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Stirling stuff - Sex and Sums and a Controlled Dose of Rock and Roll [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Richard Clegg

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Stirling stuff [Jun. 16th, 2010|11:34 pm]
Richard Clegg
I am in Scotland where, as it turns out, the sun never sets on the Scots empire... or at least it takes a damn long time this far north and this close to midsummer. I had a very relaxing train journey where I managed to sort out some hard sums which had been bugging me for quite some time. One of those irritating problems where I knew the answer from about five minutes after first thinking about the problem but it took me ten hours of work (spread over about a month) to prove that it WAS the right answer).

I've also been cheered by W. H. Auden. Secondly by his splendidly crinkly face and discovering that in describing his own visage he came up with the phrase "like a cake left out in the rain" later used in the song McArthur Park and also by the B52s but firstly by his excellent poem "No use raising a shout" which I reproduce (probably illegally) the first two verses below.

IT'S NO USE RAISING A SHOUT (By W.H. Auden)

It's no use raising a shout.
No, Honey, you can cut that right out.
I don't want any more hugs;
Make me some fresh tea, fetch me some rugs.
Here am I, here are you;
But what does it mean? What are we going to do?

It wasn't always like this?
Perhaps it wasn't, but it is.
Put the car away; when life fails,
What's the good of going to Wales?
Here am I, here are you;
But what does it mean? What are we going to do?

---

The poem continues but I only really like those verses and the ending.

I first came across the poem in, of all things, the intro to a government report on transport policy, in specific in the context of reducing car use and encouraging bus and train journeys which is a marvellously optimistic way to interpret the text.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: kissmeforlonger
2010-06-17 07:23 am (UTC)
Hmm. Wales is very nice. And cheering too.

Are you really in Stirling or is that just a dreadful pun?
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[User Picture]From: puritypersimmon
2010-06-17 07:38 am (UTC)
Wales is, imho, much like Cumbria. Wet, remote, with too little cash and too many belligerent sheep. And inhabited by people who elevate dour into an art form. Not the place to go to when life fails - unless one is truly masochistic or suicidal. I'd recommend Brighton or Bath as cheerier alternatives.
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[User Picture]From: kissmeforlonger
2010-06-17 12:15 pm (UTC)
OK: Wales is very nice, providing you have a car and don't have to stay there :-P
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[User Picture]From: steer
2010-06-19 09:59 am (UTC)
Heh... well yes but it would not have gone so well in the poem.
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[User Picture]From: steer
2010-06-17 07:56 am (UTC)
No, I really am in Stirling and about to visit the university for a conference.
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[User Picture]From: kissmeforlonger
2010-06-17 12:13 pm (UTC)
I haven't been back there since graduating.

If you have time, go and have a walk round the hills at the back, it's covered in bluebell woods and they might still be out given we've had a cold spring.
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[User Picture]From: steer
2010-06-19 10:17 am (UTC)
Was actually staying in Forfar with Andy so no time to luck round.
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[User Picture]From: andrewducker
2010-06-17 07:47 am (UTC)
When I was a student/unemployed it was absolutely great having it be bright until incredibly late, and to never really get dark. Not had a chance to be up until dawn in ages though.
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[User Picture]From: steer
2010-06-19 10:20 am (UTC)
It's very annoying having it be bright as day at 5am.
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