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Showing posts from November, 2013

Swindon 1 - 3 Leyton Orient

Quite what the professional (ahem) activities of Karren Brady had to do with the anticipated proceedings of an away match in the West country remain a mystery to me even now. Nonetheless, defamatory speculations on this particular theme, resounding to the tune of the Hallelujah Chorus, comprised the central substance of the prologue to Swindon vs. Leyton Orient, which I attended, in great earnest, earlier this month.

Once the action centre stage kicked off, the accompaniment subsided into the popular and versatile refrain most famously exampled by the 1998 classic Vindaloo: "Ori-urrrgh ... Ori-urrrgh ... Ori-urgh, Ori-urgh, Ori-urrrgh ... Ori-urrrgh ... Ori-urrrgh ... Ori-urgh, Ori-urgh, Ori-urrrgh". I must confess I'm not entirely certain of the spelling.

There followed a relatively uneventful twenty minutes or so, but for some mildly rankled recitative between a polite young lady spectator who wished to be seated, and a row of youths in front of her who preferred to st…

X-rayish phrases

There's this great bit in Brave New World where Helmholtz inadvertently re-invents the lost art of poetry. In a lecture 'On the Use of Rhymes in Moral Propaganda and Advertisement', he introduces a technical example of his own: 'Pure madness, of course; but I couldn't resist it.' He laughed. 'I was curious to see what their reactions would be. Besides,' he added more gravely, 'I wanted to do a bit of propaganda; I was trying to engineer them into feeling as I'd felt when I wrote the rhymes. Ford!' He laughed again. 'What an outcry there was! The Principal had me up and threatened to hand me the immediate sack. I'm a marked man.'
'But what were your rhymes?' Bernard asked.
'They were about being alone.'
Bernard's eyebrows went up. (Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, 1931) Being alone -- or feeling any type of mental or emotional 'excess' -- is some achievement in Huxley's imagined world of relentless …

You know I'm bad, I'm bad, you know it*

"Who here is bad?"... The speaker surveyed the congregation with spoof solemnity. It was a typical Sunday morning, the "bit before the kids go out" at church. I must have been about 6. "Who here is bad?"... I knew all about sin. I'd had it explained to me, and everything, and quite frankly it seemed to make a lot of sense. Disobedience, lies, unkindness; I could think of lots of things that I had done which would make me sad if someone else did them to me. And it made me sad that I had done them, and I imagined it would make God sad too, going by what I knew of Him. So, naturally, I raised my hand. And everybody burst out laughing. "Oh, dear, dear", chuckled the speaker, "I'm sure you're not bad -- maybe naughty occasionally, but not bad". But nonetheless he summoned me up to the front, where I was made to hold a piece of paper emblazoned with that word in bubble letters as part of his interactive family-friendly warm-up a…

Reader, I bear with him...


Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments.
Love is not love which alters when it finds weetabix-encrusted bowls,
Nor bends, when bending to remove socks from the bedroom floor.
Oh no! It is an ever-fixèd mark, much like the one left on the wall by that ham-fisted DIY attempt,
That looks on tempests, and does not excuse itself from taking out the bins.
It is the GPS to every long car journey back from stressful family events,
Whose worth's unknown, although for goodness sake, don't leave it on the front seat to get taken.
Love's not time's fool, though time-worn jokes may fall within the compass of a scathing glance;
Love alters not with lengthy working days and weary weeks,
But bears it out, and even finds the energy, come Saturday, to hoover to the edges of the living room.
If this be error, and myself accused,
Will never writ, nor I his words abused. (cf. an earlier draft) Bearing with one another doesn't initially sound all…