Thursday, 31 January 2013

Ambit 211

To the launch of Ambit 211.  Ambit is a magazine of poems, short stories and pictures and has been edited by Martin Bax since he founded it in 1959.  More info here.  I expect you will have guessed that I am promoting this magazine because it has published a poem of mine - two, in fact. 

You can buy Ambit at any bookshop that stocks poetry mags, but especially The Owl in Kentish Town Road.  Tonight two poets and two prose writers read.  I particularly liked Angela Kirby's poems, and Navid Hamzavi's story 'Royal Wedding'.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

R.B. Kitaj at The Jewish Museum

Definitely worth a look.  Details here.


The Art of Identity (21 Feb – 16 June 2013)
Jewish Museum London

Analyst for Our Time (23 Feb – 16 June 2013)
Pallant House Gallery, Chichester

Monday, 28 January 2013

Holocaust Memorial Day

Good to see that Gerald Scarfe with boring predictability chose Holocaust Memorial Day to give the Sunday Times a chance to publish a blood libel; and that yet another Liberal Democrat MP, David Ward, has come out as a straightforward anti-semite on the same day.  The fact that he is MP for Bradford surely has nothing to do with his position. Shame on Scarfe, Ward and, I'm afraid, old acquaintance Martin Ivens, acting editor of The Sunday Times.


I'm strapped for a start. So: among those the producers would like to thank are the Camden Physiotherapy Centre and Mohammed Khaleed at Fitness First.  Yep.  This was a thoroughly, wonderfully, physical occasion, the utter opposite of our plasma-screened world of virtual this that and the other.  There was nothing virtual here, all was actual, visceral, corporal.  Was it dance or circus or rave or theatre? Were these acrobats or athletes or actors?

And yet there was something vicarious here too, for these performers were acting at the very edge of possible energy, for our benefit, and it took us closer to that edge, too, to living at the fullness of one's potential. A kind of illusion therefore, but one that no film or TV show can ever hope to match.  I'm not sure there was any meaning to be derived from any of it.  The recurring man running into people, tables, walls, against wind and rain, put me in mind somehow of Beckett - it had the same kind of comedy - but this was all triumph.  This is a show elemental and clever, animal and professional, and most of all a joy.  Even being shoved around by the staff - and shoving was what it was - no polite being asked to move - became a part of a communal pleasure.  Utterly brilliant.

Elizabeth's Speech at Tilbury, 1588

My loving people

We have been persuaded by some that are careful of our safety, to take heed how we commit our selves to armed multitudes, for fear of treachery; but I assure you I do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people. Let tyrants fear. I have always so behaved myself that, under God, I have placed my chiefest strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts and good-will of my subjects; and therefore I am come amongst you, as you see, at this time, not for my recreation and disport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live and die amongst you all; to lay down for my God, and for my kingdom, and my people, my honour and my blood, even in the dust.

I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm; to which rather than any dishonour shall grow by me, I myself will take up arms, I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field.

I know already, for your forwardness you have deserved rewards and crowns; and We do assure you in the word of a prince, they shall be duly paid you. In the mean time, my lieutenant general shall be in my stead, than whom never prince commanded a more noble or worthy subject; not doubting but by your obedience to my general, by your concord in the camp, and your valour in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over those enemies of my God, of my kingdom, and of my people.

Saturday, 26 January 2013