Ive never been partial t.., p.1

I've Never Been Partial To Girls Who Swear, page 1


I've Never Been Partial To Girls Who Swear

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I've Never Been Partial To Girls Who Swear
I've never been partial to girls who swear

  original poetry and monologues by

  Barrie Clubb


  written to be read aloud – go on!

  This collection is designed to be read aloud. I started writing this book in 2006 so it's been a wee while in the making – the curse of constant editing. I've been helped enormously by the many kind people at folk festivals around New Zealand who have encouraged me to get up every now and then to say something – thank you.

  Being Scottish, this book features some dialectical oddities that may not be familiar to you. That’s part of the challenge of performing the pieces. It allows you to indulge in a (fake or real) Scottish brogue. For a similar reason, it is written in British English – but hopefully that all adds to your enjoyment.

  Copyright © Barrie Clubb 2013

  If you enjoyed this book, please drop me a line at [email protected]


  Table of Contents

  It takes you back

  Would you know me

  Land of Giants

  Sins of her brother

  I’ve got the view

  Missed the plot

  Silent but deadly

  It might cling

  The right words

  The dug and the MacIntosh

  Sarah’s recurring encounter with a moth

  Spark of Greatness

  Lunch without you



  Queen of the Foodcourt

  Around a burning oil drum

  Bela Lugosi did his own makeup

  Take me home

  My Father

  Going Steady

  The Map

  The giraffe and the tattie howker

  An intelligent mistake

  Space Cadet

  I’ve never been partial to girls who swear


  The fly knows

  Gentleman in Training

  Hummingbird wings

  Sometimes you just can’t win

  Hobbies for advancing age


  If I asked you to stay

  The drummer’s song

  Best part of the day

  it takes you back

  Childhood memories of holidays by the seaside – not Blackpool – the folks could never afford that – but smaller places like Havant, where we'd hire a caravan for two weeks most summers. Us kids would save up for ages – seemed like years, so that we'd have enough to last us right through the holidays. Of course, we'd need to spend the first couple of days looking around for a decent souvenir – but eventually we couldn't resist the attractions of the penny arcades. Mum and Grannie would sit all holidays in the bingo halls – saw my first topless bingo caller there when I was about fifteen – I think I was the only one not playing the game that day.

  it takes you back

  Granddad waiting on the sand

  rolls a gasper sleight of hand

  racing paper – his day’s well planned

  Mum and Grannie like machines

  should be crowned the bingo queens

  still see them playing in my dreams

  candy floss, penny arcades

  redolent of a bygone age

  when seaside holidays were the rage

  brothers fight for Queen of the Nile

  make those pennies last a while

  lose the lot and try to smile

  down the chip shop spot this girl

  smiles at me and rocks my world

  walk for miles head in a whirl

  got a time machine inside my head

  it starts up when I go to bed

  rather be asleep instead

  but, it takes me back

  yes, it’s funny what takes me back

  these dim and distant memories

  do they form to form the truth that’s me

  it takes me back but I find it hard to see

  the child I was

  inside the man that’s me


  would you know me

  I've always found Christchurch an interesting city. When I first arrived I was amazed that people would erect massive two metre high fences to protect their properties – mainly from the wind – it's a unique feature of the city and makes a Sunday afternoon walk more solitary than in other cities. It makes you wonder what's going on behind the wall, and as we get older whether this defence against the elements eventually becomes a prison for the elderly that live inside.

  would you know me

  would you know me if you saw me

  would you pass the time of day

  could you spare some conversation

  if by chance I passed your way

  would you smile if you just met me

  walking slowly past your gate

  would you recognise a neighbour

  have your eyes been shut of late

  do you feel a sense of safety

  behind a fence that’s six feet tall

  does it truly keep the wind out

  do you hide behind that wall

  how many years have you been like this

  your only friends are out of bloom

  it’s just a little conversation

  if you can only find the room

  do you think we’ve lost some traction

  one step forward, two steps back

  are we just lacking firm direction

  is our leadership so slack

  do you practice isolation

  is it habit, is it need

  you only talk to TV stations

  that’s a sorry state indeed

  yes, you’ll know me when you see me

  cos I often pass this way

  I can spare some conversation

  on such a sunny winter’s day

  yes, I can spare some conversation

  on such a sunny winter’s day


  land of giants

  A few years ago we took a trip across Western Australia. We were amazed at the massive Red Tingle forests. Marguerite forced me on a treetop walk – and being terrified of heights I suppose it made a lasting impression – but boy, was I glad to be back on terra firma.

  land of giants

  mighty Karri

  reaching up to the heavens

  born from the fire

  you stand so tall

  four hundred years

  of ancient wisdom

  right there to guide me

  if I just hear your call

  you know I’ve been touched

  by the hand of giants

  freeing my spirit

  unlocking my core

  you know I’ve been touched

  in this land of giants

  you’ll stand beside me

  for evermore

  the red, red dust

  gives life to the children

  sunshine brings fire

  many will fall

  great Red Tingle

  takes strength from the ashes

  I know you’re beside me

  when my back’s to the wall

  I’ve stood in your arms

  looking over the mountains

  sat at your feet

  feeling ever so small

  in this jungle of life

  you’re right there to guide me

  building strength from my fires

  when I ask for your call


  sins of her brother

  I've always found it enormously sad how some people find great difficulty in living life to the full, or taking opportunities through being caught up in the
daily difficulties of family life. One of my philosophies with my children when they've come up with grandiose plans has always been “someone's got to do it – so it might as well be you”. I'm grateful that my parents had a similar philosophy, allowing me to take on life's great adventure without carrying too much emotional baggage.

  sins of her brother

  fall in love, start a life, start to smile

  seventeen and hatching dreams

  living to the full

  didn’t know, never thought

  life could be so cruel

  hand in hand through the park

  beating hearts as one

  how could I know, I didn’t know

  parting had begun

  out at last, he’s home again

  prodigal has returned

  how could I know that he could steal

  love that I had earned

  you cast me away, you call it free

  do this all your days

  deny yourself, to make amends

  for the error of his ways

  you had it made, we had it made ... for a while


  I’ve got the view

  The cycling group used to spend the odd weekend away in Hamner Springs. As a walker rather than biker, I found myself wandering and wondering around this beautiful Alpine holiday village – what exactly has been sacrificed along the way to achieve these palatial alpine holiday homes?

  I’ve got the view

  slaved for a whole lifetime

  following the plan

  most people see success

  but I’m only half a man

  started out so low down

  on the bottom rung

  really thought I’d make it

  if I cut off everyone

  couldn’t live with your distraction

  in my facts and figures world

  didn’t know what I was losing

  when I chased away my girl

  now the mountains tower above me

  and the vistas are so grand

  but all I see is desolation

  without you by my hand

  they say I’ve finally made it

  after working all these years

  but the beauty of my kingdom

  is just reflected in my tears

  have you heard the news

  I’ve got the view

  but I ain’t got you


  missed the plot

  On poets – with a bit of a Burns feel. This was written after a dinner party where we ended up discussing our favourite authors – one elderly lady was horrified at my preferred choice of reading material, accusing me of being “one of those penny dreadful people” referring of course, to the low-priced post war detective fiction novels of which I have a fair collection.

  missed the plot

  you poor unlettered, feckless hack

  what makes you think you’ve got the knack

  of formulating back to back

  words so unclear

  that meaning in this lonely shack

  just quakes with fear

  I’ve tried to time and time again

  to see the message from your pen

  you drop me down, through depths of pain

  with visions drear

  now from the pit I wait in vain

  should truth appear

  I do not profess to stage myself

  in pride of place on mantle shelf

  I merely wish this mental skelf

  be gone with grace

  restore to me such mental health

  as is my place

  I wonder did you have a plan

  when sending words across the land

  words that neither rhyme nor scan

  but refuse to die

  while alone amongst my fellow man

  I search the why

  did fate bestow on you the muse

  to walk this world in wisdom’s shoes

  and sprinkle out these cryptic clues

  on lowly minds

  or is this just a mental ruse

  oh how unkind

  I lief, that I will leaf no more

  these missives that do surge and pour

  with words who seem unwilling to store

  coherent thought

  but low, I once again must pore

  lest I’ve missed the plot


  silent but deadly

  Party at Kate's house – we were new on the scene and knew virtually no-one there. As usual the kitchen was the place to be – but Sharon had a laugh going on there that could shatter glass – so we sat around on the lounge floor listening to Strawbs on the Dave (sadly departed – much too young – one of the few Bonzos fans I've ever met over here)... this one's for you mate.

  silent but deadly

  it sneaked in



  slithering across the axminster

  deviously skirting the bodies

  littering the room


  it crawled up my right leg

  didn’t even notice it

  till suddenly

  it reached up

  with grubby little hands

  and grabbed my nostril hairs

  you wouldn’t think a smell could do that

  but it did

  if only I’d left after the last song



  shot the craw

  but I’m rooted to this chair

  suffocating in silence

  the weight of an older brother’s taunt

  still paralysing after 40 years

  dogs smell their own dirt first


  it might cling

  I think this was the one that gave me the reputation of writing nothing but fart poems – probably the first one I wrote using that dreaded four letter word.

  it might cling

  then I catch it

  a whiff of your disgust

  that glance


  with a touch of nose wrinkle thrown in for good measure

  and I just want to jump up


  proclaim my innocence

  join the clean people in the kitchen

  but it’s too late

  suspicion strengthens embarrassment fuels suspicion

  a bitter circle

  truth now would have a hollow ring

  so I suffer in silence

  a hapless romantic with a fart on my sleeve

  unwilling to stay, unable to go

  for here’s the thing

  it might cling


  the right words

  Memories of early attempts at dating. I grew up cooking for the younger kids while my mother worked several jobs and dad was on continental shift-work. It was natural to attempt to impress the girl with cooking prowess – not that it ever paid off. This is a flight of fancy recalling those early flatting days when you were trying to impress the girl and appear debonair and sophisticated but were generally thwarted in your grand plans by an obtuse flatmate. If only we had the courage to say what was going through our heads at times...

  the right words

  how can I tell you

  to sling your hook

  on your bike

  take a runner

  take a hike

  it’s not that I don’t value your company

  in a penny dreadful

  gasp and goss

  mates together

  in like Flynn

  kind of way

  it’s just that I’d sort of planned things differently tonight

  in a dinner for

  two’s company

  three’s a

  spare prick at a wedding

  and well, you know

  it just takes two to tango

  and if you can’t dance

  you should get the hell ou
t of my kitchen and keep right on going

  ‘cos there’s too many cooks already

  and tonight’s my big chance

  and you’re just hanging round

  like a bad smell

  in a useless

  one-armed paperhanger

  tartan paint

  bump on a log

  kind of way

  and I really, really could make it if

  I could only find

  the right words


  the dug & the macintosh

  Lewis's was a huge department store in Glasgow. We used to love going there on those rare shopping occasions when we caught the train to the big city – mainly because right around the corner was El Greco's magic Emporium – but Lewis's was huge – several levels high and must've covered a couple of city blocks. All kinds of exciting things seemed to be going on all the time. What better place for a sad, sad fantasy tale – most people on hearing this for the first time imagine that the poor dog has one leg missing – but it's much, much worse than that...

  the dug & the macintosh

  a dug with one leg

  tried to sit up and beg

  for a biscuit

  outside Lewis’s

  on a Friday

  but balance was tough

  and he’d soon had enough

  so he hopped it

  in search of a more fruitful


  now it’s a sorry situation

  in a life full of trepidation

  for there’s no real occupation

  to be found

  for such

  as a one-legged dug

  not if he’s looking quite so strange

  half baldin’ with the mange

  and with a ruddy great big chunk


  from each lug


  not an hour later

  down by the regent theatre

  I happened to see the poor creature

  lying there


  on a skateboard

  that was missing one wheel

  progress seemed pretty slow

  but that could’ve just been the snow

  or the fact that the missing wheel

  was on the wrong side


  I believe he wagged

  what was left of his tail

  as he legged it slowly along

  with a wailing plaintive song

  when suddenly out o’ the throng

  popped an old geezer

  in a macintosh

  reeking of neglect

  he took one look at the dug

  an popped ten P in the mug

  that was hanging

  from an old shoelace

  round its neck


  as the money hit the tin

  the dug’s one good fang sank in

  to a fingerless glove

  smelling faintly

  of wet wool

  the macintosh

  no longer so neglected

  showing talent unsuspected

  to an audience unexpected

  danced a jig

  to the purists in the audience it seemed

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