Thursday, 30 July 2015


Jeremy Corbyn is up to speed on climate change --and is also a good history teacher. A natural creator of solidly good narratives --unflashy but gripping. Also a unifier. He so far avoids traps. Honesty, knowing who you are, and knowing your stuff is a great help!

Will pay up as a supporter tomorrow.
I want to vote for him.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

28. 7.15

I am going on record as saying I think the Jeremy Corbyn campaign for Leadership of the Labour Party is the most exciting thing to happen in English politics for a very long time.The man is a proven dedicated and honest polician. He is a social democrat. I hope he wins and his campaign galvanises the Labour Party to become social democratic again and move forward.

The other three candidates are not social democrats --they are party clones with no new ideas. It's like listening to two Stepford Wives and one Stepford husband. Even the smiles are fixed!

I say in poetry, if you have the feelings and passion underneath your work, you can build on that. I call it emotional muscle. Without it no amount of language of music will make a good poem -- it's simply a necessary condition.  It's the same in politics -- honesty and passion are essentials. Corbyn can get the Labour party to help him update his policies to suit today. In a sense those policies are timeless anyway  --it's a matter of new examples of how to be progressive, new instances and technologies, new methods and approaches. Or working out what is a service and needs cooperation but not collusion, and what is business and thrives on a mix of non-hostile competition and working together.
On what needs regulating and who takes responsibility for what. On what is contemporary democracy.

To those who say this campaign is a suicide note for Labour, I say this is life-support for Labour and might lead to recovery. Blair and New Labour wrecked havoc on the soul of the Labour Party --they are shameful because they betrayed our trust and turned us into unwitting accomplices to torture and  mass murder. Ed Miliband's policies were also NOT socially democratic but tory-lite. Austerity is a scientifically proven failure.

For those who say Corbyn is too old at 66, I shout 'ageist, how dare you!' Churchill became Prime Minister for the second time at nearly 77, and was only 66 the first time-- and this is decades ago. We all live much longer now.

For those who warn about the eighties and Militant --I was in the Labour Party then. The Militants (Trotskyites) were a constant irritant but we defeated them. What scuppered us numerically in General Elections were the people who split and abandoned the Party to form the SDP, later the Lib Dems.

The model to think of here is Scotland, which is run very sucessfully by a social democratic Party, the SNP. And we could link up with them, the Greens and Plaid Cymru. This might in time develop into the federal model we all need so badly. And in time for us to get down to serious work to save us all from climate change!

I will not, however, be paying up £3 to Labour to get a vote on this. New Labour broke my heart -- I remember how thrilled I was when Blair got in. How we sat up all night. How embarrassingly despicable he became, crawling around George Bush, so eager to please him. I also tried to get Ed Miliband to come out with policies for years -- any policies -- in letter after Guardian letter.

Now I am cautious. I want to know what Labour and Jeremy Corbyn will do on climate change. I support the Greens on this issue. Caroline Lucas has also been very honourable and personally brave. A lot of good research has already been done. I don't agree with the Greens on copyright issues, but to me sustainability is the most important issue for us all.

However, I wish Jeremy Corbyn's campaign all the best wishes possible. I will watch it with interest. And if he wins, I'll begin to get hopeful. Even now, a tiny bit of hope stirs. 8--)

Thursday, 16 July 2015


I just watched Everyman through National Theatre Live at Cineworld downtown and I have to say it was superb. Carol Ann Duffy has re-imagined it and it is a fierce, clever, funny and frightening, critique of our society; an ultimately compassionate realisation of our human condition and tragedy.
Everyman played by the wonderful actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, celebrates his fortieth birthday among his high-flying friends with snort, music and wild sex. The story takes off from there.

This updating of the play suits all Duffy's strengths as a poet (she's our Laureate to those abroad who may not know), and is the best thing she's done in my opinion except for her classic poems. Her contemporary ordinary-speech-like verse moves along at one hell of a pace. Her clever quick rhymes snap out; her use of our current tag words and cliches to hold up a comedic and pitiless mirror to all our failings, is hilarious and and biting. Her endless flexibility with common terms and lists is really on form and contrasts neatly with the medieval original text. Lastly, Duffy was brought up a northern Catholic --she's intimate with this material and can use it like putty as she needs. I was seriously impressed and moved.

But the casting and staging were also brilliant. From Everyman's motley crew of friends, to 'Goods' in their gold and quiffs ultimately unable to help; from God imagined as a female cleaner (who the audience ignored for fifteen minutes before the play began) to the incredible Irish Death who gets the very last words and all their echoes, a foot was never put wrong with casting.

As for staging, the tsunami was very violent and scary; the use of light and colour tones intriguing; the videos and photos a real atmospheric pull, and the rubbish train and snorting table, on a shocking epic scale. 'Wow' is what I wanted to yell out.

Then there were the dances, body rushes, and movements, music and songs. All these put together kept you breathless and on the hook throughout. I thoroughly recommend this production. If tickets are sold out, watch out for an Encore showing.

I came out and remembered running into Ed Morris recently after a Shakespeare play --I forget which now. We shared as usual a discussion of the play, had a brief catch up and an affectionate goodnight hug. Now suddenly he's two weeks dead, at 62 and while completely healthy.

Everyman speaks to us all --time is running out --we have a planet to save --or as this production makes clear, we have humanity to save on this planet. If not, the planet will shrug us off and have to regain its health without us. Four bereavements in one year tell me loud and clear we all have an appointment with death. But our human condition is also comedic. Go see this to have a great laugh too. Death will really get you in the end, but with an good old joke! 8--)

Monday, 13 July 2015


Autumn Sky Daily, in the USA, has published my poem 'Empty Nest'.
Pleased with this.

The poem was not published before The Wilding Eye came out, but does appear in it. I can't seem to get a live link up here, but you can hear me read this at the book launch, under readings link on website first page.  

Sunday, 5 July 2015

5 July, 2015 A Death and the Greek Results

I have just watched A Song for Jenny on the BBC --a drama about the death of a young woman in the 7/7 London bombings --it's the 10th anniversary on Tuesday. It was painful to watch and humbling to see the actuality of what happened to people whose daughter was killed, and to her siblings and fiance. I remember being so relieved that Mike was safe at work, and that London friends made it through. How they walked all the way home that night, many of them together, and for several miles. And how proud I was of our people that we just carried on without a fuss. But until now I've had no idea what hell the inside of that was like, for the 52 unlucky ones, and the 770 injured.

A friend of ours was killed on Friday night (3rd July) in an accident --he took a cousin up in his microlight and it hit a shed. They were both killed instantly -- he was Ed Morris, 62, a retired doctor, a Quaker. I've been dealing with shock and despair over the randomness and chance, the pointlessness of trying to make order or things better --have felt unable and unwilling to struggle further

Now with this drama and the Greek results I realise, the point is not to try to make all tight and good again -- the point is what you do in spite of the unholy and rotten randomness and hell of it all --how you get up each day and do your best until you stop breathing (as Ed, our friend did); as the family who lost their child on 7/7 did; and as the Greeks decided to do today (they are no longer victims but making their own history again now, however hard it will be  --and have become models again for us other Europeans  --we can say no to austerity, and should!)

Doing your best with the tyranny of time, risk and chance and without easy answers, is the only option --the only way. The only way to beat bad energy at its own game.

RIP:  Ed Morris, a kind, gentle, decent man --a good friend to all those he knew. Ed, you will be missed so much! And deepest sympathy to his great family, also friends!

Good luck to the long-suffering Greeks who have refused to have democracy taken away from them!