lowering the tone

After writing the not nice post yesterday about offensive poetry, it was time to choose some poems to take along to read at the open mike at the bookshop.

I’ve written before about points to consider when choosing poems to read in public, but as everyone in the neighbourhood is still talking about the complaints received about “rude and offensive naughty poetry and song”, I felt I should try and find something to suit the mood.
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not nice

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post inspired by the words “poems are hard”, which appeared on a local pub chalkboard. It’s not just the poems themselves that are hard, though: it’s even hard to get people to agree on what poetry is.

Some people think that poetry should deal with the big issues of Life, Love and Death, others that it should be all kittens and flowers, sweetness and light; some think it should make us look at familiar things and occurrences as if they were new; others that it should make the personal universal; some think it should have structure and be carefully crafted, others that it should rhyme, others that it should be written “from the heart” and therefore anything goes.
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summer

Summer open-air festival It’s that time of year: we’ve had the solstice and we’ve had Midsummer; at Glastonbury the festival continues until Sunday; there are concerts of music and “performance” in the nearby city and, in the town, four generations of women have silk flowers threaded through their hair…
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pussyfooting

white cat
Over the years, I’ve given a lot of feedback on a lot of manuscripts, both poetry and prose. I’ve also been grateful to receive commentary on my own writing.

It’s never very nice to be told that your work has failed, that your scansion is all to pot and that your grammar and spelling need major revisions. But how are we to improve if no one points out the weaknesses in our work that we are too blind to see for ourselves?
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a choice of viewing

The marvels of technology allow us to watch TV even if we don’t actually have a television set, and to watch programmes at times totally unrelated to when they are actually broadcast. I found this film on offer recently:

"The Thing from Another World" listing on iPlayer
What really caught my attention was how close I had come to missing it after all these years:
First shown  1951: available  till Tuesday
I wonder if they really did keep their word and remove it on Tuesday or whether, like David Bowie, they decided they “might be able to stretch it till Wednesday”:
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unconsidered trifles and other seasonal fayre

Today is the shortest day, but that doesn’t mean there is any less to do than usual, so rather than try and write a well-planned single-theme post, I am going to gather together a whole host of notes I’ve jotted down over the last few weeks, none of which is really worthy of more than a few lines:

Last week, I posted about the hippo at the manger; since then, it’s been pointed out to me that it isn’t really so out-of-line in these days of modern nativities, and perhaps if I’d seen the lobster scene from Love Actually I might have been less surprised.

The hippos weren’t the only things to catch my eye at the local exhibition, though; there was a Russian nativity scene that had me pondering:

Russian-doll style nativity scene
Does Mary really bring forth an angel, a donkey and the Baby Jesus?
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u-certificate

garden gnomes (Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs) on shop shelf

Having found this tiny Snow White amongst a veritable army of dwarfs in a local store, I was going to call this post “size matters”.

I’d probably have gone on to talk about the poor thing slaving away to cook and clean simply because she was terrified of the monsters she lived with. But perhaps female subjugation isn’t a very nice subject to treat so superficially, so I did a quick search on trivia associated with the film to see what else I could write.

Over on IMDB, I found that the certification of the original Disney film was controversial: although The British Board of Film Censors gave the film an A-certificate because they thought the enchanted forest and the witch were too frightening for younger audiences, most local authorities overrode the censor’s decision and gave the film a U-certificate.

In fact, it seems as if the censors knew what they were talking about and many of the young audiences wet themselves in fear. I can only wonder what would have happened if the dwarfs had been giants.