Monday, 10 June 2019

In Memoriam:- Tiger Craven 2001-2019

Sad to relate, this morning I had to have my orange cat Tiger put to sleep. He was a very good cat, with a gentle and equable temperament more than offsetting his gluttony and indolence, and was much loved by all who knew him.

I wrote a sonnet to him about three years ago, which I now reproduce below as my dedication to his memory. RIP Tiger Craven.

Sonnet 133
You, marmalade, by rightness represent
Dutch courage, distillate of ’88,
a Whiggishness, essentially decent;
what though it is your own singular fate
to be, for this phase of samsara, cat.
You should be turning the Kraut centre backs,
not - bravely, I’ll admit - murdering rats
(still anyway sectarian attacks).
Mostly you sleep, or indolently purr,
but rouse yourself betimes to stretch and yowl,
and shed on all soft furnishings your fur
and viscera of mice - gutsack and bowel.
Now, bestially, dream your other life
of Rev’rend Paisley, or of Johann Cruyff.

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Clementine Unbound publish Sonnets 53 & 56

My thanks to G.F.Boyer at Clementine Unbound for agreeing to publish two of my sonnets.

Here's the link to Sonnet 53, which she published last Tuesday:-

And here's the link to Sonnet 56, which she published this morning:-

Monday, 29 April 2019

James Hannom: De Lucretio Dictisque Suis

I very much enjoyed reading this article in Aeon by James Hannom. In itself Hannam's article is excellent, being comprehensively illuminating on the whole topic of Lucretius & his life & times & philosophy, giving equally extended treatments, both to Lucretius's philosophical atomism which is of interest to modern philosophy, and to his - shall we say - niche contention that the world is flat.

Hannom's article has a particular personal resonance, in that I had a classical education several decades ago, during the course of which, aged 15, I found myself translating large chunks of Lucretius. This probably sounds like an ordeal, but it wasn't. I found it absorbing. It was my personal introduction to philosophy. In fact, it's probably fair to say that translating Lucretius, and the early acquaintance with philosophical atomism, was what led eventually to my PhD. I'm devoted to novels, plays, & verse nowadays, and very much an ex-philosopher, but Hannom's De Lucretio Dictisque Suis is still revocative. All very Proustian ...

Monday, 15 April 2019

Racist Icons of the Left No.94

"The blacks, those magnificent examples of the African race who have maintained their racial purity thanks to their lack of an affinity with bathing, have seen their territory invaded by a new kind of slave: the Portuguese. And the two ancient races have now begun a hard life together, fraught with bickering and squabbles. Discrimination and poverty unite them in the daily fight for survival but their different ways of approaching life separate them completely: The black is indolent and a dreamer; spending his meager wage on frivolity or drink; the European has a tradition of work and saving, which has pursued him as far as this corner of America and drives him to advance himself, even independently of his own individual aspirations."

Che Cuevara
The Motorcycle Diaries.

Saturday, 13 April 2019

SWSS stage a play excerpt, and two sonnets due to be published in Clementine Unbound

I've been extremely remiss in not posting anything about my literary endeavours for a good few months. Here at last is an update.

Firstly, I haven't written all that much, but things are still ticking over:-

* Only a few thousand words of Helix Folt the Conservative. This is taking longer than I meant it to.

* 150 lines or so of The Modern Hudibras, an heroic couplet mock epic about Presbyterian street preachers on Broadmead in Bristol City Centre, which is modelled on Samuel Richardson's late 17th century heroic quadrameter mock epic Hudibras.

* The Wasters. An imagist poem about modern Bristolian degeneracy, very obviously modelled on T.S.Eliot. I'm quite pleased with this, although it needs one or two revisions.

* My collection entitled Odes, Epigrams, and Further Sonnets is gradually accumulated. Again, the quantity of new material is relatively low, but I'm quite pleased with the quality.

Secondly, as regards the dissemination-of-the-oeuvre question, I have two developments to report:-

 * On March 13, Briony Pope and SouthWest Scriptwriters staged an excerpt of my play The Senseless Counterfeit as part of the second SWSW Scratch Night, held aboard the Lightship in Bathurst Basin in Central Bristol. This was a one-off script-in-hand performance by a cast of professional actors, and was very well-attended and very successful. I was absolutely delighted to see my work staged for the very first time, and to see it done so well. My thanks to Briony and to Amanda Horwell who directed the piece, and also to the cast for their really excellent performance, and to the people behind the Cabot Cruising Club who so very kindly opened their vessel up for the event.

 * G.F.Boyer on behald of literary periodical Clementine Unbound has very kindly accepted my Sonnets 53 and 56 for publication on, respectively, April 30 and May 7.

Friday, 22 March 2019

From the Bristolian Odes, Epigrams, and Further Sonnets

An Epsloot Tartar in his Dotage
“All you can see, this side the tree line down
The slope: mine. Twenty acres? Thirty? ... I
Forget …” Facsimile of perplexed frown.
We gaze across the paddocks. “I will die
Communing with my ornamental sheep.
By you to be sustained, shall our abode …”
His parasite had gone out in the jeep -
His carer found him wand’ring in the road.
Thus Ozymandias the king of kings
Bestrode once Warburgs and then Credit Suisse.
Increasingly oblivious of things,
Disintegrating piece by confused piece:

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Cycling News

A few months ago I quit running for good, because of a chronic problem with my right heel. Three weeks ago, I finally got ultrasounded, the upshots of which were a diagnosis of probable Achilles rupture, and my grateful acceptance of injections of cortisone and a saline solution. After a couple of days of discomfort, it's worked a dream. Thanks be to the NHS, and to Dr Hussain and the young lady assisting him.

During the episode, Dr Hussain remarked that he was very pleased that I had bought a bike, which is what we now turn our attention to. A few weeks after quitting running, while casting about for an alternative way of keeping fit without subjecting my heel to constant impact (hence Dr Hussain's approval), I bought an entry level £550 road bike.

Cycling has been great. I don't use my bike for commuting - just, two or three times a week, taking my bike out for fairly long rides, taking advantage whenever possible of the fairly extensive and growing network of bike paths around Bristol. I wear some moderately ridiculous luminous gear - for me it's all about the visibility, even if it makes me a bona-fide mid-50's MAMIL.

Last Sunday, as a guest of Justin, a friend and fellow ex-philosopher, I participated in the Bristol CTC 50-miler, from Blaise Castle over the Severn Bridge, detouring through several Welsh villages and hamlets to Tintern, where we had lunch before making our way back more directly to Chepstow and over the bridge back to Blaise Castle. I was absolutely knackered towards the end, and can only thank everyone for their forbearance, especially with my two punctures and impossible tyres. I must be quite fit all the same, because despite my Sunday prostration, I felt fully recovered on Monday, and quite looking forward to getting back on my bike.

Which brings us to Friday morning. I left home, and took my way down through Bristol city centre, where I very much like the dedicated cycle lanes. I got over onto Spike Island, behind the M Shed or whatever they call it now, and merged right towards the waterfront. The area is criss-crossed with tram lines, and I thought I was being scrupulous in riding quite slowly and avoiding them, but I'm guessing a wheel still got caught in one. It all happened very suddenly. My left hand, left ankle, and helmeted head struck the pavement.

And here's the thing. My helmet completely saved my head from any injury whatsoever. So from now on I am a vehement partisan of the compulsory wearing of helmets.

As to the rest, they x-rayed my ankle and wrist/hand. My ankle is ok except for being fairly swollen, and is in fact very walkable. My wrist/hand is in slightly worse shape. It's swollen and somewhat sprained, although thankfully I can type with it. The main thing is that I was wearing my helmet, as I always do, and as everyone should, and should be made to.

In Memoriam:- Tiger Craven 2001-2019

Sad to relate, this morning I had to have my orange cat Tiger put to sleep. He was a very good cat, with a gentle and equable temperament m...