Southampton is a Cool Cat

p1170772

Southampton is a ferrel catp1170655

stretched out on a grand, green lawn

of broad summer sunshine

Fatted on battered haddock

grappled for against gulls

conquests behind nightclubs

kicked-over street bins

reeking of curry and booze

She cleans her face but not Her furp1100615

Who does She need to impress?

 

Southampton is a cool cat

catch the rat between two rivers

acrobatics at gas works

parkour-flipping around the old town walls

From hooks of port cranes

She sees it all.


Southampton is a wise old catp1090073

hoisted up quick and sailed close-to-wind

Her kittens roam world-wide

thirst knowledge – take notes

stalk students on side-streets

hide beneath Ford Transits

 

Southampton is flatteredp1100968

by the kindness of strangers

You’re fun – She likes to play

Curl up with Her by the coal fire

Stroke, purr, snooze,

Come dawn She’ll yowl you out of bed

Howl and holler ‘til She’s fed

p1120095Southampton is the eternal cat

you will never own

She’ll still be here

when you’ve sneaked out

by the back stairs

never to be forgotten

so longed for on your return

 

p1110933You will find Her asleep on tombs of sea captains

who dutifully sank with their vessels

You will find Her at the dock-gates

preening Her paws for sailors

from mighty merchant boats

who came bearing gifts

in big metal containers

For this ship’s cat

that can stare at Queens

 

p1140027Call Her names across the pitch… Scummer!

But don’t come looking for a fight – Mush!

Or She’ll give you War

Southampton. The great Defender

She sees you in the dark

She will hook out your eyes

with Her steel claws

One Spitfire pounce can kill

Wounds licked  –  She’ll be on her feet again

This Cat has nine lives

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Poem and Photos © Southampton Old Lady

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Bye Bye Happy Hot Dog Man

Happy Hotdog Man © Southampton Old Lady 2015
Happy Hotdog Man © Southampton Old Lady 2015
Happy Hotdog Man © Southampton Old Lady 2015
Happy Hotdog Man © Southampton Old Lady 2015

Farewell to the Happy Hot Dog Man. Karl who has been a part of Southampton’s city centre for years, is an established Southampton character. His laugh brings a smile to customers and passers-by. Now he has been fined for not having a trading licence.

Council trading licence applications are complicated involving high insurance rates and are rarely granted. Other traders include those selling mobile phone accessories and jewellery, plus two taxi drivers. They have been going for so long now that everyone thought they were legit. It is difficult to believe that the council have only just noticed them.

James Franklin reported in today’s Daily Echo: ‘Southampton’s “Happy Hot Dog Man” is among four people fined for unlawful selling in the city centre. He as been told to pay £640 for breaching a council order.

‘City council licensing manager Phil Bates said: “We’re pleased with the result, it sends a clear message that unlicensed operations won’t be tolerated and can lead to prosecution.” A council spokesman added: “These are the traders in the precinct, some of whom we suspect are there daily.”

Sir Bevis – Hero of Southampton

Josian & The Lions from the Hours of England illuminations.
Josian & The Lions from the Hours of England illuminations.
Southampton Bargate, the city's gatehouse and a remnant of the Medieval wall that surrounds the city centre of Southampton. Legend has it that Sr Bevois Earl of Southampton was its founder. The bronze lions (in honour of Josian) replaced the wooden ones in 1743.
Southampton Bargate, the city’s gatehouse and a remnant of the Medieval wall that surrounds the city centre of Southampton. Legend has it that Sr Bevois Earl of Southampton was its founder. The bronze lions (in honour of Josian) replaced the wooden ones in 1743.

beviscover2Place names are all over Southampton with characters from the Bevis legend: Bevis (a slave turned hero), Josian (the independant Princess) the Lions and the giant Ascupart.

Lynn Forest-Hill is launching her new book Bevis of Hampton as a ‘limited festival edition’ for Southampton’s first literary festival SO: To Speak, which takes place in October 2015.

I am so looking forward reading this translation of the story of Sir Bevis (Hero of Southampton) from Middle English into modern English. I had a sneak preview when I was shown a few of the pages for layout purposes. It has excellent explanatory notes under each page of text. Lynn Forest-Hill is a literary scholar specializing in Medievalism, she is a Fellow of the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture at the University of Southampton and is the Education Officer for the Tolkien Society.

This is a Southampton brass coin I have. It was used as a token with the head of Sir Bevois
This is a Southampton brass coin I have. It was used as a token with the head of Sir Bevois

Lynn has written multiple papers regarding J.R.R. Tolkien’s works and her research has been used in articles featured in the Times Literary Supplement. For the last nine years, She has been leading three local reading groups; one studies Shakespeare’s work and the other two focus on the examination of poetry.
I have been following her research on this book on her blog, where she has wonderful links to this legend including a film and even one on how middle english sounds: https://bevisofhampton.wordpress.com
so to speak roundFor more about the SO: To Speak festival:

http://www.sotospeakfestival.org

For more about the legend of Bevis and the Romance poem:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bevis_of_Hampton   +

http://www.tudorrevels.co.uk/articles.php?itemId=58

The Book of Hours forms part of the British Library Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts.
To view the illuminations:

Dismaland – Reply to Banksy & Co

Sunbathing on the beach
Sunbathing on the beach
Bookshop/cafe closure notice
Bookshop/cafe closure notice

Much as I love Southampton, which has some wonderful positive things to offer cruise ship tourists (which I shall get around to writing about more – I am usually a positive person) these are some snaps from my home city in support of Banksy’s Dismaland.

All photos © Southampton old lady

If you have not heard of Dismaland then please do an image search online. This is a ‘bemusement’ park that has been opened up in South-West England, for six weeks, by a group of 59 British artists including: Damien Hirst, Jenny Holzer, Jimmy Cauty, Bill Barminski, Caitlin Cherry, Polly Morgan, Josh Keyes, Mike Ross, David Shrigley, Bäst, and Espo… headed by Banksy. Actors (as disgruntled security guards and staff) and writers have also been employed (Julie Birchill re-wrote a macabre Punch & Judy script).

Homeless youth under The Bargate of Southampton's Medieval wall.
Homeless youth under The Bargate of Southampton’s Medieval wall.

The Tropicana swimming resort in Weston-super-Mare, a one-time holiday-haven, has been turned into an anarchistic statement about Western capitalism – A Disneyland gone wrong.

Banksy hails from near-by Bristol. He possibly recalls as a child, summer days on the sands and pier at Weston-Super-Mare, which have deteriorated now. The type of British family that used to spend their holiday here, no longer have money for resorts. Pictures like this can be found at tourist areas throughout Europe. In London, visitors are sad not to meet people like characters from Downton Abbey.

But don’t book £3 tickets on the Dismaland website, or you will just be trolled. The project highlights the down-side of Britain emulating USA-style boom and bust financial strategies. Our boom from the 1990s sub-prime-type/hedge-funding and such, burst its bubble in 2008. Although the Government has announced that the Country is now “doing well” – giving themselves generous pay-rises; people argue that these strategies have little way of ‘trickling down’ any benefit to the common people. There is also a sense of childhood loss, a feeling of being cheated by the false promises of a fairytale with a happy ending.

Health lottery advertisement shines bright in bad weather outside Waitrose (a middle class supermarket)
Health lottery advertisement shines bright in bad weather outside Waitrose (an up-market supermarket)
The Royal Pier, which burnt down in the 1970s.
The Royal Pier in Southampton has not been repaired since it burnt down in the 1970s.
Closer view of the pier.
Closer view of the pier.
Prickly Justice
Prickly Justice
Northam Bridge Graffiti
Northam Bridge Graffiti
River Itchen cycle path - west side
River Itchen cycle path – west side
Please return your shopping trolley
Please return your shopping trolley
Riverside apartments (or they could be)
Riverside apartments (or it could be)
Site of television studios - build here please.
Brown site that used to be television studios – build homes here please.
Itchen River from Roman East site
Itchen River from Roman East-side
Council allowed 'graffiti' to encourage cycling complete with chewing gum spots.
Council allowed ‘graffiti’ to encourage cycling. Complete with chewing gum spots.
The sky line
The sky line
Memorial bench at victoria Country Park looking out on Southampton Water
Memorial bench at Royal Victoria Country Park looking out on Southampton Water
Sunbathing II at the waterfront
Sunbathing II at the waterfront
Park restrictions: Do not pass go... Different signs for English and Polish speakers.
Park restrictions: Different signs for different languages
A traditional pub closes every day.
A traditional pub closes every day.
Shirley Park Hotel - closed
Shirley Park Hotel – closed
Tanning salon at what was once the Regent Cinema
Tanning salon at what was once the Regent Cinema
Beauty Parlours in the hope of a change to feel better.
Beauty Parlours offer hope of a change to feel better. Not something I could afford or want.
Jonas Nichols Square (he gave his name to Nicholstown) in the morning.
Jonas Nichols Square (he gave his name to Nicholstown) in the morning.
Where I used to buy vegetables when Kingsland Market was closed.
Where I used to buy vegetables when Kingsland Market was closed.
off-licence in residential area
Late off-licence in residential area
Fly-tipped computer desk in green area
Fly-tipped computer desk in green area
Keep out of here. (Ministry of Defence).
Keep out of here. (Ministry of Defence).
Loose paving slabs all over the City centre - watch your step.
Loose paving slabs all over the City centre – watch your step.
Unfortunate name but yes. Isis 'gentlemans' club - in Southampton's High Street (Above Bar).
Unfortunate name but yes. Isis ‘Gentleman’s’ club – in Southampton’s High Street (Above Bar).
For Your Eyes Only - mens lap dance club on the QE2 Mile
For Your Eyes Only – another club for men (table-dancing) on the QE2 Mile
English Heritage Listed II street with Police car.
Grade II Listed street with house cordoned off for drugs bust.
Empty commerce
Empty commerce
The Cricket Pavilion
The cricket pavilion in a park where cricket is not allowed
A reminder of the Banksy murial that was removed in Southampton
A reminder of the Banksy mural’ that was removed in Southampton

You may also want to look at this YouTube video of buskers Phat Bollard performing ‘Millionaires’ in Southampton High Street (contains swearing): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhQBAu0Yypk

Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/phatbollard. Downloads can be found at Bandcamp: http://phatbollard.bandcamp.com.

 

 

 

 

Southampton “Happy” by Pharrell Williams – Verve version

Not everyone is depressed in Southampton. Many are very happy.
I just love this video made by film/graphic design student (?) Valerio Chiarini as part of course in Southampton.
It features the track “Happy” Verve by Pharrell Williams

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCpBYoYDfSo
P1110394I snapped this picture of a very Happy couple – do you recognise them?

Good Samaritan Saves Homeless Suicide Jump off Itchen Bridge, Southampton

Ally Law, a video blogger (vlogger), who strolled over Itchen Bridge in Southampton to take photos, helped save a man’s life. Ally found a homeless man crying and about to jump in the water to end it all while lots other people had just passed.  He accidentally caught the first bit of their conversation on his camera. It has been shared (with the man’s identity not revealed) on the Daily Echo’s website. There has been a number of similar suicides like this in Southampton recently. The rise of the jobless and homeless seems to have doubled within a year. Which makes me think it is a worldwide problem during this “Depression”:

http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/video/4308087123001/?ref=vidshare

(or)

http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/13343964.WATCH__The_moment_a_kind_Samaritan_saves_a_suicidal_man_on_city_bridge/HomelessPersonUnderBargate I took this snap of yet another homeless man underneath The Bargate.