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Persisting Like a Racehorse

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1. Silk on my knee.

The snail’s on the thorn,
the milk is on the doorstep,
I’m in my heaven –
I rise at 11 o’clock
and I go for a walk.

There is silk on my knee,
there is milk in the tea,
there’s a woman on a bike
as lovely as you like
and she sways in the breeze like a drunk and it’s one of those days.

The canal’s in the stickleback,
the ball’s on the cricket bat,
the chips are on the haddock,
the horse is in the paddock,
Oh doo-da day. It’s gonna to run all day.

Oh me lads, you should have seen us gannin,
Passing the folks along the road just as they were stannin
All the lads and lasses there, all wi smiling faces
Carrying on like racists.

The street’s in the house,
the church is in the mouse,
the plug’s in the socket,
there’s a coat in my pocket
full of tin. And my hat’s caved in.

The jockey is a dickhead, the favourite is knackered.
The government is in hospital.
I combed my hair, went to the fair,
I placed a bet and lost it all.
But there’s one thing I would like to say –
Today’s a national holiday
And the very best form of celebration
Is private, morbid contemplation.

The fun never stops!
There’s a robber in a shop,
there’s a robber and a cop
in a tracksuit top.
It’s just like Top of the Pops!

Horses for courses, dress for the occasion.
It’s a beautiful day to begin your dissertation.
There’s some news about some vandals smashing up the local station
And the Viking kings are whispering a plotting an invasion.

stick

2. The adoration of the magi.

There were three old shepherds –
Malcolm, Joe and Trevor.
They had a field in Yorkshire
and they had surveillance cameras on their sheep.

Mak was just a sheep thief –
He nicked a sheep on Friday.
He took it to his family
and said “we’ll have a party with this sheep”.

He downloaded some music –
he never paid a penny.
And he had a right good party,
with his wife, some wine, some music and the sheep.

Malcolm, Joe and Trevor,
when they saw the footage,
came up to his cottage
saying “where’s that sheep that you tucked in your Adidas bag?”

Mak said “there’s no sheeps here”.
The sheep was in a high-chair,
Dressed up like a baby.
“Well what’s that there?” “Well that’s my new-born son.”

The shepherd said “look sunshine,
you must think we’re braindead.”
And they brayed him in the garden
And they bounced him on a blanket. That was fun.

Then the angel phoned them
saying “There’s a new-born saviour.
He was born inside a manger.
Come over here and cop a load of this.”

They brought the new-born baby
tennis balls and chocolates,
and said “Alright kid, how’s it going?”
Then the baby bleated like a lamb.

When the baby bleated,
all the sheep were singing
‘Hark the Herald Angel Sing’
and “You’ll come waltzing Matilda with me.”

stick

3. Laughter in the sheepdip.

Like the sheep, the sheep my sweet
Your heart is in a heap.

There’s a beast, a beast among the sheep.
He eats them for his tea.

As grey as sleet, as sleet their fleece,
Your sheep are in a heap.

The sheep, the sheep all dance with glee
And dip themselves in tea.

stick

4. Kitchen sink.

The loaf in the bread-bin is one slice less,
there’s a filthy fingerprint in the butter.
My ornamental cutlery is in some distress.
I think that we have had a visitor.

There’s a stranger standing at the kitchen sink
but the kitchen sink does not look realistic.
Perhaps he’s wanting company, perhaps he wants a drink.
Do you think that I should offer him a biscuit?

What do you think? Do you reckon I can risk it?
Tap him on the shoulder and offer him a biscuit?
He said “I’ve heard about your troubles on the BBC.
My name is Alfed the Great but you ain’t seen me, alright?”

Well I don’t know, is he a fraud, is he a fake,
are his motives altogether altruistic?
He pulled down the blind and he set fire to the cake
and he sat down there and ate up all the biscuits.

He’s still sitting there with his finger in the oats,
so completely idiotic he’s beyond all reproach.
He said “I’ve heard about your troubles from watching ITV.
My name is Alfred the Great, but you ain’t seen me, alright?”

Horses for courses, dress for the occasion,
it’s a lovely afternoon to resume your dissertation.
There’s some news about a rich man buying out the TV station
and a light entertainer has been done for tax evasion.

stick

5. The lay-speaker.

My pocket hangs heavy with Hymns and Psalms
and charms from the girls at the Methodist school
who came here to teach for a year at a time
and then married some fellow from Hull.

They used very often to trip through my door (as it were)
but not so much any more.
But sometimes they write to me about matters of theology
and about the intellectual life of the poor.

Insisting “We Have an Anchor”…
The intellectual life of the poor.

My pocket hangs heavy with Hymns and Psalms
outside the Mason’s Arms, passing on advice.
“Go on strike if you like – and buy a chap a pint”
but me, I’ve not touched a drop for a decade or more.

I’m as dry as a bone – did you know the last time I drank
I was drinking alone. I’d been working abroad
where the girls wouldn’t tell me their names, but they came just the same
through the door to my room on the square.

And their hair would be black,
and their lips would be red,
and I would wake in my bed
and I would still be alone.

Going “We have an anchor”…
I would wake in my bed and I would still be alone.

I came home eventually, a scholar of divinity
and of the intellectual and sexual life of the absolutely destitute.

But my home has grown old, and my little chapel is cold,
and young people like you don’t come around much anymore.

So if you’re passing through, please come and say “how do you do?”
I will crawl out to meet you when you kick over my rock.

Did you know the strike came to nothing? Well what’s the point in writing?
when what I want is to look through the hole in your sock –

And see the hills around Jerusalem
and be sad as the devil,
and see the hills around Jerusalem
and be menaced by the devil.

Dad.
Dad.
Dad.
Dad.

stick
6. On Margate Sands.

There’s a whole group of them holed up in Margate
It’s not a legitimate military target.
There’s a whole group of them holed up in Margate
It’s not a legitimate military target.
They’re singing with madness and hunger they’re singing
With madness and hunger, they’re singing with madness
No-one seems to listen to me, no-one seems to listen
No-one seems to listen to me, no-one seems to listen.

There are people amongst us who want to kill us
There are people amongst us who want to kill us
Do you think it’s funny, do you? Do you think it’s funny?
Do you think it’s funny, do you? Do you think it’s funny?
There’s a whole group of them holed up in Margate
It’s not a legitimate military target.
They’re singing with madness and hunger they’re singing
With madness and hunger, they’re singing with madness.

Beer beef business bibles bulldogs battleships buggery bishops.

Weep, weep, silly silly sheep. Your dancing’s crap and your jokes are cheap.
You only cry ‘cos you’re in pain, but we cry ‘cos we’re trying to entertain.
We came by train, we came by bus, and this dirty old man says “you’re not one of us.”
We say “Who are you?” The old man spits, says “My name’s King Arthur, have you heard of it?”
And did those feet in ancient times wear Reeboks, 29.99?
And was the Holy lamb of God sent over here to steal your job?
Weep, weep, silly silly sheep. Your dancing’s crap and your jokes are cheap.
You only cry ‘cos you’re in pain, but we cry ‘cos we’re trying to entertain.

stick7. Valley Parade.

(we
are
sad
men)

It’s returned to give you what you’re after,
Grotesque camp and horrid laughter.
It’s honed its five minute plans
For them with short attention spans.
Suppose you had the best of times with the thoughtful kind.

It goes in and out of picture houses
Helps itself to information
There was no-one else invited
It’s so anti-social.
Hot air at the football ground is going round from lung to lung and wearing very thin.

It has turned its back on all its family
Just like in the Pilgrim’s Progress
It has saved up quite a fortune
But can sometimes be quite careless.
If you’re not careful, it will marry you against your will.

It inhabits all the business parks
That stand upon historic ground
Where several hundred years ago
One army fought another.
A young girl falls down in the street and her mouth is full of blood.

It appears in other people’s photos
Pink and violent in the corner
Like a ghost without its shirt on
Like a debt collector.
It gives its opinion freely on the local news.

It goes fishing by the River Calder
Sweeps its lunch out of the Humber
Asks what you’ll be when you’re older
And then pulls you under.
Did Mother Shipton mention what will happen to me?

Perhaps it’s going to ask you round for breakfast
And conduct a conversation
And then ask you awkward questions
And make notes on your behaviour.
But that’s unlikely because it dislikes everything.

stick
8. Why come ye not to court? (Song for Skelton Laureate)

Why come ye not to court?
Why come ye not to court?
I cannot come to court ‘cos I’m being fitted for a winter coat.

Why come ye not to court?
Why come ye not to court?
The court is like a ship of fools, that syphilitic cardinal.

Why come ye not to court?
Why come ye not to court?
I’d sooner exchange pleasantries with the local peasantry.

Why come ye not to court?
Why come ye not to court?
‘Cos I upset the cardinal, but it was nothing personal.

We’re in the court of the big boy ’Enry, where the courtiers are naughtier
He is a rude boy Tudor, he is crude, his crew are cruder.
They mince about and prance as if they hadn’t got no sense.
The boy-women are loitering, the fat men roister-doistering.
See the big fat beasts eating a feast, butchering a sweaty pig covered in grease,
And a couple of girls with their clothes hanging off – this will come to be known as “love”.

(Greensleeves was all my joy
Greensleeves was my delight
Greensleeves was my heart of gold
And who but my lady Greensleeves
)

Helter Skelton, Helter Skelton, Helter Skelton belting out abuse
His tongue’s so loose, his tongue’s so loose, hey Skelton Laureate, tell us the news.
The witless shit with enormous debts, his guts are in his forehead and he’s got bad breath.
The Rector of Diss with his poems like piss, he’s an ’orrible orator, he looks like a fish.
Helter Skelton, Helter Skelton, he was top of the pops until the wheels came off.
He’s got no fan club, he’s got no hair, no-one likes him, he don’t care.
When he gets to the bottom he goes back to the top of the slide
And stops and he turns and he goes for a ride, when he gets to the bottom he will see you again.
He was known for being rowdy at all the wrong parties with the worst of the Tudor literati.
Friends say it’s fine, friends says it’s good, everyone says it’s just like Robin Hood.
Helter Skelton, Helter Skelton, he’s not top of the pops, he’d better pull up his socks.
He’s got no fan club, got no hair, no-one likes him, he don’t care.
Helter Skelton, Helter Skelton, selling out his brother, done for telephone abuse,
Mind your Ps and Qs, keep your head out that noose, hey Skelton Laureate, tell us the news.

stick
9. Ponce.

Let’s be honest. You’re a mincing little poser
But I want you to take me now.
You’re a ponce with a perverted constitution,
But I would like you to take me at some point this evening.

You shit! You shit! You metrosexual shit!
You shit! You shit! You metrosexual shit!

You cosmopolitan little cad, your entire family’s mad.
You drink water and your horse drinks shandy.
Are you in a spot of bother? You fucker! You rotter!
Playing pocket billiards with a dandy…

You shit! You shit! You indefensible shit!
You shit! You shit! You indefensible shit!

You shit! You shit! You assymetrical shit!
You shit! You shit! You assymetrical shit!

stick10. Svengali’s off-day.

I am not quite a magician,
Or even a musician
Though I put many a tradesman on the stage.
I had them singing in a choir
Or dancing like a queer.
It put my bastard brother in a rage.

I am a pervert puppeteer, I don’t deny the fact.
I’ve been at it for three hundred years, and there’s only one time I regret.

Do you remember 2009?
That was not an easy time
For anyone with half an ounce of intellectual property.
And so it fell to me
To save the record industry
Though why anyone would want to is still a mystery to me.

I found a group of idiots singing in a pub
And I marched them up to the top of the hill and I lied and said their songs were good.

I asked them if they trusted me and paid them all a basic fee.
I told them if they gave their lives I’d ensure that they’d get three stars out of five in Eye Weekly and Now Magazine and…

They were such a set of simpletons, you should’ve seen them on the stage.
They had assumed that playing rock music was an interesting way for a human being to behave.

So it was 2009, everyone was having a good time
Listening to American music, all those pointless boys in bands, they were all mine.
And though it made me richer, and they mentioned me on Pitchfork,
I still cry at night when I recall all of the boring things that I have born.

And the children won’t stop dancing, I should have cut off all their feet.
There are fifteen nineteen-year-old men with beards just living on my street.

I still have hope for art, I can restore it back to life.
With a little hypnotism I still maintain a good opinion of my wife.
I still have hope for art, I can restore it back to health.
With a little effort I can still maintain a good opinion of myself.

stick11. Knobbly knees.

Me and my wife, we did alright,
’Til she caught me making silly telephone calls.
She went to her mum’s for a couple of months
Saying she needed some time to herself, that’s all.

I’ve heard that now she’s been going about
In a van with a tedious man with a tan.
So I follow them both up and down the east coast
To watch them at week-ends in holiday camps.

I don’t like to be beside the seaside.
I don’t like to be beside the sea.
Try to look inconspicuous, feeling ridiculous,
And my wife is wearing her new bikini.

I have an ice-cream, I have no-one sees me.
I’ve a range of disguises that I keep in my car.
But it’s all such a farce, sitting here on my arse,
Watching dolly-birds dancing from the edge of the bar.

Well you know how it goes – there’s karaoke, there’s magic shows.
And then comes the contest for knobbly knees.
Some dickhead with a lisp reads the names from the dickhead list
And the final contestant turns out to be me.

I don’t like to be beside the seaside.
I don’t like to be beside the sea.
When I hobble onstage with my knobbly knees –
Is that all that you remember about me?

My wife and this bloke were both in on the joke.
Her humour has grown crueler in her middle age.
The family’s all applaud me, my wife’s lover stands behind me,
With his big hairy wrists, fucking me on the stage.

I do not like it.

stick

12. Pierrot persists.

I re-arrange my objects nightly.
I cannot take the subject lightly.
A beautiful girl perhaps passed by me once or twice this week – that’s cheap.

But I know there’s no sound holier
Than the Portsmouth Sinfonia
I’m not lonely and I might never be lonelier than this. So I say:

An evening at home is a wonderful thing.
It makes me wish I could sing.
I would sing to everyone about everything.
I’d sing to my neighbour, sing that I’m a failure.

An early retirement,
No particular requirements.
A have-a-go-hero with no goes left to have. Just go.

A child with a sugar rush.
An old man with a schoolgirl crush.
A loiterer without portfolio.

And dressed as the Angel of Inspiration,
Florence Foster Jenkins sings the nation to sleep at night,
And white carnations rain from the skies and no-one dies or laughs.

The sky’s electric blue.
Well it isn’t very much, but it comes from you.
If you believe in yourself then you cannot do anything at all.

I persist.

An evening at home is a wonderful thing.
It makes me wish I could sing.
An evening alone is a beautiful thing.
It makes me wish I could.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. I.Y. permalink
    November 19, 2009 11:26 pm

    Who are you?

  2. November 20, 2009 4:21 am

    That’s a good question! The simplest answer is that I’m a person called Ross who lives in Toronto and makes mostly ignored records, under the name Idle Tigers.

  3. I.Y. permalink
    November 20, 2009 12:02 pm

    Ideal or Idle, dear?

  4. November 20, 2009 1:59 pm

    Me, my music, my records: Idle Tigers.
    The name of the blog: The Ideal Tiger.

    I should’ve realised that the closeness of the names would only cause confusion.

  5. I.Y. permalink
    November 20, 2009 3:05 pm

    Confusion is fine.

    Do you sometimes go to NYC?

  6. November 21, 2009 2:58 am

    I have no plans to go there at the moment, but who knows? If they’d have me…

    • I.Y. permalink
      November 27, 2009 11:03 am

      I shall try and go to Toronto, then.
      Love.
      x

  7. November 16, 2010 8:52 pm

    stainless kitchen sinks serves me better and they are stain resistant too ::’

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