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Saturday, 29 November 2014

My Heroes (40): Roger McGough

I went recently, with my younger daughter, Laura, to hear the Liverpool poet Roger McGough reading works from his long career. In the 1960's he used to be in the band Scaffold with Paul McCartney's brother, Mike.
It was in our local library with a small audience and it was a very entertaining evening, both funny and moving by turns. I bought a few books and told him that the last one of his that I bought was as a teenager - many years ago. He looked at me over the top of his glasses with mock horror! He still has an element of that Liverpool wit, long associated with The Beatles.
Roger McGough now.....

....and then, left.
Here are a few of his poems to enjoy:

God bless all policemen
and fighters of crime,
May thieves go to jail 
for a very long time. 
They've had a hard day
helping clean up the town,
Now they hang from the mantelpiece
both upside down. 
A glass of warm blood
and then straight up the stairs,
Batman and Robin
are saying their prayers. 
* * *
They've locked all the doors
and they've put out the bat,
Put on their batjamas
(They like doing that) 
They've filled their batwater-bottles
made their batbeds,
With two springy battresses
for sleepy batheads. 
They're closing red eyes
and they're counting black sheep,
Batman and Robin
are falling asleep.
We're the Mafia cats
Bugsy, Franco and Toni
We're crazy for pizza
With hot pepperoni
We run all the rackets
From gambling to vice
On St Valentine's Day
We massacre mice
We always wear shades
To show that we're meanies
Big hats and sharp suits
And drive Lamborghinis
We're the Mafia cats
Bugsy, Franco and Toni
Love Sicilian wine
And cheese macaroni
But we have a secret
(And if you dare tell
You'll end up with the kitten 
At the bottom of the well
Or covered in concrete
And thrown into the deep
For this is one secret
You really must keep.)
We're the Cosa Nostra
Run the scams and the fiddles
But at home we are
Mopsy, Ginger and Tiddles

Lastly, to show that there can be depth as well as humour.....
I explain quietly. You
hear me shouting. You
try a new tack. I
feel old wounds reopen.

You see both sides. I
see your blinkers. I
am placatory. You
sense a new selfishness.

I am a dove. You
recognize the hawk. You
offer an olive branch. I
feel the thorns.

You bleed. I
see crocodile tears. I
withdraw. You
reel from the impact. 
Continuing my new experiment of naming the music I am listening to while posting or commenting - right now it's: Dissatisfied Blues by Brownie McGhee. Listen on You Tube:

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Painting of the month (50) November 2014: Bazza

 To celebrate my 50th Painting of the Month post I am featuring an obscure artist known as Bazza of Redbridge. He is a watercolour specialist and this is a retrospective of some earlier works including some quick holiday sketches - one of his favourite ways of working. The paintings vary in size from postcard to A4.

15 minute flower study

Painted for my Grandson, Sonny ,when he had cancer at the age of five.

Copied from a small picture in a holiday flat.
The Beach Huts

Some chap in a fantasy library with a Cezanne forgery on display.

Sonny about a year after leaving hospital, aged six.

Quaint local Street, Woodford Essex, UK

Carvoiero, The Algarve, Portugal

Carvoiero, The Algarve, Portugal

English rural scene. Composed from an amalgam of three separate photographs.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

The Boroughs of London (3): Bexley

When I chose the London Boroughs as the topic for this series I should have thought it through a bit more. It should have been called 'A Review of Some of the More Interesting and Historical London Boroughs'. Bexley would not have been on that list! However, I have often said that, if one keeps digging, something interesting can be found about almost any topic......
The London Borough of Bexley shown in green in the south-east of London, just south of the Thames.
The village of Bexley, after which the Borough is named, has a charter dating from 834 but hardly any other local places are mentioned in the 11th century Domesday Book. It didn't really start growing quickly until the 17th century and the development of the railways in the 19th century was a major impetus for growth. It still has a tremendous amount of green open spaces. The population now is around 237,000 blah, blah, blah.
The most important building is Hall Place, which is Grade 1 listed and a Scheduled Ancient Monument. It was formerly a private stately home but is now owned by the local authority and houses a museum and several galleries. I don't know for sure but I bet it's available for wedding receptions.
Hall Place built around 1540. The second wing, on the right, was added about 100 years later.
I don't think you could say that the architecture is sympathetic to the original building.

Bexley is also renowned for being the location of the only house built by and lived-in by William Morris, founder of the 19th century Arts and Crafts movement.
Located at Bexleyheath, the house is uniquely built of striking red brick. It is now owned and run by the National Trust and open to the public. And, big surprise, it has a tea room! The house is a fabulous example of one man creating his own dream home. He was not the architect but he put in plenty of ideas including hanging paintings by Edward Burne Jones. There is also a very charming garden where one can stroll and imagine what it must have been like to live there.
I knew I would find something interesting there!
Next in this series: The London Borough of Brent, home of Wembley, the national football stadium.
Continuing my new experiment of naming the music I am listening to while posting or commenting - right now it's Bette Midler singing 'Buckets of Rain' duetting with the writer of the song, Bob Dylan.