Saturday, 30 January 2010

Corrugated iron, corrugated iron, brand new corrugated iron

A couple of dozen poets and three and a half hours of poetry, even in aid of Haiti, stretched my love of the English language this afternoon. It was worth the attention span, though, not least to hear Carole Ann Duffy's closing rendition of Premonitions, dedicated to the memory of U A Fanthorpe but written with the memory of her mother's death in mind.

Gordon and Sarah Brown were the unadvertised openers of the event, with Gordon announcing that the government had today decided to buy up every piece of corrugated iron in the country and ship it to Haiti to provide shelters for the homeless. This prompted Duffy to remark later that they should send the lead off Tony Blair's roof as well.

It reminded me of an old squatters' song we used to sing in the Seventies to the tune of Any Old Iron. Composed by Tony Allen, veteran of the Ruff Tuff Cream Puff Squatters Estate Agency and the godfather of alternative comedy, it went something like this:

Corrugated iron, corrugated iron, brand new corrugated iron,
Yer 'ouse looks neat, talk about a treat
Corrugated iron from the chimney to the street
No water, no gas and the mains all slashed
Can't even have a fire on
And the only thing you've got in yer window box is
Corrugated iron

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