Workshop, 9th August 2016

The world appears to be obsessed with Apses.   I first became aware of the phenomenon on a tour of Romanesque churches, and I remember thinking how nice it was that the Youth of Today had suddenly developed an interest in ecclesiastical architecture. However, my Man assures me that according to his niece in High Barnet ‘Apps’ are something to do with mobile phones, games and sending messages to friends via ‘social networking’.  Really.  I am the last man on earth you would find sitting in front of a keyboard desperately sifting through the day’s mundanities in order to turn out the kind of nuggets he thinks a jaded audience will find endearing.  I just do not have the time, what with all the hours I put into running the Cake Stall at the Farmer’s Market in aid of confused kittens and giving little old ladies lifts down to M&S so they can just nip in for a few bits for afternoon tea with the vicar, only for us to forget where we parked the two-seater and having to get the bus home, with me struggling with the shopping, of course. Besides, who would want to read such banal anecdotes?

Banal anecdotes were noticeable by their absence in this week’s workshop.  John Hurley is a believer in chemistry, and the power of the moon.  Martin Choules has been calling on the muses, even if we needed a little help from Ariadne Kazantsis to perfect the pronunciation.  Nick Barth has been observing a man who has but one single thought, and jumped for joy.  Alan Chambers gave us an impression of a painting by his late friend Michael Snow, which was much more than the sum of its parts.  Daphne Gloag brought another piece from her Time sequence, this one exploring the possibility of slowing time down.  Finally, Owen Gallagher wondered at the strength of democracy over simply marking a cross at random on a piece of paper.

To be candid with my readership I am not as green as my corduroys and I have oft observed the lesser-spotted teenager in the wild, on the top decks of busses and occupying the better benches in the park, hunched over their devices, sending pictures of their new shoes to the person sitting next to them and ‘liking’ scraps of received wisdom that would shame a housewife, if such a person existed in this day and age.  What these kids need is something to get them out of their recumbent poses and moving about a bit, and so to my big idea.  Britain is sprinkled with both blue and green plaques celebrating the many great poets who have hung their hats in a variety of abodes from draughty attics on the one hand, to town houses with uninterrupted views of the etc. on the other.  How about an app that encourages the smartphone owner to gather plaques by visiting the locations?  The concept would be something like the Poet Monitor, like the Milk Monitor of old, or ‘PoeMon’ for short.  The idea is to get people mobile, so the app could be called ‘PoeMon Go’ I surmise.  Points would be earned for gathering these virtual poets into capsules on the device, or ‘PoeBalls’, the natty tag line being something like; ‘you gotta catch ‘em all’.  I see a craze in the making, with fans of the prosody arts wandering the streets, Mobile Devices at the ready to snag a favourite bard.

In the game, some poets would be harder to capture than others.  As a lure, Betjeman would need only a glimpse of a well-turned ankle or tennis racquet to have him captured, while WB Yeats, should be dangled some really good embroidery work, something that had not been carelessly stepped on.  I image GM Hopkins would be captured with a nice shiny spring, coil or leaf, while you would need some kind of virtual Laudanum for ST Coleridge.  All I need is a games company to write it, market it, fund it and turn it into an internet phenomenon.  Have you heard of Nintendo?  I believe they might be on the lookout for bright ideas.

If you have been, thank you for reading.


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