"Murray is the best kind of literary biographer" – The Financial Times.
For more information about the books of Nicholas Murray
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Winner of the 2015 Basil Bunting Award for poetry

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Betjeman at St Pancras


There he is: the ruin-bibber himself, gazing up into the magnificently restored ironwork of the roof of St Pancras International. Betjeman's statue is done in a reassuringly modest scale unlike the grotesque and vulgar giant bronze of two lovers meeting on the platform that stands some distance away. I have yet to take the train from the new station but the flashing boards: "PARIS NORD" had me twitching a bit. Not normally a fan of retro stuff, I think they have done a brilliant job. But it is still the shapely grandeur of the Swiss Re ("the gherkin") towering over the City that really excites me. There's room for both I say, in pre-Yuletide affability. Have a nice Christmas and New Year everyone, I shall be shutting down shortly.

6 comments:

Teri said...

NICE Blog :)

Jool Lane said...

Nick, what is your opinion of Betjeman?

Nicholas Murray said...

Ah, complicated one. I think as an all-round TV personality, as a campaigner for conservation and appreciation of traditional architecture and as a general National Treasure he's fine but I suppose I feel that his poetry is a little too defiantly anti-modern to make me feel completely comfortable. Having said that I like his classic poems, they are entertaining (especially on the record "Banana Blush" with Jim Parker's jazz backing) and amusing. So if he gives pleasure and entertains us why knock him?

jool lane said...

I was thrilled to discover him in my teens, liking the accessibility I suppose, and hugely enjoyed the rhythm, but have moved on, although I continue to respect him. Tennyson was, unsurprisingly, my other great love at the time, another master of rhythm.

Nicholas Murray said...

Ah yes, Tennyson, a great poet ("Break, break, break/On thy cold grey stones, O Sea!/And I would that my tongue could utter/The thoughts that arise in me...").

Stonch said...

I was lucky enough to attend the launch party of the Betjeman Arms on Thursday. Great bash! Click here to read my review of the pub.