Loyal readers of this column will be aware of this author’s forward looking attitude towards new technology. I regard myself as the very epitome of the ‘early adopter’ and I am always on the lookout for some gadget, gew-gaw or twerligger to smooth the passage of this trammelled existence and de-fetter the slow accretion of previous actions, as my Zen Master would have it. Why, only last week I stopped by my local Garagist and had the two-seater fitted with a set of those new-fangled ‘radial’ tyres. My Apple MacIntosh is now sporting a voluminous 512k of memory and using this and an Apple LaserWriter it takes my man a mere three hours on average to print out my daily emails ready to be handed to me with the morning reviver.
Of course, this passionate desire to remain at the very vertex of the zeitgeist has forced me to become bosom pals with the Maître ‘ds of the internet, to wit, the Log-In prompts of the many Stores, Clouds, Social Networks and Portals one is forced to frequent these days. This has exposed a somewhat devastating chink in my armour, my flat inability to remember passwords. So, to eliminate the obligation to have my Man at my shoulder whenever I am on-line, ready with the mot juste, (or is that pass?) I have arrived at a most remarkable ruse, a sparklingly original idea that I will pass on to you now. It goes like this; I have written short poetical sequence containing all the usernames, passwords and answers to the myriad footling ‘security questions’ that web sites insist one has to hold at the top of one’s bean, encrypted in such a way that is obvious only to me. When required to enter my password, I simply flip to the poem in question and decrypt the vital info. I have to say, while this idea is proving almost fool proof, my Publisher is baulking somewhat at the titles I have submitted for my next slim volume, although I feel that ‘Clouds, My First Pet, My First Car’, ‘Taking Account of Numbers’ and ‘Pass Strong Word for Book Face’ are rather enigmatic, don’t you?
Poetry is always enigmatic, but this evening was standing room only and there was scant time to pause and reflect. John Hurley set sail with a braid-encrusted Admiral and his bouncing cheques. Daphne Gloag is looking up the road in order to live in the moment. Ben Lawrence was stuck by the sight of a blind mime wrestling with the welfare state. Olwyn Grimshaw offered sage advice for aspiring politicians to keep their traps shut. Marissa Sepas watched while her motherland swallowed up her brothers. Gillian Spragg cannot do a thing with her twenty-five year old son, though he is only three. Caroline Maldonado wonders what colour Vladimir Putin would advise her Ukrainian handyman to paint her kitchen. Nick Barth should not have been watching the crowds of people he was watching and in any case has no idea what they were doing. Owen Gallagher has strong hair, thanks to his father. Finally Martin Choules is planning his own version of ‘Antarctica Watch’ even though there are only two native plant species to discuss.
Thinking of on-line security, I was reminded of a potential breach of National Security at a PP Workshop long past. These were the days of politician poets and while some MPs would argue that poetry is at the heart of every speech they utter, we need to look to the Nineteenth Century to find MPs who were truly ‘outed’ poets. The Victorians were highly enamoured with poets, not least those doughty Victorians the Perceval sisters, daughters of Prime Minister Spencer Perceval and latterly owners of Pitshanger Manor, who continued the Tuesday Poetry Workshop with gusto, even when subject to the unwelcome intrusions of the gutter press. The archive relates that William Henry Hyatt, Whig MP and Poet was reading his extended Heroic Ballad ‘The Countless Benefits Bestow’d Upon The People Of India By Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, And The Great Aid To The Subsistence Of Members Of Parliament Proffered By The East India Company In Return For Pertinent Enquiries’ when a loud coughing sound alerted the company to the presence of a Manchester Guardian journalist with a notepad, pencil and Davy Lamp discreetly suffocating while attempting to hide in the Ottoman. The hack was ejected from proceedings and his notes retrieved and burned and thankfully lasting damage to the fabric of the British Empire by the exposure of the inner workings of the Parliamentary system was avoided. If you have been, thank you for reading.