Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
George Szirtes taught me to cut some of the superfluous words from my poems and I can see that he was right. After the initial shock last year of seeing my poetry with words, lines and even stanzas crossed out I looked again and was able to immediately see that without a doubt my poetry is better for it. It is stronger, clearer, more direct, it speaks in its own voice without getting bogged down in ands and buts and explanatory lines.
Minimal poetry is also the kind of poetry that I prefer to read myself - poets like Lorca and Neruda. Poetry that appears simple yet the beauty of the language can bring tears to your eyes and make your heart sing with joy.
What I find myself wondering though is whether poetry can become too refined? Does the constant paring down mean that you might lose some essence of the original poem? Will I keep obsessively paring down my words until each line is but a single word? Will my poem eventually be simply a blank page?
There is without a doubt great beauty in silence, but in the silence of choice not that of procrastination.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Personally I would go for songs I love and hope that they mean something to everyone else. The danger is though that you could ruin a good song for your loved ones. Years ago someone sang "Summertime" at a close friend's funeral and I haven't wanted to listen to it since.
Here is my list so far:
Damien Rice - Volcano
Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
The Clash - Stay Free
John Martyn - Over the Hill
Damien Rice - 9 Crimes
Monday, August 27, 2007
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Saturday, August 04, 2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Current playlist includes:
Arcade Fire - No Cars Go
Placebo - Without You I'm Nothing
Muse - Bliss
Kasabian - Shoot the Runner
Gotan Project - Vuelvo Al Sur
White Stripes - Fell in Love With a Girl
White Stripes - Seven Nation Army
Killers - When You Were Young
Jarvis Cocker - i Will Kill Again
Arcade Fire - Rebellion
Monday, July 16, 2007
That said the music was great, the weather held out, the location is beautiful and the poetry was excellent.
Highlights for me were Damien Rice on Friday evening, the brilliant and funny Simon Armitage in the poetry tent, the hugely entertaining Jarvis Cocker and The Gotan Project. I was sadly unmoved by The Good, The Bad and The Queen, I can appreciate that they are good musicians but the music always leaves me feeling a bit flat. Best outfit prize in my opinion should be awared to the lead singer of CSS for her metallic pink jumpsuit.
I was especially impressed by the stand-up poetry tent, which made the festival for me - nice to see poetry getting more exposure.
Compared to WOMAD though, there were a few areas that we found lacking - WOMAD has more of everything - stalls, food and one thing we really appreciated was chill out areas - bars and cafes that had areas where you could just hang out for a bit and get your breath back. We eneded up going to bed not long after midnight at Latitude but if there had been places where we could just chill for a bit we might have got a second wind and stayed up a lot longer. (spoken like a true oldie).
Strangely I didn't meet many people I knew - even though its only 40 miles from Norwich - there were only one or two familiar faces - and a couple of people that looked like people I used to know, but I was too embaressed to go and say hello in case they weren't!
Friday, July 06, 2007
Monday, July 02, 2007
Thursday, June 21, 2007
through regimented parks where picnickers
spread their checked rugs
and old men pass the time of day,
nodding like dogs in the afternoon sun,
where babies romp on hard-baked grass
and bald boys bounce their balls in the dust.
I drove myself insane,
running amok amidst shopping malls
lined with cash machines
whose angry mouths spit at the world,
where doughy men suck
burgers, kebabs and hot pastries
their greased skin glistening under neon lights.
I drove myself down lifts, escalators,
through petrol-scented car-parks,
running amongst Renaults, Fiats, Rovers,
slipping and sliding on oil-slicked floors,
parking-ticketed and surveillance-filmed,
at the exhaust-fumed air.
I drove myself to work
in leaden offices where suits and skirts
vie for a place at the water cooler,
where bored secretaries dab at limp keyboards
with chipolata fingers ringed with gold
and nicotine-stained men
suck cigarettes behind rusting bike-sheds.
I drove myself to drink,
in gardened pubs where black-boarded dinners
are chalked in green and red
and umbrella-ed girls lounge
on splintered benches
one eye on the water feature
and the other on the time.
I drove myself to death,
through the myriad streets of my life,
down terraced roads where bedraggled girls play,
their skipping-ropes snagging my tights as I pass,
where ragged washing hangs,
dull and lifeless between the houses,
strung like headless corpses from the telephone wires.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
I have to say Youtube is great and I feel slightly less guilty about this little vice since I learned that George Szirtes is a fan too. I have been watchinng all kinds of great bands - some of whom I haven't seen for years.
I also had a reorganise of my cd collection last week - it has now outgrown its' shelf. I was shocked to discover that I didn't own a cd with the track "Dazed and Confused" on it and had to rectify the situation immediately by purchasing Led Zeppelin I from ebay. I find you just can't have enough Led Zeppelin!
Saturday, June 09, 2007
On Monday I have to attend a meeting where we are told what groups we will be in for our theatre project next term. I have to admit to a certain amount of trepidation about this. Besides the obvious worries about ending up in a group with someone difficult I have very little theatrical experience. It's funny really, I loved theatre when I was young. Appearing in two Gangshows - one when I was 6 and the other when I was 13 - were the high points of my childhood.
My friend and I even tried to join Thetford Amateur Dramatic Society, but weren't made to feel particularly welcome so only went once. I suppose I was a bit of a drama queen as a teen. My friends and I used to pull stunts like ringing people up and trying to keep them talking or attaching a lead to a cabbage and taking it for a walk like a dog.
Where did all that dramatic energy go I wonder? At what point did I stop being a big show off and become more introverted? Was it gradual? Is it maturity? I'm not sure that I know the answer myself - it's not that I want to be a show off now, but I wouldn't mind getting back some of that unselfconcious self-confidence that comes with youth - it would certainly help me with my drama project.
Anyone fancy coming for a walk with a cabbage?
Thursday, June 07, 2007
I noticed a lot of odd things around my neighbourhood when I was doing my latest visual project. There is a huge amount of rubbish on the streets for a start. Some of it is litter dropped by passers by, but quite a bit has been dropped by the dustbin men and the recycling truck. There is all kinds of graffiti - some of it funny, some of it artistic and some conveying a message like the stencils on the pavement with a picture of a dog, that say "bag it and bin it." Then of course there is dog mess - there always seems to be more of at this time of year - last year some bright (or mad) spark went round sticking cocktail sticks into it with little flags bearing messages like "pooh", "shit" and "clean me up". There is an abundance of cats and of skips overflowing with greenery, broken toilets and rubble. There are discarded recycling boxes, bin bags that never quite made it through the letterbox and now residing in someone's hedge. There are hundreds of singing birds - especially blackbirds and pigeons. And if you are out early (or late) enough you might be lucky enough to see a fox (N saw two on our street a few weeks ago).
What I came to realise is that this is an interesting neighbourhood - despite its' downside - and everywhere has them. Sometimes it's good to just stop for a minute and look at what's around you - or take a camera and really look at where you live - not at the obvious - cars, houses and the like. Look beyond that, at what's beneath your feet, what is in the gutters, in the hedges, in the trees or hanging from wires!
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Am I the only person in the world who thinks putting fifty million quids worth of diamonds onto a skull is pointless and not really art?
Well I suppose it can be considered art - but to me it just seems like someone with too much money making a point. Damien is reknowned after all for his penchent for splashing the cash. But this kind of thing just leaves me cold - when I compare it to the work of Antony Gormley or Andy Goldsworthy - or an exhibition that I went to last weekend at Salthouse Church in Norfolk - there is just no comparison.
The exhibition at Salthouse Church by Britz and McGowan entitled "Stars, Stones and Bones" is the best thing that I have seen in a long time and definitely the best use of the church that I have ever seen. There are a lot of differnet types of work in this show - paintings, collage, installations, mobiles - but they work together as a cohesive whole. Everything in the show is made from natural resources that can be found in Norolk - in itself quite a feat - but some of the pieces are massive. The most impressive works for me were a series of large paintings/ hangings that are placed between the windows. These paintings are massive and are made using mud, sand and clay from the Norfolk coast. Some of them have been made by placing pebbles on the paper and pouring mud over them, adding detail later. There is also a beautiful (if a little smelly) installation made using wire and starfish.
This is a breathtaking exhibition and well worth a visit if you get the chance - this is real art that comes from true inspiration and hard work and touches the heart and soul in a way that a diamnond encrusted skull never can.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Thursday, May 24, 2007
On a more positive note three of my poems have been accepted for a college publication which is good news.
Monday, May 21, 2007
It would be fun to make more of these poems and leave them about the neighbourhood going back to photograph them in various stages of decay.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Friday, May 18, 2007
It is sad to see this shop all closed up and run down. there is however a mystical beauty in its cracked and peeling facade. In some ways it will be a shame when its new owners fix it up. We were talking a few weeks ago in critical studies about the current British obsession for renovating and restoring ancient buildings and monuments. I agree that it can be a good thing and that ther are some things that are too special to lose - but I feel it is a mistake to restore everything.
When I lived in Thetford one of my favourite places was Thetford Priory. It is a ruin of a priory that was destroyed by Henry the eighth. It is a beautiful ruin - especially if you go there in the early morning in spring when it is misty. It has a feeling of history about it that it would never have it was restored to its original state.
I like having some buildings around that are decaying - it reminds us that our time here is transitary and there are forcces at work in the world greater than we are...maybe that's why we are so keen on restoration - trying to immortalise ourselves somehow through preserving these ancient monumnets.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Of course I'm supposed to be thinking about writing mythical poems or even more sensibly to be in bed. But no here I am at nerarly 1am and what am I thinking about? Music videos of course. Recently I have got into you tube and have found immense pleasure in looking up all the bands I love. And there is some absolutely great stuff on there - for instance some fabulous footage of Eddie Vedder with his lovely long hair climbing the walls of an auditorium during a gig, Antony Kedis looking young and sexy and there is really old stuff too like Crosby, Stills and Nash and a very young looking James Taylor.
It got me thinking about music videos though. I had been thinking about them a little already recently. We are doing a video and photography project at art school and i have watched quite a few directors chair videos. Well tonight I got to wondering what are my favourite videos - well here's what I came up with:
1) Let Forever Be - The Chemical Brothers (director Michel Gondry)
If you haven't seen this video shame on you - go to you tube and watch it immediately - it gets better the more you watch it!
2) Praise You - Fatboy Slim
Yes I know this is a corny choice but I just like this video - it cheers me up!
3) Alive - Pearl Jam
Classic live footage
4) Sigur Ros - Svefn-Englar
There is some fabulous spirit-lifting dancing on this video.
5)David Bowie - Time Will Crawl
Another video with great dancing (there seems to be a bit of a theme emerging here). This great video was choreographed by Cyndi Lauper and proves that Bowie can really dance.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Unfortunately it is very hard to be original with dolls as people like Cindy Sherman have done so much (and so graphically) before. I still like the idea though and may play around with it some more - who knows maybe I will come up with an original angle.
Monday, May 14, 2007
Sunday, May 13, 2007
The trouble is that it keeps raining so I can't take any pictures - and I just can't decide which photographic thread I want to follow. i just have too many ideas and when I talk to other people I feel confused - everyone likes a different idea - there doesn't seem to be a particular favourite - and my favourite keeps changing.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
I am still waiting to take some more pictures for this series but it keeps raining.
Friday, May 11, 2007
Thursday, May 10, 2007
It must be all the pressure of my art school workload getting to me but I find myself hankering after quiet sunny lanes and hot cafes in the afternoon - no wonder I can't start that critical studies essay....
No chance of a holiday as yet though Hunchermuncher has just started a new job and I have all these assignments to do....
H and I are hoping to escape for a week or two in September before term starts (if we ever get round to arranging it) and thought we might try a different island. The trouble is we don't want to go anywhere touristy and it seems a gamble - any suggestions gratefully received...
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Just finished reading and excellent novel - "Talk Talk" by T C Boyle, who is one of my favourite writers. This novel is fairly topical as it is about identity theft.
I have read several of Boyle's novels and have really enjoyed them. He has a great writing style that makes you want to keep reading, but still manages to maintain an intelligence that is lacking from some popular fiction these days. The only book of his that i couldn't get into was Riven Rock.
It's amzing that I have time to read really, what with the five assignments that I am supposed to be doing at the moment...
Sunday, April 29, 2007
I am beginning to feeel the stress and strain of too much work this term and blog entries have suffered as a consequence.
I am getting to grips with poetry, kind of ok with fiction, behind with critical studies (through no fault of my own) but floundering hopelessly in a visual sea with no life raft in sight.
The cause of my angst is a wooly brief that involves narrative and photography/film. It's not that I don't have ideas. I have plenty, too may in fact. Some of them too ambitious or big for me to realise. No, what I am struggling with is to bring narrative to my ideas. Why I don't know - it should be easy. Other people don't seem to have a problem with it. The trouble is that some of the ideas that I tried that did have narrative didn't work visually and the photos that I like best don't (for me) seem to fit into the narrative framework.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Friday, April 13, 2007
Monday, March 26, 2007
Monday, March 19, 2007
I once rated Simon Pegg very highly as a comic writer - the series Spaced was original and extremely funny. It seems though, that he has gained stardom and lost the comic plot. He may be hob nobbing with the likes of Tom Cruise but he seems to have forgotoon the ingredients of a good, intelligent comedy. The intentions in Hot Fuzz are good, it gives a nod to several genres of film - most notably cop and Hammer Horror, but sadly fails to deliver the laughs. In a cinema three quaters full there were only one or two laughs and those were from teenagers.
Simon needs to get back to his comic roots and rediscover intelligence and subtlety.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
I actually find it quite annoying. I was a huge Clash fan but the constant airplay of tracks like Bankrobber does get me down. Don't get me wrong I think it's great that a whole new generation are listening to such a great band - but I just find it weird that people who couldn't stand them at the time suddenly talk of them with great affection. It would be like I suddenly got into Cliff Richard.
Monday, February 26, 2007
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Monday, February 12, 2007
here is a light hearted one:
The Hour of the Boys
This is the hour of the boys,
they face the world,
bags crouching hump like
on teenage backs,
heavy with the fears and wishes
of itinerate mothers,
mothers who spin socks from love,
and games bags, gloves,
who sandwich worry
between wholesome slices of neglect,
and write poetry secretly
in dark corners.
Pretty much every poet has written a mother poem from Edgar Allen Poe to Sylvia Plaith, one of my favourite is by Charlotte Ballard:
8.14 I Never Had a Mother
never had a mother
Who read “Hello Moon”
Fifty-seven times before
Tossing it behind the refrigerator
I never had a mother
Who brushed my hair
Before each day’s battle
Against primary foes.
I never had a mother
Who hugged me before
I slept and dreamed of
Gold that only I could acquire.
I did have a mother
Who cooked up soup
To last the three days
Before payday came.
I did have a mother
That roared like a lion
And took me to see
The doctor more times
Than she ought.
I did have a mother-
A piece, a part
As much as she could
Borrow against a Promise made –
That her children
Would never be
Raised by a stranger.
I barely knew her.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
1. David Bowie - Young Americans
2. Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
3. Bob Dylan - Oh Sister
4. Joni Mitchell - River
5. Dire Straits - Telegraph Road
6. Led Zeppelin - Black Dog
7. Stevie Wonder - I believe (when I Fall in Love)
8. David Bowie - Cat People (Putting out the Fire)
9. Lightning Seeds - Sense
10Led Zeppelin - The Immigrant Song
11. Radiohead - Creep
12. Sting - Brand New Day
13. David Gray - Sail
14. Primal Scream - Movin on Up
15.The Clash - Stay Free
16. Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb
17. Bob Marley - Redemption Songs
18. John Martyn - Over the Hill
19. Van Morrison - And it Stoned me
20. Genesis - Abacab
I'm not sure this list would be entirely the same if I did it now. Radiohead would have moved up and Dire Straits might have moved down. Pink Floyd, David Gray, David Bowie and Led Zeppelin would be about the same. Additions might be Jethro Tull (sad I know), Paul Weller, Cheb Khaled's Aicha, and Chaka Khan's Aint Nobody.
hmm I see that I am going to have give this some serious thought. But to choose your five favourite tracks of all time is a tall order - I would be interested to know evryone elses.
Monday, February 05, 2007
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
The gaps between the stairs gape,
she is scared of them,
they have thrown her down before
from top to bottom,
clutching a life size baby doll,
whose head rolled off grotesquely,
causing her to scream at its hollow interior.
Helping at the brownie jumble sale aged 9, gave her a feeling of power.
She made some purchases:
2 books – Princess Anne (a novel)
a dress that her mum hated but she loved in brown and orange stripes
in the tombola she won: a spray can of Brut 45
an LP – Tjuna Sounds of the living Brass
some bath cubes
her parents tried to look grateful but failed.
A daddy long legs batters its spindly body
against the window in the hallway,
under the glare of a naked light bulb
a girl uses her finger
to sign her name on the misty glass.
Poetry - a literary expression in which words are used in a concentrated blend of sound and imagery to create an emotional response
Sunday, January 28, 2007
These days there aren't many things that really scare me in a book. Maybe the age of cinema has hardened us up so that we harder to scare. We are certainly exposed to copious amounts of tension and violence via the cinema and tv. A friend of mine said that she finds ghost stories scarier if they are true tales - an interesting point.
The stories I find scariest are post apocolyptic tales where you can almost imagine they are real or could happen - in books this is things like "Day of the Triffids", Douglas Coupland's "Girlfriend in a Coma" and Peter Dicksons Changes trilogy, in film it is things like "Children of Men" and Quatermass. Somehow these strike me as being far more chilling than something about monsters or ghosts.
Monday, January 22, 2007
What is it that makes a good party? I was talking about that to someone at college today. We decided that the worst kind of parties are the ones that aren't good but you can't work out why. I have been to a few of those over the years - I remember going to a party once years ago where everyone sat on chairs around the edge of the room and no one spoke to each other.
I think my best ever party was my 21st birthday. I was living in a commune out in the countryside. Hundreds of people came (including a lot of gatecrashers) and we had bands playing, lots of food and a bonfire outside. Not sure I want to do things on that scale these days though....
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Thursday, January 18, 2007
I have also been having an interesting debate both on the bulletin board and with my son over the usage of plurals. I have c ome to realise that although I think I am good at English - my punctuation and grammar skills need a little work. it is one thing to be articulate in speech and quite another to acheive it in the written word.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
It's interesting because I came across a lot of this kind of snobbery whilst doing my assignment on media book clubs - for instance chat shows are considered low culture, but they sometimes feature high brow books - some critics say that this devalues the book in some way. I would disagree with this surely it doesn't matter who is reading a book but what they are getting out of it that matters? and as for low brow TV - don't you have to watch it sometimes so that you have a stick to measure the rest by?