Tuesday 29 March 2016

Munich, Innsbruck and holiday reading

In March we went to Innsbruck and Munich. Here's how we left our kitchen blackboard (C++ is the computing language that I'll no longer be teaching to first years).

On the plane I read "Will You Take Me As I Am" by Michelle Mercer. It's about Joni Mitchell. I read that she got her "Both Sides Now" idea from "Henderson the Rain King" by Saul Bellow. I've since done some research. In chapter V it says "sitting above the clouds, I felt like an airborne seed ... And I dreamed down at the clouds, and I thought that when I was a kid I had dreamed up at them, and having dreamed at the clouds from both sides as no other generation of men has done, one should be able to accept his death very easily"

I hadn't skied for 3 years, and I'm not much of a skier anyway, but I enjoy the journeys up (highest was 2,250m). Here's the selfie-shadow of me on a chairlift. I read "Plenty-fish" by Sarah James, and "Arc" by David Clarke (both published by Nine Arches Press). I find poetry easier than prose when on skiing holidays. Jeffrey Archer (one of our local authors back in Cambridge) was 14th in the Austrian charts with "Das Vermachtnis des Vaters".

Years ago at a local car boot sale I found this globe of Bavaria. We've visited Munich before, but there's still much that I've forgotten or haven't seen. Overall, there seemed to be more pride about being Bavarian nowadays. We went to a beer event (brass bands, "strongest man" and beauty competitions) and sang the Bavarian anthem. I'm not used to drinking beer by the litre, and it was strong stuff. "craft beer" is in fashion.

The Michael Jackson tribute is still in Munich (where he appeared on a hotel balcony holding his child), and seems well looked after.

We noticed inscriptions like this (bottom right) on door frames in Innsbruck and Munich. According to Ritten Renon These are the symbols of a Christmas tradition originally carried out mostly on the Twelfth Night, when carol singers go from door to door, perform a song and raise money for a charity. After their performance they will write, let’s say “20 C+M+B 15”, on the doorframes with sacred chalk. The numbers represent the respective year. The three letters, C, M, and B don’t stand for the names of the three wise men Caspar, Melchior und Balthasar, as one would expect, but for the blessing “Christus Mansionem Benedicat“, which means „May Christ bless this house” in Latin.

Wednesday 23 March 2016

CB1, March 2016

It was standing space only at the CB1 event (held in CB2), and I was at the back, hence the fuzzy photos. Two locals headed the line-up. Adam Crothers ("Several Deer", Carcanet 2016) has a default style that's well worth investigating, rhyme holding together content that has wit and abrupt tonal variety.

Ilse Pedler was making her first appearance following the publication of her prize-winning Seren pamphlet "The Dogs That Chase Bicycle Wheels". She also uses forms (sonnet, sestina, etc). As the emcee Lindsey Fursland pointed out, her day-job as a vet interacts with her poetry in several ways.

They both gave interesting introductions to their pieces. They both used sonic effects, so hearing the poems added to their effect on the page.

I contributed to the open mic. One of my problems this time was that the font was too small for me to read in the atmospheric gloom of the venue. Maybe one day I'll get it right.