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Take up our quarrel with the foe

27 Mar
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close
      In midst of this thine hymn my willing eyes,
Or wait the “Amen,” ere thy poppy throws
      Around my bed its lulling charities.
                                              John Keats
As cultured folk you’ll be aware how for millennia the poppy has signified sleep and forgetfulness in European culture. From the poppy we get opium, morphine and all those other lovely “ines” that make us fall through a hole in the carpet when life becomes too much… 
Whoah! whoah! stop all this liberal thinking right now! For the Royal (& sycophantic) British Legion, for hosts of hoopleheads and fellow travellers, for the whole UK indeed (or so it seems) and even for level headed Canada or at least those parts that love to dwell on the horrors of the last century the poppy has become The Symbol Of Remembrance. Well ha! So much for culture. This craze started in the 1920’s as a merchandising scam to sell cloth poppies to help ‘rebuild war torn France’ (a likely story) or perhaps it was inspired by that really bad and militaristic poem  “Flanders Field” (which at least had the idea of poppies meaning sleep). Whatever, it’s too late and the genie is out of the proverbial glass container and you can’t tell anyone that this is cultural illiteracy else they look at you as if you have two heads (which I suppose is two more than they have). 
So it comes about that, two years after the celebration (no better word) of the start of WW1, Hull gets a teeny portion of the crazy poppy themed thing that took over the Tower of London.  It’s an unimpressive, tawdry splash of  red down the side of the Maritime Museum. Puts me in mind of a slit throat or perhaps a some overly enthusiastic menstrual flux. Certainly does not inspire any thoughts of ‘remembrance’ despite it being blessed by vicars and cooed over by the hoi polloi (“Oh isn’t it beautiful!” ‘it’, by the way, is supposed to represent the deaths of thousands of men from high explosives, bullets, poison gas and general military incompetence so … well I just give up!) and idiots in WW1 uniforms standing in front of it like dorks!
Still it attracts folks to town to take piccies (guilty as charged) and of course selfies. Oh the name of this thing? … Weeping Window

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Weeping Window

26 Mar

Here on Beverley Road the latest installation exposes the  close dependency between the various layers in the culture business each clinging on to the coat tails of the next one up and how rubbish flows from the top to the bottom to be transformed into a neat little heap of acceptable art. The piece has had a highly favourable reception in the press and TV. The locals simply can’t get enough of this and queue up to take their selfies in front of the gushing red flow of culture. It’s only here until May before it goes off to tour the country so get your skates on.