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Friday, 1 April 2011

What We Need In Britain Is A Poetry Tax

For too long, British (and Irish) poets have lived high off the hog.  Sir Andrew Motion had bucketfuls of wine sent over from The Queen and swanned around in livery and finery bought from the fashion houses of London with the sweat of the working poor.  While alarm clock Britain has woken to the annoying beep-beep-beep or drone of a daily wake-up call, poets smelled coffee and roses through rose-coloured nostrils, and ritzy Ray-Bans.  Poets lie when they say they are poor; their deceit is tantamount to tax evasion.  Poets, for instance, get away with murder.

They seduce good-looking younger fans easily.  They sell their books at the drop of a hat.  They get their friends to review them.  Their friends give them six figure cash bailouts called prizes.  Poets are a cabal.  They freely move about the country, complaining about girls and death.  Poets have murdered the English-language, with what can only be called "poetic license".  Comparing apples and oranges makes fools of us all.  The poetry fat cats, North and South, publish beautiful hard-cover books, and then complain when we don't buy them.  They expect a living.  Poets sleep late, eat too much, drink too much, copulate regularly.  Broken Britain was snapped in two by Larkin, Hughes and Armitage - the Three Amigos.

Have you seen them swagger into your local?  Watch out, mate.  If Hughes is there, know your place.  I have seen Duffy in limos, paps on all sides, teetering on GaGa heels, wrapped in diamonds and raw meat.  I have heard rumours of O'Brien and the Swiss accounts.  There are rumours that Heaney knows where much of that 70 billion Euros went in Ireland.  Tax the poets now!  Bankers only get bonuses yearly, but every day is a bonus for these poets, junketing in Monte Carlo, or Iceland, or Dubai.  Want a high-class visitor?  Ask a poet.  Want some Peruvian marching powder?  Ask a poet.  Want to make a murder look like a suicide?  Ask a poet.  Want to turn a word into a trope?  Ask a poet.  Want to smuggle stolen goods out of the country by hiding them in hollowed-out volumes?  Ask a poet.

Have you seen those thick Bloodaxe Collecteds?  They hide things in there.  Poets are happier than us, because they are better-looking.  Their clothes are better.  Poets live in ways that novelists and industrialists can only dream about.  One day, when the British public finally see poetry on TV the way it really is, they will tear the whole damn house of cards down.  For now, we must rely on Clegg and Co. to again do the right thing.  It isn't enough to trim the fat at the NHS, the Arts Council, the Army, or the BBC.  Cut the lard off of Faber, Carcanet, Arc, Anvil, Seren, Bloodaxe, Picador, Cape, Salt, and all the other billionaire editors and publishers.  Hit them where it hurts - their bulging pockets.  Once we have taxed the lazy feckless poets of this proud archipelago (and the isles in which the quasi-associated Irish dwell) we'll be able to fund what this country really needs.
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