Being Beta

Exercises in the higher banter with One of 26. Elsewhere called 'poet of adland'. By a whipple-squeezer. Find out why being beta is the new alpha: betarish at googlemail dot com

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Poetry: Netymology

In response to this wee challenge from Tom Chatfield...

Avatar for the new world

Hail well, met avatar!
Let us stroll into the new world.
Grok this Cupertino bazaar.
Hail well, met avatar!
With NERF guns we shall spar,
dodge the Dyson sphere's we've hurled.
Hail well, met avatar!
Let us stroll into the new world.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Commercial: Self-publcity ahoy!

A interview, some talk of onefinestay and Complete Works II, and a new poem, over on the 26 site.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Commercial: David Bowie is...

A review of the new exhibition at the V&A, over at the onefinestay blog.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Poetry: On specifics

From time to time, I'll try and post some thoughts that come out of some of the sessions that we're having on the Complete Works II programme, mostly as a means for me to digest what's going on. Last Thursday saw the first of our monthly seminars, with contributions from Malika Booker, Karen McCarthy Woolf and Roger Robinson.

It was Roger's talk that has started the wheels turning. He spoke about the need for us, as individual poets rather than a group, to develop and then maintain our own voices, rather than necessarily striving to try and fit into a wider, more mainstream notion of what our voices should be.

In particular:

- You have to be clear about what you are trying to do
- You have to ask, and know, what are the specifics of you that you are bringing to your poetry
- "Dig into you - the only new thing is you."
- You can use this exploration to create your own forms; but, of course, these forms don't have to tend towards to formality
- Generalities are ignored - how specific can you get?
- "The more specific you can be, the more widely your thought will disseminate."

There was also the suggestion that it is worth making a 'not to do list' as a way of narrowing your focus down, rather than running away starting lots of things, rather than finishing what you must - "Be drawn to finishing", as he put it.

He also called the sonnet the 'meat and potatoes of English poetry', which is a nice line indeed.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Social media poetry

Two of my obsessions have come together over at the onefinestay blog...


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

On My Bloody Valentine, Hammersmith Apollo, 12 March 2013

It was in ‘Honey Power’ that I realised that there was something unspecial going on. Not that there were intimations of mortality about the idea of them as a band – we’ve always known that, been grateful for any shard, any fragment that might emerge, however long it takes.

No, what struck me was that: I came expecting rapture, but my God, they’re like an ordinary band now, doing ordinary things like playing new songs off their new album. Who would have predicted that? It might have taken them 21 years to learn, but still…

Of course, they are still unique. Only Kevin can play an acoustic guitar and make it sound like Saturn V taking off. But you know, what with Belinda looking like a prom queen in a parallel universe, Colm being a thrillingly good drummer and Debbie being a rock, they’re almost conventional rock stars now. Kevin even played something that looked like a solo.

Whisper it, but you might not even need the earplugs that we’re available everywhere. ‘You Made Me Realise’s ‘Holocaust’ section was a punter-friendly nine minutes. Nine minutes! That’s nowhere near enough time for your kidneys to be turned inside out.

They’ve stopped being a myth, and while I do have a theory that Kevin is actually Pynchon’s Tyler Slothrop in disguise, a long gestating experiment in how sensation and feeling can be generated and paradoxical reverse stimuli, suffice to say that until I can prove that, it’s enough to say something heretical: they’re almost normal now. And that fact is thrilling.