Archive for the ‘literature’ Category

Nothing Else to Say

August 31, 2013

Except this:



Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone

W. H. Auden

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.


First Literary Recommendation of the Year

January 2, 2013

First Literary Recommendation of the Year

Another Reminder

December 21, 2012

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From the Poor Little Village of St. Petersburg

December 17, 2012

A reminder…

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September 7, 2010

`Oh! certainly,” cried his faithful assistant, “no one can be really esteemed accomplished, who does not greatly surpass what is usually met with. A woman must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages, to deserve the word; and besides all this, she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions, or the word will be but half deserved.”

“All this she must possess,” added Darcy, “and to all this she must yet add, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.”

“I am no longer surprised at your knowing only six accomplished women. I rather wonder now at your knowing any.”’

Pride and Prejudice, Chapter VIII of Volume I

Mea Culpa (No999)

August 18, 2009


I feel somewhat guilty about my attack on Ms. Myerson and her decision to tell the world about her family problems.  Telling the world about problems within the family can often be cathartic and if you’re too afraid of what others will think of you then maybe its time to have a purge of your circle of friends because those who matter don’t care and those who care don’t matter.  My family were the ‘brush all their troubles under the nearest carpet’ type.  It was only when I went radio rental that this all changed. After that they had no choice.  I’ve just finished reading her biography and that has softened my feelings.  Look out for a review soon.

I Have Been Looking for This…

August 13, 2008

For years. The epigraph to Simone de Beauvoir’s Le Sang Des Autres: ”Each of us is responsible for everything and to every human being.’

(Attributed to Fyodor Dostoevsky.)

I cannot walk away. I’m sorry but I can’t. I never could. That would be cowardly. Wouldn’t it?

Besides, have you never heard of Kitty Genovese?

(Now, wasn’t that predictable? I’ll be invoking Martin Niemoller next*.)

*Please excuse the absence of the umlaut.

Recently, someone wrote to me, asking for, no, sorry, demanding my empathy.

Well, I have been told that a person can only feel empathy for one person at a time. It’s the law or something. And this week the recipient of my empathy is Nina Burton-Harris. Don’t know who she is? I thought not.

Addendum: Oh, and in other news, the Chief Appointer of Mental Health Activists on Da Web (news to you, sweetheart, the British Blogosphere is not ‘The Web’ and ‘The Web’ is not the British Blogosphere. Thank fuck!) is some bloke named Marcus. He seems to believe that I penned a post in which I called people ‘Corporate Cock Suckers’. A question to the real author of that post: do you think if I sucked the cock of Steve Jobs just a leeetle bit harder that he’d give me a Macbook Pro? I’d accept a low-end one. I’m not proud.

We will fight, not out of spite
for someone must stand up for what’s right
cause where there’s a man who has no voice
there ours shall go singing
In the end only kindness matters
In the end only kindness matters
I will get down on my knees and I will pray
I will get down on my knees and I will pray
I will get down on my knees and I will pray
My hands are small, I know,
but they’re not yours they are my own
but they’re not yours they are my own
and I am never broken

Hands, Jewel

Final Straw


As I raise my head to broadcast my objection
As your latest triumph draws the final straw
Who died and lifted you up to perfection?
And what silenced me is written into law.

I can’t believe where circumstance has thrown me
And I turn my head away
If I look I’m not sure that I could face you.
Not again. not today. not today.

If hatred makes a play on me tomorrow
And forgiveness takes a back seat to revenge
There’s a hurt down deep that has not been corrected.
There’s a voice in me that says you will not win.

And if I ignore the voice inside,
Raise a half glass to my home.
But it’s there that I am most afraid,
And forgetting doesn’t hold. It doesn’t hold.

Now I don’t believe and I never did
That two wrongs make a right.
If the world were filled with the likes of you
Then I’m putting up a fight. I’m putting up a fight.
Putting up a fight. Make it right. Make it right.

Now love cannot be called into question.
Forgiveness is the only hope I hold.
And love- love will be my strongest weapon.
I do believe that I am not alone.

For this fear will not destroy me.
And the tears that have been shed
It’s knowing now where I am weakest
And the voice in my head. In my head.

Then I raise my voice up higher
And I look you in the eye
And I offer love with one condition.
With conviction, tell me why.
Tell me why.
Tell me why.
Look me in the eye.
Tell me why.

The Life and Times of Fred Unwin

June 25, 2005

Back to Fred Unwin…

Like Doug he was served in North Africa and Sicily during the war and, like Doug, he grew up on the ‘mean streets’ of Cambridge (it’s not all college and May Balls, you know and, paradoxically, the war saved them both. After the war Doug, using his experience as a medic became what is now known as a paramedic but was by the less impressive sounding ‘ambulance man’ in those days. (There weren’t a lot of women in the service back then.) Fred Unwin became a psychiatric nurse. (Contrary to popular perception there were quite a few male psychiatric nurses in those days – well, they needed some muscle to keep the nuts in line).

They led parallel lives and yet didn’t meet until they were pensioners and they had both lost their wives. Fred Unwin is (I nearly wrote ‘was’) a locally renowned poet and writer. He wrote an auto-biographical study of psychiatric nursing in the late ’50s entitled Dew On My Feet which focused on nurse training at Addenbrookes (yes, my old psychiatric Alma-Mater – S3, S4 and R4).

I am reluctant to go and see him even though Doug has suggested that I accompany him. As I said, I am unwilling to face what he has become. When I last encountered him it was at a poetry reading. He was tall and broad and did not look in the least like an octogenarian. He was part-poet, part-historian. Many of his books were self-published and before anyone cries contemptuously ‘Vanity publishing, eh?’ might I remind you that my own role-model – Virginia Woolf – owned her own publishing house, partially financed by her husband Leonard Woolf and many other writers – great and not so great – have done the same throughout literary history

He praised my rendition of Dorothy Parker‘s ‘You Might As Well Live’ and Philip Larkin‘s ‘This Be the Verse’. (Choices that rather suit my curmudgeonly personality). He purchased a copy of my book and passed on his compliments through Doug. I want to remember him as he was then, not as he is now.

An alternative explanation is that I am a lazy, selfish cow.

Yes, the latter sounds much more plausible.

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