iamhyperlexic

Contemporary short fiction, poetry and more

Category Archives: pastiche

An interview with William Thirsk-Gaskill, who is trying to do it in the style of David Bowie

Simon Armitage (for it is he)***: I am talking to William Thirsk-Gaskill, the celebrated writer of short fiction, and powerhouse of West Yorkshire performance poetry.

WT-G:             Hello, Simon. We meet at last.

Simon:             Er, yes. I have here a copy of William’s debut collection, which is called ‘Throwing Mother In The Skip’. Why did you give it that title?

WT-G:             My mother died relatively young, and relatively quickly. She was cremated. We didn’t literally throw her in the skip, but I did throw away many of her possessions. It struck me at the time that, in a sense, the possessions were more of a representation of her life than she herself had been, at the point when she died.

Simon:             Are all your poems about bereavement?

WT-G:             No. Some of them are about generational conflict. Some are about bad relationships, or relationship break-up. Some are about self-realisation. Some are about mental illness.

Simon:             Those sound like very dour subjects.

WT-G:             There are two funny ones. I hope people will be content with those, for now. I will write some more funny ones, as soon as funny material comes into my life, that I want to express.

Simon:             Would you say your poetry is mostly confessional?

WT-G:             I would say it is nearly all confessional.

Simon:             You realise that the word “confessional” is often used pejoratively in connection with contemporary poetry.

WT-G:             Yes. That doesn’t worry me. I think you have to write about your own experiences. It is by articulating your own experiences that you connect with other people’s experiences.

Simon:             What do you expect your readers to say, after they have read your work?

WT-G:             What they say is up to them.

Simon:             What do you hope they would say?

WT-G:             I hope they would say, “Anybody could have written that. Therefore, I will write poetry of my own.”  Unless, of course, they already write poetry, in which case, I hope they would just say, “The time I spent reading that was time well spent.”

Simon:             So, how do you …

WT-G:             Do you know that I have carried one of your socks?

Simon:             Er, how do you …

WT-G:             It was brown, and furry. I helped to carry it round the dales. It was a very rich shade of brown. I rather liked it.

Simon:             I am afraid that is all we have time for.

WT-G:             It is available from Stairwell Books.

Simon:             What?

WT-G:             http://www.stairwellbooks.co.uk. The cover price is £7. It is £8.50, including UK postage and packing.

 

*** None of this is true, except the details about how to buy the book.

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Ozymandias, as it might have been written by Matt Abbott

He were reet, reet owd, this bloke I saw dahn Westgate.

He went on about two stones: he needed to confess it.

He were mostly drunk. Summat about summat “half sunk”.

I said I still don’t get thee, dad: you’ll have to come again.

This thin and wobbly old bloke turned the volume up to ten.

He said there’s stuff round Wakefield that’s owder than thee and me:

Some got shut by Thatcher: some you still can see:

Like winding-gear and foot-bridges and factories and canals

And them that built that pedestal were some of my best pals.

I hated that Ozymandias, allus broadcasting despair,

As if he owned mortality: it just weren’t bloody fair.

He governed as an Eton twat, as if he didn’t care:

Never went dahn Westgate: he just stopped inside his lair.

I peeked into his garden, once: it were boundless and fucking bare.

Lyrics news 2

I have reason to believe that there is an establishment in the largest city in Louisiana, entitled, “The Rising Sun”. It has become associated with poor life choices. I can say this from experience.

My mother worked in a very low-paid job in the clothing industry, but the family benefitted from the fact that she had the skills to make most of my clothes, including denim trousers.

My father was a rather unsatisfactory individual who spent most of his time playing cards and betting on horses, and he dwelt near the delta in Louisiana, which was inconvenient, because we live in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire.

The best thing that could be said for my father’s lifestyle was that his needs were simple, being confined to little more than the means to pack his goods. He was at his most content when his blood alcohol level was significantly over the legal limit for driving.

I have presented a seminar at the local SureStart centre on the subject of Life Choices. I specifically enjoined people not to frequent the kind of establishment mentioned previously.

I have a Billy Liar-style choice of what I might do next. I might choose freedom. I might end up in prison.

To summarise: there is an establishment in the biggest city in Louisiana, which has been associated with social exclusion, particularly among young men. I regret to say that this has affected my biography. This establishment is called, “The Rising Sun”.

[There used to be a pub on Kirkstall Road in Leeds called “The Rising Sun”, now sadly reduced to a furniture warehouse.]

[Now, sadly reduced to nothing.]

Walking The Line

Walking The Line

The cost is measured out in human lives:

the people, mostly men, who get sent down

for burglary, assault, or carrying knives,

their faces inked to resemble a sad clown.

I’m a liberal, and this fact makes my heart bleed:

some, when they are released, still cannot read.

 

We carried Simon Armitage’s sock

for forty-seven miles around the Dales.

We clambered over dry-stone walls and rocks.

Each night, we read our poems, drank real ales.

I wondered if this venture was worthwhile,

how much The Sock would do in ‘pounds per mile’.

 

I still have yet to meet this national treasure,

except, of course, on BBC Radio 4.

Few people prefer poetry to ‘Jezza’,

but Simon’s fame still travels more and more.

How much down its elasticated throat

could some brown, woollen item blackmail/coax?

 

My home town prison is a ‘Category A’.

A man in there lives in a Perspex box.

I struggled to see how we’d make this pay

even with Simon Armitage’s sock.

In Marsden, Hebden Bridge, in Bingley, Ilkley

we hoped the contributions would flow free.

 

Apart from a success at Hebden library,

the other readings were a crock of shit.

The Reader Organisation was conciliatory,

and I suppose that we all felt we’d done our bit.

Michael Stewart said that, after all four rounds,

we had collected just eighty-four pounds.

 

They say that it costs less to go to Eton

than to put some twat in prison for a year,

and socialists and liberals might feel beaten

by ‘under-class’ and ‘immigrant’ right-wing fear.

Incarceration, at the least, should lead

to books, so we can teach them how to read.

Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle (content warning: rude words)

Stewart Lee reached new heights in the last episode of ‘Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle’ on Saturday 8 March 2014 on BBC 2.  However, he missed at least one trick.

And what about the Battle of Britain eh?  Those bloody Poles, and bloody Czechs, and bloody French pilots COMIN’ OVER ‘ ERE and taking jobs from our fighter pilots, those that hadn’t been killed.  COMIN’ OVER ‘ ERE and talking Polish, and Czech, and French all the time, and being told off by Air Marshal Dowding for not speaking the fucking language.  And then, when the struggle was at its most bitter and intense, those bloody Poles, shooting down more enemy planes per capita than any other Allied nation in the conflict, and taking more casualties.  They bloody CAME OVER ‘ ERE and took jobs from our pilots that we didn’t have in sufficient numbers but that’s not the point and they didn’t speak the fucking language and then, while they were being all Polish, and all foreign, they CAME OVER ‘ ERE and they  LAID DOWN THEIR LIVES FOR OUR CAUSE WITHOUT QUESTION OR HESITATION.  Bloody Poles, and bloody Czechs, and bloody French, COMIN’ OVER ‘ ERE, pitting everything they had to try to save Western civilisation from the otherwise inevitable downfall of humanity that was Adolf Hitler’s ultimate goal.  COMIN’ OVER ‘ ERE and, bloody succeeding.   And for what, eh?  For what?  They CAME  OVER ‘ ERE just so that we could have this bloody conversation, against a background of civil government which, no matter what its specific shortcomings with regard, for example, to recent events surrounding the Stephen Lawrence investigation and creeping privatisation of the NHS, still preserves independent institutions which hold the potential for a rejuvenated, modern democracy if only members of the public, empowered as they are by new and widely-available forms of mass communication,  could be encouraged to ask more questions, put those institutions to work, and engage with them.   Bloody foreigners.  COMIN’ OVER ‘ERE.  We’ll fight our own battles in future, and instead of filling vital shortages of personnel, skill, and morale with fanatically-motivated people who regard themselves as our natural allies, we’ll fall back on a sclerotic class hierarchy, xenophobia, and a mythologised and grotesquely-misplaced belief in our own self-sufficiency.

Lyrics news

The Department of Justice issued a statement today after the unprecedented murder of a Crown Court judge in a court that was actually in session at the time of the outrage.

The accused in the trial is a young medical student whose name is Maxwell Edison.  He is accused of murdering one of his lecturers during an after-hours class given to him as a punishment for disrupting a class, and also his girlfriend, known to the court only as ‘Joan’.

Examination of Edison’s mobile phone records shows that he was still in the act of talking to her while he picked the lock of the door of her flat, invaded the hall, and hit her over the head with a hammer.  The court heard testimony from forensic experts who said that the head of the murder weapon was unusual in being chrome-plated and highly polished.  The same weapon is believed to have been used in the killing of the lecturer and the judge.

The Court Service has launched an enquiry into how the hammer returned to the possession of the accused during the hearing.  A court clerk and a security guard have been suspended from duty pending investigations.

Two women shouted from the public gallery, apparently with a plea to the judge for clemency, but were ejected.

A re-trial with enhanced security is in prospect.  A spokesman for the Home Office was unavailable for comment.