Shelley in Sainsbury's - Manchester 2019 (V3)

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bjondon
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Shelley in Sainsbury's - Manchester 2019 (V3)

Post by bjondon » Thu Oct 24, 2019 4:02 pm

Assistants stand concerned - the adolescent
sprawled between two aisles - biscuits, crackers
urgent, meaningless supplies - A toddler
yes, they've seen that (many times before)
but this? and him? - they are appalled.

O Superman - Astonished now, they watch the genuflectors:
Gentle us, the busy people. Gentle us with steel - Our Tantrum
seems to pause - O God, I see him wink, I swear I saw him wink -
Strange air - a breath - now through our Supermarket draws:


Dust, then Fire, in every over-tilled field
Ashen faces reflected back, box-fresh
Smiling, not for you, but the toys they wield
An old, mad, blind, despised and dying clique (Hurraah!)
Force feed the people mud from muddy springs
Dead-catted, fracked and cleaved by Toad-Speke
Who are these leering glass gorillas? cry
The rent-slaved to their neo Offshore Kings
And Tantrum stands up on his slimed hind feet


Consumers part, but Shelley, Mitchell, Cutler, all the usual
ghostly nutters, hover just above the sell-by mark-down bins
and mutter:

Seventy four since when we had a proper war
The beach at Cambridge? Yeah, that happens - twice a year
The polar bears? Upcycled. They make good deck chairs!
And only one and ten since when the banks went boom boom Caught-Yah!
Times best statute? You're having a laugh - a muzzled Fox (but only half)
Napoleon? The Phantom Glories? Sure, they burst their banks
Think Peterloo, add one hundred, take away two -
And then the dregs, the worst of the worst - The Old Boys -
All busy now - crafting signal into noise.

Tantrum Tantrum (Snotty) thinks we're done, done in
done to a turn. Forgets (sees not) the Chorus:

Ashton, Mee, Valenti, Blakely, Coburn
Ridge, McElvoy, Derbyshire, Asthana
Kuenssberg, Maitlis, Burley . . .

They sit, relaxed, in curious circles, patiently explaining
giving us the lowdown, giving us the last word:

Women of the world, take over

sings our Ivor, Ivor with his signature quizzical frown

No tears. Such tears! . All gone







V2
Assistants stand concerned ; the adolescent sprawled between two aisles
Biscuits, crackers, urgent meaningless supplies - A toddler, yes, they've seen that
(Many times before) but this? and him? - They are appalled
A few amongst them kneel : O Super Market - Gentle us, the busy people

Gentle us with steel - A rump and ripe and sullen despair ; a discrete ignorance
Of some other thing approaching care ; 'Confected Hysteria' on high hand, bandied
held up so high (shat in our faces) - 40 years of Greed is Good! - One and ten since when
For all it did, the banks went (smiling faces) aces-up ; and banks of cardboard boxes

Fat with charity boomed instead ; some sort of love, though frail forgotten
One old cutler mutters : Seventy four, the peace has stood - The BBC The ITV
The MetroMetro Channel 4 - our In Excelsis Gaudete Gloria - all there upon the floor
Only women, brave and wry, from far and wide - they stand, they look on - they

Are patient - Now! - Women of the world, take over - No tears! Such tears!
All gone. You have rented out some sort of sorrow here here here upon this floor.


Original

Assistants stand concerned, the adolescent sprawled between two aisles -
Biscuits, crackers, pressing, urgent meaningless supplies - A toddler, yes, they've seen that
(Many times before) but this? and him? - They are appalled ; a few amongst them
Kneel : O Super Market - Gentle us, the busy people, gentle us with steel:

A rump and ripe and sullen despair ; a discrete ignorance of some other thing
Approaching care - Confected Hysteria on high hand, bandied, held up so high
Shat in our faces - 40 years of Greed is Good! - One and ten since when, for all it did
The banks went - smiling faces - aces ass-up and banks of cardboard boxes, thin

With charity boom boomed in their wake ; some sort of love, though frail forgotten -
One old codger mutters : 74, the peace has stood. O BBC The ITV The MetroMetro
Channel 4 - our In Excelcis Gaudete Gloria - all there upon the floor - Only women
Brave and wry, from far and wide - they stand, they look on

They are patient - Now! - Women of the world, take over -
We have rented out some sort of sorrow here here here upon this floor.
Last edited by bjondon on Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:08 pm, edited 24 times in total.

ray miller
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Re: Not a Sonnet : England in 2019

Post by ray miller » Fri Oct 25, 2019 5:10 pm

Seems like it's saying a lot, but I only get about half of it. First stanza - there must be a few in the frame for the sprawling toddler, but I get the general drift, I'm flummoxed by "meaningless supplies" though. Lines 7 and 8 are straightforward enough but not so the 2 preceding them.
74, the peace has stood - years since the 2nd World War?
I'd be interested to discover who the women are of the last few lines.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: Indig-Nation : England in 2019

Post by bjondon » Sun Oct 27, 2019 6:04 pm

It's head in the halitosis-ridden-jaws-of-a-lion time again.
I swore I wouldn't do this . . . telly, brexity . . . Shelley's England in 1819 is such a wonderful poem -
www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45118/england-in-1819
I just assumed other (better!) poets would have risen to this bait . . . apparently not . . . Perhaps there's a good reason :) … Perhaps even the original - a single sentence of vitreolic yet inspiring and humane fury - would have been regarded as tub-thumping by PBS's contemporaries (yes, ok, in fact they would have thrown both him and his publishers in jail - it didn't get into print until 1839) . . . Perhaps Indignation is the one emotion we've all had our fill of (see new title). Harry Hill says he loves it, wants it to go on forever.
Abit like the independence vote in Scotland the nation has become weirdly politicized, and yet I can imagine a whole generation being put off ever becoming politicians seeing what this lot, the good, the bad and the ugly have to crank themselves up to do again and again and again, knowing full well that whoever manoevres themselves, sticks it out to the last face-off and nuanced advantage will take the prize . . . the poor European politicians can't take the pace, exhaustion in itself has become part of the strategy.

Shelley's sonnet ends with a naive idealistic call for revolution . . . he was very young. Does anyone remember that 1983 Ivor Cutler single 'Women of the world take over'? One of his best, covered by a few artists since, and possibly playing in the background. - Actually, articulating that now, I think the quote itself works better in L13, now amended.
But mostly my ending was inspired by seeing so many superb female political editors and interviewers standing in groups patiently (with wry smiles and raised eyebrows) explaining to us what just happened. Journalism is a cut-throat, traditionally male- dominated business . . . you don't rise to those positions unless you're the best. I checked on wiki to see if this was just my confirmation bias or mere window dressing but as far as I could verify the beeb, Sky, radio 4, the Economist, the Evening Standard, the Guardian, the Telegraph all have women as frontline political editors and presenters, most of them effectively in the top job. The ground has shifted. Possibly the single glimmer of hope on the horizon.

Ray - thanks for the read - the 'meaningless supplies' - I suppose my 'aisles' are partly the vaunted array of shiney goods late capitalism insists on dangling under our noses, but also the aisles of parliament and the degree to which rhetoric, sincerity, statistics have all become increasingly meaningless and manipulated.

L5+6 - It starts with a sort of echo of Shelley's opening, the 'rump' how England is described sans Scotland and Wales; the 'sullen despair' actually a quote from David Hare (ok, a bit obscure), comparing the mood in the country now to the 'provoked anger' of the Thatcher years - I wouldn't expect the reader to pick up on that but I thought it was an accurate observation. The other quote 'confected hysteria' used by Johnson earlier this year to describe his opponents'tactics, though of course it's a much better fit for his own modus operandi . . . I think quite a few people recognized that as a landmark moment in the whole 'propaganda war'.

74 - yes, exactly. I just spent a week with my brother who lives in France and was trying to explain the 'yellow vests' phenomena . . . 6 months of continual demonstrations we hear little about. Essentially the whole French polity is being held together by string and tear gas. Twice the electorate have been forced to vote in a party no-one wants just to stop Le-Pen, i.e. open fascism. It doesn't make too much difference to UK plc whether we stay or leave . . . but I can't help thinking that despite being a pebble in Europe's shoe for decades we may also have a role a little like a keystone.

Jules

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Re: Shelley in Sainsbury's : 2019 (revision)

Post by Macavity » Sun Nov 17, 2019 3:05 am

But mostly my ending was inspired by seeing so many superb female political editors and interviewers standing in groups patiently (with wry smiles and raised eyebrows) explaining to us what just happened. Journalism is a cut-throat, traditionally male- dominated business . . . you don't rise to those positions unless you're the best. I checked on wiki to see if this was just my confirmation bias or mere window dressing but as far as I could verify the beeb, Sky, radio 4, the Economist, the Evening Standard, the Guardian, the Telegraph all have women as frontline political editors and presenters, most of them effectively in the top job. The ground has shifted. Possibly the single glimmer of hope on the horizon.
Interesting observation Jules, an insight buried in your poem. Your explanations often have a lucidity, and a reasoning, that resonates. Anyway back to the poem:
Assistants stand concerned ; the adolescent sprawled between two aisles
Biscuits, crackers, urgent meaningless supplies - A toddler, yes, they've seen that
(Many times before) but this? and him? - They are appalled
A few amongst them kneel : O Super Market - Gentle us, the busy people
A good opening grab. It captures the shock value of an incident that wakes up humanity. Yes, 'normality' has new levels of 'norm'.

best

mac

ps perhaps name the women rather than the outlets?

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Re: Shelley in Sainsbury's : 2019 (revision)

Post by NotQuiteSure » Sun Nov 17, 2019 3:03 pm

.
Hi Jules,
baffled, by and large, but enjoyed the read anyway.
do the 'Women' only stand and look on?

L9 - maybe, boomed instead. Fat with charity. ?

(There's something a bit Spice Girls/Spice up your life with 'Women of the world' :) )

Regards, Not

.

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Re: Shelley? In Sainsbury's? - Manchester 2019 (V3)

Post by bjondon » Mon Nov 25, 2019 3:45 pm

Thanks mac and Not - a thorough revision posted
. . . I'm still worrying at this bone.
Am I a masochist?

mac - glad you liked the opening scene. I have made the whole thing a bit more theatrical
with a clearer location and cast.
Your suggestion to name the journalists seemed like a good one.

Not - Cutler's 'hit' single came out in '83 - perhaps you needed to be there
The refrain is chanted very seriously and endlessly - that's about the whole lyric
- it's actually very funny. Apparently Jim O'Rourke did a notable cover in '99.

Dylan - if you happen to drop by you may notice an 'influence' - hope you don't mind.

Jules

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Re: Shelley? In Sainsbury's? - Manchester 2019 (V3)

Post by Macavity » Wed Nov 27, 2019 4:26 am

I'd drop the question marks in the title Jules. Assertion is more defining. nutter/mutter - I don't like the use of nutter here, may be over-sensitive, but it feels offensive though it sets up the mutter. I picked up on the An old, mad, blind, despised and dying clique , but the (Hurraah!) I find quirky, but then I feel this has become an internalised project.

The polar bears? Upcycled. They make good deck chairs!

In what way? too furry?

hope that helps some

mac

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Re: Shelley in Sainsbury's - Manchester 2019 (V3)

Post by bjondon » Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:42 pm

Thanks for the feedback mac.
I have fixed the question marks.
I'm not sure about 'nutter/mutter' - I do worry about these things.
It could be an idiom that is shifting. The other day my nephew (mid 20's) described
one of his friends as 'a complete nutter' - using it as a positive epithet meaning
a bit lairy, reckless, always larking about. My phrase 'all the usual ghostly nutters'
is being applied to three dead poets I regard as heroic in their stubborn awkwardness
and desire to change the world. In my head the phrase has dissident, contrarian
connotations rather than suggestions of mental illness, unlike say for example
'nutcases' which I wouldn't use. But I could be wrong and am willing to be persuaded.

The 'Hurraah' - perhaps it is a tad too meta - I was trying to acknowledge the
pastiche (here it comes again) and partly thinking of the 'water off a duck's back' arrogant
response of the elite to criticism. This is a quirky experimental piece but if it's
not communicating I should drop it.

Furry deck chairs - like furry teacups?

Best,
Jules

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Re: Shelley in Sainsbury's - Manchester 2019 (V3)

Post by Poet » Sun Dec 22, 2019 5:29 am

This poem is quite a convoluted mess what is this about? All I got from it was sorrow and women.

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Re: Shelley in Sainsbury's - Manchester 2019 (V3)

Post by bjondon » Mon Dec 30, 2019 6:34 pm

Hi Poet, it was supposed to be a sort of state of the nation thing, England in 2019, an echo of Shelley's poem 'England in 1819'.
Yes, I agree, it's a convoluted mess!
Jules

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Re: Shelley in Sainsbury's - Manchester 2019 (V3)

Post by Poet » Tue Dec 31, 2019 4:03 am

bjondon wrote:
Mon Dec 30, 2019 6:34 pm
Hi Poet, it was supposed to be a sort of state of the nation thing, England in 2019, an echo of Shelley's poem 'England in 1819'.
Yes, I agree, it's a convoluted mess!
Jules
Yeah well at least that needed to be said.

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