Ah, Theatre ! I think I’m gonna miss you,
But maybe not the agony you always put me through –
You may raise gasps and titters from the proper-postured sitters,
But you leave me bent like Richard, black and blue.
Your drama may be modern, but your seating is Victorian,
Which quickly sees my comfort heading south.
Your balconies and rakes are my source of joys and aches,
That always leave me heart-and-knees-in-mouth.
I read the most wonderous novel last year –
So moving, so thoughtful, so witty and sheer.
I think you’d enjoy it – it’s somewhere round here.
So feel free to borrow, I’ll bring it tomorrow –
It ain’t gloom and sorrow, but will raise a tear.
I don’t mean to hassle or bug or cajole,
But these are the hands that have touched at my soul –
Yet all of their beauty is wholly unknown –
These pages get lonely to wander alone.
I heard the most marvellous album last year –
So rich and inspired, so quirky and queer.
I think you’d enjoy it – the vocals are clear.
I’ll lend you the disk if you’re willing to risk –
The tempo is brisk, but it long haunts the ear.
I don’t mean to pressure or preach or ensnare,
But these are the songs that assuaged my despair –
I long to belong, to be part of the show –
And know there are others who know what I know.
I saw the most glorious movie last year
So moody and epic, so lush and sincere
I think you’d enjoy it – oh, please volunteer !
By all means I’ll lend what I sure recommend,
For what kind of friend would not loan out their gear ?
I don’t mean to labour or pester or dwell,
But these are the visions that saved me from hell.
They may not be normal, they may not be rife –
But maybe, just maybe, they may change your life.
I’m waiting to hear what you thought of my dears,
Waiting for rapture or rancour or sneers,
Waiting for days and for weeks and for years –
Until they come sheepishly unopened back to me –
And still you will miss how remiss this appears.
I don’t mean to censure or grumble or such,
For you are my friends who have given so much –
Yet still you don’t think or else still you don’t care
When you once again leave me with nothing to share.
South side of Piccadilly, up against the railings
Paintings by the vanload are displayed –
Portraits and streetscapes and abstracts are prevailing,
Lots of dogs and Monet fogs and sailing-ships a-sailing.
Will we find the next Van Gogh just waiting its unveiling ?
Or likely find there’s nothing makes the grade ?
It doesn’t bother me, for it’s still a fine distraction
Where even daubs and dabbling hands can bring out satisfaction –
But then, I’ve no intention of enacting a transaction,
Despite the fact their purpose here is trade.
Oh, sell them to the tourists and to trendies with some empty walls,
I’m just browsing through the upright and reticulated stalls –
Varied works in ev’ry sense, from almost-tempted down to scrawls,
But either way, I never leave dismayed.
Not pampered by the critics or what some celeb endorses,
But subject to the fickle winds of naked market forces –
Which might explain the presence of so many racing horses,
With prices set by what the punters paid.
South side of Piccadilly, up against the railings,
Unfailingly is London’s best parade.
Whenever a line is correctly misquoted,
It’s odds-on much better that way.
The warts-and-all version may be more authentic,
But sometimes the masses must have their say.
To which I say: lead on Macduff, Let each subconscious cast its vote. Play it again, Sam, let them eat cake – I’ll defend to the death your right to misquote.
So: just the facts, ma’am, it’s not always garbles,
It’s sometimes invented from naught but thin air –
Or maybe the right words are placed in the wrong mouth,
For no other reason than simply it’s there.
Oh mirror mirror on the wall, Crisis, what crisis ? I cannot tell a lie. We must disagree: Me Tarzan, you Jane, So excuse me while I kiss this guy.
But Hell hath no fury quite like the misquoted,
Of being abridged and rewritten by peers.
So brace for their sighs and their tuts and their glances,
And no drop to drink but our blood, sweat and tears.
Some say, of course, “You dirty rat, You’re letting their corruption win through. You spare the rod and spoil the child – Another fine mess you’ve gotten us into.”
To which I reply “Oh, not tonight, Josephine !
Beam me up, Scotty, from self-righteous bunk !
If you aim for perfection, you’d ask the question –
Do you feel lucky, punk ?”
It’s elementary, my dear Watson – Survival of the fittest, in fact. We all gild the lily when we paraphrase the famous – And not a lot of people know that.
Born in revolution was the Tricolour,
And suitably to radical design –
Oh sure, there were tripartite flags before,
Yet nothing like this latest Paris line.
And afterwards, we’ve trickies by the score,
As flagginess itself is redefined –
Back then, it showed a total break with lore,
By genius or accident of mind.
Tradition would no limit be !
Their senses jarred by disregard
For all chromatic symmetry.
And so, unlike the world before,
You favoured grand to bear your brand –
Your tricolour said France for evermore !
Look on, you Russians, look and see,
The repercussions flying free –
For even in your own domain,
Napoleon has come again.
You took his classic of its type
And switched the order of each stripe –
And not content, we now discern,
You flipped his flag a quarter-turn. I know, your old one had to go,
The flag that evry’body knew –
It still may shine in pure design,
But there was nothing pure on show.
And so, like Germany before,
You eschewed grand for safe yet bland –
And tricolours are great for that, for sure !