I haven’t read this poem from Playing Solitaire for Money that often, so its nice that it was recorded when I opened my short set at the 2011 Manchester Book Market in St. Ann’s Square. It’s one of several poems towards the start of the book that uses technology imagery to explore the contemporary condition. Perhaps the “colossal machine” is Google or the Wayback Engine? Or, as in Douglas Adams’ “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” a computer yet to be built.
A Colossal Machine
Rewinding our histories can’t play the tape,
For that requires a colossal machine,
That has long gone out of production,
Or has yet to be made. In part, it’s myth,
Yet we subscribe to it, our site feed
Syndicating the latest news, as if a thing
Can be dripfed to us through words.
The manual alone would be extensible,
Using a language shared by half the world’s tribes,
Competing to contribute to a shared goal.
The ultimate prize for the next life;
Our essence read, stored, accidentally erased,
Whilst the tests go on in private.
In my room I murmur a prayer.
I've been blogging for a long time, but what was once called "push button publishing" has found itself left behind in an era of social media tweets and Facebook posts on the one hand, and web zines and memes on the other.I've been not writing that much here for quite some time, an the odd review or feature couldn't really make up for […]
With 2019 - and the decade - coming to a rapid close, the first lists of "best albums of the 20-teens" have started to come out. Whereas the younger me could tell you what year any album had come out, everything gets a bit hazy around the millennium...and continues to be so.Was "The Suburbs", easily my favourite Arcade Fire album as long […]
The three novels Edward St. Aubyn wrote about "Patrick Melrose" between 1992-94, though they've since been expanded to a quintology, are really three long chapters of the same book. In "Brideshead Revisited" Sebastian Flyte warns Charles Ryder about his family, not wanting them to first charm him, and then destroy him; but any such w […]
I had a bit of a flurry of getting short stories published a few years ago, but nothing in the last year or so. Strangely the last story I had published was picked up for Best British Short Stories 2018. I think I've lost the thread of who is publishing what, but doing a bit of writer's admin, I've found I've got about half a dozen comple […]
I've been thinking of doing more visual art for a while, and finally having a space of my own where I can set up a "studio" has led me to do it. Not being an "artist" I wondered why I was wanting to do this as well as my writing and music. Here are a few thoughts.I am not an artist. Or rather I haven’t the skill of an artist, even if […]