his week, on The Mid Week Mix Up, Coral and I are excited to welcome a local poet to the show for a chat. Des Mannay will be talking about his published work and what inspires him to write, as well as any other subjects that catch our attention. Here is what I found out about Des in a fun Q&A. Keep reading for one of his poems: The Cash Spangled Banner. Join us on Wednesday at 5pm on Newport City Radio.
Q. What was the most interesting thing you did last week?
A. I listened to one of my poems in Farsi/Persian on Soundcloud. The narrator: Soodabeh Saeidnia, from the bilingual anthology, Persian Sugar in English Tea.
Q.What's the first record you ever owned?
A. ‘Stop-Stop-Stop!’ by The Hollies. Not one of their best. I started buying records, (mainly second-hand) when I was about 10 or 11. This just happened to be the first one I bought. I became a bit of a vinyl/CD junkie...
Q. If you could be a cartoon character for a day, which would you choose and why?
A. Danger Mouse – I share his initials
Q. Beer or wine?
A. Both – not at the same time though!
Q. Who was the best teacher at school or college, why?
A. A bloke called Viv Davies. He taught sociology/Social history on an access course I did. He had the gift of making complex ideas seem simple. He also travelled to France to take part in the student revolt of 1968! Brought the whole thing to life in glorious technicolour when he covered this on the course
Q. What's the best way to spend a Sunday afternoon?
A. Doing as little as possible: Recharging batteries, catching up with emails, washing clothes, that sort of stuff.
Q. TV or Radio?
A. A bit of both. They are mainly background noise – unless there’s a specific film. Although I watch/listen to most stuff via the internet these days.
Q. Have you got a favourite item of clothing?
A. A piece of amber for a necklace which was bought by one of my kids. Years ago I was given a piece of amber by some bloke who ran a crystal stall in a market. He was a friend. He told me that if it’s a gift, amber brings you luck. I had a sensational couple of years, where I could do no wrong. Then I lost the piece of Amber and things went belly-up. I must have told my son this story – because he presented me with a piece of amber one Christmas. Hoping it’s beginning to work!
Q. What's the weirdest thing you have in your pocket/bag?
A. Empty Coffee jar – to top up if I’m running out at work
Q. What's the last book you read?
A. Cover to cover? “Carrying The Elephant” by Mike Rosen and “Brood” by Rhian Edwards: both great poets. I also devour poetry books and Biographies and usually have several books on the go at the same time. Currently, I'm reading “The Mighty Dead – why Homer Matters”, also, a Biography of Robert Browning by Halliday, and a bit of John Cooper Clarke.
Q. Last place you went for a holiday?
A. Salcombe – a quiet country town. I Haven’t been on holiday for ages. Too skint.
Q. Which came first, chicken or egg? How do you know?
A. The egg. I know because dinosaurs got here first.
Q. What's the last film you watched at the cinema?
A. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – John Le Carre at his best.
Q. Whose voice would you choose for your satnav?
A. Satnav? I walk most places or use public transport. If I drove it would be Holly from Red Dwarf
Q. When was the last time you cried?
A. I usually cry once a week depending on the writing.
Q. Who was your best friend when you were a kid. What is he/she doing now?
A. A bloke called Sean O’Sullivan. Here’s a handy hint – if you have children, don’t give ‘em initials like SOS. Last I heard he was in Prison.
Q. What new skill would you like to learn?
A. Possibly to drive one day.
Q. Beard or no beard?
A. Accidental beards occasionally. I’m lazy...
Q. What's at the end of a rainbow?
A. Heavy metal fans.
Q. It's your birthday and you can have any band/singer / DJ / for entertainment? Who will you choose?
A. Ray Davies of The Kinks
Q. Which comedian makes you laugh most?
A. Eric Morecambe.
Q. Whats the most annoying song ever?
A. ‘Mull of Kintyre’
Q. favourite TV show?
Q. What's the best advice your parents gave you?
A. Never bring trouble to your door
Q. The best band in the world is?
A. The Who
Q. What would you tell your 13-year-old self?
A. “Marty – we’ve gotta get back to the future.... It’s your kids Marty: something gotta be done about your kids!”. That’ll confuse the hell out of me :)
The Cash Spangled Banner
(a new anthem for a post-truth America)
Oh, say! can you see by the dawn's early light
That a beaming misogynist at twilight's gleaming;
White hoods are back, and lynching at night,
O'er the ramparts we watched drunken bigots all steaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that the Earth was scorched bare:
Oh, say! does that cash-spangled banner still wave
Though all of humanity's sent to the grave?
Oh the things, barely seen as reaction does creep,
Where a Billionaire host, claimed 'outsider' reposes,
What is that which will vote like a bunch of tamed sheep,
A reality TV host, half conceals, half discloses?
Now he catches the gleam of the photograph's beam,
Enough ugliness exposed to poison a stream:
'Tis the cash-spangled banner! a loin cloth to save
While the poor and the destitute head for the grave!
And where are the braves who were here before
The 'ching' of the Gold Rush and Cotton's confusion?
A history of genocide - here's the cat's paw:
Now the Standing Rock Sioux face foul pipeline's pollution!
No refugee has a welcome here save
For the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave:
And the cash-spangled banner does divide and rule
In a race to the bottom - where the folk act like fools
Oh, this should be never, when freemen shall hand
Over loved home to war's desolation!
And the murderers ransack, and screw other lands
Praise the power of the rich as they destroy your nation!
And as global warming turns crops to dust,
This be the motto: "In Trump is our trust":
And the cash-spangled banner in triumph unfurled
Will be the only thing left when they've destroyed the world.