As Bad as a Mile

Posted by Expert Gadget Reviewer on Friday, 13 April 2007

Long time no post, as I’ve been recently afflicted with a minor throat infection that, in wilful subscription to my gender’s predilection to mild hypochondria, I’ve been quietly bemoaning, moping about, and hence achieving very, very little.

Still, I posted off my submission to the TLS’s Poetry Competition today, which is something. And I also spent a ridiculous amount of time yesterday evening thinking about the subtle socio-political messages that I’m convinced BBC1 series Hotel Babylon is trying to communicate to us: namely, that in the hotel staff’s wilful dismissal of a megalomaniac’s class-driven takeover and promised makeover in defence of ‘anybody being able to pass through the doors as long as they can settle their bill’, the show is slowly driving home the message of just how great our atomised and consumerist society really is. Or in other words: you’ve got the money, you’re classy enough for us.

‘It’s all about Thatcher’s legacy and New Labour policy’, I tell my housemate.

‘Really?’ he replies, ‘I can honestly say I forgot about that programme as soon as it finished. I’m impressed you considered it in such depth though.'

Yes, yes, I’m aware that there was more than a little sarcasm in there. (And for once, it comes across as brilliantly on paper as it does off. Bravo Sam. Which in no way implies that Sam is usually sarcastic, of course. Just that this is a good example of, erm, transcendent sarcasm. There. Disclaimer complete.) It may be that in my attempt to give up smoking, then, my desire for a nicotine fix has manifested itself in taking mediocre television and investing within it the sort of overt social and political significance reserved for the work of, say, Charles Dickens. Sometimes I forget I have university assignments to be completing.

Also, while I remember, thanks to Katy Murr for reminding me to re-read Larkin’s Collected Poems. I got around to it recently and got on to realising that ‘As Bad as a Mile’ (from TWW) is truly a work of poetic genius, even for a writer as capable as Larkin. Hence, I spent a few hours yesterday afternoon writing up my thoughts on the poem, and my inkling that it has a lot more to say than traditional readings have given it credit for. The poem, along with my comments, are forthcoming on The Philip Larkin Society’s website, featured in the Poem of the Month section.