Lurgy, Climate Change and Hobbitses

 

Last Sunday me, my son and my dad went for our first proper walk Over the Fields this year. We have all been poorly and the weather has been rubbish but I was desperate to get out and have a walk over there in time for Imbolc/ Candlemas. This is the traditional time of year for sighting the first snowdrops, and maybe to see buds and Blackthorn blossom. With such a mild Winter there was plenty of new green shoots to see, trees in full blossomy bloom, new nettles and dock leaves, hawthorn leaves unfurling… I wrote about the walk for local ecologist Alison Fure’s excellent blog, and you can read what I wrote here.

On Monday afternoon I finally gave up battling with the lurgy I’ve had on and off since mid-December, and went to bed. I’ve been there ever since, apart from a trip to the doctor on Friday. Eye infection, throat infection, chest virus, acute exacerbation of asthma…I’ve been fighting it for ages but finally it got the better of me. This has resulted in a week of cancelled teaching. Not great when you are a self-employed single parent… but…mustn’t grumble eh… my son is being looked after by my amazing dad, and I am safe and warm, if feeling particularly grim.

The silver lining is that being stuck in bed means I have watched a few films. Most affecting of these is This Changes Everything, narrated by Naomi Klein and based on her book of the same name. I need to watch it again and I would recommend that you need to watch it too. So should everyone. It is tough to watch in places but breathtakingly filmed and well put together. A mixture of environmental disaster and tragedy, and the heartening, brave protests of people on the front line, whose land and lives are being profoundly affected by the atrocities of fossil fuel companies and big business. The message is clear and simple. Capitalism vs the Climate- if we don’t fight it we are doomed. Now I need to read the book.

I also watched all of the Hobbit film trilogy- and been for the most part pleasantly surprised; I saw and enjoyed the first one at the flicks, missed the second and third, and was put off watching them by a couple of friends who said the story was poorly handled, there was far too much emphasis on spiders, and that the book had been done a total disservice by the drawing out of the plot to nearly 9 hours of film…I loved the LOTR films but was, like many people, rather surprised and slightly cynical at the announcement that the Hobbit would be made as a three-part series of prequels.

So…slightly late to the party…I watched the final two parts this week. Yes, the story is drawn out but I think it’s ok, if a bit baggy . I find the use of CGI action scenes which look like computer games (and *are* constructed for the computer games market- I know, the biggest part of the film business these days) distracting and annoying- formulaic and jammed into the action of the films- but, otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed The Desolation of Smaug and The Battle of the Five Armies- and I would happily watch them again.

After watching This Changes Everything, The Hobbit trilogy of films became a metaphor for the rampaging greed of capitalism destroying nature, Power Over instead of Power With.

I am also re-reading Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust: A History of Walking- a fascinating, wonderful read and, as this year I am especially committed to developing my walking/writing/making practice, a necessary one too. Once again, in light of what Klein says at the start of This Changes Everything, about the idea promulgated during the Enlightenment, of Nature as something to be conquered and used for ‘our’ benefit- the history of walking ties in, in some ways, with this view of what Nature is and is not…thought-provoking stuff and I will be returning to it again and again no doubt.

Mapping Memories, Over the Fields talk at The Museum of Futures

I am currently writing a talk about the new Over the Fields poetry map called ‘Mapping Memories’, for the Free University of Seething’s lecture series. My talk takes place next Tuesday, 19th January at the Museum of Futures,Brighton Road, Surbiton (Facebook event here). More about the delightful world of Seething in another post soon….
I’ve spoken about the map several times in the past but not since it was published. I will be talking about why I decided to write about the space my family calls ‘Over the Fields’, and why this had to be a poetry map and not a book. I will also discuss some of the history of the place, read some poems and talk about what I hope to do with it next. Hope to see you there!

 

Oh By Jingo

I can’t write about Bowie- there are many glorious essays, articles, outpourings, anecdotes, tributes and stories accumulating like gold dust in his wake… they are easy to find, and have been comforting I think for so many of us who feel bereft. I’ve just read this one by Chris Roberts in the Quietus this is interesting too…The Villa of Ormen…  It’s not too late to feel grateful to the Thin White Duke, even if he has returned to the stars. I have a renewed sense of ‘better do it now and better do it the way I want to do it’…and I am sure I am not the only one. What a legacy…. listen to this…Black Star by Elvis Presley- right to the end Bowie was impeccable with his art and his intentions…

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Sheer Zed’s Glossolalic Evocations

Sheer Zed’s Glossolalic Evocations

glossolalic

One of the lovely things about this year has been meeting and working with some wonderful, talented people. Sheer Zed and I met on Twitter a few years back and so it was a major treat to finally meet him. Especially as the first time we met ‘IRL’ was at the Hesterglock Press launch of my pamphlet clew in April this year, and he was providing ambient soundtracks to my, Sarer Scotthorne and Paul Hawkins’s readings.

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He also sampled my reading of a long poem A Summoning, and turned it into a sweeping soundscape- one of my highlights of the year to have someone use my words in their music. We hope to work together at some point again in the future- which is a very happy-making thought!

This track is available as part of Sheer Zed’s new release Glossolalic Evocations, which is released today. More information on how to get it here.

I was very lucky to receive this as a gift from Sheer Zed and have been enjoying listening to it- it is mind-bending – body- moving – immersive electronic music in all the best possible ways, and is an utter pleasure to soak up. I recommend it.

Sheer Zed has described Glossolalic Evocations as:

“…engorged with various sonic elements such as Bristolized bass, noise, glossolalic utterances, recorded ambience, rugged mechanized beats and a garnish of just a slither of acid.

Here are my, in places, vaguely glossolalic responses to some of the tracks…


Hevvy hypnotic metallic phasing iconoclastic future beats pummelling drop dub sound of dead London stretched out time blip dance loops held in glistening spectral sheets of sonic dance macabre
Clockwork ticking cog turning melodic organic mechanic blocks of reverberating dissonant rhythmic spaces gripped by claws of cubic creaking dub bird swooping through pines surveying silence time breeze on and on and on on on on strike
Deep house depth charge techno funk > Lost in Brixton in the 90s, Derrick May, Carl Craig and dancing next to a tank draped in khaki camo for four quid when Brixton was still like that move your hands in robot blip shapes and no chill out shroom shaking space robot bez haunts loose lose losing your ..it
………………………………….1.27 drop and accumulate repetitive beats Load your quiver……………………..
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………Watch the Skies. 3.36
Dark mornings in Bristol walking the cut captured by rust, decay trees. Disappearing tube train to the underworld. Pennies on eyes for the journey.
tell it like Stri ell of sulp hur un der a brid ke mat ches ge sul phur dr it is c o n j u r e a d e v i l hur str ike mat ches un der a brid aw a cir cle ge sm ell of sul phur und er a brid ge sm str ike mat ches sm ell of echo drip

TODAY! The News Agents, Resonance FM, with Judge Cowan Montague

I’m really excited to be on Jude Cowan Montague’s radio show, The News Agents, at 2.30pm this afternoon, on Resonance FM. I will be reading poems and chatting with fellow poet Susie Campbell, whose excellent blog post on this is here. You can tune in here or listen to the show via MixCloud later… more information on the Facebook event.

newsagentsradiopic

Back Soon…Time Flies

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This may the least amount of blogging I’ve done in the last nearly ten years… it’s been an eventful and exciting year so far. Very busy creatively- and professionally- in fact the two are combining nicely- which was always the plan- with all kinds of stuff happening, happened, and with a bit of luck and a following wind, going to happen…

So this is a holding post to say I will be posting here again on a more regular basis, with all kinds of news of the soon-to-be-published Over The Fields map, plus an update on what I’ve been up to over the last few months (mainly to remind myself and gather my thoughts as we head towards Lammas), and also to write about other stuff that will be happening this Autumn…

In the meantime- here I am at the Carshalton Time Machine…more now, and then, soon…

 

Carshalton-On-Sea Festival

COSposter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This has all come together rather quickly, and impressively, and I am delighted to be so involved. The main event for me and my other poetical colleagues, Sarah Dawson, Neil Horabin and David Russamano, is the Water Poets at 1pm in the Cryer Theatre, Saturday 20th June. There will be tonnes of other excellent stuff to see and do over the weekend!