Sunday, 19 May 2013
I noticed this link posted on Facebook by a guy from the Arts Council, I watched the video. Afterwards I felt the poetry/imagery was just fantastic. The poet, Myra Vennard, is from Bangor, County Down. I feel she is writing because she feels the words. Because she loves the words. Because she is free. I feel that she is feeling and writing naturally. Not for fame and all that silly stuff. City is just beautiful. See for yourself -
Saturday, 18 May 2013
Hi. I have not really been on my blog as much these days. I have a new job role, and have been retraining; so this is why....Anyway, I am still an avid fan of strongly written literature in all genres. I am a tough critic. If, for example, the poetry which I am reading is not strong, then my gaze will quickly drop down off the page like two heavy fists, and I lose interest, completely. There are two Post Modern ( I capitalise this term as it is always used in academia as a matter of importance.Will there be Post-Post-Modernism? No. Obviously not. That would be ridiculous. Reminds me of the idiom, " From the sublime to the ridiculous"), anyway here are the two poets whom I enjoy -
Simon Armitage is a great poet. He is a natural. The man loves words. This is clear. Listening to BBC Radio 4 one Sunday with Paul Farley. On a programme entitled - The Echo Chamber. Armitage read his poem, Poundland, which was knock-out tight and fantastic. I was entranced, listening in. Armitage, latterly, was on BBC Radio Six Music one afternoon with Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie, and while they were introducing Simon, they mentioned that he once bought a book of poems in Poundland (the store) of Ezra Pound, for a pound. I tweeted in to ask for verification of this but Armitage was not long on air. Thusly: my tweet disappeared into the Twittersphere. Unanswered. I have tried to track down Simon's poem, Poundland, online, to no avail. Very disappointing. I would like to read it in the privacy of my own solitude. Here's a photo of Simon -
Another poet, Alice Oswald, was on BBC Radio 4. On Paul Farley's The Echo Chamber. Well, in fact she was on the first week. Her poem, The Gut. About the human body. Blew me away. Here's a photo of Alice -
I will link the site on Radio 4. However, bad times. BBC Iplayer has no longer these episodes up. Gutted. Pun intended. I googled Oswald's The Gut, and no joy, either.
One more thing. A factoid relating to the gut. At a homeless drop-in-centre in Belfast ( I volunteer there), one of the workers, a girl, informed last night that " the brain only generates around 5% of serotonin which keeps you happy, the rest is generated in your gut. " So, folks remember - your diet will lead to your eternal happiness and balance! Very interesting.
Wednesday, 15 May 2013
At the Doctor’s, Waiting
She walked in behind her friend -
I watched her flow as water music moves,
pouring over the markers of definition -
short, succinct, brief, delicate features;
a decadent mouth which would never
know the selfish twist of humanity.
I looked and wanted her so much to look back,
she did - showing me her feminine hazel-eyes
and then coyly, quickly dropped them
before we could catch our conscious selves
gazing…..gazing into a flooding universe……
When I looked again and saw her beauty -
she tousled her hair and became bright and splendid.
I knew at that moment, what Klimt was trying to grasp at
- pure art.
I am unafraid to say, to splay the truth -
that I was a hanging picture of complete love
with this girl, this woman,
this stranger for those few abundant moments;
- and she’ll live on in the warm gilded room
of my memory for as long as a exist as a conscious being.
Neil Burns to the Doctor’s Surgery…….
The end. The start. The end. The….who knows?
Neil J Burns
* Painting ( well, this is a partial part) is from Gustav Klimt's The Kiss. *
Saturday, 4 May 2013
Thursday, 2 May 2013
Hi. Recently I was fortunate enough to try, again, the Belfast Bap. Barney Hughes's Belfast Bap. It was thickly sliced, buttered, fresh, and to accompany on a side-plate: cheese and ham. Thick ham. None of your sweaty-thin, pinky grey stuff out of a packet. No sir. This was proper ham. The kind of ham that would justify a brickie's sandwich at his ten o'clock tea. Slurping alongside with a good brew. The kind of tea that is so thick you would think it was the afters from an oil-filter change. Strong tea. Yes. Good powerful tea.
Anyway, I ate the Belfast bap with a few others at work and I found that it was absolutely packed with flavour, and - quite delicious. With the cheese layered on the bottom and two slices of ham, I was in silent wonderment enjoying as my fellow diners agreed with my sentiment. Big smiles all round with eye contact, and the nodding of heads. Here's a pic from the internet which I commandeered of the Belfast bap, sliced -
So, I wish to promote good, honest hearty bread. The Belfast Bap maybe simple in a way but it has oodles of flavour compared to the stay-fresh-longer weak loaf in the supermarket. Which, quite frankly, can be tasteless. If you're talking about value of money, one Belfast Bap sliced and buttered can feed four people easily all for the grand total of £0.80 pence.
Here's the recipie for the Belfast bap which makes four baps:
A cup of luke-warm water
Three cups of bread flour
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of sugar
Two tablespoons of active dry yeast
Pour the luke-warm water into a bowl, add the sugar, salt, and yeast.
Stir with a fork to dissolve. Let sit for five minutes.
Start adding the flour. The tree cups. In bits and beat with spoon.
Add and beat until the dough is pulling away from the bowl.
Knead with hand, or dough hook, until the dough is smooth and elastic like.
Place in an oiled bowl ( a small amount of any oil) cover with plastic/cling-film.
Let rise until doubled. This can take between an hour and a half.
Then take out of bowl, flour table/work area with rice flour.
Cut the dough into four shapes. Work shapes into balls. Equal size.
Place onto a baking sheet the four balls, closely together.
Sprinkle some rice flour over them.
Put in your oven at 375 or so for 30 mins.
Try and broil them for the last five of those 30 mins.
Keep an eye on the baps in the latter part.
Try and broil them for the last five of those 30 mins.
Keep an eye on the baps in the latter part.
Let cool and enjoy. That's it.
Best wishes. Neil
Monday, 29 April 2013
Hi. So, it's not often I get to review a local writer, as in a Belfast writer. And here was a novel written by Danny Morrison with a tip of the hat to Hermann Hesse: Rudi: In the Shadow of Knulp. Hermann Hesse readers will know that Knulp was a novel published in 1915 which followed the main character Knulp and his wanderings through-out Germany. Rudi, published by http://www.elsinor.de/
Rudi is based in Ireland. The main protagonist, Rudi, is a tramp of sorts. But he does more tramping around the place than lying about in a mire of self-repugnance. There is a tinge of Kafka to this work. Rudi is faceless initially. He could be you. That's what I have found with Kafka and Hesse, that their main characters remain faceless in a away which draw your intrigue in and before you know it - you are projecting yourself into the character. I found this in Rudi too.
Rudi is an exposition into the human condition.
Danny threaded the end of the story well. I found that I could not wait to see what happened or what was to be revealed by Rudi. Rudi holds all the power as the reader follows him on his path. The sub-plots are working away in the background as you emphasise with Rudi's genteel manner. That's the thing about Rudi, he is a rationalist and is also very well-mannered.
I will not "give away" the plot as that is the exciting part of reading - the discovery/discoveries of the narrative - as it unfolds in the fertile field of your warm mind.
I would have to rate Rudi: eight out of ten. One for your to read lists. Check it out.
Sunday, 28 April 2013
Hi. Good wishes to you all on this beautiful Sunday morning in Belfast, and all over this bright blue world; this delicate orb of splendour!
Texas blogger, and writer, C.J.Sullivan ( Carrie, whom I met on Twitter. Here's her blog - http://cjsullivanauthor.blogspot.co.uk/ ), asked me to answer these eleven questions below -
(1). If you could be any type of animal, what would you be and why?
Now, this is an interesting question due to the debate raised by the philosopher
George Berkeley ( Anglo-Irish bishop 12th March 1685 - 14 January 1753)
who said, " I had rather be an oyster than a man, the most stupid and senseless of animals."
I often look at birds and feel envious of their complete freedom.
So, it would have to be a bird.
I think birds are what humans beings desire to be - completely free.
(2). Is there anything you collect? If so, what?
I am not a massive collector of material things. However, things accumulate.
Such as books. I guess my collections are metaphysical: ideas and philosophies.
Words.Yes. I am a gatherer of words and things of a literary nature.
(3). What is the overall goal of your blog?
My blog is a place to articulate myself, creatively.
Because I do not have a lot of outlets to do that in Belfast. Unfortunately.
So, this blog is a space, my corner in the world, to come and toil the fertile soils.
(4). How do you feel in big crowds of people?
I do not mind crowds of people. I am like Edgar Allan Poe's character in
his short story, The Man of the Crowd. Whereupon an unnamed man
observes people in London street from a coffee shop window.
There is, of course,the idea of the Flâneur , the stroller of the city.
Who is/was no rush to go anywhere. Sauntering along taking in everything around him.
It was Walter Benjamin drawing on the poetry of of Charles Baudelaire
who made the Flâneur a matter of scholarly interest in the twentieth century,
making him the figure of the modern city experience.
(5). Mobile phones (cell phones) - what's your opinion of them?
There are important in today's modern world. But not to hide behind
in social situations. That instant communication can be, at times, very important.
(6). If you could decorate your home in any style, what would that be?
I like minimalism. I like plenty of open light. I like some comfort.
I am not a big fan of clutter. I am of Henry David Thoreau's sentiment -
" Life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify!"
(7). Do you believe in Extraterrestrials?
No. And here's why ( I have already thought about this subject on this blog) -
(8). If you could meet any mythological creature, what would it be and why?
Interesting question. I make the supposition here on what people would go for -
Pegasus. But I'd opt for a dragon, possibly. Or a good old bridge-troll.
(9). Would you rather stay busy or have a lot of free time? Why?
Stay busy. Because, " The devil makes work for idle hands."
(10). If you would have a chance to travel to the moon, would you do it?
I am unsure. I sure would like to see the planet earth from the moon. But
as to the moon itself - no. It is a dry, dusty rock. It does not hold any
interest for me.
(11). What music album are you still frequently listening to now that you also
listened to years ago?
I listen to all genres of music. From all decades.
I do not have one favourite album.I listen to Radiohead's Reckoner, a lot.
And recently a lot of classical music. Mainly the piano. Liszt and Chopin.
Yes. Lovely music. The ethereal music of the heavens.
If these fellow bloggers could just answer the same questions, please.
I do not have time to think of new questions. Sorry.
And now to pass on the award -