The shipyard painter, political activist and razor-sharp cartoonist Bob Starrett has just written a new book The Way I See It on his eventful life and times. Below we reprint one of his stories and review an essential read
ENO's production of La Boheme is a triumph,
Featuring a lively mix of well-established names jostling elbows with some newer voices, Split Screen brings together a host of British poets inspired to write about pop culture icons from film and TV.
Published by the independent and quirky Red Squirrel Press, we're treated to an unsettling impression of HAL 9000 by Simon Barraclough, a clever recreation of Yoda's mixed-up syntax by Colin Will and a sonnet on the Godfather himself from Luke Wright.
Other nice surprises include Clare Pollard delivering a personal, sad account of her father watching Bruce Lee films and a grim but affectionate take on the Hammer horror franchise from Tim Wells.
From the world of TV, subjects range from the childhood nostalgia of the Clangers and Flash Gordon to the more adult reminiscences of Emma Peel. Only the most avid of viewers will get all the references on display but the poems are strong and entertaining enough to carry the reader past any of their cultural blind spots.
The book's split into three sections separated by "commercial breaks" - short poems by rising stars drawing inspiration from the masses of adverts to have entered popular consciousness.
The classic girl-eating-a-Flake-in-the-bath ad does not escape Ian Parks's attention, Adam Horovitz mulls over his Orange future and Tiffany Anne Tondut slickly merges Keats and the aspirational language of women's hair products.
Editor Andy Jackson has skilfully produced an accessible, fun collection that will appeal widely. More like this please.