Best year of my life?

There’s about six hours of 2017 left here in Devon. And it’s a year which I really don’t want to end just yet as so many amazing things have happened. I know in the real world it’s been pretty naff for a vast number of reasons, but for me it’s been, without hyperbole, the best year I’ve had. The year started with appearing in indents for a certain building society which was incredibly surreal. I then was longlisted as Spoken Word Artist of the year with the Saboteur Awards. Next up I devised Juicy, which was always going to be a stop gap show showcasing different poems, and it got into various fringes. Performing at Edinburgh, Denbury and London at the Redgates Theatre were all highlights, and I had some amazing gigs in other places. On top of everything I finally went semi professional as a spoken word artist, doing corporate work and education work too, and then just when the year was ending, I had a book published and a couple of videos released in YouTube. It’s been an amazing year!

I’ve got so many projects pending. As well as the ongoing Zebra tour, I’ve got a one night performance of Juicy at the Bike Shed theatre on the seventeenth of January, a film project with film maker John Tompkins based on Beard Envy, and a new show which I’ve already written called In The Glare of the Neon Yak, which is set on a sleeper service from London to Edinburgh. Performance wise, I’ve started learning all of my material and I’m about to start working with a director. Things are very exciting!

Naturally, the year was made by the wonderful people I’m surrounded by, such as Melanie Branton for her advice and support, Mark Tunkin for everyday practical issues. It’s been an incredibly busy twelve months and there have been days where I’ve not known where I was heading, or why, catching trains, the whole thing being a bit of a blur. Sadly, I also lost two friends this year, both of whom were incredibly supportive of my work.

I’d like to wish everyone a fantastic 2018 and all the health, happiness, fulfilment and success you can grab!

Here’s a new poem.

Poem

Part One

Flat cap on, whiskers brushed,
His wife giving him a kiss at the
Door of their bungalow.
Have a good day, dear, she says.
There’s a packed lunch
In your satchel.
See you tonight, my love,
He says.
We’ll listen to Des O’Connor
On the wireless tonight.
He walks down the front path,
She watches him go.

Part Two

An eerie silence
Looms over the
Lingerie department.
He’s got his flask and
His camping chair,
His Daily Mail.
He’s set for the day,
Ensconced in the gap
Between the cut price knickers
And a dump bin of socks,
His own niche in the market.

The throbbing passion of moments sublime
In their inexorable rush between
All human desire
And the urges that certain men feel.

Part Three

In the 1950s he’d go to the barbers.
Something for the weekend, sir?,
They’d ask.
He thought they were offering him
A bus timetable.
And meeting his wife, Marge.
His father asked if she was called that
Because she spread like butter.
He thought that this was a reference to
Her technique for doing
The plastering.

Married in 1959,
He remained a virgin until 1973
And that was only because there
Was an incident
While she was giving him eye drops.
Ever since then
He always comes over
Unnecessary when he heard the
Word Conjunctivitis.
They didn’t get a TV
Until 2003
And the first thing he’d see
Was a woman in a bikini
Being sensuously doused
In lukewarm Ovaltine.

His false teeth
Shot out of his mouth and
Ricocheted off the
Sideboard.
The next day he ordered
A crate of the stuff.
Marge, he said,
Bung the kettle on.

Part Four

How proudly
Marge would tell her
Friends,
He’s still working
At his age
At the department store.

He tells her that
He’s a diesel fitter.

He holds up a pair of knickers
And says,
‘Dese’ll fit her!’

Part Five

You can do it,
He imagines the merchandise
Saying to him.
You can do it, Jim.
You can do it.
You can do it.
You can do it, Jim.
You can do it.
You can really really do it.
Such a great selection
Of support bras.

Part Six

This unsolicited assister,
This unpaid worker,
This societal resister,
This brazen lurker,
This flat capped octogenarian
Amid the Lycra spandex,
This persistent drooler
At the opposite sex.
This pleasure seeker
This knicker peeker,
This old man ahead of
Society’s curve,
This outright perv.
This troubled he
Amid the double Ds,
The birds and the bees,
The dogs and the cats,
This ghost in a coat,
This phantom amid the scats,
This downright fool
Amid the smalls
He wipes the drool
Away from his chin
He wipes the drool
Away from his chin
He wipes the drool
Away from the chin
His name is Jim.

Oh, Jim.
Oh, Jim.
Where do we begin
To obey those little voices from deep within.
Saying Jim, oh Jim,
Do just what you may
And spend another day
Surrounded by lingerie.
Way hay.

Part Seven

Another day done, he
Wipes the crumbs from his lap,
Folds up his chair,
Picks up his mack,
Bids the staff a fond farewell.

Marge has cooked him
A casserole.
As they eat, the clock ticks
On the mantelpiece.

This casserole
Is very nice, he says.
Yes, she replies,
Yes, it is.
It has been rather clement today,
Weather wise, he says.
Yes, she replies,
Yes, it has.
I see interest rates are
Remaining the same, he says.
Yes, she replies,
Yes, they are.
Then she leans close to him
And whispers,
I know where you’ve been spending
Your days.
The clock continues to tick
For at least two minutes.
This casserole
Really is first class, he says.
Yes, she replies,
Yes, it is.

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Author: Robert Garnham

Performance and spoken word artist.

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