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Saturday, 28 October 2017

England

England


Snug and cushioned with an eye that trickles,

England sits in the corner and dribbles

about cricket scores, strokes, bed pans, bed sores

and on an autumn afternoon is known to snore.

Waiting for supper to be bought on a tray

outside edge and boundary, a six? I say.

Alaistair Cook caught for another duck

leg before thicket, sodding bad luck, but

time enough to stump out yet another letter

to enquire if our friends in America are better.

England reverse swings ideas this way then that,

mouth open, eyes silly mid-off, last in to bat

mumbling way down the order, dreaming of umpire,

this side of the crease and fudging friendly fire.

Dreams from within the pavilion to rule the waves,

to erect a bastillion for the soporific daze.

James Anderson tampers the ball on his watch.

He rubs red bloody streaks across his leg and his crotch,

bowling a swinger which flaccidly bounces

against the cardboard hoarding of shillings and ounces.

England is dozing as England is skittled

for nought, castled and crippled,

led by the biffers to the cart wheeling stump,

caught out in the slips, ancient and plump.

A chain of daisies ripped by a cutter.

The death rattle of the snake’s final splutter.

Ben Stokes raises his wrist and down England crashes


to lie amongst the soil, the dirt and the ashes.



Friday, 27 October 2017

Oh Brexit! Up Yours!


Oh Brexit! Up Yours!

Some people think young people should be seen and not heard
But I say...
Oh Brexit! Up yours!
1, 2, 3, 4!

knot us, screw us, tie us
chain us to your poll
manacle us with red tape
cos we wanna be slaves to you all
play us as your sex toys
clamp nipples till we bleed
bolt testicles with fifty articles
rivet us to your greed
bind us to your money
till the day we die
lease us crap diplomas
nail and crucify
cuff us to some dog-eared school
where teachers cannot speak
rent out every boy and girl
prostitute every geek
torture us with plastic music
crush our rebellious soul
thrash us senseless with insipid cords
skin us, coul us, disembowel
choke us with your red tops
brunch on burning coals
force fodder on us immigrant yarns
swallow us our souls
traffic us to thin-skinned silverbacks
milk us, coagulate and congeal
whore our sex out cut price
trade a cheap and filthy deal
fuck us with your politicians
beat us with grey barbed wire
sodomise us with statistics
you hypocrites and liars

we wanna help the rich
not queer their pitch

Oh Brexit up yours!
Oh Brexit, no more!
Oh Brexit, up yours!
Oh Brexit, no more!

With apologies and huge respect
to Poly Styrene and X Ray Spex.






Friday, 13 October 2017

Old Romantic

Old Romantic

Careless memories float from distant years with flavours good,
a blitz of shadowed fragments and floating driftwood.

Audrey sews and seams torn jeans tight to the crotch,
her straying fingers brush slim fit denim against my cock,

pricking her needle into my thighs.  Denise fusses my eyes
with liner and mascara, breathing her kisses and sighs

blushing cheeks with rouge and rainbow. Now sashed aslant,
Mary slashes white across my visage like some kind of adamant.

Standing back, they all three now groom my hair and admire,
wild black spiked peaks and fop-troughs of hay and wire.

The treasure map now etched across my face,
set sail for Planet Earth and let’s get out of this place.

Up two steep flights to our cut-price Camden Palace,
heads turning under gay synthetic twinkling aurora borealis,

where love, dancing and youth is forever on our side
and grey forgotten futures tread in the autumn leaves outside.





Friday, 6 October 2017

Boxing Day Memories

26 October 1973

Dear Aunty Maud,

I am writing to say thank you for my Christmas Present.

I am very pleased with my ‘Big Man’ bit of soap on a string. I must say I was very surprised when I opened it. It must have taken you hours to buy it from Woolworths.

If I ever grow up to be a man, I will always remember you with fondness. I really enjoyed writing this letter to you. And redrafting it three times, under threat of a beating, because I forgot how to spell Woolworths.

Did you know that Woolworths has a reasonably decent pick n mix section? I'm told that you can get a quarter of toffee pennies for the same price as the soap on a rope! Who knew?

Anyway, see you this time next year, bless you.

Mr Peter

xx




Friday, 29 September 2017

Get In!

Get In!

Feel that? Just then - as it was
buried. In the back of the net

His grin wider than a football pitch
stitched from this terrace to the world next door,
a trace at my elbow, as ever, an itch.
Just a ghost, whispering: did you see that?

Young boy. Hardly the finished article.
Getting away with it.
He took it down, down.
Chested it to the ground,
right foot, left peg, flicked onto his bonce.
Bulging out of the onion bag and that keeper left pulling up daisies.
Egg on his face, grimy fingers
and wishing he's anywhere but this place.
Well, how could I forget?

In that second, both of us,
grinning, winning.
A connection, a memory, and there was
oceans of space, left field, because he dragged the defence across
leaving behind a wake of grass and moss.
Just a stone
left alone.
Hit the bar, open goal, catenaccio a go-go.


Beckham pulling out of that flying tackle.
Rooney limping with a metatarsal.
You threw your hands at the screen,
shouted something obscene
and we’re out of the cup.
Thirty years of hurt, tough luck.

So:

Build it up, from the ground
root and branch review
and we tasked them until they knew.
Getting away with it.
Well, you know we were.

Cut back. Skip that track.

Points to a train pulling out of Charlton, after the game
and I laughed when you told me you were sick with pain
and you fireworked my chest until I abstain.
It hurt. Then you wept. Well how could I forget

the music? But next year, last year
until somehow, somewhere, you were just not ever here,
just a voice in my ear whispering.
And you left me there.

Just a trace.



Sunday, 17 September 2017

The Three Doctors




The Three Doctors


With:


Doctor Kenneth TUPPER
Doctor Sidney MANGE
Doctor Reginald ROUGHROD
Two or three EXTRAS


TITLES:

GRAMS:
Some sort of cheap, upbeat brass combo, dripping 1970s, (a la ‘Terry and June’ or ‘On the Buses’) with plenty of mouth trumpet and badly tuned trombone. Swanee whistle to underline comic beats essential. If composer unavailable then cut and paste some ‘Carry On’ themes from the internet in a random fashion. For added impact get one of those cheap hip hop beat box artist that are ten a penny on high streets adding ‘oh yeah’, ‘baby’, ‘ugh ugh’ and coughing up fart noises.


GRAPHICS:
A mixture of live action, freeze frame and title cards with cartoon drawings. Use a series of freeze frames depicting actors costumed in scrubs, pointing at medical implements, wobbling jellies or fruits that resemble sexual organs in mock outrage / concern / horror – delete as appropriate. Captions could include: ‘that’s a big one’, ‘chase me’, ‘You don't get anything for a pair, not in this game’, ‘didn’t he do well’, ‘well, what a pair of wobbling melons’.

CUT TO:

  INT.  OPERATING THEATRE. DAY. 1972    


Establishing shot of a calendar denoting the 1970s and an operating theatre of some description.  TUPPER and MANGE are unpacking their doctor’s bags, scrubbing up and so forth. MANGE pulls out what is obviously a lunch box with ‘lunch box’ written on it in felt tip pen, empty save for a large ordinary looking aubergine. Which he holds up to the light. It has a post-it note stuck to it.


TUPPER:
Oh, goodness gracious me. What have you got there, Sid?

            MANGE:
Cor, blimey. It’s a rude vegetable that Mrs Mange put in my lunchbox, Kenneth.

            TUPPER:
                        Oh, I say. What sort of vegetable?

            MANGE:
A gigantic aubergine in the shape of a stool bucket that’s recently been used by an incontinent patient caught short.


TUPPER:
Oo, what a lark! I like a rude vegetable, I do. I say, how do you know?

            MANGE:
                        Know what?

            TUPPER:
                        That it’s a stool bucket.

MANGE:
It’s written on the note here. ‘Dear Mange. I thought if you found this rude vegetable shaped like a used stool bucket in your lunch box, it might cheer you up. Signed, Mrs Mange.’

            TUPPER:
                        What a card that woman is.
           
            MANGE:
She’d be even more of a card if I ever found some lunch in my box. A har har.

           
The door to the surgery is flung open. And we hear an EXTRA. Two postcards are flung on the operating table.


            EXTRA (O.S):
                        Newspapers!

            MANGE:
                        (tapping watch and shouting after him)
Half an hour late! Cor, blimey, these aren’t even newspapers.
           
            TUPPER:
                        Oh…what are they, Sid?

            MANGE:
                        Cards.

            TUPPER:
                        Did Mrs Mange send them?

MANGE:
Yak, yak, yak. No.  They’re saucy seaside postcards, from the seaside. From Doctor Hopperby. He’s on holiday. By the seaside. Lucky bleeder.

TUPPER:
Is he? Ooooo. Holiday, eh? Get away.

MANGE:
Yes, that’s right. A ha ha harr.

TUPPER:
(To camera, raising a glass of champagne)
                        And a merry Christmas to all you at home.



MANGE holds the saucy postcard to camera so it is clearly visible. It depicts a humorous scene of a junior doctor with forceps. He has removed the sleeping patient’s penis by accident and is being shouted at by his senior colleague.
           
           
            TUPPER:
                        Ooo! What does it say, Sid?

MANGE:
Cor, blimey. I don’t get it, Kenneth, I just don’t get it. Even I just don’t get it.

            TUPPER:
Oooo. Don’t get it? Neither do I.

            MANGE:
Yak yak yak. No, no that, this. I mean what’s it all about? Look.  A brightly coloured mock-up of an operating theatre…

            TUPPER
Oooo yes, just like the one we work in, us being fully qualified surgeons that perform…operations…on certain parts of the male body…

MANGE:
Why do you keep interrupting me by stating the bleeding obvious, Kenneth?

            TUPPER:
                        Bleeding? But we haven’t even started yet.

            MANGE:
Yak, yak, yak. Now see here Kenneth, these three surgeons…standing…

            TUPPER:
                        Like us…

            MANGE:
Shut yer trap, Kenneth. Listen. This senior surgeon looks cross and is shouting at the junior surgeon, who is sweating and holding his forceps above the patient’s dongler. ‘The caption reads: ‘You blithering idiot, I ordered you to remove his spectacles.’ What’s saucy about that? Has he got it in for spectacles?

            TUPPER:
                        Snort. Get it in. Saucy.

            MANGE:
                        What does yours say?

            TUPPER:
Er...‘She’s got acute angina. Blimey. She hasn't got a bad pair of boobs either.’. I don’t get it either, Sid.

MANGE:
            Get away.
(tosses postcard aside)
What a bleeding tosser. Yak, yak, yak.


TUPPER:
                        Oh, I say!
(To camera, raising a glass of champagne)
                        And a merry Christmas to all you at home.



The door to the operating theatre is now flung open and Reginald ROUGHROD abruptly enters.
He is not in the best of moods, being late for the impending operation.
He chucks a stethoscope at a hat stand where it misses and catches TUPPER in the eye.




ROUGHROD:
11 minutes late. Defective hip hop artist at Effingham Junction.

MANGE:
Great.

            TUPPER:
Super.

            ROUGHROD:
It was neither great nor super. The hip hop artist was doing some improvised beatboxing - breakdancing on a large piece of cardboard which he’d nailed to the tracks in front of a crowd of rush hour commuters on their way to the January Sales, blocking the points at Shagingham Halt. There was a great deal of beatingham and 12 rounds of boxingham by the time they caught him.

            MANGE:      
                        Too good for him, I say. Yak, yak, yak.
           
           
Whilst the conversation continues, the three DOCTORS are scrubbing up, putting on plastic gloves and the like, as they do…
           
           
TUPPER:
Oh, I say. But wasn’t it National Hip Hop Day?
           
            ROUGHROD:
Well, possibly. As they tossed him in front of the locomotive, he kept shouting, ‘I’m Lance, I’m Lance! Remember the X Factor? I could be the next Susan Boyle.’

            MANGE:
Yak, yak, yak. Shame. There just aren’t enough boils to lance these days.

TUPPER:
Oo yes. Here, Sid,  have you noticed it’s always National Something Day, these days? National Dolphin Day, National Sprouts Day, National Bin Bag Day…

MANGE:
Well, he couldn’t any expect special consideration, just because somebody who makes greetings cards decided it was Hip Hop Day…yak, yak, yak.
           
            ROUGHROD:
Quite so. It was International Overlook Your Fork Day yesterday. I put one on my chair, overlooked it, sat down and bang – there was my fork, straight, smack, plumb up my arse.

            MANGE:
Get away. Forking painful. You won’t fork-get that in a hurry. A ha ha ha.

TUPPER:
Oh, Fork day, was it? Oh, I say. No wonder I had trouble with road junctions yesterday. And I thought it was Check All Testicles for Lumps day, you see? There I was, out and about, putting my fingers up the trousers of the queue outside Boots, passing out cough drops willy nilly….

            MANGE:
                        Ding Dong.

            TUPPER:
                        Precisely.

            ROUGHROD:
Shut up the pair of you. You sound like a couple of bad actors auditioning for Carry On Willies….

TUPPER:
                        Oh, I say!
(To camera, raising a glass of champagne)
                        And a merry Christmas to all you at home.
           
            ROUGHROD:
(phone rings)

Excuse me, I’d better take this…

(answers)

Yes CJ…certainly CJ… no I know you didn’t get where you are today by walking around with a fork up your arse CJ…yes I know that neither Mrs CJ or you have ever stuck forks up your arses, CJ…Yes, I know it’s no way to pay tribute to the People’s Princess, CJ… certainly CJ…afternoon would suit me best…

(finishes call)

Seeing CJ, 11.30 this morning.

MANGE:
Great.

            TUPPER:
Super.

            ROUGHROD:
                        Never mind all that. Where’s the patient?

           
The door to the theatre bursts open loudly and two EXTRAS enter carrying a corpse under a sheet. One is tall and dressed like a hotel manager, the other is smaller and could be Spanish. They are panting, covered in sweat / in panic mode. They dump the corpse on the operating table, The FIRST grabs the ear of the SECOND and thrusts the second’s face towards the operating table.



            EXTRA 1:
This hotel bedroom. This hotel bed. This smack on head.

            EXTRA 2:
                        I no want to work here anymore.
(They leave the way they entered.)
           
            ROUGHROD:
                        (consulting a clipboard)
Excellent. This must be the patient. Says here that he is due for penile surgery. Or, as we Doctors call it, penile surgery.  Now, has anybody got medical records?

            TUPPER:
Er…When You’re in love with a Beautiful Woman by Doctor Hook?

            MANGE:
                        A har har har.

            ROUGHROD:
                        Disgraceful.
(pulling back the sheet, checking for a pulse)
Strange. Seems to be dead. Why would a dead man want his penis removed?

            MANGE:
Perhaps he was feeling stiff. Yak. Yak. Yak.

            ROUGHROD:
                        Even worse.

(He notices something sticking out of the corpse’s jumper and extracts it. A kipper. He now holds this up.)

What’s the meaning of this? A mouldy kipper shoved up his jumper. And please…nobody say anything along the lines of ‘that’s a bit fishy’…



The door is flung open again and the two EXTRAS enter, seize the corpse and drag it out, banging the door behind them.
The door reopens, EXTRA 1 rushes in, snatches the kipper from ROUGHROD and pauses at the door.


            EXTRA:
                        Er…Kipper’s off. Sorry.
(He slams the door.)

            MANGE:
                        I could’ve told him that. Yak, yak, yak
           
            TUPPER:
Oh yes, the whole place whiffs of fish now. Reminds me of something. I just can’t put my finger on it…

MANGE:
You keep your filthy finger out of Mrs Mange’s knickers, Kenneth. Yak, yak, yak.

TUPPER:
                        Oh, I say!
(To camera, raising a glass of champagne)
                        And a merry Christmas to all you at home.

            ROUGHROD:
                        Why does he keep saying that, Mange?

            MANGE:
Gawd knows. Here, Kenneth, why do you keep saying that when it isn’t even bleeding Christmas, you twerp? Have you been sticking your balls up prematurely, again?

            ROUGHROD:
                        Baubles, Mange, baubles.

            MANGE:
                        And the same to you. A har har.

            TUPPER:
Oh, I say. Here, stop it. Who are we going to operate on now?


The door to the theatre opens yet again, this time more slowly and reveals an EXTRA, a short man with a flat cap in a camel hair coat with his back the DOCTORS.


            EXTRA:
                        (Speaking to someone unseen)
Easy does it Trigger, play it nice and cool, son, nice and cool, know what I mean?



The EXTRA falls through the door landing at the feet of the three DOCTORS. Before he can get up, the DOCTORS wrestle him to the operating table. The EXTRA all the time struggling and protesting in cod French phrases as he is secured with straps.


EXTRA:
Boeuf a la mode, pot pourri, mon dieu, crème de menthe, etc

ROUGHROD:
Now then, now then, of course you’re worried, it’s a perfectly normal reaction during penis removal. You won’t feel a thing…don’t struggle…it’ll soon be over…
           

They anaesthetise the struggling EXTRA, who appears to go under, then sits upright before finally succumbing


            EXTRA:
Even the sonic screwdriver won’t get me out of this one.

Cutaway to close ups of the three DOCTORS who examine the EXTRA’S goolies critically, now masked in a sinister fashion and holding implements somewhat menacingly.


            MANGE:
                        Cor blimey. That’s a tiddler, isn’t it?

            TUPPER:
Oh, I don’t know. If my pussy saw that it would give him the willies.

            ROUGHROD:
Quiet, the pair of you. Tupper? Proceed with the operation.

            TUPPER:
                        Oh, I say…well if you insist…          


We have a montage of sweating brows, ticking clocks, medical instruments being passed between the DOCTORS with stereotypical orders along the lines of ‘scalpel’, ‘forceps’, ‘rude aubergine’; set to music connoting drama and danger.

Eventually, the operation is over. TUPPER mops his brow and smirks. The camera pulls back and we see the forceps he is holding up in triumph. ROUGHROD double takes and his face gradually convulses in anger. He points a shaking finger. The scene ends as close to the saucy postcard from the start as is possible. We see now that there is a pair of spectacles in the forceps that TUPPER is holding.

            TUPPER:
                        What?

            ROUGHROD:
You blithering idiot. I ordered you to remove his testicles!

MANGE:
            Yak, yak, yak

EXTRA:
                        (Waking up and looking at TUPPER)
                       Blimey. You haven't got a bad pair of boobs, either.

ALL and EXTRA:
            (raising glasses of champagne to camera)
            And a merry Christmas to all you at home.




CUT











Friday, 15 September 2017

Joyce

Joyce



There was fire drill today in the hot sun of Qatar.

So, all the kids chittered and lined up gamely

falling in year by year, the youngest at the front.

The Headteacher spoke to all assembled, timing the practice,

unfamiliar bird call cladding the playground

as the boys fell silent, listening.

It felt like a million years from London,

for a second. Then the children marched inside.




A million years from where a little girl’s hand

slipped from her Daddy’s grasp

and he had clutched it so terribly tightly.

Running together from choking smoke,

hopskotching the stairs, two at a time,

hacking up the drowning lungfuls,

toxic, carbon, persevering the lethal smog:

but progress was so very heavily disguised.



Chaos. And a little girl’s hand slipped.



And he said: Joyce. Yes, of course we should remember.

But calmly, rationally. Strong and stable, without

this community undermining my impartiality.

Weep, if you must, of anger and betrayal,

But life goes on, so sing as well.

There was fire drill today in the hot sun of Qatar.

It felt like a million years from London,

for a second. And the children marched inside.