Tuesday, 25 March 2008

On budget day the red box is held aloft,
Darling's shock white hair a cut fox
spilling itself to crimson. A 4% increase
on the price of wine & beer puts no stop
on a binge, the well-off drink in the belief
that they help the poor through tax.
Someone said it was a budget of Old
Mother Hubbard - she's wearing
aphetamine gladrags & still wants
to eradicate child poverty. Pint glasses
are clinked around the crib to make
a special moment of joyous spontaneity
that may be remembered tomorrow -
as John James put it: "If there is memory
in working class life it is because
things are always being taken away"

4 comments:

Charles Carver said...

Like Chinaski says in Factotum: it's when you haven't got any money that you need a drink the most.
And when you also have to stand in the snow to smoke...
At least you can have a bet on Good Friday now; a frisson of excitement where though you are still losing money you don't actually feel you're being ritually buttfucked for it. I neither smoke nor bet, but christ knows (no pun intended) I need a drink

John Muckle said...

Er, I think this is anti-working class tripe written by a Northern middle-class tosser of the poetry quango type, disappointed really because I quite like some of your poetry. I daresay this guy was quite unpleasant, but why pander to the ugly attitudes of your cultural paymasters?

What do you expect if you go and see poseurs like The Fall - they probably fucked him up in the first place. Sounds like he may have experienced a moment of epiphany though, leading to an all round improvement in his life: I hope so, at least he won't be running into people like you.

Steve McKay said...

John - it strikes me that it requires a "middle-class tosser" to assume such a ludicrous and basic view of McCabe's writing.

John Muckle said...

Steve - a tosser maybe, but not a middle-class one. Anyway, what's wrong with being middle-class? It's the element of imposture I object to, and the pretentiousness of his title: surely a working-class person wouldn't make such grandiose claims for his visits to chip shops. It is often middle class Northerners who supply these definitions of working-class experience (eg: Mike Leigh, John Cooper Clarke), or visiting Americans, or tenured public school types, and, in my view, they're not particularly well qualified for the job. MacCabe is a derivative writer: if he's not copying Barry MacSweeney, it's Iain Sinclair. So where's the authenticity? The cultural space he tries to occupy is a symbolic cocktail: two shots of Northern snobbery, a shot of ambition ... but maybe there's some gin in there too.