New Poetry, Fiction, Essays

What’s it all about – Autumn. An Opinion Piece by Nic Lance

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Nic Lance lives in Lincoln and is a member of Pimento Poets.  He was a contributor to their collection of poems, ‘Voices from the Steep’ (2012) and is co-editor of ‘Long Time Passing’ – poetry about the long-term legacy of war, which was published to mark the centenary of WW1.   Nic has a special interest in social history, art, ecology and particularly enjoys the wildlife poetry of John Clare.  He gives talks on these subjects to local community groups.




Autumn in all it fruitfulness brings a new season of Celebrity Come Dancing with the “angelic” Rev Richard Coles on Cloud 9 strutting his stuff along with the latest batch of celebs.

The Best of the BBC vintage harvest: Antiques Roadshow, is back celebrating 40 years with a sofa from a classic film and a bag of trinkets, and I don’t mean Fiona Bruce.

Have I Got News for You returns with the waspishly sartorial Ian Hislop and Paul Merton for their 56th series against a collage of Putin & Trump Boris & May.

I avoid the latest crop of serial killer thriller or Nordic Noir – I can’t take any more gore!

Autumn means The Silly Season is upon us. The Tories temporarily abandon their soft, southern heartland for the black diesel smoke of Manchester, where Theresa nearly chokes and the ‘F’ falls off the Tory band wagon.  The gods have clearly spoken in no uncertain terms:  F***!

Whilst Labour, logically, go to Brighton for their Conference – the Green heartland of Caroline Lucas .  New-old Labour are triumphant and confident in their aspirations.  After all, they nearly won the last snap election. And wouldn’t anything be better than rampant, free-market capitalism?

The shrunken, dryclean only, LibDems are now led by the young, dynamic, Vince Cable – so able.

Leaves are falling as Autumn begins to bite and Brexiteers steer a difficult course: whenever the divorce bill has been mentioned, the offer has been brushed aside with a sneering, haughty, “Non! Ce n’est pas possible!  Absolument ridicule!” from Michel Barnier – the chief EU exterminator… Sorry, ‘negotiator’.

May survives on a wing and a prayer but sooner or later, one way or another,  she will pay, if she still has a cabinet, or a government, that is.  But surely they will have gone to Paradise or quietly retired to an offshore tax haven before any trade deal is done.

Meanwhile, over on ITV, Queen Victoria has gone to Scotland with her darling, brooding Prince Albert.  They get lost in the highlands and spend the night with two elderly, bemused crofters, who would have baked a cake, if only they had known the royal couple were droppin’ by.  The royals are offered a wee dram and sleep happily in each others’ arms.

The bad, sad, new controllers on Radio 3 & 4 have shaken & stirred the schedules.  Like Bond villains they are plotting to bring down the whole edifice of radio civilisation in one foul swoop. They are playing a very dangerous game!  The Book of the Week can appear at almost any time, except at bedtime – when I need it to lull me to sleep. And Donald Macleod’s Composer of the Week is no longer repeated in the evenings.  Instead, the powers that be at the BBC, are experimenting with ‘In Tune Mixtape’, “a curated playlist of classical music featuring favourites, less known genres and a few surprises”.  I think they are hedging their bets or attempting to compete with Classic FM?

There’s a chill blast from the Arctic North penetrating through the polyester jackets, trousers slashed at the knees and cut-price Primark underwear of Beleagred BlightyLand.  The Russians are coming!  They have already fixed the US elections, now they have taken over the Radio 3 airwaves with a diet of vodka and Shostakovitch,  Popov & Rachmaninov, Scriabin & Prokovief, Myaskovsky & Tchaikovsky…

All under the pretext that this is to commemorate the November Revolution in Russia one hundred years ago.  But it’s obvious, the evil controllers have done a deal with Vladimir Putin.  Soon we’ll have a Russian President.

Back in Merrie Olde England, Queen Elizabeth’s spymasters, William and Robert Cecil and their undercover network of informers, courtiers, couriers and servants, intercept Catholic assassination plots and the Earl of Essex’s attempted coup d’etat in the BBC4 documentary.  Under James I, it nearly all goes off with a big bang in the Gunpowder Plot, as Kit Harington, from Game of Thrones, plays Robert Catesby – his Catholic ancestor – out for revenge.

And that’s quite enough excitement for one season, it’s time to burn that bonfire on the allotment!

As the season draws to a close, Monty Don’s Gardener’s World is gently put to bed in the great TV compost heap.  The worms will be in seventh heaven.





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