Thursday, March 28, 2002

Thursday 28 March 2002
London, Nottingham later

another topical sonnet has sprung into my fevered brain

Kenneth Wolstenholme

In fourteen words he wrote his epitaph,
A phrase that is forever ‘Eng-a-land’
And sixty six and Alf’s heroes are crowned;
The trophy held aloft in Bobby’s grasp.

The team ascended thirty nine worn steps.
Her Maj with Harold beamed beneficence,
And all the while in Ken’s reminiscence,
The game against the Hun repaid the debts.

The crowd surged forward eager for the blast
Of ref’s shrill whistle to bring cool relief.
As Geoff’s left boot compounded our belief -
The cup that Pickles found was won at last.

In fourteen words, the victory was complete.
‘It is now’, and forever, memories sweet.

Wednesday 27 March 2002

Sunday, March 24, 2002

Sunday 24 March 2002

another topical sonnet

On hearing that Margaret Thatcher will not speak again

The game is up, the final whistle blown.
Supporters shuffle through the weary streets.
The skipper rolls the Rover towards home
Reflecting on the team’s last two defeats.

In Dulwich shades the whisky glasses clink
A toast to ‘freedom and democracy’.
Behind electric gates the lenses blink,
Respect for her a spectral fallacy.

The lady’s not for talking any more,
The strident tones forever locked away.
At last the time has come to take the score,
To count the social cost at close of play -

No hope, no personal security,
No commonwealth in our society.

Saturday 23 March 2002

Friday, March 22, 2002

Friday 22 March 2002

just another topical sonnet.. the perceptive among you will also notice that these topical sonnets are appearing in thought for the day...

Slip Sliding Away

A month ago he grabbed the sports headlines
By charging down a slope of snow and ice.
Adrenalin was coursing through his veins,
And don’t forget, he had to do it twice.

So suddenly we found another name,
A downhill skier sweeping all before
To join our starry winter hall of fame;
Oh celebrate his bronze for Aviemore.

Alas it’s true that pride precedes the fall,
In simple nasal spray, hubris resides;
‘Return the gong’ is now the icy call.

Our winter sports are best performed inside,
The curling girls can show us after all
The better way of slipping down a slide.

Thursday 21 March 2002

Thursday, March 21, 2002

Thursday 21 March 2002
Nottingham - after Mansfield

last night was the opening night of a new play by New Perspectives Theatre Company - that I am a Board member of... Board membership is a joy, especially when you get to attend first performances of new productions.

The Drawer Boy
This was a new play by a canadian writer - Michael Healey.. set on a farm in Ontario, some way out from Toronto. It had a particular poignancy fo rme because two years ago I visited my cousin John who has since died, but who had just such a farm in Ontario though he lived in Toronto.
The story was a beautiful and moving tale of uncovering and revealing personal history. It was close but very different to Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men..
and the journey of the characters and the journeys for the three actors, and thus the journeys for the audience was detailed and moving. There was a collective celebration of emotion that was palpable and refreshing...

The Drawer Boy - by Michael Healey in a first production outside Canada - touring the East Midlands until the end of May.. ring 01623 635225 for details...


as an indication of where is he now.. ie where Rick's head is at a week later.. here is the latest topical sonnet...

Tuesday the Hunt of March

Ask what does the fox know of compromise?
Stinking, resentful, unmoved in his earth
Surrounded by decayed debris of death,
The trophies of forays before sunrise.

On distant benches they seek his demise
Who would don the pinks, hard hats and hair shirts,
The privileged regalia of birth,
In hoarse unspeakable braying from the shires.

Long before dusk settles on this debate,
From his cave the fox ventures forth again,
Breathing death into his network of hate.

The cunning bombs that inhale oxygen
From lowering blood red skies arrive too late.
Bin Laden runs; the hunt is thus sustained.

Tuesday 19 March 2002

Tuesday, March 19, 2002

Tuesday 19 March 2002
London - but Nottingham later

we are a funny bunch of people - I was on the bus last night and a visitor from the far east was sitting looking blankly as a dozen or more people tried to be helpful - not this is a 73.. 73, yes... where do you want to get to ? from about a dozen voices at once.. Akham Park.. Hyde Park? yes Akham Park... Hyde Park, you're going the wrong way mate, you need to get off here and go in the other direction.. 73 bus, yes...

the 73 runs all the way from Victoria to Tottenham.. I hope he got where he needed to be..

this week the hares have been running and jumping like billio - it is the time to get out into the countryside and watch the wildlife going wild.

and today is St Joseph's Day - an indestructable saint apparently..

Sunday, March 17, 2002

Sunday 17 March

this is not so much a travel update - more a description of where my head is - still sore about not getting the job I wanted so badly... so I decided to write a sonnet instead..

My Sunday Feeling

Who are the winners and losers this week?
The voters/non-voters of Zimbabwe
Who queued and cued but did not get to speak
For either Tsvangirai or Mugabe?

The summiteers in barca gaudi breaks
Promenaders on the shaded ramblas..
Ciao Tony, Silvio, politesse makes
For cordiale European assemblies.

With sorrowful despair in Sabbath tents
Eyeless in Gaza the assassin creeps
Pursued by Sharon’s vengeful armaments..

The bomber and the company she keeps
In deadly embrace carries all hell bent.
Young lives – the world aghast wrings hands and weeps.

17 March 2002

Also went to see Richard lll in Sheffield last night - with Kenneth Branagh in the eponymous role.. fantastic and witty and scary and powerful.. all at once.

Friday, March 15, 2002

Friday 15 March 2002
London, Nottingham later, Sheffield tomorrow

Phew what a week eh, chums? People are still logging on to with gusto and derision..
so the interview for a job in Nottingham did not go well
as Hugh Grant says as he realises too late that Andi McDowell is available after all - bugger, bugger.. etc

the problem is that when you want something badly, you end up behaving badly, or in my case underperforming.. adrenilin rush, mouth started before brain engaged.. should have done this.. should have said that.. should not have accepted the other..

and now it's too late - and I'll have to get focused and enthusiastic again about plan B.

and as Pauline so wisely put it - what's for you won't go past you...

then I hear from a former member of Nottingham Youth Theatre - 1976 onwards - and lo and behold he has started a web site for old NYT memories... including some amazing cast lists.. oh where are they now?
well done Adrian
log on chums to

and enjoy -

speaking of youth theatres - this weekend I'm going to see former Reading Youth Theatre star Kenneth Branagh in Richard 3rd (no relation) in Sheffield..

should be wicked

Sunday, March 10, 2002

Sunday 10 March 2002
day after my 52nd birthday.. so it's already sneakingupon53..
despite my dear pal Sand putting 53 candles on the cake yesterday.. nothing like wishing someone else's life away, eh?

and the wind has blown high, and the wind has blown low and the daffs have all fallen horizontal.

Thursday, March 07, 2002

Thursday 7 March 2002
London Village

speaking of the land that time forgot I had a look into a Tory members' club yesterday, courtesy of a journalist pal.. Fury as Man not in Tie walks In.. screamed the headlines. Yes I had to be loaned a tie and a jacket to enter the hallowed portals and observe the grandees at lunch.. signed photgraphs of I Smith, M Thatcher, couldn't see one of W Haigh (remember him?).. paintings of W Churchill, E Heath (tucked away under the stairs)
sumptuous lunch, (which I must quickly register as a gift), smoked salmon, glazed ham..
the hacks, PR heads and politicians hummed with collective brain power and venom until the division bell rang.. and nobody moved.

The club has fallen on hard times since the two election defeats and the members are reputedly putting the building up for sale at a price tag of a cool £6m.. netting them £50,000 apiece..

I've been in Tom's company too long - what is all this journalese that has crept in? netting.. Fury as Man not in Tie leaves without paying bill.. Fury as Man not in Tie forgets to return Jacket and Tie - actually thanks for lunch, Tom, and interesting that a Tory PR head also added his lunch to Tom's bill.. hey ho - hard times indeed, eh?

the answer is Epping.

Wednesday, March 06, 2002

Wednesday 6 March 2002
London Village

the scary thing is that there are about a dozen people who log onto sneakinguponamerica every day according to the counter.. scary because I haven't snuck up on america for over 6 months now.. indeed the only thing I'm sneakingupon just now is my 52nd birthday.. (Saturday) (in case you feel like sending me anything).

sad tormented soul that I am I logged onto the Mariners' official site to discover that following the mighty 5-2 result on Saturday against Crystal Palace, Grimsby crashed to a 2-1 defeat against Gillingham last night.

I'm trying to arrange a pub quiz at work - here is the test question - Apart from the Metropolitan Line, which is the only underground station outside of the M25?

answer tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 05, 2002

Tuesday 5 March 2002
and tempus is just fugiting away

London after a weekend in the Land that Time Forgot
Lincolnshire for those of you who are new to the travel update.
Lincolnshire is a wonderful and remarkable county.. at one time it was the second largest county in England with the sparsest population.. and a population and dialect all its own.
People (for such they are) from Lincolnshire - the Land that Time Forgot - are called Yellowbellies.. not for any problem of courage in the face of adversity.. but because the regiment used to wear a Yellow waistcoat - a sort of turnip-proof vest.
The dialect was celebrated by Tennyson and other poets including the redoubtable Jabez Good of Burgh le Marsh.. phrases that leap to mind include 'far-welted' as in 'she lay there like a far-welted owd yow' - or in modern translation - 'she lay there like a sheep on its back'.

There are still people who log onto this site - at a rate of about ten a day I guess by the counter.. well thanks and what on earth are you doing sitting in your offices across the land and city logging on surreptitiously? especially people in grant making bodies... you know who you are..

More anon...