Don Valley: ‘…wither, in despair, the tyrants of all lands’

Ebenezer Elliott on the opening of the Sheffield to Rotherham Railway in 1838 …For mind shall conquer time and space; Bid East and West shake hands! Bring over Ocean, face to face, Earth’s ocean-sever’d strands; And on this path, Iron bear Words that shall wither, in despair, The tyrants of all lands. But, lo! the train! – On! onward! – still  Loud shrieks the kindled wave; … Continue reading Don Valley: ‘…wither, in despair, the tyrants of all lands’

S66: Journey into the English mind

If you’re on the M18 you are probably lost. Weren’t you on the way to ‘Bronte country’ and its bleak, dramatic moors, or maybe James Herriot’s vibrant limestone dales? What literary association could possibly draw you to the unexceptional countryside and post industrial sheds peppering the urban sprawl on the east side of Rotherham? Julian Baggini began his ‘Journey into the English mind’ here in … Continue reading S66: Journey into the English mind

Maps as poetry

Do you have a favourite map showing literary associations? “a map ‘has to use shorthand, or symbols, or metaphor, and in this it resembles poetry’” [1] ‘If I’m not really going anywhere, then travel by map of course provides the only possible route – everywhere, to nowhere in particular…buried treasure, lost continents and phantom islands…Maps are guilty of distortion, it’s true, but I forgive them … Continue reading Maps as poetry

Newcastle & Newbiggin: Art for Today

Reasons to be hopeful part one: Chris Killip at the Laing – his Tyneside photos from the 70’s, when there was pride in making ships. Peter Robson’s anti war painting of the Ship of Fools on exhibition at Newbiggin-By-The-Sea Reasons to be hopeful part two: Children giggle and play inside on the staircase of the Laing, while outside the sun shines, the air is fresh … Continue reading Newcastle & Newbiggin: Art for Today

CLR James’ “Minty Alley”

CLR James began ‘Minty Alley,’ (1936) in Trinidad and finished it in Nelson, Lancashire. It is about the intimate lives of of working people living in close proximity in the barrack-yards of Trinidad. Living lives not that different from many working people’s lives in Nelson at that time.James was also author of two other seminal books written in part in Nelson: ‘Beyond a Boundary’ (1963) … Continue reading CLR James’ “Minty Alley”