Skip to main content

What I Did This Summer

Well, I think summer 2012 has now officially ended - and on a high note with the "Indian Summer" of our BBQ weekend, the Paralympics finale, and Andy Murray's smashing end of the 76 year drought for British men's tennis.  UK 2012 has been one of the great summers, certainly of my life, despite a few worrying health glitches I continue to cope with.  I just wanted to quickly sum up my personal highlights, to cast in amber this golden time: well, firstly, my Mum visited for 3 weeks, for my PhD graduation at UEA, which was very significant for me - we hadn't seen each other in five years!  (I haven't been back to Canada since 2007).  The best time I had with her was the day we went to Hampton Court for the flower show.  My Mum loves beauty, and I loved experiencing her enjoyment of the gardens, and her enthusiasm.  Another highlight for me was spending ten days in the South of France with my wife and her Mum - they're wonderful Irish women filled with good humour, passion and energy, and despite the heat wave (40 Celsius for a week), had some great meals and times there.  The third major event of the summer, for me, was my 8th poetry book's launch at Canada House - so good to see friends and colleagues there.  A fourth great event was announcing the Melita Hume Prize winner, and working with Tim Dooley as judge of that.  I should add that spending a week on Hydra with my wife, and seeing my friends there, such as Letty, and Michael, was also splendid, though travelling on the sea over from Athens in Force 6 winds was terrifying.  Finally, the last best moment of the summer was going to see the men's 100 metres final at the Olympics, and witnessing Bolt make history; we also saw Oscar Pistorius run that day, fortunately.  Other memories of the summer - I loved The Last Leg on Channel 4; and The Avengers film.  Read too many Lee Child's. I also enjoyed working with my trainer Chris at The Third Space, and beginning a concerted effort to eat more salad. Finally, - I mean it this time - the Free Verse small poetry press fair was a fun way to intro my new small press to the wider poetry community, and it went very well, thanks to Sara, Lydia and Helen.  I am sort of dreading the autumn, as the summer was so good, and I am now on sabbatical, so, despite some reading tours, I have a lot of writing, researching and editing to do now.  Time to sharpen those pencils and buckle down.
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog


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…


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…


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…