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

Monday, April 22, 2013

Review: Netymology

So a few weeks ago, some of you might have seen that I accepted Tom Chatfield’s challenge to write a poem featuring some words from his new book Netymology.

Having now finished the book, I should also tell you that it’s a very good read indeed. Over the course of his exploration of 100 words from digital culture, you’ll learn a jolly lot – what a Dyson sphere is, for example, how Hotmail was named so, how you can put emotions into your otherwise non-physical communication – and not just where the words have come from. As such, it functions as an alternative guide to the internet and not something you’ll be saying ‘TL;DR’about.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Poetry: Some thoughts from Anthony Joseph

So I'm still processing the mass of thoughts, drafts and words that came from the Arvon Foundation stay (as part of Complete Works II) a few weeks ago. One of the highlights was a reading from musician, novelist and poet Anthony Joseph. He also said a few things which might get you thinking:

  • 'Liminalism' is his approach to poems inspired by surrealism, where 'poems can come to life on the page'.
  • A poem ends when looking at it becomes painful. It's saying "Leave me alone, I'm done."
  • You want to try and challenge the linear, and the idea of what a narrative is.
  • There are three phases to being a 'colonial' poet:
    • Showing off in the coloniser's language
    • Going back to your childhood
    • Rejoining your people and becoming a revolutionary.
  • A poet uses their voice to bring people into different areas in their lives.
  • The struggle is to represent reality in the most beautiful way.
  • Poets might not change the world, but they can change a person.
  • The personal is the universal: when you reveal inner thoughts, you connect.
You can find out more about the wise Mr Joseph on his website.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

A physicist writes...

"I don't see how you can work on physics and write poetry at the same time. In science, you want to say something nobody knew before, in words everyone can understand. In poetry, you are bound to say something that everybody knows already in words that nobody can understand."

As said by Paul Dirac, as quoted by John D Barrow in his The Book of Universes.


Monday, April 15, 2013

26 Miles

I disappeared to the Arvon Foundation's Totleigh Barton centre down in Devon last week, so I wasn't near an internet signal to tell you that my contribution to the 26 Miles project went live last week. You can read it here, and then do make sure you catch up with all the others too. 'Cos they're ace. And of course, good luck to all of you running on Sunday...


Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Listorama: Facebook status updates vol 29

BetaRish (is)...

is falling off the wave of ideas

No panic buying at Tesco for the #snowpocalypse

now knows why it is called The Misery Line

is behind

would like to form a loose, non-binding customs union with you

is trying to get a reference to Robin Askwith into a press ad

is getting slower and later with this

Oh, it’s even later

Day starts with an edit

Did not suffer a power cut last night

ATOS, ATOS, my kingdom for an ATOS

Is this a cold I see before me?

is a mystic brew

My autocue is jumpy

The phrase isn’t working

is a conspiracy against the laity

is another nail in the bar

First two legs of the Capital Ring walked

is getting later and later with this

My god, I didn’t even remember until now

is perennial

Seriously, these might as well not happen

can’t be bothered to thank the academy

is democracy’s finest feature

Fret, forgot, regret

is proof of the greater fool theory

Right, to the West Country

The day after leg ache

will be forgetting himself next

is contracting for difference

is hourglassing

wishes it was spring

might warm up later

Ears still ringing

Does an Argentinan pope equal proof that Messi is God?

is a media priest

What you do in your head, you do in your head

has lists spiralling to infinity

is falling into gaps

has Gay Talese and Pushkin on his side

Whither the thaw?

of rabbits and sonnets

Cardigan blues

believes it’s time to groove on

Stroll on

is punctured

A prayer: ‘Dear [insert religious figure of your choice], I will start believing in [insert belief system of your choice] if you make it warm again for just even a few minutes before I die and go to [insert mythical place of significance of your choice]. Thank you.’

is disappearing


Monday, April 08, 2013

Commercial: Stephen Kelman and the Youth Consultants

No, not as it might sound, a hot new band or a long lost Douglas Adams novel, but instead a chance to hear Booker-nominated Stephen Kelman speak at Oxhey Library, just outside Watford, on Tuesday 30 April 7pm.

The Youth Consultants bit? Well, that's because he'll also be launching the fruits of labour put in by some young volunteers, between the ages of 16-25, who've created their own collection of books for the library. They'll be talking about how they went putting their choices together too.

It's a free event, but you'll need to book in advance. Call 0300 123 4049 or visit to find out more.

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