Updatapam: where we are losing now

As the collapsing table of dubious poetic comestibles continues to rain rum upon the unwary in its second year of uncoordinated activities, I thought I’d just flash fry the News Fish with a series of unlikely and largely mendacious updates as to what the Losers are up to at present. We’ll just see how how it takes them to notice and correct these actionable and libellous assertions – they can’t catch me…or can they?

First up is Sampurna, who is currently a visiting fellow at the University of Kent in Canterbury – the very fellowship that Meena held last year. She is in charge of leading a revival of the famous Canterbury scene of the late 60s and early 70s, where bands like Soft Machine and Caravan pioneered a whimsical jazz rock-based movement of laid-back high-pitched singing. Her avowed aim is to tranquillise mice, then insert them in a ‘fur Farfisa’ – evidently some sort of synthesizer. Here‘s a link to another Welsh-Indian translation exchange she took part in.

Then there’s Roselyne, who has been making art books the size and shape of Mediterranean vegetable and fish dishes. Unfortunately these are literally snapped up by a hungry mob pretty much as they appear. But they consume the poetry in any case and their heads glow as though luminescent shrimp were floating around inside their glassy skulls. This is actually due to the books being digested into the form of short movies, including Ratatuilieries by the Courgette Brothers, and Bouillabasic Instinct by Paul Verhoeddock.

Next is Arjun, who is now making a cartoon epic about a hungover sparrow who is contacted by aliens with an urgent message for the entire planet. Unfortunately the sparrow has a throat infection and is reduced to whispering the message huskily to a small boy who thinks the sparrow is out to get him and beheads him with a spinning DVD of The Monkees’ psychedelic folly ‘Head’. A kindly passing madman cryogenically preserves the sparrow’s head and the sparrow delivers the message agonisingly slowly as a huge space furball spins uncontrollably toward the Earth.

Then there’s Zoe, who in addition to editing the very marvellous Poetry Wales was co-involved with me (a liar) in making a radio programme called ‘Guns Roses and Poetry Readings’ with Pier Productions about poetry festivals around the world. Zoe did most of the work, naturally, travelling to Venezuela, Nicaragua, Macedonia and Serbia. This was broadcast by BBC Radio 4, but of course I didn’t post anything about it then, so you can merely look at the husk of it here.

Then there’s Meena, who has really does have some very good news, in that the genuinely nasty court action raised against her editing work has been dropped. Details of the original action are available on her blog here.

Robin has been maintaining an enigmatic silence whether about appearing in Poetry Wales or about the project he did in Wales in June with Sampurna and Alexandra, though this discussion on Soundcloud is a little noisier.

Raphael‘s visit to Medellin in June baffled thousands, who’d been expecting him to wear a comedy moustache and discuss the numismatic systems of Northern European squirrels: you can see them weep openly, both frightened and in dismay, here.

Finally, Alexandra, tired of providing alibis for her alter ego, the international jewellery thief Francesca, has started teaching Limpy the Parrot (a parrot), who lives in the Megara Palace, Istanbul, how to cheat at poker.

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About Bill Herbert

Poet and pseudo-scholar W.N. Herbert was born in Dundee in 1961, educated there and at Oxford, where he completed his DPhil thesis on Scottish poet Hugh MacDiarmid, and now lives and works in Newcastle. He is Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing at Newcastle University, and his books are published by, among others, northern publisher Bloodaxe Books. He is also the Dundee Makar, or city laureate.
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