03/12/11 - Bristol. Soon as I get on the train in London, I sit back, close my eyes and gather my thoughts about the journey(s) ahead. I've wanted to do this for a while and am slightly nervous that how I imagine the trip to be might not match its reality. The lady beside me texts calmly, opens a card and addresses it to 'Dear Emily' with a bright pink pen. The lad on my left watches a movie set in Iraq, there are soldiers with guns. Two hours pass, I arrive in Bristol, walk over the Bridge to meet Miranda at the Old Vic and find a cafe for a light dinner, she chats excitedly about the huge show she is assitant-directing, and a project she has in mind, one she think's I'd be perfect for.

We leave the cafe and head to Rebecca's - who has so kindly offered her living room for this, the first date of the Candy Coated Living Room Tour. She lives in Stones Croft, Bristol's answer to London's Dalston - I've been told. Rebecca's house is gorgeous and she is the perfect host, Hannah and Andy, her flat mates, have a ginger kitten called Henry who climbs onto my lap and settles there as though I were part of the furniture. It's 6.45, Rebecca speaks fondly of her Uni course, studying Creative Writing and Religion. The guests begin to arrive for the reading and her house fills with warm faces in from the cold, christmas-light-lit and smiling for it. They trickle in in twos and threes, at 7.30ish we begin. Nula is first up with her guitar, she sits, strums and is brilliant, she is goose-bump-good. She sings the blues, her voice is sweet, controlled, delicate and restrains the emotion of her words so effortlessly... I'd have sat for hours of her.

A short break after, I read/perform 5 poems from the book and I am sweating in my shirt and bow tie at the end. But it feels good. This close to those gathered and listening, I can hear individual intakes of breath when a word or an image hits home, I can see faces soften in the lamp light, I can see eyes moisten and why I do this, why I wanted to this, suddenly becomes clear, all over again.

Leonie - another acoustic guitarist plays and again, I am bowled over by how effortlessly her voice soars and climbs, her style is entirely different to Nula's but they compliment one another, she covers an Ella Fitzgerald song to end her set, and suddenly the night is done. One of the guys walks up to me winking, says he doesn't like poetry, but he likes what I did. They buy books, they stay to talk, they disperse into the night, to various parties, clubs, pubs.

Nikesh Shukla, an old friend who now lives in Bristol offers up his spare room and I walk over to meet him under a street lamp. His beautiful wife Katie points out the spare room and inside, there is a Spiderman costume hanging on the wardrobe. I feel instantly at home. Dawn bullies its way through the curtains, Nik and I gossip about the price of houses in London, about work, Kenya, and Mos Def - who is changing his name to Yasiin: What?! - I leave them at 13:00, call Ben Dowden who made the video for Candy Coated Unicorns and Converse All Stars: {here}. Ben is bright eyed and vibrant as ever and the talk is about holidays, switching off social media and the endless battle of personal work vs pay cheque work. It is 14.40, my train to B'ham leaves at 15.00 and somehow, Ben gets me to the station with 5 mins to spare. As I type, I'm sat in Bohdan's living room. He is the host for tonight's reading and his daughter Zosia crawls around the flat and Hoon who will be playing songs sits across from me. Tonight will be good. Till tomorrow, stay tuned...