My picture, courtesy of today’s Times, illustrates the error of cantabrigian ways. They encourage tourists to believe they can have fun there, and the steersman stands on the wrong end of his craft. ‘Twas ever thus.
It used to be the giraffe. There is the unusual anatomy: the elongated neck, devilish ossicones and that cheery, glaikit look on their mush. Giraffes are good but they have been dethroned from the top of my favourite animal list. The new kid on the block is this guy. Continue reading “My new favourite animal”
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.
And that’s only the boys, if Archbishop Welby has his Christmas wish. (Sorry to mention the C word in mid-November, but M & S started it.)
I am married to a life-long smoker. Some years ago, by way of gentle retaliation, I calculated her consumption had already exceeded over half-a-million fags but of course I had not yet worked out the potential cost in time-outs in the modern world. But in Japan…….
I retired before smoke-free offices were enforced but I do see groups of addicts standing outside their places of work at all hours of the day. So I can see the problem. Meetings interrupted or postponed. Phone calls unanswered or delayed. Simples.
If they wish to claim their addiction is a medical problem, then they must submit to treatment. If not, the Japanese solution is fair.
What is it, this month?
Well, it’s sex scandals of course, mainly tales of starlets from many constellations being abused and exploited. The hypocritical tut-tutting echoes around the lots (of everything) in Hollywood and the corridors of power in Westminster; fuelling the flames of feminism and sending whiffs of grapeshot among the moguls and mandarins. Continue reading “Flavour of the month”
I’ve had it up to here with transcrap, gender assignment and neutrality, pregnant persons, lady boys and all the associated PC balderdash. Such character defects should be identified and treated, not encouraged and catered for. Boys must be boys and girls must be girls. Take your pick – it”s an easy choice, almost exclusively assisted by your body parts as observed at birth. No, you can’t change your sex, however bonkers you are and society shouldn’t let you try. And if you prefer same-sex relationships, fine. But don’t call them marriage or pretend to be competent as parents.
As we all know, the Danes are the happiest people on the planet. They have hygge and Carlsberg, probably, and Crown Princess Mary neè Donaldson, mate.
And as further evidence of such contentment, it turns out they’re almost the world’s happiest with their jobs. But (shock horror!) the Mexicans are even happier and the Indians are not far behind. The Brits, of course trail the field at no. 22, keeping sad company with Sweden and Chile.
I’m afraid it’s all about being polite to researchers – but I may be wrong.