I grew up in the shadow of the nuclear bomb and the cold war. A common form of conversation in the 1950’s was what would you do in your last four minutes of life. Many young people said “Sex” but I was a bit too young to know what that really meant. Nowadays 4 minutes would just about get me out of my poet’s overalls. The proposition was that 4 minutes was the length of warning we would have of Russian nukes arriving at a town near you. No one knew why they would be launched and we only knew that our boys were ready to do the same to them. I did not know where Russia was. I was very conscious of Cuba in 1962. When I joined the Metropolitan Police in 1977 we had to receive nuclear war training from two instructors who were dubbed “Nuclear Ned” and “Roentgen Ron” who explained to us about shooting starving looters and dealing with the thousands casualties beyond help. It was at about this time I began to wonder if the world controllers were necessarily the best guys for the job. The 1986 film “When the Wind Blows” which looked at Civil Defence in time of attack makes salutary viewing.
So, let us look at the Eurovision song Contest. The Russian entry has been chosen. As I reported to my American readers last week, the UK has chosen Eurobert Humperdinck (75yrs) to represent this Sceptred Isle, this Mother of Parliaments etc. We may as well give up. The Russians have won and for sure have my vote already. At first the choice of a band of grannies in traditional costume singing in Udmurt and (I think) some English may not have seemed calculated to win. However, their performance is so genuine and full of love that it will sweep the board. Check out the clip and at the beginning look at the old lady on the far left. A younger stronger woman next to her has an arm around her and they exchange a glance which is beautiful. It is about friendship and support. Seeing other cultures, their loves,comedies and struggles is the end to War. Ladies and Gentlemen here is Buranovskiye Babushki singing “Party For Everyone”.
I don’t know about you but I found that quite emotional. Look at those socks and remember that we were all going to annihilate each other a few years ago.
At this very moment my collection of poems “I Threw A Stone” is free on Amazon KDP. Come on guys – just click on it. You do not have to read it. This could be the first time a living poet has got into the charts! It comes with MP3 Audio. Here are the links:
You know when someone at a party or in the supermarket says your name, suddenly all else is silent and you tune in. I no longer go to many parties but I still have a name. This time of year is of course Oscar season. Every time I put on the TV or the radio some celebrite is talking about the Oscars. I feel how a dog in the park must feel with dozens of canine managers calling out “Here boy!”. By the way, if you have not seen this little clip of a hapless dog manager calling his pooch I do recommend it.
One of the most compelling names of course is “Dad” or “Mum”. I wonder how old you have to be not to turn round when a child calls out for the parent. As an old guy you have to be so careful not to smile at or acknowledge kids. I mean this in a really serious way incidentally. What would happen to an old bloke who approached a lost distressed child? It would be risky – particularly if you fled into a church as the mob attacked.
So, the Oscars are upon us. Who will win the prize for the Best Screen Poet of all time? Probably no one, because the category does not exist. All the same I am poised to reveal my own stardom on the silver screen – OK, just the TV really. I’m not sure if you get this show in the USA these days but in the UK it is called “Midsomer Murders”. In Europe it seems to run as “Inspector Barnaby”.
A couple of years ago, the poet’s mate spotted an advertisement for film extras. All that was needed was a bicycle. We set off on a frosty morning to a portion of pretty Downland. We mingled among the Greats munching bacon sandwiches served from a huge caravan. Thespians ate as if they were people just like me. They smoked cigarettes and practiced riding bikes. For every performer there seemed to be several hundred assistants with loud-hailers (bullhorns), clipboards and luvvy chat. One unfortunate actress had clearly never been on a bike in her life. On the first take she crashed painfully. “Looks like her big break in the movies” quipped an old sweat cyclist. “CUT!” bellowed a bullhorn. All day we cycled about. At one point we all had to appear to be chatting and looking at the view. We all had to mime because you have to an official thesp to speak. Later they dubbed in mumbling chat done by professional mumblers.
We had a huge lunch and at the end of the day we all received a decent wad of cash. Fortunately for you poor bored patient readers a clip of my starring moment does exist. It is dubbed in Polish but this does not affect my role. I am the old bloke in the black hat and fluoroescent green coat cycling behind an actor at the 30 second point. I do make several other cameo appearances amongst groups of other cyclists. In a whole day we filmed about 40 seconds of programme. As the ceremony unfolds and the gasps and gushes reach a new crescendo of controversy, revealing dresses and thanked mothers I will sit back in my cave nodding sagely as one who knows the inside of the business.