Wednesday 25 May 2011

The end of the is not quite nigh

Good news! The world didn’t end last Saturday. You might have noticed. It seems that Harold Camping, God’s representative on Earth, got it wrong. You’d have thought God would have tipped him the wink, wouldn’t you?

Apparently the world is now going to end on 21/10/11. So that’s five months of hedonistic debauchery then.

Saturday 21 May 2011

Marmite Twitter

Like Marmite Twitter divides people right down the middle. Adopters on one side and those that just don’t get it or who aren’t really interested or have never heard of it on the other. I love it. I’m semi-addicted to it. I love its serendipitousness: marrying the mundane with the witty and the incidental with world shifting.

It surely must have had an effect on the way news is disseminated. I tend to pick up on what’s happening in the news on Twitter well before I hear it on the radio or see it on the idiot box. And, as for newspapers. Well!

Not exclusively, but I do now rely on Twitter for much of my daily news intake and some amusing entertainment. If you’ve never used it give it a go, but be warned as it can take a while to ‘get it’. To begin with you will use it and not really understand what the hell is going on. But eventually if you persevere the penny drops and you won’t be able to imagine life without it. Well, you might not.

You can follow me on Twitter @pgarrard here.

Friday 20 May 2011


The idea that we are governed by anyone other than elected representatives is quite frankly abhorrent. Isn’t it time that the UK became something a bit nearer a democracy?

The referendum on AV was a disappointment. Whilst the British public seem to have little or no interest in reform of the voting system, or of the House of Lords, it doesn’t mean that it is not important, and it doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t have a significantly positive effect on people’s lives. I happen to subscribe to the belief that a good society is an equal society. That with a narrowing of the gap between rich and poor, society will become a generally happier collective. A more equal society brings with it better health, a better educated population and less crime. By limiting extremes of wealth and poverty you could achieve so much more than any investment in the NHS, schools or the police force could ever do. But in order to attain this political nirvana we must first change the mind-set of the country. Turkeys would indeed vote for Christmas if they had been conditioned into thinking it was a good thing. The structure of society and the foundations it is built upon need to offer equality in opportunity and to be seen to be equal handed in all its dealings. Part of engendering equality in society at large is to have fairness and equality in the way we are governed. Whilst we have privilege, an unelected upper house and a monarchy we can never even consider calling ourselves a democracy.

Short term reform won’t put bread on the table but slightly longer term it will and it’ll be a crusty granary loaf for all!

Further reading:

Thursday 19 May 2011

Miro Miro on the wall

Saturday saw us at Tate Modern gawping at the Miro exhibition. I’ve long been a fan of Miro’s well known surreal ‘middle-period’ but was certainly unfamiliar with his work before and after. I was quite taken with some of his early realistic paintings but unfortunately struggled to enjoy much of his later less detailed work. I particularly found the mutilated canvases a challenge.

Friday 13 May 2011

An evening with Wendy Cope

Last night and what is the epitome of a middle-class cultural event I attended an evening with Wendy Cope, part of this year’s Norfolk and Norwich festival. For the uninitiated Wendy Copy is one of the finest living English poets, writing serious and humorous works that are both technically astute and easily accessible; no mean feat. An ex-school teacher Wendy is a gentle, genteel and at the same time acerbically clever wordsmith. Reading from her latest book Family Values she introduces each poem or each set of poems in a delightfully matter of fact way and then delivers them in a clear, precise and relaxed style. I’m not sure I cared that much for the inclusion of the question and answer session at towards the end of the evening. I’m not one for over analysing art or wanting to get into the head of the artist. I want to enjoy the work as I perceive it. I don’t want to be told how or why I should enjoy it. Not only that, but it also gives a platform to sycophants and nutters. Wendy deserves credit for the way she handled those two types of unfortunate. I also have this belief that when I pay good money to be entertained by an individual or group I want to be entertained by them and not by the audience. Audience participation is lazy as well as being an impudent abomination. Commissioners of radio phone-in programmes take note.

I had seen Wendy Cope once before, a few years ago in Bury St Edmunds, where I was one of less than half a dozen men in the audience, at least last night there were quite a few more although there was still a very high ratio of women to men. In fact that was one of the questions that was asked of Wendy Cope, ‘why do you thing you attract an audience that is predominantly women?’ It was suggested that audiences for ‘arts’ events tended to weigh heavier towards the female than the male. I’m not convinced that this is entirely true.

As long as I can remember I’ve enjoyed poetry. It was something that school failed to put me off. Writing it in my teenage years helped me deal with a lot of angst and pain associated with hormones and spotty-herbert-ness. My poetry has never been published. My poetry is very personal, as well as being consistently awful. But it was a great outlet and kept me sane. These days my enjoyment of poetry is confined to reading it, Radio 4 and occasional theatre trips. Paul Garrard the poet was never a serious option, so the world can breathe a sigh of relief.

Monday 2 May 2011

The death of Thatcher

I always said that when Thatcher died I would celebrate by getting roaring drunk. Having witnessed the nonsense on the news about the death of Osama Bin Laden I now realise that rejoicing over anyone’s death, however evil you might perceive them to be, is barbaric and inhuman. Acts of love and peace should be celebrated and never the taking of life.