September 14th, 2010

breaking bad

We might start breakin' fings

I'm sorry. I wasn't going to post any more about politics. This is kind of funny. I did laugh out loud. Is this statement from the president of the Police Superintendents' Association as crude a threat as it sounds?
"In an environment of cuts across the wider public sector, we face a period where disaffection, social and industrial tensions may well rise... We will require a strong, confident, properly trained and equipped police service... that believes it is valued by the government... (when) there is widespread disorder on our streets, it will not be police community support officers, or special constables or non-warranted police staff, journalists or politicians [who will be needed] to restore order. It will be our police officers and we must be sufficiently resilient to enable us to respond properly, professionally and safely with the minimum of force."

I don't know. It reminds me of this Monty Python sketch. ''Nice civil society you got here, guvnor. Shame if someone broke it. Shame if someone wasn't sufficiently resilient to respond with a minimum of force.'

People outside the UK might not understand a sinister bit of subtext in the speech.
"From the massacre in 1819, that took place not so many miles away from here... history teaches us that there will always be widespread threats to the public peace."

This is a clear reference to the Peterloo Massacre where Northern pro-democracy protesters were hacked down by law-enforcement (this was before the police as they currently exist were established). 15 killed, about 500 injured. Why does he reference this very famous event? What threat to the peace was there at Peterloo? It wasn't the protesters.

Shelley wrote The Masque of Anarchy about this massacre ('I met murder on the way/ He had a face like Castlereagh'). That's worth a read.
breaking bad

Rise up with me American beloved

I was just talking at work about how poetry affects me. I often don't understand it at all, but I get a physical sensation, not even a very pleasant one necessarily. I think my subconscious understands it, but to my conscious mind it's just a sequence of unintelligible words. I remember picking up a copy of The Heights of Macchu Picchu by Pablo Neruda, as a teenager at a party. I was really drunk but I just couldn't believe it, and I still can't. I remember the person with me laughing because I was saying 'How long has this existed? How can this be so good?' But I didn't have a clue what it meant, and I still don't.

Here is my translation of the first part of Chapter 8

Rise up with me, American beloved
Oh, kiss with me these undiscovered rocks.
Collapse )

And here is a proper English translation of the same words, by Nathan Tarn

Come up with me, American love.
Kiss these secret stones with me.Collapse )


I stole 'loom of sound' because I think it's so good. What the original Spanish says is 'Oh Wilkamayu, de sonoros hilos' (of a sounding thread)