Generations: Mind The Gap

How throwaway comments can lead you elsewhere.

Threads, I call them, when you’re writing them down, ideas or memories that immediately join with another.

I recently heard an elderly lady remonstrating with a young lad about manners, and how “we knew how to behave when we were young.” I’d heard similar stuff when I was growing up. No doubt she had, too. I think the glasses we wear to look back with are often rose-tinted.

I remember one woman telling me all about her generation. It sounded like some kind of Golden Era, and my young self back then was thinking yes, but Hitler was your generation, too

Of course I didn’t say that. I was a polite lad and I kept my mouth shut. But I realise now that I was cherry picking individuals while she was generalising.

Anyway, this memory trail led to me to another point in time a bit closer, around 2006. I was going to go and watch a Scottish girl who was about to appear in a small gig in my home city of Manchester. A young singer-songwriter who was starting to be name-checked a lot in music magazines, her debut album was imminent and I was curious to check her out, but for one reason or another I couldn’t make it. Soon the album, This Is The Life, arrived and it persuaded me that I’d missed out that night.

She’s recorded several albums since, but on that first one is a song called Youth of Today, where she defends this generational issue from the perspective of youth. This is a live version, recorded on a French TV show.

But then, conversely, in another song on the album,,she approves of the old idea of celebrity in the form of the iconic stars of the silver screen, as opposed to today’s obvious example of the WAG. Not sure who she had in mind, but “you know who you are.”

For those of you who may have struggled with the Scottish accent in the last video, this one includes lyrics!

The Playthings Of Man

Those of you who have read my book will have come across a namecheck in the foreword of a certain Kenneth White. White introduced the term Geopoetics, the meaning of which has informed both my writing and the way that I see the world for a long time-long before I had even heard of Geopoetics or knew what it meant.

Being an admirer of White’s poetry and his waybooks, this afternoon I was sat outside in what is perhaps the final ebb of summer, reading House Of Tides. This quote, of an old Japanese saying, stood out:

In youth a man plays with women, in middle age with the arts, and in old age with a garden.

I put it in context for myself.

Here I am: happily married; playing at being a poet; thinking about peas.



Claws for the Weekend:Grim Reality

I was walking the dog early this morning. As I passed a parked car I happened to glance at my reflection in the window. For the first time ever, the thought came:

I am getting old.

Despite my collar turned up and cap pulled down low, I could see it.

Autumn is here, the season of change and decay. The natural way of things.

Hold that happy thought.

Try and feel comfortable in your skin. Avoid all smoking mirrors.

And don’t forget to moisturise.



Have a great weekend.

See you on the flip side.


mary and jasper c1900

‘Mary with her Grandfather Jasper, around 1900’
Separated by generations, 
from each other, and from you.
And time that yellows this paper
fades the memory of us, too.
In our yearning and our striving
spent so quickly, we did leave
behind our youth and our glory,
and came soon to a place to grieve.