Friday, January 30, 2009

On yonder hill there stands a creature

You may or may not know that the recently departed poet/playwright/Nobel laureate Harold Pinter wrote a characteristically blunt poem before the Iraq war. It went like this:

The big pricks are out.
They'll fuck everything in sight.
Watch your back.

During a mail conversation just after Pinter died, a friend of mine fulminated in a Pinteresque rant himself:

I’ll miss him.

When normal people get old and go batty, people ignore them and put them in a home and start spending their inheritance. If you've written 29 plays and are considered famous and one of the Hampstead "we're socialist, honest guv" set, then people continue to listen to you. Hence the "big pricks are out" etc, etc. Had any normal granddad written that, he'd be dispatched like a shot to some out of the way Colditz-on-the-Wold and we'd all be riffling around under his bed for the reddies. It reminds of a Jeeves and Wooster novel, where one of Bertie's uncles was discovered in the drawing room "sticking straws in his hair". Also, an Evelyn Waugh short story which has some old major "hanging by his braces in the orangery". I daresay there is some small window of wisdom that comes just after youthful ignorance, and just before losing your marbles but, generally: you get old, you go weird.

Such is life.

The person who came up with the above paragraph will soon be joining me in infrequently updating – or frequently not updating – the blog. He will be using a pseudonym. It is Hipparsus, which is marginally better than his original choice for a nom de plume, Benjamin Buttmunch. Hipparsus, by the way, was a student of Pythagoras who discovered the existence of irrational numbers (like Pi, or The Dark Knight’s domestic gross – SNAP). His name is more commonly spelled Hippasus, but Hipparsus is nothing if not unpredictable.

There is a chance another person might also join us in a few weeks. There’s a party in my blog, and everyone’s invited. It’s a pity party.

But back to that Pinter poem. In September 2004, The Private Eye did a send up of it in a section called “Harold Pinter’s Revised Book of English Verse.” And lucky you, dear reader, because you can find it below.

One caveat: In order to get the joke, one really should be familiar with the original poems.

Then again, one really should be familiar with the original poems anyway.


Edmund said...

From the original poems above, I noticed that Pinter used the word "fuck" in every poem that he wrote. There were way too many!! But somehow it still feels great.