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Saturday, 29 November 2014

My Heroes (40): Roger McGough

I went recently, with my younger daughter, Laura, to hear the Liverpool poet Roger McGough reading works from his long career. In the 1960's he used to be in the band Scaffold with Paul McCartney's brother, Mike.
It was in our local library with a small audience and it was a very entertaining evening, both funny and moving by turns. I bought a few books and told him that the last one of his that I bought was as a teenager - many years ago. He looked at me over the top of his glasses with mock horror! He still has an element of that Liverpool wit, long associated with The Beatles.
Roger McGough now.....

....and then, left.
Here are a few of his poems to enjoy:

God bless all policemen
and fighters of crime,
May thieves go to jail 
for a very long time. 
They've had a hard day
helping clean up the town,
Now they hang from the mantelpiece
both upside down. 
A glass of warm blood
and then straight up the stairs,
Batman and Robin
are saying their prayers. 
* * *
They've locked all the doors
and they've put out the bat,
Put on their batjamas
(They like doing that) 
They've filled their batwater-bottles
made their batbeds,
With two springy battresses
for sleepy batheads. 
They're closing red eyes
and they're counting black sheep,
Batman and Robin
are falling asleep.
We're the Mafia cats
Bugsy, Franco and Toni
We're crazy for pizza
With hot pepperoni
We run all the rackets
From gambling to vice
On St Valentine's Day
We massacre mice
We always wear shades
To show that we're meanies
Big hats and sharp suits
And drive Lamborghinis
We're the Mafia cats
Bugsy, Franco and Toni
Love Sicilian wine
And cheese macaroni
But we have a secret
(And if you dare tell
You'll end up with the kitten 
At the bottom of the well
Or covered in concrete
And thrown into the deep
For this is one secret
You really must keep.)
We're the Cosa Nostra
Run the scams and the fiddles
But at home we are
Mopsy, Ginger and Tiddles

Lastly, to show that there can be depth as well as humour.....
I explain quietly. You
hear me shouting. You
try a new tack. I
feel old wounds reopen.

You see both sides. I
see your blinkers. I
am placatory. You
sense a new selfishness.

I am a dove. You
recognize the hawk. You
offer an olive branch. I
feel the thorns.

You bleed. I
see crocodile tears. I
withdraw. You
reel from the impact. 
Continuing my new experiment of naming the music I am listening to while posting or commenting - right now it's: Dissatisfied Blues by Brownie McGhee. Listen on You Tube:


Dixie@dcrelief said...

Hi Bazza. I recently read a bit of his biography. It had to do with something called the beat poetry and beat music. It was interesting to read all the names of re-known poets and writers involved in that time span.
I didn't realize Mike McGear was Mike McCartney - interesting.
That had to have been a special treat for you! His work is what I call the "comedy and tragedy" of poetry.

bazza said...

Hi Dixie. Some of these poets were like pop stars at that time. And, of course, for a while McGough was a pop star! Mike McGear didn't play the family card - to his credit.
Have a great weekend.

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

Surely this is a site well worth seeing.

bazza said...

Thanks for visiting Jerry.

David said...

Hi bazza,
I have an old copy of "The Mersey Sound", a collection of McGough's poems together with those of Adrian Henri and Brian Patten. I got it while I was at university where I had an English lecturer who absolutely loathed that particular collection of poems! I, however, am a little more amenable to McGough's brand of wit and wisdom!
Very Best Wishes,

All Consuming said...

Great choices, I like him too. Here's my addition from him;


She is so beguiling
That when she beckons
I can run a mile
In twenty seconds.

bazza said...

Hi David. I think that, because of the 'popular culture' tag, there was a lot of snobbery about that collection of poems but in many cases (including myself) it was a first introduction to accessible poetry. For me it has remained a life-long pleasure. Although seen as a wit McGough is capable of incisive insight and razor-sharp humour.
It's always a pleasure to hear from you David.

bazza said...

AC: Isn't that just a little gem!
Those kind of short verses are very difficult to write with that kind of punch - good choice!

Sherry Ellis said...

Goodbat Nightman is a catchy title!

bazza said...

Hi sherry. Yes, and a very funny poem!

Dixie@dcrelief said...

Just stopped by to thank you for your comment. I'm not breaking after all. I let someone get in my hair and realized it's a waste of energy to sweat other people's stuff. It's my space and I'll write what I want.
You wouldn't think after 8 years of blogging I'd wouldn't let someone tick me off enough to spin my head. Ha! Live and learn.
Thanks Bazza!

bazza said...

That sounds very positive Dixie! Thanks for responding.

Gloria Baker said...

I love your bloh.many interesting things!
Love these poems.

bazza said...

Than you Gloria. The chicken and veg tart looks delicious!

Jenny Woolf said...

Great poems. I'd heard of him but never read anything by him.

bazza said...

Hi Jenny. He's worth seeking out if only for the laughs!