Thursday, 15 December 2011

Yule Blog: Tigers, Ted Hughes and Crazy Santas

TIGER - we read the word, and we see a tiger, but we all see a different tiger. This still amazes me, the creative transformation that takes place between the word and the picture in the mind, and the unique way we each do this. I've tried this out in numerous classrooms and groups, asking for what each person saw, and the detail and differences are amazing. Why am I talking about this? Well, mostly because I don't have an obvious photo to put up, so I thought Why not put up a wordphoto? That's this week's wordphoto then - TIGER.
     Other bits of Laureating news are mostly research bits towards commissions that are starting to move along. I spent a lovely afternoon and evening with Roger Wood, historian at West Hallam, (thanks Roger, and thanks Ann and Tim, for lovely pub tea too), learning lots about John Scargill, the benefactor of 4 local schools , and a 17th century educational reformer well ahead of his time. There will be events celebrating his 350th anniversary all next year so if you are interested in knowing any more just contact me and I can forward details.
     Also this week I came across the wonderfulness of Yain Tain Eddero, very old counting in the Derbyshire dialect, of which the Yorkshire variation has been made into a folk song by Jake Thackeray - Yam Tam Tether. But the Ancient Celtic dialect from Derbyshire, from the Brythunic Celtic languages, is equally a found poem - here's the counting up to 20 -
yain tain eddero
peddero pitts tater
later overoo coveroo
yaindix taindix
edderodix pederodix
Isn't that wonderful? And of course playing with those rhythms and how it could be set out is a next stage, and a fun morning talking out loud in ancient Celtic.
     What else? For anyone that missed it, the radio documentary about Ted Hughes, commemorating his work and his stone in Westminster Abbey, is still on iPlayer at And as if to counterbalance this in tone, you could then go to a fabulous poem on Youtube called "Crazy Santas Occupy The World", by the American poet David Lee Morgan, set to music by the wonderful Michael Harding, a musician and laptop DJ based in Sheffield who does lots of work creating soundscapes and music to go with poems -
      Finally, staying with the musical theme, I think I'll put up the draft version of a recent poem from the Assembly Rooms in Derbyshire - this hasn't yet been to the workshop I go to, so if anyone has any comments they would be most welcome, and I would feed these in to the next stage of redrafting. Here it is, and have a great Xmas - all best, Matt

Assembly, 2011

Plastic lagers and packed,
black curtains, dry ice, Derby folk night,
gig frocks and ponytails. Ade Edmondson,
loud one from the Young Ones,
is playing folk versions of punk anthems,
God Save the Queen, a fascist regime,
post Arab Spring, Occupy everything.

The fiddler rocks out reels,
I can smell Silk Cut King Size, and grass,
Sex Pistols at Cleopatra’s, 1976,
and the uilleann pipes grieve and weave
dark watery wailings, out through walls
to Derbyshire fields, and mills, and chimneys,
where the first factory rises, your future dream
is a shopping scheme, I am an anarchist.

This is Bad Sheperds stirring their flocks
as markets (Buxton, Ashbourne, Wall Street) tumble
‘cross Peaks and Dales, take me to the river,
folk-punk, England’s old dissenters,
soft-angry angels fly again the hills.
That young guy I told about this gig
just laughed at me wanting to go – why?

This is middle-aged shout-out,
White Riot – I wanna riot of my own,
London calling to the faraway towns,
Clash, King’s Hall, because who is talking
about Derby in the 1970s?

Where fists once punched the air
mobile phones glimmer.
Ade has a bad toe, is wearing slippers,
yet they’re still rocking it, Anger Is An Energy,
but almost noone’s moving -
except us, a few at-the-back, die-hard,
joy-monster how-can-you-resist Anarchists,
shouting loud and jumping to combine
Irish jig and pogo.

And you may ask yourself
how did I get here?
listening to thrash mandolin
near the home of the Pentrich Rebellion,
200 years ago, wanting to wipe the National Debt,
needing to protest, not knowing what,
same as it ever was,
same as it ever was;

and tomorrow, we’ll take the old road
from the Red Lion, walk past the church,
head from Litton up the gentle slope
towards a future, ten minutes later,
in Tideswell, where we’ll buy the paper.

We’ll look to that brow of hill,
and beyond, Derbyshire, the sky,
the whole wide world.
May the road rise with you.



Gary said...

Love the blog Matt.I run a poetry whats on:
I have a monthly what’s on/listings radio programme on the Midlands online station Radio Wildfire, I co-edit the poetry reviews section of Behind the Arras and run a comprehensive midlands poetry blog in Garyswordz.Keep me informed of future events.

You may also like to come along to this:
19 Tamworth Street, Lichfield, WS13 6JP
The Lichfield Poets invite you to join them for a New Open Mic Event
at ''Lichfield's newest and most exciting venue, set in the heart of the city.''
Tea, coffee , alcoholic drinks and light refreshments available. Free on and off road parking nearby.Railway station in walking distance.
Admission free.All welcome. Reading starts :7-30 to 9-45pm

Newcomers and first time perfomers welcome,as well as veterans! Performances may be read or recited,modern or traditional styles.Or just come and listen! Sign up on the night, three minute slots, repeat slots available according to demand.Information available on the night about The Lichfield Poets, performance and publishing opportunities.

Come and set The Spark Alight!

D P L said...

Gary, thanks very much, I know of Radio Wildfire - is Dave Reeves part of it? yes, will keep you informed, and will try and make it to Lichfield on 28th feb - will you be there? cheers, Matt