Guest Poet at SPIN, Christies Beach, Wed 4th June 2014

rippswirl

 

I am guest poet spot at the SPIN gig next Wednesday, 4th June 2014.

SPIN is a monthly poetry and music open mic night at the Ripple & Swirl Cafe, 14 The Esplanade, Christies Beach, on the first Wednesday of the month from 6.30pm – 9.00pm.

Admission is $5.00 / $4.00 concession

There is also an open mic. for poets and musicians.

Food is available by pre-order if required and the venue is licensed.

Further details are available at the  SPIN Facebook page  or contact the SPIN organisers by email: spinopenmic@gmail.com

 

Christies Beach

 

Revolting

 

On Sunday I took part in the “March in May” demonstration in Adelaide, from Victoria Square to State Parliament. There were marches all over the country, protesting against the Abbott governments budget cuts to health, education, pensions, the ABC, and any other sector you care to name which Abbott does not like. The Murdoch media, predictably, was dismissive. The Sunday Telegraph headline was “The Ferals are Revolting”. Clearly the reporter had not noted the broad cross-section of Australian society represented by the demonstrators: school children, teenagers, parents, grand parents – every age group and every walk of life. Abbott has succeeded where Labor had failed – he has re-mobilised those who believe in a progressive Australia.

In the evening, coincidentally, I watched a gripping documentary called “The Square”, which happened to be about political demonstrators gathering in another square:  Cairo’s Tahrir Square in 2011. The documentary tracks four or five participant in the demonstrations: a Muslim, a couple of young activists, a singer and an actor Khalid Abdalla, who starred in “The Kite Runner”. The demonstrations led to the overthrow of the oppressive Mubarak regime, only to see it replaced by brutal military rule. They then forced the end of military rule to see it replaced by the rule of Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood. Again they forced the end of Morsi’s regime in 2013.

It is an incredible insight into a complex situation, which I had barely understood before. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Rotten Tomatoes gives it 100% and describes it as “… an immersive experience, transporting the viewer deeply into the intense emotional drama and personal stories behind the news”. You can watch the whole film on the net here and here.

I took some quotes from the film and, with some minor alterations, have combined them into a sort of collage:

 

The Square

They will take you away

for dreaming the wrong dream

 

The rich don’t demand freedom

Because they already have it

 

They made two ballot boxes

One for the killers

One for the traitors

 

We are not looking for a leader

We are looking for a conscience

 

Religion is not in a book or on paper

Religion is in your head and your heart

 

They are gassing the hospitals

Even the doctors are dying

 

The good and free are called traitors

The traitors are called heroes

 

The Square united us all

 

© Mike Hopkins 2014, except for quotes from "The Square"

Do you suffer from SWS (Shit Writing Syndrome) ?

snoopy

“This is something I have never talked about publicly. Five years ago, shortly after my beautiful daughter’s third birthday, I was diagnosed with advanced SWS — Shit Writing Syndrome.

I’ll assume you’ve never heard of it. I hadn’t. Webster’s Dictionary defines Shit Writing Syndrome as “a disorder that turns one’s writing to shit, for example, by causing one to quote this dictionary when describing the disorder.

The mechanics of the disease are still not well understood. Some experts believe that fecal matter leaks out of your colon and travels through your lymphatic system into your writing. Others think it’s figurative. But those distinctions matter little when you are looking at a page of your own writing and seeing shit.

They found it by accident. I had gone to the doctor for a routine penile enlargement procedure. I had filled out the standard Writers Guild insurance forms, and that’s where it turned up. When my doctor walked into the room, she had a hard time making eye contact.”

Andy Bobrow

Find out how he cured himself:

https://medium.com/@abobrow/d703b80ff3e5

And there is a Fulham connection above. Those famously bad opening lines “It was a dark and stormy night” were penned by Edward Bulwer-Lytton. Lytton  once resided in the original Craven Cottage, now the site of Fulham’s beautiful old ground, which still has a Craven Cottage in the corner (below).

Fulham have, of course, been suffering for some time, not from SWS, but SFS (Shit Football Syndrome).
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Seamus Heaney and Fulham

Heaney-BBC-soccer-600x337

I doubt if Seamus had much interest in Premier League football. He was, it seems, more into Gaelic Football – there is an early photograph (above) of him in his primary school football team – he’s in the back row, third boy from the left and the only one wearing a tie!

The team I’ve followed since I was about ten years old, Fulham, were relegated from the Premier League last week. If I was to write a poem about their season, it might be a limerick, the events are so comical: two managers sacked, a multi-million dollar signing who was too unfit to play more than a few minutes etc.

The gloom was lightened considerably by hearing that I had been offered a place on the Seamus Heaney Summer School at Queens University, Belfast, at the end of June. I was planning on going to Ireland anyway this northern summer, so all I have to do is change the dates a bit, and I’m there.

Seamus was a graduate of Queens, with first class honours of course. The university has a school of poetry named after him. They only take twelve people on the summer school, and you have to submit a selection of your work for them to peruse, before they decide if you are up to it. So I was surprised to get a place. A quiet year perhaps.

Anyway, I am looking forward to it immensely, and I will also be able to catch up with my sister Lynda who lives in Omagh, maybe some friends in Dublin and Wexford, and then pop over to England to see my other sister, Valerie and my mother Bridget.

And as winter has now set in in Adelaide, hopefully some warm Irish weather.

shss