'cowardice', 'selfish', 'stupidity.' these terms in relation to suicide and the prejudices they support need to be actively removed from polite society in the same way that we have progressed beyond sexist, racial and homophobic epithets. mental illness and suicide is the last taboo, our societies uncomfortability in talking about it allows the opinions of the ignorant to breed in the hushed condemnation, “did they not think of their family?!” it goes unchallenged because we fear the subject; our death, our family member’s death, how a person can feel there is no option but to take their own lives. but it’s going unchallenged has a profoundly negative, cyclical effect. we wont talk about, refuse a debate as such our countries mental health service is allowed to deteriorate to the extent that it is commonly referred to as the ‘cinderella service’, no one cares to pay for it. it is effectively impossible to receive any sort of treatment for any form of depression or anxiety from the nhs beyond drugs. as soon as someone is no longer considered an immediate risk to himself and others he just gets moved to the back of a queue of such length it’s rendered meaningless. because we are uncomfortable talking about it why would the politicians ever be motivated to change that?
rip robin williams. i watched my ‘return of jafar’ tape so much it stopped working.
ol’ man james produces new poem on the subject of his kicking the bucket. unsurprisingly moving, beautiful etc etc blah blah.
The Emperor’s Last Words
An army that never leaves its defences
Is bound to be defeated, said Napoleon,
Who left them, and was defeated.
And thus I gather my remaining senses
For the walk, or limp, to town
Where I have a haircut and visit
The Oxfam bookshop near the bridge.
Only a day out of Addenbrooke’s
Where another bout of pneumonia
Damned near nailed me,
I walk slowly now, sitting on low brick walls.
But the haircut is successful,
Completing my resemblance to Buzz Aldrin
On the surface of Jupiter,
And in the bookshop I get, for my niece,
The Penguin Book of English Verse
(John Hayward’s excellent anthology)
And the old, neat, thin-paper OUP edition
Of the Louise and Aylmer Maude translation
Of War and Peace, so handy for the pocket.
Still in her teens, already reading everything,
She wants to be a writer, and when she visits me
She gets a useful lesson
On how a writer can end up.
But things could have been worse:
I could have been married to Laura Riding,
Whose collected poems I purchase for myself.
Have twenty years of death improved her verses?
No, still stridently incomprehensible, befitting
The way she won an argument with Robert Graves
By throwing herself backwards from a window:
A token, no doubt, of an artistic commitment
The purity of whose achievements was proved
By being intelligible to nobody at all
Except her fellow fruit-cakes.
Well, she sure left her defences.
Almost everyone wants to be a writer.
My niece, however, has got the knack:
That feeling for a sentence, you can’t mistake it.
The only question is how far you will go,
Even walking ever so slowly,
Away from your fortress. All the way to Russia?
But Tolstoy, himself an awful husband,
Waits to make a midget of your memory.
You escaped from Elba
But not from St Helena.
Had you stayed in Corsica
None of this would have happened.
But you left, and now every nut ward in the world
Has one of you at least.
The Maudes were married more than fifty years.
In two days’ time, the Tour de France
Will go past here
Where I now sit to gather strength
For my retreat from this hot sun.
It’s time to go. High time to go. High time.
France, army, head of the army, Joséphine.
'eternity is a very long time, especially at the end.'
republican governor, infamous flat track bully in a profession famous for ‘em and until very recently bookies favourite for the next presidential nominee, chris christie is what i understand people call a ‘superfan’ of bruce springsteen. he's been to hundreds of the man's shows and can recite huge swathes of his back catalog, it's not unusual to find him crying whilst doing so. christie (ridiculously) maintains that given the opportunity of meeting springsteen they would find common ground between his own politics and the seemingly diametrically opposite content of the musicians songs, the last i read springsteen has yet to agree to meet the man despite countless opportunities. it is in this context that springsteen did this with jimmy fallon following the recent bridgegate scandal that christie's knee deep in. glorious.
“‘“You have had your debate. There’s no need to write any more.”
Yes, there bloody well is.’ - Simon Jenkins.”
fighting talk. i like it.