Weekly Muse

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The Independent Culture

In black and white she stares from snaps.

The beehived early Beatles fan

Eats fish and chips, shares cigarettes

Scrawls John - with luv upon a van.

Now had she guessed what happens next

She might have kept the ticket stub

As frozen in the photograph

She waits beside the Cavern Club.

It's 36 years down the road

When Paul returns to Mathew St

Another player takes the breaks

A different drummer keeps the beat

And sadly in the shadows there

She taps her feet, remembers John

As Time, the heartless hooligan,

Eavesdrops outside, then passes on.

In a 13-hundredweight, long-wheelbase

Off-white, six-wheel Transit van,

I spent a large chunk of my youth

As part of a pop-stardom plan.

The poor old floor was chock-a-block

With fag-butts, bottles, God knows what.

I could elaborate on this

But... family paper. Better not.

For years the van conveyed our band

Our hopes, our dreams and all our gear

And even now, the memory

Can prompt a sentimental tear.

Imagine, then, my outrage when

I read the Transit van's been missed

From British Classics of Design

While lesser objects make the list

And thus it may not be displayed

Within the great Millennium Dome

This multi-purpose chariot/

Our passion wagon/home from home.

Instead, the things we get to see

Include: a baby spoon, some tiles

A waterbed for quadrupeds(!)

And postage stamps in several styles.

So, since the world is going mad

I'll pay this homage while I can

And if I die before my time

Bury my heart in a Transit van.

Mr Woodhead, Chris to me

Back on his favourite hobbyhorse

He blames boys' lack of literacy

On what? The teachers? But of course.

Not on their bonehead parents, peers

Or anyone you think he should.

No. The teachers must be slacking.

Get the cane out. Whack 'em good.

With regard to my own schooldays

Had a sketchy education.

Hardly right to blame my teachers

More a lack of concentration.

Reading matter was eclectic

Beano, Bunter, Orwell, Oz

See my essay on the subject:

"Literacy - the Way We Was".

A festive flu afflicts the Muse

And leaves her less than on-the-ball

But Swinging Saturnalia

And Merry Christmas to you all.