Four years of mania

Celebrating four years of running this blog, and the BBC Poetry Season on at the moment, I’ll link to an old post from this blog from May 2005:- State of Mind.

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Rudyard Kipling’s ‘If’

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams
your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

Planet Rock – Bonamassa and Cooper

I’ve spoken about the Great last.fm internet radio station before. Yesterday I heard Joe Bonamassa playing ‘Blues Deluxe’ live, and went straight on to play.com. He absolutely shreds the guitar in wailing howls.

I first heard Bonamassa, and ‘Blues deluxe’ but not the live version, on Planet Rock. Where he is a DJ. Speaking of Planet Rock, I don’t know if I mentioned Alice Cooper, but he DJs there as well, in the mornings. The guy has the driest sense of humour ever, and is always cracking me up.

I’m also really loving the song by La Roux constantly played on the radio- “Going in for the kill”

The new bike (yes, I went in to Cycle Logic in Chorlton last Saturday morning to get my old bike’s crank fixed, and ended up with a shiny new blue Falcon Colorado) is handling well, it’s a large beast and harder work than my old Tornado because it’s heavier and grippier.

Going hiking again early Sat; Hannah’s friend Nick, back from Aus-trah-lia, will be joining.

A post

Very enjoyable hike with the Manchester Uni Hiking Club on Sat; gorgeous views around Edale from Kinder Plateau. Bit of rain towards the end but otherwise smashing weather. Nice little pub at the end.

Finished reading Iain M. Banks’ State of the Art. I can see where his big ideas have emerged from in this short story collection.

Finally got my Doppelganger CD; my first purchase off play.com.

Bicycle needs fixing. Football tonight and the pedals are coming off!

Great shows by BBC recently; I really enjoyed Horizon’s How Violent Are You? with Michael Portillo’s take on violence residing in us all yesterday. Also have to mentioned; South Pacific, Coast and The Weather.

Driving up to Scotland Tuesday.

Say not the struggle

Been reading a lot of poetry on the train recently. I’ll leave you with one by Arthur Hugh Clough (1819-61) that describes the forlorn but valiant hope during the Great World War. I love “If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars”.

SAY not the struggle naught availeth,
The labour and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
And as things have been they remain.

If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
It may be, in yon smoke conceal’d,
Your comrades chase e’en now the fliers,
And, but for you, possess the field.

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back, through creeks and inlets making,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern windows only,
When daylight comes, comes in the light;
In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly!
But westward, look, the land is bright!

Looking forward to the 16 km in the Peaks tomorrow!!

Carol Ann Duffy

Continuing from the previous post, I’ve also decided to post one of Carol Ann Duffy‘s poems as a salute; more are available (but not the adult ones it seems) to read from this school website William Howard School:

We Remember Your Childhood Well

Nobody hurt you Nobody turned off the light and argued
with somebody else all night. The bad man on the moors
was only a movie you saw. Nobody locked the door.

Your questions were answered fully. No. That didn’t occur.
You couldn’t sing anyway, cared less. The moment’s a blur a Film Fun
laughing itself to death in the coal fire. Anyone’s guess.

Nobody forced you. You wanted to go that day. Begged. You chose
the dress. Here are the pictures, look at you. Look at us all,
smiling and waving, younger The whole thing is inside your head.

What you recall are impressions; we have the facts. We called the tune.
The secret police of your childhood were older and wiser than you, bigger
than you. Call back the sound of their voices. Boom. Boom. Boom.

Nobody sent you away. That was an extra holiday, with people
you seemed to like. They were firm, there was nothing to fear.
There was none but yourself to blame if it ended in tears.

What does it matter now? No, no, nobody left the skidmarks of sin
on your soul and laid you wide open for Hell. You were loved.
Always. We did what was best. We remember your childhood well.

More news in Haiku, anyone?

I received an e-mail from the Newsnight crew at BBC Two today informing me of Kirsty Wark’s upcoming interview tonight with our first female Poet Laureate in 341 years (congrats!) Carol Ann Duffy, currently of Manchester (woohoo!).

In honour of this acheivement, the Newsnight programme schedule came in haiku form. Here it is in its entirety:-

Spending cuts on mind
Crick and Urban talk defence
Should Trident face axe?

Go to our website
Click on What Would You Cut link
Tell us your cut plan

Sri Lanka crisis
Looking at new attack claim
Did troops bomb haven?

Carol Ann Duffy
First time female laureate
Talks to Kirsty Wark

Please join us tonight
10.30pm on Two
That’s BBC Two