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Tiny In All That Air

This is the podcast for anyone who is interested in Philip Larkin. We will bring you new insights into Larkin's life and writing by talking to people with fascinating stories to tell and unusual connections to the great poet himself.

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Professor Zachary Leader

Professor Zachary Leader is Professor of English Literature at the University of Roehampton. He grew up in California but has lived in Britain for over forty years. He was educated at Northwestern University, Trinity College, Cambridge and Harvard and is the author of several books including Reading Blake's Songs, Writer's Block, Revision and Romantic Authorship. In 2000 Harper Collins published his edited Letters of Kingsley Amis followed by a highly regarded biography of Amis before he turned his attention to Saul Bellow, with the second part of acclaimed two-volume biography published in 2019.  He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.  Professor Leader’s work on Amis is filled with insights into the lifelong friendship between Kingsley Amis and Philip Larkin and this is what we’ll be discussing today. References: Kingsley Amis novels; Lucky Jim (1954), Take a Girl Like You (1960), The Anti-Death League (1966), The Alteration (1976), The Old Devils (1986) Larkin poems: Church Going ( published 1954), Posterity (published 1976) Kingsley Amis poem: Drinking Song (published in The New Statesman in 1978) The Letters of Kingsley Amis, edited by Z. Leader, London: HarperCollins, 2000; New York: Talk/Miramax, 1208pp. (2001) The Life of Kingsley Amis, Hardcover, New York: Random House, 1008 pp. (2006)Presented by Lyn Lockwood and Julian Henry.  Theme music: 'The Horns Of The Morning' by The Mechanicals Band. Buy 'The Righteous Jazz' at their Bandcamp page: https://themechanicalsband.bandcamp.com/album/the-righteous-jazz Audio production by Simon Galloway.  Follow us and get it touch on Twitter - https://twitter.com/tiny_air Find out more about the Philip Larkin Society here - http://philiplarkin.com/ 

1hr 6mins

16 Apr 2021

Rank #1

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Phil Pullen and Rachael Galletly

Phil Pullen (Larkin researcher and chair of Larkin100) and Rachael Galletly (PLS Trustee) join us to discuss Larkin poems that are either about or are directly addressed to specific people in his life; Eva Larkin, Kingsley Amis and Winifred Arnott. We also find out about Larkin’s attitude to summer, his favourite poetic phrase, Kingsley Amis’s wilder moments, what book Rachael nicked from a library, and who made Philip Larkin ‘yowl’.  Mother, Summer, I, Heads on the Women’s Ward, Reference Back, Hospital Visits, Love Songs in Age, Letter to a Friend About Girls, The Old Fools, Livings, Lines on a Young Ladies Photograph Album, Deceptions, Born Yesterday, Wild Oats, A Study in Reading Habits, Home is So Sad, The Mower, Maiden Name, Afternoons, Show Saturday, An Arundel Tomb, Broadcast, Poem about Oxford, Talking in Bed.  Letters Home (ed. James Booth, Faber and Faber, 2018)  Inside Story by Martin Amis (Jonathan Cape, 2020)  The Letters of Kingsley Amis (ed. Zachary Leader, HarperCollins 2000)  The Complete Poems of Philip Larkin (ed. Archie Burnett, Faber and Faber 2012)  The Poet’s Plight by James Booth (Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2005)  ------------------------------------------- Presented by Lyn Lockwood.  Theme music: 'The Horns Of The Morning' by The Mechanicals Band. Buy 'The Righteous Jazz' at their Bandcamp page: https://themechanicalsband.bandcamp.com/album/the-righteous-jazz Audio production by Simon Galloway.  Follow us and get it touch on Twitter - https://twitter.com/tiny_air Find out more about the Philip Larkin Society here - http://philiplarkin.com/ 

1hr 24mins

19 Mar 2021

Rank #2

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Greg Morse (writer and railway historian)

The second of our two podcasts with a John Betjeman focus, our guest is writer and railway historian Greg Morse. Topics include Betjeman and Larkin’s relationship with the media, twentieth century architecture and cultural history and, of course, lots of poetry, both Larkin and Betjeman.  Larkin poems mentioned: Church Going, Whitsun Weddings, High Windows, This Be The Verse, Toads, Essential Beauty, Home is So Sad, High Windows.  Betjeman poems mentioned: Executive, A Lincolnshire Church, Death In Leamington, Croydon, Devonshire St W1, Summoned by Bells.  A Girl in Winter by Philip Larkin (Faber and Faber, 1947)  The Real John Betjeman  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjQC0PdHit4, (Channel 4, 2000)  Railways Forever ( 7min documentary released 1970 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kg4wpL2f2RE )  Metroland (BBC, 1973)  Summoned by Bells (1976) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsDb-dgXnU4 Time with Betjeman (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDlG7_2puao ) (BBC2, 1983)  Railways Forever! https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-railways-for-ever-1970-online Monitor: A Poet in London (BBC, 1959) https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p022kr11 London’s Historic Railway Stations (John Murray, 1972)  Monitor: Down Cemetery Road (BBC, 1964) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Coe11pgoj8E)  Samuel West’s poetry readings ( https://soundcloud.com/user-115260978/sets/pandemic-poems-by-samuel-west)   Grayson Perry, Kingsley Amis, Evelyn Waugh, Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath  Passport to Pimlico https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0041737/ (1949, Ealing Studios)  The Righteous Jazz by The Mechanicals Band The Righteous Jazz | The Mechanicals Band (bandcamp.com) Betjeman Reading the Victorians by Greg Morse (2012, Sussex Academic Press) John Betjeman : Greg Morse (author) : 9781845195342 : Blackwell's Betjeman by Greg Morse (2011, Shire Publications) John Betjeman (Shire Library) Greg Morse: Shire Publications (bloomsbury.com) ------------------------------------------- Presented by Lyn Lockwood.  Theme music: 'The Horns Of The Morning' by The Mechanicals Band.  Buy 'The Righteous Jazz' at their Bandcamp page: https://themechanicalsband.bandcamp.com/album/the-righteous-jazz Audio production by Simon Galloway.  Follow us and get it touch on Twitter - https://twitter.com/tiny_air Find out more about the Philip Larkin Society here - http://philiplarkin.com/ 

56mins

19 Feb 2021

Rank #3

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Anne O'Neill and Julian Henry

Anne O'Neill and Julian Henry are newer members of the Philip Larkin Society team and many people will have already been feeling the benefit of their fantastic work on the PL Instagram page. Julian is also a trustee and is now supporting the society committee and its planning and events work. Anne is based in County Kerry and Julian in Oxford. We got together to talk about Larkin in the media, Twitter, Instagram, radio and television and Anne and Julian talk about their route into Larkin, their favourite poems, cancel culture, Hull University, Beatrix Potter, Larkin’s legacy and much more. Wider topics and references: Rachel Cusk, Morrissey, Rap Boy, Desert Island Discs, Dublin, James Joyce, Richard Murfield, Monica Jones, Beatrix Potter, The Smiths, The Beatles A Hard Day Night, Bernadine Evaristo. Larkin poems discussed: No Road, Dublinesque, Going Going, Broadcast, Church Going, This Be The Verse, At Grass. Desert Island Discs (BBC) Larkin as guest (17.7.76) https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p009n0l8 The South Bank Show March (1981) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdeEFErYVtk All What Jazz (1970)  https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/feb/10/back-pages-philip-larkin-jazz-george-melly Margaret Atwood on poetry: https://www.theguardian.com/books/ng-interactive/2020/nov/07/caught-in-times-current-margaret-atwood-on-grief-poetry-and-the-past-four-years Nick Cave on cancel culture/censorship: https://www.theredhandfiles.com/do-you-need-to-change-lyrics/ Bibliotherapy https://ofselfandshelf.com/tag/philip-larkin/ https://theblahpolar.wordpress.com/2016/01/25/bibliotherapy/ Letters Home- James Booth (ed.) https://www.faber.co.uk/9780571335596-philip-larkin-letters-home.html Anne O’Neill’s articles on Larkin https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/world-sleep-day-can-t-sleep-at-night-have-a-read-1.3428267 Books themselves serve as the ultimate self-help book for reading is a great cure Presented by Lyn Lockwood.  Theme music: 'The Horns Of The Morning' by The Mechanicals Band.  Buy 'The Righteous Jazz' at their Bandcamp page: https://themechanicalsband.bandcamp.com/album/the-righteous-jazz Audio production by Simon Galloway. Follow us and get it touch on Twitter - https://twitter.com/tiny_air Find out more about the Philip Larkin Society here - http://philiplarkin.com/

1hr 15mins

22 Jan 2021

Rank #4

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Reflection on the Larkin year, 2020

Lyn and Rachael look back on the events of 2020 in the PLS world. This episode also includes contributions from Professor Graham Chesters (PLS Chair), novelist Chris Walsh, PLS trustee Julian Wild, Philip Pullen (Chair of Larkin100), PLS members Sally Button and James Tarry, Leigh Bird and Esther Johnson from Ships In The Sky, Hull. Poems discussed: Self’s the Man, Vers De Societe, Home Is So Sad, The Mower. Topics discussed: PLS online events, Coventry City of Culture, Larkin100, Larkin embroidery, cricket, John Betjeman, Larkin on YouTube, About Larkin, merchandise, the Larkin quiz, lockdown. Presented by Lyn Lockwood. Audio production by Simon Galloway. Follow us and get it touch on Twitter - https://twitter.com/tiny_air Find out more about the Philip Larkin Society here - http://philiplarkin.com/

1hr 16mins

18 Dec 2020

Rank #5

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Jonathan Smith (novelist, playwright and teacher)

Novelist, playwright and teacher Jonathan Smith has written two plays about Poet Laureate John Betjeman (1906-1984), Mr Betjeman's Class, and Mr Betjeman Regrets that were first broadcast on BBC Radio 4  in 2017. His wonderful new book Being Betjeman(n) has recently been published by Galileo Publishing (https://galileopublishing.co.uk/being-betjemann). We talk about the life of John Betjeman and his wider cultural significance, Betjeman’s many connections to Philip Larkin, and Jonathan’s own very personal relationship with Betjeman and actor Ben Whitrow, who played Betjeman in Jonathan’s plays. Jonathan also reads Devonshire St, W1. Betjeman poems discussed; The Cottage Hospital, 5 O’Clock Shadow, Death in Leamington, Varsity Student Rag, At Pershore Station, Summoned by Bells. Larkin poems discussed; The Whitsun Weddings, Toads Revisited, Aubade, The Old Fools, Church Going. Other stuff; Evelyn Waugh, Andrew Motion, TS Eliot, Ezra Pound, Barry Humphries, Kenneth Williams and the Carry On team, Grayson Perry, the ‘English Eccentric’. Monitor ‘Down Cemetery Road’ (1964): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Coe11pgoj8E Kenneth Williams and Maggie Smith read Death in Leamington (Parkinson, BBC1 1970): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dI8SYa8Szo John Betjeman: The Biography  by Bevis Hillier (John Murray, 2007) Betjeman by AN Wilson (Arrow, 2007) Philip Larkin: A Writer’s Life by Andrew Motion (Faber and Faber, 1993) Presented by Lyn Lockwood. Theme music: 'The Horns Of The Morning' by The Mechanicals Band. Audio production by Simon Galloway. Follow us and get it touch on Twitter - https://twitter.com/tiny_air Find out more about the Philip Larkin Society here - http://philiplarkin.com/

59mins

13 Nov 2020

Rank #6

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Professor Graham Chesters (the new Chair of the Philip Larkin Society)

Professor Graham Chesters, the new Chair of the Philip Larkin Society, joins us to talk about how came to Hull University, inadvertently following the footsteps of Larkin. Graham also tells us about his relationship with Philip Larkin both as a university colleague and a neighbour in Hull and some of his more disconcerting and memorable encounters with Larkin. Graham talks about his involvement with the Philip Larkin Society and the impact of Covid on the Society. Graham also talks to us about the Larkin poem Absences. A couple of little technology gremlins sneaked in here, so apologies for the occasional dip in sound quality.  Contemporaries of Larkin mentioned: Garnet Rees (Chair of Modern French Literature at Hull), Vernon Watkins (Welsh poet), Brynmor Jones (Vice Chancellor of Hull University), George Orwell, Dylan Thomas, Seamus Heaney, Eddie Dawes (founding Chairman of the PLS), Maeve Brennan (Larkin’s sub-librarian and lover), Monica Jones (Larkin’s partner), Betty Mackereth (Larkin’s secretary), Carole Collinson (PLS Membership Secretary), James Booth, biographer of Larkin, Life, Art and Love (2014).  Other texts: Larkin: A Writer’s Life by Andrew Motion (1993), The Sight of Death by TJ Clarke (2006).  French literature: Les Fleurs du mal by Charles Baudelaire (1857), Rimbaud, Mallarme, Roland Barthes.  Larkin poems discussed: As Bad as A Mile, Absences, I Remember, I Remember.  Presented by Lyn Lockwood. Theme music: 'The Horns Of The Morning' by The Mechanicals Band. Audio production by Simon Galloway.  Follow us and get it touch on Twitter - https://twitter.com/tiny_air Find out more about the Philip Larkin Society here - http://philiplarkin.com/ 

1hr 14mins

16 Oct 2020

Rank #7

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David Quantick (writer and broadcaster)

Our guest on this episode is David Quantick - journalist, essayist, writer of television shows Veep and The Thick Of It, horror novel All My Colours (2019, Titan Books), soon-to-be released novel Night Train (2020, Titan Books) and much, much more! A few months ago, David Quantick tweeted about his enjoyment of Trouble At Willow Gables and other Brunette Coleman works by Philip Larkin. In this episode he joins us to talk about Brunette Coleman and in particular her essay What Are We Writing For? (1943), poem Femmes Damnes and the wider ‘schoolgirl’ writing of Philip Larkin. More Larkin stuff discussed: Jill, A Girl in Winter, The Whitsun Weddings, Afternoons, An Arundel Tomb, Mr Bleaney, A School in August, Aubade. Other writers, books and shows: George Orwell Boys Weeklies (1940) (Available here: https://orwell.ru/library/essays/boys/english/e_boys ), Harry Potter, Mallory Towers, the James Bond books of Ian Fleming and Martin Amis, JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, Frank Richards, Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife, Orange is the New Black. Trouble at Willow Gables and Other Fictions ed. By James Booth (2002) Faber and Faber. Presented by Lyn Lockwood. Theme music: 'The Horns Of The Morning' by The Mechanicals Band. Audio production by Simon Galloway. Follow us and get it touch on Twitter - https://twitter.com/tiny_air Find out more about the Philip Larkin Society here - http://philiplarkin.com/

40mins

17 Jul 2020

Rank #8

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Wes Finch, Sophie Lewis, Esther Johnson & Chris Sewart

This episode has four contributors, all of whom have very different connections to Philip Larkin.  Wes Finch from The Mechanicals Band performs his beautiful new setting of The Trees by Philip Larkin.  Sophie Lewis, Folio Society editor, discusses the remarkable new limited edition of Philip Larkin’s Collected Poems, which is the first to combine both Larkin’s poems and photographs, with the introduction and image selection by Andrew Motion. https://www.foliosociety.com/uk/philip-larkin-collected-poems.html Esther Johnson, Professor of Film and Media at Sheffield Hallam University, talks to us about the new fundraising Ships In The Sky project and the creation of a wonderful reading of The North Ship by Philip Larkin. https://shipsinthesky.weebly.com/ Chris Sewart has moved from Leicester to Beverley (connections, connections!) and joined the PLS after winning the Larkin Prize of the East Riding Ways With Words Poetry Competition at the end of January with his poem, Fencing Project-1975, which was subsequently published in About Larkin. Here he reads his poetry and reflects on his deepening interest in the world of Larkin.  https://festivalofwords.co.uk/poetry-comp/ Larkin poems discussed: Sunny Prestatyn, The North Ship, This Be The Verse, The Winter Palace, The Mower, Talking In Bed.  Also discussed: Short and Sweet 101 Very Short Poems ed by Simon Armitage (Faber&Faber).  Presented by Lyn Lockwood. Theme music: 'The Horns Of The Morning' by The Mechanicals Band. Audio production by Simon Galloway.  Follow us and get it touch on Twitter - https://twitter.com/tiny_air Find out more about the Philip Larkin Society here - http://philiplarkin.com/ 

1hr 3mins

12 Jun 2020

Rank #9

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Rachael Galletly (Merchandise Officer)

Lyn and Rachael have been friends for over twenty years. In this episode, they discuss their shared enthusiasm for all things Larkin.  Larkin poems referred to: Afternoons, Dockery and Son, The Mower, Sunny Prestatyn, The Large Cool Store, A Study of Reading Habits, Toads, Toads Revisited, As Bad as A Mile, Vers De Societe, Home is So Sad, At Grass, The Old Fools, Solar, Church Going, For Sidney Bechet, Reference Back, Wild Oats, Take One Home For the Kiddies.  Prose: Jill and A Girl In Winter by Philip Larkin.  Other Larkinalia:  Trouble at Willow Gables, Selected Letters of Philip Larkin ed. Anthony Thwaite, The Philip Larkin I Knew by Maeve Brennan, Treat It Gentle by Sidney Bechet, The Sunday Sessions.  Other bits and bobs: And When Did You Last See Your Father? by Blake Morrison, Modern Life is Rubbish (LP) by Blur, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, The Waste Land by TS Eliot.  Presented by Lyn Lockwood. Theme music: 'The Horns Of The Morning' by The Mechanicals Band. Audio production by Simon Galloway.  Follow us and get it touch on Twitter - https://twitter.com/tiny_air Find out more about the Philip Larkin Society here - http://philiplarkin.com/

52mins

22 May 2020

Rank #10