Up and coming young journalist and poet Christabel Milbanke spoke to BBC 6 Radio poet Murray Lachlan Young about his daily routine...
I get up early if I’m writing and late if I’ve been gigging, unless of course I’ve been gigging and have writing to do. Glass of water, tea, two eggs, rye toast, and some raspberry jam. Second cup of tea then I’m ready to go. Rock and roll.
Usually I try to get my creative work done before and after breakfast. There is only so much one can do before the peak of the pinnacle is scaled. Thursdays, I’m working on my BBC 6 music poem. I usually listen in to the show a couple of days a week to keep an eye on the brain of DJ Shaun Keaveny. I react to his show so it’s important to stay tuned. Occasionally I make a few phone calls, but I try to revive as few letters and phone calls as possible. Not that I’m anti-social, I just have to keep my brain in work-mode. As most creative people will tell you, when the concentration goes it can be hard to get it back.
My writing process usually begins with finding my premise. It’s usually under something so I have to sift around a bit to find it. Then I have to find the thing under the premise - the defining principle, and then the theme. After this I just write as many words as I can and stack them into a vague order. They always make sense, if I allow them to. As a wise person once said ‘it’s not in the writing, but in the re-writing’. This is especially true with short-form writing, as every letter should count. Sometimes my sketch poems don’t have so much application attached to them, because they work as a basic premise with a tone attached to them. A good live delivery can get them across well but if they are to stick around they must be edited again and again.
I’ve just broken up from a long-term relationship so I’m currently a travelling poet living on the road. Living on the road is all about staying grounded and connected.I love people watching, and life on the road is a constant source of interesting characters. There are all sorts of personalities and agendas to deal with. Lovely people, problematic people, and then there is the audience to meet. I try to keep an open heart but also protect myself from heavy vibrations, which is where the connectedness comes in.
I tend to wear black on the road. If everything is black then it all goes together. Everything goes in one wash. Having said that I do like to wear Hawaiian shirts in the summer. Real Hawaiian shirts are quite difficult to find so I keep my eyes open.
Eating is another issue on the road. To eat too early or late when performing can result in an edgy or lack-lustre show, so it’s important to eat the right food at the right time. When I lunch in London, I go to my club, The Union club in Soho. I eat there because it feels like home. I also eat regularly at any of the Hix restaurants. Mark Hix is a friend and a brilliant executive chef so it’s always a joy.
When I have meetings the are held at one of the private rooms at the Union Club. I’m the resident poet there, so I get a good deal.
When I have a gig, I prepare for going on stage with breathing exercises, meditation, visualisation and then getting very excited about meeting the lovely people that have honoured me by coming to my show.
How I wind down at the end of my day really depends on where I am and the company I am keeping. I could be with my sons, in which case I have a 12-year-old to organise and a 16-year-old to check in with.
I always try to make sure I know what is happening tomorrow, set my intentions for the next day and try to be grateful for what I have.Christabel Milbanke is a journalist - > www.milbankemedia.com