Being Beta

Exercises in the higher banter with One of 26. Elsewhere called 'poet of adland'. By a whipple-squeezer. Find out why being beta is the new alpha: betarish at googlemail dot com

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Poetry: It is done

Another 30 days of poetry. Done. You can catch up on what you missed here.

Me? I'm off for a lie down.


On protest

Before you start grumbling about student protests and protestors, please consider the following:

"If our colleges and universities do not breed men who riot, who rebel, who attack life with all the youthful vision and vigor, then there is something wrong with our colleges. The more riots that come out of our college campuses, the better the world for tomorrow."

That would be Robert F. Kennedy, quoting William Allen White. Worth remembering, nes ces pas?

For more on the protests themselves, you may wish to follow UCL Occupation, Laurie Penny, and Katy Evans-Bush, for a parent's perspective.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Reportage: At Gate 106

Dateline: Friday lunchtime

Was Venice trying to tell us something already? At the gate we sat next to a woman, a nudge away from 60, grey hair close copped, and with a balding triangle on her crown. Her rimless glasses opened on to paranoid eyes. And she was determined to share them.

- Your first time? To Venice? Do not tell anyone anything. They will ask. They are nosey. Do not tell them about the money you are carrying. Always say 'No, grazie.' They speak the language, but do not want you to think they do. You must keep everything you value wrapped around you. Take it with you when you leave. You will be fine with the food. Are you staying Mestre? Venice? You will not hear anything. You will not get used to the not noise. No cars, no buses. But the waterbus. You will hear the dogs. You will hear the cats, miaow miaow.

M, head down checking her phone, suddenly hissed. 'She's been mugged in Rome?'

And it began again.

- You will be mugged. You will be in danger.

I was beginning to feel as if I had stumbled into a remake of Don't Look Now. But she wasn't crone enough, red enough.

She slid over the faux-pine of the seat and harassed my ear further.

- You, your wife, your whatever she is. You must gradually shed all the parasites from your life.

The flight was called. She sprang up, and started the queue to board.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Commercial: When Aleksandr Orlov met James Joyce

Or maybe it's the other way round. You see, I've been skipping my way through Joyce's collected Poems and Shorter Writings (which really is a treat by the way, the Epiphanies especially), and blow me if I didn't stumble across this:


O bella bionda,
Sei come l'onda!

Of cool sweet dew and radiance mild
The moon a web of silence weaves
In the still garden where a child
Gathers the simple salad leaves.

A moondew stars her hanging hair
And moonlight kisses her young brow
And, gathering, she sings an air:
Fair as the wave is, fair, art thou!

Be mine, I pray, a waxen ear
To shield me from her childish croon
And mine a shielded heart for her
Who gathers simples of the moon.

So, do you think Orlov's tome is suitably filled with the dramatic lyric and the ironies of time?


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Commercial: Embedded journalists

... but not necessarily where you might expect them.

I was struck by the fact that design consultancy BERG have one too, and a jolly good thing I think it is.

It stands to reason, doesn't it? If what we're doing now, being 'content creators' or 'conversation curators' or whatever the hell it is that people who primarily work with words in businesses now do; well, we have much to learn from the journo, with a eye for the attention-seeking sentence, arranging facts in ways that grab, a sense of the angles we need to take, and a nose for gossip.

I think more brands could and should take a chance on having licensed troublemakers, inside their buildings.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Reportage: Remembrance Sunday

The parade was smaller this year and, I noticed, lacking in air force types. I always seem to have a sensitivity to this, perhaps from being a cub scout whose pack met on an air force base.

I remember carrying the flag on similar Sundays, many years ago; it almost falling out of my hands. It was twice the height of me. I don't remember using the leather holster yesterday's carriers had; but I must have. There can't have been any other way that it would have stayed in my hands.

What struck me most was that you can never make the dogs stand still. Five of them were running round their play area in Kennington Park, even though their owners were ramrod stopped. One did eventually come and nestle by his master's leg. But even then, he faced away from the war memorial, preferring to look wistfully at his friends who hadn't stopped running.

As everyone, the gathered 200 or so, were leaving the park, they arranged themselves more loosely than they had when they marched in, like particles that had been released under a lower pressure.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

i can understand why people

Friday, November 05, 2010

Poetry: Talk To Me About Love

And there's more; a villanelle hosted by the fine fellows of Talk To Me About Love.


Thursday, November 04, 2010

Poetry: Trainwrite

The very fine fellows at TrainWrite have done me the honour of publishing a poem; scoot along this here platform to have a read.