The Men Briefly Explained / Tongues of Ash book tour is over. I’m back in my home, Keith is back in his, our publisher David is back in Australia, and the roadies have loaded the last of the gear into the trucks … OK, I may have made that last part up. They actually loaded the gear into pantechnicons.
We travelled from Dunedin to Auckland via Christchurch, Wellington, Eastbourne, and Paraparaumu. Along the way, we slept under hedgerows, in deserted fields under the stars, and in the houses of friends. At our performances met up with real-life friends and friends from the Internet. We sold books. We signed books. We read organised sequences of words from books. We got in cars and planes. From the planes, we could see clouds. From the cars, we could see election billboards. We saw John Key a lot. We didn’t see Phil Goff. We saw Annette King, though – she came to our Wellington launch.
We didn’t have contract riders, but if we had, they would almost certainly have stipulated only macrobiotic food, a room set aside for meditation at every venue, and the removal of all the brown M&Ms.
Actually, I like the brown M&Ms.
Sometimes, I read before Keith, and sometimes, Keith read before me. Sometimes, David read before both of us. I quickly discovered which poems from Men Briefly Explained worked well in front of a live audience, and which didn’t. I attended an excellent voice workshop for poets a few days before the tour started, and in tribute to this, I used my voice quite a lot on the tour. By our Auckland gig, it was showing definite signs of wearing out.
Seriously for a moment: though it was tiring at times, I enjoyed the tour very much. The physical touring is over, but now there’s a virtual tour to think about. Watch several other spaces!