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On A Wing And A Prayer

March 30, 2009

pan-am-clipper
.

Language and, presumably, literature are things that are more ancient and inevitable, more durable than any form of social organization. The revulsion, irony, or indifference often expressed by literature toward the state is essentially the reaction of the permanent—better yet, the infinite—against the temporary, against the finite. . . .

The real danger for a writer is not so much the possibility (and often the certainty) of persecution on the part of the state, as it is the possibility of finding oneself mesmerized by the state’s features which, whether monstrous or undergoing changes for the better, are always temporary.

If what distinguishes us from other members of the animal kingdom is speech, then literature—and poetry, in particular, being the highest form of locution—is, to put it bluntly, the goal of our species.

Joseph Brodky

.

If Brodky is right (and I believe he is) then all this crap we’re going through is temporary and, ultimately, irrelevant. In the meantime, don’t you just want to fuck off? To scarper, decamp, head for the hills, take to the tall timber, have it away on your ten toes, saddle up and ride out, do a bunk, get gone?

So let’s have ballades on the theme of escape.
.

Take Me To The Pilot

I’d like to jump but fear to fall,
Fresh pavement-jam is not my fate;
Got nowt to lose, in fact, fuck all:
It’s a good time to wipe the slate
Of hopes and dreams, it’s far too late
For dreams and such-like childish things
Of which the self-help books all prate:
O Lord, grant me a pair of wings.

I won’t deny I’ve had a ball;
I ended up in a right state;
The sight of me would fast appall
The average wowser: God, they hate
A fellow who keeps talking straight;
They don’t expect it from their kings
And not from fellows from Kuwait:
O Lord, grant me a pair of wings.

Wouldn’t you rather fly than crawl?
Or will you just be graveyard bait?
When fortune rings, answer the call,
Just let the dice your path dictate
And rid yourself of useless freight;
Seize time–there aren’t that many Springs;
They also die who stand and wait:
O Lord, grant me a pair of wings.

O Prince, who would emasculate
The very warp and woof of things;
I leave you to your high estate:
O Lord, grant me a pair of wings.

175 Comments
  1. March 31, 2009 9:01 AM

    Interesting you choose this topic, Mishari. Chez Baron we’re investigating ways to spend the the summer out of the country (hopefully Berlin). Or perhaps I’m just trying to outrun my woe that Poster Poems ended.

  2. seanmurray permalink
    March 31, 2009 9:06 AM

    Sport and, presumably, tennis are things that are more ancient and inevitable, more durable than any form of social organization. The revulsion, irony, or indifference often expressed by tennis toward the state is essentially the reaction of the permanent—better yet, the infinite—against the temporary, against the finite. . . .

    If what distinguishes us from other members of the animal kingdom is sport, then tennis—and Lawn Tennis, in particular, being the highest form of tennis—is, to put it bluntly, the goal of our species.

  3. March 31, 2009 9:15 AM

    But animals play sport, don’t they? Tiger cubs wrestle, stags charge each other to compete for a mate, otters play darts.

  4. seanmurray permalink
    March 31, 2009 9:31 AM

    And the little birdies tweet.

  5. March 31, 2009 9:37 AM

    Tennis the goal of our species? Chist I’m doomed.

    I had it in my head that sitting for hours drawing and painting then touring performances for 6 months of the year was something worth doing but I’m going to have to re-think. Luckily this news has come in the middle of a mid-life crisis so at least I can kill 2 birds with one stone.

  6. March 31, 2009 9:47 AM

    ‘I can kill 2 birds with one stone’

    At least that’ll stop them tweeting.

  7. mishari permalink*
    March 31, 2009 9:55 AM

    The goal of our species is lawn tennis? Jesus, Sean…you really know how to cheer a guy up. I see your Ray Mears-a-thon, far from toughening you up, has turned you into an effete, thin cucumber-sandwich nibbling, flannel-wearing sap. Do you whinny, “Oh, I say, Mater…well played.”?

    Well for fuck’s sake, don’t do it here. You’ll frighten the poets. They’re even more effete and highly-strung than you’ve become. And stay off the lawn. It’s for lounging around on, looking sulky, not sodding tennis.

    Baron, Grizzly bears salmon fish (not with dry-flies, the brutes), snow-leopards are superb mountaineers, dolphins body surf and cockroaches are decathalon masters. The Olympic games are the highest expression of man’s creativity. And to think I scoffed at them coming to East London. What was I thinking?

  8. seanmurray permalink
    March 31, 2009 10:26 AM

    My ‘secret rural location’ turned out to be a colony of Lawn Tennis chappies prancing around in nowt but bobby sox. The ‘cucumber sandwiches’ were *scrumptious*.

  9. mishari permalink*
    March 31, 2009 10:37 AM

    Anyway, lawn tennis is for sissies. Let’s hear it for the exciting new sport of Veldt Tennis. Played on the vast plains of southern Africa, it requires skill and cunning hitherto undreamed of in Wimblbum.

    Two players, let’s call them Nadal and Murray, are dropped off 250 miles apart on the Serengeti Plain. They are equipped with canteens, mosquito repellent and Mannlicher .50 calibre rifles. They must then stalk and kill their opponent. Points are lost for being eaten by lions, trampled by wildebeests or gored by Cape Buffalo. The winner becomes King of the Zulu. Now, that’s what I call sport…

  10. March 31, 2009 10:43 AM

    I’m off to a secret rural location this evening to work on a new show for 5 days.

    Not quite sure which part of that sentence I should put in inverted commas. “Work” probably.

  11. mishari permalink*
    March 31, 2009 10:47 AM

    What’s with all these secret locations? I feel like I’m dealing with a bunch of incipient Doctor Mabuses, all hell-bent on world domination (or cornering the market in Jaffa Cakes or something equally sinister)…

  12. March 31, 2009 12:22 PM

    “Chez Baron we’re investigating ways to spend the the summer out of the country (hopefully Berlin).”

    You’ll have the city to yourselves, then. For seven or eight months out of every year, Berliners complain scowlingly about the cold, wet, sunless weather and make their plans to defect to warm climes… and finally they escape the city en masse when the weather reaches its… warmest. This legend about Germans being ueber-rational… who started it?

    Sean:

    “The revulsion, irony, or indifference often expressed by tennis toward the state is essentially the reaction of the permanent—better yet, the infinite—against the temporary, against the finite. . . .”

    I can just *hear* that as a rousing speech delivered to a cheering throng in stylish white limb-exposing religious apparel. Shorts and veils… has anyone done that yet?

  13. March 31, 2009 12:31 PM

    Thanks, Steven,

    We’re looking at May-July. We’re looking for some (comparative to London) peace and quiet, so deserted sounds good. As long as there’s someone around to sell me weiss-wurst I’ll be happy. Or is that just Bavaria?

  14. March 31, 2009 12:35 PM

    M:

    “Anyway, lawn tennis is for sissies. Let’s hear it for the exciting new sport of Veldt Tennis.”

    Equipment: subsonic tennis cannons; radar rackets; 20km netting and ten meter posts; turbine ballboys; compressed airboots for postmatch net-jumping; elephant guns…

  15. March 31, 2009 12:38 PM

    Baron:

    Weiss-wurst… (faints)

  16. March 31, 2009 12:42 PM

    (faints)

    Yeah, my uncle fed it to me in Munich last year. It was tasty and seemed harmless enough. Certainly can’t believe it contained any meat.

  17. March 31, 2009 12:47 PM

    Bloody double usernames. Sorry. will try to stick to ExitB from now on. Feels a bit like the Baron died with Poster Poems. But will have to see if i can let him go…

  18. March 31, 2009 2:25 PM

    It’s a mean old world we got to live in
    This town is one great nailed-shut cellar door
    There’s less to eat and even less of givin’
    Chewed that apple right down to its lovin’ core
    Sister, comes a time a man needs more
    My sight has worn down all these smokestack views
    Mama, hand me down my travellin’ shoes

    Give me a golden river worth the sievin’
    With more than sunlight on its silted floor
    I need to trespass, then I’ll need forgivin’
    I need horizons I’ve not seen before
    Sister, kick the stern off from the shore
    God, break the levee, salinate those stews
    Mama, hand me down my travellin’ shoes

    I need an hour that I could bear relivin’
    An hour of where we going, what’s in store?
    Of sleepers ‘neath my feet, of tracks a skimmin’
    With that Decatur woman I adore
    Sister, let the judge chalk up his score
    Your ticket’s in my palm, could you refuse?
    Mama, hand me down my travellin’ shoes

    No, we won’t need that door key anymore
    No landlord, no police, no crime, no law
    No map, no destination, walls or clues
    Mama, hand me down my travellin’ shoes

  19. mishari permalink*
    March 31, 2009 2:27 PM

    Thank you, Blind Sleepy Lemon Charlus….Frighteningly good, BTW. Jesus, I don’t know why I encourage you bastards. I mean, where does it leave me? Eating dust, that’s where…

  20. March 31, 2009 2:37 PM

    I’m off to a secret rural location
    That I’ve never been to before
    Hope it won’t give me vexation
    Fall to my knees down on the floor.
    That’s what you get in the great unknown
    When you show ordinary life the door
    Two and two no longer makes four
    Your previous life becomes a bore.

    None of this may be true
    Life is still a hue of blue
    But when you put it to the test
    Ahem … a change is as good as a rest.

  21. mishari permalink*
    March 31, 2009 2:42 PM

    A prime example, Al, of the Truncated I’m On My Out The Door Ballade.

  22. March 31, 2009 3:23 PM

    Alas very true Mish will bring back a long ode on my return

  23. March 31, 2009 3:26 PM

    Alarming, Two Birds and One Stone is a very strange version of tennis, but it might catch on…

  24. seanmurray permalink
    March 31, 2009 4:36 PM

    While we’re reinventing sports, check out this post from GU during the last world cup, supposedly written by Alex Turner (yeah, that one):

    The matches should be announced 5 minutes before kick off, in the middle of
    < the night. The players are woken up by a high pressure jet of ice cold lager
    < and have two minutes to put on their boots and pads before being dosed up to
    < the eyeballs on crystal meth and PCP.*******************_Strobe lighting and
    < deafening white noise in the tunnel ensures that they’re hopelessly
    < disorientated by the time they line up to sing the national anthems. Any
    < that fluff a line or sing without sufficient gusto fall through trap doors
    < in the pitch and are eaten alive by starving rabid_heyenas. These inevitable
    < casualties are replaced by highly efficient but wildly unpredictable
    < mechanoids who can score from 70 yards but are often red carded for brutal
    < sliding tackles that spoil the turf and bisect their_opposition. The ball is
    < made from tungsten and the referee’s whistle is so loud it can melt lead.
    < The referee himself is a highly intelligent genetically engineered polar
    < bear who can see round corners and doesn’t take_shit from anyone. Collina’s
    < soul is trapped eternally within his pituitary gland. He has 9 different
    < colours of card, from yellow for a caution all the way up to black for
    < disembowelment and banning from the next 5 games._The linesmen are
    < omnipresent.*******************_Each half lasts for 5 hours and the pitch is
    < 7 miles long with terrain varying from greased astroturf to full canopied
    < jungle, interspersed with sand pits, ball pools and active volcanoes. After
    < each goal a hundred_strong troupe of n*ked local t**nage g*rls fly overhead
    < with rocket packs vomit napalm onto random areas of the pitch. The TV
    < coverage is spectacular, but rarely follows the action on the pitch,
    < preferring to focus_on closeups of the cerv1xes of the most attractive
    < supporters from some latin american country, even if it’s Scotland vs
    < Canada.******************* _If the scores are tied after 10 hours of play,
    < mutagenic chemicals stored in the players’ spines is automatically released
    < and they quickly transmute into horrendous lamprey like creatures who
    < rapidly reproduce 7 fold and form_an enormous writhing mass of suckers,
    < slime, shredded football atire and hooked teeth. The teams are disbanded,
    < the pitch is flooded with a 50:50 mix of stout and KY jelly. A horrific 5
    < dimensional game of twister then_ensues, with each hideous player trying to
    < force his way around or through his former team mates in an attempt to get
    < as close as possible to the ball, which has now armed the tactical
    < thermonuclear warhead within. The player_closest to the ball when it
    < detonates is declared the winner, and his vapourised remains are trapped in
    < a canister and rewarded with the dubious honour of being v*g1nally inhaled
    < by geriatric Estonian pilgrims who believe_(incorrectly) that it will cure
    < them of rickets.******************* _This new version of the beautiful game
    < proves so popular that 95% of the planet’s workforce downs tools to spend
    < all of their time watching it on tiny little screens directly inserted into
    < their retinas, and the global economy collapses. With food running short,
    < the blinded population of the planet is soon crawling around on the ground
    < searching for a morsel of edible organic matter as parasites and diseases
    < become pandemic. Brother is_soon killing brother for a flake of dried up
    < sm*gma as the planet consumes itself, polluted by discarded plutonium studs
    < and overheated by constant arguments over wether or not something that looks
    < like a giant hagfish with_a number 7 on its hairy back can be declared
    < offside when the ball exists in 11 dimensional space he has just eaten the
    < last defender whole.”

    Who’d have thought the lad had it in him?

  25. mishari permalink*
    March 31, 2009 5:01 PM

    Sounds a lot like Mowbray’s beloved Portsmouth FC, if you ask me…

    BTW…Alex Turner…Arctic Monkeys…that AlexTurner? Fuck me if google proposed a plausible alternative…

  26. seanmurray permalink
    March 31, 2009 5:16 PM

    Yeah, that one.

    There used to be more sites claiming it was by him. Here’s the only one I can find now (under ComMunich manifesto):

    http://2006whirledcups.blogspot.com/

    Des Swords once claimed on the booksblog to know the person responsible.

  27. mishari permalink*
    March 31, 2009 5:25 PM

    Yeah, but Des also claims to be the only legitimate poet alive today, the inheritor of Minesaginandtonic, etc, etc, blahblahblah…

    Well, maybe he is, but I’m always deeply suspicious of anyone who expends vast amounts of energy going to great lengths explaining why they’re so fucking wonderful.

    I mean, if they are, surely the work will do that job for them, no? Or am I being naive?

    BTW, I’ve been meaning to ask you, did you used to be FMK?

  28. March 31, 2009 5:34 PM

    What a truly awesome version of the “beautiful game” – it seems a shame to not have been credited to the right person… Oh dear, I’m feeling all virtuous since I’ve got me to a nunnery.

  29. seanmurray permalink
    March 31, 2009 5:46 PM

    ‘did you used to be FMK’

    That’s fighting talk, sir.

    fmk is the only booksblogger I have no time for whatsoever. Way, way too much sourness unrelieved by sufficient wit or originality. He certainly can spew out the data, true, but nah, give me humane dolts over yer fmks anyday. I smell cravat.

    The only other screen name I’ve used on GU is marioincandenza. Mind you, I was quite sour near the end as seanmurraydublin, as you once saw (a misguided last-ditch attempt to liven the place up again). That why you thought I might be fmk?

  30. mishari permalink*
    March 31, 2009 6:10 PM

    “I smell cravat”…great line.

    What made me ask was something FMK said over on our late friend cynicalsteve’s blog that, for some reason, made me think of you. It’s not like I detected a startling stylistic/aesthetic resemblance or anything. No offence intended…

  31. March 31, 2009 6:40 PM

    “I smell cravat.”

    Fiendishly good. The thought that FMK *was* Mario… Christ… “evil genius” would be faint praise in that case.

    This just in:

    Above-the-liner Jordison was deleted by the commods… in a thread (Ayn Rand) under his own post?

    samjordison
    28 Mar 09, 3:03pm
    Contributor This comment has been removed by a moderator. Replies may also be deleted.

    (2nd page of comments)

  32. March 31, 2009 6:46 PM

    Deleted commenting on his own post? It’s an achievement to offend the self so wholeheartedly!

  33. mishari permalink*
    March 31, 2009 6:48 PM

    Magic! The Grauniad mods invariably turn out to be even more moronic and petty minded than even I, who view them with contempt tempered by disgust, had suspected. Add this to La Toynbee’s latest missive from a parallel universe and you have to wonder if the Grauniad is long for this world or any other…good riddance.

  34. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 31, 2009 7:19 PM

    I rather liked fmk. His attack on Desmond Swords was a fine specimen of invective.

    A great work from ExitBarnardine. Mine looks even more pathetic beside it.

    A pedant writes: aren’t the stanzas supposed to consist of 8 lines?

    Top hole

    In Stalag Luft both day and night
    our chaps were tunnelling there:
    one day they hoped they’d get a bite
    of liberty’s choccy eclair.
    They’d slap the Brylcreem on their hair
    and locate a wizard cutie,
    once through the hole they’d helped prepare
    for England, for Home and Beauty.

    Hot and thirsty, without a light
    they burrowed down there nearly bare
    those flyboys wished they had a kite
    to make their prison break by air.
    A piece of bloody cake, mon cher,
    and let’s prang the Fuerher’s botty,
    then set the compass to repair
    for England, for Home and Beauty.

    When they broke ground the moon was bright,
    and they saw with utter despair
    nearby the camp was still in sight
    and the Boche were out on the square.
    They raised their hands and said a prayer
    for their pals in good old Blighty.
    Jerry shot them without a care
    for England, Home and Beauty.

    I say, it’s really most unfair,
    those chaps were doing their duty,
    and now that German soil they share,
    No England, no Home, no Beauty.

  35. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 31, 2009 7:25 PM

    I thought HLM would have a couple on by now. Must be doing the paid work.

  36. mishari permalink*
    March 31, 2009 7:35 PM

    You’re right. 8-lines per stanza. I fucked up. Replacement crap ballade to follow crap faux-ballade will follow shortly-ish…(See post header)

    Also supposed to be equal syllable count per line, which I did get right. No matter, it’s gone now. Standards must be maintained, goddamnit…

  37. St Pollyanna of Our Lady of Holy Optimism permalink
    March 31, 2009 8:42 PM

    Maybe she’s foreign? (I’m foreign, impudent creature. So what?–Ed.) I love the line “Ever the everlasting enchanting” – can’t get better aliteration than using the same words again!

    It’s about as freaky as “Stop the World I want to get off” which I caught about 15 minutes of last night for the first time – is this some kind of classic which I should appreciate?? The possibility of the writers, and probably the performers, being on drugs didn’t seem enough of an excuse for a strangely racist and completely bizarre load of nothingness… some woman singing a really annoying song sounding Japanese whilst wearing a performing dog’s costume. I fear I should have watched the whole thing, perhaps this part was supposed to be awful, but it was too inexplicably painful…

  38. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 31, 2009 7:46 PM

    You didn’t have to remove it. I was going to give it 24 hours before I called the Poetry Police (Kommissar: Wm Mills). It’s octosyllabic too, I believe, a nice numeric correspondence.

  39. mishari permalink*
    March 31, 2009 8:08 PM

    No, no…either we have standards or we don’t (mine was octosyllabic as well. Perhaps that feels like the right syllable count?).

    BTW, did you notice that BBC2 have finally caught up with the rest of us and are showing The Wire in its entirety, 5 nights a week, starting last night?

  40. St Pollyanna of Our Lady of Holy Optimism permalink
    March 31, 2009 8:49 PM

    I’m sure that was supposed to say “performers” – my screen’s too big to actually see the letters, which seems rather bizarre.

  41. seanmurray permalink
    March 31, 2009 9:13 PM

    Next: the mods turn on one another and finally one remaining mod-bloated mega-mod waddles about chomping up the entire GU site and then the internet itself and all life on earth, and then floats through space snacking on asteroids and slobbering and snarling at galaxies fleeing it for their lives. Possible explanation for our expanding universe, this.

  42. mishari permalink*
    March 31, 2009 9:16 PM

    The only Stop The World etc that I know was a film with Anthony Newley. I saw it when I was about 13 and walked out about a third of the way through.

    I wonder if it was really as awful as I remember it or was I just too unsophisticated to appreciate it? It’s a musical, right? All takes place on a sort of bare stage? Makes absolutely no fucking sense? Or are you on about a different one?

  43. March 31, 2009 9:20 PM

    (somewhere in the fathomless midnight the rime-glittery, red-crusted head turns slowly, slowly, slowly Sean’s way… nostrils flared for Murraymeat…)

  44. mishari permalink*
    March 31, 2009 9:22 PM

    Back in the late 60’s there was a short lived faux-hip TV show in the US called The Mod Squad–a groovy white guy (you could tell he was groovy because his hair was over his collar and he wore bell-bottoms), a uber-cool black dude (you could tell he was uber-cool because…well..he was..erm.. black) and a hip chick (you could tell she was a hip chick because she affected the blank expession and dull eyes of the habitual largactil user.)

    It was, needless to add, utter shite. But to be fair to them, I don’t think they worked for the Grauniad.

  45. March 31, 2009 9:52 PM

    M!

    Sarah Crown is no Peggy Lipton (the future ex Mrs. Quiny Jones)

  46. March 31, 2009 9:53 PM

    (erm… “Quincy” would make more sense there…)

  47. mishari permalink*
    March 31, 2009 9:58 PM

    Did Peggy Lipton (the hip chick in The Mod Squad) marry Quincy Jones? I didn’t know that. I fancied her when I was 14-15, but looking back, I think she was a bit limp and anaemic…

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  48. seanmurray permalink
    March 31, 2009 11:21 PM

    Search term that brought someone to my site: ‘she pissed down her grandson’s shins’.

    Sweet dreams, all.

  49. March 31, 2009 11:33 PM

    Misha,

    I left a response and an excuse for you on my website. I do not support Jacqui Smith, but do not want to be lead by the nose like an idiot by a Tory think tank. They are preparing a concerted attack on the public sector.

    Sorry to be off topic.

  50. mishari permalink*
    March 31, 2009 11:44 PM

    No worries, Isa. Nothing’s ‘off topic’ here. I’m just not prepared to be ‘scared’ into voting for these iredeemable scumbags.

    The last Tory government left the public sector larger than they found it and they didn’t sell off or rope in private industry to even a fraction of the extent that these swine have, with their PFI, PPP and the rest of it.

    BTW, Steven, have you seen this NYT article about Berlin’s literary scene?

  51. April 1, 2009 6:50 AM

    Isa – I hear there is some major shakeup of local government to amalgamate lots of little local authorities into bigger ones – not sure what the point is, but perhaps that will reduce the public sector?

    Good to see that questions are being asked about MPs pay and expenses, particularly second homes, when they only live 40 miles away or so. My husband travels 40 miles to work – seems good enough for him!

    I heard some argument this morning that MPs need to be compensated fairly (a good point) akin to lawyers and doctors (not such a good point) – lawyers are far too handsomely paid! Fat cats.

    Mish – yes the freak-arse musical from the 60s – that’s what I was talking about. Glad to hear you thought it odd enough to stop watching too and that’s I hadn’t just dismissed some classic. It won awards you see.

  52. Billy permalink
    April 1, 2009 7:11 AM

    I was once deleted on one of my own threads, and then deleted again for asking why I’d been deleted the first time. Bracing stuff.

    FMK did a complete runner; I actually quite enjoyed his/her posts in a clenched teeth kind of way.

  53. parallax permalink
    April 1, 2009 7:26 AM

    FMK – Ireland’s answer to Lance Armstrong – if I recall

  54. mishari permalink*
    April 1, 2009 8:38 AM

    For some reason, Steven, your post reminded me of a story George Mikes told in, I think, How To Be An Alien (possible faulty memory. It must be almost 40 years since I read it).

    Mikes, an émigré Hungarian, was in London during WW2. In a pub, he overheard a conversation about a plane being shot down. Eager to ingratiate himself with his new fellow-citizens, Mikes inquired, in his strong Magyar accent “One of ours?”…to which an English woman coldly replied, “No, one of ours“.

    BTW, I’ve changed the theme again, solely to regain the time-stamp facility. I was finding it very annoying not knowing when comments were being posted. Sorry for any inconvenience. Here at Politely Homicidal, we view our customers as family, so if you have any complaints, you know what to do with them…

  55. April 1, 2009 8:24 AM

    M!

    Funny, my fellow expat chum and I were discussing the very thing three days ago… everytime the NYT puts up one of those infernal Berlin-romanticizing articles, we get a flood of irritating American poseurs who drive up the prices yet again. My favorite is when they overhear us chatting in English and ask, “So, how long have you been here?” I usually say something like, “How old are you? I got here when you were… five.”

  56. April 1, 2009 12:26 PM

    I was going to comment on the change. It’s sort of more calm-looking somehow – maybe it’s the blue? I notice the varying grey boxes seem to be putting the names into the end of the previous comment box, unless that’s just my screen set up.

    Steven – in our part of the world those people are called “blow-ins”…

  57. April 1, 2009 1:34 PM

    One of the great things about living in Limerick is that it doesn’t attract lit tourists at all.

  58. April 1, 2009 2:22 PM

    St. Polyanna:

    Blow-ins… yes!

    And the formatting looks wyrd on my screen as well!

  59. mishari permalink*
    April 1, 2009 2:36 PM

    When you say ‘weird’, Steven, you’ll have to be more specific…I just checked it in Explorer (I’m a Firefox man, myself) and it looks OK…

    Bill, I used to be assured that Limerick was the stabbing capital of Ireland. God knows, no-one who lives in London needs to travel to get stabbed. The possibility is right outside our front door…which is why I always carry a gun.

    St. Polly, I think it must be your screen set-up. I don’t see that.

  60. April 1, 2009 3:03 PM

    Well the way I see it – my name and the date appears at the end of the comment before mine and my slightly differently coloured grey box only has the text of my comment in it. It’s probably a glitch as I’ve seen this same layout on another blog which seemed to work fine.

  61. mishari permalink*
    April 1, 2009 3:07 PM

    Nope…it’s you,. kiddo. Your post looks fine to me..name and date where they should be and everything. What browser are you suing?

  62. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 1, 2009 3:12 PM

    I’m surprised by BM’s remark. I’m told that many young people go to visit the birthplace of Jimmy Carr, who it is said is the quintessence of Limerick.

  63. mishari permalink*
    April 1, 2009 3:18 PM

    Am I the only person to find Jimmy Carr an utterly baffling phenomenon? I find him rather less funny than a toothache but almost as irritating. I blame Mills…

  64. April 1, 2009 3:49 PM

    Ballade in praise of staying

    Escape from what? From no real thing
    Since there is no real thing to flee
    Except yourself, the only thing
    That will not allow you to be free,
    Unless, of course, you can agree
    On what it is such freedom leans
    Within that self, and wait and see
    That freedom is a word that means.

    To dream a dream of taking wing
    Is natural to some degree,
    And yet I do not wish to sing
    This empty sense of liberty.
    What is escape, what can it be
    If what you run from’s in your genes
    Not to be dodged in some wild fling?
    So freedom is a word that means

    Something more complex than cut strings,
    Or even that dread liberty
    In whose name death’s tumbrel brings
    Reason to hang for infamy,
    Or any other sophistry
    Used to ensnare us in a dream
    Perversion of that very thing
    That freedom is a word that means.

    And so dear sweet prince Mishari
    Escape is not part of my scheme;
    I’d rather stand and sing out free
    That freedom is a word that means.

  65. mishari permalink*
    April 1, 2009 4:00 PM

    Lovely, Bill, but…my quasi-rebuttal to follow shortly…

  66. April 1, 2009 4:00 PM

    Erm… I’m at work… suppose it’s internet explorer of some variety. No worries – I can work out what goes where (my holy status has not taken that ability away from me)

  67. mishari permalink*
    April 1, 2009 4:07 PM

    Get Firefox, St. Polly…a much better, faster browser. As I said, it all looks OK to me…I liked the old theme but not having time-stamps was really annoying.

    I actually emailed wordpress about it and had a very courteous reply apologizing and telling me that the old theme didn’t support time-stamps.

    Freep was very unhappy about this lack of temporal clarity. So much so, that he has retreated to an anchorite’s cave and taken vows of silence. The bastard.

  68. April 1, 2009 4:18 PM

    He could just type really quietly…

  69. April 1, 2009 5:30 PM

    M!

    Actually, I’m running Firefox AND Explorer on my PC (Firefox has its own fund of irritants so I use Exp for some things and Firef for others), and I see your page works fine in Firefox!

  70. April 1, 2009 5:31 PM

    Oh shit I’ve commented as my own girlfriend (the Firefox switch makes the PC think I’m her now)…

    …Erm…. Steven Augustine reporting from the Techtard War front where the battle rages red…

  71. April 1, 2009 5:33 PM

    Okay… me again…

  72. April 1, 2009 8:22 PM

    I was wondering who halfanangel was, and what was the other half.

    Mish it looks fine now – I blame the workplace!

  73. freep permalink
    April 1, 2009 8:34 PM

    It is not true. I am an eremite and not an anchorite.
    The favourable meteorological conditions have induced me to construct a 120′ long larch fence. This quhill keep my elderly neighbour and his pet wildebeest at bay.
    For the time being, I have found this bending, hammering, sawing, root-grubbing, spirit levelling and whacking as good as poetry. Further, I have been a frequent visitor to the Duke of Northumberland’s sawmill, where the smell of sawn timber has all but overwhelmed my aesthetic whatnots.
    The fence is now finished.
    What time is it now?

  74. freep permalink
    April 1, 2009 8:40 PM

    Gott! Mishari has acquired a timepiece. Congratulations! Now I am oriented. I just need a compass.

  75. mishari permalink*
    April 1, 2009 8:43 PM

    I thought you’d be pleased. No longer temporally disoriented, you are once again part of the continuum.

    The Duke of N. has a saw-mill? Is there no end to the hoggish excess of these degenerate aristos?

  76. freep permalink
    April 1, 2009 8:52 PM

    Yes, His Grace flogs Raphaels as well as fourbetwos and five bar gates. He also owns a good chunk of Northumberland, including the river bank behind my house, which I have just treated as a tip. He has a few Titians and a rather good Turner in his castle, which are a reasonable hedge against bad times. The current Duke is too sensible for my liking; he inherited the title from his brother, who was His Disgraceful Grace, and who died of too much cocaine some years ago. Fancied himself as a film maker, but nobody ever saw one of his films …

  77. mishari permalink*
    April 1, 2009 9:01 PM

    Ah…I get it. I remember you mentioning Alnwick. D of N’s seat, no? Are the D’s of N the Percys?

  78. April 1, 2009 9:19 PM

    St. Poly:

    It’s German for “Harp Angel”… she’s a Harpist:

    http://harfenengel.wordpress.com/

  79. freep permalink
    April 1, 2009 9:34 PM

    Percy it is, mish.
    The exciting and warlike Percies were Earls of Northumberland, back around 1400. Hotspur, as in Henry IV. Then there were Catholic bits of the family – one of them helped Guy Fawkes with his matches and gunpowder and got topped. After that they just swanned around in Northumberland House (where Northumberland Ave is now, next to Charing X) or in Syon House, collecting old masters and loose women ….until the male line petered out. Then in the C18 an adventurer called Smithson married a female Percy, changed his own name to Percy and took the upgrade from Earl to Duke. After that they started living up here again. It is all extremely feudal. The sawmill is the Hotspur Sawmill.
    And in the middle of Alnwick is a giant doric column with a rigid-tailed lion on top, put up in 1816 ‘by a grateful tenantry’ after the second Earl reduced the rents by 25%. Naturally, he put them up again two years later.
    Enough tourism. What was it? A ballade?

  80. mishari permalink*
    April 1, 2009 10:19 PM

    A ballade, yes…Syon House. That brings back memories. I believe it’s closed now, but they used to have a butterfly house that was a magical, damn near hallucinatory experience. On a bitter winter day, you’d enter this huge glass-house structure, very hot and very humid. Tropical plants and flowers blooming in profusion…and butterflies.

    The most beautiful, exotic butterflies fluttering hither and yon, landing on you, deciding you were no good to eat and flapping off again. It was a marvellous place, an indoor tropical rain forest.

  81. mishari permalink*
    April 1, 2009 10:46 PM

    Your Harp Angel is a very striking woman, Steven. I’ll never forget the first time I fell under the spell of a harp. I must have been 6 or 7. My parents took me to a performance by a small orchestra that featured a female harpist. It was in London, possibly Wigmore Hall but at this distance, all I can remember is the dreamy fugue-like state the harp induced in me.

    I was enchanted by the soft ringing, chiming arpeggios, like a tapestry of notes that nevertheless allowed each note to stand alone. Like the sound of cool clear water running over smooth, rounded stones. Like bird-song. Like warm rain on an upturned face. Like sun-dappled long grass under trees, changing shades as the wind shifts. Like being in a small boat borne gently on the current to somewhere desirable. I’d never heard anything so unearthly and lovely.

    Also, of interest to poets, the final development of the lyre, mother of the lyric. Bit of a bastard to carry around though, I imagine.

  82. April 1, 2009 11:51 PM

    M!

    “Bit of a bastard to carry around though, I imagine.”

    The physical strain is as *nothing* compared to the fear of dropping it.

    When we were courting-and-wooing she baked me a chocolate muffin one night and I ate it in bed whilst reading essays by V.S. Pritchett and she rehearsed Satie in the very next room. It was like being a precocious seven-year-old with a sex life. Mahhh-vuh-luss.

    (This chat feels awfully like wearing a civilized smoking jacket and wiggling my toes in velvet slippers, shooting the breeze with a Nabokov-when-he-smoked-like Sophisticate at the club)

  83. mishari permalink*
    April 1, 2009 11:59 PM

    I love Pritchett. Did you ever read his autobiography? The Cab At The Door and Midnight Oil? Or his book about Spain, The Spanish Temper (I think)?

    BTW, have you ever listened to the Catalan Satie, Federico Mompou? He spent years in Paris as a disciple of Debussy and Ravel. Most of his stuff is for solo piano, but transposing it for the harp would be effortless. I mean, a harp is a bit like the inside of a grand piano turned up on its side, no?

  84. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 2, 2009 12:00 AM

    Means of Escape

    If you’re looking for drugs to do,
    There’s dope or coke or PCP,
    Sulphate, or what about some glue?
    A fairly wide variety,
    But think of the vile company,
    Or looking down a banger’s gun
    In more than one way they’re costly:
    I’d rather turn the TV on.

    Sexual intercourse, it’s true,
    Can take you close to ecstasy,
    But there’s a downside to a screw,
    And not only an STD,
    Joining cunt or arse with willy,
    If you’re trying to make it fun,
    Requires connecting socially.
    I’d rather turn the TV on.

    You could get stuck into a few,
    Some lager, vodka or brandy,
    But whatever your choice of brew
    You know the cost to your body,
    The aching head, churning belly,
    Recalling all the stuff you’ve done,
    Then blanking out the memory:
    I’d rather turn the TV on.

    All that effort takes energy,
    My store of that is almost gone,
    Keep your smack and sex and whisky,
    I’d rather turn the TV on.

  85. mishari permalink*
    April 2, 2009 12:09 AM

    Great if somewhat gloomy stuff, MM. I saw a TV advert earlier this evening that had Inez giggling uncontrollably and me laughing and then feeling a bit sad. An advert for a new tuna product from John West: No Drain Tuna. The tagline was ‘Tuna Without The Drama’.

    Dear God…what kind of featureless existence must one be living where draining a can of tuna constitutes ‘drama’?
    A life so dull needs more drama, not less…pitiful.

  86. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 2, 2009 12:23 AM

    Well, it is a bit of a nuisance. My system is to place the can on a small plate, open it, then carry it to the sink on the plate, drain it making use of the amputated lid (how many times have I thrown it in the bin before this stage! Too many), return to the table and decant it on to another plate, swearing volubly the while. Then I wash my reeking fingers, or wipe them on my trousers, depending on mood and presence of others. More an episode of EastEnders than Hamlet.

  87. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 2, 2009 12:26 AM

    I must say, reading Mills’ poem you understand why modernism was necessary.

  88. mishari permalink*
    April 2, 2009 12:34 AM

    Jesus…you’re a bit of a fucking drama queen. Try this: open the tin over the sink, drain–The End. Still, I suppose a chap of your advanced years can’t be too careful. A bit too much excitement and your arteries start snapping like bread-sticks.

  89. April 2, 2009 12:39 AM

    M!

    “I love Pritchett.”

    Me, too and part of the reason I find Mr. J. Wood difficult to take seriously.

    “Did you ever read his autobiography? The Cab At The Door and Midnight Oil?”

    That book is not one meter from where I type this; a nice little thing with a greenish cover and a handsome young Vic on its spine.

    “Or his book about Spain, The Spanish Temper (I think)?”

    I’ll need to get that. I have Collected Essays and Collected Stories and the autobio.

    “BTW, have you ever listened to the Catalan Satie, Federico Mompou? He spent years in Paris as a disciple of Debussy and Ravel. Most of his stuff is for solo piano, but transposing it for the harp would be effortless.”

    You have given me an education here and I’ll follow up (and mention it to S.).

    “I mean, a harp is a bit like the inside of a grand piano turned up on its side, no?”

    I described it that way not three weeks ago to somebody in a recording studio who was clutching a wee thing with six strings and a strap on it.

  90. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 2, 2009 12:42 AM

    That doesn’t work. You need two hands to use the tin opener. Electric ones can be a problem with tuna cans. My brother-in-law was scraping fish off his kitchen walls for days.

  91. parallax permalink
    April 2, 2009 12:45 AM

    Do you say ‘chewna’ or ‘tune-er’ (not too-ner) over your way?

    • mishari permalink*
      April 2, 2009 1:25 AM

      Tune-uh…although ‘chewna’ is more common amongst the aboriginals of East London.

  92. mishari permalink*
    April 2, 2009 12:52 AM

    What you need are those little tins of Italian tuna in olive oil. They have rip-tops. The only draw back is that, judging by the price, they are adulterated with flawless Colombian emeralds.

    Steven, I recommend Pritchett’s The Spanish Temper. One of those genuinely insightful books about Spain by a foreigner, in the great tradition of Richard Ford, George Borrow and Gerald Brennan (whose South From Granada I’m sure you’ve read), all of whom eschew the usual cliches…

  93. April 2, 2009 1:09 AM

    I once roomed with a German so cheap he refused to buy a proper (or “fancy”) can opener… instead we had to use this thing that was a rusty nail and a filthy claw attached to a greasy handle. In theory you drove the nail into the lid and circumnavigated the can with the claw and the lid would come off. I couldn’t master it and lost ten kilos (some of that in fingertips) the two or three weeks I lived there. S. now considers me very loose with money but it’s because of experiences like that…

  94. mishari permalink*
    April 2, 2009 1:20 AM

    Just for a laugh, I posted the following on Poem of the Week, under the name @arturopimiento:

    “In my country, we are very much like poetry. For exampol, Lorca. He is dead. Wylie is dead. Maybe only good poet is dead poet, no?”

    @anytimefrances, evidently unaware that ‘pimiento’ is Spanish for ‘pepper’, replied:

    “@pimiento…yes, of course. what we are often doing, and it is essential to a full engagement with poetry is what’s referred to be Heaney as ‘breaking bread with the dead.”

    Larf, as Steven is wont to say…

  95. parallax permalink
    April 2, 2009 2:21 AM

    Hey, surprise seance result for the table-rappers on the aptly named On A Wing and A Prayer thread: fmk has just popped up on the Gogol Books Blog.

  96. April 2, 2009 8:03 AM

    MM: touche. Mind you, I was striving for a “tone”.

  97. April 2, 2009 8:15 AM

    Oh, and this blog may get a reputation for summoning up the great departed; FMK is back on the GU.

  98. parallax permalink
    April 2, 2009 8:33 AM

    Hmmmm, how many fingers am I holding up Billy?

  99. mishari permalink*
    April 2, 2009 9:02 AM

    The Poet Mills Is Encouraged To Decamp

    There really is no need to go
    To count the cats in Zanzibar
    Or so we’re told by H. Thoreau,
    A man who never traveled far
    Or wished upon a foreign star
    And warned against a new-bought suit;
    The chained-up mind requires no bar:
    Beware! A static man takes root.

    The mind may travel sure and slow
    And dig up nuggets where they are
    But eyes need more to feed their glow;
    They need to shop in life’s bazaar,
    To travel where the big cigar
    Is rolled along the tight cheroot,
    To hear the humid blue guitar:
    Beware! A static man takes root.

    A skin that’s never felt the glow
    Of foreign sun or railway car,
    Has left too many things undone;
    The mind that doesn’t bear the scar
    Of love and loss in Côte d’Ivoire
    Is mind left baffled, dulled and mute;
    A bed at home is no boudoir:
    Beware! A static man takes root.

    O prince of verse and poem czar
    Who’s usually so astute
    A mind must branch, a bud must flower:
    Beware! The static man takes root.

  100. April 2, 2009 9:31 AM

    @arturopimiento

    Sock puppets, Mish?

    For tuna: open the can over the sink, press the lid down on the meat and tip. A fast an effective draining technique.

    I own a VS Pritchett book of short stories. It’s a lovely edition but I only read one story. They all wore blazers and were achingly posh. Should I persevere?

  101. mishari permalink*
    April 2, 2009 9:32 AM

    I always found FMK good company, opinionated (who isn’t?) and bracingly astringent. Plus, anyone who’s a keen cyclist and a Tom Waits fanatic can’t be all bad…

  102. mishari permalink*
    April 2, 2009 9:35 AM

    Actually, Exit, I’d get hold of his two volumes of autobiography and read them first. Then tackle the stories. Then his marvellous essays. You won’t regret it, I promise you.

    PS, it’s only a sock puppet if you deny responsibility and if your intent is to cause trouble…

  103. April 2, 2009 9:46 AM

    parallax: are we now expected to read other people’s posts?

    Mish: a fine rebuttal, but I may be back.

  104. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    April 2, 2009 10:28 AM

    The porridge has stuck to the oven
    The paid work is all in the can
    I feel a profound liberation
    With scourer and cream in my hand

    Before I emerge into sunshine
    The inevitability
    That breakfast be followed by luncheon
    Would cement the tranquility

    So off to the place with the freezers
    Where bagels are purchased with care
    A cheery hello to the geysers
    Who stoke my financial despair

    Then two cellophaned cans of tuna
    One re-usable mayo glass
    A bob of nutter and a spooner
    How to cook it? I feel such an ass

    I consult an internet expert
    On drainage and protective sheaths
    In two shakes I’m ready to invert
    The cans with the sink underneath

    I salvage the flakes with some jetsam
    And place in a bowl with the spoon
    Add mayo, removing the plum jam
    My wife had for breakfast, the prune

    My bagels are done to perfection
    And inflict a digital burn
    I hastily daub my confection
    Before the mayo starts to turn

    My stomach. Now the meal is over
    The detritus covers my lap
    No paid work to do: I’m in clover
    So I settle down for a nap

    Then builders next door commence tapping
    And drilling and banging and shit
    I toy with my forty-four magnum
    And ask them to stop for a bit

    At once they comply, sending Pedro
    To summon the local old bill
    Before you can say Jacques-Yves Cousteau
    I’m languishing in a cool cell

    The point of this tale? Just remember
    To work out a good escape plan
    Now I’ve no debts, not till next November
    When the luna comes out of the can

  105. April 2, 2009 12:06 PM

    I’ve just found these two verse samples from a well-known source. I’m not mocking when I say the sentiments (if not the quality) seem to closely match those of the redoubtable anytimefrancis; the poets she admires (the Shelley a few weeks back on PotW) and the tone of some of her own verse.

    1)

    Politicians hide themselves away
    They only started the war
    Why should they go out to fight?
    They leave that role to the poor

    Time will tell on their power minds
    Making war just for fun
    Treating people just like pawns in chess
    Wait till their judgement day comes, yeah!

    2)

    Make a joke and I will sigh
    And you will laugh and I will cry
    Happiness I cannot feel
    And love to me is so unreal

    The source? War Pigs and Paranoid by Black Sabbath. None more rock.

  106. mishari permalink*
    April 2, 2009 12:32 PM

    Ozzy Mandibles- King of Sing. Look upon my works in Blighty, they’re fair…

  107. April 2, 2009 12:50 PM

    The ultimate tin of tuna I spotted in Olive magazine at some price over £10. For a fucking can of tuna!! I forget who was peddling it (I’ll look it up later).

    MM – I’ve just had tuna for lunch and opened the tin over the sink one-handed whilst sorting out my bagel with the other – not to show off or anything!
    Is tuna possibly the most evil thing to eat for lunch in an open plan office? I think so…

    Steven, your harp-playing lady is stunning! I tried playing the harp once, it’s not easy is it? Least of all on the fingertips. I don’t really think it can be likened to playing the piano on its side – a totally different tone (not being enclosed) and also a much fuller sound as more notes can be played and sustained at once (it would be too much glissando work to replicate on the piano). I’m wracking my brain as to the orchestra piece I remember with a fabulous harp solo – is there a famous Saint-Saens?

    Anyway, I’m off to try to figure out a verse one and then you might be subjected to a ballade (of sorts) from Our Lady of Smelly Tuna Consumption…

  108. mishari permalink*
    April 2, 2009 1:03 PM

    St. Polly, I was only saying that a harp sort of resembles the wire-strung frame of a grand piano.

    However, the principles are the same, albeit, the piano is a percussion instrument and a harp is plucked…There are lovely harp solos in works by Saint-Saens, Debussy, Ravel, Poulenc, et al. It is, I think, an instrument that especially lends itself to the Impressionistic style…

    The Italians have made a fine art of tinned tuna. They’ve done the same with sardines. You can even buy vintage years of sardines in olive oil. Expensive but delicious.

  109. April 2, 2009 1:28 PM

    Mishari,

    Outer Dark just arrived. Your benevolence is much appreciated.

    Harpist Joanna Newsom has been known to harp so hard in concert that her fingers bleed. Eat that, Keef. But from the evidence of a concert i saw at Somerset House last year, she composes new material on piano. Wonder why?

  110. mishari permalink*
    April 2, 2009 1:34 PM

    I suspect it’s just easier to compose at the piano. I know a composer friend of mine does all his composing at the piano, regardless of the instruments he’s actually scoring for or whether it’s a solo piece or an orchestral piece.

    Glad you got Outer Dark. I’ll be very interested to hear your opinion when you’ve finished it.

  111. April 2, 2009 1:59 PM

    Ooo Mish. It’s quite possibly a Debussy I’m thinking of.. La Mer Nocturnes perhaps?

  112. April 2, 2009 2:06 PM

    STC: his ballade of the root

    (Previously unknown, possibly addressed to the person from Porlock)

    The mariner may travel far
    And sun-kissed beaches walk along,
    But I’m not drawn by distant stars
    Or lured by any siren song,
    Nor do I pine to be among
    Those wandering minstrels whose flutes
    May hitch them to Apollo’s car;
    There’s greater strength in taking root.

    The gypsy with his sweet guitar
    Can win fair maid, though she do wrong,
    Or wander through some far bazaar
    Or join, invisible, the throng
    Of adepts gathered round the bong
    Tasting the long-forbidden fruit
    In a dark room in Zanzibar.
    There’s greater strength in taking root.

    And so I’ll sit and sip hot char
    And set, with poker and with tongs
    The hearth around which I am czar
    And wait to hear the gentle gong
    That calls me where I most belong
    That table overflown with fruit
    And viands rare, where gathered are
    Those greater strengths of taking root.

    So I’ll decline the call to war
    The lure of conquest and of loot,
    And show the better flower by far
    Draws greater strength from taking root.

  113. April 2, 2009 2:38 PM

    St. Polly, ExtraBern, M:

    My house-harpist studied her instrument under wicked Germans and Viennese who were (I exaggerate not) quite cruel; though J. Newsome may bleed in concert (stigmata or string wounds, though?) her suffering (and technique, I’ve been told) can’t compare to what the Teutons taught my daughter’s mom. And: Debussy: I feel really fine when S. is refreshing her Claire de Lune. Tuna segue: the Germans put it on pizza.

  114. April 2, 2009 3:36 PM

    Clair De Lune on the harp must be very fine indeed, I play it badly on the piano and still feel the magic of the piece…

  115. mishari permalink*
    April 2, 2009 4:40 PM

    That Mills, eh? Just when you think you’ve got the bastard on the ropes, he goes back to his corner, injects a massive dose of extract of baboon testicles and comes back, stepping high, wide and handsome.

    St.Polly, Debussy uses the harp a lot, in Nocturnes and La Mer…I think perhaps because the harp is so good at atmospherics. I wonder, though…can a harp do harsh? I guess Steven, through the agency of his Harp Angel, might be able to say…hard to imagine, though, unless it were played with metal plectrums and shot through a bank of 1000 watt Marshalls…

    Tuna: A Slight Return…Steven, they put tuna on pizza in the South of Italy and on Sicily. Mind you, the pizza would not look familiar to devotees of Pizza Hut.

    Essentially, leavened dough, topped with olive oil, fresh herbs, capers, black olives and chunks of tuna. Wonderful fresh from the wood-fired oven with the smokey taste of the wood and bits of ash dusting the whole…add some rough wine contadino and nothing ever tasted better…

  116. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 2, 2009 5:18 PM

    Am I the sole two-hander in a world of the trimanual? I don’t know how anyone can untin tuna with just the one hand.

    Tuna must be one of the few products which is better tinned than fresh. Even shark has more flavour.

  117. April 2, 2009 8:35 PM

    Claire de Lune on the harp, tuna on pizza, barbarians with cameraphones at the bank gates… what shall we expect next?

    http://tomclarkblog.blogspot.com/2009/04/poverty.html

  118. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 2, 2009 10:53 PM

    I get the tin down, check the date
    ready to make a little snack.
    January 2008!!?
    Meh, it’s just for the family claque,
    any problems then we’ll call the quack.
    I think I’ll try St Polly’s lore,
    but soon I find it’s total jack.
    A tin of tuna hits the floor.

    How do the Prince’s methods rate?
    Standing at the kitchen sink I crack
    the tin and feel it lubricate
    my fingers with liquid skipjack.
    Then I feel my grip get slack
    the chunks of fish begin to soar
    I’d like to give the Prince a whack!
    A tin of tuna hits the floor.

    Perhaps the Baron’s mental weight
    will get me back on tuna track.
    As instructed I squeeze the meat,
    maybe at last I’ve got the knack,
    but then I feel the tin attack:
    my finger’s sliced down to the core
    I scream and give the dog some flak.
    A tin of tuna hits the floor.

    Another hand is what I lack.
    OK, I’ll just try out one more.
    The meat in this one’s gone all black.
    My final tin of tuna hits the floor.

  119. April 2, 2009 10:54 PM

    Almost 20 years ago I was caught in the Poll Tax riots in Leicester Square… I’d gone into that shopping center in the building with Madame Tussaud’s to meet a friend… it was a wonderfully sunny day when I went in (the drought that year had turned Green Park into a cuprous savannah)… and when I came out (the doors were locked but they let me slip through) I stepped into Hieronymous Bosch’s best too-many-sausages-for-lunch-and-then-a-quick-nap nightmare. The street was dazzling with shattered glass and the sky was dark with smoke and a Porsche, like a turtle on its back, was in flames (I still can’t believe that detail but it’s what I remember) whilst a phalanx of riot police on high-stepping horses swung their clubs at lefty-looking heads all around me. I had to big-leg it from there to Baron’s court, slowing down every hundred meters to look more casual-like and a little less worthy of a smack.

  120. mishari permalink*
    April 2, 2009 11:05 PM

    I take it you’ve now perfected the casual-like and a little less worthy of a smack look? I know I have.

    Given your ongoing tuna melodrama, MM, don’t you think it might be time to give it a miss and switch to sardines?

    Congrats, BTW, on what I suspect is the first ballade ever written on tinned tuna fish. Bravissimo!

  121. April 2, 2009 11:06 PM

    M:

    I inadvertently ate horsemeat on a pizza in a place run by real Italian punks once, so tuna seems fine. Better than pizza stromboli a la Betty Blue…

  122. April 2, 2009 11:07 PM

    MM:

    Yeah. I double M on that. Tuna, a noble fish, so rarely gets the high literary treatment.

  123. April 2, 2009 11:11 PM

    M:

    “I take it you’ve now perfected the casual-like and a little less worthy of a smack look?”

    Yeah, well, window-smashing Mayday in Berlin (Kreuzberg) is practically a greeting-card holiday. Plenty of practise looking blandly inappropriate for bashing.

  124. mishari permalink*
    April 2, 2009 11:16 PM

    I’ve been listening to a lot of Steve Reich today and it occured to me that quite a lot of it would work on a harp, or in the case of ensemble pieces, an orchestra of harps. I’d love to hear it tried…

  125. April 2, 2009 11:18 PM

    Not a bad idea…

  126. April 2, 2009 11:21 PM

    Ok so here goes. My first poem here. My first ballade (which I’ve decided are needlessly complicated!). Got to start somewhere and it’s about time I joined in… inspired by my new holy status & that strange 60s film…

    Pollyanna tries her escape:

    His mighty works to understand,
    To convent foolishly I sped.
    Far from finding the promised land,
    In me a vile depression spread,
    To dull the pain on whisky fed.
    Much Devil’s water did I scoff,
    And slept face-down in flowerbed –
    Stop the world I want to get off!

    From the nunnery I’ve been banned
    For secret prayers to Spanish red –
    I’ll never sit at God’s right hand!
    “Give us this day our daily bread.”
    “No! just give me Christ’s blood”, I said,
    “It makes you blind it tastes so rough,
    Slow poison which Our Lord has blessed.”
    Stop the world, I want to get off!

    To oblivion I had planned
    A journey ending live or dead,
    But no escape could I command!
    Slowly waking, my swirling bed
    Instills in me a sense of dread,
    Wine for breakfast is not enough
    To help me face the day ahead –
    Stop the world, I want to get off!

    Prince of spirits, grant me instead
    A stronger drop (perhaps Smirnoff?)
    To send me back out of my head.
    Stop the world, I want to get off!

  127. mishari permalink*
    April 2, 2009 11:28 PM

    Re: your poll tax riots story, I was in Trafalgar Sq that day but escaped relatively unscathed. A friend of mine wasn’t as lucky. He was caught on camera putting a scaffold-pole through the window of a cop car. In fairness to him, he was enraged by the mounted police terrorising women and children.

    I didn’t actually know him at the time, although we both lived in Brixton. I met him in Barcelona some 5 years later, right after he got out of prison.

    He’d gone home that day and subsequently forgotten the whole thing. 2 years later the filth turned up at his front door and arrested him.

    He was convicted and got 3 years. He served 2. He said to me later, shaking his head ruefully, “You know, Warhol was right about everyone getting their 15 minutes of fame but in my case it lasted 2 years.”

  128. mishari permalink*
    April 2, 2009 11:30 PM

    Excellent, Spolly! Well done and a fine debut…

  129. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 2, 2009 11:37 PM

    Yes, nice work there St Polly. I particularly enjoyed the daily bread/Christ’s blood interchange.

  130. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 2, 2009 11:43 PM

    Did he drop the pole onto the car? I seem to remember some footage of that.

  131. mishari permalink*
    April 2, 2009 11:51 PM

    I’m not absolutely certain, but I think he actually jammed it through one side-window and out of the other. No-one was hurt, but he was convicted of, I think, affray, which can get you some serious bird.

    He also got a judge who didn’t like young black men from Brixton, especially young black men with a teardrop tatooed under one eye (legacy of time spent in borstal)..

    A lovely fellow who got dealt a very poor hand by life and then by a judge. He’s doing wonderfully well now, I’m happy to report. Lovely Catalan wife, kid, and is a much in demand music producer…

  132. April 2, 2009 11:57 PM

    “He was convicted and got 3 years. He served 2.”

    Fck me!

  133. April 3, 2009 12:01 AM

    Mish,

    To help you wash down the horsemeat-and-tuna pizza, or perhaps cause you to choke on it, you have now been added to the newly-constructed distinguished-link shortlist over at Beyond the Pale:

    http://www.tomclarkblog.blogspot.com

    –where, by the way, you have just today received an unsolicited compliment from an obviously selective reader named Marten, referring to your expansive Western vocabulary:

    following rivers into the night 3/24/09
    http://tomclarkblog.blogspot.com/2009/03/following-rivers-into-night.html

  134. mishari permalink*
    April 3, 2009 12:05 AM

    …and the accolades just keep on coming. I think I’ll commission a small, tasteful bust of myself looking pensive…or perhaps a full-length statue, striking a characteristic pose–drink in one hand, fag in the other, one eye out for the cops– I just can’t decide between bronze, marble or porphyry.

    But thanks, Tom…I’m happy when people think our playground worth linking to.

  135. April 3, 2009 8:46 AM

    @St Polly

    A fantastic poem. Made me lol (not loll).

  136. April 3, 2009 9:26 AM

    Thanks Mish, MM and Steven for your comments. So I’ve not been asked to take my spoon and bugger off – excellent!

    :-) (that’s just for you Steven)

  137. Captain Ned permalink
    April 3, 2009 9:28 AM

    Once I thought I had written a love sonnet for a friend to give to their fella, and it had actually come out as a shopping list for the following weeks groceries.

    Isn’t wonderful that mods have allowed Des back?

  138. mishari permalink*
    April 3, 2009 9:40 AM

    Ahoy there, Cap’n. No long time no see. Yes, Des/Flarf is posting almost as voluminously as he used to. However, he appears to have turned down the long tirades of personal abuse for now.

    Let’s hope he continues to do so. As irritatingly long-winded as he can be (I mean, Christ, when does he ever find the time for poetry?), he can also be very astute and very funny.

    Well deserved, SPolly…I found that posting verse on a forum where people whose own verse and opinions I respected and admired (Poster Poems) forced me to raise my game.

    Knowing my work would be read by the likes of the Cap’n, The Baron, MM, Al, freep ,HLM, Bill, Zeph and company was incentive to try harder. Perhaps you’ll feel the same about posting here (to a lesser degree)…

  139. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 3, 2009 11:01 AM

    Oh dear. You’ve gone down in my estimation, Captain. Swords should be beaten into RBS shares. Worthless.

  140. mishari permalink*
    April 3, 2009 11:07 AM

    Don’t worry, Cap’n…MM’s never forgiven Des for speaking slightingly of his beloved Portsmouth FC…anyway, I’ll take Des over the pseudo-cerebral drone-a-thon that is deadgod…

  141. April 3, 2009 11:26 AM

    I think the feeling of needing to post a decent poem is stronger here actually Mish. I saw you guys dipping in at Poster Poems, but it seemed a bit more anonymous somehow. It was good to try to follow the more lighthearted approach which I see here too. An additional challenge for me as I tend to write miserable stuff!

    Not sure I like Spolly… can we go back to St Polly?

    Oh yes, and back to the origin of the name, I found this week’s “NewsWipe” (ep.2) by Charlie Brooker rather expressed most of my frustrations with the media nicely, although he’s possibly erring on the cynical side. It’s on Iplayer if you want to catch it.

  142. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 3, 2009 11:28 AM

    Deadgod, despite his melodramatic moniker, wilful obscurantism and elephantine facetiousness, does have some interesting thoughts when they can be understood. Swords, however, merely vomits part-digested bloody chunks of barely masticated literature. Reading his nonsense one has to reconsider the advisability of universal literacy.

  143. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 3, 2009 11:35 AM

    Gjertrude Schnackenberg- what do you think? I’m considering buying one of her books.

  144. mishari permalink*
    April 3, 2009 11:36 AM

    I can’t be bothered wielding the machete that’s required to clear the dense undergrowth surrounding DG’s thoughts. Too much work for too litle reward.

    I set aside Des’s Lit Crit. What I enjoy are his philippics on the state of the literature industry, stuff like that. He has a nice line in convoluted invective…

  145. mishari permalink*
    April 3, 2009 11:38 AM

    Are you serious? Or is there really such a person? And is ‘Gjertrude’ the German equivalant of ‘Gwladys’?

  146. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 3, 2009 12:01 PM

    A ‘New Formalist’ US poet (apparently). I came across a fab poem called ‘Supernatural’ (I think) by her on a website (which I’ve since lost-computer fuckup), fully rhymed, stylish, a little sentimental for my taste but decent formal verse is so hard to find I thought I might give it a go. BTP might know more.

  147. mishari permalink*
    April 3, 2009 12:57 PM

    Is this it, MM?

    Supernatural Love

    My father at the dictionary-stand
    Touches the page to fully understand
    The lamplit answer, tilting in his hand

    His slowly scanning magnifying lens,
    A blurry, glistening circle he suspends
    Above the word “Carnation.” Then he bends

    So near his eyes are magnified and blurred,
    One finger on the miniature word,
    As if he touched a single key and heard

    A distant, plucked, infinitesimal string,
    “The obligation due to every thing
    That’s smaller than the universe.” I bring

    My sewing meedle close enough that I
    Can watch my father through the needle’s eye,
    As through a lens ground for a butterfly

    Who peers down flower-hallways toward a room
    Shadowed and fathomed as this study’s gloom
    Where, as a scholar bends above a tomb

    To read what’s buried there, he bends to pore
    Over the Latin blossom. I am four,
    I spill my pins and needles on the floor

    Trying to stitch “Beloved” X by X.
    My dangerous, bright needle’s point connects
    Myself illiterate to this perfect text

    I cannot read. My father puzzles why
    It is my habit to identify
    Carnations as “Christ’s flowers,” knowing I

    Can give no explanation but “Because.”
    Word-roots blossom in speechless messages
    The way the thread behind my sampler does

    Where following each X I awkward move
    My needle through the word whose root is love.
    He reads, “A pink variety of Clove,

    Carnatio, the Latin, meaning flesh.”
    As if the bud’s essential oils brush
    Christ’s fragrance through the room, the iron-fresh

    Odor carnations have floats up to me,
    A drifted, secret, bitter ecstacy,
    The stems squeak in my scissors, Child, it’s me,

    He turns the page to “Clove” and reads aloud:
    “The clove, a spice, dried from a flower-bud.”
    Then twice, as if he hasn’t understood,

    He reads, “From the French, for clou, meaning a nail.”
    He gazes, motionless. “Meaning a nail.”
    The incarnation blossoms, flesh and nail,

    I twist my threads like stems into a knot
    And smooth “Beloved,” but my needle caught
    Withing the threads, Thy blood so dearly bought,

    The needle strikes my finger to the bone.
    I lift my hand, it is myself I’ve sewn,
    The flesh laid bare, the threads of blood my own,

    I lift my hand in startled agony
    And call upon his name, “Daddy daddy”–
    My father’s hand touches the injury

    As lightly as he toughed the page before,
    Where incarnation bloomed from roots that bore
    The flowers I called Christ’s when I was four.

    –by Gjertrude Schnackenberg

  148. April 3, 2009 1:19 PM

    So what kind of formal style is that then? I’m just interested because I don’t really know that much about poetic structures. The ballade was news to me…

  149. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 3, 2009 2:34 PM

    That’s the one. It’s not in itself a form as far as I can see, St Polly, just a succession of rhyming triplets. Very skilful, though as I say a little sweet for me. Even well-regarded writers don’t have the ability to pull off something like it, as we know.

    I’ve been wondering what was on the Captain’s shopping list. You know what I’m going to suggest, of course.

  150. April 3, 2009 2:38 PM

    It was sweet. I was struggling to find a word that wasn’t that awful word “nice”. Gentle and nostalgic I’d come up with. But skilful, yes, definitely. It’s difficult to rhyme closely and also keep the rhythm going.

    I’m intrigued as to whether the shopping list had any romantic effect…?

  151. April 3, 2009 6:19 PM

    OOps I’ve got the names wrong somewhere haven’t I? Steven Augustine is not ExitB (you used to be Baron Charlus) Anyway – just replace yourselves as appropriate in my comments as it’s hard to keep track… well most normal people are able to keep track, but I tend to associate names by faces and these little swirly things just don’t cut it!

  152. mishari permalink*
    April 3, 2009 6:28 PM

    Captain Ned’s Shopping List

    Cat food
    Milk
    Flesh-tone 12″ vibrator (batteries? Duracell!)
    Oysters
    Vaseline
    Electro Butt Plug (size?)
    Razors
    Toothpaste
    Ribbed condoms
    Dark chocolate
    Crotchless knickers (black only!)
    Viagra
    Tuna (MeltonMowbray brand in self-seal pouch)
    Riding crop
    Gerbil
    Walnuts (in shell)

  153. April 3, 2009 7:52 PM

    Are we still having ballades then? Here’s a rather good one.

    THEY FLEE FROM ME

    They fle from me, that sometyme did me seke
    With naked fote, stalking in my chambre.
    I have seen theim gentill, tame, and meke,
    That nowe are wyld, and do not remembre
    That sometyme they put theimself in daunger
    To take bred at my hand; and nowe they raunge
    Besely seking with a continuell chaunge.

    Thancked be fortune, it hath ben othrewise
    Twenty tymes better; but ons, in speciall,
    In thyn arraye, after a pleasaunt gyse,
    When her lose gowne from her shoulders did fall,
    And she me caught in her armes long and small,
    Therewith all swetely did me kysse,
    And softely saide: “Dere hert, howe like you this?”

    It was no dreme: I lay brode waking.
    But all is torned, thorough my gentilnes,
    Into a straunge fasshion of forsaking;
    And I have leve to goo of her goodness,
    And she also to use new fangilnes:
    But syns that I so kyndely am served,
    I would fain knowe what she hath deserved.

    —SIR THOMAS WYATT

  154. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 3, 2009 11:55 PM

    Books arrived today, thanks. Mrs M very much enjoyed California Fire and Life, though she skipped the fire school lectures, as I did. The uninspired formulaic aspects to it which irritated me didn’t bother her. As a crime novel veteran I suppose it’s just part of the landscape.

    Pork was my suggestion for the shopping list, a typically classy choice I think you’ll agree.

    I couldn’t resist a comment on Porter’s IOW blog on CIF. It must be months since I last posted. The people on there seem so much madder and so much more illiterate than those on the books blog (with some exceptions).

  155. April 4, 2009 12:35 PM

    Steven – I’m just listening to your good lady playing the harp on the video link on her blog – outstanding!!! I’m afraid I don’t read German so I got a bit lost looking around there for any links to any more recordings.

  156. April 4, 2009 5:43 PM

    St. Pol:

    Make Thine email address known (via the_augustine_authority@yahoo.com) and we’ll send you a CD in a fortnight

  157. April 4, 2009 5:43 PM

    erm… make that your *snailmail* address…

  158. Captain Ned permalink
    April 4, 2009 8:36 PM

    That’s my list, Mishari. How can you be so uncannily accurate? Apart from the gerbil, that is. Intriguing though they are, I cannot bring myself to partake of any activity popularised by Richard Gere.

    I agree with you about Des, by the way… and I agree with Melton about deadgod. The former is longwinded, but often pricelessly funny (sometimes intentionally, sometimes not), the latter long-winded, but often interesting and perceptive (and sometimes even amusing). There’s no-one on the books blog I really dislike (I mean among the below-the-line regulars). Even anytimefrances, with whom I’ve had a few skirmishes, occupies a special place in my heart.

    My posts here and elsewhere have been infrequent of late because I no longer have a home internet connection. The computer was taken away to be reformatted, and the guy who’s doing it is taking his bloody time about it. But dropping in for quick visits now and then, I see everything is going swimmingly. It would be nice if this site develops into a proper alternative to the already much-missed Poster Poems – though it fulfils many other functions admirably as it is.

  159. mishari permalink*
    April 4, 2009 10:28 PM

    Cap’n, it’ll never be a carbon copy of Poster Poems nor would I want it to be. I’m just trying to provide a space where refugees from PP and the book blogs can talk about anything they please and post verse, without the kill-joy mods fucking it up by treating people like children.

    I’m sure I speak for all the old PP/book blogs lags when I say I look forward to seeing you here more often.

  160. pinkroom permalink
    April 5, 2009 12:05 AM

    Strange freep should mention the Dukes of Northumberland, which put me in mind of the probably now closed-down, pubs of Newcastle and a story I once heard there about an idiot/suicidal skinhead who kicked over a bunch of motorcyles outside one of them and was rumoured to have fled to Ireland, grown his hair long and re-direct his life towards the study modernist poetry. It may just be an urban myth but the coincidences are quite startling.

    Escape Ballade

    Shall never forget the time I had to escape
    from The Hotspur in the Haymarket
    after kicking over some bikes, like an ape
    never known a lark like it
    pilled up on tuna did it;
    the greasers having just battered a mate.
    Those bastards had a pop-eyed fit
    steel, rubber, chrome; bearded jaws agape

    so I ran. And never stopped running,
    ducking into the Three Bulls Heads
    and out the back way, juke humming
    positively fourth street, sheds
    of glass firing behind, spangled reds
    quarry to be killed, no doubting
    barrel, wall and over. Flower beds

    and cowering. The short-lived tuna high
    giving way to the cold realisation
    that this would not be forgotten by
    the outraged, raging conflagration
    I’d started with the biker nation.
    Only chance, now to esacpe by
    morning to the Central Station
    and south and westwards fly

    to Limerick. Where I’d save my arse,

    change my name
    and grow a moustache.

  161. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 5, 2009 12:11 AM

    Seconded.

    I didn’t realise you had already commented on the Porter blog. Of course your post wasn’t one of those which inspired my thoughts about madness and illiteracy (well, maybe a bit…. all right, a lot).

  162. mishari permalink*
    April 5, 2009 12:27 AM

    Yeah, but at least my madness and illiteracy are intermittent, unlike some of those bozos, for whom it’s obviously a chronic state.

    Mills, the ex-skinhead? It’s almost too perfect to hope for. Thanks for an excellent ballade, BTW…

  163. Captain Ned permalink
    April 5, 2009 11:50 AM

    Of course, this site has its own distinctive flavour, and long may it continue that way. Freedom from the Mod Squad is sweet indeed. One great thing about PP, though, was the range of personalities who contributed to it, some of whom didn’t exactly see eye to eye, but the contrasts and clashes could be fascinating. I’m not suggesting that the contributors here are a homogenous, herd-like bunch (far from it), but it’s sad that some of the most interesting PPers haven’t so far dipped their toes into your pond. Still, I’m sure that it won’t take long for an equally diverse group of people to be attracted to this site, if your reports into search terms are anything to go by.

  164. April 5, 2009 4:57 PM

    Pinkroom – brilliant balade – I would say it’s most likely true, sounds fairly normal for the haymarket! Wish I’d known about the Three Bulls having a secret way out. It gets rather rowdy on match days… (oh yes, and see I am no longer a “pink” – well except the hot fuschia avatar)

  165. pinkroom permalink
    April 5, 2009 8:17 PM

    Hi St. Polly,

    The Three Bulls did indeed have a back way out which saved me more than once… they messed about with it quite a bit. Over the wall you found yourself in true Georgian…possibly medieval? Newcastle that had survived not only 1960s redevelopment but the big 19th Century development of the main streets… a higgle. piggle of walls, yards, lean-tos and scraps of gardens historicaly popular with the ladies of doubtful reputation I believe.

    My theory is that our hounded skinhead somehow found himself hard against the city walls at Morden tower where a poetry reading was taking place… Allen Ginsberg, or some such, surrounded by a bunch of stoned, shoeless hairies. A kind of epiphany then took place during which our hero forswore the cheap thrills of tuna forever before making his final escape.

    Pure supposition of course. Only Billy knows for sure.

  166. freep permalink
    April 5, 2009 9:11 PM

    It has been my ill fortune to visit Surrey for the third time in six weeks. And each time I have gott back home, the garden has been calling to me like a siren. So I have neglected poetry and this dear community.
    Pinkroom’s story has authentic notes. There used to be a string of pubs of character in Percy street and Newgate Street. Some have gone forever. The Haymarket was the best of them, and attracted more poets and murderers than the others. It was run by two aged crones who retired from the WRAF, and who called time at 9.50 exactly and who hated their customers with venom and barred anyone who disrespected the premises. The building was next to the ABC cinema and was converted by the University to a pavement with two dull trees. Rarely has redevelopment been more cruel.
    The Hotspur still exists (under another name, I think) and used to be run by a very small man whom we all knew as the Poison Dwarf. A Welsh friend was barred every week for inviting this little barman to get up off his knees and fight.
    Next down is still the Percy Arms, which is blissfully unchanged since the 1970s and has much biker memorabilia, and one of the window seats was occupied in 1980 or so by Newcastle’s oldest surviving streetwalker, who I think was then charging for pleasure in predecimal currency.
    And next along was and is the Three Bulls Heads. It has been regrettably rebuilt. It was a wonderful bar in the late 60s and 70s, especially when Carol Delaney managed it. And it is true that you could run out of the back into what was called the Handyside Arcade, where the Little Shop and the dope smokers’ accessory shop were, and a wilderness of odd back streets … but it was a bit of a stretch to Morden Tower past the Strawberry and the end of the football ground and the Gallowgate bus station. The famous Long Bar was further down Percy Street and featured in Get Carter, but it was in an area so knackered by developers that no body can recall exactly where it was…..

    My earliest recollection of the casual racism of Newcastle was about 1970, outside the said Percy Arms (note the dogged persistent of the name of the Dukes of Northumberland everywhere); I was drunkenly inspecting a monstrous chrome bike outside with my Welsh friend. The owner emerged and put a proud proprietorial hand on it. He beamed until the welshman uttered two syllables. ‘You’re not from round here are you? Well fuck off back you welsh cunt’ I opened my mouth and a southern sound emerged. ‘Fucking cockney, eh?’ He pulled out a hard metal object and we scarpered as more leather men looked out of the door.
    An Irish poet may well have suffered such a fate. It is softer now, and Billy could came back. But best to avoid the Percy Arms.

  167. April 5, 2009 9:36 PM

    I saw Ginsberg in the early 70’s giving a reading outdoors to the denizens of Twerton Park in Bath, just down the road from a huge housing estate maze. His audience were hippies and the like from the Bath Arts Workshop Festival ( who booked him ), 13 year old skinheads and very young mums with prams. Most were there because there was sod-all else to do rather than being attracted by beat poetry. It rained as well.

    Ginsberg was in his chanting/Buddhist phase and read/”sang” from religious texts.

    My abiding memory is of an underage skinhead in a crombie deciding enough was enough ( or maybe he’d come for Howl and was dissappointed it didn’t get read ) standing up and shouting “Twat!” at him.

  168. MeltonMowbray permalink
    April 5, 2009 10:21 PM

    Now that’s what I call literary criticism.

  169. freep permalink
    April 5, 2009 10:49 PM

    Twat has an elegant precision. Ginsberg did not.

  170. April 6, 2009 8:48 AM

    Twat sounds best when said in a West Country accent. So effective I wonder if the word has origins in that part of the world. Fuck off please is another phrase from where I grew up that I always enjoy hearing – not so often now I’m in the Manchester area where dry abuse rules the roost.

  171. April 6, 2009 12:08 PM

    Alarming – is it the “please” which makes it so endearing to you?

  172. April 6, 2009 3:17 PM

    St Poll Yes it’s the mix of politeness and abuse that makes it funny for me.

Comments are closed.