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Showing posts from February, 2012

Davy Jones Has Died

Sad news for a leap year.  February 29 2012 sees the announcement of the death of Davy Jones .  The Monkees started in 1966, the same year I was born, and though dubbed The Prefab Four, had a pop genius second to none (well, okay, second to The Beatles). A few of their classics, like 'I'm A Believer', 'Last Train To Clarkesville', 'I'm Not Your Stepping Stone' and the wonderful, zany theme song, are among the Sixties best hits.  Oddly, he has died at the age of 66.


In the late 1930s, poets and intellectuals in Britain discussed and were concerned with the prospects of war with a tyrannical state known for its regional importance and anti-Semitism; many resisted the terrible implications of the conflict.  Others, such as Churchill , predicted that such a war would have to come, and Britain should be prepared.  In the end, after a phony war, it came, and evil was finally defeated.  Now, in 2012, the West faces a similar shadow over our daily lives: What To Do About Iran?  It is not enough to simply say that all war, especially all wars in the Middle East, are wicked - we know war is dreadful, but some wars are necessary.  Nor is it I think sufficient to take a sort of multicultural-nuclear approach, and accept that, if Israel and indeed Pakistan, as well as India, America, France, Russia, Britain and China, have nukes, then what is the harm of Iran joining this ominous club.  The fact of the matter is, Iran poses an existential threat to Israel, in

Ash Wednesday

Doh! More Simpsons

The news that the 500th Simpsons episode is done and dusted should be a time of global lament, not joy.   The Simpsons was once one of the smartest, sassiest, and yes, most post-modern, TV shows of all time - indeed, it will always be noteworthy for its first few brilliant seasons.  However, it has long become a tedious rehash, cheapening its satire of media and society by becoming that worst sort of bore - the hanger-on at the party with the lampshade on, who doesn't know when to go home.  23 seasons is enough.  The thought of two more is just groan-inducing.  Someone should get a big yellow rubber (eraser) out, and start cutting back...

£1000 Prize for best debut collection of young poet, free to enter

Eyewear Publishing announces its inaugural (2012) THE MELITA HUME PRIZE FOR POETRY. This will be an award of £1,000 and a publishing deal for the best first full collection (i.e. debut) of a young poet writing in the English language born in 1980 or later. The book will be published in a hard cover format, and launched in early 2013, or sooner, in London. The aim of this prize is to support younger emerging writers during difficult economic times, with a quality publication in England and a helpful amount of money which can assist them in their studies, travel or accommodation. This contest is open to any one of the requisite age, anywhere in the world. The submission must be at least 40 poems long, or 50 pages, whichever comes first.  Maximum 60 poems, and 80 pages  IT IS FREE TO ENTER.  Todd Swift will be the judge.  THE DEADLINE HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO MAY 1ST, 2012. Please post your submissions to the address below: Eyewear Publishing Suite 38 19-21 Crawford Street Maryleb

Eyewear's Top 14 Songs For Valentine's Day

she is in love As poets and lovers know, music and and love go together like a tenor and vehicle.  Here are Eyewear's top 14 love songs, or songs about 'love', in no order - and, I should add, some classic break-up songs like 'Wicked Game' or 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' are not included, though they too are about love's wounding force - however, in the spirit of the occasion, I am erring on the side of romance and eros. 1. Bob Dylan - 'Lay, Lady, Lay' - the most improbably delightful Dylan song, for me, this rich cowpoke tune is also seriously sexy. 2. Ella Fitzgerald - 'My Funny Valentine' - well, this is the classic, really, the heart of the matter, and pure wit at that. 3. Bob Marley & The Wailers - 'Could You Be Loved' - the answer is, with this going on, yes. 4. Madonna - 'Dress You Up' - one of the great cross-dressing songs, and exuberantly wackily boy-crazy pop. 5. Simple Minds - 'Don't

The Death of Whitney Houston

This is very sad news, and shocking news at that.   Whitney Houston was the Michael Jackson of soul and R and B female singers - that is, one of the world's greatest entertainers - a superstar.  Houston was not to all tastes - her soaring ballads are mawkish at times - but her talents were strikingly superb.  She was an actress, a model, a singer, a performer - in sum, a truly rare combination of beauty and artistry. Many singers will attest to her being a major influence, and that her vocal skills were second to none.  One of the top-selling recording artists of all time, and the most awarded female singer in history, she easily takes her place in the pantheon.  Her death in a hotel bath reminds us, too, of another drug-doomed genius, Jim Morrison of the The Doors .  Houston was so clean cut and ubiquitous in the 80s and early 90s that her downfall was upsetting and discomfiting.  It was always hoped she would pull out of her death-descent. This seemed possible, for, unlik

Unto Caesar

I write this as a Catholic.  Religious faith is under attack in both England and America this week, from reasonable secular argument that no doubt emanates from enlightened good will.  This does not make it right.  In American, President Obama wishes to enforce by law provision of contraception in health care, even at Catholic institutions (such as hospitals), where such provision explicitly flies in the face of Catholic teaching; though most Catholics turn a blind eye to the contraception ban, such an option is not easily available to an official organ of the Church. This is an example of two competing claims for good - the state's versus the personal moral rights of persons and churches to follow their own beliefs.  The absence of contraception is a secular evil; its presence, for Catholics, is a sin.  Obama, a politician, is attempting to render unto Caesar what is not his.  In England, a new judgement by the courts has banned the saying of prayers before town council meeting

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Call for Submissions The Ofi Press is an online magazine based in Mexico City which publishes monthly in English and Spanish. We are looking for poetry, flash-fiction, essays, articles, interviews and reviews for publication. Please take a look at our submission guidelines before sending your work and we look forward very much to hearing from you! Saludos! Jack Little- Editor The Ofi Press

Madonna 1982-2012: 30 Years of Pop Genius

Great American Icon Posing Madonna is one of the great cultural icons of the post-war era, easily as significant as Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, Brando, or Brad Pitt .  Indeed, given the fact that her first single debuted in 1982, thirty years ago this October, and that her new single is out now (ironically self-referencing), and that she is poised to play the Superbowl, it is time to marvel anew.  I can think of few major recording artists of similar career span, other than Frank Sinatra and Bob Dylan ( Leonard Cohen , of course).   Springsteen ? Elvis , The Beatles - those other touchstones, lasted less long, as did Michael Jackson .   Prince , also a genius, is sporadic, hit-and-miss.  No other singer-songwriter of the 80s remains as relevant - indeed, Lady Gaga , and Lana Del Rey , to name two, make so sense without the context of Madonna.  Typing out on Spotify her best songs, I came up with 50, before stopping - it seemed silly. All Madonna albums are a little weak, but