Friday, 26 March 2010

Saudi woman lashes out at clerics

Date: Thu, 25th March

I saw this article from The Independent and thought it might be of interest to you

Instead of Jon and Edward dressed as the Ghostbusters, it featured a single woman covered from head to toe in black, declaiming traditional Arabic poetry from a podium. And rather than Cheryl Cole or Dannii Minogue in a revealing designer outfit, the judging panel consists of five sober-looking men with bushy moustaches, and a similarly all-male audience.
© 2009 Independent News and Media

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Thursday, 25 March 2010

The Independent -- Is this the violent new face of poetry at Oxford?

I saw this article from The Independent and thought it might be of interest to you

The Endgame of one of the most acrimonious literary spats in recent times began yesterday when one of the nation's most divisive poets – revered for his "brooding verse" and chastised for being "inaccessible" – was announced as a candidate for Oxford University's next professor of poetry.

© 2009 Independent News and Media

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Saturday, 20 March 2010

Ride to success?

Students in election mode - a candidate's campaign bus!

Another question -

She's asking him another question he can't answer
and that word -
'relationships' -
cuts back here from their table
as he looks aside and through the window
on to New Street.
There's a 'why' at least once
and she's stopped smiling
now it must be serious
and he should know.

Two teenagers (or early 20s,
from where I sit)
lock heart-to-mind in the coffee-shop
lean elbows at each other 'cross the table.

For his part now he's getting into stride
It seems
(his back's to me I can't hear what he says);
but her intent outstaring eyes
the lips unsmiling
make him raise hands back in defence
of some point or another;
steady, plodding, slow he moves
but she's already thought past this
"yeah yeah yeah but -"
and she leans her head on one hand
bored and unconvinced.
"I was thinking about you the other day - "
she goes on "And - "
I don't make out the rest.

Why is the male brain like some brontosaurus of discussion
while she dives past,
runs rings
dives back
stops stares
till all his arguments collapse?

"To do it properly I need - "
she's saying,
maybe it's not relationships
they're 'friends',
ah, that:
there's something else, a course, or such;
"I absolutely love it"
"humanity, these kids ... "

Perhaps some years hence she'll be heading up a project,
charity in Africa,
an NGO.

Still, she's happier now,
a real smile,
not the stressed, adapt-coerce strain of the woman unhappy in love she can't give up:
and she's laughing,
this is better,
he only glances out the window;
this time he doesn't look as if he's dodging blows or trying to be elsewhere.
He's even smiling too
I can see his profile as he turns, he's taken off his glasses ...

Reflective, she:
as he stands,
off for a comfort break.

Umbrellas up outside.
In here, wifi connection's slow.

Back in his chair in front of me
he sways to one side, and her smile breaks through the gap:
she lifts her soft arms tidying the smile.
They lean half-close, or more, it's hard to tell.

Outside, the rain dies down.

[copyright Jon Andrews 2010].

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Tuesday, 16 March 2010


That's it.
Out-of-body reports
looking down from the ceiling.
Become one with the light,
It's said.
That's it -
And hope.

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Sunday, 14 March 2010

Bodenham 3 - water and trees

Bodenham 2

Greeting the visitors

Bodenham Arboretum

Trees, tall and trunks!

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Bach in Birmingham

Bach's St Matthew Passion, performed by soloists with the CBSO and CBSO Chorus and Children's Chorus. Conducted by Sir Simon Rattle. 7th March 2010 at Symphony Hall, Birmingham.
It's hard to sum up such a performance and music: here's an attempt.
Immensely powerful and moving, but not least due to the perfect precision and balance: beautiful touches from instrumentalists, clear singing particularly from the Evangelist, and real feeling from all concerned: Thomas Quasthoff, tenor singer I couldn't spot from the balcony, seated as he's disabled, wonderful voice and complete involvement. Some particularly exquisite woodwind contributions and the solo violin, and Ulrich Heinen's cello continuo at the front of the stage (he lives up the road from my Mum, so had to mention him!)
Simon Ratttle, in charge but not domineering, bringing that extra level of performance that he does from his musicians and amateur (but very professional) choir. He does bring an authority to the stage: he held the silence at the end of the piece for several seconds - no applause, no coughing, no whispering - till the audience started clapping and I suspect still hadn't stopped while a number of us were on our way home.
Just glad I thought to buy tickets (last June to be sure!!)
A very special concert.
See BBC page for notes and a PDF of the text.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

City Centre Living

pants and towels
hung in the windows
a table lamp:
I can see all of these from the top deck
a passenger
by the Rotunda
till the bus lurches on, takes me past
leaves the city's show
hung out to dry