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BARBICAN LIFE


Afterthoughts


Kevin Kiernan comes up with some new New Year resolutions for TfL and others and delves into the non-rhyming intricacies which might be experienced by a foreigner trying to write English poetry.


Kevin Kiernan I


used to be overly modest, but I have now removed that one last flaw from my character. As a result New Year'‘s Resolutions don’t offer the same possibilities for me as they do for the rest of you. I am the correct weight for my width, so no issue there. When it comes to climbing stairs, escalators present no problems for me. How I sympathise with seemingly fit looking people who find escalators at Tube Stations too challenging and choose to climb the stairs instead – often young people as well – how sad!


As I am full of good ideas which might otherwise be wasted, I have decided to suggest New Year’s Resolutions for others. The first is my old friend T


for London. Resolution 1. Please keep Barbican Station open at weekends. If that proves too much trouble, at least keep it open on Lord Mayor’s Show Day. It’s not unreasonable to assume that the milling throngs at the show might come by Tube and even use the Circle line etc. Particularly as the Show itself upsets all the remaining bus routes that road works haven’t already upset. Do the Tube boys know that they need to co-ordinate with buses? Do they walk past bus garages and wonder what these red items are? You can’t blame the organisers of the Show for date dithering (as the clergy do with Easter) as it’s been held on the second Saturday in November since 1959. So TFL have got plenty of warning. Perhaps the Lord Mayor could officially greet the Chairman of TFL at Barbican Station on the morning of the show. That might get the point home. Resolution No 2 More of a minor quibble but could Organisers of th Mayor’s sh


ransport


of the nearest underground stations was Blackfriars – technically yes that’s true it is close to the route, but poor Blackfriars tube hasn’t been open for some time now. It seems so long ago when it was last open that perhaps the Black Friars themselves might have used it. When indeed the Circle Line ran in a Circle! While the Organisers are at it, they might as well mention long defunct tube stations such as Aldwych and Down Street. To be fair to TFL, they do enjoy a drop of irony. Barbican tube was open on both Saturdays on either side of the Show (just to tease us, I am sure). Indeed it seems strange that one part of TFL thinks it’s so important to link Paddington and Liverpool St that they are building Crossrail at enormous expense and disruption. While another part of TFL doesn’t think it’s worth running the existing service at weekends.


Resolution 3 If TFL can’t be trusted to keep the tube stations open and the buses are inevitably going to be disrupted, can Organisers of th Mayor’s Sh


owhold the show on the e Lord


owbe a bit more up-to-date. On my show ticket (in a spirit of helpfulness I am sure) it said that one


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High Walks. It would have to be a smaller scale affair. Possibly we could get advice from experts who grow Bonsai trees for example. No transport disruption, close to home, perfect. ‘Less is more’ as I am often told when I am being short-changed., Let’s move onto loftier, literary themes. It’s Christmas card time and inside the card are those delightful rhyming couplets. Resolution No 4 Can the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, lead the way and write poems that rhyme – just like the ones you see in Christmas cards? In her defence the Poet Laureate should traditionally receive an annual butt of sack which apparently is about 477 litres of sherry. I am not sure if the Department of Health is aware but this would exceed the recommended


alcohol allowance by some margin. (Another example where we need a bit more joined up Government). In any event, given that beverage tonnage. It’s a wonder any Poet Laureate is capable of standing never mind capable of a stanza.


Somewhat inspired by this topic on University Challenge recently, I would like to make the case for Precision Rhyming, where not only do the words rhyme, but also the last four letters of the rhyming words are the same. Here is my first effort. As in the spirit of the modern artistic age I have given the poem an unrelated title,


Eat up your protein, Frankenstein I had a glass of pink champagne With my plate of lasagne My friend had the selfsame With just a pinch of sesame The waitress failed to clear the debris Possibly from a fit of hubris


e Lord


When combined with the magisterial limerick form, Precision Rhyming comes to the fore, leaving Carol Ann’s oeuvre at sixes and sevens.


This is called Slough after the Bombs


There was a young man from Middlesbrough


And also one from Brough The rain from leaves on a bough Had fallen and drenched them right through.


As a result they both had a slight cough


The rest of their day was OK though


Is that all the ‘ough’ sounds, or are there more? Come to Willoughby on Wednesdays for further discussion on Precision Rhyming at our Poetry Club. Donned in my Velvet Smoking Jacket, I lead the group as everyone else seems too overly modest.


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