Thursday, 29 June 2017

Two Weddings, a Cricket Injury, Writer's Bleauque, and a Sonnet in the Tradition of Philip Larkin and Wendy Cope

This last month I went to the weddings of two of my brothers, firstly in St Agnes in Cornwall at the end of May, and secondly in Stockholm over that very hot weekend just before midsummer - thankfully it was a bit cooler in Stockholm - 27c? - than back in the UK. The weddings were both fun, but in different ways - sobriety & the keeping of wits vs. wedding-acceptable drunkenness. I drove to my Cornwall brother's wedding, and back home to Bristol on the same day, which necessitated staying sober, and so for the entire day I limited myself to a small glass of Prosecco before the wedding lunch, half as much Rioja with lunch, and later on a couple of very small sips of some kind of gin-based and very pleasant blackberry liqueur. This was in marked contrast to the Swedish stage of the narrative. I got fairly well inebriated at the pre-wedding soiree on the Friday night, which was held in a hotel salon in central Stockholm; and enjoyed a fair amount of wine the next night at the wedding dinner, which was held at the newly-weds' farm house half an hour from the City Centre.

I'm presently recovering from some kind of rib fracture, sustained on a Sunday in early June when I landed very clumsily while wicket-keeping for my club, The Old England, in the North Somerset League. My keeping really isn't what it used to be five years ago. I'm approaching my mid-50's, my eyesight's not getting any better, my reactions have slowed, and I'm half a stone overweight. At least my rib injury is a lot better than it was. I've gone from getting up out of bed being an ordeal to being able to run several miles and lift light weights slowly. Coughing and sneezing still hurt a bit, but not nearly as much. I'm not at all sure about cricket though. I'll be worried about something happening every time I have to dive for the ball.

I've also not been feeling very motivated to write recently. To some extent this is a normal phenomenon for me in my writing cycle - I tend to finish a project, immediately start a new on, and then break off for about six weeks, while feeling slightly pissed off with it all. Eventually, I build up a sort of choleric head of steam, and begin to vent it in the form of light burlesque. The difference this time is that it's taken three months. Hopefully, I'm coming out of this stage at last, because it's really pissing me off now. At least I haven't completely wasted my time, insofar as I've done a lot of reading and re-reading: Trollope, Graham Greene, Edward St Aubyn, Evelyn Waugh, Scott Fitzgerald, and presently Sons & Lovers, with Felix Holt next on the list. I did write a sonnet yesterday, which hopefully augurs a change's being afoot. It's intended as a contribution to the story of Mr Bleaney, which Wendy Cope satirically commandeered from Larkin:-

VI. Mr Bleaney Dies in South Bristol
He, quite alone, with wandering steps and slow,
through Sodom took his solitary way.
The block in Hartcliffe - where the rent was low -
had walls of pebbledash coated in grey.

He hung his coat upon the plastic hook,
and watched quite wearily through dirty glass
the Doberman fouling the football pitch.
At length he sighed, and read again his book,
and scratched distractedly his bony arse.

An interval elapsed. 

He briefly twitched.

The drainage people found him in the end.
A turned down page marked how far he had read.
There was no wake for wizened drinking friends
to speak no ill of him when newly dead.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

In view of last night's resurgence of the idiot left ...

I shall be renewing my Canadian passport, and have this morning been looking at property in Toronto. Un resultat que, lorsqu'on va comprendre la rôle jouée par l'enfance idéaliste, on va appeller le trahison des flocons.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Another Tribute to Leigh Delamere

Again, I'm re-imagining the eponymous M4 service station as a Pre-Raphaelite painter/poet, this time fleshing out some details. Leigh is depicted as a fairly uninspiring if slightly questionable figure, somewhat redeemed by his respect for artistic and literary conventions.

Leigh Delamere, your services include,
some innocently goaty daubs of girls
looking pensive: a tongue pinkly extrudes
from lips; swan neck; a modest string of pearls.
Your services also include some verse,
jejunely allegorical at best
almost insanely mimsy at its worst.
Leigh Delamere, I must confess I jest.
You are, if not particularly good,
at least some sort of formalist, and not
some slam git reading out his shopping list
(back-to-front cap, gratuitously rude).
You’re not, at any rate, part of the rot,
and in a quiet way you will be missed.

I think this really has to be another Trip Advisor Review. I've up-loaded it, and will provide a link if and when it appears.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Corbyn Supports Torturers

Tomorrow, the UK holds a General Election. Given the way the polls have been moving, there is a very real prospect that we will wake up on Friday morning with a Labour government, which is not only characterised by total economic ineptitude, but is also morally compromised by its vocal support for its ideological soulmates in Venezuela.

In this video, Venezuelan lawyer/human rights activist Tamara Suju testifies to the International Criminal Court about the systematic torture inflicted by the Chavez/Maduro regime on its opponents since 2002.
So here we have a socialist regime presiding over a country with more oil reserves than anywhere else in the world, where there is no medicine or toilet roll or food, and whose people are being electrocuted and beaten and raped by the authorities.

Unsurprisingly, I'm not alone in being nauseated by Corbyn's 2013 Twitter tribute to the late Hugo Chavez. Just look at some of the responses underneath:-

I translated my French sonnet into English

Here's my original Sonnet 141, published back in August in the French Literary Review No.28:- Sonnet 141 Après avoir ces cent quara...