Turning down the Laureate job

When I was sixteen or seventeen I represented my district at cross country running. I wasn’t a great runner, sixth or seventh at best in our school event but no-one else liked cross country so, if you were willing you got in the team.  It was the same with football. I was obsessed with the game but never quite made the first eleven. I was less interested in rugby but they needed fifteen players so I squeaked in. The point is the Poet Laureate gig is taking on a similar slant. My best chance of making the cut is I’m not sure anyone else wants it.

Wendy Cope would be my choice for instance but she made clear last time she didn’t want to be considered and it’s unlikely she’ll change her mind. Given she labelled the  Laureate role ‘an ‘archaic post with ridiculous expectations attached to it’ they probably wouldn’t have her.  She did say the expectations didn’t come from the palace or from Whitehall but from public and the media but I imagine Her Majesty felt a little hurt anyway. Or perhaps she didn’t; I’m not sure whether she’s really a poetry fan or not.

Anyway, that was one would be Laureate who ruled herself out of the running.  Benjamin Zephaniah has been even more adamant, making clear that he has ‘absolutely no interest in the job’. He’d previously turned down an OBE and describes himself as ‘profoundly anti empire’. If that wasn’t clear enough he’s said, ‘I have absolutely no interest in this job. I won’t work for them. They oppress me, they upset me, and they are not worthy.’ So, he has a great CV but you suspect the job interview, should he turn up, wouldn’t go quite as well.

Jackie Kay is already doing the Scottish job and says the ‘Makar’ role (a sillier title still?) means she’ll be too busy. There’s a few who are up for it I’ll maybe write about another time but it starts to sound a bit like the Oscar Wilde thing where you wouldn’t want a Laureate who fancied the job. So maybe, just maybe there’s an outside chance for the likes of me as a sort of compromise candidate more interested in entertainment than high art.

Anyway watch this space for an update on Begging Your Pardon – Please Can I Be Laureate?’img_4799 hot off the presses soon.

 

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I’m Prime Minister, get me out of here!

I’ve had a fantastic idea for promoting my new book, ‘Begging Your Pardon – Please Can I Be Laureate?’

If you live in the U.K. you’ll be familiar with the TV show, ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’. The basic premise is a bunch of celebrities get dropped in the Australian jungle for three weeks and are required to carry out disgusting tasks involving snakes, rodents and creepy crawlies. The public get to vote on who gets sent home and the last one still in the jungle is the winner.

It’s usually populated by ‘celebrities’ desperate to be better known or who’s star is fading. Anyway this year’s show is already underway but they usually drop an additional ‘big name’ in when it’s been up and running a few days. There’s lots of speculation about who that might be but, as far as I can tell the gig is still up for grabs.

I figured it would be perfect for pushing ‘Begging Your Pardon’ with huge exposure on prime time television so I let it be known I’d be interested. I’m not a household name just yet but it shouldn’t be a problem because we usually have to google who the celebrities are anyway. A Wikipedia page would help of course. I haven’t got one of those yet but I’m hoping someone might be inspired to do one for me.

Anyway I approached the production company but; and this is strictly hush hush, they’ve approached our Prime Minister Theresa May. She’s tempted apparently. She figures dealing with a den of vipers and various creepy crawlies might be a more attractive prospect than dealing with Cabinet and Her parliamentary colleagues.

So I might have to think of some other way to promote the book. I pity really because a poet appearing on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here would do more to promote the poetry scene in this country than any number of stuffy articles in the Guardian.

Meanwhile I’ve a great plan for bringI guess everyone together and healing recent divisions. I reckon, if I write about the bright future beckoning the country after Brexit, half the country will lap it up and the other half will think I’m being ironic. Something for everyone – can’t fail.

How the UK’s next Poet Laureate will be selected.

I have to be honest with you, I thought it would simply be a matter of popping round for a chat with Her Majesty and explaining that I’d be the perfect choice;  on account of writing a lot and living quite near the Castle. It seems that’s not enough! Quite a complicated process in fact.

As far as I understand Jeremy Wright, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is running the process and Her Majesty doesn’t get much of a look in. Seems very unfair to me.  She wants someone who’s handy and willing to knock something out for family occasions but the political choices are often a bit full of themselves and think jolly rhymes that cheer us all up are a bit beneath them.

Anyway there will be an advisory panel to help Jeremy whatnot, assuming he hasn’t resigned over the Brexit business or been moved on.  The panel will made up of experts from across the regions and nations of the UK. Important dignitaries like the founder of the Bradford Literature Festival. There will be representatives from the British Council, Arts Council England and Arts Council Northern Ireland, the Royal Society of Literature, Scottish Poetry Library, Literature Wales, The Poetry Society, Forward Arts Foundation, British Library and Poetry Book Society are also included in the pan

A formal announcement is expected to be made in May 2019 when we’ll get to know who’ll be doing the job for the next ten years. Hopefully that’ll give me time to jog Her Majesty’s memory and remind her of my offer.

I’m publishing my new book Begging Your Pardon : Please Can I Be Laureate before Christmas so she’ll have a chance to see what I can do.5A92A381-9187-4FE9-B085-B92B8B752DBC

 

 

Begging Your Pardon

5BDFD72F-DE0C-40AC-86D5-0C8EC73F09CFJust when I’d given up and all seemed lost I hear Carol Ann Duffy is nearing the end of her stint and the Poet Laureate job is up for grabs again.

Some of you will know I live near Her Majesty and have offered more than once to help out but so far my offer to knock out verse for all the big occasions has fallen on deaf ears.  I do my bit from time to time but, up to now, without recognition. I’ve offered to drop round to the Castle for an interview but have still not heard anything.

Anyway it seems Carol Ann Duffy’s ten year stint is coming to an end and they need a new Laureate. They’ve started to take suggestions and a new appointment will be announced in May.

It’s a well known fact that the best known poets all turn it down but I’m willing and, current low spirits aside, churn verse out almost daily. So coming up with the odd one for Her Majesty would be no problem at all.

I’d already decided to give it one more shot when the exciting news emerged the Carol Ann will soon be winding down. Fortunately I have a new book in the pipeline re-emphasising my interest and setting out my credentials.

I’m excited to announce that, ‘Begging Your Pardon: Please Can I Be Laureate?’ will be released on Amazon soon. Sign up to Andrew Green’s poems and I’ll be sure to keep you posted!

The day we met William and Harry

 

2641AE12-A4C1-40FE-AC85-46C95B7C6885The day we met William and Harry

They came to the end of our road.

Datchet was under water

The Thames was in full flood.

 

We’d water in the high street

We’d water in our house

The Press were on every corner

And the army had been sent out.

 

The next thing we knew

The royals waded in

Helping with sandbag walls.

Harry and William they were both there

There at the end of our road.

 

Harry was in with the soldiers

Laughing and one of the lads

William apart and quieter

When they paused

From their chosen task.

 

I joined the line

Threw them sandbags

Even shook Williams hand.

They were decent lads

I liked them

Though life has set them

Apart.

Royal Superfans

Royal Superfans - Harry and Meghan's Royal Wedding.
Royal superfans preparing for Harry and Meghan’s Wedding.

And now they’ll come; the sycophants

In silly hats and draped with flags

Sleeping out for several nights

To save their place on Windsor streets.

 

They take it all a bit too far

We’re half amused yet half appalled

To view the strange exotic hoards

That gather now round Windsor’s walls.

 

We’re local, we’ll go. We’ll  line the streets

To catch the buzz, the grand parade,

The marching bands, the passing waves

But we won’t go wild like such as these.

 

It’s history, tradition it’s what we do

It’s part of what makes us who we are.

But keep it all in sane proportion.

You’re overboard, you go too far.

 

We know it’s eccentric, slightly wrong

But like it enough to carry on.

The royals are trapped as much as us

We’ll party on but please, no fuss.

 

Royal Superfans, Windsor Castle, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Wedding.
Two days to go but the royal superfans are already in place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poem for the Royal Wedding

182020D2-ABD1-4BF5-AAD6-B117F3783ED8

It’s three cheers for Harry,

And three cheers for Meghan

Forget about the national state

And celebrate a wedding.

 

Everything’s red, blue and white

Church bells are a-ringing

Everyone is on the street

And all the choirs are singing.

 

Got no time for grumpy folk

We’re overdue a party

Happy tears run down our cheeks

Our cheers are loud and hearty.

 

Politicians all poe-faced

None of them invited

Not been much to shout about

But now we’re all excited.

 

Meghan is a clever girl

Seen her on the telly

Bound to shake things up a bit

And add a bit of welly.

 

William is the one day king

Lesser role for Harry

But he’s found a super bride

He’s no need to worry.

 

Carriage round the Windsor streets

When will they get started?

Band strikes up a marching tune

Couple have departed.

 

Dad is anxious, checks his watch

Glad it’s finally started

Catch the footie on the box

Once the crowds have parted.

 

Harry had a hard time

Now his life looks better

Found a girl who suited him

He’s a lucky beggar.

 

Waspy women from the shires,

Their disappointed daughters

Harry picked a royal bride

From across the water.

 

It’s three cheers from loyal throats

It’s three cheers for Meghan

We all think the Prince deserves

A little slice of heaven.

 

It’s no go the politics

It’s no go the future

All we wants a good day out

And focus on the couture.

 

Enjoy the party while you can

Enjoy the party poppet

Forget what’s coming down the line

There is no way to stop it.

 

We all fell out; we don’t agree

The nation is divided

Today we choose to celebrate

And carefully avoid it.

 

So catch a smile from Harry there

And catch a wave from Meghan

Soldiers in their bright red coats,

A-marching to the wedding.

 

Britain’s got it’s heritage

Our history is behind us.

Days like this we still do well

Against the odds they bind us.

 

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