Archive for November, 2016

Wednesday 30th November 2016

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on November 30, 2016 by bishshat

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Tuesday 29th November 2016

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on November 29, 2016 by bishshat

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Monday 28th November 2016

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on November 28, 2016 by bishshat

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Arrival

I did enjoy it although it was a bit slow. Once again the themes were all too predictable but the big reveal of what the aliens offered was a little bit of a surprise but not a big Surprise.

I enjoyed the actual visuals and sounds and the way the two main characters tried to work out the symbols or the rings that the aliens used as communication. The film begins with a sequence of linguist Louise Banks with her daughter, who dies during childhood from a rare type of cancer.

Twelve extraterrestrial spacecraft appear across the Earth. Louise is asked by US Army Colonel Weber to join a team to find out why they have come. Accompanied by theoretical physicist Ian Donnelly, Louise makes contact with two seven-limbed cephalopod-like aliens, which they call “heptapods”, and Ian nicknames them Abbott and Costello. Louise discovers that the aliens use a written language of complicated circular symbols. They begin to learn the symbols that correspond to a basic vocabulary. As Louise becomes more proficient in the language, she starts to see images of herself with her daughter.

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When Louise is able to ask what the aliens want, they answer: “offer weapon”. Similar translations (“use weapon”) are deduced at other sites, leading other nations to close down communications, and some to scramble their military believing the message indicates a threat. However, Louise thinks that “weapon” might have an alternative translation such as “tool.” Rogue soldiers plant explosives in the spacecraft. Unaware, Louise and Ian go back inside, where the aliens display an image of hundreds of smaller symbols. Costello leaves just before the device explodes, but Abbott stays and pushes Louise and Ian out of the chamber. They both wake up in the base camp with a concussion, as the spacecraft moves higher into the sky. Ian works out that the pattern of symbols relates to the concept of time, and that it was one twelfth of the whole “gift”; hence nations must co-operate to get all of the information.

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Meanwhile, the Chinese prepare to attack their spacecraft. Louise rushes back to the spacecraft in Montana, which sends down a shuttle to take her inside. She meets Costello, who communicates that Abbott is dying. Louise asks about her visions, and Costello explains that she is seeing the future: this reveals that her ‘visions’ are not flashbacks but flash-forwards. Costello communicates that they have come to “help humanity” by sharing their language, which changes the perception of time, and is the “weapon” or “tool” they offer. The aliens also foresee that in 3000 years time they will need humanity’s help. Louise returns as the camp is being evacuated, and has a new vision of being at a United Nations party to commemorate the alien visit. She sees herself being thanked by Chinese General Shang for convincing him to suspend his attack. Shang explains that she had called his private mobile number, which he then shows her. He says he feels it is important to show her his number, but he doesn’t understand why. Back in the present, Louise steals a satellite phone and calls Shang, but realizes that, although she speaks Mandarin, she doesn’t know what to say. Her future vision continues with Shang explaining that she had convinced him by repeating his wife’s last words, which he tells to Louise. After the Chinese attack is called off, the other nations resume contact with each other, and the twelve spacecraft leave the Earth.

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When packing to leave, Ian admits his love for Louise. The film closes as they discuss life choices and whether they should change if you could see the future. Louise sees a vision of Ian as the father of her daughter. Her vision continues with Ian asking her, further into the future, if she wants to make a baby. Louise sees herself replying “Yes,” wanting to share a short time with her future child rather than prevent her ever from existing.

Sunday 27th November 2016

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on November 28, 2016 by bishshat

Tampa Bay 14 Seahawks 5

Seattle’s 14-5 loss at Raymond James Stadium doesn’t undo what the Seahawks have done this season; it doesn’t change the fact that they were coming off a three-game winning streak, all against teams with winning records, nor did it change their status atop the NFC West. It was just another example of how hard it can be to win on any given day in the NFL, especially when facing a team that put forth the kind of defensive effort the Buccaneers did on Sunday.
“I thought that was a really good showing by Tampa Bay,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “They outplayed us and they beat us up front and did a fine job of getting themselves a win today. We had a chance to get back a number of times, but they just didn’t open up the door for us, we couldn’t make it happen. We did not play like we play, it didn’t feel like it. That starts right with me. If everybody kind of plays a little bit off, then that’s me. So I’ve got to do my part, they’ve got to do their part, and we’ve got to get our game back and get rolling again.

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“I’m just disappointed we came all this way and played like that. We didn’t play anywhere near like we thought we would.”
If the way that game played out seemed foreign, that’s because it was. Seattle was still in the game late thanks to its defense finishing strong after allowing two first quarter touchdowns, but unlike both of Seattle’s losses this season, this one didn’t come down to the final possession. When Russell Wilson’s second interception of the game gave Tampa Bay the ball back with a nine-point lead and less than two minutes on the clock, it didn’t just allow the Buccaneers to clinch victory, it was also the end of a remarkable streak that speaks to the Seahawks’ consistency and competitiveness in recent years. Prior to this game, the Seahawks had either held a fourth-quarter lead or been within one score of the lead in the fourth quarter in every game since their Week 2 loss to Pittsburgh in 2011, a streak of 98 games including the postseason.
“We’ve got to get back to work,” Carroll said. “We’ve got a big finish coming up in this season. The main thing was just to admit that this was not the way we want to play, then let’s turn our focus. On the way home, we’ll be talking about getting ready for next week.”
While the Seahawks came into the game beat up — they played without center Justin Britt, defensive end Michael Bennett, safety Earl Thomas and cornerback DeShawn Shead, among others — they weren’t going to use that as an excuse.
“That’s no excuse,” Wilson said. “We’ve still got to find a way to win.”

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Seattle’s defense didn’t get off to a good start, allowing two touchdowns on Tampa Bay’s first two possessions, but that group came up big after that, stopping the Buccaneers on nine straight possessions, including two forced turnovers, to keep the Seahawks in the game. The offense, however, couldn’t find its way, in large part because of a Buccaneers pass rush that recorded six sacks and 11 quarterback hits.
“They rushed the heck out of us,” Carroll said. “It wasn’t any one situation at all. They did a really nice job, and we didn’t protect like we needed to. They had a big day, they had six sacks, that’s just crazy. We haven’t been doing that at all, we’ve been really on the other end of that. That’s an oddity for us, so we’ve got to get back to work and fix that. They got six sacks, but they moved him a lot. Russell was running all over the place back there… We were just out of sync. It wasn’t like we want to be.”
Seattle’s offense, which had turned the ball over just once in its past seven games, had three giveaways Sunday, including two Wilson interceptions, doubling his season total.
“That’s the story of the game; it always is,” Carroll said of the turnovers. “When we give up three, we’re going to be in trouble, it’s going to be hard.”

But despite a tough outing across the board by the offense, the Seahawks remain positive about what lies ahead, in part because they’ve responded well from rough patches in the past.

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“We’ve just got to play better, and we’re looking forward to the next opportunity,” said Wilson, who on a more positive note rushed for a season-high 80 yards on eight carries. “It’s pretty simple, we’ve just got to find ways to make plays, and we will. We have before. We struggled a little bit tonight, obviously, and we’re looking forward to getting back to it. You’ve got to give credit to Tampa Bay, they played a great football team.
“To be a championship team, you have to fight, you have to keep swinging, you can’t play with any fear. That’s what we did tonight, but unfortunately we didn’t win. The great thing is we’ll get back to work next week … they made their plays, we didn’t. It’s pretty simple, sometimes you make your jump shots, sometimes you don’t, and unfortunately today, we didn’t hit ours, but we will next time.”
The Seahawks posted season highs in yardage, yards per play, rushing yards and yards per carry only a week earlier against a good Philadelphia Eagles defense, so rather than panic, they’ll tip their hats to the Buccaneers for outplaying them on this day, get back to work and try to clean up the mistakes that cost them in this game.
“We’ve been doing great,” running back Thomas Rawls said. “It was just one of those games where we just didn’t have a rhythm, we didn’t pick it up. We got ourselves in a hole and tried to crawl back out, but overall it’s nothing we’re too worried about. It’s in the past now and we’ll move onto next week.
“It was just one of those games. They played a good game, and hat’s off to them. We’ve just got to pick it up. Overall, I’m not going to say we really needed it, but it’ll keep us humble, keep us locked in and detailed and working hard. It’s fine, we’ll come back next week and show what we can do.”

Saturday 26th November 2016

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on November 26, 2016 by bishshat

Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy

Elton John and Bernie Taupin

Captain Fantastic raised and regimented, hardly a hero
Just someone his mother might know
Very clearly a case for corn flakes and classics
“Two teas both with sugar please”
In the back of an alley

While little Dirt Cowboys turned brown in their saddles
Sweet chocolate biscuits and red rosy apples in summer
For it’s hay make and “Hey mom, do the papers say anything good.
Are there chances in life for little Dirt Cowboys
Should I make my way out of my home in the woods”

Brown Dirt Cowboy, still green and growing
City slick Captain
Fantastic the feedback
The honey the hive could be holding
For there’s weak winged young sparrows that starve in the winter
Broken young children on the wheels of the winners
And the sixty-eight summer festival wallflowers are thinning

For cheap easy meals and hardly a home on the range
Too hot for the band with a desperate desire for change
We’ve thrown in the towel too many times
Out for the count and when we’re down
Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy
From the end of the world to your town

And all this talk of Jesus coming back to see us
Couldn’t fool us
For we were spinning out our lines walking on the wire
Hand in hand went music and the rhyme
The Captain and the Kid stepping in the ring
From here on sonny sonny sonny, it’s a long and lonely climb

1) Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy was released on vinyl LP, cassette and 8-track in the United States on May 19, 1975 (May 23rd in the UK) at a list price of $6.98. This meant most customers could expect to part with $5.99 at the cash register…or less if they were at a large-volume store like Sam Goody or Tower Records in Los Angeles.

2) On the week ending June 7, Captain Fantastic entered the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart at #1. This is something no other album (by any artist) had done before and was a testament to the incredible popularity Elton enjoyed, especially in the United States. It had in fact shipped gold, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certification for 500,000 units sold, based on retailer pre-orders alone.

The album stayed at #1 on Billboard for six weeks and then remained in the Top 5 before returning to the peak position once more in September. It remained in the Top 200 for over nine months. Eventually it would be certified triple platinum (for over 3 million sold) by the RIAA in 1993. In the UK it peaked at #2, staying on the album charts for 24 weeks, and is certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry.

3) The album’s autobiographical lyrics were written by Bernie between May and July 1974. Elton wrote the music in three different locations: England, the Caribou Ranch recording studio in Colorado and aboard the SS France ocean liner during a six-day voyage that Elton and most of his band took beginning on July 19 in Southampton, England. Later that fall British Vogue published “’My Day’ by Elton John,” which offered a rare glimpse into the journey to New York City:

“July 22, 1974…At 12:00 I go to the music room to write some new songs. I have only booked it for two hours and to my embarrassment have to eject the ship’s classical pianist. She, however, makes her way to another room directly above and commences battle. I decide to write an up-tempo number as most of the songs so far are slowsy. By 1 pm Meal Ticket is complete – very pleased with it. Play it to the band and they nod their approval.”

4) The album was recorded and mixed in running order at Caribou Ranch in August 1974 during a rare break in Elton and the band’s hectic tour schedule. Producer Gus Dudgeon later said that laying down the album in sequence was, “Probably the only time that’s ever been done. Good fun doing it that way – it helped us to judge the next track by the track we’d just worked on and it gave it a sort of natural momentum.” This summer session also was the first time that Elton used a new piece of technology on his piano. Dudgeon: “[The piano sound on] Bitter Fingers was a combination of an [Eventide] Harmonizer (we used that for the first time on that album – it was a new device that had just been brought in) and putting the piano through a Lesley cabinet…what you normally would feed a B-3 organ through.”

5) For the first time since 1971’s Friends, only one single was issued from an Elton album: Someone Saved My Life Tonight. This was because of the immense success of his past two non-album 45s, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds and Philadelphia Freedom. Both were recorded during the Captain Fantastic sessions and each reached #1 in America.

Rolling Stone reviewer Jon Landau pointed out in his review of the album on July 17 that, “As long as Elton John can bring forth one performance per album on the order of “Someone Saved My Life Tonight,” the chance remains that he will become something more than the great entertainer he already is and go on to make a lasting contribution to rock.” At 6 minutes and 45 seconds, Someone Saved… remains Elton’s longest single to date. With the non-album track House Of Cards as its b-side and sporting a custom label based on the album art, it entered the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart at #51 on July 5. It peaked at #4 in early September, just a week before Elton’s next single, Island Girl (from his pending Rock Of The Westies album) was released.

6) Although listed as two different tracks on the album, We All Fall In Love Sometimes and Curtains were recorded together. “The two songs were recorded as one complete piece all the way through,” Dudgeon explained in 1993. “But it was done in two takes. I remember that Neil Sedaka walked into the control room just as we began the second take. The band actually had just started the song as he walked in. And I thought, ‘Now, this is going to be interesting, to see what his reaction is.’ Because it’s nearly 11 minutes long. So it got to about nine minutes, and he came over to me and whispered, ‘My God, are they doing this all in one go or are they dubbing on?’ And I said [whispering], ‘No, it’s all in one go.’ He went, ‘Jesus, they’ve been going on for hours!’

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7) The album cover art by Alan Aldridge features images of Elton, Bernie and the band (animated elements of the artwork were used in a 30-second television commercial celebrating the release of the album). The front panel shows Elton breaking out of a dangerously dreary cityscape astride his piano while the back of the cover shows Bernie writing in a somewhat protected pastoral bubble. Keen-eyed fans can also identify Elton’s first music publisher Dick James and Bernie’s then-wife Maxine in the intricate illustration. Even more subtle is a visual reference to the This Record Company, one of Elton’s early record labels, which constructed their unofficial slogan, “Turning shit into hits…” out of anagrams of the word “this.”

8) The elaborate album packaging also included a pair of booklets, one called “Lyrics” and the other “Scraps,” that contained a plethora of items from Elton and Bernie’s personal collections as well as the lyric to a song not included on the album called Dogs In The Kitchen. Bernie was very involved in the booklets’ concepts and the collection of memorabilia, even going so far as to provide the cardboard suitcase which he had used on his journeys between staying with Elton near London and his home in Lincolnshire, for use in the “Scraps”center spread photo.

9) Captain Fantastic was a landmark Elton album for everyone involved in its creation. As Gus Dudgeon put it, “Unquestionably, musically, the band were absolutely at their peak and they’d never played that well across a whole album. The songs were great anyway, but the performances are so ‘on the money.’” And guitarist Davey Johnstone explains, in an exclusive interview with EltonJohn.com*, “It was really cool. I knew there was something special. This was going to be an autobiographical album, it was going to be the story of what happened, and we weren’t concerned at all about ‘commerciality.’ It was a really fun album to make.”

10) In a 2013 interview with Cameron Crowe for Rolling Stone, Elton said, “Every lyric on Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy was about Bernie and me, about our experiences of being able to make songs and make it big. … In a way, years later, I ended up being Captain Fantastic and he ended up the Brown Dirt Cowboy: Here, I’m living my fabulous lifestyle, collecting paintings, and Bernie is interested in horses and bull riding and shit like that. We became those characters. Who was to know?”

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Saint Peters 

The earliest record of the Church of England parish church of Saint Peter is from 1154, but only the Norman font survives from this time. The north and south doorways are 13th century, the east window of the south aisle are late 13th century, and all are Early English Gothic. In the first half of the 14th century St. Peter’s was almost entirely rebuilt in a Transitional style between Early English and Decorated Gothic, and north and south aisles and the Decorated Gothic bell tower were added. The arcades linking the aisles with the nave have capitals decorated with carved figures and the chancel has a frieze of carved people and monsters. Both sets of carvings were made in about 1340 and are the work of a school of masons whose work can be seen also in the parish churches of Adderbury, Bloxham and Drayton. Around 1400 a Perpendicular Gothic clerestory was added to the nave. In the Tudor era new side windows were inserted in the north aisle.

Monuments in St. Peter’s include a 14th-century effigy of a woman in the south aisle and effigies of Sir Anthony Cope, 1st Baronet (died 1614) and his wife in the chancel. In 1776 the floor of the chancel was raised to accommodate a burial vault for the Cope family, but in the 19th century the floor was restored to its former level

In 1671 Sir Anthony Cope, 4th Baronet had a turret clock made for St. Peter’s by the noted clockmaker George Harris of Fritwell. It is at the west end of the nave below the bell tower. The bell tower has a ring of six bells. John Briant of Hertford cast the second, third, fourth and fifth bells in 1789 and the tenor bell in 1791. In 2008 White’s of Appleton re-hung the bells and added a sixth bell, the Beecroft Bell which Whitechapel Bell Foundry had cast that year.

Sir Anthony Cope, 1st Baronet (1550–1615) was a puritan, and in 1584 the Church of England excommunicated his choice of curate at Hanwell, Jonas Wheler for refusing to hold church services on Fridays and Saturdays. Instead therefore Sir Anthony presented John Dod, another puritan, who was accepted. Dod was a friend of the puritan divine Thomas Cartwight, who at Dod’s invitation preached at Hanwell. Sir Anthony was MP for the Banbury constituency for most of the period 1571–1601. In 1587 he was jailed for introducing to the House of Commons a puritan prayer book and a bill for abrogating ecclesiastical law. John Dod was a hardworking and popular preacher who served as Hanwell for 20 years, but by 1607 the Church of England had deprived Dod of his living and Sir Anthony appointed Robert Harris to take over the curacy. During the English Civil War Royalist troops had expelled Harris from Hanwell by the end of 1642. In 1648 he was made a Doctor of Divinity and President of Trinity College, Oxford. Puritan influence at Hanwell was ended in 1658 with the appointment of a Royalist curate, George Ashwell, who was as pious, hardworking and scholarly as his predecessors.

St Peter’s is now a Grade I listed building. Its parish is now one of eight in the Ironstone Benefice.

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Chelsea 2 Spurs 1

A brilliant first half but the equaliser on 45 was a bitter blow. Looking to respond to our midweek loss to Monaco in the Champions League, we produced a fantastic first-half display at Stamford Bridge, capped by Eriksen’s first domestic goal of the season – a rasping, opportunistic strike from just outside the box shortly after Harry Kane saw his close-range effort chalked off for off-side.

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But the quality of the Danish international’s shot was matched by Pedro shortly before the interval, the Chelsea man’s precise curler evading the fingertips of the airborne Hugo Lloris and creeping inside the far post despite our dominance of the opening 45 minutes.
The Blues struck again six minutes after the restart through Victor Moses, who had been left with too much space down Chelsea’s right as we tried to contain Diego Costa at the near post.
From there, we couldn’t quite get the wind back in our sails and the hosts saw out the game to go back to the top of the table.

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Friday 25th November 2016

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on November 25, 2016 by bishshat

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Pete’s Dragon

In 1977, Pete, a five-year-old boy, is on a road trip with his parents when their car flips off the road trying to avoid a deer. Pete’s parents are killed instantly, but Pete survives and is chased into the forest by a pack of wolves, only to be rescued by a dragon with green fur, yellow eyes, and huge wings. Pete names the dragon “Elliot” after his favorite book about a puppy of the same name with its family, and takes to him as a father figure.

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Six years later, Pete, now 11, spots a lumberjack crew chopping down trees near his home. Natalie, the daughter of the site foreman, spots and chases him. When Natalie accidentally falls from a tree, her screams attract her father, Jack, and his girlfriend, park ranger Grace Meacham. Pete tries to run away, but Gavin, Jack’s brother, accidentally knocks him unconscious. After realizing that Pete has vanished, Elliot stumbles around looking for him and ends up knocking over a tree near the lumber camp, leading Gavin to organize a hunting party to find him. Meanwhile, Pete wakes up to find himself in a local hospital, which he escapes in an effort to return to the forest. Before the police can catch him, Grace finds Pete and convinces him to come live with her by promising to take him to the forest the next day. After receiving a drawing of Elliot from him, Grace takes it to her father, who claims to have discovered the same dragon as a young man. He advises her to trust Pete, and to find Elliot.

Gavin and his men locate Elliot’s treehouse, but when they try to search it, Elliot reveals himself and scares them away. He then follows them back to town in an effort to find Pete. When he does, however, and finds Pete settling in with Grace’s family, he leaves.

The next day, Pete, Grace, Natalie, and Mr. Meacham travel to the forest to meet Elliot. A group of hunters led by Gavin surprise Elliot and tranquilize him, locking him up in Jack’s warehouse. Before the authorities can inspect Elliot, Pete and Natalie free him from his chains and escape on a lumber truck with Mr. Meacham.

Angered, Gavin sets up a roadblock at the bridge to stop them. A failed attempt by a still groggy Elliot to fly damages the truck’s brakes, causing the truck to plow through the barricade and come to a stop at the other side. Confused and frightened, Elliot perches himself atop the bridge and starts breathing fire at the police. The bridge begins to collapse under the intense heat, causing Grace and Jack’s truck to fall through. Gavin then ignores going after Elliot, and tries to save them before they fall to their deaths. Elliot tries to prop them up, but the bridge suddenly gives way and they all fall into the ravine. At the last second, Elliot emerges with Grace and Jack on his back. With a military helicopter approaching, Pete decides to flee with Elliot back to the woods.

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Pete pleads with Elliot to stay with him so he can protect him from his attackers. However, Elliot concludes that as long as they stay close together, Pete will always be in danger. He points out Pete’s book to try and convince him to go back to Grace and Jack. After a tearful hug, Elliot returns to the mountains, while Pete goes to live with Grace and Jack as his new family.

In the years that follow, Grace and Jack marry and adopt Pete as their son, Gavin moves on from the experience, and Elliot slowly fades from the town’s memory. Nevertheless, Pete and his family find him while on vacation, having found that Elliot has finally reunited with his fellow dragons.

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Thursday 24th November 2016

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on November 25, 2016 by bishshat

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Gudgeon is the common name for a number of small freshwater fish.
Most gudgeons are elongate, bottom-dwelling fish, many of which live in rapids and other fast moving water.

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Tuesday 22nd November 2016

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on November 22, 2016 by bishshat

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A Poem on His Birthday

Dylan Thomas

In the mustardseed sun,
By full tilt river and switchback sea
Where the cormorants scud,
In his house on stilts high among beaks
And palavers of birds
This sandgrain day in the bent bay’s grave
He celebrates and spurns
His driftwood thirty-fifth wind turned age;
Herons spire and spear.

Under and round him go
Flounders, gulls, on their cold, dying trails,
Doing what they are told,
Curlews aloud in the congered waves
Work at their ways to death,
And the rhymer in the long tongued room,
Who tolls his birthday bell,
Toesl towards the ambush of his wounds;
Herons, stepple stemmed, bless.

In the thistledown fall,
He sings towards anguish; finches fly
In the claw tracks of hawks
On a seizing sky; small fishes glide
Through wynds and shells of drowned
Ship towns to pastures of otters. He
In his slant, racking house
And the hewn coils of his trade perceives
Herons walk in their shroud,

The livelong river’s robe
Of minnows wreathing around their prayer;
And far at sea he knows,
Who slaves to his crouched, eternal end
Under a serpent cloud,
Dolphins dyive in their turnturtle dust,
The rippled seals streak down
To kill and their own tide daubing blood
Slides good in the sleek mouth.

In a cavernous, swung
Wave’s silence, wept white angelus knells.
Thirty-five bells sing struck
On skull and scar where his lovews lie wrecked,
Steered by the falling stars.
And to-morrow weeps in a blind cage
Terror will rage apart
Before chains break to a hammer flame
And love unbolts the dark

And freely he goes lost
In the unknown, famous light of great
And fabulous, dear God.
Dark is a way and light is a place,
Heaven that never was
Nor will be ever is alwas true,
And, in that brambled void,
Plenty as blackberries in the woods
The dead grow for His joy.

There he might wander bare
With the spirits of the horseshoe bay
Or the stars’ seashore dead,
Marrow of eagles, the roots of whales
And wishbones of wild geese,
With blessed, unborn God and His Ghost,
And every soul His priest,
Gulled and chanter in youg Heaven’s fold
Be at cloud quaking peace,

But dark is a long way.
He, on the earth of the night, alone
With all the living, prays,
Who knows the rocketing wind will blow
The bones out of the hills,
And the scythed boulders bleed, and the last
Rage shattered waters kick
Masts and fishes to the still quick stars,
Faithlessly unto Him

Who is the light of old
And air shaped Heaven where souls grow wild
As horses in the foam:
Oh, let me midlife mourn by the shrined
And druid herons’ vows
The voyage to ruin I must run,
Dawn ships clouted aground,
Yet, though I cry with tumbledown tongue,
Count my blessings aloud:

Four elements and five
Senses, and man a spirit in love
Thangling through this spun slime
To his nimbus bell cool kingdom come
And the lost, moonshine domes,
And the sea that hides his secret selves
Deep in its black, base bones,
Lulling of spheres in the seashell flesh,
And this last blessing most,

That the closer I move
To death, one man through his sundered hulks,
The louder the sun blooms
And the tusked, ramshackling sea exults;
And every wave of the way
And gale I tackle, the whole world then,
With more triumphant faith
That ever was since the world was said,
Spins its morning of praise,

I hear the bouncing hills
Grow larked and greener at berry brown
Fall and the dew larks sing
Taller this thuderclap spring, and how
More spanned with angles ride
The mansouled fiery islands! Oh,
Holier then their eyes,
And my shining men no more alone
As I sail out to die

Dylan Thomas’s thirty-fifth birthday

The Poem

“Poem on His Birthday” is composed of twelve stanzas of nine lines each. It was written to mark Dylan Thomas’s thirty-fifth birthday, and is the fourth and last of Thomas’s birthday poems. In the first four stanzas, the poet looks out at the real and imagined scene from his house overlooking the bay on his thirty-fifth birthday. As he gazes at the river and sea illumined by an October sun, he “celebrates” but also “spurns” his birthday, likening the passage of his life to “driftwood.”

The first stanzas abound with images of sea birds and fish—cormorants, flounders, gulls, curlews, eels, and herons—as they instinctively go about their appointed tasks. The poet is acutely conscious that the scene he observes, apparently so full of industrious life, is in truth a steady passage toward death. He realizes that all nature is a vast killing field: “Finches fly/ In the claw tracks of hawks.” He applies this insight to his own life. In his inner ear he can hear bells tolling, not only in celebration but also in anticipation of his own death. Yet, although the natural scene is filled with the omens of death, it is also holy. The herons, with which each of the first three stanzas closes, are “steeple stemmed” and “bless.” Stanzas 5 to 7 switch from the natural scene to the landscape of the poet’s own mind and his anticipation of a rejuvenated life after death. Once again he hears the tolling of thirty-five bells, one.

Stanza

In poetry, a stanza from Italian stanza [ˈstantsa], “room”) is a grouped set of lines within a poem, usually set off from other stanzas by a blank line or indentation. Stanzas can have regular rhyme and metrical schemes, though stanzas are not strictly required to have either. There are many unique forms of stanzas. Some stanzaic forms are simple, such as four-line quatrains. Other forms are more complex, such as the Spenserian stanza. Fixed verse poems, such as sestinas, can be defined by the number and form of their stanzas. The term stanza is similar to strophe, though strophe is sometimes used to refer to irregular set of lines, as opposed to regular, rhymed stanzas.

The stanza in poetry is analogous with the paragraph that is seen in prose; related thoughts are grouped into units. In music, groups of lines are typically referred to as verses. The stanza has also been known by terms such as batch, fit, and stave

Prose

Prose is a form of language that exhibits a grammatical structure and a natural flow of speech, rather than a rhythmic structure as in traditional poetry. Where the common unit of verse is based on meter or rhyme, the common unit of prose is purely grammatical, such as a sentence or paragraph.

Prose lacks the more formal metrical structure of verse that can be found in traditional poetry. Prose comprises full grammatical sentences, which then constitute paragraphs while overlooking aesthetic appeal, whereas poetry typically involves a metrical and/or rhyming scheme. Some works of prose contain traces of metrical structure or versification and a conscious blend of the two literature formats known as prose poetry. Verse is considered to be more systematic or formulaic, whereas prose is the most reflective of ordinary (often conversational) speech. On this point, Samuel Taylor Coleridge jokingly requested that novice poets should know the “definitions of prose and poetry; that is, prose—words in their best order; poetry—the best words in their best order.”

Monsieur Jourdain asked for something to be written in neither verse nor prose. A philosophy master replied there is no other way to express oneself than with prose or verse, for the simple reason being that everything that is not prose is verse, and everything that is not verse is prose. Molière, Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme

Le Bourgeois gentilhomme

The Bourgeois Gentleman or The Middle-Class Aristocrat or The Would-Be Noble) is a five-act comédie-ballet—a play intermingled with music, dance and singing—written by Molière, first presented on 14 October 1670 before the court of Louis XIV at the Château of Chambord by Molière’s troupe of actors. Subsequent public performances were given at the theatre of the Palais-Royal beginning on 23 November 1670. The music was composed by Jean-Baptiste Lully, the choreography was by Pierre Beauchamp, the sets were by Carlo Vigarani and the costumes were done by the chevalier d’Arvieux.

Le Bourgeois gentilhomme satirizes attempts at social climbing and the bourgeois personality, poking fun both at the vulgar, pretentious middle-class and the vain, snobbish aristocracy. The title is meant as an oxymoron: in Molière’s France, a “gentleman” was by definition nobly born, and thus there could be no such thing as a bourgeois gentleman. The play is in prose (except for the ballet openings which are in verse).

The play takes place at Mr. Jourdain’s house in Paris. Jourdain is a middle-aged “bourgeois” whose father grew rich as a cloth merchant. The foolish Jourdain now has one aim in life, which is to rise above this middle-class background and be accepted as an aristocrat. To this end, he orders splendid new clothes and is very happy when the tailor’s boy mockingly addresses him as “my Lord”. He applies himself to learning the gentlemanly arts of fencing, dancing, music and philosophy, despite his age; in doing so he continually manages to make a fool of himself, to the disgust of his hired teachers. His philosophy lesson becomes a basic lesson on language in which he is surprised and delighted to learn that he has been speaking prose all his life without knowing it.

« Par ma foi ! il y a plus de quarante ans que je dis de la prose sans que j’en susse rien, et je vous suis le plus obligé du monde de m’avoir appris cela. »
Madame Jourdain, his intelligent wife, sees that he is making a fool of himself and urges him to return to his previous middle-class life, and to forget all he has learned. A cash-strapped nobleman called Dorante has attached himself to M. Jourdain. He secretly despises Jourdain but flatters his aristocratic dreams. For example, by telling Jourdain that he mentioned his name to the King at Versailles, he can get Jourdain to pay his debts. Jourdain’s dreams of being upper-class go higher and higher. He dreams of marrying a Marchioness, Dorimene, and having his daughter Lucille marry a nobleman. But Lucille is in love with the middle-class Cléonte. Of course, M. Jourdain refuses his permission for Lucille to marry Cléonte.

Then Cléonte, with the assistance of his valet Covielle and Mme Jourdain, disguises himself and presents himself to Jourdain as the son of the Sultan of Turkey. Jourdain is taken in and is very pleased to have his daughter marry foreign royalty. He is even more delighted when the “Turkish prince” informs him that, as father of the bride, he too will be officially ennobled at a special ceremony. The play ends with this ridiculous ceremony, including Sabir standing in for Turkish.

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Molière

Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known by his stage name Molière was a French playwright and actor who is considered to be one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature. Among Molière’s best known works are The Misanthrope, The School for Wives, Tartuffe, The Miser, The Imaginary Invalid, and The Bourgeois Gentleman.

Born into a prosperous family and having studied at the Collège de Clermont (now Lycée Louis-le-Grand), Molière was well suited to begin a life in the theatre. Thirteen years as an itinerant actor helped him polish his comic abilities while he began writing, combining Commedia dell’arte elements with the more refined French comedy.

Through the patronage of aristocrats including Philippe I, Duke of Orléans—the brother of Louis XIV—Molière procured a command performance before the King at the Louvre. Performing a classic play by Pierre Corneille and a farce of his own, The Doctor in Love, Molière was granted the use of salle du Petit-Bourbon near the Louvre, a spacious room appointed for theatrical performances. Later, Molière was granted the use of the theatre in the Palais-Royal. In both locations he found success among Parisians with plays such as The Affected Ladies, The School for Husbands and The School for Wives. This royal favour brought a royal pension to his troupe and the title Troupe du Roi (“The King’s Troupe”). Molière continued as the official author of court entertainments.

Though he received the adulation of the court and Parisians, Molière’s satires attracted criticism from moralists and the Catholic Church. Tartuffe and its attack on perceived religious hypocrisy roundly received condemnations from the Church, while Don Juan was banned from performance. Molière’s hard work in so many theatrical capacities took its toll on his health and, by 1667, he was forced to take a break from the stage. In 1673, during a production of his final play, The Imaginary Invalid, Molière, who suffered from pulmonary tuberculosis, was seized by a coughing fit and a haemorrhage while playing the hypochondriac Argan. He finished the performance but collapsed again and died a few hours later.

Molière was born in Paris, the son of Jean Poquelin and Marie Cressé, the daughter of a prosperous bourgeois family.
He lost his mother when he was ten and he did not seem to have been particularly close to his father. After his mother’s death, he lived with his father above the Pavillon des Singes on the rue Saint-Honoré, an affluent area of Paris. It is likely[citation needed] that his education commenced with studies in a Parisian elementary school; this was followed with his enrollment in the prestigious Jesuit Collège de Clermont, where he completed his studies in a strict academic environment and got a first taste of life on the stage.

In 1631, Jean Poquelin purchased from the court of Louis XIII the posts of “valet de chambre ordinaire et tapissier du Roi” (“valet of the King’s chamber and keeper of carpets and upholstery”). His son assumed the same posts in 1641.
The title required only three months’ work and an initial cost of 1,200 livres; the title paid 300 livres a year and provided a number of lucrative contracts. Poquelin also studied as a provincial lawyer some time around 1642, probably in Orléans, but it is not documented that he ever qualified. So far he had followed his father’s plans, which had served him well; he had mingled with nobility at the Collège de Clermont and seemed destined for a career in office. In June 1643, when Molière was 21, he decided to abandon his social class and pursue a career on the stage. Taking leave of his father, he joined the actress Madeleine Béjart, with whom he had crossed paths before, and founded the Illustre Théâtre with 630 livres. They were later joined by Madeleine’s brother and sister.

The new theatre troupe went bankrupt in 1645. Molière had become head of the troupe, due in part, perhaps, to his acting prowess and his legal training. However, the troupe had acquired large debts, mostly for the rent of the theatre (a court for jeu de paume), for which they owed 2000 livres. Historians differ as to whether his father or the lover of a member of his troupe paid his debts; either way, after a 24-hour stint in prison he returned to the acting circuit. It was at this time that he began to use the pseudonym Molière, possibly inspired by a small village of the same name in the Midi near Le Vigan. It was also likely that he changed his name to spare his father the shame of having an actor in the family (actors, although no longer vilified by the state under Louis XIV, were still not allowed to be buried in sacred ground).
After his imprisonment, he and Madeleine began a theatrical circuit of the provinces with a new theatre troupe; this life was to last about twelve years, during which he initially played in the company of Charles Dufresne, and subsequently created a company of his own, which had sufficient success and obtained the patronage of Philippe I, Duke of Orléans. Few plays survive from this period. The most noteworthy are L’Étourdi, ou le Contretemps (The Bungler) and Le Docteur Amoureux (The Doctor in Love); with these two plays, Molière moved away from the heavy influence of the Italian improvisational Commedia dell’arte, and displayed his talent for mockery. In the course of his travels he met Armand, Prince of Conti, the governor of Languedoc, who became his patron, and named his company after him. This friendship later ended when Conti, having contracted syphilis from a courtesan, turned towards religion and joined Molière’s enemies in the Parti des Dévots and the Compagnie de Saint Sacrement.

In Lyon, Mademoiselle Du Parc, known as Marquise, joined the company. Marquise was courted, in vain, by Pierre Corneille and later became the lover of Jean Racine. Racine offered Molière his tragedy Théagène et Chariclée (one of the first works he wrote after he had abandoned his theology studies), but Molière would not perform it, though he encouraged Racine to pursue his artistic career. It is said that soon thereafter Molière became angry with Racine when he was told that he had secretly presented his tragedy to the company of the Hôtel de Bourgogne as well.

Molière was forced to reach Paris in stages, staying outside for a few weeks in order to promote himself with society gentlemen and allow his reputation to feed in to Paris. Molière reached Paris in 1658 and performed in front of the King at the Louvre (then for rent as a theatre) in Corneille’s tragedy Nicomède and in the farce Le Docteur Amoureux with some success. He was awarded the title of Troupe de Monsieur (Monsieur being the honorific for the king’s brother Philippe I, Duke of Orléans). With the help of Monsieur, his company was allowed to share the theatre in the large hall of the Petit-Bourbon with the famous Italian Commedia dell’arte company of Tiberio Fiorillo, famous for his character of Scaramouche. (The two companies performed in the theatre on different nights.) The premiere of Molière’s Les Précieuses Ridicules (The Affected Young Ladies) took place at the Petit-Bourbon on 18 November 1659.

Les Précieuses Ridicules was the first of Molière’s many attempts to satirize certain societal mannerisms and affectations then common in France. It is widely accepted that the plot was based on Samuel Chappuzeau’s Le Cercle des Femmes of 1656. He primarily mocks the Académie Française, a group created by Richelieu under a royal patent to establish the rules of the fledgling French theater. The Académie preached unity of time, action, and styles of verse. Molière is often associated with the claim that comedy castigat ridendo mores or “criticises customs through humour” (a phrase in fact coined by his contemporary Jean de Santeuil and sometimes mistaken for a classical Latin

Molière suffered from pulmonary tuberculosis, possibly contracted when he was imprisoned for debt as a young man. One of the most famous moments in Molière’s life was his last, which became legend: he collapsed on stage in a fit of coughing and haemorrhaging while performing in the last play he’d written, which had lavish ballets performed to the music of Marc-Antoine Charpentier and which ironically was entitled Le Malade imaginaire (The Imaginary Invalid). Molière insisted on completing his performance. Afterwards he collapsed again with another, larger haemorrhage before being taken home, where he died a few hours later, without receiving the last rites because two priests refused to visit him while a third arrived too late. The superstition that green brings bad luck to actors is said to originate from the colour of the clothing he was wearing at the time of his death.

Under French law at the time, actors were not allowed to be buried in the sacred ground of a cemetery. However, Molière’s widow, Armande, asked the King if her spouse could be granted a normal funeral at night. The King agreed and Molière’s body was buried in the part of the cemetery reserved for unbaptised infants.

In 1792 his remains were brought to the museum of French monuments and in 1817 transferred to Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, close to those of La Fontaine.

A Poem on His Birthday

In the style of Dylan Thomas

John Bishop

The Field is lit with the darkness
Of a light cast by a torch with a dying battery
But the opposite of this is an uncertainty
Drifting static clouds hang
Faster yet faster still the corn does not grow
Beyond the height of a pig in a Mexican hat
The pig is reprieved and rolls towards another year
It will now be sixty three
And to be exact if the numbers add up
The night will not come again
Sun has burnt the poets head where before
The rain had flushed his heart
A fat pigeon looks down from his pole
And smiles at the foolish morning
The poet’s pain is sprayed away with
Chocolate and frozen jelly
The cottage holds no contentment
For it is dark and the dry roast spuds
Needed much extra salt
Stodgy Spotted Dick was had by four
Who if I live to celebrate eighty years
Will have long been roasted liver
Morris men danced
The band played on while a tiny trumpet boy
Collapsed from sunken lungs
The day came to a close
Just as it had not started
With sunshine and lemon cake
And a rum soaked Dylan Thomas paper cup

1st June 2014
A Poem on His Birthday II

John Bishop

The Field is blasted by a gale
Dull clouds huddle
Tractor lines carve the dancing green
High stress levels cause him to stare
the corn has different levels of growth
He removes it inch by inch
He gathers it in buckets its ready to leave
sixty four is the next goal
the noise of the wind has the poets head in a spin
The rain has again flushed his heart
The Magpie the Jackdaw
and the Rook look down from the arch
that Sue has placed in the garden
The poet’s mind is focused on lessons
lessons he must deliver
red velvet cake has slowed him down
the tracks to that lead to Alcester  are orange
And must be passed by to reach lamination
Mick and Brenda argue the toss
On when the bank will be visited
As Doctor John checks out the patient
Richard texted an unknown friend

June 1st 2015

George Eliot or #.com?

 Oliver Richard Bishop

I guess it’s just a natural cycle of things?
Even so it creates a flutter in my heart
Goodness knows what flutters it creates in yours?
I hope your shoulders do not shrug it all away
All to quickly the future comes.
One minute the child
Next minute the man
In the next moments a father, a grandfather
All competing in a race to stay the course
I cannot remain in the game
I see the future in a grainy image
It frightens me yet fills me with a pride
A pride that leaves me only showing it
In a mirror that is private and hidden
O child I know not what you are
Or what you will be
But this is going to happen I see that now
The next steps are already taken
They are small and delicate yet deliberate
If I could take your hand
And walk at your side
I would attempt to guide you
And try to keep you safe
The only way I know how
These words alone will meet your flying feet
Fleet of foot will carry the days into years
And when the last days appear they will fly
Faster than the rising sun and waning moon
The light dims and you too will see
That the cycle goes on and on
And you will dream dreams for us all

John Bish June 2nd 2016

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Monaco 2 Spurs 1

Two goals early in the second half from Djibril Sidibe and and Thomas Lemar saw Monaco claim a 2-1 victory at Stade Louis II to end our involvement in this season’s UEFA Champions League.

Hugo Lloris put on another goalkeeping wonder-show on the continent, saving Radamel Falcao’s early penalty and somehow diverting Kamil Glik’s thumping close-range volley over the bar with a flailing arm as the Ligue 1 side looked to extend their advantage in the closing stages.

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But his awesome resistance alone wasn’t enough for us as Sidibe headed home just after the interval with Monaco carrying over their attacking threat from the first period into the second.

And merely 38 seconds after Harry Kane hauled us back level from the penalty spot, Lemar angled one in from the left side to seal the win for the Group E leaders.

The result leaves us with four points from our five games in the competition and, although we could feasibly draw level with second-placed Bayer Leverkusen on matchday six on December 7, the German side would still progress on the head-to-head rule after their 1-0 win at Wembley earlier this month.

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Sunday 20th November 2016

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on November 21, 2016 by bishshat

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Seahawks 26 Eagles 15

As they did in victories over Buffalo and New England the past two weeks, the Seahawks used a bevy of big plays on offense to beat the Eagles 26-15 Sunday at CenturyLink Field. They finished with a season-high 439 yards — the second consecutive week they gained a season high (420 last week against the Patriots).

Seattle had five plays of 20 yards or longer in the first half alone — consider that they had just two in five quarters at Arizona on Oct. 23 — in gaining 300 yards by halftime, also a season-best for a half. The Seahawks also finished with a season-high 15.1 yards per reception and have averaged 13.9 yards per reception or better in the past three games after averaging better than that just once in the first seven games (14.0 against a 49ers team that entered the weekend last in the NFL in total defense).

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Seattle had averaged 12.9, 9.4 and 10.8 yards per reception in the three games before the breakout against Buffalo — with the 12.9 against the Saints buffeted by a 43-yard gain on a trick play from Tanner McEvoy to C.J. Prosise. Sunday, the Seahawks called another trick play — but this time it didn’t feel like a move made out of desperation. Instead, a 15-yard touchdown pass from Doug Baldwin to Wilson in the third quarter just seemed like a fitting capper to a day when Wilson showed he’s pretty much past the injuries of the first half of the season.

“It was fun, man,’’ said Baldwin, who had never thrown a pass in an NFL game. “I’ve been begging for that play for the past two or three weeks and they doubted my arm, doubted that I could make the throw. So I’m glad I got to prove them wrong. … I just kind of chucked it up there and Russell made it look pretty.’’ Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin talks about throwing a touchdown pass to Russell Wilson.
Wilson made a few other plays look pretty as well, such as when he spun away from danger and found Jimmy Graham, who then shook off Eagles’ safety Jaylen Watkins for a 35-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Or when he hit Baldwin and Tyler Lockett on consecutive passes of 44 and 30 yards in the second quarter.

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Sunday, the Seahawks also added a few big running plays, the most obvious the 72-yard touchdown run by Prosise in the first quarter (though the fact Prosise will be out a while with a shoulder injury served as the one figurative dark cloud Sunday).
Reflecting on Seattle’s sudden proficiency at big plays, Carroll said: “Everything has shifted. You’ve seen us make shifts in the past. This is one of those big shifts for us. It’s really exciting to see. We feel very aggressive.’’
Recall that the Seahawks shifted a year ago at midseason to an offense featuring more quick-hitting passes and empty sets to try to mitigate the offensive line issues and take advantage of Wilson’s maturation as a passer.

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This year, the shift came in part to take advantage of maybe the best set of receivers Seattle has had in the Wilson era, as well as Wilson finally getting healthy.
“I think it’s the mentality,” Wilson said. “We’re being a little bit more aggressive. I think I can move a little bit more so I can extend the play a little bit if it’s not there.’’
Last year, Seattle rode the offensive shift to a 6-2 second half that got them into the playoffs. This year, Seattle has now won three in a row to take a three-game lead in the NFC West, with the only question about the postseason now appearing to be whether the Seahawks can overtake Dallas to get the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs come January.

As the offense has shifted, the defense — no longer forced to be on the field for an inordinate number of plays — has returned to form.
The Eagles had just one touchdown and 165 yards until tacking on a 66-yard scoring drive in the fourth quarter.

Saturday 19th November 2016

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on November 19, 2016 by bishshat

The Poetry Under My Bed.

I have seen a few paper crowned poets
And of late they appear on TV
They promote their own majesty somehow
Why the hell has this not happened to me?
I guess I’m not good at promotion
A bushel is hiding my pile
Of the paper that has all my scrawling
I was told was in doggerel style
I know it’s not Keats
I know it’s not Shelly
But neither are they
That shines on my telly
So I am going to stand up and read one
In a pub that’s not far from here
If the audience like what I read them
I hope they will give me a cheer
So maybe I will be on the telly?
Or on radios poetry please?
And be a poet in residence
In a field or even a shed
Or maybe I will just stay a dreamer
And leave them all under my bed

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John Bish November 19th 2016

The Globe 24th November 2016

The Dolly on the Dustcart

I’m the dolly on the dustcart,
I can see you’re not impressed,
I’m fixed above the driver’s cab,
With wire across me chest,
The dustman see, he noticed me,
Going in the grinder,
And he fixed me on the lorry,
I dunno if that was kinder.

This used to be a lovely dress,
In pink and pretty shades,
But it’s torn now, being on the cart,
And black as the ace of spades,
There’s dirt all round me face,
And all across me rosy cheeks,
Well, I’ve had me head thrown back,
But we ain’t had no rain for weeks.

I used to be a ‘Mama’ doll,
Tipped forward, I’d say, ‘Mum’
But the rain got in me squeaker,
And now I been struck dumb,
I had two lovely blue eyes,
But out in the wind and weather,
One’s sunk back in me head like,
And one’s gone altogether.

I’m not a soft, flesh coloured dolly,
Modern children like so much,
I’m one of those hard old dollies,
What are very cold to touch,
Modern dolly’s underwear,
Leaves me a bit nonplussed,
I haven’t got a bra,
But then I haven’t got a bust!

But I was happy in that doll’s house,
I was happy as a Queen,
I never knew that Tiny Tears,
Was coming on the scene,
I heard of dolls with hair that grew,
And I was quite enthralled,
Until I realised my head
Was hard and pink… and bald.

So I travel with the rubbish,
Out of fashion, out of style,
Out of me environment,
For mile after mile,
No longer prized… dustbinised!
Unfeminine, Untidy,
I’m the dolly on the dustcart,
And there’s no collection Friday.

Pam Ayres

Oh, I wish I’d Looked After Me Teeth

Oh, I wish I’d looked after me teeth,
And spotted the dangers beneath
All the toffees I chewed,
And the sweet sticky food.
Oh, I wish I’d looked after me teeth.

I wish I’d been that much more willin’
When I had more tooth there than fillin’
To give up gobstoppers,
From respect to me choppers,
And to buy something else with me shillin’.

When I think of the lollies I licked
And the liquorice allsorts I picked,
Sherbet dabs, big and little,
All that hard peanut brittle,
My conscience gets horribly pricked.

My mother, she told me no end,
‘If you got a tooth, you got a friend.’
I was young then, and careless,
My toothbrush was hairless,
I never had much time to spend.

Oh I showed them the toothpaste all right,
I flashed it about late at night,
But up-and-down brushin’
And pokin’ and fussin’
Didn’t seem worth the time – I could bite!

If I’d known I was paving the way
To cavities, caps and decay,
The murder of fillin’s,
Injections and drillin’s,
I’d have thrown all me sherbet away.

So I lie in the old dentist’s chair,
And I gaze up his nose in despair,
And his drill it do whine
In these molars of mine.
‘Two amalgam,’ he’ll say, ‘for in there.’

How I laughed at my mother’s false teeth,
As they foamed in the waters beneath.
But now comes the reckonin’
It’s methey are beckonin’
Oh, I wish I’d looked after me teeth.

Pam Ayres

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Dada

Subversive and irreverent, Dada, more than any other movement, has shaken society’s notions of art and cultural production. Fiercely anti-authoritarian and anti-hierarchical, Dada questioned the myth of originality, of the artist as genius suggesting instead that everybody should be an artist and that almost anything could be art. Surrealism, Constructivism, Lettrism, Situationism, Fluxus, Pop and OpArt, Conceptual Art and Minimalism: most twentieth-century art movements after 1923 have roots to Dada. Dada works still have a radicality and freshness that attracts today’s culture jammers and disrupters of life as usual.
Emerging during the crisis period of the First world war, Dada’s strategies of critiquing the dominant culture have been used by radical groups ever since. The Dada Cabaret was re-enacted by young German and Austrian writers and artists immediately after the Second World War, and Dada slogans were painted on buildings in Paris during the protests of 1968. Greil Marcus traces the connections between Dada, the Situationists and the Sex Pistols, suggesting that Dada was a model of revolt for these later movements. He quotes Henri Lefebvre, a close friend of the Situationists, who wrote: “To the degree that modernity has a meaning, it is this: it carries within itself, from the beginning, a radical negation – Dada, this event which took place in a Zurich café.” Similarly, Stuart Home, in his The Assault on Culture, points to the impact of Dada on Lettrism, Situationism, Punk and Neoism.
Dada artists and writers were among the first to intervene in mass media; indeed interventions made up much of their activity. They cut out reproductions of photographs in the daily press and critically recontextualized them. Walter Benjamin recognized the importance of Dada when he wrote in ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’ that when authenticity ceases to be an important part of making art, “the total function of art is reversed. Instead of being based on ritual it begins to be based on another practice, politics.” Dada photomonteurs rearranged the cultural and political myths propagated by the press. The Berlin Dadas even presented themselves as an advertising agency; they exploited the desire for sensationalism by feeding the mass media improbable and ridiculous stories.
Exhibitions, catalogues and books on twentieth-century art have generally presented Dada solely as an art movement, which they insert into Modernism’s evolution from Cubism to Italian Futurism, Russian Futurism, Expressionism, Constructivism and Surrealism. Dada is often described as a transitory phenomenon, as late German Expressionism, or as the preparatory phase for Surrealism or Constructivism.
Yet considering it as ending or initial stage assesses Dada in terms of those other movements: a study that describes Dada as a precursor of Surrealism emphasizes the proto-surrealist dimensions of Dada at the expense of other aspects of the movement. Dada writers and artists did have connections to earlier movements, and some joined other groups after 1923. But they changed their orientations during the cultural crisis of the First World War.

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Hugo Ball  born 1886 in Pirmasens, Hugo Ball studied German literature, philosophy, and history at the universities of Munich and Heidelberg (1906-1907). In 1910, he moved to Berlin in order to become an actor and collaborated with Max Reinhardt and worked as a director and stage manager for various theater companies in Berlin, Plauen, and Munich. He also started writing, contributing to the expressionist journals Die Neue Kunst and Die Aktion, both of which, in style and in content, anticipated the format of later Dada journals. Soon after the outbreak of World War I he and Emmy Hennings, a cabaret singer whom he had met in Munich and whom he would marry in 1920, emigrated to Zurich, Switzerland. In February 1916 he founded the ‘Cabaret Voltaire’ in the Spiegelgasse. There he met with Hans Arp, Marcel Janco, Tristan Tzara, and later Richard Huelsenbeck and Walter Serner.

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In July 1916 Ball left the Dada circle in Zurich in order to recuperate in the Swiss countryside. He returned in January 1917 to help organize Galerie Dada, an exhibition space that opened in March 1917. Events at the Galerie included lectures, performances, dances, weekend soirées, and tours of the exhibitions. Although Ball supported the educative goals of the Galerie, he was at odds with Tzara over Tzara’s ambition to make Dada into an international movement with a systematic doctrine. He left Zurich in May 1917 and did not again actively participate in Dada activities.
Hugo Ball died in Sant’ Abbondio, Switzerland, 14 September 1927.

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Emmy Hennings born in 1885 Flensburg settled in Munich, where she became an intimate of the expressionist poets, playwrights, and novelists who populared Munich’s seedy Bohemian quarter and frequented the Café Simplizissimus singing popular cabaret songs and reciting her own poems as well as those written by friends. One of Hennings, lovers in Munich was Hugo Ball, whom she had met while singing at the Café Simpl, and whom she would later marry. In November 1914 Hennings joined Ball in Berlin, where she sang in a variety of restaurants and worked as an artist’s model. To escape the increasing nationalism Ball and Hennings left Berlin for Zurich in May 1915. They arrived completely destitute and lived on the assistance of Hennings’ literary friends until they found work with a vaudeville troupe. In 1916 the decided to start their own cabaret and on February 5, 1916 they opened the Cabarer Voltaire. At the Cabaret, Hennings was one of the star attractions. Her wide repertoire included popular songs from Denmark, Paris, and Berlin, Chinese ballads, folk songs and her own poems and poetry written by other dadaists. Hennings’ charisma as a performer and her previous cabaret experience contributed to the success of the venture. Hennings poems dealt with her life outside the safety provided by bourgeois propriety. Addressing such expressionist themes as loneliness, ecstasy, captivity, illness, and death. Hennings was able to reflect on her experiences: certain places – prisons, hospitals, cabarets, and the streets – and afflictions – prostitution and drug addiction – recur again and again. Several of her poems, though not strictly dadaist in form or content, were published in Dada magazines. Hennings rarely discussed her early life subsequent to her intense conversion to Catholicism in 1920, preferring instead to emphasize her piety and her devotion to Ball. After he died in 1927, she provided his life with a similar trajectory consistently portraying his intellectualism as a search for the absolute, which found its rightful home in Catholicism, and slighting his time with Dada as a youthful misadventure. Emmy Hennings died in Tessin in 1948.

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The Cabaret Voltaire

A somewhat unexpected announcement appeared in the Zurich press on 2 February 1916: “The Cabaret Voltaire. Under this name a group of young artists and writers has formed with the object of becoming a center for artistic entertainment. In principle, the Cabaret will be run by artists, permanent guests, who, following their daily reunions, will give musical or literary performances. Young Zurich artists, of all tendencies, are invited to join us with suggestions and proposals.” [Hugo Ball, La fuite hors du temps ([1946], 1993) 111].
When Hugo Ball, a German poet and playwright, exiled in Switzerland since 1915, wrote these words he couldn’t have imagined they would spearhead an adventure that would cross national borders. The Cabaret was inaugurated three days later in the back room of the Holländische Meierei, a popular tavern located in a seedy section of Zurich. Jan Ephraïm, the owner of the establishment, turned the job of emcee over to Ball with the hope of attracting a large audience. Ball took as his model the Parisian cabaret tradition, born with the Chat Noir in 1881, which he associated with the cabaret spirit that had existed in Berlin before the war. For him, no one other than the emblematic figure of Voltaire could play the role of godfather for his association. It was from the pamphleteer and master of satire that he drew his vision of a reality radically out of step with its time.
Refugee artists from all over Europe quickly besieged the scene at the establishment. Emmy Hennings, a German singer and Hugo Ball’s partner, sang her own songs as well as many from the repertoires of Aristide Bruant, Erich Mühsam and Frank Wedekind. Those individuals, who were to become the “hard core” of Dada, were present from the beginning of the Cabaret: the Alsatian artist, Hans Arp and the Romanians Tristan Tzara and Marcel Janco. Richard Huelsenbeck joined the festivities on 11 February 1916 at the behest of Ball, who had met him in Munich in 1912 in connection to the Der Blaue Reiter group.

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A spirit of negation and mockery soon took over, making the Cabaret Voltaire the scene of all excess. Huelsenbeck described it from the outset as “a center for the newest art,” hosting poets, musicians and artists of all types [Richard Huelsenbeck, En avant Dada ([1920], 1983) 10]. Each evening included a succession of spectacles of all types: dances, modern songs, plays, a balalaika orchestra, etc. The French or Russian evenings were occasions for readings by Tzara of poems by Max Jacob and Jules Laforgue, or extracts of Ubu Roi read by Arp, as well as texts by Ivan Turgenev and Anton Chekhov. Sometimes, 20 people in the style of the Futurist manifestos, read manifestos ut loud simultaneously. All who wished to do so – artists or others – took part in the performances, which were presented to the cheerful audiences, mainly composed of students and middleclass people. Marcel Janco evoked the presence of Lenin, who lived at No. 12 Spielgasse, not far from the Cabaret, which was situated at No 1.
Works by the artists who frequented the establishment – Arp, Janco, Viking Eggeling, Otto van Rees and Marcel Slodki, as well as those of Pablo Picasso and Elie Nadelman, plus the map-poems of the Futurists Filippo Marinetti, Francesco Cangiullo and Paolo Buzzi – were exhibited in the same space. All the arts (poetry, dance, music and painting) were brought together to create “a complete work of art,” [Hugo Ball, La fuite hors du temps ([1946], 1993) 35], which associated visual, aural and tactual effects into a unit capable of eliciting strong sensations from the spectator. Ball borrowed the idea of the complete work of art from Kandinsky, corrupting it by adding humor and disorder. At the Cabaret, artists engaged in childish behavior as a reaction to the intellectualism that had been responsible for the war. Hiding behind this apparent regression were various attempts at innovation in language and the visual arts. The artists were in search of an elementary art that was a direct expression of life.
They developed an abstract art that accorded primary importance to materials, to the detriment of representation. Ball composed a phonetic poem, Karawane, which played with sounds and phonemes and was completely void of meaning. In its pre-language role, the poem does not refer to a conscious process, but to an unreality that is somewhat pre-conscious. The poet thus expresses his refusal of all logical discourse seeking to renounce a “language corrupted by journalism.” [Hugo Ball, La fuite hors du temps ([1946], 1993) 146]. On 23 June 1916, Ball recited Karawane dressed in a suit he created. He metamorphosed himself into a shaman to accomplish what resembled a ritual.
The staging or mise-en-scène proved to be of elemental importance to the Dada spectacles that often used costumes and masks – inspired by the so-called ‘primitive’ peoples of Africa and Oceania – such as those made by Sophie Taeuber and Marcel Janco. For wearing a mask, the person was able to overcome inhibitions and communicate with the audience in a more direct way, dancing and chanting. Influenced by these references, Tzara, Janco and Huelsenbeck composed a simultaneous poem in French, English and German to profit from the disturbing qualities of cacophony. L’Amiral cherche une maison à louer was performed in March 1916, along with a whistle, a big box and castanets serving as sound accompaniment.
It is once more Ball who described the subversive nature of their activities: “The cultural and artistic ideals – taken as a music hall program – are our way of doing ‘Candide’ against the times.” [Hugo Ball, La fuite hors du temps ([1946], 1993) 139]. By adopting the character of Candide, the artists undertook a coming-of-age journey to the heart of creation so as to reveal its ludicrous nature. They claimed madness and illusion and consumed it in an enormous burst of laughter. Emil Szittya, a contemporary close to the Zurich Dada milieu, described their laughter as “laughter-spit,” thus putting an emphasis on its paradoxical violence [Emile Szittya, ‘Tristan Tzara’ in Tristan Tzara, dompteur des acrobates (1992).

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In May 1916 the magazine Cabaret Voltaire appeared, edited both in French and German. Ball saw in it the first synthesis of modern artistic and literary movements. In 32 pages, it brought together never before seen pieces, as well as artist’s works and poems already presented at the Cabaret. It included a poem by Guillaume Apollinaire, texts by Kandinsky, Parole in libertà by Marinetti, the reproduction of a poster by Janco and a drawing by Arp (on the cover). With a print run of 500 copies, the magazine allowed the artists [p. 58] to reach a larger public. Ball and Tzara took the opportunity to announce the future publication of a magazine entitled Dada. Thus the word ‘Dada’ – whose paternity is claimed by several of them – appeared for the first time. In addition, they wanted to establish a Societé Voltaire and organize an “international exhibition”.
In spite of the effervescence of its projects, the Cabaret closed it doors in early July 1916. The soirées would continue to take place in the Zur Waag hall, and later at the Galerie Dada, an initiative of Tristan Tzara.
Through their telling, the Dada artists would create a myth around the Cabaret. In Arp’s writing, the protagonists in Janco’s painting Le Cabaret Voltaire take on the traits of “fantastic characters” straight out of a story from the Thousand and One Nights or from a gathering of wizards [Jean Arp, Jours effeuillés (1966) 308]. The Cabaret Voltaire surrounded itself with a magical aura that gave it a utopian dimension. It is a sort of non-place, void of conflict, where all experiences were possible. That which was only supposed to be a “center for artistic entertainment,” little by little gave way to the emergence of a movement of international proportions, which laid the foundation for a new aesthetic – in spite of the refusal on the part of some members to become a school.

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Spurs 3 West Ham 2

Harry Kane scored twice in three minutes to produce an incredible late turnaround as we defeated West Ham United 3-2 at the Lane on Saturday to preserve our unbeaten run in the Premier League this season. Trailing 2-1 in the closing stages, the England striker tucked home an 89th-minute goal which looked like it had salvaged a point, only for Heung-Min Son to win a penalty in stoppage time and Kane blasted the winner past Darren Randolph to cap a crazy comeback. The headline looked like it was going to be a goal for Academy graduate Harry Winks on his first Premier League start, the 20-year-old converting from close range early in the second half to level the scores after Michail Antonio had given the Hammers a 24th-minute lead against the run of play.

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Winks’ goal lifted our performance and we seemed the most likely side to grab the winning goal, but instead it was the visitors who scored it, Manuel Lanzini netting from the penalty spot on 68 minutes after Vincent Janssen was adjudged to have fouled Winston Reid. However, it was another Harry who stole the show, Kane’s late double making it 17 goals in his last 16 London derbies and securing a dramatic three points.

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