I went riding on the Write Track alongside my co-driver, Louise Swingler, and wonderful fire-woman (and expert slide-clicker and general ideas-stoker) the Lady Vivienne on the fringe at the Ilkley Lit Festival last night (Tuesday 15 Oct). And after a few shunts and diversions we built up enough steam to arrive safely at our destination.
We arrived for work carrying guitars, Station Master hats and coats, a top hat, books, and lots of nerves to a busy Wildman Studio at the Ilkley Playhouse and were escorted to our dressing room (well of course!)
Once on stage (that’s luvvie talk) we performed our odd mixture of songs, brief sketches from ‘Brief Encounters’
and strange ones from ‘Strangers on a Train’, as well as rousing readings from train-related incidents by Richard Yates, Kate Atkinson, Paul Theroux, Angela Carter and Arundhati Roy, before entering the tunnel of our own tales from the ‘Stations’ anthology.
We finished by asking the audience for their own favourite train stories or episodes – and were re-railed along the lines of: The Railway Children, Ghost Train, Murder on the Orient Express, Slum Dog Millionaire, The Night Train, Train to Pakistan, and Thomas the Tank Engine – to name but a few.
(Feel free to add your own!)
It was lovely to get such engagement – and many positive responses to our performance too, including:
“I could hear every word you said!”
(There’s Yorkshire praise for you!)
People hovered on the platform for some while afterwards, chatting, sharing more train anecdotes and even buying a book or two at the station bookshop.
Or was it the free cake from the buffet that kept them there?