Thursday, 21 June 2012

A Little Knowledge is a Tedious Thing

There is a certain type of tedious, pedantic dullard, who, when confronted
   with a wrongly positioned possessive apostrophe,
Will declaim, in loud, dramatic tones designed for all to hear, that this is a
   monumental catostrophe.
Any reasonable person might have thought that just because one small piece
   was missing from the puzzle of someone else’s education,
This wasn’t necessarily a forewarning of the imminent and total collapse of
   the whole of Western Civilization.

So anyway, a little later, when our dullard, 
Has recovard, 
You make your mind up,
To engage in a little pedantic wind up,
And use the word “stadiums” in a big, booming voice, loud and clear,
So that our tedious, pedantic dullard could not but hear.
Quick as a flash, the t-p dullard falls into the trap you have set. “Aah-ahh-
Surely you mean Stadia?!”
To which you reply that, being English, and therefore a follower of the rules of
   English grammar, when making a singular word plural you invariably add 
   an ‘s’,
And that changing the word ending to an ‘a’ to signify a plural would create a
   most unnecessary syntactic mess.
To which they reply, falling further into the trap, that, "Stadium is a Latin 
   word and one should therefore use the Latin plural if one wished to be 
   grammatically proper",
At which point you apprehend them, like a grammatical copper,
For, you point out, Latin words change their endings not just for plurals but
   also for the nominative, vocative, accusative, genitive, ablative and dative,
And this could get really confusing if, every time you wanted to use a Latin
   word, you thought it necessary to speak Latin like a Latin native.
The Romans, you point out, really hitting your stride, would not have said “to
   the stadium” but something like “stadio”, neither would they have said, “of 
   the stadium” but perhaps “stadii”, so if you wish to avoid this semantic and 
   syntactic mess,
Well, then, shut up about pluralizing Latin words with an ‘s’.

Not to be defeated, the pedant then rails against your use of a noun as a verb,
As if there could be nothing on Earth quite so absurb.
“Who,” they scoff, “would be such a butcher of the English language as to 
   turn a noun into a verb?” and they wait in gleeful superiority as if to their 
   brilliant riposte there is no reply,
And you say, “Why,
Surely a certain Mr William Shakespeare was very fond of the whole noun-to-
   verb transformation?”
Highlighting yet another gap in the pedant’s education.

Now, the pedant, if he has any sense,
Will swiftly move to the other side of the pedantic fence,
And recant his former pedantry,
As a state of mind which is equivalent to being intellectually sedentary.
Pedantry, he will have realized, really, is cheap and ineffectual,
As a way of trying to appear innallectual.
The former pedant will hopefully have learned that the answer to this
   question: “How often is pedantry genuinely clever?”
Is, “Never.”

Tuesday, 19 June 2012


It’s such a personal thing:
Those pieces of music which make you want to kill someone instead of 
   making you want to sing.
I don’t mean the sort of mild irritation
Brought on by being subjected to the latest tv-manufactured teenybop 
Harmless, vapid, a little bit annoying;
Half-way through hearing it for the first time and it’s already sickly and 

No – music cannot be truly offensive which is instantly forgettable 
   and bland;
I’m talking about the songs which set fire to your adrenal gland,
So that you want to run around the streets screaming at the top of your 
   voice: “Join with me to defeat the forces of darkness and evil; together, we 
   can be the nemesis,
Of really shit bands, like Culture Club and Genesis.”
‘Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?’ Well, if blow-torching that song caused 
   you pain,
Then yes – I wouldn’t be averse to hurting you: again, and again, and again…

And that’s just for starters.

The same ignominious fate
Really ought to be lying in wait
For the vast panoply of million-selling hits,
Which are the auditory equivalent of a dose of the shits,
Like ‘Careless Whisper’, where George Michael gets all sentimental and 
Whilst inexplicably replacing a melody with a malady.

I can almost hear the Shit Hits Fan whining right now:

“But I really like ‘Careless Whisper’ and ‘Come On, Eileen’,
My all-time favourite song is ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen,
And the best band of the last ten years is a toss-up between Coldplay 
   and Keane;

“ ‘The Final Countdown’ is awesomely rifftastic,
Anything by Cliff is just totally fantastic,
And no way are Take That manufactured and plastic.

‘The Lady in Red’ had me swooning deliriously,
‘Candle in the Wind’ always moves me so mysteriously,
And the high-point of the Eighties was Phil Collins’s ‘But Seriously…’.”

Seriously? I mean… seriously? Was it?
Because I think this drivel needs to be driven right back into the 
   Shit Music Closet,
Whence it sprang, along with all the other mindless musical crap,
Like Hair Metal guitar solos and White Middle-Class Rap.
Not feeling enough suicidal despair tonight?
Just open up the Shit Music Closet and out tumbles Phil Collins singing 
   ‘In the Air Tonight’,
Which, you’ll notice, is sitting right next to ‘Ebony and Ivory’ and 
   ‘The Frog Chorus’,
Two songs which really ought to have been called, “Please, Please 
   Ignore Us”.

These songs have scaled the pinnacle of commercial success,
And yet artistically are little more than an over-produced, tune-shy mess.

The silver-lining of these sonic rainclouds, though, is that they highlight one 
   of the most profound truths that Humanity has ever faced:
Namely, Hell isn’t other people, but rather, being subjected to 
   Other People’s Musical Taste.
You think I’m wrong?
Then come on over to the party at my house tonight; I’ll be playing 
   The Smiths and Morrissey all night long.


The beauty of this day offends my eye.

She brightens all with sunny face, and yet
I would that she were cloud-obscured and grey.

My eye is much offended by this day.

As is, her light lends flowers a lustrous glow;
Towards her rays each gaudy, painted, strumpet bends.

 This day with all her loveliness offends.

Her colour-scheme of blue and white,
So fresh and full of promise; perfect summer sky.

The beauty of this day offends my eye.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

This Poem is Your Fault

It starts with the hint of a transgression:
Inadvertent, accidental, free from all aggression –
Oh, and we mustn’t forget to mention,
That this mild deed contains not even the merest hint of any 
   evil intention –
It ends with… The Apology.

For example, you’re in a crowded supermarket on a Saturday afternoon, 
   and a harassed
young mother with too many children has her attention temporarily 
Oh, here we go again – an apology-incident is about to be not averted.
As she simultaneously shuts up one child with an as yet unpaid-for 
   biscuit whilst also perusing the boxes of mainly sugar on the children’s 
   cereal shelf,
One of the many mini versions of herself
Decides to stand in front of your trolley: gormless, statuesque and mute –
God, what is it about children that people find so cute? –
Anyway, you look around the aisle and see that, with the child blocking 
   your way, there’s not enough space for your trolley to get past.
You wait. And you wait. Until at last,
Just as you about to open your mouth to say,
“Madam, I believe that your captivating little munchkin wunderkind 
   appears to be blocking my way,”
She looks up from the dilemma which has been occupying her thoughts: 
   namely – Coco Shreddies or Curiously Cinnamon: which one would 
   they like?
And sees the mini-me tyke,
The cause of your trolley’s immobility;
The cause of your thoughts of infant-directed hostility.
She instructs her child to, “Move out of the way of the man.”
The child does, and now you can.
You start to move down the aisle.
Poor woman, you think, and offer her a smile,
Sympathy rising as you catch the weariness in her face, and the 
   tiredness in her eyes.
And as you pass her, of course… you apologize!


Every day brings a whole raft of reasons for regret:
As daily we repay our imaginary despondency debt.
Like… when someone mumbles and mutters so that you can’t 
   hear them –
Yet your ears work quite properly, and you’re standing quite near them,
Thus the fault of you not hearing them is theirs and theirs exclusively –
When you have to interrupt their flow just a little bit intrusively,
You do so with an apologetic, “Sorry? Sorry, what was that?
Sorry, I didn’t quite catch…?”

Sorry. Sorry! SORRY!!! SORRY!!!!


This phenomenon is a never-ending surprise:
The number of times per day which we English people think it is 
   necessary to apologize.
It matters not,
One single iota-sized jot,
Who is the perpetrator of whatever might have been the petty 
An English person will offer you an apology every single time.

It is futile to try and understand the psychology
Of the sorry English and their fondness for the quite frankly pointless 
   and unwarranted apology.

So, I’m not even going to try.

You can apologise to me for that later.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Poetic Tough Love

You may think, during the course of this poem, when I become all ranty 
   and demonic,
That my agitated persona is, in fact, not an agitated persona at all, but 
   simply one which is knowingly ironic;
That behind the raging bile,
There is a charming and engaging smile;
That I don’t genuinely despise the targets of my merciless and hateful 
And really, I’m laughing with you, behind the sonic fa├žade of this 
   furiously enraged incantation.

But you’d be wrong.

This is a poem in which I shall be genuinely complaining,
About poets who step into the public arena having studiously avoided any 
   notion of being entertaining;
Who spew forth lines which they wrongly believe are both intensely 
   important and emotionally draining,
But which are, in fact, dazzlingly inept.
We’ve all heard these poets; we’ve heard them, and we’ve wept:
Tears of frustration,
Tears of agitation,
Tears at being subjected to their symbolic masturbation;
But tears which we never cry, because we’re too polite
To stand up and say: your poetry’s shite!

For these poets, whose attempts at poetic refulgence
Begin – and end – with nauseating self-indulgence;
Whose poetry has all of the charm,
Of an essay on self-harm;
For them, with their pretentiously opaque and useless poetic 
I have written a set of performance poetry instructions,
To contemplate before the next occasion when they unwittingly bore an 
   audience into catatonic submission.
That’s right – this poem is a bit of free tuition,
From a patience-sapped poet on a do-or-die mission.

I’ve made it pretty simple for them to follow these instructions, although 
   I’m pretty sure that they won’t,
Indeed, it couldn’t be any simpler; it’s just one word: don’t.

Monday, 11 June 2012


Exams! Exams! Exams! Beware exams!*
Denounced by every single school-aged child.
We send them to their slaughter, just like lambs,
To sit exams! Exams! Exams! Exams!
The night before, each desperate hopeful crams;
They look so haunted, like they’ve never smiled.
Exams! Exams! Exams! Beware exams!
Denounced by every single school-aged child.

*Like that line: “Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware MacDuff!” only with Exams!