Crap Poet

I am an amateur poet. By amateur I mean a crap poet. I am fine with that for I don’t aspire to high literature, grand illusion or metaphoric depth. I am still happy writing down words which simply rhyme but most importantly, tell a story, hopefully one that will make you, the intended recipient, smile. They will not impress with the mastery of verse or imagery but I do hope they provide you with some warmth that may last an hour or the whole afternoon if I am fortunate. I write when inspired and, like John Donne, there is no grander subject than love, our human-est emotion. These poems are positive. You can be nothing else.

Now you might be asking where are these poems ? Well alas I don’t really have any to show you for they’re most often written on whatsapp and sent directly to the reader. The medium tells you they are often more like ditties rather than grand operas but they do stretch out to  20 lines at times, but, more often than not, 10-12 will suffice.

So forgive my poor vocabulary and terrible structure and revel in the sentiment and obvious joy and love that inspired this gem.

I’m here in bed,
a dull feeling in my head.
The days have been wrong
yet my feelings remain strong.
Having her here
would provide us with so much cheer
Like an warm cup of tea,
I truly long to see
Her face on each dawn,
the prettiest ever sawn.

Books Read

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After a poor year of reading last year, I set myself the challenge to get back into it. I have the time here inbetween courses, applications, the gym, languages and making travel plans so I need to make the most of it.

Outer Dark by Cormac McCarthy

Wooooo this is dark. McCarthy, the writer of No Country for Old Men really pulls you along here in a tale of death, guilt and no redemption. It’s very dark.

Conversation in the Cathedral by Mario Vargas Llosa

I’ve looked for this Nobel Prize winning book for years and finally got hold of it. A lot of South American literature from this era involves magical realism but unlike Garcia Marquez finds enough parody, corruption and sadness using Peru’s real experiences to weave a story. Unlike most books, it start out confusingly, it gets starker, funnier and more exciting as it goes along.

Journey to the End of the Night by Celine

I remember Linden was reading this while we were in Israel and Egypt and so after seeing it mentioned in a review of Bulkowski and Henry Miller, I decided to dive in. This book is funny, dirty, written with a tongue-firmly-lodged-in-cheek.

Dancing in the Glory of Monsters by Jason K Stearns

Stearns is one of the primary researchers on the modern Congo. Here he dissects the complex web of politicking and rivalries that’s fuelled the longest an most savage war since World War Two. Its brutal but sadly riveting.

L’Etranger by Albert Camus (in French)

As an attempt to get my mind working academically again, I’ve started picking up texts to get my mind moving in deeper ways. I have the time here. I’ve read it twice before yet it remains funny and pertinent.

Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond

Best book I have read in a while. Diamond, a biologist and geographer, explains how civilisations develop and why some have come to dominate the world over others. The answers seem so obvious but you just never thought it.

The Lost Honour of Katherine Blum by Heinrich Boll

A brilliant, taunt critic of the print media and its ruthless and careless methods told through the humiliation of Katherine Blum, an ordinary secretary caught up in a police investigation.

The Sea by John Banville

I had high hopes for this and ultimately couldn’t wait to finish it. Very nice prose but the story meanders along and the reveal itself at the end is a bit disappointing.

The Last Man in Russia by Oliver Bullough

I expected this to be an interesting sociological investigation of Russia and its diminishing population but while it had its moments, vast traces of the book was the telling of the story of a renegade Orthodox priest in Soviet Russia. It told me far too little of the problems of the present society.

The History of England in the Nineteenth Century

I do like my history.

Brief Film Reviews – yeah so what?

NEPTtWv811xRTP_1_122 Jump Street 3/5

Amusing but rarely funny, while the main characters are a cute pair, it’s a bit of a formula. The only truly funny part is with Ice Cube in the middle.

X-Men: Future Past SomeOtherTime 3/5

Wolverine in aviators and flowery shirts, something about back and forward and time flux etc etc and lots of special effects. Yeah, I made a cuppa tea during the talky parts. After all this is sci-fi. Who cares about dialogue around the time-space continuum or some bollocks. Its entertaining and forgettable.

Wolf of Wall Street 3/5

Too much set-up. Too Good Fellas in style. Good performances. Slight funny at times which means fatlad just gets his dick out regularly. Long, the film, not his wang.

Alpha Papa – The Alan Partrdge film 4/5

The usual funny, quirky, perfectly played Steve Coogan film. More like an extended episode but with some brilliant moments.

LEGO Movie  5/511177655_800

That’s one unique, brilliantly-scripted and very well-made film. Deserves a lot of recognition. My favourite film of the year so far.

 

Mother of Russia

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So as you may know, I went to Moscow and St Petersburg in May. These monumental cities stand out throughout European history. Like Kiev the other great Eastern European city, they date back over a millennium as focus for culture, economy and war.

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Moscow proved interesting, but oddly confusing with its circular road and undulating scenery. Despite being in Red Square and the Kremlin is never seemed to have a heart. I don’t mean emotionally. It was simply underwhelming, feeling almost provincial, a bizarre feeling for the biggest city in Europe.

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Being a period of national holidays, the roads were quieter than usual, allowing us to get around quickly. The subway system was immense, reminding me of anywhere in Eastern Europe. They do metro systems the best. And yet all the workers were from east Asia, the lower Stans states. With Polina we visited the Kremlin for its beautiful Orthodox churches, the university for a lookout over the city and Red Square where we tried to not get frostbite. We hit up some late bars, Ukrainian restaurants and a club as well, full of a mix of students, suits and I suspect coke.

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On other days, I found an old monastery and hunted down Chekhov’s grave, in the same cemetery as Yeltsin and Khrushchev. The modern art museum had an interesting exhibit about sport, featuring its present greatest Vladimir Putin in his judo gi. With Robert, an American dude working in Lithuania we travelled the metro finding the ornate stations, usually focused on some great achievement or another, and all very Soviet in emphasis. Despite its reputation, everyday in Moscow felt like Sunday.

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After a mishap with my suit, (I forgot it), I flew to the jewel of Russia, St Petersburg. Built in the 18th century by Peter the Great, its broad boulevards and French architecture got it its name as the Venice of the North. I stayed with Katya I met through couchsurfing. She turned out to be a great host, knowing the city in-and-out, finishing her PhD in art history and lecturing at the university while holding down a job in a boutique. She also interned at the Hermitage, the great museum of Russia, containing various treasures obtained through various means. I constantly saw articles I recognised while trying to avoid the hordes of Chinese tourists wielding cameras at anything on a wall.

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We also went to Peterhof built for Peter’s wife, a grand Russian Versailles. On other days I spent time searching for little glass animals presents, apparently famous in St Petersburg. We walked to the fortress, ate in a Soviet style restaurant that reminded me of that place in Kiev Jan and I went too often. I took pictures of grandiose monuments, enormous churches and vast squares. In the UK we planned cities and they looked like Milton Keynes. Peter had a better idea. I also found a cool punkish bar. I enjoyed it. I’ll be back.

Time At the Bar

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Yup that is a toilet!

Someone told me yesterday I looked younger than when I was in Doha. I believe that to be true. While work there was easy, life itself I found was depressing bringing me back to MattP’s very first words in Doha….‘it’s not a place for a single person.’ I aged mentally.

I’ve been away from this blog for a while. Somehow my mind and body have been fulfilled but now I’ve got too much time again and I need to start making decisions  about what’s going on next. I got into Leiden if you didn’t know to study from February 2015. I’m working 9 weeks at Oxford University, generally keeping my head above water and out of the bar. I’ve had visitors in the forms of Pedro and Olivia. I caught up with Jorden, Tomek and Catherine and Andy Carlin yesterday. This month promises more friends. You could say I am satisfied.

Being satisfied was never enough for me. I’ve always strived to push on and see and do more. I’m ungrateful, almost mistrustful of what I have. Patience is never a virtue I have or sought. But I get the feeling that driving impulse is fading within me. There are now things that I want that require time, thought planning and sacrifice. University or another career are such examples. There are people I want to spend more time with. This requires the kind of patience I’ll search out for. There is a network of not rarely-seen but greatly appreciated others but a new community to be created, a grouping to give me what I’ve always forcibly removed myself from.

I am thinking about a place to be. A person to be with. A legacy to set. This is not to all garnered at once. I am not trying to get married here. But I do wish for  some stability and to develop some project with someone. I want to invest in them and myself and find a worthy reason beyond hedonism and mirth to be grateful for all I’ve seen and felt. Doha might not be at an end. I’d just have to do it right next time.