Sunday, 2 October 2016

Writing - Arts night on the Beeb

I was pleased to see that the channel BBC 2 dedicated Saturday Night to an arts evening.

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Auntie Beeb

The BBC have been renowned for years for being rather posh but have included intermittent rather than regular art programmes and quite often late at night, so the idea of a poetry evening starting earlier was good news. This is how it was introduced.

In what is the first of a new series, Saturday nights on BBC Two will be dedicated exclusively to the Arts, where the channel will hand over to writers, dancers, playwrights, film makers and more. To launch the first takeover, poet Jackie Kay recites a poetic introduction to Railway Nation, which is a modern twist on the classic film, Night Train, where WH Auden, John Grierson and the BBC collaborated but here six contemporary poets each narrate a poem about part of the famous West Coast train journey from London to Glasgow. Then Kate Tempest's Performance Live kicks in before Poets at the BBC mines the archives for classic poetry moments.

It strikes me as innovative and quite exciting although it will be dominated by those who are 'acceptable' to the establishment.
I like the idea of a theme and the Night Train is a wonderful starting point. Then I'm biased as I like anything about trains. Of course W H Auden's poem was The Night Mail

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The Night Mail (excerpt)

This is the night mail crossing the border,
Bringing the cheque and the postal order,
Letters for the rich, letters for the poor,
The shop at the corner, the girl next door…
Letters of thanks, letters from banks,
Letters of joy from girl and boy,
Receipted bills and invitations
To inspect new stock or to visit relations,
And applications for situations,
And timid lovers’ declarations,

I think this is a wonderfully descriptive piece with rhythm and pace. The sort of poem one strives to produce every time the pen rests its bleeding tip upon the pristine page.

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Jackie Kay

Below is Jackie Kay's introduction to poetry night.

Welcome to Poetry Night

On BBC Two
Sit tight!
A poem is a small moment of belief
A light
We are a poetry-loving nation,
And this is your station stop.

My name is Jackie Kay

A poem is a train
Of thought
A poem IS a station stop.
A poem takes you to the end of the line
Welcome to Poetry Night
Get off at this Junction for Railway Nation

A deal of what Jackie says in this tiny introduction is very interesting. To get hold of the whole experience go to BBC iPlayer.

God Bless