Start of a poem putatively called 'Showing off about railway stations'

Under high stucco ceilings,
we can't help but mention
we're breakfasting
in the cafe at Budapest Keleti.
You're not here - but these students
and luminescent festival-goers
are forming a picturesque backdrop.
Did I say we'd finally arrived?
Oh, look, it's the Trans-Siberian.

A film about northern Albania

Trekking in Thethi, Valbona and Vermosh:


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    Start of a poem putatively called 'The comfort of railway stations'

    Under high stucco ceilings,
    we're stifling over ham and eggs
    in the cafe at Budapest Keleti.
    We've only just arrived
    among American students,
    festival-goers whose luminescent wristbands
    evangelise this stock-shot gathering
    in an otherwise vacant ticket hall.
    The connection for the Trans-Siberian
    flick-flacks on the departure board.

    PlayStation2 pt 1

    Shoreline Trails

    "Created: 19/05/12
    Occupied: No
    Type: Residential
    Lot Size: 30 x 30
    Residents: 3

    Shoreline Trails is a residential lot in The Sims 2 that the player unlocks 
    after completing all the platinum and gold wants. The lot is by the beach, 
    has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, and is valued around §80,000. There is a 
    trampoline in the back. All three house roommates wear exercise garments. 

    Household Name: Shoreline Trails
    Funds:  §22,140
    Number of Residents:  3
    Member List: 

    Timmy Tool - , Male, Young Adult

    Timmy knows excellence, and he knows he ain't got it. But when life 
    gives Timmy a lemon, he takes the lemon and makes lemonade. The lemonade 
    is terrible, but it's still lemonade.

    Torin Namaste - , Male, Young Adult

    Torin doesn't think he's better than you. He knows he's better than you. 

    Torin has heavily invested in perfection, and your humiliation represents 
    a return on his investment.

    Farah Moonbiscuit - , Female, Young Adult

    Inventor of the wildly popular "Abdominal Catapult" technique, Farah Moonbiscuit 
    topped this earlier success by building a national chain of hollstic gymnasiums that 
    promote her philosophy of Sadistic Harmony."

    Rockwell Acres

    "Created: 22/05/12
    Occupied: No
    Type: Residential
    Lot Size: 20 x 40
    Residents: 2

    Rockwell Acres is a residential lot that only appears in The Sims 2 for console in story mode. 
    Ossie Madison and Felicity Usher live here, and it is the first lot the player stays at in the game. 
    There is a lot of dirt on the kitchen floor for the player to clean up. "

    Sims 3 Exchange Download
    MediaFire Download

    "Household Name: Rockwell Acres
    Funds:  §20,100
    Number of Residents:  2
    Member List: 

    Ossie Madison - , Male, Young Adult

    Ossie is a spectacularly messy slob. It's hard to pinpoint the exact cause of his affliction, 
    although "lazy" and "male" leap most readily to mind.

    Felicity Usher - , Female, Young Adult

    Felicity doesn't believe it's necessary to hand wash shower curtains daily, unless of course a 
    Sim cares about the health and well-being of her household. Cleanliness is next to her Godliness."

    Cliffside Retreat

    "Created: 22/05/12
    Occupied: No
    Type: Residential
    Lot Size: 30 x 30
    Residents: 3
    Cliffside Retreat is a residential lot in The Sims 2 for Nintendo GameCube and PlayStation 2. 
    Players unlock the lot by satisfying Timmy, Torin, and Farah's platinum wants in Shoreline Trails. 
    The lot is located in the mountains. It has one kitchen, four bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a living 
    room with a piano and fireplace. "

    "Household Name: Cliffside Retreat
    Funds:  §68,593
    Number of Residents:  3
    Member List: 

    Isabella Monty - , Female, Elder

    Isabella sold her share in a profitable garden center to pursue her dream of owning a bed and 
    breakfast. She carries herself with the quiet confidence of a beloved grandmother.

    Patrizio Monty - , Male, Elder

    Patrizio left his financial career to help his wife run a cliffside Bed and Breakfast. 
    He carries himself with the spastic confidence of someone who is not confident at all.

    Don Treadwell - , Male, Young Adult

    Don Treadwell attended the prestigious Cate School of Waitering, where he majored in Snootery, 
    with a concentration in disdain. Secretly, he loves the tough but supple feel of denim."

    Radio interview

    Ann Kennard from the Balkans Peace Park and I were interviewed on Radio Bristol about the project's summer programme in Albania on Sunday (20 May) and can still be heard until Sat 26 May at iPlayer here (if you fast forward to 2hrs in):

    Completion of Families

    these are a few missing sims from the early made premades section

    The Roth Family

    "Created: 19/05/12
    Residents: 3
    Funds: §19,500
    ** Check The Recreation of Premades site to download Sandra Roth** "Having recently 
    moved to Riverblossom Hills has had a wonderful effect on the Roths! Sandra and Xander are 
    doing great in school, Morty found a great job, but Stella is a bit restless..." "

    Sims 3 Exchange Download
    MediaFire Download

    The Singles Household

    "Created: 19/05/12
    Residents: 3
    Funds: §20,500
    **for Erin Beaker visit the Recreation of Premades site to download** "Has there ever been a 
    group of roommates so different from one another? As if living in Strangetown isn't hard enough, 
    will these girls be able to accept their differences and be friends or will the tension tear the house apart?""

    Sims 3 Exchange Download
    MediaFire Download

    The Smith Family

    "Created: 19/05/12
    Residents: 2
    Funds: §17,500

    **check the Reacreation Of Premades site to download PT9 and Jill Smith** "After a fruitful 
    career, Pollination Technician 9 has retired to his favourite planet. But can his son Johnny 
    make friends and fit in, or is this family just too strange for Strangetown?" "

    Sims 3 Exchange Download
    MediaFire Download

    Alexandra O'Mackey

    "Created: 19/05/12
    Residents: 1
    Funds: §16,500

    "Alexandra succumbed to the call of the sea and left her family to pursue her dream. 
    Will living the Dread Pirate life be enough to keep her afloat?" 

    Gabe O'Mackey

    "Created: 19/05/12
    Residents: 1
    Funds: §16,500

    "After his wife left to become a Dread Pirate, it took Gabe a long time to trust again. 
    Is this relationship with Patrcia meant to last? Will Patricia and Jules be able to work 
    out their problems and realize how similar they really are?" 

    Andrew Martin

    "Gender: Male
    Age: Adult
    Fitness: None
    Weight: Thin
    Sub Type: Human 
    Traits: Frugal, Clumsy, Couch Potato, Childish, Computer Whiz

    "Andrew love living with his surrogate aunts and his son. He has a passion for video games 
    and is happy to have a son that also loves games. Will he be able to cope with his mother's 
    death and finally get out on his own?" 

    You make things sound good

    You make things sound good.
    I don't trust that.
    Even though you must do it,
    I can't imagine you
    lolling on the sofa,
    eating takeaway meals,
    putting out the recycling bin.

    There is a limit
    to how much I believe
    of what you're telling me.

    You'll say it's only suggestion
    but there you are, in print,
    suggesting what you say
    is true, is permanent.

    Copyright Tom Phillips 2012

    Positively Dickensian

    The London Magazine's review of A Mutual Friend: Poems for Charles Dickens is now online here:
    Published by Two Rivers Press and edited by Peter Robinson, the anthology includes poems about/in response to Dickens and his work in a wide variety styles by a wide variety of poets - and is out now. Contributors include Paul Muldoon, George Szirtes, Alison Brackenbury, Fred D'Aguiar, Sean O'Brien, John Hegley, Elaine Feinstein, Ian Duhig, Carol Rumens, John Fuller, Moniza Alvi. You'll find my offering amongst those of the Our Mutual Friend gang (Conor Carville and others) in the form of the Gaffer Hexham-referencing 'Found in the River'.

    Driving Growth

    To address a gap in research on the topic of foreign travel by the British, this new report by ABTA shines the spotlight on the UK’s outbound sector and dispels some of the myths that foreign travel by UK citizens negatively impacts the UK economy.

    The report was launched at the ABTA Travel Matters conference which took place yesterday. Videos of the presentations and lively debates at the conference will be available soon. To get a feel of how it went go to Twitter #abta.

    Rough Guide to Britain...

    Only 99p! 

    Hurry - Offer finishes end of May

    Parents & Teenagers

    The Jocque Family

    ""Created: 05/10/12
    Residents: 3
    Funds: §19,500

    "Sophia, Marcel and Violet have a wonderful family life, but can they continue through the 
    stresses to come? Will they find some time to relax and enjoy life?" "

    Sims 3 Exchange Download
    MediaFire Download

    The Contrary Family

    "Created: 05/10/12
    Residents: 3
    Funds: §19,500

    "Love and understanding are the foundations of a healthy family life, but can the 
    Contrarys gain enough of it to keep themselves together?" "

    Sims 3 Exchange Download
    MediaFire Download

    The DeBateau Family 

    "Created: 05/10/12
    Residents: 2
    Funds: §17,500

    "When Jessica left him, Armand spent a few months sulking and thinking the sun 
    would never come out again. But when he adopted little Tara, she convinced him 
    otherwise. He couldn't be more proud of his heir!""

    Sims 3 Exchange Download
    MediaFire Download

    The Cleveland Family

    "Created: 05/10/12
    Residents: 3
    Funds: §19,500

    "Jason and Marissa lead a very comfortable life, They wonder a bit about whether 
    Justin's friend Tara is "distracting" him from his school work, though, and about 
    Uncle Geoff squandering the family funds. After all, a privllaged status should never be taken for granted.""

    Recreation Ground: the book

    Reading's Two Rivers Press are publishing my full-length collection Recreation Ground in the autumn. In the interim, I'll be reading poems from the book at:

    Poetry and a Pint, St James' Wine Vaults, Bath, Monday 14 May (from 8pm)

    and at

    The Museum of English Rural Life, Reading, Saturday 19 May (from 6.30pm).

    Here's a not particularly typical poem from that collection:


    All through her second wedding, your sister carried white lilies.
    She chose Psalm 23 and we duly mumbled
    ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want’,
    thinking this is more like a funeral
    and trying not to giggle at the serious bits.
    You dug me in the ribs and said,
    with more feeling than you meant,
    that this is what passes for life in Portishead.

    Outside – we nipped out for a fag during ‘Abide With Me’,
    tip-toeing past weeping aunts and teenage sons
    in suits they’d bought for work experience
    (a row of bulging parcels waiting for collection) –
    outside you breathed again and then you said
    how glad you were you’d escaped
    what passes for life in Portishead.

    And when you kissed me in the graveyard
    with its blots of dead confetti like giant flakes of dandruff,
    I was thinking: Yes, thank God, thank God,
    if it hadn’t been for this town’s deep chill,
    its icy politeness and evening classes,
    its Sunday lunch drinks and over-cooked roasts,
    the dismal rain on the Lake Grounds of a Saturday night,
    if it hadn’t been for the gossip which spread
    like a bushfire when you dyed your hair red
    and started hanging out with unsuitable types
    who played in punk bands like Chaos UK
    or limped along the high street on farting Vespas –
    if it hadn’t been for this town’s desire
    to disapprove of all it didn’t understand,
    you’d never have run for Cornwall and the sea,
    you’d never have run for a place to call your own
    and you’d never have run into me.
    In the doorway of the church, I almost smiled and I almost said:
    there are so many reasons I’m grateful
    for what passes for life in Portishead. 

    An uncertain ratio?

    My friend Steve Wright explores the post-punk musical landscape with some good choices and erudite commentary here:

    City to hold annual Send-a-Kid-to-Camp Radiothon

    On Thursday, May 10, the department will hold its annual Send-a-Kid-to-Camp Radiothon in partnership with Miss Community Clovia, Radio One’s 99.3/105.7 KISS FM, I POWER 92.1 FM and Praise 104.7 FM, and Enrichmond, the department’s non-profit foundation.

         During the radiothon, the public is asked to call (804) 521-8400 between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. to make a donation of any amount which will be

    Abta - event

    All About ABTA - A Lecturers' Guide

    11am-2pm on 21 June 2012

    Venue :

    ABTA, 30 Park Street, London SE1 9EQ

    Click here to find out more/register

    Big Families with Youngsters

    The Ottomas Family

    "Created: 05/04/12
    Residents: 6
    Funds: §139,849

    "Large families have a lot of love to share, but also require a lot of work- 
    especially with more children on the way! Will grandma's help be enough to keep 
    this family strong?" 

    Sims 3 Exchange Download
    MediaFire Download

    The Newson Family

    "Created: 05/04/12
    Residents: 6
    Funds: §214,503

    "After their parents' untimely death, the adopted Newson clan is faced with the 
    reality of separation and a return to foster care or weathering the unknown future 
    together. With no parents to guide or protect them, can the Newson's countinue to 
    provide each other the safety and security their adopted parents provided?" 

    Sims 3 Exchange Download
    MediaFire Download

    Sport England Research Bulletin

    The Local Sport Profile tool has been developed to help local authorities in England to generate a sporting profile for their area in the form of charts and tables to illustrate sporting participation and provision. This data is fundamental to local authorities and other partners involved in developing and delivering sporting opportunities in their communities. 'Small area estimate' maps of participation have also recently been published which show how sports participation may vary within a local authority area.

    Three new case studies have been added to Sport England's market segmentation tool, highlighting how the data has been used in practical ways to help develop marketing strategies and to increase participaion.

    Sport England is working with the Arts Council, English Heritage and the DCMS on a short communications campaign to promote the Culture and Sport Evidence CASE programme. The objective is to promote CASE's research findings and resources so that CASE outputs become more embedded in the work of researchers and policy makers in both central and local government as well as within the higher education sector. Find out more here.

    The Value of Sport Monitor has been updated with ten new entries, including an International Olympic Committee consensus statement on the health and fitness of young people through physical activity and sport (2011). The summaries for some of the key themes have also been updated.

    Places People Play is a £135m initiative designed to bring the inspiration and magic of a home Olympic Games and Paralympic Games into the heart of local communities.