http://blogs.thejournal.co.uk/journalculturecentral/

When I tell you that I bought the first Strokes EP in a little record shop in Greenwich Village, it probably makes me sound a whole lot cooler than I really am.

Anyway, I did and splendid it was too. The Strokes went on to produce a great debut album, a decent follow-up and a not very good third album. Since then they seem to have been on hiatus, with most of them producing solo records.

But last week I was in a shop and heard Last Nite and remembered just how great it sounded.

Poem of the Week!

By Book Club on Oct 28, 09 07:00 AM

The final one in our sequence from October Poet Mario Petrucci. I've found them terrifyingly topical, what with the resurgence of the nuclear power debate and the controversy over nuclear weapons. Makes you want to go out and join the CND.

UKRITYE
Ukritye ('The Shelter') is the fourth reactor of the Chernobyl complex.

Even the robots refuse. Down tools. Jerk up
their blocked heads, shiver in invisible hail. Helicopters

spin feet from disaster, caught in that upward cone
of technicide - then ditch elsewhere, spill black running guts.

Not the Firemen. In black rubber gloves and leather boots
they walk upright, silent as brides. Uppers begin
to melt. Soles grow too hot for blood. Still they shovel
the graphite that is erasing marrow, spine, balls-
that kick-starts their DNA to black and purple liquid life.
Then the Soldiers. Nervous as children. They re-make it -

Erect slabs with the wide stare of the innocent, crosshatch
the wreck roughly with steel, fill it in with that grey

crayon of state Concrete. In soiled beds, in the dreams
of their mothers, they liquefy. Yet Spring still chooses

this forest, where no deer graze and roots strike upwards.
Fissures open in the cement - rain finds them. They grow

puff spores of poison. Concrete and lead can only take
so much. What remains must be done by flesh.

Mario Petruccio
(From Heavy Water)

Poem of the Week!

By Book Club on Oct 21, 09 07:00 AM

Another one from Mario Petrucci- this one should make you ponder for the week!

FENCE

This side of the fence
is clean. That side
dirty. Understand?

You must forget
that soil is like skin.
Or interlocking scales

on a dragon. Dirty
Clean - is all that matters
here. Imagine a sheet

of glass coming down
from the sky. It's easy
no? On this side

you can breathe
freely. Your cow can
eat the grass. You can
have children. That side
you must wear a mask
and change the filter

every four hours.
You ask - What if my cow
leans over the fence?
Personally I say
it depends which end. But
we have no instructions

for that. It is up to you
to make sure your cow
is not so stupid.

Mario Petrucci
(From Heavy Water)

Poem of the Week!

By Book Club on Oct 14, 09 07:00 AM

Here's the second one from our October Poet, Mario Petruccio.

BREATHING‹(Chernobyl, 1986)

They had to teach me‹
from scratch. Teach me

        to breathe. As though
‹        I had fallen out of space or

up from water and breath
‹was labour - each breath

        a pang to draw me back
‹        from the brink. In. Out. In

this world life is indifferent.
‹You must will it in. Will it

        out. I look at my son -‹
        those white cheeks that

tight frown and‹
I wonder how I can

        breathe. He says - Mama
‹        when you go to sleep to-

night please don't forget to
‹breathe. Please. He is

        not allowed to run. Or
‹        jump. Like that boy who

hanged himself with a
‹belt. I watch him. And he

        watches me - when I doze
‹        on the red sofa he rests a

hand to check the rise and
‹fall of my chest. Tells me he

        will teach me in his dreams -‹
        will teach me to breathe if

I teach him how to fly. If
‹you go with Grandpa he

        says - will you be able to
‹        breathe? He says this and

his cheeks run wet and
‹he runs short of breath so

        we sit once again to
‹        teach each other how -

deep and slow. We are
‹flying     I tell him. We are

        breathing    he replies.

Mario Petrucci
(From Heavy Water)

Attention book lovers of the North- tonight is the night for the October installmentof the Whitley Bay Book Group. The idea is very simple: pick your meeting, read the book and come along armed with opinions for a drink, a cake and an evening of friendly literary chat with other like minded souls. Or, if you fancy just seeing what goes on, just come along and listen!

At: The Trojan Rooms, South Parade.
Date: Wednesday 14th October 2009
Time: 7.30pm- 9pm
Book: Talk of the Town by Jacob Polley

More information: http://whitleybaybookgroup.wordpress.com/

Hope to see you there! x

In the early 1980s, film director Francis Ford Coppola was so inspired by a Tom Waits song (a duet with Bette Midler) that he decided to make a film around some of his music.

The result was One From the Heart, a film designed to be a small production after the excesses of Acopolypse Now but which went on to cost $26m and bankrupted Coppola after he insisted on filming it all on sound stages to create an air of artificiality.

The film itself is at best so-so, but there's some great Tom Waits songs on it. Midler wasn't available to do the music so Crystal Gayle did the female parts instead, with Take Me Home just the most beautiful song imaginable.

(Sorry, can't find an online version of the duet, but I have found Waits singing it on a TV show!)

It seems odd that singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman seemed so revolutionary in 1988, but after a decade of overblown excess, a woman with an acoustic guitar was a refreshing change.

Fast Car was the song that (briefly) shot her to fame when she played it at the Nelson Mandela tribute concert.

More than 20 years on, it still seems like a great bit of storytelling (as well as a cracking tune.)

Poem of the Week!

By Book Club on Oct 7, 09 07:00 AM

It's the first poem from our October poet Mario Petruccio, an amazing 21st century polymath, not only a poet but a scientist, ecologist and cultural commentator. I hope you made it along to the screening of Heavy Water his "poem-documentary" at the Star and Shadow Cinema but, if you couldn't make it, you can read along with his poems throughout October and get a flavour of the man and his work.

LAST WISH‹(Chernobyl, 1986)

You bury me in concrete. Bury me
in lead. Rather I was buried‹
with a bullet in the head.

You seal me in powder. Cut the hair‹
last. Then take the trimmings‹
and seal them in glass.

You wrap me in plastic. Wash me
‹in foam. Weld the box airless
and ram the box home.

For each tomb that's hidden a green‹
soldier turns. None decomposes.
Nothing for worms.

A buckle. A pencil. Break one thing‹
I left. Give some small part of me‹
ordinary death.

Mario Petrucci
(From Heavy Water)

Attention book lovers of the North- tonight is a bumper night with the October installments of no less than 4 regional book groups in Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Berwick and Hexham. The idea is very simple: pick your meeting, read the book and come along armed with opinions for a drink, a cake and an evening of friendly literary chat with other like minded souls. Or, if you fancy just seeing what goes on, just come along and listen!

Newcastle Living Room Book Group
At: The Living Room, Grey St.
Date: Tuesday 6th October 2009
Time: 12.30pm- 1.30pm and 6.30pm- 8pm
Book: Talk of the Town by Jacob Polley
More information: http://livingroombookgroup.wordpress.com/

Berwick Book Group
At: Doolally's Bookshop, Marygate.
Date: Tuesday 6th October 2009
Time: 6.30pm- 8pm
Book: Talk of the Town by Jacob Polley
More information: http://berwickbookgroup.wordpress.com/

Middlesbrough Book Group
At: Uncle Albert's Bar, Exchange Place.
Date: Tuesday 6th October 2009
Time: 6.30pm- 8pm
Book: Talk of the Town by Jacob Polley
More information: http://.blueloungebookgroup.wordpress.com/

Hexham Book Group
At: The Forum Cinema, Hexham
Date: Tuesday 6th October 2009
Time: 7.30pm- 9pm
Book: Talk of the Town by Jacob Polley
More information: http://hexhambookgroup.wordpress.com/

Hope to see you there! x

Attention book lovers of the North- tonight is the night for the October installment of the Darlington Book Group. The idea is very simple: read the book and come along armed with opinions for a drink, a cake and an evening of friendly literary chat with other like minded souls. Or, if you fancy just seeing what goes on, just come along and listen!

At: Darlington Arts Centre, Vane Terrace.
Date: Monday 5th 2009
Time: 6.30pm- 8pm
Book: Talk of the Town by Jacob Polley

More information: http://darlingtonbookgroup.wordpress.com/

Hope to see you there! x‹

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