Oxford University says Robert Burns would love YouTube

While the great Irish poets of the 19th and 20th centuries would tell you, hazily and incoherently but in a delightful lilt, that the best place to write from would be “whishkey” an Oxford professor has concluded that British poets, on the other hand, achieved international fame from writing about their local area.

Professor Fiona Stafford argues that “genuinely local poetry” only began at the tail end of the eighteenth century – kickstarted by Wordsworth’s Lake District scribblings and Burns’ Scottish dialect poetry. 

“It is remarkable that Wordsworth could write about the little-known Grasmere and that Burns could write about Ayrshire villages in a dialect unfamiliar to those from further afield, and yet achieve such widespread international acclaim so quickly,” says Stafford.

Stafford goes on to draw a parallel between the nature of Burns’ poems spreading like wildfire and a viral spiral on the likes of YouTube. She goes so far as to say that Burns “would probably have loved blogging, tweeting and having his songs on YouTube and would no doubt have been a well-known and active celebrity – a far cry from his farming background.”

Some literary figures who brought fame to their local area are Seamus Heaney,William Wordsworth, Robert Burns, Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy. 

A spokesman from Oxford’s Department of Physics, as it plans to open its new building in front of the Lindemann Building next to the University Parks, contributed his own localised literary minor genius: “We are delighted to invite the public to come and view our exciting plans for the new Physics building, which is designed to host both theoretical and experimental physicists and to provide a combination of state-of-the-art offices, interaction spaces and laboratories. The new building will enable theorists in the Department to flourish, by creating an environment that supports their highly dynamical way of working, with plenty of interaction space for collaboration. The new experimental facilities will play a crucial role in fostering leading-edge research at the Clarendon Laboratory, whose mission is the pursuit of excellence in the “small but beautiful” kind of experimental physics, which has produced world-changing breakthroughs such as the invention of the transistor, and more recently the discovery of graphene.” Err… 

With this in mind, TechEye hacks figured heck – it’s worth a punt. Here are a few extracts from some of our staffers’ future magnum opus, and then right at the bottom, Max Ehrmann’s updated Desiderata 2.0 which he emailed to us from the ether this August.

Mike Magee sends in a Burns-esque homage to his place of birth in the Icy North that is Scotland:

The northern frights of Olde Aberdeene are hame, sweet hame to me, the northern fights of Aberdeene are where I wanna be. 

Andrea Petrou submits a delightful ditty about some barren place just off of Enfield.

Up in the North in Winchmore Hill

Where life is fun and never stands still 

There’s fun to be had in N21

But there’s no tubes and that’s a bit glum

Matthew Finnegan reveals too much in this semi-autobiographical account by way of a limerick:

There was a young man from Camden,

Who got drunk with a wilful abandon,

When he wasn’t half cut,

Or out of his nut,

He was trying to get work off of Tamlin

Emma Woollacott posts a poignant realisation of the far eastern ancient art form of Haiku, resurrected and rebuilt for modern times and a back garden in Oxford:

In my back garden

I step on rotten apples.

I must mow the lawn

Tamlin Magee copies her with a Haiku taking a wimp’s view of an Outer London landmark:

Harrow Bus Station,

Well lit, a shining beacon

Shame about knife crime

Dean Wilson writes about the Starbucks in Dublin:

This land, a simple slab of earth to some,

Is ever changing, always adapting;

There is no telling what it might become.

And yet, while uncertainty looms ahead,

And the Fair City’s bricks fade in colour,

This is the place where I was born and bred,

Still full of mystery and hidden things,

Populous with legends, this land of kings.

And here’s Max Ehrman’s Desiderata 2.0:

GO placidly amid the hot links and the distractions,
and remember what peace there may be in unplugging.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons online and never never flame others or engage
in any kind of cyberbullying or cyberstalking.

Key in your truths quietly and clearly;
and read what others have to say, too
even the dull and the ignorant;
for they too have their stories and ideas to impart, even if you disagree.

Avoid angry and aggressive flamers and out of control cyberbullies,
for they are vexations to the spirit of the internet.

If you compare your blog with other blogs that are better and have
more visitors,
you may become vain and bitter, so just enjoy your own blog for what
it is and don’t
worry abut the big guys.

Enjoy your online achievements, as well as your plans for future downtime.

Keep interested in your own blogging, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution who you give your personal details to;
for the world is full of trickery and Nigerian scams waiting
to part you from your money.

Be yourself when you are online,
or, if it so pleases you, adopt a persona.
Use your real name or a pseudonym for your userid,
and let no one steal your password,
especially those pesky phishers.

Take kindly the counsel of your fellow bloggers
and gracefully chat with your Facebook
friends in real time. But don’t over do it,
and always take time out to unplug
and enjoy a weekly
”internet sabbath”.

You are a child of the Digital Age,
no less than the SPAM and the pixels;
and you have every right to blog to your heart’s content.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt cyberspace is unfurling as it should,
well, sort of, and you are part of the great equation,
whatever that might turn out to be.

Therefore be at peace with Amazon and Yahoo,
and make of your Kindles and your nooks what you will.
E-readers to the fore!

Whatever your labors and your aspirations,
in the multitasking distractions of cyberspace
keep peace with your soul — if you still have one.

Remember: With all its sham, mattdrudgery, atomic typos and qwerky
(sic) keyboards,
it is still a beautiful online world.

Be cheerful. Use the smilely emoticon as much as possible.
Strive to be a happy camper and unplug often.

Blue Peter badges in the post to Mike and Dean. Sorry. It is Friday.