Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Our friends Jonathan and Lib came over last night, and we were talking about places to rent in England for the summer. Somebody mentioned Slough as a joke, and then Edward mentioned the Tiger Lillies song "Drop a Bomb on Slough" (sample lyrics: "Well it's grim up north/But it's grimmer than that in Slough/I'll sing you a song/If you drop a bomb on Slough").

Then Jonathan brought up the eponymous John Betjamen poem, which reads, in part:

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.


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 ever since I've been obsessed with titling something "Birdsong from the Radio." I just think it's so lovely and odd. It may be because I don't have a title for the book I'm working on right now--I've discarded, among others, "Thunderstruck Not Lightning Struck," "Let Your Heart Become Iron," and "The Two-handed Anyhow." I don't think I can call it Birdsong from the Radio, though. The last time I had a title but nothing to put it on was "An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination." I saw it on a sign and thought maybe I'd write a short story called that. But it worked for a book.

I still don't know exactly where we're going to be in England this summer. Any advice gratefully taken.


Laura C. said...

Ooooh, you really should not be giving away good titles like that, Elizabeth.

NSF said...
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NSF said...

Elizabeth - I just happened to do a search on twitter for the phrase "Isle of Mull," and in the results I saw your posts. Delighted to see you are a fan of IKWIG. Would love to hear about your trip to Mull. E-mail me if you want.
I loved "The Giant's House."

Elizabeth McCracken said...
This comment has been removed by the author.