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Monday, August 26, 2019

Tuesday 26th August 1969:

Went down John’s. Went to record shop. Got Ramsey Lewis, Nat Cole, Andy Williams and Frankie [illegible: looks like Legume!]

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Monday 25th August 1969:

Recorded with John and Scotty. Did West Indian beat with proper instruments. In afternoon did Rock the Joint and Four-Handed Boogie (with John and I at the piano).

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Sunday 24th August 1969:

In afternoon, John Trev. Laingchild, Trev. Scott, Hajo, and I went to a free radio rally in Brighton, and it wasn’t very good. We marched on Radio Brighton, the GPO, and a newspaper. Sun Radio, who read out my request that morning, were there!! Gave out propaganda to me. They asked me if I’ve got a radio station. I replied that we had tried.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Saturday 23rd August 1969:

In the morning got Mum’s shopping. In afternoon, I went into Brighton with John. Bought John Lee Hooker (‘Dimples’) for one shilling.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

As Booster Bo buggers off around Europe, Idea flies off. This week's (temporary) poem

The second book of my The English Strain project (see below for the first and for more details) is entitled Bad Idea and it is a re-working of the whole of Michael Drayton’s sequence Idea; that’s 64 poems (with the addition of its ‘Address to the Reader of these Sonnets’). I’ve been at it since July 2018, one a week (more or less), now for over a year.   

I’m posting the poems temporarily, so there is only ever one at a time on this blog, even during my scheduled downtime from this blog and Twitter during August each year! But, as I said, they are temporary. Here’s the latest. Bo is bouncing around Euroland being rebuffed today, apparently suggesting that they abandon Ireland to some customs union with Britain, a crass notion that pays no heed to the post-colonial history of that nation (which I have been reading recently). Bo apparently thinks all Irishmen (and women) are called 'Murphy'.


In former times, rich bastards
stockpiled during civil, or world, wars,
and waited until peacetime to buy up the bombsites cheap,
but now they bury treasure deep off-shore
to wait for their Brexit dividend. Greenland
may not be for sale but Britannia is. Dig
deep in your trouser pocket and hold your tool
while she plays alone with her rich beauties.
Nearer such men come, Idea farther flies off
into her privileged foreignness.
It’s all the EU’s fault that we want to leave,
Macron's and Merkel’s and Murphy’s.
Why wouldn’t Ireland want to hook itself up
to a few last strands of our history and be done with it?

22nd August 2019
The manners of a pig!

Other ‘Bad Idea’ Poems may be read online: I’m pleased to say three poems from Bad Idea have now appeared in Monitor on Racism. Patricia Farrell’s two images of Bo (now he’s an important figure again, he was still in the political wilderness then, but: when you decide to be PM at 5 you really are going to achieve it, aren’t you?! Especially with your Etonian ‘effortless superiority) accompany them. Find the poems here.

Four consecutive poems from Bad Idea (XLV-XLVIII) are published together recently in International Times. Thanks poetry editor Rupert Loydell. They read well with today’s outing. HERE
I write about them here:  

So Bo (Booster Bo given his openly ‘enthusiastic’ mode) is now our leader, thus confirming his long-held ambition, which (let’s face it) is all that matters (to him). The best read I’ve found on him is ironically by an Irishman:

Fintan O’Toole’s ‘Ham of Fate’:

If you ‘do the math’ you can see that I’d run out of the poems at this rate of progress, in September, but the Flexibretension (and Bo’s extremist ‘do or die’ deadline) runs to 31st October. I have called a summit of Drayton’s ‘thrice-three Muses’ to discuss possibilities. Another sequence? Or a sort of standing still by producing multiple versions of a particular sonnet on the way?

Musing on the train a while back, and in the pub, waiting for Scott Thurston, I settled upon some sonnets of Wordsworth. The idea of Bad Idea originally was that it would pass through Brexitday and onto the other side, where it might gather some positivities. There seems dying chance of that, and Wordsworth won’t help (although there are poems about Kent, where the Dogging Sites of Brexit Britain, and Farage, come from! Potential?).

But I have also located more of Drayton’s ‘Idea’ poems not included in the 1619 edition, 12 of them, and I might use them as an appendix to ‘Bad Idea’, and use however many I need of the 1595 edition’s poems (the ones not preserved in the 1619 obviously; I’v sorted them). I will echo Drayton’s earlier title: Idea’s Mirror.(I set that up in last week's poem. I misread ‘becoming minor’ in Rosi Braidotti as ‘becoming mirror’, bad reading glasses.)

Wordsworth may be for the third book of The English Strain – though that thought is unthinkable. Somewhere the sonnets of John Clare lurk as final possibilities. Then it’s done….

Back to touchy Micky. Poor old Drayton is somewhat out of print at the moment, though I have found a ‘Poly-Olbion’ project online, (the whole epic is online, which is refreshing), and his fine sonnet sequence ‘Idea’ (the 1619 version) is available online, including the one I’ve just translated above; have a look at both, the latter being:

Drayton, Michael. ‘Idea.’ in Arundell Esdaile, ed. Daniel’s Delia and Drayton’s Idea.
London: Chatto and Windus: 1908. 67-141; online at Luminarium:

This is also the source ( for much more of Drayton’s poetry, including the ‘extra’ sonnets I have located for possible further transpositions, as I think of them:

Although I am using

Tuley, Mark. ed. Elizabethan Sonnet Cycles: Five Major Elizabethan Sonnet Cycles: by Samuel Daniel, Michael Drayton, Sir Philip Sidney, William Shakespeare and Edmund Spenser. Crescent Moon Publishing, Maidstone: Kent, 2010,

a careless book that even misses one sonnet out! 

In fact, I’ve now bought

Evans, Maurice, ed. Revised by Roy J. Booth. Eizabethan Sonnets. London and North Clarendon: Phoenix Paperback, 2003,

a careful book that includes the 1619 Idea entire (with original orthography) and has notes. BUT not so careful that it doesn’t have the typo I have made use of: ‘This anthology mistypes my chosen verb ‘eternize’./ A new word enters the language as I enternize you!’

You know, if you’ve seen these temporary posts before, that you may read about the whole ‘English Strain’ project in a post that has links to some other accounts, and earlier parts, of this work: hereThat was 100 poems long. But I didn’t stop there though. The most recent instalment of it, Hap: Understudies of Thomas Wyatt’s Petrarch is now available from Knives Forks and Spoons here:

I write about my sonnets generally here, and here and see here and here for more on my Petrarch obsession, which ‘The English Strain’ project into motion.

There are more excerpts from The English Strain in The Robert Sheppard Companion:

Three more overdubs of the Sussex poems of Charlotte Smith have been published at Anthropocene, a new online platform run by Charlie Baylis. The first, ‘To the River Adur’ features a line or two from a letter from Lee Harwood. The second, ‘Written at a Church-yard in Middleton in Sussex’ is an overdub of her most famous poem (of that title), and ‘The sea-view’ which is a fully gender-bending Brexit-madness poem from later in the 14 part sequence.

I am pleased to say I have six poems published in BlazeVOX 19, edited by Geoffrey Gatza, four of them poems from ‘The English Strain’ project, versions of the Sussex sonneteer Charlotte Smith, called Elegaic Sonnets. You may get straight to the pages here:

Another from this part, another Charlotte Smith variation may be read in Smithereens 2, on page 15:

I read one of these last week at Roy Bayfield’s leaving do. More about that in a post after my August break, on September 1st, in fact.

Links to a number of the published poems from Non Disclosure Agreement (the last part of the proposed book of The English Strain) may be accessed here:

Some older ‘English Strain’ poems may be found here:

Jamie Toy writes about the periodicity of these weekly posts here, in Versopolis :

Remember this? Even more relvant today: ‘I’ve been wondering what that special place in hell looks like, for those who promoted #Brexit, without even a sketch of a plan how to carry it out safely.’ Donald Tusk

Friday 22nd August 1969:

Mum ill. Went down John’s in the morning. In afternoon, got Mum’s shopping.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Thursday 21st August 1969:

Number One: Honky Tonk Woman, The Rolling Stones

Scotty and I went down John’s. Mum ill.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Monday, August 19, 2019

Tuesday 19th August 1969:

Went down John’s. He bought Wet Dream by Max Romeo. Sent letter to FRA [Free Radio Association] about tape.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Sunday 17th August 1969:

Reading: Apollo book.

Received SUN RADIO, a pirate station on 239 metres… It played the last 20 minutes of Radio London and the going illegal of Radio Caroline. Have got it on tape. Not very good!! The station is on every Sundays, 11-2. In afternoon, we saw Trevor Laingchild (mentioned in previous issues), and we planned Rebel Radio.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Saturday 16th August 1969:


Recorded ‘BBC’. Poetry and Splod Theme.

John Seed's Manchester August 16th & 17th 1819 : Peterloo in Poetry 200

It is the right day to remember both the Peterloo Massacre and two (of a number of poems about it): Shelley's 'The Mask of Anarchy' and John Seed's early (1973) Objectivist poem 'August 16th and 17th 1819'. Seed is one of our great Historian-Poets, and I wrote about his poem HERE. He utilises techniques drawn from Charles Reznikoff and applies them to Labour History. 

Other Seed posts may be read here and here. I write about him in The Meaning of Form (see here)

and also about the Peterloo poem in Poetry and Praxis After Objectivism. (See here.)

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Friday 15th August 1969:


Went to London’s Science and Natural History Museums. Saw many things.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Thursday 14th August 1969.

Number One: Honky Tonk Woman, The Rolling Stones

Went down the beach, and it was soon to rain, so we came home. David Streader and T. Clarke. Recorded with Scotty at night.


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Monday, August 12, 2019

Tuesday 12th August 1969:

Went into Brighton. Got my coat. Non-listening to the BBC. (Note: Personal protest at closing down of pirate radio stations the year before).

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Sunday 10th August 1969:

Went to see flying display with Dad (see 13/8/67)

[That would be at Shoreham Airport, site of the spectacular and tragic crash years later.]

Friday, August 09, 2019

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Friday 8th August 1969:

Went to Barkham Mills (near Lewes) and went on a river. Lots of hippies there for the Jazz and Blues festival.

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Thursday 7th August 1969:

Number One: Honky Tonk Woman, The Rolling Stones

Went to Portsmouth on the Shanklin (we had been on it before) and had a trip around Southampton waters. Notable things we saw at and en route to S/Hampton : - 3 low aircraft, fleets of small craft, entries into the topical power boat race, QE2, Oriana, Canberra (seen it in 1965), etc…

Monday, August 05, 2019

Saturday, August 03, 2019

Friday, August 02, 2019

Saturday 2nd August 1969:

John, Peter, Hajo came up. Made two splod recordings. Photo taken. Went down fair. Free hour.

Thursday, August 01, 2019