Auntie Doris’s Book Club #7: The Great British Poets – Vol XVII: Mike O’Brien

advertMy nephew Michael had his 53rd birthday this week. Bless him. It only seems like half a century since he was a little lad sitting on my knee, and listening to what I had to say without any back chat or cheek. How ruddy times have changed. Any road, he celebrated his birthday by achieving two personal ambitions. First off, he got to meet one of his heroes, John Otway, “Rock and Roll’s Greatest Failure” and support him with his ruddy silly pop group, Pocketful O’Nowt. and second off, he published a book of his ruddy silly poems. Having said that, I know he is ruddy silly, but I am a bit proud of him an’all.

This book is a bit slim, but it does contain twenty of his poems, and an introduction by Professor Iain Duncan Norville, Chair of English Literature at the University of Wath upon Dearne. Some of the poems are old songs that he doesn’t do in his pop group any more. there is one where our michael dreams that he is David Bowie. (He always has his head in the clouds, dreaming he is ruddy famous, rather than getting any proper work done.) Here is a bit of  another one about Steve Peregrin Took, who used to play the bongos with Marc Bolan.

Steve Peregrin Took
Had a charming English hippie look
That English hippie lasses found appealing
When he travelled up and down the land
As the bongo man in Bolan’s band
He pulled more birds than Bolan did
And Bolan hit the ceiling

There are other poems which are just plain rude. One about a tramp who is a bit too excited in the trouser department, and one which describes the lovely east Riding of Yorkshire as smelling of something that has just fallen out of a cow’s arse.  Personally, I don’t hold with swearing, its not ruddy big, and its not ruddy clever.

So its a shame that Michael feels he has to resort to it. Because some of his poems are quite clever. like the one about the hog roast, where the hog has the last laugh, and the one about the smiling Victorians. My grandmother would have liked that one. My father would have agreed with this bit..

They say that a smile is like an ankle
or even a calf
That only someone close
Should be allowed to gaze upon it 
Not a thing to be photographed
And exposed to the stares of all and sundry

There’s a good one at the end too, “Anyone can Do It” which is clever, because it lets the secret out of the bag that its fairly easy to get yourself published… Here’s a bit of that one.

So the next time someone shows you
Their latest book you should
Resist the urge to be impressed
Unless its any good
Anyone can do it nowadays

I reckon that this poetry book of our Michael’s just about scrapes in as being “any good” You will probably laugh a bit as you are reading through the poems, and maybe you will remember the gist of one or two of them an’all.

You can buy it on Amazon. Our Michael has already bought thirty and is wondering what to do with the royalties. It is lavishly illustrated with old black and white drawings that he has pinched off the internet. It is also available as one of them Kindles books, but there are no pictures in that one, because he couldn’t work out how to upload them all without spoiling them, and besides, it would have made it more expensive for people to upload, or download, or whatever ruddy load it is when you buy one.

He tells me that if anybody does actually buy one because of reading this review, he will get me a bottle of Harvey’s Bristol Cream, but if he sells enough he will get me a Harvey’s Amontillado. I’m not sure I fancy Amontillado though, so don’t feel ruddy obliged to go mad. Your relatives would probably prefer it if you knited them something for Christmas.


Cordelia Bright and the Headless Orphans – Chapter 12 – All’s Well That Ends Well


The story so far. Cordelia Bright agreed to marry the wicked Sir Jasper De Jasper, but only to prevent him from closing down the St Justus home and sending the headless orphans to the workhouse. The miserable Sister Odium was angry and jealous. She was spurned and ridiculed by Sir Jasper when she suggested that she would be a more suitable bride for him. In the church, on the day of the wedding, just moments after Father O’Shaughnessey had pronounced Sir Jasper and Cordelia man and wife, Sir Jasper fell to the floor. Dead…

Father O’Shaugnessey gently lifted the dead man’s hand from his neck, gasped and crossed himself. Beneath it was a small dart, lodged in the jugular vein. Sir Jasper had been murdered!
The doors to the church were secured. No one was to enter or leave the building until the police arrived. When they did, in the form of inspector George Savales and two stout constables, everyone was searched thoroughly from head to toe. Apart from the orphans, who were only searched from the neck down. When the blowpipe and tin of darts was discovered in Sister Odium’s clutch bag, she was handcuffed and led away screaming that she was innocent and that she should have been the one marrying Sir Jasper, in a wild, almost incoherent manner. That the darts were of the same type as the one sticking from Sir Jasper’s neck was in no doubt. It would subsequently be discovered that their tips were coated in the same deadly poison. Then it would only be a matter of time before Sister Odium’s neck was violated. By the hangman’s noose!
But the death of Sir Jasper turned out to be a stroke of luck for the headless orphans in a more significant way than just being the cause of the removal of the despised sister. Happening as it had just moments after Cordelia became his wife, it meant that amongst his many other assets and interests, the St Justus Home became her legal property. Cordelia was now a widow woman of considerable means, and the future of the orphans lay in her fair hands.
The Orphanage would remain open. There would be no sludge processing factory, and no more lumpy porridge for the headless orphans. They would have nothing but the finest food and care. Perhaps some of the finest scientific minds in the realm could be induced to work upon finding a way to grow them fresh heads, with mouths and noses, hair, teeth and tongues, ears and eyes, lips to kiss, and cheeks to be kissed. The things that normal children took for granted, but that the inhabitants of the St Justus home could only dream of.
But all that was in the future. For now, six shaken headless orphans were led back home by Sister Blessed and Cordelia Bright and placed in the drawing room to play, whist dinner was prepared.
Matthew separated himself from the others, and locked himself into the lavatory. He sat on the closed seat, not bothering to remove his trousers at all. He tensed the muscles in his body, clenched his little fists and seemed to squeeze his flesh reddening with the effort. Slowly, as he wriggled and pushed, something began to emerge from the blowhole atop his neck. A thin, hollow cylinder. When it protruded by about an inch, he took it between his finger and thumb and plucked all six inches of it free, giving it a wipe on his jacket. It was a blowpipe, identical to the one that Sister Odium had taken from him in the church. He broke it into several pieces. He placed the pieces into the lavatory bowl, and he flushed them away. Forever!