Lockdown Locks…

I have been drawing cartoons recently, so I will leave it to creative partner David Smith to supply the verse this time.

Lovely2CU

Not sure which came first, Peppy’s picture or my song/verse, but there’s a good chance the same news report fired both our imaginations simultaneously. Great minds think alike, they say, and given the amount of times Peppy and I have found ourselves working on the same themes so too do lesser ones. Anyhoo, I have nicked Peppy’s cartoon from this week’s Times of Tunbridge Wells to illustrate my verse. Hem hem…

Lockdown Hair 

Got lockdown hair and I just don’t care
It looks real messy but I’m going nowhere
The pubs are open but I’ll stay right here
It’s too much hassle for a pint of beer

Got lockdown hair and I just don’t care
Got a big back garden and a folding chair
The barbie’s going and there’s ribs to spare
And I’m sitting here drinking in my underwear

Got lockdown hair and I just don’t care
When I…

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The Best Laid Plans…

It’s strange to think we ever had plans at all, but this is what we had planned for this evening…

Lovely2CU

Hello chums! How are you all enjoying isolation? Yes, me too…

This weekend, had coronavirus not happened, would have seen myself and regular co-conspirator Peppy Scott (aka Pam Flitt) up to our wossnames in the Tunbridge Wells Poetry Festival. Of course the whole kit and caboodle was cancelled, as was our ‘Voices‘ open mic contribution, ‘The Pam Slam Grand Slam’: a celebration of comedy and light verse loosely structured around the conceit of a poetry slam ‘in the style of Pam Ayres’.

That, had it happened, would have happened this very evening at The Tunbridge Wells Forum, and would have featured the little skit posted below in animated form, as performed by Voices regulars David Barry, Harry Barden and Sue Marlow. Actually, they’re credited ‘from left to right’ on the video, so let’s go right to left for a change: as performed by Voices regulars Sue Marlow…

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Just Words

We watch the daily coronavirus press briefing from Number Ten in order to hear the official line before it has been interpreted by journalists and commentators. It is becoming like the weather forecast: same format every day, same catch phrases (‘flattening the curve’ instead of ‘spits and spots of rain’), and before you know it you have zoned out and not taken in any of the information at all.

For my own amusement and skill development, and to share in our Virtual Voices online open mic group on Facebook (come and join us!), I made a short video inspired by the briefings. It is humorous in intent, and I suppose kind of a poem. I can’t share the video here, but the chart gives an idea of the wordplay involved. If nothing else, the lockdown has allowed time and space for the mind to wander.

Stay well, and as sane as you like to be. x

PandemicSemanticsChart

 

Uncharted Territory

I am struck by the paradox of uncharted territory feeling like Groundhog Day – could it be the way it’s reported…?

In these unprecedented times
unprecedented scenes unfold,
unprecedented measures needed
if we’re to survive, we’re told.
Unprecedented isolation
now imposed on all of us,
unprecedentedly our nation
keeps the rules without a fuss.
The price of oil on global markets
hits unprecedented lows
while, at unprecedented rates,
the unemployment figure grows.
For charity, an old man raises
an unprecedented sum
while, quite without a precedent,
a president keeps acting dumb.
How should we describe this threat
that feels like a new kind of war?
What the press needs is a word
that no-one’s ever heard before.

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House Arrest

There was mention again on this morning’s news of the current lockdown stretching beyond just a few months for the elderly. Not so long ago we were having our awareness raised about the problem of loneliness among that demographic. We just can’t seem to do balance, can we?

Dear Mum,

We’re placing you under house arrest
And there you’ll have to stay –
It may be weeks or months or years
We keep you locked away.

We’re placing you under house arrest,
You’re safer, that’s our guess –
You, who care for your own health
To spare the NHS.

We’re placing you under house arrest
To face this test alone –
We’ll keep our distance in our homes
But once a day we’ll phone.

We’re placing you under house arrest,
It’s best for you, you see –
You, who dug for victory
So our lives could be free.

Front Door

Rules and Freedoms

How are you getting through lockdown? When I turn on the news I feel guilty about how much I am enjoying it. I am grateful to be one of the lucky ones with a house and garden, open spaces close by, and a family I can live with. I feel a bit useless, really, not being ‘key’ in any way, but I am sticking to the rules and finding, along with many others, that they open up a fair bit of creative space.

The one disappointment, for me, has been the cancellation or postponement of a number of performance events that we had lined up. Not to be deterred, however, we have opened up an online Voices open mic as a Facebook group, so if you are a writer/performer who has something to share, do join in! We favour original words whether spoken or sung, and we generally find that a bit of humour helps. Click on this image for the link –

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Meanwhile, at home (saving lives, etc) I set myself some fairly fluid daily goals –

1. Do something that can be described as domestic work (I sometimes let this one slip…)

Teenage_Bedroom

2. Do something that can be described as gardening
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3. Do something that can be described as cooking

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4. Do something that can be described as creative

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5. Do something that can be described as going for a walk

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6. Drink a glass of wine.  (This last one is not a rule, it just seems to happen.)

Cheers! And stay well x

 

Self-preservation

We’re looking forward to self-isolation.
We’ve cancelled all our plans and blitzed the shops.
We’re ready for the rest and relaxation
we’ll enjoy when all the preparation stops.
The wine rack now is full to overflowing;
it’s difficult to shut the freezer door.
We’ll binge on Netflix, everything they’re showing,
while wearing masks, in case, like in the war.

I’m trying to avoid the next-door neighbour,
who took a recent trip to South Korea:
I wish the bloke would do us all a favour
and stay away, not breathe the air round here.
Brian hopes it won’t affect the rugger,
though I am quietly praying that it will –
the thought of watching sport with that old bugger
while stuck indoors all day is not a thrill.

Our plans and preparations are all made.
We’re ready now to isolate ourselves –
though maybe we should make just one more raid
to strip the local supermarket shelves
of loo roll, Paracetamol and soap,
to do as the authorities require us.
We’re quite all right now, Jack! We only hope
the postman doesn’t have the bloody virus.

Stockpiling

The Flames of Protest

I couldn’t resist a little gentle social satire in response to the government announcement that wood burners are to be criminalised. What? They’re not? Oh, well THAT spoils the joke…

The Flames of Protest

I’m not the type who likes to preach
But wellness is a creed I teach:
Health of body, health of spirit,
Health of mind and health of planet.

I’m virtually vegan now,
Or near as dammit, anyhow.
It really is the way to go –
My yoga teacher told me so.

Alcohol is in the past.
Two days out of five we fast.
Glowing from our latest purge,
We rise above each baser urge.

I’ve ditched the coffee and PG,
My body now is toxin-free,
So, fizzing with new energy,
I read the news and sip green tea.

There’s talk of cleaning up the air –
A cause for which I deeply care –
Now that our polluted breath
Is the fourth highest cause of death,

And so the time for change is here.
I feel like I’m a pioneer!
Each of us must take a hit,
And we already do our bit –

Recycling with a fine precision,
Shunning plastic’s our religion.
At the checkout I throw back
The products that are over-packed.

We’ve stepped our flying down a gear –
We just jet off three times a year:
Half-term ski trip, summer sun,
New York shops – like everyone.

We’ve switched to a much cleaner car,
But now, I fear, they’ve gone too far:
The government has set its sight
On burning wood – that can’t be right!

It’s not just that we like the style
Of tiled hearths in our Georgian pile,
We need log fires to fight the chill
And stop us all from falling ill.

That’s the drawback if, like me,
You boast a listed property.
I can’t help feeling victimised,
In fact, I’m rather traumatised.

I think I’ll have to make a fuss.
It’s just not fair to those of us
Whose draughty homes lack insulation,
Truly – it’s discrimination!

If they won’t heed my rants and wails
I’ll chain myself up to the rails,
Or head off for the nearest course
And hurl myself beneath a horse.

I said it when that Mr Gove
First threatened my wood burning stove,
And now that dictatorial swarm
Will ban my means of keeping warm

I’ll march against a government
That metes out such mean punishment
Against the home fires’ friendly smoke
Of decent, law-abiding folk.

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Off The Wagon

This is by way of a thank you to those who offered me encouragement through Dry January. As much as an experiment into the physical and social effects of giving up alcohol for a month, I approached it as a New Year quick drawing/writing challenge with the intention to be self-mocking. Dry January is, after all, egotistical and rather ridiculous.

The final analysis? Absolute abstinence is too extreme a position for me to take for any length of time but I did enjoy certain benefits, so I will sum up the experiment’s conclusions in a cartoon.

Peppy_Dry_January_Analysis