Friday, 30 April 2010

Blackbird pizza




So this week's task for the Poetry Bus from the Watercats...they mentioned sex or drugs or rock or roll and, tempted as I was to go for a mini-roll, I went for drugs (predictable, I know). All that rave music I've been posting this week... it was a sign, I tell you, a sign!

I have written quite a few drugs poems before. There's a pizzeria/LSD villanelle back here, for example, and as both Don Paterson and Helena Nelson both gave villanelles a good slagging at the event here the other week I almost wanted to post that one again just to stick up for that poor old form. I love a good villanelle...and I don't see why a bad villanelle is any worse than any other kind of bad poem done over and over again.

But what do I know...oh yes, back to drugs...I have an amphetamines poem, an ecstasy poem, a cocaine poem...they're mostly on my website in the 'wild years' section and I'm sure there are plenty more where they came from. This week, however, I thought I might write a new LSD poem and one that's less jocular than the pizza serving. I didn't take LSD that many times but it has left some pretty solid memories in my packed old brain. And they're not all bad. (And I finally managed to get a chance to do the audio - it's here.)



(removed temporarily)


Speaking of blackbirds they fly and sing their way into lots of poems and songs, don't they? Below is a blackbird song I'm particularly fond of from an album called 'The Bairns' (the second CD by Rachel Unthank and the Winterset, though that band are now renamed just the Unthanks). This blackbird song was written by Belinda O'Hooley - then a member of the Unthank experience but now part of a duo with Heidi Tidow. O'Hooley and Tidow are out and about touring a new album ('Silent June') and their myspace page is here. A friend bought me 'Silent June' last week and I am looking forward to getting to know it better over the coming weeks and months.

So, here are the clips - first RU & the W-set with 'Blackbird':





and then a song from O'Hooley and Tidow's 'Silent June' called 'One More Xmas':





Oh, I do like the sound of a piano*...

x

*Oh, even that's "just tuned percussion" (according to the recently deceased poet Peter Porter, and via the ubiquitous Paterson, in today's 'Guardian' newspaper). Just can be such a heavy word.

38 comments:

Titus said...

Not looking till Monday!

Rachel Fox said...

You always say that...
x

Sorlil said...

See all these things I missed out on in my quiet youth!! I don't know why the villanelle gets such a hard time either, I'm quite fond of them!

Rachel Fox said...

Yes, their point was mainly that, as editors, they had read so many bad villanelles but it seemed OTT to me to pick on one form as more annoying than all the others. As an avid music listener I've heard a lot of dreadful songs but that doesn't put me off either the songs I already like or trying new ones. Maybe people just shouldn't work as editors for longer than a set period of time! I've never been a poetry editor but I have been an editor for a what's on magazine (years ago) - it was a fairly intense time and occupation and I'm not sure I could have done it for too long.

x

the watercats said...

Absolutely perfect! I never had the balls to do the lsd thing.. I wish I did though. I love the alice in wonderland chaos this poem exudes.. but subtle chaos, cheers!

Rachel Fox said...

I'm not sure I'd have had the nerve for acid either if I hadn't already been so far gone in other ways. It's true that it does open your mind...it's the shutting it again (when required) that's the problem...or at least the learning to live with it so wide open.

Or maybe I would have ended up crazy anyway. Most of us do...at some point.

x

deemikay said...

Blackbird pizza? Made me think of something else... *splat*

And I've also decided that the villanelle is the ultimate form of poetry and we should have thousands more. Poughbuoy is on the case.

(Not only have I never taken any of the stated mind-altering substances, I've also never been drunk.)

Rachel Fox said...

Wow! You are what I believe the yoof would call uber clean!
x

Jeanne Iris said...

Thanks for the virtual trip, Rachel. Your imagery aligns nicely with Van Gogh's artistry.
I like the ebb and flow of a villanelle, too.

Rachel Fox said...

Van Gogh, Jeanne...goodness! Are you tripping? Ho ho.

Perhaps I should say that the first set of images are from an old memory but the second are much newer and from just the other day (when I was under no chemical influences other than my own natural ones...well, maybe some tea and bit of sleep deprivation too).


x

Totalfeckineejit said...

'Blackbird sings in the dead of night, Macca's writing is a pile of shite'
This poem so well written I find it terrifying, horrific.

Rachel Fox said...

Oh no, I like that Blackbird too...I just thought maybe people knew that one already. I loved Paul McCartney when I was a kid and I'm a loyal fan on the whole...and yes, I still like him. Sure he's had his wonky moments but so does anyone who is continually out in the public eye (and ear). I liked Wings even...quite a lot. They had more good songs than you might remember.

Glad you like the poem. I make this our 22nd Poetry Bus - is that right?

x

Poetikat said...

Wow! (a) that you took LSD and (b) that you could articulate the experience in such a restrained, nuanced fashion.

(I love the villanelle form, by the way.)

Kat

Rachel Fox said...

Ah Kat...the restrain came a long time after the drugtaking! A really long time...
x

The Bug said...

I love this! I've had such moments when taking cold meds - they make me QUITE strange - but I'm like deemikay - squeaky. And I've never smoked either! I know - how do I even find anything to write about?

Rachel Fox said...

Certainly some of the cold meds are full of what amounts to speed pretty much. As for diet pills (not that I've ever tried those I have to say...but I know people who have).

x

Niamh B said...

I'm so glad you got to do the audio, wow, impressive recording - sounds very professional. Hearing you reading it transforms the mood completely from what I originally heard in my head as well.
It's a beautiful poem, either way
(ie my way or your way)

Totalfeckineejit said...

Your rreading brings the poem into 3D and I don't know if the echo was intentional but it ups the ante too!

I'm going to hide behind the sofa now.

Dominic Rivron said...

Like it - especially "The daffodils singing uninvited, as ever". (Perhaps it reminded me, in a funny sort of way of Brian Patten: "The stars, the buggers, remained silent").

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks Niamh. One does one's best.

TFE - no the echo was an accident...a fluke...very suitable though, all things considered.

Dominic - I do like Patten poems. Very much.

Things still fairly tough here day to day. Will do my best to stay on the Bus though.

x

Rachel Fenton said...

Glad to see you still hanging in there!

I thought your poem really relaxed but your words about the songs were really far out!

I barely even take paracetamol, don't drink, don't smoke..."what you gonna do?"...

Rachel Fox said...

Rach - good days and bad here. We had some visitors yesterday and they commented on your lovely picture above my desk by the way. And yes, I'm pretty clean-living these days...the other stuff is all memories now.

x

The Weaver of Grass said...

Beautiful stuff.

Rachel Fenton said...

Glad the pic's getting an airing!
x

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks Weaver.

Yes, Rachel, it has pride of place!

x

Pure Fiction said...

Really great reading of a fantastic poem. Respect! (Sounds like you're in a church.)
Couldn't get my head around the task this week - now feeling old and fat and very unrockandrollish as a result :)

Rachel Fox said...

Oh, my friend...my life just now is SO un rock'n'roll...cooking and cleaning and caring for my aged (and currently sick) mother (and my wee girl - though she barely gets a look-in just now)! Going to festivals? I'd be lucky to get out of the house at the moment! Certainly it makes me glad I went mental when I had the chance...

x

Pure Fiction said...

Sorry to hear about your mother. Hope she's holding her own?
My own (semi)mental days seem pretty distant - which made me not want to write about them. That's what I really liked about your poem - it's engaging with a world that's here here right now, rather than being entirely retrospective.
Spent the afternoon shoveling manure - does it get much more rock'n roll than that?

Argent said...

This has an ever-so-slightly-blurry sinister edge to it which is how I always imagine an LSD trip would be (never tried it but am kinda curious). The echo gave the audio an eerie out-of-this-world quality too. It's really great to hear people's voices.

Rachel Fox said...

Sinister is always a possibility with acid, Argent...a definite possiblity...and it can be self-imposed torture at times. I'm not sure the good bits are worth the bad in retrospect but I've got beyond regrets by this point. We are what we are...
x

Titus said...

Good poem, great reading! Really liked the opening, and then the final two stanzas (verses?) just perfection! Jealous.

I always wanted to try cocaine, but with my addictive personality decided it was probably best to steer clear.

Villanelles - I'm with Deemi - we love 'em!

I thought I'd heard the Unthanks song before on a Jethro Tull album, then when I read the comments realised it might have been Sir Paul after all. I know none of them sound the same.

Sandra Leigh said...

I listened to your poem and the songs, thoroughly enjoyed both -- then wandered through your link to the villanelle and liked that, too -- although when you wrote "a current full of truth" I scanned it as "a currant full of truth" -- I suspect the pizza theme had made me a little peckish!

Back to your latest poem -- I liked the contrast between the first half and the second. You are less like Alice now, more a part of the world where you walk. Lovely poem.

Karen said...

I love both the language and the imagery of this. Oh, and the form, too with the repeated "there is this." Very, very nice.

Rachel Fox said...

Titus - well, we'd make a good double act, maybe.

Sandra - I love the 'currant of truth'! And your comments on this poem are very astute...you've kind of explained it to me, so well done!

Thanks, Karen - things are still tough here so good vibes are all very welcome. They may keep my head above water...

x

Peter Goulding said...

I'm determined now to write a bad villanelle about a blackbird taking acid (probably why he sings in the dead of night) Great stuff!

Rachel Fox said...

Look forward to reading it Peter. I suppose really you should tweet it...
x

Eryl Shields said...

I didn't know what to make of this when I first read it, I just felt bewildered and slightly uncomfortable, but that's exactly how drugs make me feel (or made me feel, haven't so much as sniffed a drug in twenty years). Hearing you read it, with that echo, it reminds me of being in church as a child and being lulled by the Eulogy which, in turn, reminds me of Marx saying 'religion is the opium of the people.'

I really like how you manage to convey the feeling of being in a heightened state in the first half.

Rachel Fox said...

Interesting that people have mentioned church. I know I have a fairly active inner (godless) preacher. Sometimes it's not so inner...

And bewildered is just right...for this one anyway.

x