Thank you to everyone, especially everyone who came out to read, and the Sansoni family, and Geoffrey Dobbs and the Galle Literary Festival, and everyone who came before. I got a bit tipped at the end and had to be trundled off in a cab, but I think it went off well. Near the end I couldn’t stop talking, but I was really so very proud. I wake up in the morning and I have a staff meeting and I need a haircut and my shirts are un-ironed, but last night I saw a variety of Sri Lankan talent which was interesting and new and hilarious. But overall, seriously, everyone was so good. Like Kottu, there are now a lot of high-quality and entirely different creatives in Sri Lanka, and that’s very entertaining to see. And this is just Colombo, there’s a lot happening island-wide in all our languages. More than anything, thank you to everyone who came and read and listened and heckled (Richard Simon, Timmy) and all.
Personally, I cracked up at Harean Hettiarachchi’s description of the simians contracted to build his deck, and I’ve always enjoyed his sister Ru’s poetry. There were a few young talents (fresh coming from me) that totally blew me away. Saint Fallen (whose blog I can’t find) read something holding a match. His hands were shaking but his words were sure. Dude who Of course Halik who I’ve actually worked with in a more boring context and who I think is one of the most imaginative people out there. And Drifter, who I’m glad came and read his Terrorist poem.
Not to mention, Gihan De Chickera and Tehani Chitty and Jake Oorloff for their renditions of Mike Masilamani’s poetry. They’ve been doing this for ages and their performances are really tight now, no notes, another level. Gihan De Chickera (Machan, watch it) is the closest thing we have to a movie star, and Jake’s the closest to a perfume ad (YouTube). And Mike, who’s entertaining and gracious as ever. His work has been extraordinarily new and fertile and, for me, the start of performance poetry in Sri Lanka.
Plus the two Navin’s, Weeraratne and Ratnayake. The former read a voice from the private sector about running a SME, something I have actually rarely heard about in this context. And my old friend Nav Rat for drinking on stage and reading Baudelaire. The poem was about drinking, that’s why.
And Pradeep Jeganathan who, aside from being a great cook and photographer is also probably the major published author there. And Sanjana Hattotuwa, editor of Groundviews and terrorist underling (jokes, jokes, don’t shoot). Plus Delon Weerasinghe, IMHO, really loosened up and started the night with his hilarious stand-up, connecting with the crowd and mortifying his wife.
And of course Hania Mariam (YouTube), for her beautiful self and voice.
If I forgot anyone I’m sure the people there didn’t forget. I lost my mental read/write function at some point in the night, but thank you so much.
Organizationally, it was just a microphone and a place and time. However, that ease is the result of years of work on the part of many people. Thank you to Tracy Holsinger and Tehani and everyone from Mind Adventures, and the Tennekoon family. Their talent and professionalism are a rock and a foundation. And Jehan Mendis (YouTube), who is a party in a box. And Nazreen Sansoni, who is like a second mother and an inspiration to me, and Dominic Sansoni, who is a mischievous scamp with a heart of gold. And Mo, for sure, and the Barefoot staff. I think I said it far too much at the end of the night, but we are truly standing on their shoulders, just like we as we depend on the inheritance from Lionel Wendt, Geoffrey Bawa, Barbara Sansoni, the 43 Group and so many more. And our parents and grandparents, for all their mistakes, what they have given us.
I got video of most but it’s overheating my laptop as I process. I’ll uplord over the course of the day. I gotta go to work. I really need a haircut. Omigod my email is on fire. Same shit, different day. But last night was something new.