personal details to go

I’ve already had a moan about Starbucks and their grammatical inadequacies, but now I’ve found further reason to complain.

At the weekend, I had to meet a fellow writer who lives in the centre of Madrid; she suggested we meet in Starbucks. Not my first choice, perhaps, but no problem. When I got there, there were two customers at one of the tables, and no one else in the whole place. The camarero – I bet he’d have called himself a barista – took my order.

It annoys me that the smallest measure in Starbucks is “tall”. It annoyed me more that the waiter wanted to know my name.
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hai’ku

Castilla y León 17/11/2008
Castilla y León 17/11/2008

Sunward
ivy snakes
scaling trunks of pines

east, west…

… home’s best.

After nearly a month of travelling and living out of a suitcase, I am back in the pueblo in Spain. It’s gloriously sunny, there are huge drifts of leaves, snow on the mountains, cats on the verandah…

Thanks to Randall Munroe at xkcd for his thoughts on the relativity of east and west.

Terminology

poetry listenings

Being based in Spain, I don’t get to that many English poetry readings or open mike events, so the recent opportunity to go to several in a short period of time has been really interesting.

The two poetry venues I know best are the Torriano Meeting House and the Poetry Café, both in London. Both are almost airless, ill-designed rooms which are over-full with fifty people in the audience. Then again, from what I’ve seen, they don’t often get that many. Certainly not for the whole evening.
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what’s in the poem

I’ve been in the UK for the last three weeks during which time I’ve managed to attend five poetry readings in three different venues. One was an open mike (the regular Tuesday night Poetry Unplugged at the Poetry Café, London), and three of the other events included ‘poems from the floor’ as well as the invited poets, so I’ve probably heard some seventy poets read recently.

I’m amazed how differently different people approach the opportunity to share their poetry with an audience.
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words that bind

Last week I helped an elderly friend to clear off some of her bookshelves. There were old library catalogues, and photocopies from way back which she used when she was writing her thesis; pamphlets, booklets, transcripts of lectures, undergraduate essays…

As I watched her tackle the piles of papers, condemning at least 80% of it to the recycling bag, I thought about how bad I am at throwing out words, and decided it’s because words bind in a number of different ways.
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alarmed?

Well, the property might be alarmed, but I’m more shocked by the falling educational standards that allow signs like this to be designed, printed and displayed in London streets without anyone correcting the spelling error:

Alarmed by the drop in educational standards?
Alarmed by the drop in educational standards?