In public policy terms, United runs both a superb domestic education system and a liberal immigration policy. This is a lesson Labour’s current leader, Ed Miliband, badly needs to learn.
Ward-by-ward results data from:
Black is Independents for Bristol, brown Trade Unionist and Socialists against Cuts and the purplish-pink The Birthday Party; the rest are what you’d expect.
Frederic Franklin dancing as The Golden Slave in Scheherazade, from
See his NY Times obit:
In April last year four women who had travelled to England to terminate unviable pregnancies spoke on the Late Late Show. I didn’t see them, but when I read about it I was overtaken by such emotion my limbs shook. I felt my blood drain from my face as surely was you would feel a sheet drawn across your skin.
Carrying an unviable pregnancy is a terrible physical and emotional burden; I can’t imagine that experience. I do share the experience of loss. This is an experience I had dearly wanted to describe but had never felt able to talk about honestly, even to friends. When I read about the Late Late Show I knew that that had changed for me. The bravery of these women and their families in speaking out made it possible to write what I wrote here
Writing about Aoife was very precious to me. When our grief was most acute, we were isolated by the secrecy we felt must surround the details of what had happened to her. Because of this isolation, my grief became depression. I felt like a man at the bottom of well who must muffle his cries for help. I felt like an emptiness dressed in clothes. My wife persuaded me to seek help and I found a grief counsellor to listened to the same story told a hundred times. Writing about Aoife, breaking the secret, was the final step, many years delayed, of that process.
Writing about Aoife was also precious to me because I feel that Aoife had been robbed of her full story. Aoife has no place in world but her story and without the brute fact of her fate, her termination, that is incomplete. I don’t know if this will make sense to other people, but it’s how I feel about our lost and loved daughter.
We kept our decision to terminate secret because we lived in a country where what we did would have been a serious crime. The proposed abortion legislation will do nothing to change that, a woman who decides to terminate a non-viable pregnancy will still have to travel to England. In fact, the proposed legislation includes a very heavy prison sentence, 14 years, for a woman who terminates a pregnancy. This severity is explained by what is referred to as the “gravity of the crime”. It is because of language like this that we felt unable, for so long, to talk about what happened to Aoife.
Ireland is a country of compassionate people, of gentle people, of people who respect differences in philosophical and moral view. It is not, however, a compassionate country; it was not compassionate in its treatment of us. To change this, to allow for a middle ground on abortion, the 8th Amendment must be repealed.
I am extremely grateful to @TFMRIRE what they did for me by speaking on the Late Late Show.
I am going to be my nephew’s godfather soon and since it’ll be a Unitarian baptism I get to read a poem. Because my family has skeptical feeling about faith but a love of rituals and grand talk, I wanted to read something about joy and wonder, the utter fun of life, which, like love and beauty, is real, but ineffable to science. I half remembered that WH Auden had a poem like this and found he sort of did, it is After Reading a Child’s Guide to Modern Physics.
If all a top physicist knows
About the Truth be true,
Then, for all the so-and-so’s,
Futility and grime,
Our common world contains,
We have a better time
Than the Greater Nebulae do,
Or the atoms in our brains.
Marriage is rarely bliss
But, surely it would be worse
As particles to pelt
At thousands of miles per sec
About a universe
Wherein a lover’s kiss
Would either not be felt
Or break the loved one’s neck.
Though the face at which I stare
While shaving it be cruel
For, year after year, it repels
An ageing suitor, it has,
Thank God, sufficient mass
To be altogether there,
Not an indeterminate gruel
Which is partly somewhere else.
Our eyes prefer to suppose
That a habitable place
Has a geocentric view,
That architects enclose
A quiet Euclidian space:
Exploded myths - but who
Could feel at home astraddle
An ever expanding saddle?
This passion of our kind
For the process of finding out
Is a fact one can hardly doubt,
But I would rejoice in it more
If I knew more clearly what
We wanted the knowledge for,
Felt certain still that the mind
Is free to know or not.
It has chosen once, it seems,
And whether our concern
For magnitude’s extremes
Really become a creature
Who comes in a median size,
Or politicizing Nature
Be altogether wise,
Is something we shall learn.
The first three verses are exactly what I wanted, the last two mean it isn’t what I am looking for. I understand the cold war context, but I don’t see how we can rejoice in our humanity without rejoicing in our passion for finding out, nor why we shouldn’t enjoy our chutzpah in concerning ourselves with magnitude’s extremes. Richard Feynman was apparently sent this poem and while Feynman’s anti-pseudo schtick can sometimes be tiresome, I like his comment in reply
Mr. Auden’s poem only confirms his lack of response to Nature’s wonders for he himself says that he would like to know more clearly what we ‘want the knowledge for.’ We want it so we can love Nature more. Would you not turn a beautiful flower around in your hand to see it from other directions as well?
In fact, I don’t think this is even my favorite anti-science poem, that title goes to Miracles by the Insane Clown Posse:
Stop and look around, it’s all astounding
Water, fire, air and dirt
Fucking magnets, how do they work?
And I don’t wanna talk to a scientist
Y’all motherfuckers lying, and getting me pissed
I once tried to claim this was better than Wordsworth
but I still think it’s unsuitable to read in church.
As for Auden, he gets to be anti-science in return for September 1, 1939 and his blow-job poem
and my nephew will have Keats’s The Grasshopper and the Cricket to tell him about the joy of being alive.
Maria Tallchief dancing in Firebird, from
Her NYT obit is here:
His breath smelt startlingly of (startling because few hosts serve, owing to the known redolence of onions, onions) onions. — Anthony Burgess’s famous onion onion onion sentence from Enderby.
It was the simplest thing to do - Nick came forward and sat, half-kneeling, on the sofa’s edge, like someone proposing in a play. He gazed delightedly at the Prime Minister’s face, at her whole head, beaked and crowned, which he was a fine, if improbable fusion of the Vorticist and the Baroque. She smiled back with a certain animal quickness, a bright blue challenge. There was a soft glare of the flash - twice - three times - a gleaming sense of occasion, the gleam floating in the eye as a blot of shadow, his heart running fast with no particular need of courage he grinned and said, ‘Prime Minister, would you like to dance?’
‘You know I would like that very much’, said the PM, in her chest tones, the contralto of conviction. Around her the men sniggered and recoiled at the audacity that had been beyond them. Nick heard the whole episode already accruing its commentary, its history, as he went out with her among twitches of surprise, the sudden shifting of the centre of gravity, an effect that none of them could have caused and none could resist. He himself smiled down at an angle, ignoring them all, intimately held in what the PM was saying and the brilliant boldness of his replies. Others followed them down the stone stairs and through the lantern-lit passage, to watch, and to play their subsidiary parts. ‘One’s not often asked to dance,’ said the PM, ‘by a don.’ And Nick saw that Gerald hadn’t got it quite right: she moved in her own accelerated element, her own garlanded perspective, she didn’t give a damn about squares on the wallpaper or blue front doors - she noticed nothing, and yet she remembered everything.
There was sparse but hectic activity on the parquet when they stepped on to it, to the thump of ‘Get Off Of My Cloud’. Gerald was bopping with a tight-lipped Jenny Groom whilst Barry pushed Penny round the floor in lurching embrace. Rachel, sedately jiving with Jonty Stafford, had a look of exhausted good manners. And then Gerald saw the PM, his idol, who had said before that she wouldn’t dance, but who now, a couple of whiskies on, was getting down rather sexily with Nick. All Nick’s training with Miss Avison came back, available as the twelve-times table, the nimble foorwork, the light grasp of the upper arm; though with it there came a deeper liveliness, a sense he could caper all over the floor with the PM breathless in his grip. Anyway, Gerald put a stop to that. — A coked up and drunk Nick Guest, earlier incorrectly introduced as a don, dances with Margaret Thatcher at carelessly wicked conservative MP Gerald Fedden’s long anticipated party for his hero in Alan Hollinghurst’s great novel of London under in the 80s: The Line of Beauty. Thanks to @belindamckeon for reminding me of this.
John William Waterhouse was baptised on this day in 1849, nobody knows when he was born. To mark this can I have a hundred words about this painting he did? I’ve sent a quid. Thanks a million, Conor.
Diedre Shallot (b.1978) was the heir to a huge onion fortune. To commemorate the day she finally won the shallottery, she commissioned John William Waterhouse to create a portrait of her. Sadly, it was John’s baptisiversary that day (birthdays were banned in the 70s due to a lack of oil: back then cake candles were made from petrol) so John had been on a day long binge drinking session, made all the more potent by the fact he was only ten. He knocked Diedre into the lake and she almost drowned. Luckily John, like Penny Crayon, had a magic pencil that made drawings come to life, so he drew her a boat. He also drew himself a nice rug and a few candles to sell on the black market.