Sunday 6 September 2009

The View From the Shoe: Banana the Poet

I first came across Banana on Authonomy, but only got to know her well on Twitter, where her tweeted verse has lightened up many a day. In her own words:

banana the poet aka Michele Brenton – was born and brought up in Swansea, South Wales and now lives on the Greek island of Kefalonia. Despite a deep seated hankering to be a 'serious' writer, she finds that the words which pour from her end up as either silly or serious poetry or lyrics. Her silly poetry is mainly rhyming observational comedy and her serious stuff worries her a little. She suspects that it might be unintentionally even funnier than the intentionally funny poetry and may be the sort of thing that 'real' poets love to read so that they can feel good about their own work.

The Great Novel she has always hoped to write stays firmly stuck on chapter ten where it is likely to remain for the rest of her life. She also has much difficulty writing about herself in the third person and is going to stop now before she frightens herself into thinking she might be developing a split personality.

I can be found on Twitter at @banana_the_poet
and on my blogs – silly poetry by banana the poet – Banana waffles – 'serious' poetry by Michele Brenton – info & progress reports about my books

Oh and I forgot – I'm just about to publish the first of a seven book series of poetry. It is the Yellow edition of the Alternative Poetry Books series and contains funny poems on the odd pages and 'serious' poems on the even pages in a desperate attempt to bring balance to the unbalanced.

· Thank you so much for your time. So, Louboutin or Converse?
Oh dear :( I think I may have said everything when I admit that I had to Google this question to find out what it meant. The sort of shoes I know about are figurative shoes like the one the Old Lady in the nursery rhyme lived in and who gets a mention in my 'What's in a name?' poem or the slipper in the Cinderella story which got modernised in my 'Get Real' poem.
I am strictly about finding the most comfortable utilitarian footwear at the lowest possible price sort of person. I think my feet might actually reject designer shoes in the same way some patients reject donor organs. Then again it might be the other way round and a designer shoe would refuse to spend one nanosecond on my chubby square tootsies. Just imagine Frodo or Bilbo Baggins in a designer outlet trying on designer shoes and you should get a reasonable idea of what it might do to the fabric of the time space continuum if I were to venture into such an establishment.

· Why is there no one in the world who does it quite like you?
Because everyone else has got more sense.

· What do you really, really love about it?
I love to laugh. I love laughing more than anything. I have very little self control and have been told by my teenage son that he suspects I may have some form of comedy Tourrettes syndrome. If a joke occurs to me I have to say it. It is extremely annoying at times (not to me – I'm oblivious) and if I didn't know better I might think that I might be the secret love child of Timmy Mallett.

I can restrain myself in 'company' but not for long periods which is why I tend to be somewhat of a recluse.

Being reclusive and prone to fits of evil scary (mwahahahaha) laughter seems to fit in with writing the sort of poetry I write. It also fits in with being on the internet a lot where I can find people who kindly indulge my sad personality defects and seem to get some entertainment from it.

I have to say that I really, really love meeting new people online and sharing my silly and serious poetry with them. They are so interesting and warm and welcoming and I am incredibly grateful to them for paying attention to me and my offerings.

· A bit more time in the day, or a bit more money in the bank?
How about a LOT more money in the bank? LOL
Time in the day I have plenty of – but time in my life? I would love to be certain of a good long innings. At 47 I'm just about getting to point of knowing what I want to be when I grow up.

· Imagine you “make it”. You wake up, and imagine the day ahead. Tell us about breakfast.
As I'm imagining, I'm imagining I've 'made it' collossally. The first billionaire poet! Oh yes!
Poetry readings in packed stadiums! Ticket sales outselling Madonna! Bill Gates asking me to teach him how to write poetry so he can be truly successful!
Let me tell you about breakfast....

The light shines in through stained crystal glass
and musicians tiptoe in
playing chamber music
to signal my day's begin.

A handsome muscled stripling
bared gleaming to the waist
carries a tray of morsels
chosen carefully for my taste.

I yawn and stretch whilst sitting up
in silken gold-thread sheets,
handed a glass of chilled green tea
to sip before I eat.

My husband, already bathed and dressed
in clothes all ironed and clean
informs me that our teenage son
has gone to Aberdeen

to give a concert to his fans
who think his music rocks
and therefore won't be home for days
and neither will his socks.

I always said that huge success
would never change this bunny.
I've always been this decadent
but now I've got the money!

· What’s your Jimmy Choo? And what’s just cobblers?
My Jimmy Choo is being asked to do this interview for your blog.
Just cobblers is having a cold with a stuffed up nose and a temperature and not being able to find a cool place to put my toes in bed.

· Tell us about the last time a fan made you feel 100 feet tall.
I don't have fans. Anyone who reads my stuff and likes it – they've got me for a fan. But one lady told me that she liked reading my funny poetry because it took her mind off the chronic back pain she'd been suffering for years. That made me feel like there was a real point to what I was doing and helped me feel a little bit less irrelevant to the world.

· Independent and poor, or under contract and rich?
Independent every time. You might be under contract and have a ton of money, but in my opinion no one is rich unless they are free. I see contracts as intellectual imprisonment. I don't need money to feel rich. I just look out of the window at the view, or go for a snorkel in the afternoon.

· Do you remember that bit on Play Away where Brian Cant stood behind people and did the actions whilst they spoke? If you could choose anyone to stand behind you and do the actions to your sales pitch, who would it be and why?
Well you did say anyone, can I have God please? Failing that I'd have to say Oprah Winfrey as the next best option. They seem to be the two most influential forces on the planet and as long as it is make believe I might as well go for the best.

· Frocks or socks?
Definitely socks. But not smelly ones.


  1. As if you all haven't heard enough from me already!

    Just wanted to say a huge thanks to Dan for interviewing me. A total ego trip to see it here. No subsequent interview (should anyone else be kind enough to ask me) will quite match the thrill of this my first!

    A number of people have told me that they have read and enjoyed this - not sure why they aren't commenting here so thought maybe if I 'broke the ice' it might help them not be so shy.

    Come on guys - even if you think I've made a prize twit of myself here - all communication is good. It's better if it's unalloyed flattery of course but I'll take anything better than nothing ;)

    Off to go do head stands underwater now - really it's true - take care - I'll be wondering if anyone's commented while I drain the salt water out of my nostrils :)

    love from

  2. Can I have breakfast at your house? lol!!! What a great interview - love your stuff Michele:) Have a great day!

  3. You give great interview. Not as funny as your poetry, but pretty funny. Converse for me. They don't have that silly arch trying to reshape the bottom of my foot.

  4. You've turned tweeting into an art form as well, Michele. You are good at the capturing an image - maybe haiku is your natural style?

  5. Yo banana! Funny interview. I wish I could be as amusing.

  6. Wow, banana, you seem to be the verbal, organic equivalent of the finest chai. Utterly pure and uplifting. OK, utterly uplifting, anyway :-)

  7. Pure something :) beginning with b and ending in t and the word my father once gave me very bad look for accidentally saying in front of him when I was 30 LOL

    People are very kind and I am lapping it up with a very smug grin on my face - you know - the one on my avatar :)

  8. I've just added to your list of twitter followers - thanks Dan for the intro! ...and I'm free to come to breakfast any day you like, please get in extra gleaming striplings ready for my arrival.

  9. I think we may have found the heir apparent to Manumission!

  10. Well, I thought I was following you all along. Now I'm really following you.

  11. Looks like I need to start a banana's breakfast club!

    At least I know where I can find a good DJ...

    but he isn't usually awake at breakfast time - unless we have breakfast at around 8 in the evening!


  12. Quick update! I got my ISBN number today - so we are putting the finishing tweaks on the file and will be sending it to the printers today for our proof copy to be made.

  13. This was such a fun and funny interview!
    I totally agree with Banana about shoes. :)

  14. Thank you. I think more people want to go to Kefalonia to meet Banana than the island's tourist board could ever attract.

  15. This fabulous interview
    Had me in splits
    I laughed so hard
    My shirt had slits
    Banana - you are a hit!

    Good luck Michele!

    Vikram Narayan
    The BookBuzzr Guy

  16. Wow. Just rediscovered this post. Like travelling back in time. Weird, but nice :)