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George Formby: Here’s Looking at Uke, Kid!

I wrote a piece about George Formby — master of the uke and Britain’s first pop star. Why not head over to Londnr.com to have a read. Go on — knock uke-self out! http://londnr.com/the-life-and-times-of-george-formby-britains-first-pop-star/.

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Image by Ian Taylor via Flickr.

We grew up on streets
lined with driveways and trees.
Quiet roads, pre-Bulger.
Often two cars per household.
Dad’s for work and family visits.
Mum’s little run-a-round
for the pop to shops to get milk and sliced bread.
Wholemeal, of course.

British. Suburban. Mostly white. Middle class.
Children of parents brought up on Lennon,
Dylan, Jagger, Atlee, Bevan –
Late Boomers advantaged with straps and supports,
sticks and incentives,
the Beveridge report.
Enriching themselves and their own bootlaces
in what would be known as the consensus of hand-outs.

Sometimes they couldn’t go the distance.
And if the explosion of acne weren’t terror enough,
many of us were forced into trial separations,
family counselling sessions,
endgames of bedsits down tight cul-de-sacs,
solicitor’s letters petty on the mat,
saying who would keep Peppers with the mint condition insert,
and the autographed copy of Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours”. …

Steve via Flickr.

He finds it most confusing in the evenings. At a corner where
reptile bridges
shoulder trains
snaking by
new-build pods chucked up for sleeping.
For commuters.
Some recent flood.

He sits in the once scratchy pub,
rubbing his fingers along its new smooth edge.
No longer filled with the same old team.
The hardened men, who after callused days
knocked back drinks, a tray or three. All cash in hand.
He hears echoes: ‘Taxes? Don’t make me laugh. I’ve earned it, haven’t I?’

He stares at the bridge and the trains and the flats.
At the shuffling terrace of revived houses with redundant chimneys.
At the herringbone pattern of repointed brick and defunct central planning.
At the rain-sagged roofs and railway arches colonised
by gourmet hot dogs and jack-fruit burgers. …


Bruno Diaz

Poetry, prose, research. “My father still reads the dictionary every day. He says your life depends on mastering words.”

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