Friday, 21 September 2012

David Gaffney

I went, last weekend, to the 60th birthday celebrations for Stand magazine, which has played a major role in contemporary poetry and deserves to be supported in every possible way. I gave a reading and listened to others and the general standard was extremely impressive. The most distinctive though was by David Gaffney who writes micro-fiction, - each piece 150 words long. He read, for example, one about the emotional meaning of the spiral structure of Ikea stores,  a deeply creepy one about wardrobes, and one about a man who hates grocery shopping so much he starts - on the principle that people buy more or less the same things - to commandeer trolleys which have already been loaded by other people. One day his victim notices what he's done, but he decides to pretend he knows her:

'Darling, I'll just get eggs.'
'We've got eggs,' the woman chirped. 'Listen, do you want to go out to the car? You look stressed. You can listen to your tape.'

I talked to David at the interval and, in an attempt to influence him, broached the subject of blowdry handriers: how the conventional ones breathe a death rattle on your hands and leave them no drier than before, but the Dyson Hyperblade is scarily effective - if you look at your hands while it's operating, you can see it drives deep ripples across them, as though it's plunging underneath your skin to dry it from the inside. It may work, he seemed interested.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Hillsborough Report

Tony Blair said 'We're all middle-class now', but the horrors explicit and implicit in this report indicate the very powerful role that class still plays in British society, and which is all the more powerful because class is being so cleverly and subtly marginalised as a way of understanding contemporary experience. That the innocent victims of this horror could actually be blamed for causing it, and that such blame was routinely extended and so widely believed, shows the extent of the dismissive contempt with which they were regarded in the first place, and shows how class prejudices carry the weight of unexamined 'common sense', and can be used against the working class by the same people who say it is old-fashioned to talk about class at all.