The Guardian reports on some newly-discovered jazz blues lyrics written by Philip Larkin in the early forties. Among these was “Fuel Form Blues”, which the Bard of the Spectacles casually tossed off while “bored in his first job as a clerk collating wartime fuel rationing forms at a coal depot in Warwick”:
I’d rather be a commando, or drive a railway train,
I’d rather be a commando, Lord! drive a railway train,
Than sort them Fuel Form Blues into streets again…
Fuckin’ Fuel Forms, gonna carry me to my grave, carry me to my grave.
It’s easy to see that the great poet was already laying the foundations for his later classics such as “Toads”, q.v.:
Why should I let the toad work
Squat on my life?
Can’t I use my wit as a pitchfork
And drive the brute off?
…not to mention “This Be The Verse”.
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To the Odeon to see the distinctly unLarkinesque Matrix Reloaded. I attempted to brush up on the Matrix phenomenon last night by watching an old video of the first film… and was lost within the first twenty minutes. Nevertheless, it was a nice lostness, and I approached the sequel with interest. Like the original, I found it a bit cold and soulless (although that’s the whole point, I guess), and there were some dreadfully slow bits in the first hour, but the special effects didn’t disappoint and the whole thing was good fun. The car chase was my favourite scene, and the point where Trinity was riding against the flow of traffic startlingly realistic. According to the iMDB, the epic chase was shot on a highway specially built for the movie. Weirdly enough, shortly after we got home from seeing the film, Fifth Gear was on and had a feature about the scene. Keanu Reeves praised Carrie-Anne Moss for doing it sans stunt double or crash helmet, but I had to take this with a slight pinch of salt when it was revealed that the traffic she was pictured weaving around was all digitally superimposed afterwards. Boo!
The only thing I can never work out about The Matrix, incidentally, is, if the “real” world as perceived by humans is actually a digital creation of the machines, why didn’t the machines make the “real” world a bit more exciting? If it’s all virtual anyway, why not make the world absolutely wonderful for people instead of humdrum and everyday? That way, surely everybody would be happy and there’d be no need to have Agents to track down all the Neos and Morpheuses (Morphei?) because they’d be so serene they wouldn’t want to escape…
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I have to say that last Saturday was not spoilt for me at all by the UK receiving an unprecedented nul points in the Eurovision Song Contest. This piece in the Guardian today does a fair job of explaining why it happened.