Monday, 12 September 2011


I’ve spent most of the last week in Devon. I’ve spent time there pondering many things, exploring much of England’s glorious countryside and, in a moment of money saving madness, joined the National Trust.

Strangely, I feel it was quite cheap- the initial outlay- at a most reasonable £23.50 for the year (being a young person and all). If I park my car in the Lake District, I have pretty much made my money back- I consider this a win.

Some of Britain’s best loved countryside is protected ‘by my membership fees’, along with the residencies of many great writers. Hill Top (Beatrix Potter), Coleridge’s Cottage, Wordsworth’s house and Lewis Carroll’s birthplace are all places I plan to visit this year, for free, but I’d say that all of these places are only really of interest to me for the ‘celebrity value’. I love wandering around and just looking for clues as to what might have inspired them, what the thought process could have been.

As many of you know, since graduating I have continued working at the newsagents (a family business). I like it, if only for the reason that it constantly challenges my perceptions of people. After my time off, I’m looking forward to going in today. The kids are back at school so no doubt, by lunchtime, someone will have challenged me on something English related- being ‘shit and pointless’ or whatnot. This annoys the hell out of me- I always bite.

The thing is, I don’t know how many youngsters are reading today. I gather they are reading magic fiction but poetry, I really don’t know. I gave a paper lad the full rundown on approaching a poem the other day. I knew the poem he was doing and without doing his coursework for him, he should do all right from that. The trouble I find with them all is the constant resistance, even the sixth formers. Constantly the point comes up that it doesn’t matter anymore, it is time bound, irrelevant and this too, is a major bug bear.

I’ll conclude then, by questioning the actual nature of this issue, the seeing the point- the connection. We have all seen films based on Shakespeare, we have all read modern day fairytales, new takes on themes and so, if the words of the past are ‘irrelevant’, why are we still using them today? The worth of a word is not something you can rate, I would argue it is the meaning that carries the value anyway, and so is it not how we move on from the past- learn?

I’m sitting beside a pile of now redundant TV magazines- free supplements liberated from returned Sunday papers. These magazines are redundant just days after I got them so have quickly become worthless words. The pile of poetry, the bookshelf straight facing me or those words passed on in childhood- they’ll be with me again tomorrow- I’d call those kinds of things ‘Priceless’.

Thanks for reading,




Ashley R Lister said...


That was pragmatic and insightful. You never fail to surprise me.


vicky ellis said...

Some people collect old TV listing magazines.

You never know what your audience is thinking. One person's poetry is another's waste of resources.

Interesting read, thanks Shaun.