Established 2003. Now incorporating The Sudbury Hill Harrow and Wherever End Times

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The ghost of Concorde

Bag Lady

For J*

Without a bag lady the earth would career
Out of its orbit and into the sun
She balances boxes of air and beer -
Nobody does it and it has to be done.

Without a bag lady cars would careen,
Forever speeding where children run.
She crosses, recrosses, slow and serene -
Nobody does it and it has to be done.

Without a bag lady inspecting the bins
Streetwalkers would walk the night alone.
She makes her own way, forgiving all sins -
Nobody does it and it has to be done.

Stephen Moran

* J. is a quiet soul who wanders the streets of Willesden carrying several bags full of other bags and empty packets and pulls a shopping trolley with more of the same. She is neither a small lady nor very tall and she wears a bandana.

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Outtakes from Spoon River Anthology


Tinnitus Young

Martha Postlethwaite hunted me for 20 years
Till at last I lay panting under her flashing teeth.
She stole her prize but in the taking
My heart burst and she lived forty years a widow.
Na na na na na.


Trod Strongly

As a child I liked nothing better
Than to roll and tumble in the hay in Art Poorly's barn
But on my first day as a hand on the harvest
I daydreamed and got rolled and tumbled
By Art's new combine harvester
And so I met my baleful end.


Mildred Fulbright

The local party chose me to present our town's gift
When Taft’s whistlestop train arrived.
I waved as the President left and he waved back.
Joe Fulbright was the proudest stationmaster in our state.
But when Washington shut the railroad down
Pa took to drink and overturned our wagon
Into the Spoon River one icy night.
He tried to save me but my hair caught in waterweed.
Now he's a Democrat.


Ulick Angstrom

They said it was a shame how I never ventured into town
Though I had travelled to the onion domes of the Kremlin
And to the minarets of Aya Sofia
And from the caf├ęs of Paris
To the street barbeques of Manila.
But with all my knowledge
I brought home an embarrassing disease
Right when Doc Slein's daughter took over the practice
And that's what got me in the end.


Valerie de Valera

To this much at least they all could agree:
Discretion was not the best part of Valerie.


Pleat Muggins

Dory and Cory Muggins named their son Pleat
After an ancestor who sailed with Vasco Da Gama.
He was surly and never learned, though able,
And massacred his family at the age of 16.
When hanging judge Crudmore asked
If he had anything to say in mitigation,
All he said was, "My name is Pleat".


Mickey Pride

Here lies Mickey Pride.
He laughed till he cried.
He cried till he died.


Benjy Doone**

I shat myself, I pissed the bed,
I thought this & that, I lost my head,
I loved three or two or one.
That's the autobiography done.


-- Stephen Moran

* After "Spoon River Anthology" by Edgar Lee Masters
** Newly discovered (3 Nov. 2018)

Google freeloading on your wireless network

Google spied on British emails and computer passwords (Telegraph)

The Telegraph has missed the point. It's not the embarrassing but uninteresting emails of stupid people with no passwords on their networks, it's the annoying arrogance of Google in planning to use your wireless network identity as an indicator of location. For example be a person is walking down your street with a mobile phone using the Google Maps application. Google Maps is busy detecting where exactly he or she is, and in doing so it could scan for local wireless networks and recognise yours from its Streetview survey data, then use that to triangulate the person's location. The annoying thing is you are providing a service for which you are not being paid, though you are paying for its upkeep. They are using you, freeloading, without a by-your-leave. It's a matter of principle.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Paul Celan in Mapesbury Road

BBC iPlayer: "What brought one of the most compelling modern European poets to a perfectly ordinary street in North London? Who did he visit there? And what made him write a poem about the experience? The writer, Toby Litt, investigates this most improbable of brief encounters between Paul Celan, the master elegist of 20th century Jewish experience and Britain at the end of the Sixties."

Available until 12:02pm Tue, 26 Oct 2010
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 11:30am Tue, 19 Oct 2010
Duration 30 minutes

View Larger Map

Mapesbury Road runs from Shoot Up Hill, which is between Kilburn and Cricklewood to Willesden Lane at Brondesbury Park to be precise. It's not as somebody says in the commentary "...North Kilburn ... South Cricklewood ... a no man's land", it's got a serviceable name of its own: Mapesbury, and is an official conservation area. There are a lot of magnolias all around here to this date. (More: Mapesbury - Wikipedia) (Ed.)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Where are your bards oh youth of 2010?

Your forefathers could describe a forest in one twig, could perform their deadly thunder feats without appearing to move a muscle, could split a metaphor head to crotch with the blow of a single phrase. Do ye lie abed pleasuring yourselves while armies of creeping mumblers invade our ancient fields? Rise and send forth your magic incantations before the whole world sinks under the dreary wave.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Songs from the Road

BBC iPlayer - Leonard Cohen: Songs from the Road: "A selection of live performances from Leonard Cohen's triumphant 2008-2009 world tour, featuring classic songs like Bird on the Wire, Famous Blue Raincoat and Hallelujah."

Broadcast on BBC Four, 11:00pm Fri, 15 Oct 2010
Available until 11:59pm Fri, 22 Oct 2010
Duration 60 minute

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fete on the Green

Saturday, October 2: Autumn fete at Willesden Green Library run by Brent Libraries, Arts and Heritage in aid of the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB)

Very lively, loads of events and stalls. It looks like everyone had fun, all smiles and thumbs up.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Spotted Dog site fenced off

Derelict for two years since closing, work appears to have begun on The Spotted Dog. The site has been fenced off and tidied a bit. There is an excavation underway on the east side of it.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

John Lennon 70

Watching the Wheels (Double Fantasy, John Lennon)

"Happy Birthday to ya." Good wishes to Yoko, Sean, Julian and Cynthia and fans everywhere.

The undeserving rich

A woolly Michael Heseltine, flustered and throwing roundhouse ad hominem remarks is floored by Ken Loach, who simply points out that a 5% tax on the top 10% of the rich would pay for the entire national debt. It takes the others a time to realise the absurdity of their counter-arguments, "But what will the poor contribute?" and "What will the unemployed contribute?" If they cannot see the absurdity of those questions then "there are none so blind". Heseltine says the rich will leave the country and Loach responds, "So the rich have to be bribed to stay in the country" while the poor have to be forced to pay for the national debt. The logic that the rich who benefitted from the financial bonanza should be forced to pay for the clean-up after it crashed seems unarguable. Why is the Labour party supine about this, will it never recover from Blair's sell-out to big business and vested interests?


Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Cloudwatch update

The view from Herald House, Sunday

Back to the Futura

Welcome to the Cabaret Futura "Cabaret Futura is every third Monday of the month at Paradise by Way of Kensal Green; entry £10" (Park Life)

Richard Strange: "After a long period of consideration, and a lot of encouragement from friends and family, I have relaunched Cabaret Futura..."