Archive for March, 2018

Saturday 24th March 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on March 24, 2018 by bishshat

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

In the town of Ebbing, Missouri, Mildred Hayes is grieving the rape and murder of her teenage daughter, Angela, seven months earlier. Angry over the lack of progress in the investigation, Mildred rents three abandoned billboards near her home, and posts on them: “Raped While Dying”, “Still No Arrests?”, and “How Come, Chief Willoughby?” The billboards upset the townspeople, including Chief Bill Willoughby and Officer Jason Dixon, the latter being a racist and a violent alcoholic. The open secret that Willoughby suffers from terminal pancreatic cancer adds to everyone’s disapproval. Mildred and her son Robbie are harassed and threatened, but to Robbie’s chagrin, she stays firm about keeping the billboards up.

While Willoughby is sympathetic to Mildred’s frustration, he finds the billboards an unfair attack on his character. Angered by Mildred’s lack of respect for his authority, Dixon threatens businessman Red Welby, who rented Mildred the billboards, and he arrests her friend and coworker, Denise, on trivial marijuana possession charges. Mildred is also visited by her abusive ex-husband Charlie, who blames her for their daughter’s death.

Willoughby brings Mildred in for questioning after she injures her dentist in an altercation in the dental clinic. During the interview, Willoughby coughs up blood. He leaves the hospital against medical advice and spends an idyllic day with his wife Anne and their two daughters, then commits suicide. He leaves suicide notes for several people, including Mildred, in which he explains that she was not a factor in his suicide and that he secretly paid to keep the billboards up for another month, amused at the trouble this will bring her and hope that they will keep attention on the murder. Mildred is threatened by a crop-haired stranger in her store. Dixon reacts to the news of Willoughby’s death by assaulting Welby and throwing him out of a window. This is witnessed by Willoughby’s replacement, Abercrombie, who fires Dixon.

The billboards are destroyed by arson. Mildred retaliates by tossing Molotov cocktails at the police station, which she believes is unoccupied for the night. However, Dixon is there to read a letter left for him by Willoughby, which advises him to let go of hate and learn to love, as the only way to realize his wish to become a detective. Dixon escapes with Angela’s case file but suffers severe burns. Mildred’s acquaintance James witnesses the incident and provides Mildred with an alibi, claiming they were on a date. Dixon is treated for his burns, and he is temporarily confined in the same hospital room as Welby, to whom he apologizes.

Discharged from the hospital, Dixon overhears the man who threatened Mildred bragging in a bar of an incident similar to Angela’s murder. He notes the Idaho license plate number of the man’s vehicle, then provokes a fight by scratching the man’s face. At home later, he removes a sample of the man’s DNA from under his fingernails. Meanwhile, Mildred goes on a date with James to thank him for the alibi. Charlie enters with his 19-year-old girlfriend Penelope and admits to burning the billboards in anger. Mildred tells Charlie to treat Penelope well, and she leaves.

Abercrombie informs Dixon that the DNA sample does not match DNA found on Angela’s body and that the man was overseas on military duty at the time of the murder. Dixon stays confused and does not connect the clues. Still his instinct tells him the guy is guilty. Mildred and Dixon conclude that the man must be guilty of some other rape, and set out for Idaho to kill him. On the way, Mildred confesses to Dixon that she set the police station fire. He indicates that he knew already. They express reservations about their mission but agree to decide what to do along the way.


Friday 23rd March 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on March 23, 2018 by bishshat


Thursday 22nd March 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on March 23, 2018 by bishshat

Busy busy at Compton Verney today . 60 year 1 and 2 children from St Lawrence School Napton with Anne and Myself in the studio doing China. 30, 14 yer old young men with Claire doing Mysterious Landscapes. Jo had a further group doing the same. Forest School early years with Hanna, Amanda, Tim and Vix. A group of young girls doing dance. And Anne and I also had 40 university students on teacher training follow us to see how we work. Then after all that I went to read my poetry at The Stagey Fox in Leamington Spa. The evening was recorded for Stratford Words Radio.

Whether you like plays, novels, poetry, short stories, monologues, if it’s using words creatively you’ll find it here! Join us for interviews, what’s on, quizzes, interesting facts, and plenty of readings!

Each week we feature some of the best local writers around, and bringing in others from outside the area to help enrich our wonderful literary culture.

Do get in touch if you have any comments on the show, if you’d like your work considered for broadcast, or if you’d be interested in being interviewed. Our email address is:

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A cycle of songs imagining the final thoughts of Captain Scott and his polar party has been composed by Cambridge graduate Jake Wilson – with the help of the University’s Scott Polar Research Institute.

These songs are one of the most evocative responses to the story of Scott to have come out of the centenary.
Wilson has composed All’s Well, a cycle of five songs, from the point of view of the men who died on their return journey from the South Pole 100 years ago: Edgar Evans, Lawrence Oates, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, and Captain Robert Scott himself. The songs aim to capture the different responses of these five men as they realise their deaths are inevitable, and are dedicated to the memory of Jake’s mother, and his friend, the writer Russell Hoban, both of whom died while he was working on All’s Well.


Jake’s interest in Captain Scott’s final Antarctic expedition was triggered when he discovered an edition of Scott’s journals in his parents’ house. After reading this gripping first-hand account of the expedition, he went on to immerse himself in the diaries, letters and biographies of Scott and the other members of the polar party.

But what started as an academic interest changed when Jake’s mother was diagnosed with untreatable cancer.

He said: “Suddenly I was faced with the brutal reality of what Scott and his men must have gone through – my mother was also in a race against time, battling against her own body as it failed her. And her response was extremely similar – organising her affairs, writing letters to people who she felt needed to have heard from her, and facing death with dignity and courage.”

Jake’s determination to complete the songs after his mother’s death was reinforced by support from his close friend, the author Russell Hoban.

“Russ encouraged me to write these songs from the start,” said Jake. “I sent him draft lyrics to comment on and took my guitar to his house to play him work-in-progress. Even when he was in hospital he found the energy to listen to my demo recordings and give me advice about how to improve the songs.”


Folk fiddle legend Dave Swarbrick, who has been collaborating with Jake since 2009, has also played a key role in the project. Swarbrick has described Jake as one of the finest guitarists and songwriters of his generation and has recently produced recordings of the songs. These will be released soon under the title All’s Well, with the support of the Scott Polar Research Institute.

Heather Lane, Keeper of Collections at the Institute, said: “These songs are one of the most evocative responses to the story of Scott to have come out of the centenary. The Scott Polar Research Institute has been pleased to work with Jake Wilson on this project. His moving tribute to the men should have enormous popular appeal.”


The songs have also met the approval of relatives of the team members in Scott’s polar party. David Wilson, great-nephew of Edward Wilson, said: “With All’s Well, Jake Wilson successfully recasts the South Pole story into a new genre. Evoking the distinct characters of each of the Pole Party in word and tune, he accomplishes in modern folk music what Beryl Bainbridge took an entire novel to achieve. A cultural masterpiece for the Scott centenary.”

Jake will perform All’s Well at the Polar Museum on March 27, alongside Cambridge poet Kiran Millwood Hargrave, who will be reading from her latest collection The Last March, also inspired by the story of Scott and his men. The poems will be published by Pindrop Press to mark the centenary of Scott’s death.



Captain, o captain, is our journey done?
Did we struggle so far to find the prize already won?
Must we trudge empty-handed back to the ship?
Can a dragon still fly when its wings have been clipped?
Far from home … home…
Did we haul our way south, battle hunger and cold
For the Norskies to dash, the Norskies to dash
For the Norskies to dash all our dreams at the Pole?

All it takes to cross the line between death and life
Is a slip of the foot, or a slip of the knife
And there’ll be no flag to wrap me in my unmarked grave
No earth below me, and above me no waves
Oh for home … home…
To be back in the Gower, to glimpse Rhosili Sands
And I’ll try not to fall, I’ll try not to fall
I’ll try hard not to fall, when it’s too much to stand

I pulled and I pulled ’til my strength was all gone
Then I made myself walk ’til I just couldn’t carry on
And when you went ahead, had your lunch and brewed your tea
I crawled through the snow on my hands and my knees
To get home … home…
To the land of my fathers, my children and my wife
But I’d pulled to the end, I’d pulled to the end
Oh I’d pulled to the end…

Capt Oates and pony "Snippets". October 1911


Last night I slept and woke with pain
I almost wished no more to wake again
And oh for an opiate trebly strong
To drug down this blindfold sense of wrong
But no surrender, no surrender
No surrender, no surrender

Like Napoleon under Russian skies
We lost our battle with the snow and the ice
No hero’s welcome, only retreat
No hope of glory, only defeat
But I soldier on, I soldier on
I soldier on, I soldier on

Now the grave seems bright to me
Stepping outside seems right to me
For a pick to the head, or a bullet to the brain
You can do it to a horse, you can’t do it to a man
But maybe some time, maybe some time
Maybe some time, maybe some time
Oh I may be some time, may be some time



The bird circled high, the bird circled high
All alone
It was too far south, we were too far south
To get home
And the snow it fell, the snow it fell
For days
And the colours they fade, the colours they fade away
But all’s well… all’s well…

My spirit is willing, and my faith is strong
To the end
But my flesh is weak, and I almost long
For the end
Thy kingdom comes, and thy will is done
Though the colours they fade, the colours they fade away
All’s well… all’s well…

Oh Ory my dear, my life seems small
To me now
Oh Ory my dear, our love is all
To me now
And though death draws near, I’ve nothing to fear
As the colours they fade, the colours all fade away
All’s well… all’s well…



I’d rather go with no ski than the Norskie way
Give me good old-fashioned British manhaul-sledging every day
And the snow it may blind and the frost may bite
But I’ll battle on, I’ll keep fighting the good fight
And with God as my guide, I’ll head straight towards my goal
And when the pulling is all done, then I’ll just sleep in the cold

With Christ as my companion and the harness as my friend
I’ll brave every crack and crevasse, I’ll struggle to the end
And the ice may break up and the orcas circle near
But a catch in my breath will be the only sign of fear
And if the wind it should change and my luck it doesn’t hold
I’ll float calmly out to sea, and I’ll just sleep in the cold

Now our fuel is running short and the food is almost gone
But I’m far from finished, oh I still feel strong
And the darkness may close in and the shadows threaten me
But death will have no sting and the grave no victory
For I’ll never get tired and now I’ll never grow old
I’ll lie happy in my bag and I’ll just sleep in the cold

H.G Ponting. Captain Scott+s Antarctic Expedition 1910 - 1912. 7th October, 1911. Profile view of Captain Scott sitting at his desk as he writes his journals in the Winterquarters hut.


White were the nights, and white were the days
White was the path that we trod all the way
White were our thoughts, as we hauled and we dragged
But black was the flag, black was the flag

White were our dreams, and white was our sleep
White was the hope that I struggled hard to keep
For black were the shadows of the doubts that I had
And black was the flag, black was the flag

Red was the blood of the ponies that we drove
And white was the snow that it stained
Blue was the sky so clear above
But black, black was their pain

White was the dawn, but black was the day
Black was the dog on my back all the way
Black were the leaves, pressed hard in the coal
And black was the flag that we found at the Pole

Black was the flag that fluttered at the Pole
But red, white and blue
Red, white and blue
Is my soul


Wednesday 21st March 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on March 21, 2018 by bishshat

Screenshot 2018-03-21 19.14.43Screenshot 2018-03-21 19.14.54Screenshot 2018-03-21 19.15.00Screenshot 2018-03-21 19.15.04Screenshot 2018-03-21 19.15.12

Keep The Customer Satisfied
Simon and Garfunkel
Gee but it’s great to be back home,
Home is where I want to be.
I’ve been on the road so long my friend,
And if you came along
I know you couldn’t disagree.
It’s the same old story
Everywhere I go,
I get slandered,
I hear words I never heard
In the Bible.
And I’m one step ahead of the shoe shine,
Two steps away from the county line,
Just trying to keep my customers
Deputy Sheriff said to me
Tell me what you come here for, boy.
You better get your bags and flee.
You’re in trouble boy,
And now you’re heading into more.
It’s the same old story
Everywhere I go,
I get slandered,
I hear words I never heard
In the Bible.
And I’m one step ahead of the shoeshine.


Monday 19th March 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on March 19, 2018 by bishshat


Ape Man


I think I’m sophisticated
‘Cause I’m living my life like a good homosapien
But all around me everybody’s multiplying
‘Til they’re walking round like flies man
So I’m no better than the animals sitting in their cages
In the zoo man
‘Cause compared to the flowers and the birds and the trees
I am an ape man

I think I’m so educated and I’m so civilized
‘Cause I’m a strict vegetarian
But with the over-population and inflation and starvation
And the crazy politicians
I don’t feel safe in this world no more
I don’t want to die in a nuclear war
I want to sail away to a distant shore and make like an ape man

I’m an ape man
I’m an ape ape man
I’m an ape man
I’m a King Kong man
I’m woo-doo man
I’m an ape man
‘Cause compared to the sun that sits in the sky
Compared to the clouds as they roll by
Compared to the bugs and the spiders and flies
I am an ape man


Ravilious & Co: The Pattern of Friendship

This ambitious exhibition throws light on a circle of artists and designers grouped loosely around Eric Ravilious (1903-42). In Eastbourne’s Towner Gallery there were more than 500 artefacts; in Sheffield’s smaller space there are still more than 400. Ravilious, Edward Bawden and the Nash brothers Paul and John have had their work and lives reasonably well documented, but Andy Friend’s curation puts them into new contexts. Others, including Ravilious’s wife Tirzah Garwood and his on-off mistress Helen Binyon deserve further attention. Other characters in Friend’s survey include Peggy Angus, Douglas Percy Bliss, Barnett Freedman, Thomas Hennell, Percy Horton and Enid Marx.

The Vale of the White Horse c.1939 by Eric Ravilious 1903-1942fbe96d4f0f8a52e420dc17996eafb3daeric-ravilious-furlongs1Ravilious-Wilmington-Giant

In addition to these artists and designers, arts mandarin Kenneth Clark, Morley College principal Eva Hubback, Architectural Review editor J. M. Richards (author of High Street), Royal College of Art principal William Rothenstein and the founders of the Dunbar Hay shop play crucial roles, too. This touring exhibition is a welcome chance to fill out their interconnecting stories, to understand the context of the time, and to see impressive work that has hardly been exhibited since the 1930s.

For example, a twelve-minute film of the Morley College commission by Bawden and Ravilious is essential viewing, since it collates all the existing photos of the college’s Refreshment Room murals – destroyed by bombing in 1940 – alongside studies and preparatory artwork. A ‘bookshop’ installation shows a large number of book illustrations and covers designed by their circle of friends, including Ravilious’s own wood engravings for the Monotype 1933 calendar. Webb & Webb use some of the motifs from this as a device within their exhibition design.


Elsewhere in the show, Friend’s curation emphasises the importance to this circle of artists of shrewd clients: The Listener, the Curwen Press, Lanston Monotype, Kynoch Press, London Underground, Wisden and many more. Display type on the wall quotes Tirzah Garwood’s delight at her first commission for the BBC in 1928: when asked to do her first job, she ‘danced round the room with joy’. Garwood (1908-51) had been a precocious illustrator, who studied with Ravilious when she was a teenager. Her first wood engravings from 1926 are, in Friend’s words, ‘evidence of how, in a difficult art, Tirzah almost instantly became an adept peer of her already accomplished teacher – and during 1927 began to exert an influence over his own approach.’

The relatively small amount of work by Garwood after her 1930 marriage to Ravilious reflects several things: the economic turndown; the lack of opportunities for women; the demands of family (three children and a wayward husband); and cancer. Her late paintings, made after a happy second marriage and the return of the disease that would kill her, show another side of her prodigious imagination, while her early engravings and watercolours have an ease with human form that took Ravilous longer to acquire, and a sharp humour all her own.


Little known work by Helen Binyon, including some charming children’s book illustrations, added further layers to the exhibition’s documentation of this fascinating group of pragmatic artists. Alan Powers, in his introduction to Friend’s book Ravilious & Co, compares them – as a prolific, interconnected and ultimately influential group – to the Pre-Raphaelites. But he notes that their lack of an easily referenced group name might ‘partly account for the long time it has taken for them to be recognised’.

Barnett Freedman’s work is better known, but the chance to see so much of it in one place is a delight. One ‘scoop’ of the exhibition is the portfolio of student work with which Freedman, who had suffered several rejections for a London County Council (LCC) scholarship, doorstepped Rothenstein. The latter quickly made sure the young artist was offered both a place at the RCA and a three-year LCC grant. During a tour of the Towner, Friend claimed that Freedman was a talented painter, but a ‘lithographer of genius’. Plenty of evidence backs up this claim, with posters, advertising and book covers from several stages of his regrettably short working life. A short film, with music by composer Benjamin Britten, shows Freedman tackling a stamp design commission, including a rather staged conversation with a Post Office official.

d0d27e461cdf83581214a746cd67593c--british-artists-guns4c7b050b5faae867eb68b37aa733ded7Submarines in Dry Dock 1940 by Eric Ravilious 1903-1942

The ‘Submarine’ lithographs and the hallucinatory watercolours of military men, equipment and aeroplanes (such as Hurricane in Flight, 1942) support Friend’s view that Ravilious was still learning, growing and stretching his abilities when the plane carrying him failed to return in September 1942.


Sunday 18th March 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on March 18, 2018 by bishshat

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In the future, searching for a way to solve overpopulation and global warming, a scientist invents “downsizing” – a process to shrink people to a height of five inches. Paul and Audrey Safranek, a married couple in Omaha with financial problems, meet Dave and Carol Johnson, who have downsized. While the inventors advocate that downsizing is environmentally friendly through the reduction of waste, Dave argues that its benefits extend far beyond that and improve one’s life through the increase in value of their money.


Exploring the possibilities of downsizing, Paul and Audrey agree to undergo the process and move to Leisureland, one of the most popular communities for small individuals. After undergoing downsizing, Paul receives a call from Audrey, saying that she was unable to go through the procedure and, by opting out at the last minute, will be leaving him.

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One year later, Paul finalizes the divorce with Audrey, and settles in to his new apartment. Although Paul had anticipated a life of relative ease, without Audrey’s share of their assets, he works as a customer service representative for Lands’ End. While attending a birthday party, Paul has a discussion with Dave and says that he regrets his decision to downsize. Soon after, Paul breaks up with his girlfriend and attends a party hosted by his neighbor Dušan.

The next morning, Paul notices that one of Dušan’s housecleaners is Ngoc Lan Tran, a Vietnamese political activist who was jailed and downsized against her will. Ngoc Lan was the sole survivor of a human smuggling attempt to the United States in a television box and had her leg amputated upon arrival. Attempting to assist Ngoc Lan with her prosthetic leg, Paul returns to her house in the slums outside of the walls of Leisureland. After assisting Ngoc Lan’s dying friend, Paul attempts to repair Ngoc Lan’s prosthetic leg only to break it and renders her unable to work. In return, Paul works for Ngoc Lan’s cleaning service where he also assists in gathering food from around the city that Ngoc Lan distributes throughout the slums. Dušan attempts to release Paul from his obligation by taking him to Norway, the site of the first small community, with his friend Joris Konrad, but Ngoc Lan argues to come along. Ngoc Lan had received international attention after her arrival in the United States, including personal correspondence from the inventor of downsizing, Dr. Jørgen Asbjørnsen, who had previously invited her to Norway to express his regret at the abuse of his procedure.


While traveling in a fjord, Paul’s boat encounters Dr. Asbjørnsen and his wife, Anne-Helene. Dr. Asbjørnsen announces that humanity is doomed, as the positive feedback of Arctic methane emissions cannot be stopped, and will result in the eventual extinction of the human race. Arriving in the first colony, Paul is shown that Dr. Asbjørnsen planned for such a contingency with the creation of a large vault inside a mountain to insulate the colony and preserve humanity in the event of an extinction.


Paul is excited to enter the vault and asks Ngoc Lan to join him. She rejects his offer, saying that he does not need to enter the vault and can do good in their community by returning. Paul enters the vault, but changes his mind and leaves as the door is closing, choosing to return with Ngoc Lan, Dušan, and Konrad.

Having returned to Leisureland, Paul assists Ngoc Lan in her duties of providing needed aid and supplies to the people of the slums.

Saturday 17th March 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on March 17, 2018 by bishshat

Swansea 0 Spurs 3 

Christian Eriksen scored twice as Spurs reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup for a second successive season with a comfortable win at Liberty Stadium.

Fabulous first-half goals from Eriksen and Erik Lamela set Spurs on their way as they chase a ninth FA Cup win.

Spurs might even have had the game sewn up by half-time, but Son Heung-min’s effort was ruled out for offside after consultation with the video assistant referee (VAR). If questions are being asked of Spurs ability to deliver silverware, they certainly gave a decisive answer in a truly dominant display at Liberty Stadium.

That was all the more impressive in the absence of their talisman Harry Kane, who is ruled out until April with an ankle injury.

There are few bigger compliments to give Spurs than to say they did not miss Kane – 53 goals in his last 53 matches and all – as they were led by inspirational performances from Eriksen and Lamela.


Swans manager Carlos Carvalhal has spoken before of making the opposition “listen to our music” but Eriksen was the conductor while Lamela, Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura played a sweet symphony, their interchange and movement beguiling Swansea.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men should have been out of sight before half-time, but were denied by poor finishing, fine goalkeeping and the woodwork as a procession of chances came their way.

In between Eriksen’s sumptuous opener and Lamela’s terrific effort on the stroke of half-time, Eriksen thundered the bar, Lucas missed from six yards and Eric Dier flashed a free header over the bar, while the video assistant also denied Spurs what they thought was a legitimate goal. I thought it was a very harsh decision for such a great finish by Son.

Eriksen, as he so often does, simply tortured the Swans, pulling the strings as he scored his seventh and eighth goals against the Welsh side in just 10 appearances.

The FA Cup is not a priority for Spurs if you listen to Pochettino, but there can be no doubt Spurs supporters feel differently.

Screenshot 2018-03-17 13.39.29Screenshot 2018-03-17 13.38.34

The eight-time winners have lost seven successive semi-finals and have not tasted FA Cup glory for 27 years, the days of Paul Gascoigne and Gary Lineker, but they will be dreaming now, especially as they are so familiar with Wembley.

However, just as it was against Rochdale in the previous round, the issue of VAR was once again at the forefront in the FA Cup and again Spurs felt aggrieved.

The controversy came on 23 minutes when Son went clean through and crashed the ball home off the underside of the crossbar, only to be denied by the linesman’s flag.

Spurs immediately appealed for the decision to be reviewed and despite replays seemingly showing Son to be level, the original verdict was upheld after a lengthy delay.

However, such was the gulf between the sides; the disallowed goal was scarcely a factor in the result. Spurs took control after Eriksen’s brilliant curled effort gave them the lead on 10 minutes and with the Dane seemingly at the centre of everything and Spurs enjoying an extraordinary amount of possession, the second seemed inevitable.

Screenshot 2018-03-17 13.39.09swmc8

That it took until first-half stoppage time was a surprise, but after Eriksen and Moura combined, Lamela swept home right-footed.

The contest might have changed if former Swansea keeper Michel Vorm had not brilliantly denied Martin Olsson’s firm drive and Tammy Abraham’s point-blank follow-up, but Spurs made them pay the price when Eriksen fired home a decisive third after Moura’s run just past the hour.

So We’ll Go No More a Roving


So We’ll Go No More a Roving
So we’ll go no more a-roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart still be as loving,
And the moon still be as bright.
For the sword outwears its sheath,
And the soul outwears the breast,
And the heart must pause to breathe,
And love itself have rest.
Though the night was made for loving,
And the day returns too soon,
Yet we’ll go no more a-roving
By the light of the moon.

Venice, 1817. Lord Byron had left England nearly a year before, never to return. He didn’t just go and hang out in Italy because Italy was awesome (although it is really awesome). He sort of had to leave because he had been a very bad boy, so bad that his wife took their young daughter and left him. Left him, Lord Byron, literary celebrity and genius. Well, to be fair: just about anybody would have left Byron; he just couldn’t, ahem, remain faithful to his wife. This is probably why Lady Caroline Lamb, a married woman that Byron had an affair with, once referred to him as “mad, bad, and dangerous to know.”

Anyway, in 1817 Byron wasn’t feeling so good, despite the fact that he was living in the scenic waterfront of Venice, Italy. In a letter to his dear friend Thomas Moore, Byron wrote “At present, I am on the invalid regimen myself,” adding later that the Venice high life had begun to weary him: “I did not dissipate much on the whole [i.e. eat and drink in excess], yet I feel the ‘sword wearing out the scabbard,’ though I have just turned the corner of twenty-nine” (Byron was worried about getting older, maybe even about death).

Immediately after these lines, Byron included the recently-penned “So We’ll Go No More A-Roving,” which would remain unpublished until 1830, six years after his death in Greece at the ripe young age of 36. (The consummate Romantic, Byron was there assisting in the Greek War of Independence.)

The context in which Byron’s poem first appeared—a letter that talks about getting tired of things—is a clue to its major themes. At 29, Byron was starting to feel old. He had had just about enough of life in high society at the time, and was ready to chill out a little bit. This is what he means when he says “well go no more a-roving.” The nights are great, perfect for going out and getting crazy and having fun, but after a while it gets old. Eventually, it’s time to move on to other things, to get more serious, to realize that life isn’t gonna last forever. And move on to other things Byron did in the last seven years remaining to him, most importantly to the composition of his greatest work Don Juan  a satirical masterpiece unfinished at his death.

This poem isn’t just about growing up a little bit, or getting tired of things. It’s also about getting older, about inching that much closer to death. When the speaker talks about the sword wearing out the sheath and all that business, he’s talking about his soul (sword) wearing out the body (sheath), which is his way of saying his soul is getting ready for its final journey out of this world and into the next. Roving in this context just refers to anything that isn’t fulfilling, anything that somebody should set aside because death isn’t too far, and it would be a shame to have wasted time roving rather than doing something more productive or enriching.