Thursday, 11th August

1. I missed a trick on Tuesday. It was the centenary of the birth of Philip Larkin. There’s been a lot of media coverage, much of it playing on the disjunct between his sublime poetry and his less-than-sublime character.

Simon Armitage, the current UK Poet Laureate – a post Larkin tuned down on at least one occasion – has made a wonderful – so far! – series for Radio 4, Larkin Revisited, which addresses that disjunct head-on and intelligently (and has Larkin reading his own poems as a doleful bonus) https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0019yy2/episodes/player

2. One of Armitage’s interviewees for Larkin Revisited, the poet Imtiaz Dharker, has written a piece for The Guardian about her poem imagining a social media encounter with Larkin, Swiping left on Larkin https://www.theguardian.com/books/2022/aug/09/philip-larkin-flinched-from-intimacy-social-media-imtiaz-dharker-swiping-left-on-larkin

3. Would Larkin have had a website had he been born fifty years later? I’m pretty sure he would have had! Here’s Imtiaz Dharker’s http://www.imtiazdharker.com/ and here’s Simon Armitage’s https://www.simonarmitage.com/

4. And, finally, here in the UK, we’re in the middle of – by our own standards – yet another ‘heat wave’. It’s 28°C here in Cambridge as I write and going up to 32° this afternoon – which isn’t really very hot at all by global standards! A recent suggestion by the water companies – whose profits in pounds sterling are almost as large as the amount of water that leaks from their pipes in litres daily – that we should report our neighbours who break the hosepipe ban has attracted a lot of comment. Here’s two pieces which both say ‘no, you jolly well shouldn’t’:

one from The Conversation, by Peter West https://theconversation.com/hosepipe-ban-should-you-snitch-on-your-neighbours-water-use-a-philosophers-take-188240

and a second from The Spectator, by Mary Killen https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/should-you-grass-on-a-neighbour-who-breaks-the-hosepipe-ban

As Peter West has it, “three of philosophy’s best-known moral theories suggest that snitching on our neighbours is probably not the right thing to do”.

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