I happened upon the trailer to ‘Christopher Robin’ the other day; a film (as my reader knows) about the denizens of Ashdown Forest, just down the road from here – which I can see as I write.
So just imagine my mystification when I heard my little ursine friend speak! Wasn’t that a Transatlantic accent? Yes, of course, he is ‘spoken’ by Jim Cummings, who is Disney’s go-to voice for their animal animations.
But then, said I to m’self, said I: the Bear of Very Little Brain (and his friends) are well-known polyglots, talking to their readers all over the world. Even to Romans, in the 1960 best-seller. Salve, Pooh!
Don and Kim’s unprecedented head-to-belly calls for some creative thought. Geneva won’t do – because the boy went to school nearby. Singapore is too, well, Asian. So for me, that leaves Cuba, which has all the requisites for a world title fight. History, communism, cigars, Gitmo (the honey-pot destination for serial-killers) – and proximity to Florida for the inevitable round of golf. Don claims to play off nine; no doubt matched by Kim’s as-yet-unpublished handicap. Cuba will also enable Don to show off his perhaps limited Spanish vocabulary, upstaging the (allegedly) polyglot Korean. Covfefe, por favor, barista. And Ladies and Gentlemen, your Master of Ceremonies for this headline bout is none other than the darling of the media, winner of the Nobel Prize and everybody’s best friend, Barack Obama! Enjoy!
Side whiskers, mutton chops and handlebar moustache are just some of the varying facial hair styles for men. Being clean shaven all my life I have never tailored my facial appearance with any sort of fuzz. It’s all been done before, hasn’t it? And for the beardy-wearers you end up with a nickname of a more famous person. Here’s Heisenberg. Here’s Abraham Lincoln. Here’s ZZ Top. Here’s Freddie Zapata. Here’s …
However, while tugging at my smooth chin in deep Thinker thought I decided to let there be growth. And, naturally it had to be a new style. I viewed acres and acres of all the furs that were man made and opted for a variation on the neck chop.
The neck chop would be trimmed back and hair would only grow on my Adam’s apple. This Spartan look doubles up as a new trend and fool proof safety measure as it means I won’t cut my AA with a razor blade. Shaving around this area is Eden hazardous. Problem solved.
Funny old thing the Adam’s apple. Eatemallogy says it’s from the bible involving fruit and the first man. He bit off more than he could chew and it got stuck, apparently. My own belief is that it didn’t originate from the dawn of time but was coined by Milton Bradley. Yes, we’re talking Operation here. Charley Horse, Bread Basket et al. Including, Adam’s Apple. Careful with those tweezers, Eugene.
Gold is very yesteryear, innit? Silence – which is undoubtedly golden – has no place here and speech is silvern. Hence this flattering new portrait which shows me (l) in the limelight and Backside in the shade, just as it should be.
Any road up, we hope you like our new livery – although once again, Backside’s actual words do not bear repetiton. Goodness knows what’s eating him this time.
It amazed me, gladdened a few and perhaps amused many to read that Coventry has been named City of Culture 2021. It’s hardly a natural epithet for a city whose history might better be described as dour, bordering on tragic. Oh yes, it’s had its moments of industrial significance (is that the word?) with Frank Whittle’s jet engine and a string of well-known badges gracing its car factories. But genuine culture is harder to discern. Does Mary Ann Evans count? She was born nearby in Nuneaton but lived in the city for some years as she became the noted novelist George Eliot. A bit ponderous for my taste.
But soft ! (etc.) What about Philip Larkin whose only widely known poem starts with a very rude observation? Yes, he counts as culture and he went to ‘my’ grammar school. Even more significantly his poems are imbued with a fatalistic gloom that is an essential part of being a Midlander.
So here’s one of his best poems, Afternoons, written in 1959.
Summer is fading:
The leaves fall in ones and twos
From trees bordering
The new recreation ground.
In the hollows of afternoons
Young mothers assemble
At swing and sandpit
Setting free their children. Continue reading “Home town thoughts”
Thomas Hardy dun gud, lik wiv pomes. So eres won wot I lik. ‘The Darkling Thrush’, 1900
I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter’s dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.