Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Famous Poem on Slough...

by John Betjeman (1906 - 1984)


Sir John Betjeman (1906-1984).jpg


John Betjeman published his poem about Slough in 1937 in the collected works Continual Dew. Slough was becoming increasingly industrial and some housing conditions were very cramped. In willing the destruction of Slough, Betjeman urges the bombs to pick out the vulgar profiteers but to spare the bald young clerks. He really was very fond of his fellow human beings. Slough is much improved nowadays and he might be pleasantly surprised by a stroll there.


Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough!
It isn't fit for humans now,
There isn't grass to graze a cow.
Swarm over, Death!
Come, bombs and blow to smithereens
Those air -conditioned, bright canteens,
Tinned fruit, tinned meat, tinned milk, tinned beans,
Tinned minds, tinned breath. Mess up the mess they call a town-
A house for ninety-seven down
And once a week a half a crown
For twenty years. And get that man with double chin
Who'll always cheat and always win,
Who washes his repulsive skin
In women's tears: And smash his desk of polished oak
And smash his hands so used to stroke
And stop his boring dirty joke
And make him yell. But spare the bald young clerks who add
The profits of the stinking cad;
It's not their fault that they are mad,
They've tasted Hell. It's not their fault they do not know
The birdsong from the radio,
It's not their fault they often go
To Maidenhead And talk of sport and makes of cars
In various bogus-Tudor bars
And daren't look up and see the stars
But belch instead. In labour-saving homes, with care
Their wives frizz out peroxide hair
And dry it in synthetic air
And paint their nails. Come, friendly bombs and fall on Slough
To get it ready for the plough.
The cabbages are coming now;
The earth exhales.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Two Friends Recorded For Posterity....

The following is a link from the BBC Listening Project of Robert Kennedy, sculpture, and artist, and Chris, a Polish man. It may be of interest, and was recorded at SHOC which is a homeless charity. The abbreviation means Slough Homeless Our Concern

Listening Project

Conversation between friends, Robert and Chris, about their experiences of homelessness.

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  • Type

  • Duration

  • Shelf mark

  • Recording date

  • Is part of (Collection)

    The Listening Project
  • Recording locations

    Serena Hall, Slough
  • Interviewees

    Kennedy, Robert, 1957- (male, Artist), Liczkowski, Krzysztof, 1980- (male, Unemployed)
  • Producers

    BBC Radio Berkshire
  • Recordist

    McKechnie, Graham
  • Abstract

    Although Robert lives in a flat in Slough, he has at times in his life been homeless, living rough. Now in his 50s, he wanted to talk to his younger friend Chris, a homeless man originally from Poland, and to urge him not to make the same mistakes. The conversation was recorded at Serena Hall - a day centre for homeless adults.
  • Description

    The Listening Project conversations collectively form a picture of our lives and relationships today. Recordings were made by BBC producers of people sharing an intimate conversation, lasting up to an hour and on a topic of the speakers' choice.
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    Photograph of participants
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One of a few other Chinese Lanterns at a "literary" event at the Mere in Slough