I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Wit, plus a bit of politics

POP EXPLORED, part ten. Occasional Speeder says try The Wanted. I choose All Time Low and am rewarded. Much pop lacks wit (ie, a mix of conciseness, humour, invention, style) but this has musical and literary wit.

Minimalist start with chopped-off, di-dah-diddy orchestral string chords which could, for me, have accompanied the song throughout. Instead the texture widens into pulsing guitar-ish sounds. Five solemn youths bemoan lost love in constrained but specific on-the-beat lyrics:

Praying won’t do it.
Hating won’t do it.
Drinking won’t do it.
Fighting won’t knock you

the verse ending with four soft grace notes:

out of my head.

The refrain being:

How do you get up from an all-time low?

And how about:

I’m in pieces,
Seems like peace is,
The only thing I’ll never know.

OS also says check out Manic Street Preachers commemorating the International Brigade in the Spanish civil war: If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next. MSP are “leftist anarchist” a coded phrase for “inadequate vocalist”. Twangy guitar gets more and more twangy (and noisy) and I look up the lyrics elsewhere. Impeccable sentiments; scrapbook video evokes terrible conflict that never ended. First verse says the obvious:

The future teaches you to be alone
The present to be afraid and cold
So if I can shoot rabbits
Then I can shoot fascists

But a later verse complicates things

Gravity keeps my head down
Or is it maybe shame
At being so young and being so vain
Holes in your head today

But I'm a pacifist
I've walked La Ramblas
But not with real intent

Suggesting the coda to “The cost of freedom is eternal vigilance” is “Be prepared to act.” As with Assad’s Syria at this very moment.


  1. This brought to mind Leonard Cohen's "the Partisan". See:
    As a Jewish French Canadian he took this from a French Resistance song. It goes down a storm in many countries and he is very popular in Germany, but never sings it there.

  2. You can preumably get away in pop music with rhyming "rabbits" with "fascists". Does it matter probably not. Do I admire it? Can't bring myself to however hard I try. Is it meant to be a rhyme? Perhaps not. In which case does it matter? I think it does because it suggests a rhyme. Perhaps I should listen to the music and forget the words. May be the words don't matter. May that's as it should be.

  3. Dear Lorenzo

    I am enjoying your blog and find this recent post fascinating. I really like:

    How do you get up from an all time low?

    It reminds me of:

    'bin down so long it seems like up to me.

    Also, I read your excellent comment on Lucy's Boxelder in which you suggest a competition to see who can write a sonnet in the fewest words. I have one to sub mit for the comp. with a slightly musical theme so hope it might gain a favourable hearing from the judge. Have only just finished it and am dangerously "quite pleased" with it, which is usually a sign with metrical efforts that it is actually a merry prattle of gobbledigook.
    it is to be found on my blog pomesonpoets@blogspot.com

  4. Avus: Oh goodness gracious, you're talking about something on a much, much higher level. For one thing it solves at a stroke the MSP's rhyming problem that justifiably disturbed Plutarch. Eg:

    An old woman gave us shelter,
    kept us hidden in the garret,
    then the soldiers came;
    she died without a whisper.

    Simultaneously, the lyrics are spare and to the point. The unforgivable failing, when tackling a subject like this, is to exaggerate. I fear the MSP don't understand this. As I said, their sentiments are fine but if that was all it took then they could have pasted up a slogan on a wall. They chose instead to write a song and didn't follow it through.

    On top of this again, LC's whole style and execution has been honed for such "difficult" subjects. The difference is between childhood and adulthood. I don't want to knock MSP given that their heart appears to be in the right place - but, alas, we know where good intentions lead to.

    Plutarch: Your question is partially answered above, but it demands a whole post on its own. It is a topic I'm beginning to see more clearly now and I will address it in the next post.

    Lucas: We are definitely ships that pass in the night. Once we nearly shared lunch; on another occasion we munched villanelles, albeit at separate tables. I like the idea you suggest but it will, of course, take time. Not everyone cares to write a sonnet in an afternoon (and then repent horribly at leisure as I recently did. Incidentally if you did read Ode To Paracetemol I hope it was the present, revised version. It's not all that good, but it is far better than the first).

    Well do I know the state of being "quite pleased". Painful experience has taught me that the phrase is incomplete. The words "at having finished" need adding and they are, as amateurs like me recognise, pregnant with meaning.

    As to the comp, I'll draft a format which addresses all the implications and send it to you for approval. By then I will also have read your sonnet and will be able to respond to that as well.

  5. I agree: writing a sonnet in an afternoon is a very dangerous thing to do, and I see exactly what you mean about being quite pleased......it's finished. Also I'm glad the comp. idea will take a bit of time to draft up, as I know I need more time before my sonnet in as few words as possible reaches a genuine sense of being done. I have removed it into "saved draft" for the time being. Thanks again for the idea. I think I saw the later version of Ode to Paracetamol. Would like to locate it again though.

  6. Have greatly enjoyed Ode To Paracetamol. It is different from the one I read before. The experience you describe in the comments has been transformed by the wit of recollection in a truthful mirror.

  7. Lucas: My apologies for neglecting you. Normally I respond much more quickly than this but life has been complicated by the ebb and flow of my chestiness, the fact that my brother is here performing DIY tasks and the ebb and flow of my computer's ability to stay connected to the Internet.

    I started drafting a sort of handbill about the sonnet competition but this foundered on the fact that I wanted to take part myself. There is also a curious technical matter: the sonnets would have have be published simultaneously. Why? Well suppose you managed a 97- word sonnet (the earlier version of Paracetamol ran to 109 words) and I published it. Then it would be far simpler for, say, Lucy to rearrange hers to get one word under.

    I need sort of sealed-bid system I think. What's more if I take part my role as judge as jury would make me ineligible for the prize I have in mind.

    You (along with Plutarch and Lucy) are very kind in your comments about my attempts at versification. A small voice inside tells me anyone who abruptly decides on this line of business at age 74 (I think) is likely to end up with the epitaph: Never Matched His Youthful Promise. It isn't so much the compliments I've received but the fact that I'm taken seriously. Lucy and Plutarch have actually sent me books! I'm a retired hack and I find myself ebulliently commenting on other people's stuff as well. I've never carried L-plates and never passed an official verse-writer's exam.

    Anyway, thank you. I seem to remember co-writing a villanelle with Plutarch and soon after reading one you'd done on your own. I'm glad it happened that way round and I must confess I haven't written another since.