I haven’t written much lately, owing to a slice of unexpectedly devastating news which I might write more about in future posts. If I don’t lose the will to live first.
However, something happened last night which nearly got me chortling. Yes, I was half-cheered when half-watching a television programme celebrating a seventieth anniversary. Suddenly, Lulu popped up, sitting on a sofa in a posture resembling someone riding side-saddle, and with a mix of somewhere America and Scottish brogue, said this: “… when the Queen was coronated” (sic)!
My two loyal readers and my troll may recall my dissing of Lulu in previous posts, but in a night of beacons she threw some light on my gloom with an unwitting statement of hilariousness. So I thank her for that, because it’s true, I really wanted to laugh. My body was convulsing with repressed joy. I was dying for a pee, and my legs, well I was ‘platinum’ (sic)!
Talking of wordplay, I was recently commissioned to write a poem for a media event in London. The brief was to come up with something to prove that television was, is, and will be the medium of the future. The idea was to form a pastiche of the beautiful poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling, in which the narrator talks to his daughter about the delights of their shared TV moments and the prospect of her carving a future career in the industry. So this is what I came up with:
“If and When” a tribute by Mark Bickerton
If just one thing gives definition
To celebration of times we had
You on my knee, the television
to Watch with Mother, and ‘course with dad.
You never knew the ads for Tizer
You won’t remember black and white
You only know HD providers
Of You’ve been Tango’d, Heirs of the Night……
If we think of things we love together:
Drama, docs, news distribution,
CBBCs, and what’s the weather?
Attenborough, an institution…
If the world has a window to be trusted
A vital source of information –
Liars exposed and Putin busted –
We look to Peston to tell the nation.
If phones are off and dinner’s swallowed
What is there then till we say “’night”?
Television, its voice of tomorrow
For rich and poor, yes black and white!
And if there’s story to uncover
a diverse world right there on screen
We throw our arms around each other,
Embrace the breadth of what we’ve seen.
When telly held that magic mirror
“We are changed by what we see”
We were there when change delivered,
we were there when they took the knee.
So, if I could steer career ambition
When guiding ‘cross unchartered water
In telly I have this cherished vision
Of you, a woman now – my daughter!
Admittedly poetry is not my forte. Whereas Mr. Kipling made exceedingly good poems, my effort is more like mediocre homemade jam tarts. However, some days after the event (at which the poem met with ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from the audience) I received a box of craft beers from ITV in recognition of my efforts. “Thank you for your literary and poetic genius,” read the accompanying note, “Here’s a little gift for a very gifted man!”
It was a very nice gesture and they are beautiful words. Sadly, they came at a time when I was doubting that gift and questioning if I really want it. Also, and this is with my hand on my heart, I was questioning if television really is the best medium of all, and should I therefore wave a flag for it?
Then, last night when I felt so sick, Lulu popped up and said those words that almost had me laughing.