Poetry this week, an autobiographical poem to begin with that is based on someone as the title implies that I knew in the late 1970’s. It also captures the time in which it was written, when we used to borrow a friend’s house in Falmouth for long weekends. As you will realise, if you haven’t already, I am the type of person who can spend happy hours in record shops, shifting through the racks.
A LATE 70’S MEMORY
He told me that Blonde on Blonde would be
His 60th birthday epiphany
Unplayed, sellotape sealed he showed me
A non-descript standard double lp
Its untouchableness strangely appealing
Fast forward nearly thirty years,
I shift dog eared records,
So much musical dreck,
Washed up in this Falmouth shop.
I turn to scan the cds,
As Blonde on Blonde begins.
The record players arm,
Matches the ocean swell.
Suddenly in this mausoleum
I think of you.
I am fifty now that makes you?
Then In Falmouth the moment was gone,
The stacked shelves appalled,
My children called
“Come on. Dad. Come on.”
What strikes me now, if fact seems almost touching, is our belief in the 1970’s that vinyl was the ultimate medium for music. I know some people still maintain this, but I am not one, partly this is due to hearing loss, I wear a hearing aid and partly to the convenience of the I-Pod and docking station.
Sidetracking for a moment, what is your favourite Bob Dylan album? Perhaps you do not have one? A musical anorak like me would offer the following:
- Blood on the Tracks
- Highway 61 Revisited
With the 1966 Manchester Free Trade Hall recording as the runner up, I find it impossible to come closer than three albums.
This is another older poem and it too was based on a real incident. It took place as the first Iraq war was starting.
IN THE PUB WITH MY MATE JON
In the pub with my mate Jon,
Drinking red wine and soda.
Overhearing the biased tones
Of three armchair soldiers,
Discuss the merits of each
Gun, bomb and plane.
Laughing at the enemy,
Mispronouncing every name.
My drink seems blood,
Bubbles burst and ripple,
There is no talk of brotherhood,
Only of the dead and crippled
I think it was Samuel Johnson who said that “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel,” a view I have always shared, but the three blokes we could hear that night were even more offensive if such a thing is possible. If I remember correctly it took place in the Wheatsheaf in Frome, and the three men were getting really excited about all the technology of death, horrid.
This last one I tend to read every time I perform. I wrote it on holiday in Greece about ten years ago. It says as much about my dislike of football (I am the odd boy who doesn’t like sport – can you name that song?) as it does about anything else.
FIVE REASONS TO WEAR A FOOTBALL SHIRT
1. It’s your name on the back and you have to wear it at work
2. You hope to be mistaken for the person whose name is on the back (possibly some of their fame will be bestowed on you as you wear it)
3. Its match day and you hope (against reason) to be asked to replace the person named on the back of the shirt as they cannot play, naturally your goal will win the match
4. To show solidarity with your chosen team, especially if yours is a rare edition shirt
5. YOU ARE A SAD BASTARD
Have a very good week and I leave you with a link to the new Leonard Cohen album, it will be out very soon. If you read this blog on a regular basis you will know of my love of the writings and music of Mr. Cohen and it will allow you to listen to a new song off the album.