Sunday, May 31, 2009

Shorts weather

I enjoyed the Newsnight Review poetry special on Friday - I was most impressed with Simon Armitage, who was eloquent, considered, authoritative and uncompromising on poetry's behalf. I was also very much interested in Josephine Hart saying that neither The Waste Land nor Four Quartets had 'a political line in them': The Waste Land speaks to, for and about both collision between cultures and the modernist moment, which for me makes it highly political; and Four Quartets similarly is strongly connected with Anglo-Catholicism, royalism, quietism, traditionalism (and several other variations of isms) – its apparent lack of politics is part of what its politics means.

Anyway. I'm reading David Gaffney's excellent (and so easily devourable) Sawn-Off Tales at the moment. Reading the one about the man who betrays his barber, I was reminded of an incident that happened to me ten years or so ago, just after I'd come to Sheffield. I went to the barber's to have all my hair off (a number 1 all over was my cut of choice in those days - nowadays I go for a short number 2). When he'd finished and I asked how much it was he said, slightly indistinctly, 'a pound'. I thought I'd misheard – it seemed insanely cheap, so I said, uncomfortably, 'How much, sorry?' We looked at each other shamefacedly, and he said, 'Well, fifty pee then.'

2 Comments:

Blogger Mairi said...

Glass Swarm arrived a few days ago and lives up to your review of it. The quiet, haunted atmosphere is somehow soothing and poems like 'The Squirrel' speak to all of us with aging parents, besides showing us, as the Larkin epigraph suggests, our own inevitable future. Sometimes I'd like to learn to hold the moon at its zenith between my thumbs. Thanks for putting me onto Peter Bennet.
I missed the poetry special but I have it on some kind of save for later thing so I'll be sure to check it out.

12:04 AM  
Blogger Tony Williams said...

Mairi, I'm glad you like it - you're right about the atmosphere: although it's fairly gothic, it is quiet, too. Strange stuff.

9:40 AM  

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