You can never launch a good thing too many times. You might recall I ‘helped’ launch the Manchester Children’s Book Festival 2012 back in January last year. It was very nice. That’s presumably why they did it again.
Yesterday’s launch at New Charter Academy in Tameside (Ashton-under-Lyne) was properly executed, despite this being the week of throat infections and other kinds of bad throats. The member of staff at NCA who was to lead us to the auditorium had to whisper, hence the few followers. Poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy fared only a little better, but was assisted by microphone and water.
But we did it, and that’s the main thing. With the help of my chauffeur, aka the Resident IT Consultant, I made it to this far flung outpost of Greater Manchester, and it was my very first academy visit. It was nice. No sooner had I braved the cold winds of the car park and made it inside when I was shanghaied into a – mercifully brief – interview with Radio Tameside (I conduct the interviews here, thank you very much!), as well as been begged for a contribution to the mcbf blog.
I was introduced to MMU Vice Chancellor John Brooks, who might be the one who said that well behaved parents could be permitted to accompany their children to the mcbf in the summer. (If not, someone else said it. It’s all a blur at the moment.) Nearly everyone spoke at some point or other. A few specially invited NCA students asked Carol Ann Duffy some extremely good questions. Kaye Tew enthused about their schools programme and James Draper (wearing truly cool socks) introduced the second half of the launch.
Which was Carol Ann Duffy and her best friend John Sampson, doing a similar show to the one I saw last year. But you simply can’t have too much of The Princess Blankets (the end of which I had already *forgotten…) read by Carol Ann and with John playing a lot of different flute-y instruments, including something looking like a walking stick. (The Resident IT Consultant nodded approval for every outlandish and ancient music contraption brought out.)
Noisy audience participation (by this time the audience had grown with the arrival of pupils from nearby primary schools) complemented a successful show. It included much worthy learning, but also a sign bearing the words ‘Bloody Hell.’ And I don’t think that was an accident… Mozart was there, not to mention his older colleague Johann Sebastian Baah, the famous sheep.
I could go on. And on. But to save you having to switch off your computer, I’ll leave you with the link to the brand new and freshly produced mcbf programme. It contains many witchy favourites. Some only in school events, however. I will work on my witch-to-school transformation for daytime use.
(And I’m sorry, but my photos are as rubbish as last week’s were. I suffered a ‘technical hitch’ which has now – belatedly – been rectified. Suffice it to say I am an idiot. Sorry.)
(*As for my concerns about early dementia, I have looked at last year’s launch blog. It seems Carol Ann never read us the end. Hardly surprising I couldn’t remember it.)
Just One Cornetto…