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Tuesday, 27 November 2012

16. Never mind ordinary victims – what about the rich & famous?

Some people do not understand contemporary priorities.
Frankly if I have to look at one more picture of a starving person when I could be looking at a weepy celebrity going on about how upset they are looking at a starving person, I’m going to get very  irritated. Isn’t it  much better to be able to focus on a nicely dressed, coiffure’d western woman who is thin from fad dieting than some skanker who is emaciated from lack of food or cholera? It’s just as bad when you consider racism. Frankly I’d far rather hear the latest story of eye-wateringly rich footballers calling each other names than ordinary day-to-day racism perpetrated against people who probably don’t do anything more interesting than try to survive on a minimum wage (which of course is different to a living wage – in which case could someone explain what ‘minimum’ means?)
I had to laugh at my daughter the other day when she complained about being teased because – whilst she appears to be white some kids at school have noticed that her mother is a ‘wog’. Poor silly fool. Who does she think she’s is?
Don’t get me started on child abuse. There are still bits and pieces leaking through about the victims of abuse when what is of real interest surely is who said what to whom at the BBC or via twitter and who is suing whom for what vast sums and which newspaper hates which T.V channel the most.
Why don’t ordinary victims just GET REAL. If they want the world to listen to them why don’t they sign up for Big Brother or I’m a Celebrity Look At Me, Look At Me, Look At Me.
Some groups and institutions have, fortunately, got it dead-on. Take government posturing on prisoners voting rights for example. Some folk think the real issue is that huge swathes of the country are more interested in voting for the latest Karaoke act on X Factor than their political representative - pshaaaw. Well done D.C. I say and hurrah. Also thank heavens (maybe literally) for the Church of England. What a scorcher that was. I was sweating I can tell you. There was some danger that their historical (founding?) principal of misogyny might be about to take a back seat to real issues like physical and spiritual poverty but by a very narrow majority they saved us from that.
Alleluia.
Next week – perhaps - some hints on how to make Monopoly more interesting.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

15. I know what you did last weekend… & a couple thousand stalkers!

OK – this week’s blog is – what-I-did-last-weekend (very facebook – get me)
PLUS the winners of the fabulantastic 1st International Euphemism Competition (run on this blog)
In line with the competition rules (see Blog 13) all the winners have been chosen on the basis of nepotism i.e. they are either people I like, people who owe me biscuits, people to whom I owe favours, folk I like. At no point was the quality of the entry an issue – just to be clear…
In first First Place is 3-D artist and fantastic Performance Poet (my fave piece remains ‘Bin Laden shops in Asda’) Wajid Hussein. Wajid’s euphemism relates to the term 'Randomly Selected' (in relation to searches before flying) = ‘HIM’. It makes me all sentimental as it reminds me of the days when my lot filled this slot – ah the good old days.
In second First Place is Oonagh Joslin (poet, flash fiction champ, editor of Everyday Poets, baker of the finest roast hazelnut shortbread ever) Oonagh’s euphemism relates to the competition reference to a ‘Fair Judge’ = ‘dark haired, dark eyed, dark skinned, ex solicitor, solicits 'takers' for a book she can't give away and a cupboard full of out of date biscuits’.
In first Second Place is John Martin Johnson T.V. screen/script writer with such series as Call the Midwife under his belt who is now doing an MA in screen writing at Goldsmith’s. He did not indicate if this was his own euphemism – he merely says it’s his favourite – but I don’t care. ‘Hard working families up and down this country’ = ‘People I've never met’
And finally – in second Second Place is Dan Mc Cole creative, Limerick wizard and fellow outsider, ‘It's been suggested I do a stand-up comedy course’ = ‘people at work are fed up with me being rude’.

N.B.
Anyone claiming that these were – in fact – the ONLY entries will be sued!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

14.Death, Existence, Futility, Human Arrogance & the Universe

This week – a short poem about death, existence, futility, human arrogance, the pointlessness of vanity, war, greed etc and so on and so forth…
I once read that an introduction to a poem should not be longer than the piece itself. The great thing about a blog is that you can ignore the arbitrary rules made up by other people; you might bang on for pages about a piece that is only a few lines. Also you can take very large subjects and hammer them in thirteen words as in this piece called Clock or you can take well worn subjects like dragons or contemporary relationships and ramble on for hundreds of thousands of words like I do in my novels and no one can slap you on the back of the hand with a ruler (like my piano teacher used to do - not for rambling obviously but for playing really badly and not practising).
Clock
No tic will ever return
The toc will burn
Only the sigh
Lingers
(by amanda baker 2012)
As for last week’s euphemism competition, in honour of the British Honours system I think I’ll just ask my friends who would like to win and who is most likely to take me out for coffee and a bun and post the winner next week. I think that’s best.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

2012 International Euphemism Competition

13. As Promised…
The 1st International Euphemism Competition (run by this blog)!
To make up for the gloom of last week’s blog and as a cheerful counterbalance to the US elections here it is. *Bleaders are invited to submit for my perusal, themed euphemisms which will be judged randomly and when I can get round to it. The best one or two or however many I feel like, will be awarded fabulous prizes. The euphemism could be political – like the two referred to in last week’s blog. It could be a Spoophemism – something that if we weren’t polite we would just call a lie e.g. the claim that this would be ‘the greenest government ever’ = actually not green at all! They could be euph-homme-isms e.g. –‘T.V. chef’ = bloke who can’t cook without an audience. They could be eu-femme-isms e.g.  ‘Witch’ = smart woman from the Middle Ages. The main thing is they should have a slightly cynical cutting edge to suit the current climate; humour would be good but is not essential. They will probably not be actual euphemisms in the actual sense of the actual word but euphemistic euphemisms so to speak. You could choose a social euphemism e.g. ‘credit’ = debt. It could be an artistic euphemism ‘brave theatre production’ = you’ll be crying with boredom by the interval - and so on and so forth and so on.
The Rules
In the interests of realism, I reserve the right to choose people I favour or people who are reassuringly like me (so mixed race ex lawyers, ex councillors, ex arts officers, ex waitress author poets stand a good chance). The closing date will be a moveable feast but possible about 10 days after the posting of this blog. Winner or winners will have their euphemism in a future blog credited with their name and any basic personal info they provide and that I deem suitable. I may or may not read all the entries and if there are no entries I may make them up – along with the entrants. Winner or winners will receive one of my books (see right hand blog column). If the prospect of that prize reduces any real winner to tears an alternative will be offered in the form of a digestive biscuit with the winner’s name written on in coloured icing sugar (depending what I have in the cupboards) and only if the winner has a reasonably short name. The biscuit will be posted to the winner and I take no responsibility for the state of the bicky on arrival – or non-arrival.
The competition is free to enter (I’ve no idea how to attach PayPal to a blog) but anyone entering – even if I don’t read their entry - should consider themselves beholden to me for at least a cup of tea at some unspecified time in the future.
Euphemisms should be mailed to the e-mail attached to this blog in any font you like and any language (but if it’s not in English you won’t win).
poetrypants@gmail.com
*Blog Reader