Showing posts from December, 2010

Nellie Melba: Auld Lang Syne (1905)


In memoriam: Robby L Robinson (1925-2010)

An ordinary New Jersey boy, nineteen.
In Brittany the shrapnel shell that killed
your pal, engendered dark, shut down a sheen
of innocence. Your generation filled
our stories, and some thanks that war was stilled
are owed. These lines, inadequate between
your monuments, my humble gift; a mean
repayment from a rhymer all unskilled
in awe, remembering your laughter: deep
chuckles you left around like colored light,
I knew why they all loved and cherished you.
Nursed well enough by grandma, always true,
to see you to the rest. Eternal quiet,
at Arlington an honored guest’s asleep.

Kings College Cambridge: God rest ye Merry, Gentlefolk (2008)


A las barricadas


Peking Opera: White Snake Girl


Round the Town (3)

So there I was at the Poets' cafe listening to the regulars and Daljit Nagra. At the interval I stepped outside with my thermos of coffee for a crafty snout. The door opened behind me and out came three young men with pints. One of them engaged me in conversation. I sighed inwardly; a pint of lager in the hand of one's interlocutor is a sure sign of impending boredom at best and unwanted aggression at worst. Lager!? In this weather? Fucking stuff should carry a health warning.

Sure enough, the ginger whinger wore a Stella scowl to go with his Heineken hump and was scathing about the comedy act taking place in the other theatre. I adopted an air of unforced bonhomie, changed my register to street slang mode and agreed with everything he said. Don't get me wrong; I've nothing against a punch-up, especially with a fool who's had a skinful and wants to give it some large, but I had a poem to read.

Anyway, I went back in and thought nothing more of it, but after the metri…

Johnny Cash: The Ballad of Ira Hayes


Mozart: Così Fan Tutte, Act 1 Finale (Glyndebourne 2006)


Conchita Supervía: La Paloma


Meistersinger: Morgenlich leuchtend in rosigem Schein (Bayreuth 1963)


Salò: il girone del sangue


Round the town (2)

The best pub in Reading is not the Hobgoblin; that honour belongs to The Retreat (not to be confused with The Monk's Retreat, which is a right shithole). The other night I was there for my customary pint of winter warmer, crafty snout etc. and overheard the following conversation, which I may have embellished slightly:

'Hear 'bout that Assange? 'Parantly a couple o' Swedish sorts found out 'e two-timed 'em. Instead o' cuttin' up 'is shirts they went to the pigs and cried rape.'
'Sounds like a load o' bollocks to me. 'Ooever 'eard of a Swede wha' needed forcin'?'
'Nah, didn't force 'em. It was all above-board like, but 'is condom broke, an' in Sweden that's enough to get yer banged up.'
'Cos 'is johnny broke? Seems a bit 'arsh.'
'That's Sweden for ya. I 'eard they even removed the pissers in one school cos standin' up for a slash was 'a sign o' male dom…

Ewan MacColl: A-Begging I Will Go

Another wonderful song from Ewan MacColl:

Woody Guthrie: Do Re Mi

To be heard with Sacco & Vanzetti:

Elisabeth Grümmer: Or sai chi l'onore


Brahms: Hungarian Dance No. 5 - Budapest Gypsy Symphony Orchestra

Something to make my gypsy blood tingle:

Partisan Song (with thanks to Phil Hall)

To be listened to perhaps with Bella Ciao and ¡Ay Carmela!

The Dubliners: the British Army (with thanks to Reine)

Perhaps a response to Spanish Ladies

Round the Blogs (3) and round the town

Occasionally a blog comes up that is so good that any comment is inadequate. One such is Tom Clark's, from whom I have learnt, among other things, about the works of Curzio Malaparte. This piece on Girls in the Wheatfields I found almost unbearably horrible.

Phil Hall, long the enfant terrible of the Guardian's Poem of the Week, runs an entertaining blog called Donkeyshott and Xuitlacoche, and has been generous enough to supply this list of traditional Christmas carols.

John Wells ran a very funny column a few days ago on Steve Bell's Geordie Royalty: "Ahse o' Windsor is too bleedin' poncey this day n' age"
"Ah should fackin' coco!"

Finally you will indulge me if I mention the beautiful and talented Marie-Claire at Thursday's Child: the diary of a ballerina.

On Saturday I spent a few hours in a room full of nerdy fans at Reading Library for a celebration of the works of H.P Lovecraft. I found myself 25 years back in time when I too was a…

Govindashtakam: verse 7

Kantham karana makarana adhi manadhim, kala manabhasam,
Kalindi gatha kaliya sirasi muhur nruthyantham sunruthyantham,
Kalam kalamanatheetham kalithasesham kalidoshagyam,
Kala thraya gatha hethum, pranamatha govindam paramanandham.

I salute that Govinda who is the extreme limit of happiness,
Who is pretty, cause of causes, primeval, without beginning and a form of time,
Who danced again and again on the head of serpent Kaliya in the river Yamuna,
Who is black in colour, ever present in time and destroys the evil effects of Kali,
And who is the cause of the march of time from the past to the future.

(translated by P.R Ramachander)

Andreas Scholl: The Three Ravens -


Vladimir Pasuik & Viktor Wichniakov: low notes


Spanish Ladies