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)

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

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 and here’s Simon Armitage’s

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

and a second from The Spectator, by Mary Killen

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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