Wednesday, 10 July 2013

A talk about Kipling

This afternoon I am giving a talk about the works of Rudyard Kipling to a group of people who are members to the same international fraternal organisation that I belong to. The meeting is in St Albans, Hertfordshire, and I will assisted by a colleague, who will be reading various passages for me. (I long ago realised that people begin to lose concentration if they only listen to one voice for much more than twenty minutes. By asking my colleague to read the sections of text and poetry that I refer to in my talk, it helps listeners to concentrate for longer because the voice they are listening to changes reasonably frequently.)


I have given this talk before, and it was very well received. I hope that today's audience will be equally appreciative and will learn something that they did not previously know about Kipling.

24 comments:

  1. Changing readers is a great idea.I would love to see your notes for the talk.

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  2. Pat G,

    The text of my talk is very specifically aimed at references to a particular international fraternal organisation and might not be of much interest to someone who is not a member.

    I would be willing to send you a copy of the text as it does not reveal any secrets that a non-member of the organisation would not normally be privy to.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  3. Good luck with your conference and excellent idea mixing voices

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  4. Anibal Invictus,

    Thanks for you best wishes. I am sure that it will go well.

    Changing speakers does have another advantage ... it saves me having to do all the work!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  5. I've read a fair amount of Kipling's poetry to various audiences . . . and one that I always include because it is humorous and tells a fun little story is . . . "A Code of Morals":

    http://www.kipling.org.uk/poems_codeofmorals.htm

    While it might not be appropriate for your particular talk, it does allude to some nice wargaming images . . . and, as I wrote earlier, it is fun.


    -- Jeff

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  6. Bluebear Jeff,

    I know the poem ... and although I won't be quoting it this afternoon, I may well make it the basis of a blog entry tomorrow. As you comment, it is a very humourous 'story' that other lovers of the Colonial era will enjoy reading.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  7. Bob
    Always enjoy your posts and approach to wargaming. However why the reference to 'international fraternal organisation'? Why not call it for what it is? Not a criticism just curious why that particular phrase is used? Is it etiquette to use the phrase?

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  8. Sean Clark,

    I think that I have written elsewhere on my blog that I am a Freemason, and that I am proud of the fact. That said, everytime I do mention Freemasonry I get a number of emails in the days and weeks afterwards, and some of them are very offensive. I therefore use the expression 'international fraternal organisation' so as to avoid the problem.

    I hope that you will continue to read - and enjoy - my blog on a regular bais.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  9. I had always presumed that that's what you were. My father was also a Mason . . . and for those who don't know, the Masons do a very great amount of "good works".


    -- Jeff

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  10. You can't beat a spot of Kipling.

    I'm dipping my toe in Colonial gaming at the moment and I've decided since I'll need a full TSATF battalion, it makes sense to recruit "The Mavericks".

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  11. Bluebear Jeff,

    I assumed that - like your good self - people would work out that I was a Freemason without me having to actually keep saying so.

    As your father was in The Craft you will understand the level of real help we try to give to other people ... and not just to our fellow Masons, as we are so often accused of doing.

    One Lodge of which I am a member has just agreed to give £500.00 to a charity that has been set up to give assistance to wounded members of the Rifle Regiment ... and then members donated another £150.00 to the same cause after a raffle at the after-meeting Festive Board. Not a bad effort when you realise that the Lodge has less than thirty members.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  12. Conrad Kinch,

    I cannot think of a better regiment that you could 'recruit' for your colonial adventures ... unless, of course, it was Kim's father's old regiment!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  13. Good luck for the talk Bob, hope it goes well. I like the idea of two speakers to liven things up. Public speaking is something I find enjoyable, one good thing to come out of uni I guess.

    The poor people at my last talk had to listen to just me both talk and read out passages- it was on the Decima Mas btw for a local history society.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

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  14. Aside from classics like 'The Ballad of East and West' and 'Road to Manalay', you might like this one: 'The Sergeant's Weddin':
    http://www.kipling.org.uk/poems_sergeantswedding.htm
    Kipling's verse could get quite earthy at times...

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  15. Did you have an exceedingly god cakes at the end of the talk? Sorry couldn't resist that one!

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  16. Pete,

    The double-act does help to keep the listeners interested, and helps to delineate where the quotes begin and end.

    Both myself and my co-presenter have also done a bit of 'am-dram' in our time, so are capable of adding accents etc., and this also helps.

    A talk about the Decima MAS sounds very interesting indeed, and I would certain have enjoyed hearing that!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  17. Archduke Piccolo,

    Part of Kipling's genius was that he wrote about things that the newly educated working class knew about ... and in a language that they spoke and understood.

    Interestingly the same stories and poems appealed to the growing Middle Classes ... but I suspect that the reason was that they could feel both a moral and social superiority to those about whom the stories and poems had been written.

    There is a lot of good stuff out there that was written by Kipling and that is not as well known as it should be. Perhaps I can do my little bit to help change that!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  18. Tradgardmastare,

    Not only were the cakes good (well the food was, anyway) but we also enjoyed kipling, including those who had never kipled before!

    (Resistance is futile ... and I could not resist that either!)

    All the best,

    Bob

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  19. Thanks Bob, my next talk to the same society will be next March. Entitled Art and Artillery it will be on the WW1 artist Wyndham Lewis, a pre war provocateur he served in the RA before being commissioned as an official war artist.

    I'd dare not try an accent. My tend to be so bad to border on the offensive...

    Cheers,

    Pete.

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  20. Pete,

    It sounds like it is an interesting subject. From what I can remember, Wyndham Lewis was both a writer and artist ... and a supporter of Hitler at one stage (although I understand that he changed his mind before 1939).

    All the best,

    Bob

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  21. Correct Bob- he recanted his earlier views on Hitler in the books 'The Jews, are they Human?' and 'The Hitler Cult'. He was a complicated man who didn't always make thing easy for himself (but gave plenty of ammunition to his critics), though I suspect that it is this issue in him that I find so intriguing. His painting 'A battery shelled' hangs in the IWM if you fancy a close look at it when it re opens. This was the major piece of work he produced for as an Official War Artist.

    If you'd like a few reading suggestions I'd be happy to recommend some books. I acquired a modest collection since being introduced to him at University as part of a module.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

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  22. Pete,

    From what little I know about him, I can see why his life story would be an attractive thing to research.

    I would certainly be interested to know more, so any references you might be able to send me would be of interest.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  23. Here goes with a few suggestions:

    Lewis' own autobiography of his time in the war is a good start: 'Blasting and Bombardering'.

    Copies of his short-lived journal 'Blast' can be found too with out too much trouble. Most of his fiction is still in print.

    The best biography is 'Some sort of genius' by O'Keeffe.

    'Wyndham Lewis: Art and War' covers his war time artistic output of WW1.

    'A Terrible beauty' is great for background on all the WW1 official war artists, not just Lewis.

    I can offer more suggestions but they are of less general interest- let me know if you do want more though.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

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  24. Pete,

    Thanks for the references. I will try to look at some of them as and when I get the time.

    Good luck with your talk.

    All the best,

    Bob

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