‘Guard these moments well’: the lyrics of Chris de Burgh

We need to talk about Chris de Burgh’s lyrics. Let’s just for a moment pretend that he never wrote ‘The Lady In Red’. Let’s also pretend that ‘Don’t Pay the Ferryman’ was never recorded, let alone ‘a minor hit in the states [sic]’ as alleged on his official website. Indeed, let’s go so far as to say that Chris de Burgh never existed at all.

Okay, perhaps that’s taking things a bit too far.

However if, like me, you grew up on Chris de Burgh’s records, you can probably understand why I get frustrated when people mention those two songs as if that’s all Chris de Burgh ever did.

For the benefit of the vast majority of the world’s population, therefore, I’d like to set the record (no pun intended) straight. In fact, an analysis of Chris de Burgh’s early albums shows that he was already a formidable songwriter. The lyrical prowess demonstrated on ‘Don’t Pay the Ferryman’ was no fluke.

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D/DN: Nu på svenska!

Given that I’ve lived in Sweden since 2011, now is probably as good a time as any to acknowledge this fact by creating a Swedish version of my biography.

In addition, given that my chapbook Övergången (2011) contains 10 poems in English and Swedish, I’ve created new posts for the Swedish translations, all of which are listed on the På svenska page.

Thanks once again to Linda Bönström and Boel Schenlaer for providing the translations back in 2011.

I’ve also created a post for my poem ‘Fem kronor’, which is so far the only poem I’ve managed to write in Swedish all on my own, and which originally appeared in my digital chapbook Fem Kronor (2013).

In other Swedish-related news, I’ve recently re-started working on Åsa Strålande in Tantolunden, a novel-in-progress set in Stockholm. While my language skills are definitely basic, I’ve decided to persevere with the original idea of writing the majority of the dialogue in Swedish.

Hmm, time to re-enrol in SFI?

Pimpin’ my portfolio

Now that the messy task of fixing the broken links on this website is, temporarily at least, over and done with, I’ve been working on a better way to present the various books, theses, websites and projects that I’ve either produced or been involved with over the years.

Using the Portfolio Post Type plugin, which creates a custom post taxonomy for portfolio items, and the Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg plugin, which makes it easier to create fancy-looking blocks on pages and posts, I’ve come up with a new Works page, which simply lists all of my portfolio items.

At this stage I’m mostly concentrating on my poetry publications prior to 2014. For each work, I’ve tried to provide some contextual information, metadata, links and a PDF download.

In cases where I’m not able to provide a download—for example, my two full-length poetry collections were only published in print, and are both now out of print—I guess I’ll need to come up with some other solution.

Eventually the Works page will also feature other non-poetry projects and more recent books. More on that in due course!

Clearing out the linkrot

It stands to reason that a medium as subject to change as the Internet will, over time, exhibit signs of decay.

In the case of a website that amalgamates posts from at least five other sites, and which has been online in one form or another since 2001, this decay manifests itself via linkrot, defined as ‘the process by which hyperlinks on individual websites or the Internet in general tend to point to web pages, servers or other resources that have become permanently unavailable.’

In other words, I’ve spent the past day or three checking, repairing and/or deleting broken links on this site.

The whole exercise makes me feel cleansed, as if I’ve dropped an HTML bath bomb into a gigantic pool of code.

Let’s see how long that feeling lasts.

Skiermûntseach, Fryslân

What a bizarre little place. No cars, electric buses, and masses of bicyclists heading back and forth from the dunes to the town.

I had expected the strandpaviljoen to be open but was proven wrong. It has, an abandoned feel in this photograph.

Tonight I sat outside, at a table in the Hotel van der Werff, where I am presently lodging, and ordered a beer and an oude jenever.

I had only got halfway through the jenever when some old codger wandered by and remarked, Dat is en kopstootje.

His wife looked at the jenever and beer on my table and replied, Nou, dat is echt en ouwemanse drankje, hoor.