We as an audience were presented with some extremely unusual material – much of it bizarre, and wonderfully irrelevant… It was cool stuff and it kept us all riveted.
I thought the depth and the quality of tonight’s storytellers were amazing. The first two told their stories in front of a packed pub without the aids of notes or any reading prompts, so thumbs up them. Also thumbs up to Mathew Francis - a truly funny, intelligent, and engaging man.
Also, I’d like to thank my good friend Les for kindly asking me to participate in tonight’s entertainment.
I enjoyed myself tremendously, cheers!