So not only am I a gifted and talented travel writer and sports writer, I am also a philosopher and a poet and I don't even know it . . . making rhyme all the time.
1. More Elaines.
It’s such a bloody awful shame
There aren’t more people like Elaine.
Pulling pints was what she did
When I was just a spotty kid
To quench my thirst and numb my brain.
I’m sure she must have known we’d been
Not much older than sixteen.
She’d let us in and sell us beer,
But deep inside we’d always fear
That proof of age had to be seen.
Her beady eye and Yorkshire charm
Meant there was always peace and calm.
A place so safe to go and drink
On Saturday night and not have to think
Of life outside the Cricketers’ Arms.
As long as we never did owt bad
Like cuss or fight to drive her mad
She’d let us sit and drink and smoke.
But we shut our gobs whenever she spoke
As if for the night she’d become our dad.
The kids today must find it hard
As from the pubs they’re always barred.
So instead for fun they find the need
To drink cheap cider and smoke their weed
In shop doorways or a cold graveyard.
Some rob and steal to buy cocaine.
But politicians just don’t have the brains
To see that youngsters’ mindless crime
Could be prevented half the time
If they’d only give us more Elaines.
2. We Are Seacroft!
With my folks, I lived on top
Of the North East Gas Board showrooms shop
In a row of flats called Parkway Mews
From which we had outstanding views
Of the back of Ladbrokes’, the Pathfinder pub
And the brand new East Leeds Labour Club.
Our house wasn’t in so much of a street
As a labyrinth built from cold concrete.
Not posh like how it should have been.
They’d even gone and got the Queen
To come up on a 16 bus
And unveil a shiny plaque for us.
Such a shame the shopping centre
Didn’t turn out how it was meant to.
Lovely shops and a brass band stand
Was what the men in suits had planned.
But the whole world turned its back and scoffed
As the heart was ripped from our Seacroft.
In the busy indoor market hall
There was nowt I liked except the stall
Where I could spend my weekly wage
On ex juke box records from a golden age
By Bowie, Bolan and by Slade
Within half an hour of getting paid.
And then the stall where they sold bread
Was another place I’d go to shed
A bit more of my hard earned cash
On a sausage roll and just a flash
Of a smile from the girl who used to thrill
My teenage heart as she rang her till.
Sometimes we’d go to the Derrisford caff
For a bottle of Coke and a bit of a laugh.
We’d waste so many afternoons
In the mother of all the greasy spoons.
Talking rubbish. Talking soft.
Of a romantic world beyond Seacroft.
The blokes would come home pissed and late
From the Cricketer’s Arms and the Monkswood Gate.
At least the ones who had a job
And could put aside a couple of bob
For Friday’s Tetley’s and their homeward stop
To buy their kids some chips and pop.
At the Universal Bingo Hall
Pat and Sheila had a ball.
‘It’s the weekend. Let’s go wild
With a packet of fags and a glass of mild.’
Win the jackpot? No such luck.
And they’d still have to scrub and clean and cook.
Nan and Grandad loved it there.
Lush green gardens. Fresh clean air.
Such hard times when they thought back
To their pokey terrace amongst the smokey stacks.
With home grown veg and a pigeon loft
Life was good in this new Seacroft.
A huge big Tesco fills the space
Where a caretaker would shout and chase
Us off for doing bugger all
Or sometimes kicking our football,
Or sometimes sitting on the steps
To the shoppers’ car park’s murky depths.
It may have seemed to other folks
Seacroft was fit for only jokes
Of drugged up youths and crumbling homes
And icy wastes where stray dogs roamed.
But the folks I knew, I’m proud to boast,
Were good as gold and warm as toast.
It broke my heart. You could hear my sighs
From South Parkway to Kentmere Rise.
The Centre’s shops and flats were gone
But its soul and spirit linger on.
We should stand and sing with our arms aloft
‘We’re not just Leeds. We are Seacroft!’
3. Hotel Mediterraneo
Sultry and still the sweet night air.
Latin music. Crickets chirping.
I could be in a ghetto in Rio
But for the sound of Geordies burping.
For el Costa Dorada, the golden sands of Salou,
Separation from Spain the Catalans plead.
But with the chip shops and the night clubs and the Sky TV,
Surely freedom from Britain is more like what they need.
A prayer of thanks to San Miguel,
Bless him; he’s worked miracles for my thirst.
But my homage to his sacraments, I fear,
Will make this pilgrim’s bladder burst.
And from my brieze block mansion’s balcony
Six floors above the disco hell
I see a thousand other balconies
Each with a holiday tale to tell.
The distant landscape, cacti strewn,
Is no place for the filthy Gringo
But just across the street from me
Two fat ladies prepare for bingo.
Their lucky pen, their lucky blouse, their lucky underwear.
Every amulet seized to bring good luck.
For a year they’ve saved to come all this way
To Spain to sweat on two little ducks.
Five storeys below a sun bronzed angel
Hangs out her kids’ wet cozzies.
Her husband dear, cracks another beer,
Breaks wind and swats some mozzies.
You can see in her face that she longs to be
On a beach with a dusky hombre.
But she’s children to bathe, with no help from Dave,
And oh, the bloody laundry!
Not far away the table’s cleared.
Paella’s digesting and the washing up’s done.
It’s been a hectic day doing not very much
So now’s the time to commence the evening’s fun.
Lights are dimmed, Rioja’s poured
And the cards dealt for canasta.
The first hand’s played with nous and skill.
By the fifth hand they’re all plastered.
Those teenage girls from Liverpool,
The weather suits their clothes,
Ask, “Does my bum look big in this?”
Those shoes must hurt their toes.
But down the ravers’ techno bar
Mascara and lip gloss run in the heat.
And by half past ten they just don’t care
‘Cause they’ve pulled a bloke from Stoke called Pete.
“Oh flower of Scotland when will we see your likes again?”
Sing Maggie and Dougie from bonny Dundee.
For an hour they struggle with the second line.
Naked patriotism for all to see.
They make up some words that just don’t fit.
Persevering ’til quarter to four.
Europe’s united hurling shrieks of complaint
As the Scots all collapse on their balcony floor.
Above them a woman sits all alone all the night.
A book in her hand. The complete works of Lorca?
I strongly suspect that she’s missing her mates.
She got on the wrong plane. Should have gone to Mallorca.
But she seems so serene far away from the crowd.
Just a room with a view for company.
Lost in her thoughts. Lost in Spain.
Could she be writing a poem about me?
4. Betty Lewis Eyes
A teapot on a tray she brings.
Digestive in each saucer.
Horrific tales of war to tell
But only if she’s forced to.
She’s angelic, prim and ninety
And no one’s ever heard her
Speak a single word of malice
But in her eyes there’s murder.
She’s always lived in Odd Down,
Feeding kids and darning socks,
But in August 1940
She worked in Plymouth docks.
To be a nurse, or cook, or clerk
She never could succumb.
The tool of dear old Betty’s trade
Was an anti-aircraft gun.
Cat gently pushed from comfy chair,
She pours the tea and sighs.
Her face lights up as she recalls
Blasting Fokkers from the skies.
Years have flown so quickly by.
Her kids have grown and fled.
Little to do but dust the flat
And recount the German dead.
Bombers came across the sea
To kill and terrorise.
Shot down by a deadly war machine
With Betty Lewis eyes.
5. Can’t Buy Me Love
If I could win the lottery
I’d make a list of my desires
But I wouldn’t really have to buy
A house, a car or new settee.
For what I’ve got in life so far
Is quite enough to satisfy.
With the jackpot from the lottery
All my cares would disappear.
Real Spam to eat instead of
Tesco’s own brand for my tea.
No longer yearn for lovely things
Or drool like Fido Pavlov.
The day that I become cash rich
I’ll spend it all to save the whales,
To end the wars and help the needy.
It strikes me that life’s such a bitch.
Things I want just can’t be bought.
Does this mean that I’m greedy?
The day that I’m so filthy rich
A dream will die of finding fame
From writing verse or cutting nails.
The Getty, Gates, Abramovic
Diamond lifestyle’s not for me
So that’s the day that my plan fails.
When my piggy bank’s about to burst
Will all my dear friends jump to say
I’m rash and flash in their opinions?
To find new mates will I be cursed
With fear of wondering if they’ll want
My company or my millions?
My mattress stuffed with fivers bursts
But sadness lingers while there’s hate
For Jews, for gays, for blacks or Prods.
This trend must really be reversed.
I’ll pay mankind to just accept
Each other’s skin, or sex or gods.
So when it comes to harmony
My funds will have it sorted.
And, if he’s there, the Lord above
Could sit and have a cup of tea.
For all his peace work will be done.
Perhaps he could just free a dove.
You can invest in L U V
Once you start to gather interest.
But when it comes to push or shove
Money can bring such misery
As well as all those worldly goods,
But the money can’t buy me love.
6. They Think I’ve Gone Berserk
I’ve had a letter in the Chronicle.
I’ve asked my mates at work.
They think I’m daft. An anorak!
They think I’ve gone berserk.
I’ve asked my wife. She’s leaving
If I don’t give it up.
She’ll change her mind, I’m sure she will,
When we come home with the cup.
I’ve told the kids I’ll buy them
A great big sticky bun
And a year’s supply of Crunchies
But still they will not come.
I’ve asked my Mum and Sister.
I’ve even asked the cat.
They’re much too busy, in a rush,
To be bothered with all that.
I’ve asked my Cousin Kevin,
Uncle Stan and Auntie Joyce.
They’d rather move to Stoke, they said,
If they had to make a choice.
I’ve asked the postman and the milkman,
The paperboy as well,
If they would go there with me.
They just said, “Go to Hell”.
The only person tempted
Was my beloved Nan.
But then she went and changed her mind
‘Cause she’s a Sunderland fan.
Its such an awful shame.
Its such an awful pity
That no one in this world will come
With me to watch Bath City.
7. Just Stick It!
You can stick your Arsene Wenger up your derriere.
We’re in the Doc Martens’ League and we don’t care.
Next year we’ll be in the Conference, then Division Three
And holding up the silverware at Wemberlee.
You can stick your Beckham, Overmars and Hasselbaink.
With Towler, Paul and Colbourne we don’t give a monkey’s.
No more gloom, despondency or kept in the dark,
‘Cause there’s a new wave of fever down at Twerton Park.
You can stick your grounds like Yeovil’s and like Salisbury’s.
All that steel and brieze block gets on our mammaries.
So go and stick your out of town development.
A plan to move from Twerton is just excrement.
You can stick your acid, charlie and your heroin.
Who needs whiskey, vodka or White Lightning?
Stand behind the Bath End goal on Saturday
And you’ll soon realise the true meaning of ecstasy!
8. For Billy
Why does it always bring such pain,
This that Pele called the beautiful game?
As August’s wild romantic dream
Is shattered by some other team.
A terrace brims with hopeful souls
That each bemoans opposition goals.
Optimism takes a dive
As we trundle home at ten to five.
Through winter’s worst we watch them play.
Compensation due? Perhaps next May
As cup is held above Captain’s head
And gut wrenching anxiety is put to bed.
More often the season ends in grief
So a rare success just brings relief
Instead of the cheers you’d have expected.
It’s just so sweet not to feel dejected.
Such wondrous moments will always stay
To ease my mind on gloomy days.
And that is why I stood and cried
The night that Billy Bremner died.
9. Sporting Feet
If only I could play football
I wouldn’t have to care at all
About getting up each day to work.
That drab little office drives me berserk.
My life to me would seem complete
If I had some talent in my feet.
My head knows exactly what to do.
Its just my feet can’t follow through.
If they’d perform I’d tell my boss
That I don’t really give a toss.
But because of them I just can’t play.
So I have to work to earn my pay.
I’d like to be just good enough
To tell him he can go and stuff
His job up where the sun don’t shine.
So playing for Swindon would be fine
And any team would meet my needs
But I’d really like to play for Leeds.
To tell the truth it would be grand
If I could get some cash in hand.
Don’t need to earn like Michael Bridges
But just enough to ensure my fridge is
Full of stuff to feed the kids
And go to the pub with a couple of quid.
So if there is a god at all
Please help my feet control the ball.
If I can play I’m sure that it’ll
Help me cope. Even smile a little.
I promise God, I’d give up sin
If I had the skills of Paul Bodin.
This brings me round to ask for more
So please God help Mike Davis score.
Sure, a goal a game wouldn’t be too drastic
Though there is a favour more fantastic.
Should you ever get the notion
Then let Bath City win promotion.
10. Terry the Philosopher
The Nation is a mule but it cannot work until the thorn of Capitalism has been removed from its hoof by a handy implement.
Life is a rose but some of us have aphids.
The child entering puberty will regard his spots with trepidation but the ladybird will not.
‘Tis a wise man that keeps his nose clean but the feathery owl does not have an index finger.
A maiden in search of a sweetheart will fear that she is fat but a pound block of Cookeen will not.
Even San Andreas had his faults.
Love is a difficult thing to get into but a Ford Mondeo is not.
Franco is dead! Viva Bingo!
Life, like a cup of tea, can bring pleasure to the most oppressed victim of the feudal regime. But take heed, we do not all have biscuits to put in the saucer.
He who wishes to drink all of the beer in the public house is he most likely to share his Indian meal with everyone in the restaurant or on the street.
Revolution is a tin opener. Without it the goodness of the proletariat is hidden behind the packaging that is Capitalism.
Life is a jar of stout. When all around seems black, pleasure can still be had.
Imperialism is a river which constantly floods the plain of the proletariat but, with modern technology, it can be diverted.
Capitalism is a chip pan. Initially it will make the bourgeoisie fat but eventually it will kill them.
Although the dog is man’s best friend he will not rise early from his bed on Sunday morning to jog with him.
It is said that he who labours all of the day to till the land is worth his weight in salt. But what of he who works in the chip shop where salt and vinegar are free?
‘Tis a brave man who fears not the darkness but the furry bat does not have a pickaxe handle to protect him.
The Bavarian craftsman will toil for all of the bleak winter months to house cuckoos in their clocks but he will spend his summer strategically placing his towel early in the morn to force other tourists off the beaches of the Mediterranean.
Neither fire nor wind, birth nor death can erase our good deeds. But Earth, Wind and Fire can get our aunties up and dancing at a wedding.
Never judge a book by its cover, unless you can't read.
She said I look like the cat who got the cream but veterinarians profess that all cats are lactose intolerant, so I must look like I am crippled by stomach cramps and diarrhoea. I was really happy until I heard her remark.