Monthly Archives: December 2009

A bit of a slip

After a nightmare weekend of snow and ice, following more than 120 people admitted to A&E in Worthing after falling on ungritted pavements, this poem is dedicated to the local council – who fell flat on their faces ….

Slip sliding away
sang Paul Simon
Who was not, as it happens,
talking about snow
and ice and slush
and how local councils
take our money
and then don’t grit
the pavements.

He was, however,
lyrical and precise
and harmonious
like weather that chimes
so much with the
season it seems
custom designed.

Skating away
on the thin ice of a new day
sang Jethro Tull,
although as Ian Anderson
said from the stage
recently
the lyric has turned out
in retrospect
to be complete cobblers

Based as it was on the
theory that we were about
to enter the next ice age.
Mind you, if local councils
believed that
we might at least
get enough grit
to stay upright.
And certain councillors
would be worth
their salt.

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I thought I was going to explode

As the small child with eyes wide saw the presents awaiting
I thought I was going to explode

As the magi with star sat-nav seeking a king
I thought I was going to explode

As department store Santa all vetted and padded
I thought I was going to explode

As a girl giving birth to the fulcrum of history
I thought I was going to explode

As the glutton with a feast stuffed in my quivering belly
I thought I was going to explode

As a shepherd with angels trumpeting across the sky
I thought I was going to explode

As the muzak jingles on and strips out all the meaning
I thought I was going to explode

On patrol in Helmand province one step from a bomber
I’m just hoping to be home for Christmas

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Festive

This has been written for the Christmas poetry gathering at Worthing Library on Friday 11 December 12 noon …

Festive
Festive digestive
A biscuit with a seasonal theme
An olfactory Pandora’s box
A sweet-toothed boy’s dream …
… but not a custard cream

Festive
Festive yet overly suggestive
The cheap and tacky Christmas card
That tries to be funny but tries too hard
Words certainly not penned by a bard
(the exclamation mark is a hint – you’re meant to laugh at this bit …)
Don’t give it to auntie, you’ll leave her scarred

Festive
Festive but … arrested
The office party dressed as Santa’s elf
The seasonal pub crawl arranged by stealth
‘Go on – it’s Christmas!’ ‘ But it’s bad for me health …’
Honest officer, I didn’t think it would break …
Now I didn’t think celebrations would cripple me wealth

Festive
Festivity nativity
The biggest star in the universe
For the biggest birth in the universe
The celebrations go on for weeks
But the birthday boy often gets forgotten

So here it is merry Christmas everybody’s havin’ fun
‘Doctor, I’m suffering from overload on an empty commercial beanfeast
that seems to have forgotten what it’s for’
‘A simple diagnosis – you’re suffering from tinselitis’

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Hammersmith Apollo: Delirious – the final gig

Hammersmith Apollo: Delirious (+ The Cutting Edge Band)

Part of the spectacular lights and backdrop show

It’s hard to overestimate the impact that Littlehampton band Delirious have had on at least a couple of generations of young Christians.

From the early days of The Cutting Edge Band, excitedly heading up a growing youth event in a sleepy Sussex coastal town, to the days of high profile, high impact gigs at Wembley, Willow Creek, Greenbelt, top UK venues and packed stadiums around the world, the band have always had hearts for God, and a strong sense of community.

So it was fitting that the final gig at the Hammersmith Apollo last night felt like a family gathering. Albeit with a storming lights show and a crowd of 5000 packed in.

Kicking off as The Cutting Edge Band, it was the early to mid Nineties incarnate as the d: boys revisited their early back catalogue, bassist Jon Thatcher sporting what looked like a Beatles moptop wig. It was great to hear classics I Could Sing of Your Love Forever, Did You Hear The Mountains Tremble?, I’m Not Ashamed (of the Gospel), I’ve Found Jesus and Thank You For Saving Me again, with a number long established as standards in many churches.

There was even an exhilirating outing for perennial Cutting Edge Band favourite The Happy Song, a country stomp that the band had apparently sworn they’d never play live again. It had the whole place bouncing.

For the second part of the show, as Delirious, the band hopped from album to album, plundering classic live tracks along with memorable singles, and several changes of stage attire.

It was a reminder of the sheer quantity of memorable songs the band have delivered over the years, from modern worship songs like Majesty, My Glorious and Jesus’ Blood to indie anthems Rain Down, Solid Rock and Paint the Town Red. Rock gig or passionate worship gathering? As ever with Delirious, it was both.

It was great to hear King of Fools again, with Stu G delivering the bluesy refrain on a guitar “as old as my mum – and it’s great to have them both here tonight”. Martin Smith delivered a heart-stopping version of It’s OK, another reminder of a man who combines a great voice with real songwriter’s craft.

While drummer Paul Evans, keyboard maestro Tim Jupp and bassist Jon Thatcher kept a bit more in the background and let Martin and Stu G get on with the showmanship, they put in fantastic performances – testament to what a tight and punchy live band Delirious have become with the years of touring.

Much loved former drummer Stew Smith also put in a guest appearance to team up with Paul Evans on a blistering version of Investigate. Other highlights included cracking takes on Deeper and Historymakers, Martin in white cape and crown for a timely reminder of the spiritual poverty of materialism with King of Comfort, and a straight voiced rendition of the Lord’s Prayer – not a regular chorus for the Apollo, one suspects.

Thank yous were effusive, the Delirious daughters appeared on stage a couple of times for energetic dance workouts and all the families came on at the end of the final encore, a heartfelt My Soul Sings (“this is what we do when we run out of words” said Martin).

Video clips reminded us of the band’s history, and on screen goodbyes came from each band member. Martin’s reminded the audience “it’s over to you now” backing up his words from the stage: “it’s always been about you rather than us”.

Monty Python’s Always Look on the Bright Side of Life boomed cheerily out from the PA as we filed out.

An end of an era – but what a legacy. The dancers who dance upon injustice have only just begun …

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Live poetry set at The Upmarket, Worthing 29/11/09

Featuring a lot of recent poems from this blog, this was recorded for the legendary Vobes podcast, presented by Richard Vobes, usually from his Worthing beach hut, but this time as part of Empty Shops Radio …esr-russ-live

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