Friday, 25 January 2013

Half price poetry

The delights of East Molesey are many, though sadly I discovered today, to be one fewer from the beginning of March. Books Bought and Sold is closing down. The blow was softened by the obligatory half price sale. I took the opportunity to score a couple of Spike Milligan first editions. I don't go out of my way to acquire first editions, but the dust jacket design is often better than that of subsequent editions. I also picked up a Flook anthology, which I may attempt to scan at some point.

Anyway, I notice there hasn't been any poetry here for 1,240 days and so, one of my all time favourites from The Little Pot Boiler:

Carrington Briggs
Cared not two figs
Whether he lived or died.
But when he was dead
He lay on his bed
And cried, and cried, and cried.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013


The thought of the Nineteen Eighties usually evokes in me a depressed sort of feeling. It all seemed so dismal. The years 1980 to 1989 covered the latter half of my childhood which, as an experience ranged from being a bit boring at times to absolutely bloody fantastic at others. So I don't know why I should be so generally down on the Eighties.

Anyway, I will admit that of all the decades that we so arbitrarily clump music together in the Eighties were great for innovation and weirdness.  Looking it up (and to prove the arbitrary point) I see that the track below was actually released in 1979. But it is so not Seventies. The bouncy, squiggly sounds in this made me think of the Vince Clark remix of WFL. But, listening again to WFL, it seems incredibly sluggish in comparison.

M Pop Muzik

Tuesday, 22 January 2013


Reading them now I realise that I received some, if not most, of my moral education from the teachings of Roger Hargreaves. I retain some affection for the hapless Mr Bump but I think the two stories that still really stand up are Mr Greedy and Mr Nosey.

As you may remember Mr Nosey's neighbours, tired of his peeking and prying, devise a simple enough course of aversion therapy. The punishments meted out to the offending nose escalate in severity and it comes as a relief that he has learned his lesson before Mr Herd (the farmer) is called upon to bring his saw down on the nose, in a scene that would probably have been too horrific for the book.

Mr Greedy features some very fine language, the similes used to describe the giant's furniture for instance and the line, "laughed a laugh as loud as thunder" I always feel would have gone down well with an Anglo-Saxon audience. On balance I think I probably prefer Mr Greedy, possibly as I identify more with his particular failing than Mr Nosey's.

On holiday once I remember my dad (an irrepressible bibliophile) pointing out a house, and telling me that it was the home of Roger Hargreaves, author of the Mr Men books. Aged ten or so, I was too cool to care by then.

Sort of on topic, I had a teacher called Mr Mann. He was a nice bloke, probably not far off retirement. He endured me for A level Early Modern History. He clearly knew the period inside out and he was one of those teachers who could, with a disingenuous question, be induced into veering off on wide ranging and lengthy monologues, which often had little to do with the Holy Roman Empire, Ignatius Loyola or Zwingli etc. I found his lessons quite relaxing but I remember the shock I felt once when one of his extended digressions ended with the words, "...and that is why Adolf Hitler will be burning in Hell." I hadn't really been paying attention, I can only think he'd started off somewhere with Martin Luther.

Monday, 21 January 2013


I have, so far, been unable to get into Felt and to be honest I have my doubts as to whether it's ever going to happen. The main stumbling block being that Lawrence, to borrow John Squire's immortal phrase, just strikes me as a tuneless knob. Why do I care? Well I don't really, I promise it's not simply a case of wanting to tick off a classic indie band, but instead a feeling that so many people rate them that it nags away at me that there must be something I'm missing.

Strangely though I do very much like Denim. I think it might be that there's less of a contrast between the music and the vocals. Or maybe a more detectable sense of humour? I dunno. Anyway, here's the track, chosen because I like it and also to fulfill a weird little post title conceit I came up with ages ago, which would have worked better had I carried it out in its entirety back then.

Denim Middle Of The Road

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

No evolution without resolution

As I was not out last night and not making a right tit of myself, there isn't quite the same impetus for New Years resolutions as usual. This year I think I'll probably make do with the perennial: To be a mensch.

Last year I made at least three resolutions, but such was my dedication and determination I can't even remember what two of them were. The one I do remember was: To read the Canterbury Tales. And do you know what? I did. Well, several bits of it anyway. Far more important than having read the whole thing is the fact that I've enjoyed very much what I've read so far. Which pretty much guarantees I'll polish it off at some point.

While I was reading it I remembered that I had a recording of some of it (in Middle English). So I gave it a spin, it's great. It reminded me strongly of the talking bits in Ogden's Nut Gone Flake. I suppose if this was any kind of a proper MP3 blog I'd give you a blast, with a snippet of ONGF for comparison. I might get round to it. I've got to do some ripping for one of the round the world posts.