Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Mersey Sound

Let Me Die a Youngman's Death

Let me die a youngman's death
not a clean and inbetween
the sheets holywater death
not a famous-last-words
peaceful out of breath death

When I'm 73
and in constant good tumour
may I be mown down at dawn
by a bright red sports car
on my way home
from an allnight party

Or when I'm 91
with silver hair
and sitting in a barber's chair
may rival gangsters
with hamfisted tommyguns burst in
and give me a short back and insides

Or when I'm 104
and banned from the Cavern
may my mistress
catching me in bed with her daughter
and fearing for her son
cut me up into little pieces
and throw away every piece but one

Let me die a youngman's death
not a free from sin tiptoe in
candle wax and waning death
not a curtains drawn by angels borne
'what a nice way to go' death

Roger McGough, 1937-

An Epitaph
(Twopence coloured, penny plain)

He worshipped at the altar of Romance
(Tried to seduce a woman half his age)
And dared to stake his fortune on a chance
(Gambled away his children's heritage).

He valued only what the world held cheap
(Refused to work, from laziness and pride):
Dreams were his refuge and he welcomed sleep
(He failed in business, took to drink and died).

Colin Ellis, 1895-1969

Doesn't the "constant good tumour" sound forced and wanky. But it gets a titter from the audience. Laughing at death? It just feels a little naughty, doesn't it?

I like my poetry easy to understand. I'm not clever enough to enjoy the complex stuff. I usually like rhymes, too. I like Colin's poem. You won't find Colin on the internet. You will find Roger, though. Oh yes, lots of Roger.

I've never got on with Roger's twee sentimentality. And his clever plays on words are not as clever as he thinks.

Patten, Henri and McGough all rode the Beatles' coattails. Right place, right time. Thousands of people in Britain were writing poetry as well if not better than the Liverpool poets. Maybe even more "accessible". Most kept it to themselves. But the Mersey was where it was at and these three had the guts to read their stuff in front of audiences who lapped it up because the poets were scousers and the Beatles were scousers and Liverpool was a hotbed of creativity, working class kids making it big.

I've nothing against these blokes earning a living from what thousands could have done if they'd been in the right place at the right time with the right self-confidence. Good luck to 'em. But Melvyn fucking Bragg fawning over the surviving two like they're something special? Give me a break! It's only piss poor poetry.

A couple of years ago there was a South Bank Show about The Darkness. I'll remember that when Melvyn comes knocking to interview the cream of Bexleyheath bloggers. I'll remember that when I say something humorous and the camera cuts away to Melvyn's orgasm face. I'll remember Justin Hawkins. And where he is now. (Rich cunt).


The Liverpool Poets

If it wasn't for the success of the Fab Four
The Liverpool Poets would be dead poor
And instead of publishing yet another edition
McGough would be dying from malnutrition

Geoff, 1961-


  1. I've met McGough a couple of times. He seemed like a decent enough bloke. (But maybe that was because I didn't tell him that Henri was my favourite.)

  2. He seems alright on the telly. Just should have been a teacher rather than a celebrity.

  3. Oh Geoff, spot on - especially your comment above.
    Roger lived in the upper regions of the poetry circuit during the 80s, so he could turn up just before his top-billing slot and leave without having to wait to be paid in cash.
    It was/is the delivery that drives me most nuts. And it's not as awful as Adrian Mitchell - I was trapped in a reading room during one of his readings and seriously thought I was going to die.

  4. It's Liverpool Week at Mild Peril.

    Can we have Pam Ayres next week?

  5. Arabella - A bit like celebrity bloggers that don't read other blogs. The delivery has to be just so as the texts are sacred. One has to pause to allow the laughter which happens spontaneously at regular intervals. Hearing it live is like experiencing it for the first time. You can never do it justice by reading it to yourself, in your own head. The poets bring so much and ask for so little. Adrian Mitchell got about as much to say on the programme as Willy Russell did. Sadly.

    Murph - This is to celebrate Liverpool City Of Culture in 2008. They're going to fill the Albert Dock with yoghurt.

  6. "If it wasn't for the Fab Four" I don't think Liverpool would exist any more.

    It's all Beatles Beatles Beatles from the airport to the Docks to the city centre.
    Embarrasing really.

  7. I haven't been there for over 20 years. It wasn't all Beatles then. I'm glad to say.

    It's not Beatles on the ferry. It's Gerry chuffin' Marsden.

  8. "She went to Spain,
    But never again..."

    You know the drill by now...

    I thought those first to poems were about Paul and Heather McCartney...


  9. John died a US President's death. George died a middle aged man's death. There's still a chance for Paul or Ringo to die the way Roger suggests. Don't bet on it, though.

  10. "Laughing at death" - perhaps it's a laugh of relief that we're still alive if we chuckle at stuff like this?

  11. I'm all for having a good laugh as long as it's funny.

  12. I likes Geoff's Pome the best.

  13. Thank you, Spin. I'll be performing it on tour in January.