Thursday, 18 September 2014

The Bard of Barnsley

We went to sit in Highgate Wood in the bright sunshine this afternoon, in what must surely be the last day of summer. It was boiling hot, the sky was an almost shocking shade of peacock blue and the dark green trees were only just on the turn. I'm told we're in the middle of the driest September in sixty years. They know rain's coming, of course, which is why they're getting the statistic out mid month. By the end of September, it'll no doubt be an average month in all ways. It's astonishing what you can do with statistics.

As we walked back through the wood, we witnessed the desperately  undignified sight of a mother holding a child in the air whilst it peed. What made the image bizarre was that the child was as stiff as a board and being held vertically about a metre above the ground. To bring more attention to itself, the child was also shrieking whilst great torrents of pee sprayed onto the woodland floor below. I wasn't quite sure where to look, or indeed if I should have let the mother know that there was a public loo no more than five metres from where the horrors were occurring.

On my way into town I stumbled upon a saxophonist busking at Leicester Square tube. As with all buskers I could hear him from quite some way away. He was playing to a track, which may have been an instrumental of something originally sung by Witney Houston... You know the sort of thing; soaring synth-strings, a 1980s power ballad. There was something deeply, almost movingly, authentic about the sound he was making: thick and robust, full of slides and noodles. It suddenly struck me what an insanely 1980s instrument the saxophone is, and, that actually, there's a nostalgic value in its honking hideousness. I predict a big come back for the instrument. I'm talking the works; massive Careless Whisperesque sleazy instruments coming to a pop song near you! Mark my words. And it will arrive with the mullet. Oh, yes, I'm predicting a return of that ghastly 80's accessory as well. There'll be perms too... Bubble perms.

This evening I met up with the two NYMT Jeremys and the wonderful poet, Ian McMillan, who is perhaps better known as the Bard of Barnsley. We were talking to Ian about the Prince Edward/ NYMT project, which is fizzing along as an exciting possibility for next year.  I adore Ian. I first met him whilst working on A Symphony for Yorkshire in 2010, and we swore back then we'd work on something together. He seems fired up about this particular idea, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. It was great to hang out with the Jeremys as well. All three are men for whom I have an astonishing amount of respect.

Ian introduced us all to a new concept, that of the anacoluthon sentence. He'd apparently been discussing them all afternoon on Radio Three. From what we can all gather, there's little difference between an anacoluthon sentence and an non sequitur, the former indicating a sentence which interrupts itself with a totally unrelated thought. I'd be rather interested to know if anyone reading this knows this particular term, and impressed if anyone can use the phrase in a sentence within the next 24 hours... Challenge set. And I dare someone else to have a perm.

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