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Posted 20 hours ago

Hey Bert

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Bert's writing, quite simply, makes me happy. Jealous but happy.' – Crystal Jeans ‘Wow. One of the best things I've read in a long time […] Bert is clearly a deliciously fresh and exciting talent, you’ve unearthed a diamond there ... I thought it was ace.’ – Rhian Elizabeth I kept pushing and pushing, until about two or three years ago when I got very tired because I burnt myself out, so that’s when I started consulting. I’ve put the graft in, working all available hours, tasting and reading up about wine on days off, and entering competitions. I won multiple, including a Young Sommelier award in 2017.

Over the rest of the afternoon: Meet with restaurants and put together proposed wine lists for clients. I found it more tiresome to sit at a computer than to be running around doing a 14 hours shift on my feet. I moved into restaurants to raise beer money, then I found it left me feeling buzzed. I was so bored sat in front of a computer all day. I can’t do that, I need to be in my feet and interacting with people and travelling, otherwise I will literally fall asleep – and I did do that a lot at my desk.

At one of my previous restaurants I’d start at 9am and finish 2am and I’d have 20 minutes in the day to use the toilet, eat, text a loved one and let my mum know I’m still alive. Now I try to to be plant-based and not drink alcohol Monday to Friday, especially if I’m at home. I find if you don’t do that you just put on loads of weight and you’re an absolute mess, so you have to be strict on yourself. One of my current project involves working for Keythorpe Hall in Leicester, where I tailor the wine each individual guest has for a personalised experience – no two menus are the same. They’ve called me a ‘wine concierge’.

I’m very controlled with alcohol – I have to be. I have certain days I let my hair down like everyone else, but I’m very controlled and I think there’s a lot of people who aren’t and struggle, it’s really sad. I think if you haven’t got that the industry isn’t right for you. I studied Computer Game Design at university, then went to work at Activision – the big gaming company makes Call of Duty – and got my name on the credits for a James Bond film, then left after everyone got made redundant. Then I was like, I want to work in the best restaurant in the county, so I did, then the best restaurant in the North, and I did, then I wanted to work at the best restaurant in London, then the UK, and I did.

Hey Bert is a clarion call to open our eyes a little bit wider, of poetry’s capacity to find new ways of looking at our own lives. Poems that speak intensely of the everyday, of nostalgia, friendship and love, the body, the sacred, all seen through Pastore’s unique, eccentric filter of spirit animals, pop-culture, dreams and astrology. Evoking John Giorno, Anne Waldman, and Julia Heyward, Pastore’s work draws from performance art, confessional poetry, mantra, and folklore to create a voice both fiercely contemporary and somehow out of time. an impressive debut ... This is profound poetry, spiritual and wise and while engaging with difficult themes (life often being a difficult business) it does so with grace and some humour.' – Frances Spurrier, Wales Arts Review I also co-authored a book, Which Wine When, which was the product of a drunken conversation over Guinness because my phone is full of all my friends repeatedly asking which wine to buy for different occasions. Do you have an interesting job you fancy chatting about? Or did you take an unconventional path to get where you are today?

I fell into it – there wasn’t an epiphany moment and no one in my family is in the industry. My mum is a ceramic artist and my dad is a plumber. But in the UK there’s a divide between the North and Midlands with the South – though there are exceptions with Michelin star restaurants.

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