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Poets. Moody buggers at the best of times. I was really looking forward to 2013 – there’s gigs lined up (one in London next week, for starters), the Youtube video has garnered well over 1000 hits (more than I ever dared hope), and some very nice people had said some very nice things about my work (which I’d never expected). So, plenty to be positive about as the year gets into its stride.
And yet. Halfway through January my enthusiasm has rather ebbed away. In part, that’s because I’ve spent the past week locked in a vicious struggle with a bout of man-flu – and we all know how deadly that can be – which confined me to the house every bit as effectively as an editorial about ‘broken Britain’ keeps Daily Mail readers cowering behind locked doors (at least I wasn’t boring everyone senseless with the news that grapefruit is the new superfood, or that coffee causes cancer – or does it cure it? – but it was probably only a matter of time).
Mainly, though, it’s the other stuff. Friends losing jobs. Friends struggling to get by. A friend’s disabled daughter facing a cut in housing benefit simply for living on her own in a two-bedroom flat. A government which misses no opportunity to demonise the poor and unemployed. All in it together? I very much doubt it. It’s the same old same old, all over again.
An article in The Guardian this week bemoaned the absence of politically engaged art in response to this attack on vulnerable people. I guess it depends where you look – there’s plenty of poets and writers out there holding up a mirror to what goes on, and not all of us have fallen for the big lie that sets ‘workers’ against ‘shirkers’ – but you know what? We’re living in one of the richest countries in the world, where we’ve the resources to ensure that no-one goes hungry, or is homeless, or can’t afford to pay their bills. So how about we show a little ambition and make that our aim? How about that for a New Year resolution? Worth a go, isn’t it?
Happy 2013 to you all.* For those of you expecting a poetry blog on a poetry site to be about – well – poetry, my apologies. Normal service will be resumed soon. Or maybe not.
*If Ian Duncan Smith reads this blog, he’s not included.