Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Who says culture is dead?

Last year I was given two books by Felix Dennis, a modern poet with a quite wicked sense of humour. One is called 'A Glass Half Full' and is a collection of verse written by Mister Dennis in a style somewhere near that of Waugh with a touch of Lear to give it that unexpected quality. It makes me smile.

The other is called 'When Jack Sued Jill (Nursery Rhymes for Modern Times)' and it is basically old favourite Nursery Rhymes where Mister Dennis has changed the words to bring them into the present day. Inside each book there's a CD of Felix Dennis reading his own poems or groups of children doing so, either singing or performing in one way or another. An excellent idea in my opinion.

Okay, that's the reviews over.

Last weekend, the 7th and 8th February 2009, during the course of a fairly slow time, I was listening to the Jack and Jill CD and silently sniggering to myself in all the appropriate places when in walked one of my fellow social outcasts. I won't name him - his mother thinks he is working on an oil rig.

So, in he came, this hairy-arsed gangster and sat on my bed to have a fag. He saw that I was actually busy doing not very much so he listened to the children singing on my stereo.

After a minute or two he asked, "What's this crap you've got on?"

"Ah," said I. "It's not for you, too sophisticated. You wouldn't like it a bit. You can hear the words for a start, and there is no boom-boom beat to turn your grey matter into gruel."

He regarded me for a second or two. "Are you taking the piss?"

"As if I would do such an anti-social thing!" I grinned.

He mumbled, "You are always taking the piss."

"Stop giving me the opportunity then," I told him.

So he sort of listened to the stereo and we heard 'White Van Man' to the tune of 'Old King Cole'.

"Them's not the proper words!" pointed out Einstein, sitting on my bed blowing clouds of smoke into the air and polluting the planet. "I know that one and them's not the words."

"You clever little bank robber," said I. "Keep up that sort of observation and you'll soon be able to tie your own shoes."

"Stop taking the piss!"

"Stop spoiling the poetry then," I countered.

He was quiet for a while and then sniggered at something he heard.

"Here! That's funny."

"From the mouths of babes, sucklings, bandits and morons, the truth falls like stars from the firmament."

"What you rabbitting about now?" he asked but didn't want the answer. He carried on, "Is this all like this?" indicating the stereo.

"Oh yes," I told him. "Not only that but I even have a book that goes with the CD so that you can follow the words and, should you feel the need, learn them too!"

"Gies a look!"

Ten minutes later he wandered off, his hot, clammy little hands clutching my two Felix Dennis books and the CDs.

That was last Sunday, a week ago.

I heard him wandering along the landing on Monday singing 'Polly Put The Kettle On,' to himself and I don't think he even knew he was doing it.

I asked him where my books and CDs were on Wednesday (I think), and he said his mate had them but he was taking good care. He had told his mate that if there was any damage, etc.etc.

So here we are, Sunday morning again. The snow has gone outside and it seems quite pleasant weather-wise, but I still haven't got my books and CDs back. Apparently they are now doing the rounds.

Given the above, I'm presuming that from now on I can expect to see and hear bushels of thugs, muggers, buggers, killers, robbers, arsonists and downright nasty customers listening to modern-style nursery rhymes and, who knows, learning the words!

Who says culture is dead?

The Voice In The Wilderness

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