Poetic reaction to US election

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Donald J Trump

Gives me the hump.

What does Jeremy Corbyn think about the EU?

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Well, I’d like to know. We hear (or are allowed to hear) so little from him. On this issue, on which JC actually agrees with most of his MP’s apparently, and where both sides of the debate have so little of use to say to us, wouldn’t it be good if the only political leader with a working brain grabbed the opportunity to tell us where he stands?

So far, all I know is that one bunch of Tories wants to stay in and another bunch wants to leave. Given that the standard of their arguments doesn’t reach above “Yah! Up yours! So there!”, there is surely room for an intelligent voice, or one which is capable of rising above a whisper.

Number 2’s out of my system

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Yup. Eventually finished my second full length novel after several re-drafts AND I’ve also squeezed out a synopsis (a version of which appears on my Major Works page).

Sparrows Nest is the story of a young man in the 1970’s whose thirst for political education is matched only by his hunger for women. He chooses the Labour Party as the focus for both.

One more novel to go and I will feel that I have completed my apprenticeship.

The worst thing to write?

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What swine invented synopses? I’m having the devil of a time writing a synopsis for my latest novel, Sparrows Nest. Why is it so difficult writing 1,000 words or so summarising the merits and attractions of a 100,000 word novel? Well, of course I know the answer’s obvious, but that doesn’t stop the exercise being such a pain. Still, mustn’t moan, eh? At least the novel’s finished now.

Magnificent Lady in the Van

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Just got around to seeing this splendid film at the cinema. Terrifically written by Alan Bennett, as could be expected, but also bravely written with such honesty about his own life and thoughts which gave the film real truth. Maggie Smith was staggeringly brilliant as Miss Shepherd, inhabiting her character and investing her with an exceptionally broad range of traits, tics and genuine emotion. Alex Jennings did an excellent job of portraying Bennett rather than simply giving us a superficial impersonation. The supporting cast of top-notch British character actors were all just right, with Jim Broadbent especially good in a small role – an even slimier version of the policeman he played so memorably in Only Fools & Horses. Overall, the film successfully gives us drama, tragedy, tension, satire and humour at all the right times.

History is a thing of the past

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When are historians – in print or on radio or TV – going to understand that describing historical events in the present tense does not make them seem more immediate? It just makes the historians sound idiotic, and manages to alienate a goodly number of their audience. The way to bring history to life is to underline the need to learn its lessons and apply them to the present – something which the majority of our current politicians are unable to do.

History is not an entertainment. It is far more important than that.

The Magna Carta Plays at Salisbury Playhouse

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An interesting and thought-provoking quartet of specially commissioned plays put on by the Playhouse to mark the 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta. They were generally making the points, missed by many in the anniversary celebrations, that Magna Carta made little difference to the lives of the vast majority, and that we still have a long way to go to achieve fully protected human rights. The most intriguing of the plays was the bleak future imagined by the fourth: We Sell Right by Timberlake Wertenbaker. Overall, the writing was good but the choreography and acting were outstanding. Worthy of being singled out was the performance by Trevor Michael Georges in Pink Gin by Sally Woodcock. Four stars for the Playhouse.

The best book ‘On Writing’ I have read

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Stephen King’s On Writing is a terrifically easy read, largely thanks to the interwoven autobiographical anecdotes. Witty, straightforward, and full of no-nonsense tips, the book debunks on the way many of the sillier elements of current perceived wisdom on creative writing.

Sunshine over dust – a poetic challenge

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We were discussing a choice of mounts for a newly acquired painting the other day with our favourite framer (Rob Jones of Bond-a-Frame, Chichester – nice chap). As usual, he came up with a perfect colour combination. For this picture, he recommended ‘Sunshine’ over ‘Dust’. That got me thinking about how an odd selection of words in juxtaposition can be serendipitously enchanting – inspiring, even.

Inspiring? Well, unfortunately, the inspiration hasn’t worked for me yet. But surely there’s a poet or a painter out there somewhere who might run with it.

Of course, there’s always doggerel:-

      Sunshine over dust

      Toenails red as rust

      Filling me with lust –

      Oh, say it I must –

      For the girl with the ample bust

Lemmings vote to sharpen rocks at the bottom of the cliff

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In an extraordinary demonstration of self-sacrifice, some 35% of the British electorate decided yesterday to donate their votes to the 2% of the population burdened with the responsibility of having more than enough. Marketing consultants for the ‘Screw the Poor, Feed the Rich’ campaign, through the columns of the Daily Post and The Pun, have expressed their delight at the generosity displayed.

A Mr N Clegg of sister organisation ‘Power at All Costs’ said he was too busy just now, counting the cost. He had, however, been ‘happy to help’ in the build-up to the campaign.

Meanwhile, spokespeople for other leading groups had little to say. Mr E Miliband, formerly of ‘Adopt a Banker’ was now actively engaged in seeking a new executive director for the long-standing charity ‘Poverty of Ideas’. North of the border, we caught up with the senior partners in the successful advertising firm of Salmond & Sturgeon, just filling their boats in readiness for a long holiday, who contented themselves with a cryptic ‘Told you so’.

A Mr N Farage, leading light of the ‘Don’t Care in the Community’ movement, was thought to be crying into his beer.

Commenting on the outcome of the campaigns, our editor, reclusive author Brian Crooks, said: ‘Oh, dear. Oh, dear; oh, dear; oh, dear. Oh, shit’.

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