A man who wrote such utter sentimental twaddle that I was forced to abandon my usual surly teenage response to being asked to write a criticism – usually variations on a theme of “boring” – and write a parody.
It began something like “I remember, as a boy, running home through the village beating up old ladies, the way that boys do.” I may even have taken care to avoid repetition of the word “boy”, but I suspect not, as I only got an A-.
Inspired by this, I was driven to contribute to our school underground magazine. The magazine was called “Juggle”, due to this monstrosity that some vandal had glued to the front of the school. The culprit was an “artist” (artist in the sense that Laurie Lee was a writer) called Peter Peri. A working title for our magazine was hence “Perineum”, but this was later abandoned as being a little too close to – you know what I mean. It was here that I honed my style of lazy juvenile trash, and I have clung to that style these forty years. I have not become more sophisticated, intelligent nor wise in my writings. Of this achievement I am very proud.
One of the targets of in almost every issue of “Juggle” was Keats - always referred to as “The poet Keats”. I do not know why this form was compulsory, I suspect it derived from observation of the linguistic quirks of one of the English teachers.
I have never understood why Keats is so admired. He had little to say, (and when I say 'little' I am erring on the side of generosity) and said it in a dull and verbose way.
“A thing of beauty is a joy forever”. No it fucking ain’t. It will crumble and return to dust like all things, including us. Impermanence is our condition, and a concept with which we never seem to be able to come to terms. Even I, sitting here in this perfectly honed and glorious frame, the epitome of evolution, if you will, will one day be fertiliser for a beech tree or chrysanthemum. So, bollocks to the poet Keats.
The poet Keats? Boring in 1967 and still boring today. Will that do, Miss Turner?