Poetry in motion…

If found this gem on Amazon Video last evening: Paterson. It’s the story of a quiet guy, Paterson (Adam Driver) who lives with his girlfriend Laura (Golshifteh Farahani) and her dog, and drives a bus for a living. He’s also a poet, carrying a notebook around with him and composing verses in his head as he observes the passengers and other people that he encounters.

Knowing Jim Jarmusch’s work (Broken Flowers, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, Coffee and Cigarettes) I expected something quirky and inventive, but I didn’t expect it to be so moving and inspiring. Granted that by the end of the movie, you’ll not know whether you want to kill the girlfriend first, or the dog, this was still a charming and life-affirming way to spend a couple of hours.

According to iMDb, the poetry in the film was written by Ron Padgett, with whom I was not familiar, and whose works I now intend to seek out.

Writing in coffee shops…

It turns out that people on their MacBooks in coffee shops are doing exactly what you think they are doing: What are people really working on in coffee shops?

OK, so it was in Dalston (for those outside London, it’s basically hipster central!) but there were no real surprises. Everyone is doing something ‘creative’, from trying to find a novel to go with the title of their novel, to writing haikus (is this real I ask, but then decide that it’s too real not to be).

Part of me thinks ‘Good on them for doing something artistic with their time!’ But this is admittedly a very, very small part of me. The rest screams ‘Twat!’ in the highest register possible in my tortured internal voice. I can do notebook-in-a-pub myself, but laptop-in-a-coffee-shop is just going too far. I can’t do it, even at my most pregnant with ideas; it just has to go into the notebook or the notes app on my phone (another reason not to get rid of it).

Maybe my cynicism is misplaced and East End coffee shops really are quiet generators of innovation and creativity. More than likely though, most of this crowd are doing what most people do: they desperately want to get that book written, but there are too many distractions to do anything substantive about it. But getting the laptop out and sitting in front of it is at least part of the battle: the real trick is to keep writing…

Let’s monetise motherfuckers!

6540698a-e056-4522-bf21-66c2c79eaa96It looks like Classic Rock magazine, and my old favourite, Metal Hammer have been saved from closure. I still buy the former but haven’t bothered with the latter since the commemorative Lemmy issue. As a youngster, though, it was a big favourite.

All good news for rock and metal fans I’m sure, but they’ve already let loads of their staff go – will there be jobs for them I wonder?

Of minor concern in comparison is what I assume is from the press release from Future, the new owners:

“The acquisition of these classic rock brands with their associated magazines, events and websites marks a further step in our buy and build strategy […] it further reinforces our creation of a leading global specialist media platform with data at its heart, which we are monetising through diversified revenue streams. We look forward to developing further these iconic and much-loved brands and to continuing to serve their communities of dedicated enthusiasts around the world.”

It doesn’t even read as English, let alone rock ‘n’ roll: It’s the kind of dense and wanky media speak that I thought had died out back in the nineties with Gus Hedges and Drop the Dead Donkey.

Still, ‘rock on’ and all that…

Epiphany…

laughing_foolSo January shows her cold face again and we move into our lifeless and ennui-sodden post-Christmas slough of despond. Though the days are mercifully short, they are grey, heavy and wearing on the soul. Now one really feels the chill of winter.

It’s not even anything to do with the weatherman though – its a visceral and heartfelt season of reflection and near despair. The festivities are over and – unless we get a holiday in the sun booked quickly – its back to the drudgery of everyday existence.

Not watched the news for a week or so, not had to commute or do any real work, but the prospect of getting back into it is only slightly less welcome than the though of of being hit by a speeding car.

Where is all the possibility that should be whispering into my ear? Where is all the promise of the new – the sun on the horizon, the adventure and the fortune?

I’ve never been a quitter, hence my inability to stop drinking. But this year is slightly different. I don’t do new year’s resolutions. It’s all as much a cynical marketing ploy as mother’s and father’s days as far as I’m concerned – the chance to sell gym memberships, organic food and exercise equipment that won’t see any use beyond the 1st of February. But this change of year has brought about an unbidden sense of contemplation and evaluation. My father always jokes that “Every day is another nearer the gaping pit!” In middle-age, however this is less amusing and has come to resemble a dire warning.


Flashback!

Just looked at the pages in my notebook as I write this and remembered a time at school when it was a relief to come to the end of one page of ‘foolscap’ paper (does anyone call it that anymore?)

A quick consultation of the dictionary app on my phone says that it’s chiefly British, is also called ‘foolscap octavo’ and sometime ‘foolscap quarto’ when used in a book. The name dates from 1690-1700 and is so-called due to the watermark of a fool’s cap used on such paper. Needless to say that I saw no such ornamentation on the paper at my comprehensive – perhaps it was evident in posher schools, or just something consigned to the past. But, it was the size of the paper (A4) that was particularly dreaded. It was especially bad when being given ‘lines’ for some infraction or other. Of course, 100 lines involved the same amount of work in whatever size of paper, but the difference in scale seemed like comparing Silbury Hill to Mount Everest in the young mind – almost as if there were so much more effort involved.


Anyway, the January epiphany is here, literally and figuratively. We get through the familial and social obligations of Christmas only to feel the sting of the unfulfilled and of creeping antiquity once the quiet sets in. And every year, despite everything, we’ll get through it.

Of course that is, right up until we don’t…