Category Archives: Blether

Waffly stuff, about nothing.

The Reader’s Digest Book of Folklore Myths and Legends of Great Britain

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I’d like to think there were editorial clashes; Katharine Briggs, in her mid-seventies and a towering authority on British folklore, pushing for the inclusion of more fairy stories while Russell Ash, fresh off Fortean Times forerunner Man, Myth and Magic, arguing the case for quirkier tales of magic. Robin Gwyndaf Jones roaring “MORE WELSH!” Of course this is extremely unlikely. In reality, it was almost certainly compiled centrally, at the UK offices of that most unhip of institutions the Reader’s Digest, from the works of the impressive list of contributors. After all, who can argue what is more valid to be included in a book like this? What is the bar for entry?

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Working mostly in the genre of metafiction

“I work mostly in the genre of metafiction,” I said, not looking up from my monitor. “I’m not really interested in your story.”

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A low bar

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Gary Barlow is now a national treasure. Apparently. According to the BBC. I’d like to take that* claim and subject it to a little scrutiny.

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On English-ish

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This actually is because I read a Cracked article about why English makes no sense, and the comments berating it as ugly and broken, difficult and clumsy.

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Birthday Wishes

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Will the NHS be there for you?
It always was for me
(though my Mum took care of minor things,
Headaches or scraped-up knees).

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You’re Doing It Wrong

Russell T Davies, David Haig, Mina Anwar, Toby Longworth
Russell T Davies, David Haig, Mina Anwar, Toby Longworth

The Wright Way is undeniably a special thing. The reaction to it has been off-the-chart vicious; it’s like the hysterical woman in Airplane!, with every corner of the media lining up to take a bash at it, and, at first glance, that would seem about right. The mugging, the pauses for punchlines to fit into, the generic theme music, the middle-aged-manliness of it all. But look again and it’s possible we’re missing something. Something good. For I come here not to bury The Wright Way, but to praise it.

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Rejoice!

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This is an England
And you are free
Of tyranny – rejoice!
As a hand stretched out
To grasp the tongue
Of the great cracked-iron voice.
Be silent
In your hour of freedom
Be silent, and be glad
Now just lie back
And think of an England
None of us ever had.

You can protest,
They say,
You can’t
But help be there
That day
And turn your back
On an England that
Looked the other way.

It had you not
In mind, in heart
In its grip, perhaps,
Though through it you can fall
Through gaps
In fingers opened wide
As certain structures will collapse
In holes that once were small.

So have your silence,
Hold your tongue
This moment will not
Last for long.
That’s all you have –
(False) memories
Of an England at its best.
Grip that in mind
As in her name
We sell off all the rest.

The Twitters of Oz

Half-written a long time ago, I had plans to develop it further but suddenly it’s relevant…

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Words of Iron

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“Come on, boys”
He says and smiles
“Put on your dancing shoes
We’ll give her a send off
You’ll never forget.”
The silence claps about him
Like irons on his wrist
The feet shuffle in
Awkward steps
That are not dance
They wince.
Knives glint in the open
Words of steel
Words of iron
Unused yet read, poised
To cut the unwary
Who dare to open their honest
Unkind
Truth.
Today is not a day for dancing
Today is a day for veils
And blinds, still drawn at noon
And blinkers.