A regular spot to share some ideas about what’s good and what’s not on the interwebthingy. But, you know, it’s your life, so feel free to agree, disagree or ignore what follows.
What caught my attention last week
Money for Verses
Public poetry is making a bit of a comeback. Poetry Slams have been happening around New Zealand for the last month, and in New York …. well it’s New York, baby.
Stephanie Berger and Nicholas Adamski, founded the Poetry Brothel with the idea of a turn-of-the-century bordello dressing up and playing in character as they read their poems.
Sarah Teeboom of the Guardian went along to check it out for us:
Over the course of one evening I paid for five private readings. The first poet was earnest and vulnerable, and between poems told me about his former fiancee, his beloved grandmother, and his guitar (all named Edith). He revealed so much of himself to me that I was reluctant to cheapen our interaction with money.
When The Wave Comes
One of the necessary joys of living in Wellington is civil defence awareness. And now the dear old City Council have taken to painting tsunami signs on all the coastal roads, with arrows pointing the way to safety.
Danger from the sea, sure, but what about lakes?
Back in November 2012 the Economist carried the story of geologists figuring out what happened to Geneva in 563AD. It seems that a underwater cliff of sediment collapsed, caused by an earthquake or even just a storm, sending a huge wave hurtling along the length of the lake.
Within 15 minutes of the collapse, a wave 13 metres high would have reached Lausanne, a city on the northern shore of the lake. But Lausanne is built on steep slopes, so most of it would have been spared. The damage would have been much greater when, 55 minutes after that, an 8-metre wave reached Geneva, at the other end of the lake. Geneva is a lower-lying city than Lausanne and, to make matters worse, the lake narrows here, funnelling water to the point where the Rhône becomes a recognisable river again. It would similarly have funnelled the wave.
Bloody geologists, they ruin all the fun.
At The Pillars of Hercules
Morton Hoi Jensen chooses the Pillar of Hercules pub in Soho in the 1970s as the place he’d most like to drop in on.
Back then it was the home of a remarkable literary circle famed its for long Friday lunches: Martin Amis, Julian Barnes, Clives James, Ian McEwan, Christopher Hitchens amongst others, and at the centre of it all the poet and editor Ian Hamilton.
Of necessity, Hamilton became one of literature’s great hustlers, jingling with money knowhow. When the poet Craig Raine worked as books editor on Fridays, he once met a bailiff on the stairs who asked him if he was Ian Hamilton. Raine took him upstairs to the office and asked Ian Hamilton if he’d seen Ian Hamilton. “No,” Ian Hamilton said, “You just missed him.”
Fittingly, Jensen closes with Hamilton’s own words:
Dear friend, I wish you could have seen
This place when it was at its best,
When I was,
But it isn’t far. It isn’t far. Come with me.
What I’m Trying To Ignore Next Week
Last week I declared that I was going into an early holiday mode and avoiding newspapers, radio, websites, magazines to get rid of the white noise of useless facts and clamouring opinions. Did I miss anything while I was away?
It’s going so well, I think I’ll stick at it for another week.