Radical Pub Crawl: Loomsday

A pub-crawl is something I associate
With my youth – indeed, I have never ever
Typed ‘pub crawl’, before, but I am surprised
To find a green line advising me to
Hyphenate and create a compound noun.

The word was never hyphenated
When I used to go on a pub crawl:
There was a noun and there was a verb,
The noun was a sort of synecdoche,
Whilst the verb ‘crawl’ said it all:
The evening started vertical
And ended with a slow, meandering
Horizontal, hands and feet slowly,
Gradually, inching along pavement.

And that was a pub crawl, sampling lots of
Different pints, and different pubs,
Different prices, and atmospheres,
Collecting and clocking the pub names,
The different tastes, strengths and breweries,
In a sort of localised and active
Sociological nuanced survey:
It made you observant through the smoke.

A pub-crawl is something I associate
With my youth – indeed, I have never ever
Typed ‘pub crawl’, before, but I am surprised
To find a green line advising me to
Hyphenate and create a compound noun.

The word was never hyphenated
When I used to go on a pub crawl:
There was a noun and there was a verb,
The noun was a sort of synecdoche,
Whilst the verb ‘crawl’ said it all:
The evening started vertical
And ended with a slow, meandering
Horizontal, hands and feet slowly,
Gradually, inching along pavement.

And that was a pub crawl, sampling lots of
Different pints, and different pubs,
Different prices, and atmospheres,
Collecting and clocking the pub names,
The different tastes, strengths and breweries,
In a sort of localised and active
Sociological nuanced survey:
It made you observant through the smoke.

read more

A Literary, Self-referential, Post-modernist Pub Crawl

Announcing a Literary, Self-Referential, Post-Modernist Pub Crawl on Thursday – starting at The Fountain at 4.

The Fountain – The Vic – The Greyhound – The Imperial – The Lord John – The Little George.

Announcing a Literary, Self-Referential, Post-Modernist Pub Crawl on Thursday - starting at The Fountain at 4.

The Fountain - The Vic - The Greyhound - The Imperial - The Lord John - The Little George. read more

NOT ONE DAY MORE: Overton’s Window

I’ve just come across the term ‘Overton’s Window’,
In an article by Owen Jones,
Also called the ‘Window of Discourse’:
The way ideas are viewed by the public,
In a spectrum of judgement that runs from
The Unacceptable, to the Radical, the Acceptable,
The Sensible, the Popular,
And finally: Policy.

It’s obvious that the way this window –
Or Zeitgeist –
Is now defined,
Has been revolutionised
By social media, activists and clicktivists,
While any notion of ‘the public’
Must now accommodate a whole new Generation Y:
The dispossessed millennials are taking the reins –
Paul Dacre and Rupert Murdoch and co.
Can still ride roughshod,
But only in their own heft now.

It’s a weird thing for me,
Someone who first read Marx nearly fifty years ago,
Someone who has been marginalised
By mainstream orthodoxy’s definition of common sense
For nearly half a century,
To see a 2017 Labour party political broadcast,
Where a voice demands the full fruits of her labour:
The revolution will be televised!
So this Saturday’s demonstration:
NOT ONE DAY MORE
#TORIES OUT NO MORE AUSTERITY,
Hosted by The People’s Assembly Against Austerity,

I’ve just come across the term ‘Overton’s Window’,
In an article by Owen Jones,
Also called the ‘Window of Discourse’:
The way ideas are viewed by the public,
In a spectrum of judgement that runs from
The Unacceptable, to the Radical, the Acceptable,
The Sensible, the Popular,
And finally: Policy.

It’s obvious that the way this window –
Or Zeitgeist -
Is now defined,
Has been revolutionised
By social media, activists and clicktivists,
While any notion of ‘the public’
Must now accommodate a whole new Generation Y:
The dispossessed millennials are taking the reins -
Paul Dacre and Rupert Murdoch and co.
Can still ride roughshod,
But only in their own heft now.

It’s a weird thing for me,
Someone who first read Marx nearly fifty years ago,
Someone who has been marginalised
By mainstream orthodoxy’s definition of common sense
For nearly half a century,
To see a 2017 Labour party political broadcast,
Where a voice demands the full fruits of her labour:
The revolution will be televised!
So this Saturday’s demonstration:
NOT ONE DAY MORE
#TORIES OUT NO MORE AUSTERITY,
Hosted by The People’s Assembly Against Austerity, read more

Momentum Is The New Chartism

When the Daily Express and the Daily Mail tried to control
The Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, back in the thirties,
He commented in his masculine way:
‘What the proprietorship of these newspapers is aiming at is power,
But power without responsibility,
The prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages.’
In the 2016 referendum,
We had Arron Banks:
‘Facts don’t work, and that’s it …
It just doesn’t work.
You have to connect with the people emotionally.
It’s the Trump success.’
And the General Election of 2017?
The Sun, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, Daily Express,
With their slew of headlines,
Make it difficult not to think of John Heartfield,
And his Weimar agit-prop:
Big business pulling Hitler’s puppet strings;
What a coincidence that Boris Johnson should speak on the very subject
Of Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘soft on terrorism’ trope,
The very day before The Sun, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, Daily Express
Splashed their similar views all over their front pages –
I think this means that we now have a new category
Of political system for the text book:
A liberal-democratic 21st century variant of Fascism:
‘Strong and Stable Government’; ‘Coalition of Chaos’; ‘Brexit means Brexit’;
‘We make no apology for drawing attention to the fact that Jeremy Corbyn
has spent a lifetime siding with people who want to do Britain harm,
would weaken our defences and make our country less safe …’.

When the Daily Express and the Daily Mail tried to control
The Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, back in the thirties,
He commented in his masculine way:
‘What the proprietorship of these newspapers is aiming at is power,
But power without responsibility,
The prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages.’
In the 2016 referendum,
We had Arron Banks:
‘Facts don’t work, and that’s it …
It just doesn’t work.
You have to connect with the people emotionally.
It’s the Trump success.’
And the General Election of 2017?
The Sun, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, Daily Express,
With their slew of headlines,
Make it difficult not to think of John Heartfield,
And his Weimar agit-prop:
Big business pulling Hitler’s puppet strings;
What a coincidence that Boris Johnson should speak on the very subject
Of Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘soft on terrorism’ trope,
The very day before The Sun, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, Daily Express
Splashed their similar views all over their front pages -
I think this means that we now have a new category
Of political system for the text book:
A liberal-democratic 21st century variant of Fascism:
‘Strong and Stable Government’; ‘Coalition of Chaos’; ‘Brexit means Brexit’;
‘We make no apology for drawing attention to the fact that Jeremy Corbyn
has spent a lifetime siding with people who want to do Britain harm,
would weaken our defences and make our country less safe …’. read more

Rodborough, Sunday June 11th

Rodborough, Sunday June 11th

A year ago we wandered through the sculptures
And hidden gardens of Rodborough,
Depressed and stupefied after the referendum result,
Lowering clouds gathering over the Severn,
Proving that the notion of a pathetic fallacy is not a fallacy –
But this year, the sun shone on the sculptures,
The flowers were particularly and pleasantly fragrant,
The tea and cake taken in the church graveyard,
Tasted sweetly of the resurrection of Labour,
And the party in the Prince Albert

Rodborough, Sunday June 11th

A year ago we wandered through the sculptures
And hidden gardens of Rodborough,
Depressed and stupefied after the referendum result,
Lowering clouds gathering over the Severn,
Proving that the notion of a pathetic fallacy is not a fallacy -
But this year, the sun shone on the sculptures,
The flowers were particularly and pleasantly fragrant,
The tea and cake taken in the church graveyard,
Tasted sweetly of the resurrection of Labour,
And the party in the Prince Albert read more

Thirty Something Local Historic Reasons to Vote for David Drew

Thirty Local Historic Reasons to Vote for David Drew and Keep the Tories Out

Remember:

1. The Diggers and their Slimbridge Civil War community and those who supported them in Stroud and the Five Valleys
2. The Parliamentarians imprisoned in Painswick Church
3. The growers of Nicotiana Rustica who defied both King and Cromwell
4. Those who took direct action for a ‘moral economy’ against high food prices in Stroud and the Five Valleys
5. Those cloth-workers who took direct action against low wages and long hours in Stroud and the Five Valleys
6. Those who opposed slavery
7. Those who took direct action against the game laws
8. Those who opposed enclosure
9. Those who took direct action against turnpike tolls
10. Those who were transported

Thirty Local Historic Reasons to Vote for David Drew and Keep the Tories Out

Remember:

1. The Diggers and their Slimbridge Civil War community and those who supported them in Stroud and the Five Valleys
2. The Parliamentarians imprisoned in Painswick Church
3. The growers of Nicotiana Rustica who defied both King and Cromwell
4. Those who took direct action for a ‘moral economy’ against high food prices in Stroud and the Five Valleys
5. Those cloth-workers who took direct action against low wages and long hours in Stroud and the Five Valleys
6. Those who opposed slavery
7. Those who took direct action against the game laws
8. Those who opposed enclosure
9. Those who took direct action against turnpike tolls
10. Those who were transported read more

Not Bad for a Village Team

Tranmere –
The name suggests a crossing of the waters,
A ferry across the Mersey,
A crossing of the River Rubicon,
Or for us, the River Thames –
On the 9.55 Football Poets Special,
Speeding through the Golden Valley,
Past Swindon’s railway works,
The Vale of the White Horse,
Then on through Sonning Cutting,
Sequestered Berkshire,
Suburban Middlesex,
Old Oak Common,
To Paddington.

Tranmere –
The name suggests a crossing of the waters,
A ferry across the Mersey,
A crossing of the River Rubicon,
Or for us, the River Thames –
On the 9.55 Football Poets Special,
Speeding through the Golden Valley,
Past Swindon’s railway works,
The Vale of the White Horse,
Then on through Sonning Cutting,
Sequestered Berkshire,
Suburban Middlesex,
Old Oak Common,
To Paddington.

read more

Save The Sub-Rooms!

‘In short, sir, you have it in a nutshell.
Where would Stroud be without it?’

We live in such divided times that anything that unites us is to be admired,
And just as a nation can be divided, so a town can be divided in so many ways:
Hefts can build up based on social class, or ethnicity, or politics, or education,
Or for so many whatever varied reasons,
As people find and accentuate commonality,
And whilst Stroud and the Five Valleys is not exactly ‘Town and Gown’,
It can feel a bit like Disraeli’s Two Nations at times:

‘Two nations between whom there is no intercourse and no sympathy; who are as ignorant of each other’s habits, thoughts, and feelings, as if they were dwellers in different zones, or inhabitants of different planets.’

'In short, sir, you have it in a nutshell.
Where would Stroud be without it?'

We live in such divided times that anything that unites us is to be admired,
And just as a nation can be divided, so a town can be divided in so many ways:
Hefts can build up based on social class, or ethnicity, or politics, or education,
Or for so many whatever varied reasons,
As people find and accentuate commonality,
And whilst Stroud and the Five Valleys is not exactly 'Town and Gown',
It can feel a bit like Disraeli's Two Nations at times:

'Two nations between whom there is no intercourse and no sympathy; who are as ignorant of each other's habits, thoughts, and feelings, as if they were dwellers in different zones, or inhabitants of different planets.'

read more

Painswick Beacon and Botany Bay

The solstice is a time for wonder and the imagination,
But sometimes you need facts, figures and measurements:
Lines of latitude and longitude – maritime chronometers too,
Were needed for New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land,
For those weavers, cloth-workers, hatters, labourers and servants,
Transported as convicts, far distant from their Painswick homes,
On ships such as the Emma Eugenia, Florentia, Lady Ridley,
Duncan, Gilmore, Persian, Lord Hungerford, Bengal Merchant;
People such as Ann Alder, Henry Beard and Samuel Beard,
John Birt, Isaac Estcourt, James Green, William Haines, Charles Cook;
And at winter solstice-tide, we gathered at Painswick Beacon,

The solstice is a time for wonder and the imagination,
But sometimes you need facts, figures and measurements:
Lines of latitude and longitude - maritime chronometers too,
Were needed for New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land,
For those weavers, cloth-workers, hatters, labourers and servants,
Transported as convicts, far distant from their Painswick homes,
On ships such as the Emma Eugenia, Florentia, Lady Ridley,
Duncan, Gilmore, Persian, Lord Hungerford, Bengal Merchant;
People such as Ann Alder, Henry Beard and Samuel Beard,
John Birt, Isaac Estcourt, James Green, William Haines, Charles Cook;
And at winter solstice-tide, we gathered at Painswick Beacon, read more

Nailsworth Shoddy

I often walk the cycle track at the bottom of Rodborough Hill,
The old Midland Railway spur from Dudbridge into Stroud,
And I often cycle the track on to Nailsworth through Woodchester,
Musing on the springs and watercourses, the ancient holloways,
The Roman villa, medieval ridge and furrow, the woollen mills,
The occasional mill chimney, still rising high into the Stroudwater sky,
And I have often walked the surrounds of Avening, Minch and Amberley,
Recreating the 1916 tragedy of Dorothy Beard and Archibald Knee,
A young woman and a young new recruit,
Drowning together in a millpond.

In short, my head is usually lost in the clouds of the past,
Where I am entranced rather than perturbed by novelty –
Unlike Scrooge, I see few phantoms that repel –
Until last night, when just before our show
Trenchcoats for Goalposts,
At the Comrades’ Club,
In Nailsworth,
Jon Seagrave mentioned a local radio history programme
About that local branch line and the First World War,
Did I know that? …

I often walk the cycle track at the bottom of Rodborough Hill,
The old Midland Railway spur from Dudbridge into Stroud,
And I often cycle the track on to Nailsworth through Woodchester,
Musing on the springs and watercourses, the ancient holloways,
The Roman villa, medieval ridge and furrow, the woollen mills,
The occasional mill chimney, still rising high into the Stroudwater sky,
And I have often walked the surrounds of Avening, Minch and Amberley,
Recreating the 1916 tragedy of Dorothy Beard and Archibald Knee,
A young woman and a young new recruit,
Drowning together in a millpond.

In short, my head is usually lost in the clouds of the past,
Where I am entranced rather than perturbed by novelty -
Unlike Scrooge, I see few phantoms that repel –
Until last night, when just before our show
Trenchcoats for Goalposts,
At the Comrades’ Club,
In Nailsworth,
Jon Seagrave mentioned a local radio history programme
About that local branch line and the First World War,
Did I know that? …

read more