they paved paradise

Years ago, I worked for around six months in the centre of Birmingham, somewhere in the shadow of the old Nat West Tower and directly opposite the – then brand new – Copthorne Hotel.

Returning to the area a few years ago, I couldn’t find any way to reconcile my memories with the reality: – the development and construction work in the city centre has been tremendous and the landscape has changed both along the skyline and at ground level.
Continue reading “they paved paradise”

monkey see, monkey do

Having taken the photo of this rather splendid chimpanzee, I was wondering what on earth I could post in the way of text to go alongside it. I’m pretty sure I don’t have any poetry featuring primates other than humans.

But despite having watched Planet of the Apes and knowing that chimpanzees are not monkeys, I post enough tenuous connections and bad puns on the blog to feel that I can get away with making a link via the verb to monkey when used with the meaning to mimic.
Continue reading “monkey see, monkey do”

Europe

The lady in the photo is, of course, Europa. She’s sitting outside Madrid’s main airport, clearly enjoying the sunshine.

Botero's Rapto de Europa statue; Madrid Airport
She gives me an excuse to revisit a poem-in-progress – The three body problem – from which this phrase is taken:

[…] You’ll find persuasion – just


a little gentle bull – can found a continent


of opportunity. […]

 
It probably helps if the gentle bull is ruler of the gods on Mount Olympus.
 

Sanfermines

Although I am in Spain, I will not be attending the controversial running of the bulls in Pamplona. Instead, to mark the San Fermín festival, which started yesterday, I offer this splendid statue from Birmingham’s Bullring shopping centre.

Bull statue, Birmingham Bullring

in Catalonia II

The Mediterranean Sea at l'Escala, Catalonia

L’Escala: thunder blue,
the Mediterranean
beat her lace-frilled cuffs against
the coast’s ridged washboard rocks
while the cobla band played on
in brassy silence.

Monument l'Escala, Catalonia, Cobla musicians

You’ll find a couple of other poetry fragments from my recent trip to Catalonia if you click here.

tooth in advertising

Having suffered at the hands of the dentist yesterday – and I do suffer, with the only consolation that, as a writer, I may later find it useful to know what it feels like to have hysterics – I was glad to see that the old Especialidades Juanse tiles are still in place in Madrid’s Malasaña district.old tile adverts, (especialidades juanse), Madrid
Continue reading “tooth in advertising”

4-ever?

Graffiti: "te quiero <3"
how many?
This bench in the village reminded me of the story about the little boy who told his aunt, “I love you millions and billions.”

“I love you, too, dear,” she replied.

At which he burst into tears, sobbing, “Only two?”