Friday, October 22

"I woke up, and it was a cathedral of a day."

1. Bagpipes

I knew it was going to be a good day. I woke up just after 8 and remembered I didn’t have to get up and go to work. I went to the kitchen to fetch some orange juice, then went back to bed and listened to the radio, half asleep. Part way through “Desert Island Discs” whoever was doing the choosing chose something that involved bagpipes. I loathe bagpipes. Loathe is not a strong enough word. But then I knew it was going to be a good day because against all the odds, and possibly even against Nature, I enjoyed whatever it was he chose. It was a good tune and the bagpipes were offset by strings, which toned down the usual sounds of cats being strangled. I think it was called “Highland Cathedral” or “Cathedral of the Highlands”, but I may have completely imagined that in my sleepiness.

2. Playlist

Later in the morning, I shut the cold wet windy autumn world out and settled down with a pile of books and put on iTunes and let it shuffle my record collection for me. Since I put all my music on the computer it’s got over 5000 tracks to play around with, and this is what it chose for me while I had a poem reading day.

Stupid - The Long Winters
Long Cut - Wilco
You Shouldn’t Do That - Hawkwind
S.F.Sorrow Is Born - The Pretty Things
850 Double Pumper Holley - Sparklehorse
John Riley - The Byrds
Nothing Is Good Enough - Aimee Mann
I Know My Rider - The Byrds
If You Were A Priest - Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians
Mathilde - Scott Walker
Log Cabin Home In The Sky - The Incredible String Band
Knives Out - The Flaming Lips
Inside - Moby
Four Corners - The Sea and Cake
Aikea-Guinea - The Cocteau Twins
Swift As the Wind - The Incredible String Band
Lightness - Death Cab For Cutie
No Reservations - Husker Dü
The Last Rose of Summer - Nina Simone
Piku - The Chemical Brothers
Halloween - Ryan Adams
Because You’re Young - David Bowie
A Saucerful of Secrets - Pink Floyd
Stars’n’Stripes - Grant Lee Buffalo
Syrtis Major - The Flaming Lips
Masters of War - Bob Dylan
Methods of Dance - Japan
Good Morning Spider - Sparklehorse
Daydream Believer - The Monkees
Life During Wartime - Talking Heads
Gun - John Cale
Such Great Heights - The Postal Service
Birds Fly - Aspera
Union Square - Tom Waits
She Wears My Hair - The Soft Boys
Babe You Turn Me On - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Rapture - Laura Veirs
I Believe In You - Kylie Minogue & The Scissor Sisters
Stars - Dub Star
New Year’s Eve - The Walkmen
Suzanne - Leonard Cohen
Everything Gone Green - New Order
Miss the Mississippi In You - Bob Dylan
The Band Played Waltzing Mathilda - The Pogues
Sleep Spent - Death Cab For Cutie
Death Threat - Death in Vegas
Only A Pawn In Their Game - Bob Dylan
Without You - Harry Nilsson
His Majesty King Raam - Lemon Jelly
First Breath After Coma - Explosions in the Sky
American Trilogy - The Delgados
$100 - Captain Comatose
The Cow’s Wrong - The Beta Band
Bad Time - The Jayhawks
Dead End Street - The Kinks
B-on-E - Psychic TV

Don’t you just love that Death bit:

Sleep Spent - Death Cab For Cutie
Death Threat - Death in Vegas

I’m not making it up. Honestly.

Anyway, I turned the music off at 5 o’clock. “Star Trek: The Next Generation” was on Sky One. It was the “Skin of Evil” episode, where they kill off one of the early cast who evidently wasn’t up to scratch. The blonde head of security. I don’t know what her name was.

3. Poem

Then, there’s a new poem by Rupert Loydell. I told you it was a good fun happy cathedral of an autumn day:

from, and for, Martin Stannard

I lost my parents in the shopping precinct
last Saturday morning. I am overwhelmed
by loss but let's be honest, this isn't an
amazing poem, it doesn't really justify
its presence. If only my parents had
tragically died, then this poem could
have been laden with grief and had
things written about it by the likes
of Martin Stannard. He'd have hated it,
of course, but when the end comes
I could have told Saint Peter that
'Martin reviewed it'. Salvation!
As it is I'm left with a few lines
rooted in retail mishap and the
possibility of losing a friend. Not
down the shop, you understand,
but in a well-behaved-poetry-seeks-
really-nice-review way. I guess
I should be pleased this doesn't read
like a workshop piece, isn't too neat
or tidy, over-worked or resolved.
He wouldn't like that. I have no
desire to stretch language or to
exercise the imagination, this poem
is polite and decent, tries hard to be
ordinary and not to shock. Am I
boring you? Have you seen
my parents? Do you know where
they might be? I'll be damned if
I will talk to them in public
if they're dead. Are you the right
person reading the wrong book?
Have you lost the will to live? Big
deal. I couldn't care less. My robot
heartlessness has lost interest in this
laudatory flannel. I don't need your
permission to be bored. When the
last line arrives I've already been
out of the room to make a cup of tea,
have flicked through the channels
to see what's on. This poetry serves
the author's desire to write and assuage
something in their self not dealt with
elsewhere. This is something like a fact,
an undeniable truth. It worries the hell
out of me. And Martin Stannard, too.

© Rupert M Loydell

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