Sunday, 21 April 2013

Another Reading/Daft Punk

  So another reading to let you know about, this one on at 7 pm on Tuesday 23rd at Beaconsfield Library with Claire Trevien and Sarah Hesketh. It's World Book Day apparently but I don't know what that means (also b.day of the Bard, of course):


All I know about about Beaconsfield is that it's 20 mins out of Marylebone and that it was Robert Frost's first place of residence when he came to England in 1912. (Although, Matthew Hollis tells us in Now All Roads Lead To France,  (Frost) " took no pleasure in suburban Beaconsfield.")

To enliven this dull post (and don't try and tell me Robert Frost isn't the most boring poet ever to attain putatively major status), here's Daft Punk's marvellous new production. "The present has no rhythm", is the first line of the second verse. Like it.

Sunday, 14 April 2013


Was anyone as astounded as me at the link between Margaret Thatcher, via her "friend and inspiration" the murderous dictator Pinochet, and the great Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, as outlined in this story from The Guardian this week?


This stands as a salutary countering of the disingenuous revisionism some elements of the media are attempting to foist upon us. Contra Thatcher's perniciously right-wing legacy, we all urgently need to reconnect with what the article calls "the vibrant political imagination embodied by Neruda".

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Autism and Music

Fascinating interview on Saturday Live this morning with the conductor John Lubbock, who brings his Orchestra of St John into schools and other places to play classical music to children on the autistic spectrum, speaking eloquently of what a positive impact the experience invariably has:


Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Death of a Former Tyrant

  Impromptu street-poetry at Brixton Fridge (love that dangling A), spotted by my brother in the context of a sizeable street-party on Monday night to celebrate the demise of the most hated and hateful politician of recent times.
    I caught the news in Spain while having lunch in a restaurant in Cartagena, just made out the words 'Margaret Thatcher esta muerte' on the overhead TV. None of the Spaniards showed the slightest interest, so I resisted the urge to punch the air and buy everyone a double brandy.
   On returning from our holiday yesterday, my disappointment at being back in London (still cold, grey and remarkably unspringlike) was compounded by seeing The Daily Mail's Thatcher-mourning headline 'The Saviour of Our Nation'.
   Far from saving Britain, she brought it to its knees, causing misery and poverty to millions: do the Tories want to airbrush from history over 3 million unemployed, the Poll Tax Riots, the Miners' Strike, the Falklands War began by Thatcher to bolster her massive unpopularity?In many ways she's the primary reason we're in such a calamitously parlous state now. Her agenda of ruthless privatisation, of valorising avaricious free-market economics at the expense of the Welfare State and of engendering a divisive, corrosive ethos of "There is no such thing as society" has given the license for the outrages Cameron and Osborne are getting away with so damagingly today.
   An 87-year old grandmother has passed away and of course any death has its sad impact. But no wonder people are dancing in the street to see her gone.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

The Philosopher and the General

"The general was unable to contain his almost inarticulate fury any longer.He could only scream 'Muera la inteligencia! Viva la muerte!'(Death to the intelligentsia! Long live Death!')The Falangists took up his cry and army officers took out their pistols. Apparently, the general's bodyguard even levelled his submachine-gun at Unamuno's head, but this did not deter Unamuno from crying defiance.
  'This (the University of Salamanca) is a temple of the intellect and I am its high priest.It is you who profane its sacred precincts. You will win, because you have more than enough brute force. But you will not convince. For to persuade you would need what you lack: reason and right in your struggle. I consider it futile to exhort you to think of Spain.'
   He paused and his arms fell to his sides. He finished in a quiet resigned tone: 'I have done'. "
              from The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War 1936-39, Antony Beevor