No, you're not hallucinating - that really is Hugh Grant. And no - I'm not hallucinating either. Well, no more than usual. Read on, read on...
An old poem today and one I was reminded of thanks to a conversation over here about poems in films and TV ads (and which mentioned, as you might expect, 'Four weddings and, thank god, finally a bloody funeral').
I wrote the poem below in 2005 after watching the film 'Love Actually' with my Mum. Why did I watch it, you might ask (if I hate these kinds of films..and I do...) and my answer would be - because it was on, because Mum and I live in the same house so we have to do some things together (but we have very different tastes).
Maybe it was unfair to target Richard Curtis for 'Love Actually's terribleness (as I do in the poem) but then he did direct it and write it so maybe not (you can read more about him here...just in the interests of fairness). It is an excruciating film though and anyone who disagrees with me is going to be locked in a room and forced to watch it over and over and OVER (then see how much you still like it...when you're choking on the saccharine!). One reason I mention Curtis in the poem I suppose is because in fact he has worked on some of my favourite TV shows ('Not the Nine O'Clock News', 'Spitting Image', 'Blackadder'...) but when it comes to films pretty much everything he's been involved with has made me want to SCREAM (though I would say that since I wrote this poem and got it out of my system it's bothered me a lot less...poetry as therapy...hell yes!).
Those of you who aren't English might not get why I find films like 'Four Weddings' (Curtis was writer and producer), 'Bridget Jones' (writer) and 'Love Actually' (writer, director) so annoying but to me it's the ridiculously clichéd idea of England they portray that bugs me so much. And the most annoying things about clichés? That they're true of course! There is this little bubble in England of people who all talk the same, who only know people who went to private school/Oxbridge, who own the land (well, everything the Russians haven't got to yet), who are fairly unaware that there are any other people in England (or indeed the world). They are one of the (OK, many) reasons I don't live in England and in fact the only time I find any of this crop of films bearable is when they bring in Americans (yes, North Americans - you are the good guys again for a change!). Renée Zellweger is charming and funny in 'Bridget Jones', for example, (shame about the rest of the film and indeed the sequel) and Julia Roberts is just adorable in 'Notting Hill' (though she could have done better than Hugh Grant). But you know I don't even hate Hugh Grant – I quite like him in 'About a Boy' - but in the Curtis factory films...EURGH, I want to kill him and wave his scalp on a stick through the streets of London (and boy, will those streets be dirtier than on any of those stupid films).
Scalp on a stick? Maybe it does still bother me a little. Must work on that...although now I live in Scotland I don't have to deal with the annoying English so much and I remember all the nice ones and I only think about the others when reminded (as yesterday). The Scots though...that's a whole other story...maybe I'll write that poem when we move...
In the meantime here's the English poem. It's a bang-bang rhyme number but you won't judge it harshly for that now will you...will you?
Got the Bridget Jones, Love Actually, Four Weddings blues
Richard Curtis How you hurt us You know not surely But you do London's quiet Reneé's diet All this stuff It's just not true
No-one's poor and no-one's hungry Everyone has a central flat Don't forget it snows at Christmas How could you have forgotten that?
England is a picture postcard A chocolate box, a pastel scene Full of men like Hugh and Colin Every high school prom queen's dream
The England I knew didn't match yours It always rained more than it snowed Hughs and Colins - all obnoxious The spacious flats - all gone, been sold
Now you can say it's just a fiction A happy world for Saturday night But all those larks with perfect diction Make for a strange unsettling sight
It's like the sixties never happened The seventies, eighties, nineties too England stuck in post-war limbo Jolly chaps and work to do
I don't think you mean to do it You seem a human sort of bloke You were carried on a moment But just saying 'fuck' is not a joke
So let's have no more Bridget Joneses Let's have no more love times love Whatever happened to Blackadder? What would he make of this guff?
And look at all your charity work, sir If you really care at all Stop polluting life with drivel False impressions, stories tall
So can you stop please All this film cheese Can you stop it Kill it dead England's story Needs less glory Honest hope It needs instead
And then he made 'The Boat that Rocked'. I have managed to avoid that so far.
Originally from the north of England, I live in Angus, Scotland where I walk a lot, think a lot, listen to lots of music, sometimes write poems, sometimes read poems out to other people, sometimes write songs, read all kinds of odd things, watch a bit...oh and I look after my family too.
I sometimes organise poetry and music events - details are usually here (though nothing coming up in the near future). This year I went travelling with my family - photos and notes are here. Now we're back I have moved to a new regular blog - it is here.
More about the song
You can buy my book (published 2008) from my website if you fancy it (go to 'book' page) or from www.amazon.co.uk if you prefer the comfort of the multinational corporation. My book is printed on recycled paper and card. I have 12 different poetry postcards available too.