Two Explorers

Vasco de gama

1460s to 24 december 1524

Portugese led two amardas. To the indies, in 15th century. Wealthened Portugal by trade routes. Landed in Calicut on 20 may 1498. First European to reach indies. Many lost life’s trying. Spices obtained mainly pepper and cinnamon. But others soon added Portugeses previously explored northern and west coast Africa

Used the cape route. Avoided highly disputed meditereanean. And dangerous arabian peninsular. Led two armadas to india. The first and forth. On ship called Esmerelda

Jacques Cousteau

11 june 2010 to 25 june 1997

French naval officer/explorer/conservationist/filmmaker/scientist/innovator/ photographer/author/researcher

French oceanographer, diver. Used first aqualungs. Filmed coral reefs fish. Sharks rays whales. Millions watched his black and white tv nature films. His documentary “the silent world” won the palm d or at cannes film festival in 1956. Helped develop the aqualung. Concerned with all aspects of the ocean

vasco de gama                               jacquez cousteau                   antarctica  Exploring

Greek Olympians- Persephone

Also called Kore and Cora. Spends winter in the underworld where she is imprisoned by Hades. Daughter of Zeus and Demeter. Sacred to her willow tree, rivers, waterfalls. With her mother Demeter central to the Eleusinian mysteries. Which pre- date the Greek Parthenon

Perhaps in the underworld in winter she grieves for a lost child or lover. Through the year’s she knows this waiting of despair and rebirth. She thinks she hears her mother calling faintly from the air. The earth waits on her mother’s grieving for a flicker of an eyelid, for refractured light, celandine, warbler in the willow and alder branches. As the princess of the underworld ascends

She is a lover in a dark tunnel. A blind star watcher. Waiting, waiting, wait. For the earth to begin its rivald celerations. For a kiss. To begin. In ice pitch black rebirth inspring. For the newness born in the blackness

Victorian Terraced Houses

There is one water pump shared by the street. but the water is polluted. There is one outside loo for the whole street. The bath if they owed one would be put in front of the rang- the warmest place in the house. Each room would have a coal fire. At night bed pans would warm the bed. Often a whole family would sleep and live in one room. There was a lounge, a kitchen for 16 people downstairs, two bedrooms upstairs, a communal back yard.

In Nottingham out of a total of 11000 houses, 8000 where back to backs in the 1840’s. The materials used where the cheapest available. Often slate from Wales. Nightmen would clear the courtyard and cesspit toilet at night as local law stipulated. Manchester experienced a six fold increase in population between 1771 and 1831. Bradford grew 50% every ten years between 1811 and 1851. By 1851 only 50% of the population where actually born there. There was little planning regulation, and what there was was ignored. Houses didn’t have running water and where damp.

“Snow fluttering through the deep blue cotton wool sky entering our numb cold dreams”

“Its so cold in winter and the walls are damp”

“There is nought in our heads but toil and graft”

“At night the moon beats, like the hearts of the thousands in rows of straight terraced houses urban slums”

“I give you Bradford a soot red city of rows of houses and 28 mill chimneys above large factories belching out smoke”

“We woke one day after years of dreamless sleep, there in front of us was a world city scape of dragon chimneys giant factories”

“Dire houses all in shades of black and grey”

“We rubbed our eyes closed them but the industrial city remained”

“Most where neither glad or saddened by the homes”

“Darkened red brick graves with tombstone windows” 


Explorer Arctic

Your dark blue tent and green sleeping bag

Stand out like splashed hued colour

Against the white cold duvet of land

White outs- wind whipping snow, a wall of angel white

If you had a capuccino, the stenght of the vivid smell would kill you

You are attuned to walking stooped at 30 degrees

Pulling the sledge via a harness

Leaning on sno poles

You wear skis, sometimes snow shoes

A packed underground station would be overwhelming

Another colour added to the landscape eg a red crocus could prove fatal

You know the types of ice, the ocean underneath

The types of snow, crevasses

Better than Wainwright knows Harters fell.

Or a cartographer, or a child a play pen

Alaska Range

Arctic, Alaska Range


Angel Meadow- Manchester

My last post of 2016. Meaning i think i’ve managed 12, one per month. As in 2015. Angel Meadow in Manchester (long since condemed and demolished) was judged in the victorian era, Britains worst slum.

Many of the houses where one up one down. People would purportedly sleep naked to avoid lice spread from clothes. One quarter of the houses where used for illicit purposes. The words “slumming it” came from the respectable victorians visiting out of interest. The bordering River Irk was black

Friedrick Engels reffered to Angel Meadow using cliched language of today as “hell on earth” French philosopher Alexis de Toqueville described a “watery land of palaces and hovels/ where pure gold poured from open sewers” presumably reffering to the wealth of the mill owners and the squalor of the workers.

There were 20000 to 30000 people living in the slum (many Irish people escaping the potato famine) . The death rate 1888/1889/1890 was 50.9 per thousand per annum, making it significantly worse than Londons East End slums. The average for all England during the same period was 19 per thousand per annum

“Scuttlers” gangs roamed the street. With brass tipped cloggs. Body snatchers dug up corpses to sell the bones to glue factories. Live stock was kept in backyards and vegetables grown. One privy for 100 houses. Theives and prostitutes would share company with rats. People where hunted down by cholera, typhoid, TB. etc. Maybe Preston in 2017 isn’t so bad?






Two Feminists

As i male white, i enjoy reading prefferably high brow feminist texts. Also male continental Europe mainly post modernists. I find them liberating. On the basis that the world is far from a safe place or fair and just. And welcome texts questioning the metaphysical validity and truth of that world and our place in. Here are two brief soudbites on two theorists

Hannah Arendt 14 th october 1906 to 4 december 1975- German born Jewish American political theorist- she rejected the word “philosopher” as on qualified feminist grounds. Seeks to – “redress the male bias in the history of human thought”. She is concerned with amongst other things spaces- private and public. Arguing that some things need to be “showed publically” to exist at all. She presents the subject as “on trial” “in process.”

Helene Cixous 5 june 1937 Algerian/French feminists, philosopher, playwright, poet, rhetoricisn, literary critic. Is concerned with language. With art, with roots, dreams, memory. In Stigmata she unthreads deconstructs using the French language as her tool. In doing so- Looking at Rembrandt,- literally “painting death.” The love of the wolf– in which she ends “the wolf is the lamb/the lamb is the wolf.” In october 1991- a theme of Helene Cixous of almost passionatley revelling in the joyous details of a few hours or short time spent years ago in the past. Her view is post structulist. Derrida called her the “greatest living writer in the French language today. Her “escaping text” language makes her a joy to read.

There are 12 essays in Stigmata, unfortunatley i read them about 7 years ago so have trouble remembering. I cannot as yet find an  English version of “The cry of the medussa”- her most lauded work. Love in the Letterbox– essays. Three steps on the writing ladder. Coming to Writing and other essays. Are in English translation and well worth reading.


                           hannah arendt                                                 helene cixous                

Captain James Cook

An unusual subject matter. But one that reflects my current interests. As i’m part way through writing a book about explorers/exploring

James Cook 7 november 1728 to 14 february 1779. Made three main voyages, that at the time redifined the geographical view of the world. He was unusual at the time, in that he rose through the ranks to become ships captain. His father was a farm worker. While he was away on voyages lasting around three years each, his wife was left alone. He was an excellent navigator and charted coastlines with great accuracy, skills learnt during the seven year war in now Canada

1st voyage- Attempt to gain knowledge of the postulated “great southern land” ” terra australis” as captain of HMS Endeavor. Circumnavigated New Zealand sailed along the western coast of Australia

2nd voyage- Again to find “tera australis”, Log reads-“here we watered our ship with ice the 1st time/26S 44W” The voyage intended to go as far south as possible. Cook crossed the antactic circle 3 times. Reached a latitude of 71degrees 10 south and longitude of 106 degrees 54 west.

In the coarse of the voyage he visited South Georgia, Tonga, Sandwich Islands, New Hebridies, Tahiti, many of which he named. In vast sweeps of the pacific he proved no terra australis existed. After going to predicted locations. And predicted a further continent south of the ice,- Antarctica

3rd voyage- To Pacific coast of America. On HMS Discovery (where two ships, other HMS Resolution comanded by Charles Clerke.) Sailed through the Bering Straight but stopped by ice. Retired to Hawii for winter. Tumultuous reception from tribes. Cook became increasingly erratic in his decisisions and behavior. Perhaps the long years on ships where taking there toll. Left but had to turn back due to damage to ship. After an altercation Cook was killed by the islanders at Kealakekua Bay.




i can’t think what to write about. So er a place. I like going to Blackpool, it provides difference. Neon, the sea which is always close unlike Southport or Morecombe Bay. The golden mile of amusment arcades, nightclubs, shows.

There is a lot of poverty. A large young population attracted by cheap, basic accomodation. I’d describe it as a mix between the shoddy and divine. The hedonistic go there at weekends for the nightlife. Others to see shows, comedies, music. Others to the pleasure beach with its rollercoaster. Very few even dare to swim in the summer.

In going there very occasionally i am repeating the trip made in the victorian era by steam train of my ancestors. Britains- tacky Coney Island. With a one third the size Eiffel Tower- Blackpool Tower. And the illuminations in October. I’ve written many poems about Blackpool, perhaps i should write about Cannes, the Almafi coast, Buenos Aires, Marthas Vineyard. Could you call the shore “the north west riviera”. But amongst the shoddy and divine i like to stand in the dark on one of the three piers and gaze out at the never blue, grey- black, Irish Sea.

Many older people still go there for there annual holiday staying in one of the numerous B and B’s. And if the Irish Sea is grey not blue so be it. It is still the frontier sea.

Explorer Mars

Blood on Mars – Explorer


First there is no oxygen

But you walk with the last breath, you took in the landing craft


Then there is no gravity

But you cling by violent ravid faith to the planet rock


The suns radiation blisters your skin

Splits it open and flesh burns like a fragmentation bullet

Shot at by your brother, with an AK he kept hidden under the bed


You like the aloneness of Mars

You like the red dust and rock/ softer red than human blood


You chuckle- “Martians not here”


Then you lie on the ground

As the flesh squirms, through your disapearing skin

You turn on the I pod

A Priests sentimentality at death

And listen to “nothing else matters” by Metallica


And this sun which they lied about and said was life giving

The decrepid hypocritical incas, and debauched celts, and deluded indians


Melts your eyes in marriage

The most beautiful and real moments of your entire existance.



the olympians

i think there’s something timeless  about Greek myth and the golden age of the Greek city states generally. As there’s a lot of myth from various sources, i’ve just looked at Greek Olympians

Hera was goddess of the  hearth and marriage. Often depicted with a pomegranate as a symbol of fertile blood and death. The lion and peacock where sacred to her. Daughter of Chronus and Rhea, one of three sisters of Zeus. Festivals where held in her honour and flames kept lit in Greek city states

Dionysius was  the god of revellry, wine, the arts, fertility. He is the only one of the Olympians to have  mortal mother. Is seen as an outsider or foreigner “the god that arrives”there where diverse greek cults associated with him

Artemis was the goddess of the harvest of the wild, virginity and child birth. She is usually depicted in a forest with an bow and arrow, in consort with forest nymphs. The deer and cypress where sacred to her

There are twelve olympians, only three depicted here. There is an actual mount Olympus roughly in central greece which can be climbed and is reasonbly high. It is a testemant to this line of enquiry that Hilda Doolittle and numerous modern poets refer.  There revenance seems to me to increase with three millenia. The above is very scant information.

Artemis                            Mount Olympus             Dionysius