Skip to main content

Selfridges & Poets

Although Eyewear predicts a pandemic to break out sometime soon, perhaps in the next fortnight, I have still been going out into the crowded coughing streets of London. Last night, I found myself invited to a VIP-studded event at the “Yellow CafĂ©” at the flagship Selfridges store on Oxford Street, London, to celebrate the start of its 100 year birthday bash. On hand were the Westons (the hosts), Lily Allen, Joan Collins, Boris Johnson, and several famous models – as well as several leading younger poets, such as Emily Berry, Joe Dunthorne, and Allison McVety.

The paparazzi ignored us poets, instead leaping all over Allen and Collins. Fame fame fickle fame. Anyway, what were the poets doing there? Glad you asked. I was a Contributing Editor for Conde Nast’s special magazine, Selfridge’s & Co 100: Art, Life Shopping – and edited the page of poetry. There have been over 200,000 copies of the magazine published, making these poems among the most widely distributed of the 21st century (in print).

The two other poets on the page are Tom Chivers and Jenny Pagdin. Selfridges will also be displaying their poems across the shop in unique ways over May, along with work by other poets I asked to write for the project, such as Camellia Stafford, Melanie Challenger and Samantha Jackson. Readers of Eyewear who detect a socialist slant in my ideology may wonder what I am doing extolling the virtues of shopping, especially on May Day.

Well, I contradict myself, am sometimes giddy and shallow, and actually, have some respect for Mr. Harry Selfridge, a larger-than-life fast-living American showman who arrived in London around the same time as Ezra Pound, and who represented many of the same brash, enthusiastic and innovative directions as that poet. Mr. Selfridge, more girl-crazy than Pound, was famous for saying “always do things better than they were done before” and he did – though ending up broke and in a pauper’s grave (not unlike many artists). Selfridges has always been open to the arts and culture and the way they have embraced the poetry has been impressive. I should add that, as a Dynasty fan, it was a thrill to see the divine Joan.
2 comments

Popular posts from this blog

AMERICA PSYCHO

According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…

DANGER, MAN

Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…

OSCAR SMOSHCAR

The Oscars - Academy Awards officially - were once huge cultural events - in 1975, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Shirley MacLaineandBob Hope co-hosted, for example - and Best Picture noms included The Conversation and Chinatown. Godfather Part 2 won. Last two years, movies titled Birdman and Spotlight won, and the hosts and those films are retrospectively minor, trifling. This year, some important, resonant films are up for consideration - including Hidden Figures and Moonlight, two favourites of this blog. Viola Davis and Denzel Washington will hopefully win for their sterling performances in Fences. However, La La Land - the most superficial and empty Best Picture contender since Gigi in 1959 (which beat Vertigo) - could smite all comers, and render this year's awards historically trivial, even idiotic.

The Oscars often opt for safe, optimistic films, or safe, pessimistic films, that are usually about white men (less often, white women) finding their path to doing the right thin…