It’s May the eighth today; how long
Do you think it will be
Before the publication of the Faber Book
Of twenty-first-century poetry?
Pet Shop Boys are dead and gone, it seems;
So artificial could it never be, two
Jokers who wrote nothing about nothing
After all. They faded from obscurity.
A Clockwork Orange will again be peeled
To entertain the zombies and their thugs;
Your DNA would stretch around the world
And liberate a freezing fantasy of drugs.
My left hand holds a tiny statue made
Of ivory, two millimetres high; my
Right hand holds a picture of 3C-236,
A sculpture on a slightly grander scale.
It’s May the eighth today; I wonder
How many years remain for us to play
At being God, going strong not going under
And watching all our dreams of love decay.
Song 4 Revisited
It’s May the Eighth today, and
Down the road there stands
A building-shaped block of emptiness
A silent tribute to that phase
Two years and ninety miles ago
When elegant and sweeping, my ambition
Reached out towards the poverty I
Could not fear. It’s inside-out again,
And we’re heading for oblivion
Just like the future memory, it seems.
The empty lens is hanging once again
To show us how
A resurrection can take place
When we have no reason to believe.
You told me once that my friend
Senor Garcia looks a mess; tormented
By the icy sight of 3C-236, his
Looming harmonies engulf this hive of stars
And we can drink once more
The lavish wine that skins the ocean wide.
It’s May the eighth today; I think
My life moves on in ways I cannot see
We stumble on through chapters of the book
Of shadows cast by Homer’s ecstasy.
Journal Entry, 29 Feb 2000: My watch – for the first time ever – shows the wrong date, having jumped onto 1 March. [Note: I had a cheap Casio watch and it had been automatically programmed with the correct number of days in each month. But the year 2000 should not have been a leap year]
Last night went to B’ham, did a bit in the library, decided to call into Missing and who should appear in front of me but Lee from Derby! He’s moved down here.
Then went to Fountain; empty, hardly surprising, and went down to Boots. Stayed the night. Bought b’day card for Dad, this fountain pen, and some muscle-building supplement.
Felt ever so rough this morning; five pints on a very full stomach. Went into Art Gallery whilst badly hungover and saw the Bridget Riley zzowzzowww!!! picture.
The wall of the reception area is a gallery of certificates and accreditations, all smartly framed and perfectly arrayed.
I am escorted through to the boardroom, where we drink coffee. My hosts converse with each other in German, but they explain their discussions to me in English. During dinner I spilt a tiny blob of spinach puree on my shirt and it left an intensely green spot, which I feel certain my colleagues find amusing.
We hold a technical meeting, during which I explain that we want to explore the joint ventures based on tower paint and core-plate varnish. They are also working on paint for light rail carriages, and one of the Austrian delegates asks me if I have done any work on anti-gravity paints.
For a brief moment I could see a host of paisley swirls dancing in the cold skies above Vienna, as this outlandish idea took hold of my tired brain.
‘Yes, you know’ he carried on eagerly, ‘Gravity…when young men have their names on trains with spray can paint!’
‘Oh, you mean graffiti!’ I said, relieved and disappointed.
My mind wandered back to Truro station, where I had been waiting in the rain with a copy of the album ‘Graffiti Bridge’, looking at the pearl-grey sky made up of tessellated seagulls and profiles of American presidents. I don’t know whether any of the other people round the table that day had listened to that album at whose core lies the song ‘We Can Funk’, a tremendous throbbing monolith of sound-engineered drama.
Perhaps we should encourage youngsters to use their spray-cans to adorn all railway bridges and canal towpaths and rail wagons; the numerous layers of tight polymer will protect against the ingress of moisture and delay the onset of rust.
01 Sep 06: Went to cinema to see ‘Children of Men’, then to f’s restaurant where we drank a bottle of Montepulciano and had some lovely food.
Film v good but departed from book – great soundtrack, some really poignant bits. Fabulous advert for oven chips based on ‘Food, Glorious Food’
Trailers for the new 007 film, and ‘The Prestige’ about a real magician in a town of illusionists – rather like Paul Gallico?
3 Oct 06: New government scheme to help key workers (nurses, teachers etc) get on the housing ladder with a 25 percent subsidy. Their typical low-paid key worker has an income of 35000. How much?
9 Oct 06: Spend spend spend! Saturday bought shoes from Clarks and a one-piece waterproof from Hunts. Ridiculous cumbersome garment.
Went to Monton, Chinese and four bottles wine. Ouch!
Last night with Joyce, Nick and Alicia to Bamford Arms for dinner.
Yesterday B- cut and blonded my hair. Went into work and startled everybody.
We had an e-mail message from Mary Lopes about their red pigment – it had lumps in it when I tested it in paint. She says they have been selling it for years without any complaints, so I e-mailed Adrian et al, saying ‘In that case why is it necessary for me to carry out evaluation tests on a successful product?’