I really enjoyed the comments on my last post. I have just about memorised all 15 verses of the Auden, so on the recommendation of Jenny it's on to Yeats' The second coming'. It's not too long but there's no rhyming to assist my stiff old brain.
I came across a gorgeous piece by Stevie Smith which made me think how some poems are like the best blog posts. A important point is made with few words, a personal anecdote and a sprinkling of humour, preferably self deprecating. None of us on line scribblers can hope to match the wonderful pathos of 'Pad Pad', but all the ingredients are there for the kind of post I hope will regularly win Bloggers' Circle post of the month:
'I always remember your beautiful flowers
And the beautiful kimono you wore
When you sat on the couch
With that tigerish crouch
And told me you loved me no more.
What I cannot remember is how I felt when you were unkind
All I know is, if you were unkind now I should not mind.
Ah me, the power to feel exaggerated, angry and sad
The years have taken from me. Softly I go now, pad, pad '
The woman who manges our villa suggested we take the teenagers to a place called 'Star Beach' near Hersonissos. It was without doubt one of the most hideous places I have ever visited (and we were there for less than five minutes).
More crowded and sweaty than the Northern Line during rush hour, blaring pounding techno Muzak, Bacardi Breezers being knocked back by spotty faced wide boys from Basildon and Barnsley, no one (apart from our bewildered group of middle aged parents) over 25, a tiny, sad and muddy beach largely ignored in favour of the sun loungers next to the innumerable bars: A place that should be consigned to the innermost circle of Dante's inferno.
Our friends staying in Malia (which makes Hersonissos seem like St Moritz) say there isn't a family beach in the vicinity; not, in fact, until you go miles East along the coast, close to where we are based.
Look, I know I'm a grumpy old man. I don't really begrudge the younger generation their fun. I only gave up on excess when it started to disagree with me. But it's the intensity and commercial monotony of the place; the rows of bars selling 'English breakfasts' and offering happy hour triple measure treats. My favourite sign was outside a 'pub' no bigger than my Stockwell local that advertised 'Indian, Chinese and Italian food our speciality'. And to add to the noise and general aggro, every teen whether from England, Germany, Russia, Holland or anywhere else, seems to have their own quad bike on which to zoom from bar to bar and eye each other up suspiciously.
I thought about writing my own poem about Malia. I've got two lines..
'Men who look like dogs bred for fighting
Wander in packs designed for inciting'
But then I collapse into snobbery and cliche.
Feel free to add to it, those of you who have also experienced teen resort hell. Me, I think I'll stick to learning from the masters
In part two of the Our Way Through essay series, Anthony Painter considers whether our current relationships with money, power and technology are helping or hindering society's progress.
A new CEO, a new format and new ideas – Andy Haldane marked his first day as head of the RSA in September with our first virtual Fellowship Townhall.