Archive for November, 2020

Free Broadcast: Birmingham Royal Ballet

Posted: November 27, 2020 in Chat

Here’s a real scoop for ballet lovers:

A free, broadcast performance from Birmingham’s iconic Town Hall to celebrate our 30th anniversary

And why not take a look at gerarddavis09/Dancing Review blog, while you’re here?

Oh, yes, I do really like this.

Star of Caledonia

To be based on the Scottish-English border, near Gretna.
Certainly do need something big to mark that crossing!

HUGE congratulations to Chimananda Ngozi Adichie

The prize is given for the global success of, and acclaim for, her novel Half of a Yellow Sun, published 2006, by Knopf/Anchor.

BoJo the clown has come to town
his too-big flapping feet 
chipping the gilt off Downing Street.

Can’t manage this, can’t handle that;
bungling Foreign-Office diplomat.
None remember a word he’d say.
It was all lies, anyway.

Unmemorable face, shapeless suit;
hair, like his wit,
public school-boy cute.

– And where is Rees-Mog?
Lost in the fog
admiring his own
casuistry and pettifog.

Can’t reign-in ambition or mouth,
the goings and comings
of Dominic Cummings,
nor undisguised only concern
for England South.

‘Get Brexit done!’
then he really can have fun
punishing further the homeless,
the countless lives, 
his ambition has undone.

Pushing every button that comes along,
full-out for every grand-stand.
But he is only really a stand-in, 
until the real one comes along. 

Notes needed?

BoJo -English Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Downing Street – official residence of P M.
Cute’ – not a word to use for a grown man.
Rees-Mog – Jacob Rees-Mog, top Tory Minister in PM’s Government. Often referred to as ‘the Minister representing the 19th Century’ i.e. ultra conservative.
Casuistry – Jesuitical practice. J Rees-Mog is an ardent Roman Catholic, with Jesuitical tendencies.
Pettifog – pettifogging, a tactic for wasting time in timed debates.
Dominic Cummings – kind of Svengali figure in BoJo’s top circle. Recently caught driving around when should have been self isolating, with Covid.
We are still waiting for the protections.

Trail’s End

Posted: November 10, 2020 in John Stammers Page
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Donald J Trump in a roadside bar
his cap sliding into his eyes,
nursing his drink like he’s film noir
‘I just can’t get an aide,’ he sighs
‘who’ll stay from round-up to trail’s-end.’
His tenth’s contract came to a sudden end.

The bar man shakes his head, ‘I hate 
to see any man so down on his luck.
All end up here, somehow.’ gives me a look,
then begins to relate… 
but Donald sat up, shook,
insomnia-red eyes glared around the room,
as he mumbled ju-ju into soda and lime

in a whiskey glass. 
Will he phone home? Will he sleep alone?
‘Looking for reporters, TV crew,’ 
the bar man says. ‘It’s what they all do
at the end of their time.’ 


Donald J Trump woke up in his trailer
struggled to put on his too-tight jacket,
grunted with shoes, zipped pants, in that order.
Looked up, straightened tie: ‘Still hack it!’
Checked pockets, sprayed hair, ‘They’ll see!’  
Hummed a voice check, ‘Here’s to me!’
chinking his glass, then downed in one;
rechecked the clock: Will this be the one?

Nearly time to hit the stage again, 
stood, belly in, ok, a little weight gain;
climbed step by step down the stairs
to stand in the wings. ‘Noisy tonight’.
He knew a few things to get them right,
tricks and faces, the names in his cross-hairs.
Then time: stepping out all constraint disappears 
as he puts on his Mickey Mouse ears.

The circus is in town again.

Theatre in your own home

Posted: November 7, 2020 in John Stammers Page

Theatre needs support.

Here’s an initiative by Knaive Theatre: theatre in your own home, your own room.
A digital immersive experience.

Last night we had Stampin in the Graveyard. A very professional piece.

Tonight is the deeply immersive
Covid Lockdown Breath Machine.
Don’t miss it.

Covid Lockdown Breath Machine is a binaural sound project written by 
Lavinia Murray and composed and sound designed by Dr. Robert Bentall.

‘Designed specifically to be experienced in with headphones, alone, with the
lights off and the curtains drawn Covid Lockdown Breath Machine is a fantastical, transformative and ultimately uplifting journey into the symptoms and imaginings of a corona virus patient. Take a breath and let this breeze whisk you to a world of kaleidoscopes, household gods, mushroom spores and a fresh but capricious westerly wind.’

​’You can hear a teaser by putting on your headphones and clicking here.’

Bon voyage.

Bonnie Broukit Bairn

Posted: November 3, 2020 in John Stammers Page

I was wondering how to introduce this choice of poem.
I could have riffed about this or that, but… does Hugh MacDiarmid’s poem need a reason for being?

Bonnie Broukit Bairn

Mars is braw in crammasy,
Venus in a green silk goun,
The auld mune shak’s her gowden feathers,
Their starry talk’s a wheen o’ blethers,
Nane for thee a thochtie sparin’
Earth, thou bonnie broukit bairn!
– But greet, an’ in your tears ye’ll drown
The haill clanjamfrie!

Hugh MacDiarmid.
From Sangschaw, 1925.

crammasy crimson
wheen o’blethers pack of nonsense
broukit neglected
haill clanjamfrie whole crowd of them