Contemporary short fiction, poetry and more

A companion poem to Let Me Die A Youngman’s Death, by Roger McGough

As part of the recent Wakefield Litfest, I had the privilege of hearing Roger McGough give a reading in the main hall at Unity Works, and a brief chat with him afterwards, when he was signing books.  Valerie and I bought a copy of ‘As Far As I Know’.

I mentioned to him that I was the ‘Throwing Mother In The Skip’ chap, as shown in the Litfest programme.  He asked how long we had been performing.  I said 5 years.  Valerie said much longer.  I remarked that the spoken word scene in West Yorkshire is very active at the moment, with the centre of gravity arguably in Wakefield.  He seemed pleased, or, possibly, relieved.

I only need Brian Patten, now, and I have got the set.

Here is a pastiche I wrote.


Mad dancing

Let me skank a youngman’s skank

not a white-man’s wedding reception dance

not a silk shirt and money-in-the-bank

performance, but a once-in-a-lifetime

struggling, bubbling, youngman’s skank.


When I am 15

and aerobically rootical

may I hear the lyric

‘Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone’

in a students’ union hall

and dance harder because I knew it before.


Or when I am 21

in a cashmere suit

having cashed my first pay-cheque to boot

may I win the dance-off

while looking well-gay

at the East Kilbride YMCA.


Or when I am 35

skanking in broad daylight in Forster Square

may I be berated by a homeless man

and yet be taken by the hand

by strangers, and be complimented by

the polite lead-singer of the rude reggae band

which is playing at the time.


Let me skank to the last of my breath.

Let me skank in spite of the booing,

infarctioning  to my decease.

Don’t tell me off for “mad dancing”:

that would suggest

I didn’t know what I was doing.



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