We love the English, Irish
Scottish and Welsh
but not the Briton
Trevor the Tramp
Carol Anne Duffy is a much cannier choice for Poet Laureate of Britain than the previous incumbent.
A red brick gal, more or less polytechnic class, who knows how to parry and jab; how to stick the stilleto in and make herself the centre of things with a few choice words her supporters in the press, eager to publish any of her musings and goo themselves silly over no matter what the quality - will hotline to the front page.
Once the tories get in and Duffy's no longer in a scenario of having to go head to head with her natural political pals, she may well prove herself a potent weapon. A realist - unlike Motion who we can legitimately suspect really fancied the royal bit - Duffy looks like she (hopefully) couldn't give a hoot about all that, and so could use the position to achieve her political thrills, whilst also elevating her own selling power sky high.
It's like the Kate Moss cocaine picture furore, the more outspoken she is, the more success she'll draw. So instead of going for the unobtainable removal of the monarchy from politics, she'll limit herself (i am guessing) to sticking the boot into the freshly scrubbed toffs of the all male tory cabinet, and all they'll have to defend them is Boris. Heady days ahead, and fair play to her.
She is the type of talent to make a man go dizzy with envy, but at the end of it all, a straight goer, and potentially one of the best ever. She has the passion for it, i suspect and being an honorary sister myself, committed to the Feminist cause, i will be rooting for her to do the smug tory automatics whose version of England and Britain will be far removed from Duffy's, who for all her weaknesses in the past, of CBE and OBE, in the long-game, could prove to be the biggest noise yet.
Being human and a mass of contradicting and polysemic realities all vying for expression in an age where distraction and ephemera, the one minute of fame telescoped into a bewildering array of format and potential which can spin one's focus dizzy and lead to poetic shallows more than the depths -- I was a victim and perpetrator of prejudice against this talented poet.
I fell prey to behaving in the very same way we rail against as self-appointed moral guardians of our fellow humanity, and it was only on hearing her speak this weekend that the appallingly sloppy and misinformed manner i had exhibited in relation to her, fully hit home.
Until then, I had decided on the basis of ignorance and jealousy, to cast her as a wicked witch, based on nought but double standards, heresay and the tittle tattle of commentators with a comedic bent, swimming in seas of misanthropy and sexism dressed up as the gauche longueur of world weary Larkinesque figures who claim verbal ability can legitimise what harm their self-expression may cause, seeking to negate any psychological impact by excusing it through their wholly male genius.
I had damned her on the basis of gender and talent, attempting to disguise it as something noble and in the public interest to rant against her poetry, on the simple basis of begrudgery. But her appointement set me free and brought into focus the similarities, comedically outweighing any miniscule differences my theoretical speculative discourse aiming to demob the house of Windsor might effect in existential reality. A shouter on the boards, unheard and ignored until the truer note appeared, slowly emerging and finally freeing into song on the appointment of the new laureate.
Reading back the po-faced pose of the narrator/s in those experimental apprentice works of prose, I see them now for what they are - the seperating of substance from what is soulless and unworking. A different route, wholly new, understandably so, the online method of practice for the purpose of poetic attainment being an impossible reality prior to Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau creating a world wide web reality out of thin air 20 years ago.
Duffy's appointment is a good day for Poetry.
She is just like me, a private person with a clear poetic focus and desire to spread the gospel in order to materially improve the inward and outward lives of they for whom poetry is capable of doing so.
She started out, like me, at Liverpool's Dead Good Poets, in the Everyman Playhouse Bistro basement. Bestrode the same floor, saw the same faces, cut her creative teeth in the same no-frills plain speaking scouse milleau where humanity and horror, comedy and heartbreak founded the local culture there. The one place in Britain where soccer is the sole religion, all there was and is to cleave to when everything else fell away and poverty forced people to pool together in communal bond.
The Liverpool Echo is the voice of the city, and poems appear there sincerely written on the death of loved ones, which the more sophisticated, better spoken, will openly snigger and dismiss as being not pukker English, as though the English *we* is but seven or so people in the South East whose speaking voice cuts the air with inbred class. By comparison, scousers have the hardest uphill fight to verbal gravity, because they have so many strikes against them from birth. Born in Toxteth or one of the identikit swathe of project housing, the city's inhabitants are overwhelmingly working class, a deep substrata and cultural flux on which the sing-song mix of Lancashire Welsh and Irish, combine into the uniquely Liverpool accent whose borders are firmly fixed, ending at Maghul in the North, Halewood to the South and Prescot in the East.
A strictly defined band beyond which accent marks one out as wollyback outsider, the unmistakeable voice itself proof of status, belonging, religion and cult of being a scouser. A hard tough, lovable place with planetary potential for any artist working in the area of social change by words orated in a musical grace that is very difficult to imitate convincingly, and still to this day, a long and double edged shadow of the Fab Four hanging o'er any prospective balladeer and songsmith, poet and person seeking to inhabit that space the mop tops got by natural wit and ability to connect.
Liverpool's too small and even its poets have these four to thank for what happened to them. The centre of gravity there makes it difficult to break away into one's own note and only now, nearly fifty years hence, does a dreamy bluffer stand any chance of
wearing a different brand of rainement. Ditch the curly wig and lightwight nasal yer know there lah abhorrence middle class comedians foisted on the city before their routine of cod-socialist imposters proved exactly that. Elton and Enfield no more for the people of Liverpool than Motion will be rapping with Tupac.
Up the republic of Poetry !