David Green

David Green (Books) is the imprint under which I publish booklets of my own poems, when there are sufficient of them. Apart from that, the website has become what it is. I hope you find at least some of it worthwhile.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Year Ends with Kindle Chart Jaunt

Due to the incapacity of the DG Books Technical Department, it was not possible to publish the kindle edition of Last of the Great Dancers. Plans for a kindle Daisy & Davey's Christmas Annual, that much-vaunted jamboree of inane hilarity, were also postponed but DG Books would like to point out that we are not the publishers of that under any circumstances. It is a different thing entirely.
Instead, the four available kindle editions were made free to download for 5 days, which finishes tomorrow, I think, so go there and help yourself via the Amazon Author Page link. But great excitement was had by watching those titles chase each other round the lower reaches of the Amazon Free Kindle Poetry Chart, recalling the heady days of The Beatles having more than one release at a time in the Hit Parade.
On Sunday, we had all 4 titles in the Top 35 but then somehow, Walter the Worm disappeared from the Poetry chart and only appeared in the Children's Humourous list but, as ever, Walter performed as well as, if not better than, the poetry back catalogue.
--
The BBC Music Magazine continues to disappoint with its dubious name-dropping and reviews only slightly less fatuous than my own. But the CD this month is Rostropovich playing three of the Bach Suites and so one gives it another chance.
This time I was at first disappointed in the BBC, once a fine bastion of English language usage, and then grimly fascinated by this piece in which Kathryn Tickell (surely not in words she transcribed herself) describes the Northumbrian pipes - well, I'm not sure how I'd feel about air coming from bellows strapped around my waste.

But in similarly pedantic form, I e-mailed the Observer about the identification of Bach music in the ITV drama about Christopher Jefferies,
At the risk of sounding too schoolteacherly, I feel I must point out that the music that Christopher Jefferies was listening to (Euan Ferguson, TV Review, 14/12) was not a Bach cello concerto but one of the Cello Suites.
 
but, sadly, the following week's Review was a review of the year and carried no responses to the previous week's issue.
I wouldn't want to be a full-time pedant but I enjoy the occasional foray.
--
And I have also been enjoying a year's worth of holding Amazon to their word when they advertised the paperback of Kate Atkinson's Life After Life at £3.50. They have been e-mailing regularly to say they can't supply the title and would I like to cancel the order while ostensibly now selling it for £5.59. Well, no, I didn't want to cancel, thank you very much, I can read other things while I wait, and have. But, on my way to Christmas, I found a copy for £2 in the Heart Foundation Charity Shop and so, after 12 months of Amazon reneging on promises, I'll let them off.
Kate Atkinson is a tremendous writer and a joy to read even when, or perhaps even better when, not much seems to be happening. When anything does happen, perhaps Life After Life will be another masterpiece but I have only just started it.
This Side of Paradise built to a great final 20 or 30 pages as the gauche Amory Blaine grew out of the excesses of his vainglorious youth and was a further example of how little I appreciated so many of the books I read 35 years ago at University and showed again how worthwhile it is to re-read some of the things I thought I had known all about then.
--
On the train home today, I made a list of the projected subjects for the forthcoming series here, Why I Like..., due to begin on a Friday evening soon with Why I Like James Joyce. The other nine little essays, subject to alteration, could be- Vermeer, Handel, Horse Racing, Pop Music, Books, Poetry, Shakespeare Biography, 1971 and Gin & Tonic. But, we will see.
--
And, finally, another series of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue ends all too soon but, even though now without Humph and with an almost entirely new cast, it is as good as ever, and I'll leave you with this masterpiece of a joke, which is a beautiful thing within the genre,
 
A woman walks into a bar.
The barman says, What can I get you.
She says she'd like a double entendre.
So he gave her one.

And, By Jove, Missus, By Jove, wasn't it good to see 87 year old Ken Dodd do quite well on Celebrity Mastermind.
What a beautiful day, I thought. What a beautiful day to go on Mastermind and be asked What do they call a road that goes over a mountain.
Pass.
 
HNY.

Monday, 22 December 2014

View from the Boundary

15 Across in yesterday's Observer was ' Awfully ostentatious name for a railway terminus (6,7)'. It is an example of when crossword clues become art, and one of those occasional moments when one re-reads it to admire. 'Euston Station' is an anagram of 'ostentatious' with the n represented by 'name' thrown in. But I hardly need explain that to the erudite readership of DG Books, do I.
Crosswords just occasionally suggest poetry. And perhaps, poetry of a certain sort. In between big, proper books, I have been reading not only Don Paterson's book on Michael Donaghy (which I think I might have mentioned before) and Clair Wills' Reading Paul Muldoon. Brilliant though they are, it is offputting to a very ordinary poet like me who can only be daunted that such depth is to be discovered in major poetry. I am never going to write anything that requires such reading or can deliver such complex ideas. I might not even produce the usual 4 finished poems in the next twelve months, so overawed by such other work have I become. It shouldn't be like that. I've always been happy enough with the poems I've published before- although heaven knows how insufficient some of the rejects were- and so it should remain. It's only a matter of getting over any anxiety that one was never Donaghy or Muldoon and was never meant to be.
--
I don't order books in December. If they won't go through the letterbox, I can't risk having to queue at the Amazon distribution point, otherwise known as the Post Office. And so I recently picked a book of stories and essays by Fitzgerald out of the upstairs library room, otherwise known as the chaotic detritus of my life. I was impressed enough by those to decide to read This Side of Paradise in any spare time that happens over Christmas. And I'm 100 pages in already.
My other project will be to write an introduction to Francois Villon for a February meeting of the Portsmouth Poetry Society, and then I'll order some titles to begin 2015 with, including the Clive James poetry essays and the new biography of Jeremy Thorpe.
The first few months of a new year are a quiet time for new titles and this website tends to get off to a slow start. The Saturday Nap feature finishes with the piece below and so my Friday night slot might be a new feature, perhaps a series of 10, under the title Why I Like...which could begin with Why I Like James Joyce, and continue with Vermeer and Handel and then we will see.
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But my favourite radio or TV programme these days is Bells on Sunday, Radio 4, 5.43 a.m., repeated 00.45 a.m. Except that those two times seem to be the only two times I am hardly ever awake. I can wake up at 5 a.m. on Sunday, think, it's not long until Bells on Sunday, stay awake for 20 minutes and then find myself having missed it by 5 minutes, and the same in the middle of the night.
The simple premise of the two or three minute show is that we are going to hear some church bells being rung. The introduction is a formulaic, Radio 4 set piece, a little more varied than the Shipping Forecast but equally arcane, like,
St. Jezebel of the Snows in Dancecraze-on -the-Wash has a peal of eight bells, the tenor tuned to B flat. The trumpet bell weighs 58 hundredweight and was cast by Wilfred Thorogood in Grantham in 1752. Here they are heard in the Leamington Centenary Triples Bob Major.
And then you get a couple of minutes of,
Di-da-di-da-di-dong
Di-da-di-da-di-dong
Di-da-di-da-di-dong

and you don't want it to stop but you know it's going to shortly so you concentrate quite hard but it fades out soon enough. And there is an arcane piece of England. I wondered if there might be a book that explains about Grandiose Morton Thrice Tripled Bob Major and went from the Bells on Sunday on Wikipedia to finding that, yes, someone has made it their work to have a website about it even if he hasn't managed to be awake for all of them. But what a great piece of work it is and I'm grateful that it will retrieve me at an early stage from any potential obsession because I wouldn't want to know quite that much about it.
--
Otherwise, I'm very interested in how many prospective parliamentary candidates for the UK Independance Party are having to resign for saying the unsayable even when we know full well that they think the unthinkable. But they can't be trained not to say what they are thinking.
Most politicians are like that, I'm sure, but any that are going to be successful manage to get away with it somehow for a while at least.
The difference with UKIP is that they don't even get under orders before having to be withdrawn by the stable. And these were some of the best ones, selected to run in target constituencies, the best candidates they can find. Blimey, if they were the best they could find, what are the rest of them like.
--
So, Christmas comes round a little too often these days to make it an occasion for seismic reflection or revelation. I'm sure it's only about six weeks since last Christmas.  I'm glad I asked for a watch this year. I rarely wear one but thought a respectable one might be nice. And, just in time, I can't find the one I've been using for the last several years.
I will try to bear in mind in 2015 that this was intended to be a poetry website but it has necessarily expanded into other areas. There just isn't enough to do being a poet all the time. And one day, I suppose, I will suddenly decide that the world doesn't need to know what I think and then it will stop but, in the meantime, have a nice holiday and I'll see you next year.
Best, D.

The Boxing Day Nap

I probably missed a trick on Saturday, tipping Houblon des Obeaux having said The Young Master was 'too obvious' to back. Had I thought it through, Houblon was available at 5/2 without the favourite with Paddy and that would have been a shrewd move. It happened to make a little yankee a minor success which would have become a more significant one had Garde la Victoire (each way) been able to do any better than 5th, or even win, at 16/1. But that's racing.
However, Reve de Sivola's miraculous win over Zarkandar, when the 4/6 favourite had traded for plenty of big money at 1/100 in running in the closing stages, was the sort of result that makes it all worthwhile. It might have only really kept me afloat in strictly monetary terms but was worth much more in entertainment value.
Some of the big ante-post races on Boxing Day are reduced to small fields with odds-on favourites and might not be more than mid-season trials for major Cheltenham players. They probably shouldn't be opposed but can't really be backed either. There are races of interest in Ireland but we know all there is to know about the runners in the King George and one has to have a go at that.
Some rain, perhaps a bit more than is forecast, would be ideal for the top staying chaser, Silvianiaco Conti, a big favourite here, but he is the defending champion and is the obvious choice while being well aware that this 3 miles is one of the more suitable courses for horses of not quite such proven stamina. And that is why we can still have 9/4 about the favourite when Al Ferof, Cue Card and others might just do him for a turn of foot. However, Menorah (each way) at 8/1 is the most tempting alternative, having taken time to become a genuine top class chaser but indisputably is close to the top in the right race now.
I've been considering the options for a couple of days, trying to balance the fact that a little bit more rain would convince me with how daft I'll feel if I go the wrong way. In the end, I don't mind stating the gormlessly obvious if it pays 9/4 and that price would just about balance the books for the 2014 Saturday Nap, which is incredible when you look at my string of losers but it would be based on a level ten pound stake each week and a one pound yankee for that week when we landed 3 out of 4.
And so, Silviniaco Conti is taken to add to his impressive CV, and one might bear in mind that he won't be 8/1 for the Gold Cup if he does win at Kempton and so have a bit of that while you are at it.
And, in the meantime, have a nice holiday and don't forget to come back in early March for the 2015 Cheltenham Preview.

Friday, 19 December 2014

The Saturday Nap

I am ready to oppse Irish Saint until he has improved on his most recent effort, at Sandown, and Puffin Billy is the obvious one to do so with.
Zarkandar is another who I would generally go against which is very unfair as he continues to run well while usually chasing home some big names. Aubusson is tempting to take a chance on to see if he progresses further from the win in Haydock's competitive fixed brush race but Reve de Sivola on soft ground is fairly priced at 7/2 or 4/1 to confirm all we know about him.
In the 3.00 it seems to obvious to take The Young Master to gain compensation for his disqualification at Wincanton when he was not his fault that he wasn't qualified to run and that is what I was going to do until I looked a bit longer and thought the ground and recent running in the Hennessey were too much in Houblon des Obeaux's favour to overlook at 4/1.
I'm surprised how Silviniaco Conti is available at 8/1 for the Gold Cup. He was going well when falling behind Bobsworth two years ago and led over the last last year before veering across the course, which has been explained by an abcess in his foot. I would be glad to take 7/2 for next year's race and so some long term speculations involving him are worth hasving to small stakes. With King's Palace (RSA Chase), Peace and Co (Triumph Hurdle) and The New One, impressive last week (Champion Hurdle), the yankee pays about 300/1.

Friday, 12 December 2014

The Specials at Loftus Road

I don't know. Do Queen's Park Rangers still play at Loftus Road.

I am indebted to my nephew, Chris, for this football-related contribution which, if he signs a guarantee that it is his own work, we might submit to tomorrow's Danny Baker Show.

And, also, I recently checked to see if I've posted as many items here as I did last year and it's not far off and so I'm trying to add anything worthwhile I can get.

QPR at the weekend could have had the commentary "Dunne to Mutch, Mutch to Yun".

And your Christmas Quiz this year, which I have no doubt will be answered correctly in one house in Ealing, is, Another player called Mutch holds a particular place in football history. Who was that and why.

The Saturday Nap

Kings Palace is reported to have been impressive again at Cheltenham today. He ensured that my day wasn't a losing one although it's a shame Big Easy came second again. He could have made it more of a pay day.
And so Kings Palace is a real prospect for the RSA Chase in March except to point out that he went to the long distance novice hurdle similarly unbeaten in that sphere and was off the pace when he fell. So, just a little bit wary of a long term investment there.
Tomorrow serves up another fine programme at the greatest sporting venue on Earth. I see that our new friend, Binge Drinker, has been backed for the 2.35, in spite of a hard race only 7 days ago. McCoy is riding for Rebecca, which is always good to see, and Blaklion lost some of his early claims to be the best novice hurdler seen so far this season last time out.
Also, I'm glad to see Daryl Jacob getting some good rides from top stables after his ill-fated season as number one jockey for Paul Nicholls. Nicky Henderson's French import, Peace and Co, could be one to hold a treble or yankee together in the 2.15 at Doncaster but odds against should be available about Virak in the 2.50 so that is the preferred option for the best bet.
I've said before that these days I will always oppose Rock On Ruby, which is no mark of disrespect, I just think it is now hard to find good races for him to win as younger pretenders are always likely to have the potential to improve past him. He runs in the Relkeel Hurdle (3.45) and the one I would oppose him with, Garde la Victoire, isn't there. However, Volnay de Thaix is and so although Rock On Ruby has every right to go off favourite, he makes it possible to find some value elsewhere.
That's 4 for a yankee but at 4/1, 5/4, 4/5 and 2/1, it isn't going to be the most exciting multiple bet ever and so it might be 4 trebles and the accumulator but Virak is the genuine suggestion.
The New One is available at 1/2 for his latest reconnaissance visit to Cheltenham. He has a worthy opponent in Vaniteux although it would come as more than a shock if any of the others beat him on merit. He put in a pleasing enough round in his latest outing but, on the same day, one probably had to admit that, at this early stage, Faugheen's performance at the other meeting was more impressive. It will be a terrible shame if it turns out that The New One's year was due to be last season when he - and, more importantly, me- were robbed.
Despite the dismal record of The Saturday Nap this year, the three out of four that won in the yankee recommended the other week means we are not without chances of a late rally puting us in front by Boxing Day. It is, however, going to take a miracle to get my balance sheet for 2014 into the black. Luckily, it is only money and I think we all know deep down that the only way to make a small fortune from horse racing is to begin with a large one.  

Thursday, 11 December 2014

How to Spot a Weirdo

And so tonight to part 2 of The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies. ITV are suddenly purveyors of top television drama with this being good but not quite as good, perhaps, as Cilla.
It's like Midsomer Murders in reverse because you know the police are wrong already and that D.I. Barnaby isn't just going to realize the answer about twenty minutes before the end. But it's interesting to show their approach, plus that of the headmaster, where Jefferies had taught for 34 years, trying to distance the college as far as he could from any connection to him.
But most monstrous (sic) was a reminder of the newspaper headlines at the time. I remember reading The Times and thinking, the Prayer Society, interested in poetry, oh dear. But one sub headline beneath the overly presumptuous trial by innuendo big headline did say,

Loves culture, poetry.

as if that were admissable evidence.
I don't know in how many other countries that could even be thought of, never mind put into print. Certainly not in France. And by 'other countries', I mean Scotland, Wales and Ireland, too. It could be an English peculiarity. So if there ever is a murder in your neighbourhood, hide the poetry books.
I have nearly 500 of them here ready to implicate me.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Best Poem and Best Collection 2014

The shortlists have been duly considered, there are no late entrants to be supplemented, and so I can now award my own very personal endorsements for the categories of Best Poem and Best Poetry Collection of 2014, plus the other equally unremunerative and thus uncoveted titles that are added as afterthoughts.

David Harsent read Fire: a song for Mistress Askew more gently than the poem might be asking for on The Echo Chamber yesterday afternoon but that is his way and it gave the poem a somewhat different aspect to how it seems to come off the page. That didn't affect my decision in either direction in making it the best poem of 2014 for me because the horror and the horror of its voyeurism had already made it an unforgettable poem from his Fire Songs.
The shortlisted Roddy Lumsden poem, considered at slightly greater length somewhere below here, might thus be considered a bit of an unlucky loser but the best poem of 2013 is included in his collection, Not All Honey, and that, along with several other tremendous poems is enough to make it my best collection of 2014. It's a generous book and has plenty in it where the linguistic artfulness is possibly beyond my appreciation but I much prefer to celebrate the good rather than worry too much about how much it's me that is holding me back in enjoying it even more than I do already.
The most deliberation was required in deciding which of the shortlist of two was my favourite novel. I thought Murakami must be a racing certainty at the time but anybody who has been reading The Saturday Nap will understand how uncertain racing certainties can be. Sarah Waters' The Paying Guests was such an impressively detailed account of psychology and period detail, a thriller and pot-boiler of such plausible accuracy, that I could hardly wait to get back to it. And I'm grateful that I was
lent a copy and glad that I found the time to read it when I had several other books to read in a busy, busy autumn. To be preferred ahead of one of Murakami's best is a tribute in itself.
The biggest field lined up for the best event category, in contrast to 2013 when I eventually chose Chic at Glastonbury which I only saw on telly and so really shouldn't have been admissable. The shortlist was brought down to four, all of which would have made worthy winners, but in the end, with a special mention for the Southern Countertenors, it does really have to be The Tallis Scholars in Portsmouth Cathedral with, amomg other things, their Song for Athene, the Jean Mouton and the pre-concert talk with the engaging Peter Phillips.
And, finally, perhaps the easiest decision is to make Cuarteto Casals, Haydn, Seven Last Words from the Cross (Harmonia Mundi) the best CD of the year. I have a lot of time for Haydn but not quite enough when there are many composers from earlier periods whose music I turn to before his but this disc was special from the first time I played it and it remains luminous and extraordinary every time I've played it since. It must be mainly in the musicianship, which I am not the least bit qualified to comment on, but possibly also in the acoustic of the recording or even in Haydn's insistence on bringing light, or defying darkness.
It has been a very good year. Thanks to all those mentioned above for making it so.

Stradella, Alkan

Alkan, Solo Piano Music, Constantino Mastroprimiano (Brilliant Classics); Stradella, La forza delle stelle, Ensemble Mare Nostrum/Andrea de Carlo (Arcana)

Perhaps it's right that sleeve notes concern themselves with the music rather than the composer but in these two cases I'd like to have known something about Charles-Valentin Alkan becoming a recluse and any available speculation about why Stradella might have been murdered but we get nothing of the sort. I like a good recluse but no mention is made of Alkan's social withdrawal and it is left that Stradella was murdered at the age of 42,
for reasons that are still unclear.
The authors of such notes are more circumspect about what they say than some intrusive types might like them to be.
The piece I heard by Alkan that led me to order this disc was immediately identifiable as related to Chopin and so I was gratified to find out that they were friends. I don't know if I've bought the wrong disc- I thought I'd get a recent recording- but it hasn't quite delivered the same rapture and sumptuous melodic invention that I was expecting. It opens with a Cappriccio alla soldatesca from 1859 that is understandably military in style, brisk and marchable. The rest is minuets, nocturnes and a sonatina, the most memorable being the Menuet no.3 tempo nobile in G, which is instantly appealing and returns to its main theme often enough to make itself known. The rest is either more subtle and needs more time to state its case or it is the reason why Alkan is not remembered as well as Chopin but had I not been following my sometimes wayward instinct in search of lesser known composers, I could have availed myself of some extra Chopin and I would probably have been better off.
The disc will get a couple more chances yet but will need to impress soon or it might find itself filed for longer than it wants to be.
Stradella was born just before Monteverdi died and died just before Bach was born. This serenata for 7 voices and 2 concertino ensembles sounds fittingly somewhere between the two but, being Italian, is closer to a less decorous Monteverdi than a thoroughly contrapuntal, Protestant Bach.
Cristina, daughter of the King of Sweden, was being educated as heir to the war-like and scholarly king but took more to music than she was intended to, took herself off to Rome and converted to Catholicism, where she wrote the scenario for this piece.
Stradella set the text by the poet, Baldini, and here it is recorded for the first time.
Damone and Clori take some time expressing, relishing and even overdoing the joys of their love. We might nowadays think they lacked a sense of irony that might give their self-indulgence some perspective but they are undoubtedly devoted to each other. They hear some passersby talking of the power of the stars, 'la forza delle stelle', to decide the fate of love and so they put their faith in invocations to the heavens.
The translation into English inevitably might not quite capture the 'poetry' of the writing in,
Even insensate objects can arouse passions;
both stone and iron wield their attractions.
But in loving man suffers both pain and grief!
ah, Cupid's empire is a dire labyrinth.

But the piece is a vehicle for the elegant performance of the singers, best enjoyed in the ensemble passages from duets, trios and four-parts until all seven singers are together for the finale.  It is very much art for art's sake, and none the worse for that, where nothing at all is allowed to hinder the pursuit of the sublimely beautiful. It's just that its ambition stops there and one might think there could be more to it than that. On this occasion, there isn't. Fair enough.

Friday, 5 December 2014

The Saturday Nap

Sprinter Sacre looked like becoming the best horse, or at least the best jump racing horse, I had ever seen in the flesh when my train journey to Newbury a few years ago just got me there in time to see him break the track record. But I don't know if we are ever going to see him run again.
And then Sire de Grugy took over as a very repectable two-mile chase champion until he became temporarily unavailable to continue his dominance of that event. And so the field for the Tingle Creek chase at Sandown are, through no fault of their own, playing in the first heat of this season's set of races for who might be best at two miles over fences in 2014/15 but thus possibly only a gallant third to the other two had they been able to run. And that is also betting without Simonsig.
Put your hand up if you remember Tingle Creek. I do. What a great big lump of jumping muscle he was. But forgive me. I'll be writing about Pendil, Bula, Lanzarote, Comedy of Errors and Night Nurse if you'd let me. And some others, too.
It is a great shame how some sports have to make do without their finest talent. It makes one grateful for how Ronnie O'Sullivan stuck to the task and still turns up, by now among the very oldest of the professional snooker players but still in a class of his own, pulling faces but all the time knowing that he can take candy from those babies. I forgot to begin my tribute to Gillian Rimmer (below) with a mention of Ronnie's latest 147. Watching it was like feeling time escape from beneath you. Watch it, believe in it. Ronnie is not going to be doing this forever. These precious moments that are disappearing as you watch are unlikely to visit this sport, or any other, again.
But I ought to be writing about horse racing, God help me with this demonic Chateau David.
Sandown, Aintree, Chepstow, Wetherby. Will there be enough jockeys to go round. Can I sweat enough overnight to lose about four stone and then learn to ride a horse in the morning. I did once dream that I was sitting on a horse at the start of a race at Fontwell, thinking 'this is fine' before realizing that I had no idea how to ride a horse and I was soon going to be badly embarrassed.
And then, years later, the dream turned up again on concurrent nights but in each of the other sports I have had sometime involvement in.
I dreamt that I was on the bench for an England football match that was taking place on a council-type pitch like old Plock Court in Gloucester, where I used to turn out for FC Spartak from the age of 15 to 17, which is, of course, all now houses. But England were 2-0 up and the manager, probably Roy, was saying he was going to take Rooney off and put me on. And I could only think, please don't put me on, I'm incredibly unfit, I'll be off the pace, I can't do it.
Then I dreamed a dream in which I and some other amateur racing cyclists that I knew had been signed up by SKY to ride the first few stages of the Tour de France because Bradley Wiggins and the other big stars couldn't get there in time. And so we were in the hotel being given all this flash SKY equipment and my main worry was whether the shoes they had given me would fit the pedals on my bike. It was all fine, with lots of free kit available, until I realized it was very unlikely that I could even stay in the peloton for more than a couple of miles and I would finish hours after the main field and be disqualified.
And then I was in the changing room of an England one-day international cricket side, due to bat at number 4, as I obviously would. I wasn't too worried until one of the openers got out and then so did Dennis Amiss, which shows when it would have been, and so I had to get my kit on and go out to bat. But none of the kit fitted me. I couldn't find any two pads that made a pair. I couldn't find a box and so I took a transistor radio apart and put half of the casing of that into my trousers and it was only as I went out to bat, to face Michael Holding or Denis Lillee or somesuch nightmare that I woke up.
I woke up from all those dreams of sport before any sport had to happen.
There is nothing worse than hearing about other people's dreams. It is only your own neuroses giving you a hard time when you only want to be asleep.

So, anyway, on a day when there is, if anything, too much jump racing, maybe the safe option is to nap Irish Saint (Sandown 1.50, pictured).
But then I'll try a yankee with him, who is the only recommended bet, along with Doing Fine (Chepstow 12.55), Beast of Burden (Aintree, 12.00) and Balder Succes (Sandown 3.00) because you only ever land 4 out of 4 by luck and not good judgement and so you can include one of Rebecca's, one of the Rolling Stones' best records and the favourite for the big race if you can't see anything that can beat it on its best form.
And then what I did was, I put the last bit of cash in my account on all of those plus Binge Drinker (Chepstow, 1.25) in a Canadian. I don't know why I did that. Oh, yes, it is trained by Rebecca Curtis.

Fatty Just Misses Out

Having published two photographs from Paris by Angie Fisher recently, it seems appropriate to follow up and feature these pictures of Gill 'Fatty' Rimmer playing pool. They were officially the last two people I went on any sort of holiday with when we rode some awful rented mountain bikes from coast to coast in the vicinity of Hadrian's Wall several years ago. The talented twosome were more mischief than a sackful of monkeys. Gill is the best pool player I ever played and any result against her was worth having. She has just been beaten in the final of her office competition.
One classic match was in The Royal pub, Portsmouth, in which I needed to pot a black the full length of the fairly short table to level it at 3-3 except the white was lodged against the top cushion. I had just had to clear up 5 colours to get that far. Having studied it for some time, I cued down as required, rattled the black in the jaws of the corner pocket three or four times and then it decided to come out rather than go down, thus, 4-2 to Gillian but a tremendous encounter.
Most of the action took place in the Old Vic but we would play anywhere, including a Saturday afternoon after watching a Merseyside derby, when I was in the neverland of being 2-1 up when a hiatus in play was caused by the arrival of her friend, Emily, and after the resumption, I went on to lose 3-2.
Oh, those were the days, or some of them. My Friday nights have been quieter since she left Portsmouth. I was glad when our last encounter on National Poetry Day a few years ago was left at 1-1.
In the position pictured, I think she wants to pot the red into the top corner with just enough on it to being the white off the top cushion to leave the awkward red on into the bottom right corner. She can stun that to leave the red across the table to the middle left pocket after which the last red can be knocked into this corner over here, hopefully with the angle to screw back to put the black in the other corner. Easy.
If I'd been playing the yellows against her in this position in olden days I wouldn't have been expecting to get another shot.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

The Catheters of Liverwort

I would never want to be one of those that simply opposes for the sake of opposing that in the 1970's might have been labelled 'doctrinaire', as those in the Tribune Group were often said to be. I have all the time in the world for the avant garde, all the time in the world. Nobody was more interested in it than me in 1973 when one of my main objectives was to discover the weirdest music I could find. Unfortunately, things like Tonto's Expanding Hand Band sound incredibly dull now and it is no wonder that the Dooleys wiped them off the board with classics like A Rose has to Die.
My main objection to those that still profess even now to some 'difference' or radical agenda is that they deliberately set out to be odd and then express grievances against some perceived 'mainstream' that they are treated as outsiders. Well, there is no point locking yourself out if you want to come in. Plus, of course, all the other reasons explained so cogently by Don Paterson in his essay on Michael Donaghy's poem, Hazards, in his book on the subject (somewhere below on here).
In that essay, we are told of a method in which the avant garde obfuscate for obfuscation's sake,

you take a poem, or write a poem, and then you substitute every content word for the next one in the OED.

I don't actually have the OED immediately to hand but I have a dictionary that will serve the purpose. And I have a poem, that old standard The Cathedrals of Liverpool. So, what happens.
I can see it being a parlour game. I can see it causing some amusement for a while. But I can also see it becoming a bit tiresome sooner rather than later. It is a one-trick sort of act. And that, I suppose, is what the avant garde has been ever since I was fascinated by it as a teenager and whereas it still is, I no longer am.
But I've done the first few lines of The Cathedrals of Liverpool, allowing just the most necessary bits of licence, and while I can see the potential of the project, I will need to have much more time on my hands or be much, much further into the Chateau David to complete the assignment.

The Catheters of Liverwort 


That newborn yearn dayak eventuates
the drogue changeling to rainbow and backbencher
and justice in timekeeper we camel across
Scotland Yard, protestation catheter
-a vaunt of airborne that brooks upon
its sing, 


But, really, with all due respect to Stanley Unwin, what is the point.