wanting to learn
liking to drink
I go to a talk
in a Farringdon pub

where I learn that beer
is £4 a pint
and predict that I will
do more learning than drinking

in an aperture overture
a sulking laptop projects
the silence of the larynx
and I am equally speechless

the theme is laughter
the play of dogs
the tickling of rats
intercostal spasm

computer compliant
we hear voices
the crack-ups of commentators
awash in the lurch of waveforms

I resolve to play more
in ad hoc ensembles
of that wheezy pipe
the glottal whistle.


© Paul Taylor 2013

Written after a visit to Pint of Science, May 2013, for an enjoyable pub talk on laughter by Nadine Lavan & Sophie Scott. Moaning about paying £4 for a pint is itself almost laughable now.