Coda – Winter 2013/2014
I’ve never seen a nipple in the Daily Express
“The day the world stood still
the day the world stood still
drink and drugs and a thousand thrills
from now on it’s all downhill
this is the day the world stood still.”
Q magazine in their 2013 awards created a new category – Poet Laureate. And who did they award this new honour to?
Step forward John Cooper Clarke.
The rebirth of ‘punk poet’ Clarke began with such things as collaborating on the soundtrack of a film made by Plan B, the Arctic Monkeys declaring their love for his work and covering one of his poems on their album ‘AM’ and ‘Evidently Chickentown’, one of Clarke’s more acerbic poems, featured over the closing scenes and end credits of the Sopranos TV series. A couple of his poems even turned up in the GCSE syllabus. More recently Clarke has been cementing his long awaited renaissance by touring again, appearing on the BBC program ‘Have I got news for you’ and, to my utter delight and astonishment, advertising McCain chips on the gogglebox. He has a show on BBC 6 Music and has also been awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Salford. Who would have thought it? So it’s Doctor Clarke now, eh? What advice does Doctor Clarke give during an interview following this award? “Keep taking the tablets” he says, while laughing that familiar cackle laugh that went missing for so many years.
Good luck to Dr Clarke. He’s survived a long period of drugs and obscurity and is now seemingly healthy and enjoying his return to the spotlight. He has secured his immortality through his art and it’s an art that is totally accessible to the average person while the intelligentsia applaud it as seeming cool and ‘in touch.’
Is that his cackling laughter I hear in the distance?
“I’ve seen the poison letters of the horrible hacks
about the yellow peril and the reds and the blacks
and the TUC and its treacherous acts
Kremlin money – All right Jack
I’ve seen how democracy is under duress
but I’ve never seen a nipple in the Daily Express.”
Word of the year
‘Selfie’ is the word of 2013, according to the editors of the Oxford Dictionaries. And it is being considered, along with other words such as ‘twerking’ and ‘showrooming’, for inclusion in the next edition of the dictionary.
I’m not sure what I think about this. To some it’s an example of the dreadful decline of educational standards and the shallow cultural depths youth has fallen to, while others feel it is the inevitable evolution of language that is occurring. I guess I’m more concerned with the actual popularity of the actions behind these words than I am of the words themselves. What possesses people to take pictures of themselves (selfie) and send them out to the world with a note saying something on the order of ‘me eating a sandwich’? Or what inadequacies cause a young female singer to dance around in her underwear on national TV thrusting her hips forward and back in a sexually provocative manner (twerking)? These things are becoming ever more popular however and it’s impossible to hold back the phenomena, as social media spreads these things like wildfire throughout the culture and they are now part of the unfolding zeitgeist. Maybe like most X Factor contestants or the thong, these activities will have their fifteen minutes of fame and then die away. Somehow I doubt it though. And the words are probably here to stay.
P.S. Showrooming is apparently checking out items in a shop before buying them cheaply online.
The fifth horseman of the apocalypse?
Judging by the state of some people’s relationships, or the tendency of some to dive into a partnership that seems doomed from the outset, and having some personal experience of having fallen foul of Love earlier in my life, I have come to the conclusion that human beings have no idea what they are doing when it comes to falling in love. Some feel it is a power beyond our ken; if cupid’s arrow alights near your heart you are possessed, there’s nothing you can do about it. You lose control and usually all reason too. You are in Love with a capital L. This was best summed up for me by songwriter Paddy McAloon, as follows:
“You do not have to see me to know that I’m around
Pupils dilate, the anxious heart will pound
If you’ve a problem sleeping well that’s a danger sign
It means your troubled heart will soon be mine
The Bible mentions four, I tell you there’s one more
Love is the fifth horseman of the Apocalypse.”
It’s quite incredible, but considering the millions of words written about love in poetry, prose and song, not to mention philosophy, our understanding of the phenomena seems to be relatively non-existent. It can lift you up where you belong or cause a total eclipse of the heart and, as put so ably by Leonard Cohen, there apparently ‘ain’t no cure for Love’.
So following Valentine’s Day, although love may very well be a many splendored thing, best heed these words by the Bard himself from Sonnet 116:
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
Like lambs amongst wolves
(This was printed in the first two issues but here is the edited version once again for those new to the magazine)
Having recently come across a surprising number of people who were unfamiliar with the word ingénue, I write the following with some degree of trepidation. This is aimed at those people and I write with not the slightest trace of supercilious intent.
Let’s sort out at the start why this magazine has, what is to some, an apparently unknown or perhaps even pretentious name. I have decided to launch forth on this because I feel it’s important; it was my idea after all. We wanted something that stood out from the crowd and which conveyed our raison d’être, our ethos; and I feel it’s my duty to show you why it was a good choice.
Modernly it tends to have a feminine slant in its usage, referring usually to a girl or young woman who is endearingly innocent and wholesome, especially a new young actress. The term comes from the French adjective ingénu meaning ingenuous or innocent. It also implies a lack of sophistication and a simple naïvety. It actually originates from a satirical novella by Voltaire called L’Ingénu published in the eighteenth century. The story satirises religious doctrine, government corruption, and the folly and injustices of French society through the use of the main character being an innocent, and his literal interpretation of situations highlight the many absurdities of life.
As our magazine exists to promote emerging and re-emerging creative talent of any genre, and most creative beings (much like ourselves at this time) who are venturing forth on their career trajectories collide, like sheep amongst wolves, with such unæsthetic things as economics, critics, psychotic media etc, we thought the word quite appropriate for a title. Ingénu is the masculine form and ingénue the feminine form of the word and so we have coined the name ingénu/e, so as to cover both genders. It is sort of pronounced “ahn-jen-new” – practice it a few times and you will have it.