Two thousand and sixteen has almost gone and now we power on to 2017. I hope visions of doom and gloom fail to materialise but every time I hear about a tweet from Trump the Terrible, I feel sick. Have you noticed how the word – nuance – has become popular in political discourse? That’s because there is such a failure to incorporate it. Sledgehammer is more like it.
As for Brexit I have not felt oppressed by Europe. Perhaps I have been too used to my chains of Greek olives, Spanish tapas, les vacances in France, Berlin’s graffiti, Finland’s timber, Italian pasta, and people who speak English with cute accents. HNY!
I have curated (fancy word for organized) an exhibition entitled Mum Before Me where 12 artists have described aspects of their mother’s life before motherhood. The results are as varied as the artists. Since becoming involved in this project I have had many, often touching, conversations about the women who became our doting or otherwise mothers. Exhibition 24/25 September 2016 www.nunheadarttrail.co.uk
I have had a poetic weekend. I was a poet at the Poetry Café’s Fourth Friday in Covent Garden. That was great fun. Poets gave us love, rye humour, politics and a nice tale of a gasman. There was music, too, provided by Rattle on the Stovepipe –foot-tappingly good. My poems were about people: some famous, others not and a sprinkling of fictional ones.
One of the poems I read at the Café is published today by www.inksweatandtears.co.uk It is about the time I danced with Viv Stanshall of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band. Only afterwards did I realise that the man, eccentrically attired in a dressing gown, was the Original Urban Spaceman. What an honour to have danced with him.
A blackboard on Barry Road (Peckham Rye end) is headed ‘before I die I want to…’ Here are some of the wishes
The chalkface of desires
see a puffin… say love you… see the Northern lights (with Amy)… hang out with my dog… (dog’s wish – to catch a squirrel)… make a masterpiece… eat around the world… meet David Attenborough… do well in SATs… witness the end of poverty… enjoy every moment…make my kids proud
The little girl’s wish is to dance. I’m not saying what mine was… and by now it has been rubbed away to make room for other people’s wishes .
Rye Poets at Ivy House
I am a Rye Poet. We are a triangle of poets. We live near Peckham Rye, which is one explanation for our name; the other is that our poetry can be wry. Tonight we will perform at the Ivy House, London’s first community pub. The pub was saved from demoliton a few years ago by achieving status as a community asset. That wasn’t the end of the story. The next move was to get the community to cough up the cash to put the business back on its tremulous feet. And it did. We did. Now the pub flourishes as a venue for all kinds of entertainment including evenings of poetry and blues. We’re in the pink!
Since I keep no coffee at home I go out for my fix. When I have a coffee I like to taste it, and not the slick of a pint of milk. That, after all, leads only to arses the size of a table for four and furry arteries. Also… if I wanted a warm milkshake, I would ask for one. I’ve been thinking about coffee because many local cafes have been closed between Christmas and New Year. A good thing for the staff, but trying for the likes of me. Get over it, you say. I have. Today I had a perfect flat white @toastdulwich
And how marvellous to be in a position to complain about coffee; such an indulgence. I almost want to apologise.
Once upon a time in Lapland where the snow was metres high, I learned a lesson which I’d like to pass on. A two-person husky ride has one passenger who is seated (as if in a Russian movie) while the other stands to steer the ride. Do not choose to sit – as I did – for when the huskies begin their morning ride so too they begin to evacuate their bowels. My nose was directly in line with the dogs’ bottoms. Take a stand. Merry Christmas!
An example of the new and old face of Peckham.
New is the man pushing a buggy. Once this was a rare sight, now they are everywhere. I wonder, though, if beards are about redressing the balance. As if to say, I may be a caring, sharing type of guy but I’m also a caveman.
New is the Foxtons’ sign, or F for short. They too are everywhere.
Old is the fab looking hairdressers. New and old is the artwork. A portrait of Diana Ross circa 1960?
There was a crow busily eating something with a flurry of whiteness around the meal; another stood guard. It was a two-bird operation. My bus had yet to crest the hill, which meant I had time to wander over, outstare the crows and check out the action. On the menu: rare pigeon.
Given the number of them, I have (occasionally) wondered why you don’t see more dead pigeons. At the other end of the avian life span I’ve never seen a baby pigeon. Then the bus came.
I went to a friend’s delightful afternoon party on Sunday; guests were invited for tea and champagne. I drank a cup of tea and then I drank champagne… and today I don’t feel near as bubbly as yesterday.
I listened to a radio play once set probably at a time when women wore crinoline. The heroine had become unwell and languished on the chaise longue. A man of respectable status determined to minister to her immediately sent for champagne. Since then I have viewed it not only as a delicious indulgence, but as a drink with revivifying qualities. A glass right now might be good.