John Bone: Poems ... here’s looking at you
An exhibition of poems sounds the strangest of events. Surely poems are to be read quietly when alone or read aloud to an audience. They are not to be looked at. Yet there is an exhibition of poems at Newmarket Library right now after transferring from (even stranger) Waitrose. Yes, I know, it sounds daft but, (strangest yet), this show by poet Yvonne Zellen coupled with photographs, actually works. What next? A symphony concert consisting of sheet music pinned to a wall?Art has no boundaries.
n Justice must wait for Shaun Whiter, but he need not wait for the outpouring of affection and practical sympathy from not only Newmarket but the entire area. The law has begun what may be a long process of prosecution to find who and why this widely-admired local footballer suffered such terrible injury at the roadside, but his plight has struck a chord with all of us. For a sportsman to lose both legs in such a dreadful incident could be a blow from which he might never recover. Yet already this remarkable guy is talking of his sporting future with a classy set of artificial pins. Never mind who’s to blame. Never mind what happened and how and why. What matters is helping Shaun to stand proud and live the rest of his long life among us as a sportsman. He has the sort of raw courage that shames the self-obsessed charlatans in Westminster.
n Heed the words of Di Robertshaw: “Newmarket needs something done and everyone can see that, but there is no money.” Di was speaking as chair at the launch of yet another attempt to put a bomb under sluggish local commerce. It is called BID, Business Improvement District, and I wish it every success. None can deny the stark truth of her words. Something must be done. But how and by whom? The town council? Don’t make me laugh.Spirit is vital but Di is right when she puts money at the heart of reviving the business heart of the town which, despite superficial setbacks, has so much going for it. In this field, little can be done without funds so participating businesses are stumping up according to their size. Fair enough. The next step is deciding how to invest that precious capital.I am sure the good people involved have thought of it, but I recommend consulting communities great or small and afflicted by all manner of impediments to profitable trade, who have dragged themselves back into the sunshine. They exist and they would share their know-how.
n And, while we are talking about consulting in search of solutions, how about asking the ordinary people of Newmarket? This is the 21st century, yet in some ways people with useful things to say are still silenced by a ridiculous Edwardian hangover that makes them think it is “not their place.” These people who keep quiet while their town struggles are partly to blame for theprobnlems we face. The situation is multi-faceted and extremely complex but not beyond the wit of the silent majority to grasp and address. Let BID hear them. It’s their town.
n What’s important about enforcing parking rules in our area is not who does it but how well it is done. If, as Newmarket town councillors report, their Forest Heath counterparts are to take over the job from the police, then all well and good. Given the massive workload of our sadly depleted force, it seems abundantly sensible to remove from them this burdensome chore. So let’s give Forest Heath a go at it. Make no mistake, illegal parking is a running social sore.
n Jane Austen has a lot to answer for in our local property scene. Why else are so any brand-new Regency-style houses on the market if they are not catering for a taste inspired by television adaptations of Emma and Pride and Prejudice, or the works of George Elliott?
The stark slabs of modern architecture have never really taken off in domestic design and I detect a waning in what once seemed an unquenchable national yearning for thatch, beams, inglenooks and lattice lights. Mercy! I do declare ’tis all gracious living now.
n It was truly heartening to see so many floats in the Newmarket Carnival parade drawing on the life and history of the town for their theme. Newmarket Nights, a lost cinema and long-gone hotel, local Scouting, local dancers featured. So nice to get away from the weary themes borrowed from Disney and Hollywood. When our own culture is so strong, so deep and so enduring, why draw from far afield?