Questions of Fashion?

Whitworths Semolina[i] – a pudding I perhaps incorrectly associate with the 70s


Despite the fact that it looks like someone has stubbed out a couple of fags in this bowl of semolina, I’m dead keen to make some. Trouble is, I thought it required a microwave – never touch the things – or too long in the oven. But, in the small print on the box, I’ve just noticed that there is a hob method – which was how I assumed it was cooked in the 70s when semolina was a popular pudding. We got it at school once a week. When did it go out of fashion . . . or maybe it didn’t?

Perhaps your eyes didn’t read the “chocolate wafer sticks”[ii] decorating the pudding as dog ends[iii]? (another phrase which the internet, at first, implies has gone out of fashion). Such a visual conclusion was, I’m afraid, immediate for me, something I could not avoid, as in the days of weekly semolina, smoking was too ingrained in people even to be considered a fashion. My uncle used to stay with us on occasional weekends and as I was generally up first (usually trying to get outside on my bike quick), I’d have been told the night before to give him a cup of tea. Propping himself up in bed or on the settee, through bleary eyes he would regard me sceptically. I’d worried about getting his tea right and he would try to smile. Often though, he’d light up a fag, and once finished, drop it into the tea and go back to sleep.

Was laying in on Saturdays and Sundays a fashion, a right or a habit?

Once a week my daughter tells me of another fashionable word or phrase she has picked up at school, refusing to believe that it has an earlier, more useful, often contradictory meaning. This may be acceptable – the development or corruption of language and meaning, its constant ‘evolution’ – as long it keeps in mind some kind of overall picture or even quality beyond the transient surface of fashion.


Questions of Fashion?

It’s far simpler (though not necessarily easier) to write ‘poetry’ that cares not
a whit for its form, loses shape and changes lines when it feels
like it, exclaims or withers, expands a valid stream of perception or descends into shopping list.
It seems you can just put down what comes into your head. And perhaps
that’s good? Obvious stress is out and often meaning too . . . come to that, maybe even the point altogether? But perhaps we’ve been overconcerned about rhythm and metre for years? After all, what’s worse than rhyming couplets? Only my Aunt Gwen’s mangy, disconsolate cat.

But, (I worriedly ask myself) – is this another case of relativism at play, political correctness in the world of art? Is it freedom, or truth or just the latest trend – anti-elitist positive discrimination on behalf of everyone? Because if so, I’m not sure I really approve. Why not relax altogether and call it prose? And then I, wouldn’t, have that feeling of being, back at school, being. Told off for, growing! random with? my. eccentric Punctuation. (Stop. It’s all true. I didn’t have a clue. Full stops drove me crazy.

Commas you could always go back and add, but semi-colons and so on etcetera . . .

Abbreviations and grammar tribulations.

Fu*k! Who needs ‘em?

But ellipses like this  .  .  .  or even that……. are great! Always have been


Here I start another verse (or stanza if you prefer). Was there any reason?

At least (until now)

                        You can’t complain that


Spread lines        all                  across                        the                                                  page

                        Just to



peculiar timing – another idea I always liked – 

       if   the                   could be-        

as                     words                

come   notes……………


But hey! (somebody says, not me – somebody pretending to a casual persona), I don’t really care, I’m only joking.
In the end only QUALITY counts. Neither the form nor the medium but only the atmosphere and maybe the message . . .
Be it angry or pleased, reckless or precise, poetic or joking. Am I joking?
Not about quality.
Never about that


© Lawrence Freiesleben

March 2023

[email protected]



NOTES    accessed on 29th March 2023





By Lawrence Freiesleben

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