Sunday, 23 January 2011

The Poetry of Brooke, Browning and Ward (Clifford T)

There's a comment on YouTube which  says:

One Day Clifford T Ward will be mentioned in the same breath as Rupert Brook and Dylan Thomas for he is as quintisentially (sic) British and poetic as they were. Like them too his life is tinged with the great sadness of unfullfilled promise and was ended far too soon.”

When anyone dies “too young” (Clifford T Ward was 57 when he died in 2001) it is tragic. When a person of great talent, be it music, poetry, sport, science or whatever dies, it seems most poignant and we think of unfulfilled dreams and waste. Ward was a skilful poet and musician, “Home Thoughts” being a particular  favourite of mine. “I could be a millionaire, if I had the money” is a wonderful line. He is also relatively unknown for someone of his calibre (I think)

Perhaps he is not as unfulfilled as we might think and perhaps no one can talk about anyone’s unfulfilment except their own. It was said that he would have had more commercial success if he hadn’t disliked touring, interviews and photo shoots so much. Maybe he just didn’t class that as fulfillment.  

Even at my age I am not sure what fulfils me. I know what pleases me and what concerns me, but to say that knowing my family are happy makes me happy sounds a bit pretentious.
Maybe when I get to my three score years and ten I will have the answer. Not too long to go.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Reading for pleasure

A fellow blogger has been thinking about whether to persevere with reading books that she can't really get into, but feels that she needs a wider variety of reading to be a good writer.

I know what she means. 
There seems to be lots of books that I have thought I should read. Where this "should" has come from, I'm not sure. Probably recommendations from educationalists or literary reviewers and such like. Sometimes a friend or colleague has suggested I read a particular book and I have persevered even when the process has turned into a total chore.  1000 Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez, is an example. It has been on my bedside table for 6 years now and I have not managed to get past the first chapter. I ought to move it really as it does taunt me that it's a "classic" that I am unable to complete. 

But this is not a good way of choosing reading material. 
I know people who say they "don't like reading".  I can't understand that statement but I can understand not liking what you read and that is where Marquez and such fall short, for me. 

I am not at my best in the perseverance stakes with anything much at the moment but if I make reading a task then there's no hope at all. 

Saturday, 15 January 2011

You're not ****ing Royalty, Mr Vice - Chair of MTC

 Following Tory MP Mark Pritchard’s clash with the Commons Speaker John Bercow, T-shirts stating ‘You’re not f****** royalty’ are now on sale.

Mr Bercow had annoyed Mark Pritchard by demanding that he get out of his way as he made his way through Parliament.

After the Vice – Chair’s response to a member of the public’s questions at Thursday’s MTC meeting – “Shut up!” followed by  “You WILL respect me and you will respect my position” –  this is a most appropriate  garment to be  seen wearing at future meetings. 

Orders now being taken. Email me for further details.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

From here to there and the bits in between


I have been watching Stewart work on this painting for a number of days now. He's saying it's the first time he's done a mural, but actually he has an unfinished one of the Lescaux cave paintings on a bedroom wall so maybe it's going to be the first completed one.

I had a reasonably good idea of how I wanted the "picture window" to look. The colours and shades were clear to me but whether I explained to the artist clearly enough, is for him to say. And so the scene has changed from blacks and greys to blues and greens and eventually to the orange and yellows of the sunset and reflections of the light on the water. It is as if the photo I had in my mind is now transposed onto the wall. It's an outstanding piece of work and very effective.

To me, the non visual artist, this achievement is incredible. If I write half as well as Stewart draws and paints, then I will be more than pleased. The journey from the start of a painting is similar to that of writing, I think. From a spark of an idea an image is formed which needs to be enlarged upon and described to the reader - the painter with paints, the writer with words. There are hurdles to get over and many changes to be made on the way, but if the end result satisfies - the painter, the writer, the viewer, the reader - then it's worth it.
Still many good reasons for me to complete the novel.
I'm working on it.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

The Government's nagging again

Watch out at the supermarket checkout. Prepare to be assaulted with advice about eating fruit and vegetables as The Government  plans to make us eat what they say we should, come what may.
Look out for the green painted line on your trolley which shows you where to put your “healthy” produce. If you’re looking for pies, crisps and cake, then look on the higher shelves where it’s more difficult to see them. High fibre and low calorie stuff can be found lower down, at eye level. You WILL eat “five a day” !
Make your children walk to school and they might get Top Shop vouchers or tickets to the cinema. Bribery?  Of course not.
Stop unwanted teenage pregnancies by entrusting your screaming, teething toddlers to them for a time. That’ll teach ‘em to have safe sex.

And so it goes on. This is the coalition government of David Cameron who said that they would interfere less in people’s lives. Well, not so’s you’d notice.

I quite like the latest tv advert for the Co – Op. The  character is  addressing his wife via the telly, telling her that he doesn’t want to do a” weekly shop” anymore when he could be spending more time with her and the kids, doing things they want to do. The punch line is “shop for what you want only when you want it”.
Nice sentiments, especially coming from a supermarket chain. Maybe if we weren’t being “nudged” (government speak for pressured) into buying things that we are told are good for us we would be less likely to go out spending on things that aren’t necessary. I bet they never thought of that.

The 5 a day campaign has had limited effect and it’s more likely that the healthier overall lifestyle of people is the reason for a decrease in cancer and better health. If I am left to decide for myself what is good for me or otherwise, then I am less likely to behave like a naughty teenager and rebel by having 5 lots of vegetables with my donner kebab and chips. 

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

A mind of their own

Do electrical appliances have a mind of their own ? A strange question, yes but I do have good reason to ask.
My washing machine has been gradually breaking down over the past few months. It used to wash and then spin dry every time it was used, then it began to spin when it felt like it and then didn't even bother trying. It just made the sound of spinning but didn't actually spin and I was left with a load of dripping wet clothes. 
So I ordered a new machine online and am waiting for it to arrive tomorrow.
I thought I might as well give the old machine one last try, and guess what ? Yes, it washed and spun perfectly. Of course I had to try it again - in fact I have used it 5 times now since I ordered the new one. Every time it has worked perfectly. I can't cancel the new one but I just know that if I did it would go back to not spinning. I daren't give it to anyone for the same reason. So the scrap man will be getting a washing machine in perfect working order. 
The kettle is playing up a bit - boils sometimes but not all of the time. I am telling it that I am ordering a new one and leaving catalogues open beside it showing bright, shiny, unused kettles in the hope that it will get worried. In the meantime I am keeping a close eye on the dryer, the microwave, the fridge and the toaster and talking loudly about up to date appliances that I could order and how the scrapyard is such a lonely place.