It’s been a dismal sort of day here in blog-land; overcast and wet, and perhaps that accounts for me being drawn to the poetry of Philip Larkin and in particular his well-known ‘This Be The Verse.’ If the title doesn’t ring a bell, the first line surely will:
‘They fuck you up, your Mum and Dad’
Curiously, one of the people I met at Sound Cafe asked me whether I knew the poem and could perform it: I said yes to the first and a definite no to the second. Four-letter words in St Martin’s House? Whatever next?
Anyway, I’ve been inspired to write a response to Larkin’s work about raising a teenager: I’ve called it ‘Larkin’s Guide to Parenting’ and it begins:
‘You have to let your kids fuck up
you may not want to but they will…’
I may do it at the next Pinggk.
So the poem took up most of the morning and then after a quick lunch I whizzed into town to look at Steve’s pictures. He has works in two exhibitions, one at Bishop St Methodist Church cafe and the other at Cank St Gallery:
and they are both well worth a look. So after looking I chugged up the road to St Martin’s House for the third week of Sound Cafe. It seems to be doing really well: they must have had about 30 punters today and many of them joined in the singing with gusto. We practised doing ‘Lean on Me’ by Bill Withers, to perform in a couple of weeks when Helen comes back; then there was a very talented harpist who did a few numbers before I went on to do ‘There’s a War on’. After I’d read this poem about the Bedroom Tax I talked to one of the guys who had actually been made homeless by it.* He’d had a terrible time; not only had he been on the streets but he’d had a zero hours contract in Melton and had sometimes travelled all the way there (at his own expense) only to be told there was no work for him. Zero hours should be made illegal – or else MP’s should be made to work zero hours contracts. They’d outlaw them double quick if that happened.
After tea and cake a couple of people performed poems, and then a Rumanian guy sang a couple of songs. He had a terrific voice and could have passed for professional. It made me wonder about his history. The good thing about Sound Cafe is you never know who you’re going to meet.
So then home: and on the doormat were two envelopes, one containing good news and the other bad. The bad news was a rejection – a story I’d completely forgotten about: I wasn’t too upset as I hadn’t had high hopes for that one. But in the other envelope was a cheque for my ‘Everybody’s Reading’ work. So that was very welcome. And so to work: I find the afternoons quite hard at the moment: I have loads of motivation in the mornings and get to my desk by 9 or 9.30, but after lunch my mojo disappears and I find it hard to keep going. As for the evenings, unless I’m going out I tend to collapse in front of the TV and stay there till bedtime. But I managed to read Dostoevsky for an hour (as preparation for NaNoWriMo) and now I’m here writing my blog.
Which is where we came in…
* by the tax, not by my poem!