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Showing posts from November, 2015

Mercury Prize for Music

Just a word on this year's Mercury Prize for Music. One of the nominees is Benjamin Clementine. And his voice is sublime. His music reminds me of Nina Simone meets Regina Spektor. I haven't felt as enthusiastic about a nominee since P J Harvey won for 'Let England Shake', particularly 'Written on the Forehead'. He's performing in Brighton on 3 December, which is looking like a must for the diary. As a lover of Moloko back in the day, it's also cool to see that Roisin Murphy's album 'hairless toys' is also on the list.

The Hairy Ape - The Old Vic

Apparently, a Spectator critic noted that some people walked out of the performance of The Hairy Ape at the Old Vic. I'm not sure why. Sure, it's tendentious - it's of its time; 1920s America. It's about 'Yank', a ship's stoker who doesn't like to think, and brands all attempts of workers to question their predicament as belonging to the Salvation Army! Whenever one of the Irish stokers - ageing and 'back breaking' stops to 'think', the group of oil-streaked topless stokers shout 'THINK! THINK! THINK!' 
Yank represents the futurists that would soon follow, admirable of anything that enables machinery, and speed. And he sees himself as an important enabler of the ship's movement and speed. But whilst he sees himself that way, the granddaughter of the ship's owner, who is escorted down to meet them as part of some sociological observation, does not. She, dressed in a silky white dressed, comes face to face with Yank and scre…

Review of Keats Lives by Moya Cannon

Keats Lives by Moya Cannon (Carcanet Press)
Many gems weaving the present with myth and ecology – yet sometimes mundane
Myth and ecology are the drivers of Moya Cannon’s fifth poetry collection, Keats Lives. Comprising 42 poems, this collection comes four years after her last, Hands; the title poem a meditation on how the pilot has all flight passengers ‘in his hands’, which I felt suggested little more than a FaceBook e-card passed around willy-nilly.
Planes feature in Keats Lives too, as a vehicle from which to explore grief. In ‘At the end of the flight’, cabin crew announces they are sharing the flight with the family of a ‘fallen hero’, leading passengers to applaud. As the dead soldier’s two sisters and father disembark: ‘further down the plane/… we heard the sound of grief/grinding three separate tunnels/through their days.’
Grief doesn’t so much grind as flow in ‘Shrines’: ‘….to let grief flow/like dense tresses of water/over a weir’, neatly demonstrating Cannon’s timely use of gr…