Thursday, 31 October 2013

The Friend Zone

by Rhiannon Lasrado

The dreaded friend zone. All too often, we hear people our age whining about it, about how they like someone who doesn’t like them back. So what exactly is this “friend zone”? Wikipedia defines it as “a platonic relationship wherein one person wishes to enter into a romantic or sexual relationship, while the other does not”. The term arose in the 1990s, following an early episode of Friends, in which Joey describes Ross’ longing for Rachel. She sees him as a friend, a brother perhaps, putting him directly into the friend zone. Since then, it has appeared on numerous occasions within popular culture, to the point where anyone can find advice to escape this living hell anywhere on the Internet: “Be less interested” “Break the touch barrier” “Be confident”.


What I want to discuss is whether or not the friend zone actually exists.

There’s always someone who says something along the lines of “I can’t get any girls because I’m too nice a guy and girls only date bad guys”. The Internet has labelled this “Nice Guy Syndrome” because it sounds a lot like a failure to accept valid reasons for not being dated, rather than the fault of the entire female population. In this way, men demonise women, even within the adolescent generation, for exercising their ability to say no. Being nice to a girl for a long time doesn’t entitle you to a relationship. Besides, what is so wrong with simply being friends with a person? Women aren’t there solely to be dated. In fact, the strongest relationships are often built upon a good friendship. (It’s important to note that this happens equally with women, you only have to listen to one Taylor Swift song to realise that “Nice Girl Syndrome” is a very real problem. However, I’m inclined to believe that women tend to blame themselves, rather than the guy they like, when he doesn’t reciprocate feelings. Perhaps this is the fault of the media, although that is an argument for another day.)

On the other hand, it’s true that women take advantage of guys who they know to be interested in them, solely for their own benefit. They string them along, give them false hope and then are surprised when the guy makes a move. When I asked Callum, a close friend of mine, about his experiences, he said "I fell into the friend zone last year. It's one of the darkest places a man can be." Taking into account his tongue in cheek humour, it’s clear that manipulating emotions is never a nice thing to do and that it can put people in the friend zone through no fault of their own.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Why I’ve Had Enough of Hearing about the False Widow Spider

by Charlie Henderson

Steatoda Nobilis (source: National History Museum)
If, in the past few weeks, you have either read the Daily Mail or spoken to an arachnophobe, you probably have been exposed to the hysteria surrounding the latest foreign threat to our shores, the False Widow Spider.
The False Widow is not actually a species, but a genus which contains over 120 different species. The species causing the general hysteria is the Noble False Widow (Steatoda Nobilis), which is the only species in the genus which is known to have bitten humans in the UK. Since the end of August,  15 articles have been published on the Daily Mail’s website concerning the Noble False Widow, the majority of which contain graphic images of pus- filled blisters, and headlines like “I Nearly Lost My Leg After Close Relative of Black Widow Bit Me”. This scaremongering has altered public perception of a spider that is less dangerous than a bee.
I have compiled a few ‘facts’ that the Daily Mail and Daily Star have reported on in their articles, and researched the truth behind them:

Mail Myth One: The False Widow’s bite is highly toxic, and potentially life threatening.

False: Nobody in UK has ever been killed by the bite of the False Widow, or complications arising from the bite. The False Widow’s bite is, in fact, only as toxic as the sting of a bee or wasp and is, as a whole, less dangerous than wasp and bee stings as these contain chemicals that many more people are allergic to. What the scaremongering articles (which attribute the near loss of limbs to the bite of the false widow spider) don’t mention is that these dire symptoms are actually a result of the wounds becoming infected after the bite victim scratched them.

Mail Myth Two: The False Widow only emerged in the UK recently.

False: The False Widow was first sighted in Britain in 1879, probably having stowed away in shipments of fruit from the Canary Islands, Spain.    

Mail Myth Three: The False Widow gets its name because it is closely related to the deadly Black Widow
False: The False Widow is only distantly related to the Black Widow, as they are both members of the Theridiidae family of spiders, which is prevalent globally and contains over 2,000 different genera. The False Widow’s name actually comes from the fact that the markings on its abdomen are similar to those on the Black Widow.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The Greatest TV Series Ever

by Neil Chhabda

(source: Wiki Commons)
I recently completed Breaking Bad, one of the most critically acclaimed television series in history. Indeed, it is as highly commended as The Sopranos and The Wire, ground-breaking  shows which have been immortalised because of their undoubted brilliance. I, too, immensely enjoyed Breaking Bad; it is magnificently written, extraordinarily captivating, and likely more addictive than some of the products its protagonist is responsible for. Surprisingly, however, it is not the finest television series I have viewed this year. That title goes to Smallville, which might be the greatest television series ever made. For those of you who don’t know, this spectacular TV series tells the story of a young Clark Kent, or (as he is better known) Superman. The show starts off as a delightfully charming teen drama, but develops into so much more. For me, Smallville is incontrovertibly the best TV series ever.

Firstly, the acting in the show is absolutely outstanding. The characters are fantastically portrayed, and brilliantly written. The transformation of Lex Luthor, from Clark’s best friend, to his description of himself as “the villain of the story,” is superbly performed by Michael Rosenbaum. Furthermore, Lionel Luthor, Lex’s father, is also splendidly illustrated as a ruthless, sociopathic billionaire who shows very little care for his own son. However, what sets Smallville apart from other TV series, is that the major characters are extremely easy to connect with. Clark Kent is an archetypal teenager, dealing with puberty, his first love and the choices he has to make about his future, as he nears graduation from high school. His position is one in which millions of teenage boys find themselves, and are likely see some reflections of themselves in the character of Clark. Moreover, Jonathan and Martha Kent are beautifully depicted as warm, loving parents. John is portrayed as a firm but fair, loving father, helping Clark to control his powers, and nurturing his son into a humble, hardworking man. Martha is the softer parent, unconditionally loving Clark, and guiding him through relationship troubles. I’m sure John and Martha reflect some elements of not only my parents, but of those of others. This effortless, emotional bond which can be formed with the characters in the show is what makes Smallville a truly great show.
Furthermore, the show always keeps things fresh, and is full of some jaw-dropping twists, even from the very beginning. One of the most unanticipated elements of the show is how the friendship between Clark and Lex initially blossoms, with Lex going so far as to say “Our friendship will be the stuff of legends,” before ultimately transforming into the man we all know him to be. Furthermore, the show develops from  simple, episode-long story arcs to into much more complex sagas, which feel like emotional roller coasters, filled with immeasurable sadness, exhilarating action and everything in between. Additionally, as Clark matures, and grows out of Smallville (his hometown), the series shifts to the big city, ‘Metropolis’, and takes on a much darker tone. Multifaceted, chilling villains such as Braniac, Doomsday, General Zod, and, of course, Lex Luthor are introduced. It is with these villains that the show evolves into a pleasingly elaborate production, with some truly riveting moments.

Two Unconventional Ways To Boost The Economy

by Harry Dry

Helicopter drop (see below)
Earlier this year Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, unveiled a new “forward guidance policy.” He announced that interest rates would remain at their present, extremely low,, rate until unemployment falls below 7%. This makes good sense as employment falling below 7% would indicate that the economy is well and truly on the mend; Carney could then raise interest rates, increasing the cost of borrowing, reducing the inflationary possibilities that would damage the economy. By offering guidance to firms and the population about the date when interest rates rise he allows the opportunity for them to look ahead and plan accordingly for the future, as they are more aware of the future costs which they will incur.  Although Carney’s policy is all well and good, I question whether it will have the impact on the economy which other, riskier polices could.
Negative Interest Rates
Potentially the most extreme sort of monetary policy, it is considered as the ultimate market distortion. Negative interest rates mean that if you store some money in a bank, or building society every year a % of this money is taken by the bank. And, if you take out a bank loan, every year the bank pays you a % of the amount of money which you take out. Although seeming a ridiculous policy, its purpose is simply to get an economy moving again. When spending in an economy by both firms and consumers is low, it could be because the cost of borrowing the money (the interest rate) is too high. However, there comes a point when even the base rate of interest can’t stimulate any more spending. This signals a liquidity trap, where there is very little cost to holding more cash due to the extremely low interest rates, yet still demand is low as near zero interest rates can’t provide a large enough incentive to spend. There is no incentive to spend because, when recovering from a recession, all individuals have had their finances hit. Hence, they are determined to reduce their personal deficit or increase their surplus. As a collective group this is unachievable, and so leads to a depressed economy with demand near static levels.
One way to guarantee spending in an economy is implementing negative interest rates. There is now a reward for taking out loans and so spending and there is now a cost to saving. This has the effect of changing people’s incentives dramatically and, although it carries serious complications, it can ensure that demand in an economy will pick up. A small increase in demand will soon multiply throughout the economy, increasing employment, future investment and aiding the government in reducing the national debt via increased taxation. 

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Saturday, 26 October 2013

The 5% Rule

by Mark Richardson


On average, I suggest, no more than 5% of any photograph has any immediate value to the person taking the photograph.  

Look at any typical photograph, and it will most likely be of a person. That person's face typically takes up no more than 5% of the photo. It's such a familiar characteristic: photography teachers are always telling their students to "get closer" or exclaiming that "the best zoom lens is your feet!" But (a) not many people get taught to take a photo and (b) they don't usually take much notice of such advice in any case. Even if the photo is of a group, that usually means that the faces are even smaller in the frame, and thus they still add up to about 5% of the photo.  As an example, look at the photograph. I don't think it's a poor photo by any means, but nevertheless, despite the rough calculations, I also don't think I'm far off in my estimations that only 5% of the photograph constitutes the key element of that photo as far as it was intended at the time.  

So, 95% of the data on that photo is not regarded as important, meaningful or even interesting.  

It is barely plausible, but perhaps still possible, that 95% of all photos taken are of people, the rest being pictures such as landscapes, where all of the content might be seen as meaningful. But, given the huge presence of phones carrying decent cameras within them, I suspect that people are relentlessly the 'focus' (sorry) of the picture-taking public. 

But it doesn't just stop there. 

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Are We Witnessing the Fall of Manchester Football?

by Fergus Houghton-Connell

David Moyes: worried?

For the past five years, the two Manchester clubs have dominated the Premier League. But this season, after eight games, Manchester City are fourth and United are eighth, already eight points behind league leaders Arsenal. So why, all of a sudden, are the Manchester clubs suddenly barely competing for Champions League football?

Don’t blame the selection, blame the mentality

United manager David Moyes has only made one change to the league winning team over the summer, bringing in Marouane Fellaini, and his team selections have been very similar to Ferguson’s last year. Yet now he is accused of bad tactics because he is playing veteran Ryan Giggs instead of Shinji Kagawa. Last season however, Giggs had a storming campaign; surely Giggs is the safe option?

The story is slightly different for City, with manager Manuel Pellegrini bringing in stars such as Jovetic, Jesus Navas and Fernandinho. Yet the team still has the same core of players in David Silva, Aguero and Kompany at the back and they aren’t performing at their best.

Confidence has surely taken its toll here. Manchester United seem to have very little of it and when confidence is low, everything seems to go against you. Against Southampton for example, United were looking at wrapping up the three points with a simple 1-0 victory, yet the Saints managed to scrape a last minute goal to earn a draw. United’s mentality this season just seems a bit negative. Maybe Moyes has done something in training that has disgruntled the players, we don’t know, but United need to pick up their attitude soon, otherwise it could be a long season.

Increased Competition

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

How To Make It In Fashion.

by Charlotte Povey

Designs by Daisy Harris-Burland, OP (founder, Dumpster Design)
(from the British Fashion Week seminar, hosted at Portsmouth Grammar School, October 11 2013)

The Fashion Industry internationally is renowned for being the toughest industry to make it large in.  Its brutality and exposure to the voicing of any criticism possible can seem downgrading once your self esteem has been bullied into the emptiest hole possible, but it’s the people who turn their hole into a tower that make it large. And in this exploration I’m going to unveil the key requirements for contribution to an attitude that will leave you with only one choice but success in fashion.
Talk to anyone who has a sustainable career in Fashion and you will recognise instantly that they have a burning passion. You won't be able to recognise this passion because they’re flaunting it about or screaming it from the hills, it's such a strong passion that they will probably exploit it in way that’s so cool and calm it seems ridiculous to make a fool of the topic so tender to their heart. 

Sharing their passion for fashion with PGS pupils
(L to R): Old Portmuthians: Simon Ward, Misli Akdag, Maisie Skidmore, Daisy Harris-Burland,
Emily Garrod and Emily Morgan. With Portsmouth North MP, Penny Mordaunt (right)

So the first piece of advice is to find that vital balance of enthusiasm and passion but to make sure you don’t trip yourself into becoming the annoying wannabe no body wants to waste their time with. So making sure you present your passion understatedly is sometimes necessary when on unstable grounds you could be mistaken for a "keeno". Let's face it: fashion is glamorous and anyone who cares about it wants to protect and maintain this glamour; they will definitely not let some "keeno/wannabe" destroy it.
This leads onto the crucial point of having an opinion, of not being afraid to disagree. 

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

England’s World Cup Hopes and Aspirations

by Thomas Penlington

(wiki commons)
The subject of the England national football team has come into question on numerous occasions in recent times. This is mainly due to the faltering World Cup qualifying campaign in which the national team are embroiled, and hold a tenuous position at the top of their group, a single point above fellow group rivals Ukraine. The FIFA 14 world cup to be held in Rio, Brazil in 2014 provides a test for England, many fans and football pundits condemning England to failure. The old fashioned rigid 4-4-2 formation deployed commonly by manager Roy Hodgson during their qualifying and friendly matches provides minimum moments of creative flair expressed more openly by countries like Brazil and Spain, who in turn have been far more successful throughout their qualifying and competitive matches. Brazil was recently successful in their home tournament of the Confederations cup with the likes of Neymar, Hulk and Fred helping them to defeat Spain with an expressive creative display. Furthermore Spain sit at the top of their European group with 5 wins 2 draws and 0 loses clearly the perhaps more defensively open style of play leading to a more successful qualifying campaign.
However there is no doubt the negative press surrounding the national team hasn’t helped the likes of Roy Hodgson and his back ground staff from positively motivating the team to succeed. Recent displays against Ukraine have drawn widespread criticism from former players such as Gary Lineker and also newspapers. The mentality transmitted from the England team and camp was that a draw was a good result, the phrase ‘got the job done’ was coined on many occasions by pundits. This negative mentality of believing a draw was ‘good enough’ and not striving for a win and being critical when not achieving a win seems to have been embedded in the mentality of the team reflecting results. The innate animalistic drive to win seems to have been removed from the England team and this passive mentality has been reflected in the performances of the team as shown by 4 drawn results during their qualifying campaign.
The blame however cannot only rest with the manager and coaching staff; a proportion must fall upon the shoulders of the players as well. The defensive set up seems to be a solid consistent selection at the moment with a player regarded by many as one of if not the best left back in the world Ashley, one of a few world class players within the side. The manager also has more than adequate back up in that position with inform left back Leighton Baines and will surely be following the development of the young player Kieran Gibbs. The centre back partnership seems to have fallen on the shoulders of Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka the older John Terry and Rio Ferdinand partnership making way. This I feel is the best suited mix of players, in a time where the old fashioned tall single striker has made way for the smaller, quicker player willing to run behind. This almost certainly will cause a problem for Rio Ferdinand and John Terry both who would struggle with the pace of the game I feel. The right back position is in no doubt in contest, both Kyle Walker and Glen Johnson in the running, both providing a positive attacking threat with some questionable defensive capabilities. The gaoling keeping position has come into the public eye recently as the current England number 1 Joe Hart comes under criticism for poor displays for both club and country, many calling for someone else being given the chance perhaps in a friendly match rather than a competitive one.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Photograph: Black and White

by Ella Howard

photograph taken at Gun Wharf

Interview with Chris Walker MP

by Ross Watkins and Will Wallace

Conservative MP Chris Walker, who has campaigned on behalf of greater understanding of the subject of mental health, visited PGS last term. Here, he is interviewed by Ross Watkins and Will Wallace:

See an interview by PGS pupils with Portsmouth South MP, Mike Hancock here.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Five Inspirational Quotations

5. ‘Everything will be OK in the end. If it’s not OK, it’s not the end.’

This quotation made number five for me because I think it helps us to regain hope when we think it is all over. Hope and determination are stronger than we think.

4.      ‘Never regret anything that made you happy’

I think we are all guilty of this, in one way or another. Something may have made you happy for months, years but then that excitement could perhaps deflate over time. This is typical of relationships; if something once gave you contentment, where is the harm?

3.      ‘I love food and hate exercise. I don’t have time to work out... I don’t want to be on the cover of Vogue or Playboy. I want to be on the cover of Rolling Stone or Q. I’m not a trend setter... I’m a singer. I’d rather weigh a ton and create an amazing album than look like Nicole Riche and do a shit album. My aim in life is never to be skinny.’ -  Adele

The meaning of this quotation is really: do what you think's best, not others. Adele doesn't take the role of the stereotypical pop star, she doesn't try to make an impression by changing her image like Lady Gaga or Miley Cyrus- she does the job and moves on.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013


by Fenella Johnson

They come creeping in at night like any good monster does that exists in the mist-covered corners of your consciousness. They prey through half-open windows, swirling in the relentlessly drizzle of the London streets. But she can see them, they move with effortless grace. She sees them hiding under her bed, she entices them out with a biscuit and a cup of cold tea.

There’s a man with a bubble-gum smile and a jacket with frayed cuffs, whose mad eyes dip like rollercoasters, there’s a dormouse who tumbles sleepily through her dreams and a cat with a smile like a dimpled half-moon. She clutches them to herself for comfort-who cares if she’s mad, she has a world tucked away in her head and who cares that there are whispers of her insanity when she has conversations with a slightly pudgy rabbit in a blue waistcoat who is constantly late?

She runs with them through forests and listens to jerky, malicious music that makes her dance uncontrollably and tell almost-true stories, and she should be scared when they scream for her head ,but why should she be? This is all in her head, this is not real.

They make the ordinary world so boring and they make her on fire, on nicotine-enhanced fire, the colours so bright that they make her head spin. She feels wanted and she’s not scared when they show bodies, the blood smeared like cheap lipstick kisses. She’s definitely not scared when she sees glass scattered on the tables and in their hair like tasteless crowns. She’s not scared when they taunt her because they’re her friends, aren't they? And they don’t mean it and it’s not real, it’s not real, it’s not real. She tells her mother she gets the cuts on her hands from falling off their swing and she’s fine at school.

They whisper in her ear, secrets she didn’t even know she had and things she should do and their voices throb in her ears-just one more, one more. One more what? It doesn’t matter-one more slurp, one more puff of this, it’s all the same-it’s all bad for you. They tell her she should be glad, that at least she has them, because, darling, it’s not like anyone else does. They make her eyes water and her throat tight and her chest feel alive but they are not real and this is all in her head.

They can’t control her paintbrush, when she discovers she’s actually good at something-who would have known?-and she uses neon oranges, violent reds, vibrant shining colours, but they can make her scream and rip up her canvases so they rain down on her like confetti .She tells herself this is not real, this is all in head, but, if it is all in her head, why are they so solid?

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The Elusive Nature of Sleep

by Holly Govey

(Wiki commons)
“I’m so tired” is by far the most common phrase heard at school by both teachers and students. This abundance of tiredness can be attributed to a number of reasons: either practical (e.g. the unreasonable amount of homework received) or psychological (e.g. the continued difficulties in dealing with everyday emotions) but - whatever its cause- tiredness continues to affect us all and sleep deprivation is a pivotal factor of this exhaustion.
Whether so encompassed in our frenetic day to day lives that sleep is too difficult to achieve or suffering from mild bouts of frequent insomnia, this elusive but essential part of our continued existence can be hard to find- making life if not unbearable, definitely unsatisfactory.
Sleep is defined as a “naturally recurring state characterized by reduced or absent consciousness”. It is indispensable for both physical and mental processes that occur in the body- providing crucial time to relax the mind and accentuate the growth and rejuvenation of the immune, nervous, skeletal and muscular systems.
Dreaming can be identified as the perceived experience of sensory images and sounds during sleep; however I prefer to think of them as subconscious streams of thought. While on the surface they may not seem to be of significant importance, many people have proposed hypotheses about the functions of dreaming. 
For example, Sigmund Freud postulated that dreams are the symbolic expression of frustrated desires that have been relegated to the unconscious mind. In this way Freud suggests that dreams are attempts by the unconscious to resolve conflicts of some sort, whether recent occasions or recesses from the past.
In some ways I can see where Freud is coming from- I am well acquainted with the challenging struggle to empty the mind of all thoughts and worries in order to achieve sleep and so can sympathise with the idea of some conflicts being relegated to the unconscious in order to be continually contemplated.

Monday, 7 October 2013

To What Extent Can Music Be Used As A Political Device?

by Will Wallace

For rhythm and harmony penetrate deeply into the mind and take a most powerful hold on it”

 So said Plato, one of the fathers of philosophy. He was, of course, referring to the incredible power that music can have over those who listen. Music is further described by Anthony Storr as being able to ‘penetrate the core of our physical being. It can make us weep or give us intense pleasure’.  More recently George Osborne who, during Baroness Thatcher’s funeral, was photographed crying described this phenomenon as a ‘very, very powerful and emotional moment’. Music can have a definite impact on the listener’s emotions; the question is whether this can have such an effect on an individual that it influences their political views.
Historically, music has been used to glorify a nation, unite people behind a nationalist movement and encourage citizens to support a military campaign. This was particularly true of continental Europe in the first half of the nineteenth century, as revolutionaries sought to overthrow autocratic rulers and overcome foreign powers that had occupied their territory. In the twentieth century, music’s political use became more pronounced, with anti-war and anti-establishment movements gaining in strength. However the crux of the issue is whether it is the music itself that impacts the listener, or the political symbolism that has been evoked by leaders: for example, does ‘I Vow To Thee My Country’ itself contain musical elements that stir emotions, or is it the association that the song has been given with British patriotism that creates such a reaction?

 Music can be used as a means of political participation: Courtney Brown goes so far as to suggest that music’s potential as a political force has caused ‘a continuation and possible acceleration of the diminishing role of political parties as socializing agents and informational pipelines’. At times of war, music has played a particularly important political role: patriotic music would be used to glorify soldiers and encourage others to get involved in the war effort, and on the other hand protest music would provide the opposition with a means of expressing their stance. One of the most highly regarded choral works of the twentieth century, Benjamin Britten’s ‘War Requiem’, is noteworthy for its markedly anti-war associations. The piece was written for the war damaged Coventry Cathedral, at a time when most new additions to Classical repertoire were nationalistic and fuelled jingoism. Britten’s work takes the text from a number of Wilfred Owen’s poems in order to highlight the consequences of military conflict as being atrocious.

The 1960s and 70s saw a flurry of popular songs in opposition to the Vietnam War, including John Lennon’s 1969 hit ‘Give Peace A Chance’ and Edwin Starr’s song ‘War (What Is It Good For?)’, which was popularized by Bruce Springsteen in the 1980s. The music resonated strongly with younger people, reached high places in the charts and powered many events and marches in opposition to the United States’ direct involvement in the 18-year conflict. The effectiveness of popular music as a popular force is explained by Storr as he reasons that ‘the mnemonic power of music is still evident in modern culture. Many of us remember of words of songs and poems more accurately than we can remember prose’.


Sunday, 6 October 2013

Poem for Sunday: El Azul Inmenso

by Liliana Nogueira-Pache


Vertiginoso latido que me atrapa

frío silencio que me lleva

al abismo glauco de tu alma ... Mar.

Desvanecidas orillas que me pierden

gélidos tentáculos que me arrastran

al arrecife oscuro de tu vientre ... Playa.

Enajenadas furias que me abruman

sombras ancladas que me empujan

al bosque de espuma de tu piel ... Ola.

Reflejos de naufragios

que mis ojos no verán.

Cantos de sirenas

que no escucharé más.

Las campanas anuncian

que los muertos no saben nadar.

El azul inmenso

será sudario

para la eternidad.


Saturday, 5 October 2013

Poem: A Lover, Returned

by Taylor Richardson

Midnight has fallen, yet I cannot sleep,

Your voice in my head continues to weep.

The cries grow brasher, the shrieks pierce my brain,

What have I done to endure this again?

“It’s all in my head” I whisper in fear,

But you are outside, I feel you are near.

A howling begins, the winds pick up pace,

I stiffen my eyes, yet there lies your face.

A pale complexion, as white as soft snow

Contrasts with your eyes, where burns a red glow.

Voluptuous lips conceal your sharp teeth,

The teeth that sunk in my breast underneath

I must discontinue this reverie.

Remember your actions? Oh, how you made me plea!

“If you love me so, you’ll give me a bite.”

My infatuation betrayed me that night.

“Do it!” I whimpered, for I adored you,

I suffered the aching and splurging right through;

There I collapsed, on some stranger’s grave,

Your bloody mouth grinned – you vanished and waved.

I dashed home that evening, blood streaked down my dress,

I sobbed ‘till the sunrise but, I must confess,

Whilst your desertion left me in a mess,

Your smile as you ravished me left me feeling blessed.

Friday, 4 October 2013

‘Late, But at Last’

by Benjamin J Schofield


Late, but at last a rosy Pan

Has catered to us; a month through

May before the grass sits up

And the clouds roll back,

Sucked into some seasonal storehouse.

Lethargic, we find our feet:

Time at last to slip off slippers,

Beat in the leather of new work

Boots, and set to sweating through

Twelve old t-shirts a week.

One more wipes down the sweaty windows

Of his oak-smoked home,

Determined to set foot outside

On a Saturday afternoon, thankfully

Unabandoned to football practice;

The day reclaimed, salvaged

To make what he can

Of a compost heap and three dying sycamores.

Kids are out the front door,

Off to the dog-turd, broken-glass,

Burnt patches of grass:

Parks, if you will, scattering cheers

Up and down glowing villages as

Elderly, neighbouring figures

Miss the message of spring

Lost in their back-looking lives.

How could they have ridden motorbikes?

Whipped past stirring the wind in old sultry summers?

So unthinkable now their

Skin matches the faded leathers

Hung in closets, next to

Fur coats, illicit skins from Africa,

An elephant’s foot once used for a bedside table.

Hoarded for the sake of posterity,

And perhaps one day

To give them away.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Poem: Autumn

by Nick Graham

The end,

But not the end.

A cycle,

But never the same.

To many a time of death,

But to me of revelation.

The surface falls away,

Revealing the true form beneath.

Just as leaves must fall,

Lies are cast aside,

The tree is now exposed,

Its secrets laid bare.

This is not just symbolic,

But a warning to the world.

Lies cannot last,

They delay - that is all.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

1er Janvier : My Translation

by Taylor Richardson

Victor Hugo (1802-1885)

Recently, I have decided to investigate foreign literature and look in detail at some different texts. Through searching the internet, I found a poem entitled “1er Janvier” by Victor Hugo, written in 1871 that stood out. Let’s look at the poem in its original form first.

1er janvier

Enfant, on vous dira plus tard que le grand-père
Vous adorait ; qu'il fit de son mieux sur la terre,
Qu'il eut fort peu de joie et beaucoup d'envieux,
Qu'au temps où vous étiez petits il était vieux,
Qu'il n'avait pas de mots bourrus ni d'airs moroses,
Et qu'il vous a quittés dans la saison des roses ;
Qu'il est mort, que c'était un bonhomme clément ;
Que, dans l'hiver fameux du grand bombardement,
Il traversait Paris tragique et plein d'épées,
Pour vous porter des tas de jouets, des poupées,
Et des pantins faisant mille gestes bouffons ;
Et vous serez pensifs sous les arbres profonds.

There are some words that jumped out at me when reading this poem the first time. I have not studied French since the good old days of GCSEs, but I can remember some words - ‘enfant’ means ‘child’ and ‘adorait’ means ‘loved’ for example. I primarily thought that the best line of action was to attempt to translate the poem myself:

“Enfant, on vous dira plus tard que le grand-père

Child, you will be told more of your grandfather later,

“Vous adorait ; qu'il fit de son mieux sur la terre,”

You loved him; he was well on Earth, (or in life)

“Qu'il eut fort peu de joie et beaucoup d'envieux,

He had much joy and was envied by many,

“Qu'au temps où vous étiez petits il était vieux,

When you were little he was old,

"Qu'il n'avait pas de mots bourrus ni d'airs moroses,

He did not speak or appear sullenly,

"Et qu'il vous a quittés dans la saison des roses;

And he passed away during the season of roses,

"Qu'il est mort, que c'était un bonhomme clément;

He died a merciful man,

"Que, dans l'hiver fameux du grand bombardement,

During the famous winter’s bombardment,

"Il traversait Paris tragique et plein d'épées,

He crossed tragic Paris, full of swords,

"Pour vous porter des tas de jouets, des poupées,

To bring you lots of toys and dolls

"Et des pantins faisant mille gestes bouffons;

And puppets making a thousand funny gestures

"Et vous serez pensifs sous les arbres profonds.

And you will be thoughtful in the deep trees.

1er Janvier: My Translation