Saturday, December 24, 2005

In for a penny - in for a Pound

Why I should feel the urge to fill this blog up with a brief surge of mostly inconsequential noodlings at this particular time is something of a mystery. Most likely it is connected with the fact that it is Christmas Eve, I'm off work and have some time to waste.

Some of which I spent idly skimming through Blogger profiles. A lot of people keep this up for a few months and then it go - some don't even hold on that long. Most of what is written is of limited interest to anyone else, not much much than jottings in a private diary. In itself, that is interesting. It lays bare the enormity of similarities between people. Far greater these that one might think, and it serves to remind me yet again that however unique and individual I might judge myself, the reality is quite different.


Back into the light

Decided to make this blog a little more visible than before by sticking it back on my public profile. Sometimes you feel like sitting in the shade; other times a walk in the sun.

Finally some sense about wine

It does all of us who fret about middle-class manners a lot of good to read articles such as this. A bit of historical knowledge is an antidote to all sorts of nonsense, and wine snobbery is amongst the most nonsensical of current fads (only really outdone by city & suburban dwellers buying S.U.V.s).

The Grinning Years

I hate these grinning middle years,
Between the surliness of youth and crabbed old age,
I hate the way we have to force a smile,
While inwardly we rage.

I hate the way we smirk at strangers
In Sunday playgrounds, hunched against the weather,
I hate that grimace we exchange that says,
We're all in this together.

I hate the PTA and sponsored walks
The blithe assumption we give a flying fuck
I hate the constant need to show concern
At others' lousy luck.

I hate our shapeless jogging pants,
The careworn cardigans that make us look like wrecks,
I hate the way we dress as if to say,
Too old and tired for sex.

I hate our veering trolleys loaded
With dwarf corn, fresh spinach soup, profiteroles,
I hate the way we feed our puffy bodies while
We starve our hungry souls.

Oh god, I hate these grinning middle years

Not my poem, but my brother-in-law Lindsay Camp's. Reproduced without permission, and we'll fight that out later. I first read it while casting around in Lindsay's office a year and half ago and spotting it amongst an unpublished collection that was lying there.

I like this poem very much - I think it is very English middle-class; such sentiments would seem more alien here in this less self-reflective land where enthusiasm (however misplaced) tends to triumph over ennui. It makes me feel glad that I left the U.K.!

If you like it, why not send a donation to Amnesty International? If you can find a published copy and buy it, that will be where your money goes.