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Paul Larkin

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Response to the "Coming out as an artist" blog - from visionary yet definitely not hooked up Architect Brian Anson

22 Oct 2007 13:46:56 +0100 - Perigeaux region France

From Brian Anson artist/architect and revolutionary


Pablo.........we won't let them win! I've got
tactics that come from the
heart not from the barrel of a gun!

Fuckit! I want to get involved in your blog site
but I don't know how to
fucking do it!
I attach a poem HOMAGE TO MARTHA which (for me
anyway) explains it all.
Written long ago.
An H-BLOCK prisoner turned it into 'prison art'
(I could send you the
Just bring me into your world of the blog.
I've got loads of stuff......I just want to share
it. But I don't fucking
know how!
Emiliano. x

Written in dedication to the book of poetry and prose - PASS THE VALIUM MARTHA - the voice of the Bootle working-class published by the Liverpool Writers Workshop in 1982.

Glory be to you oh Martha, you threw the bottle in the bin and
stamped your swollen foot upon the pills that they.
who brutalise and blind, and slave and kill your kind,
create to cure your ills.

We must resist; we can insist that, deep within our people
is the culture that they took to store within their banks,
without a word of thanks, and surely
that is why you wrote the book.

But Martha love the road is long - we tread our separate paths
to find ourselves, and who we were –
and for my part, I chose the gaels,
and rediscovered Bootle in the Irish air.

To move from concrete Bootle, and its jobless hordes who pace the
unemployment boards, have I digressed to find the truth
I seek amongst the rocks and empty cabins
of the windswept Irish west?

Well hear my plea, and see my broken heart: and let us start with
Donegal and Clare, and Connaught and the Munster hills......
within them, and the turmoil of the poet bards (your ancestors oh Martha sweet)
we find the very source of Bootle’s ills.

To tell the tales of common folk
they had no need for fancy words,
or to embroider it; like Common Joe (in your own words)
they didn’t” peddle shit”

They spoke of landlords, gombeen men, the bailiffs and their ilk who,
while they robbed the people of their voice,
bought finery and silk and lived in stately homes and
passed their laws in parliaments obscene while,

in the mist, the common voice lived on though - pity dear oh Martha love -
the common mouth turned green from eating grass to keep themselves alive -
not only for their body and their soul -
but also that their poetry survive to tell the tale of what was done by conquerors

to keep the people down and here’s the rub (oh Martha sweet)
those lace-clad villains were the same who,
through their lust for power,
ravaged through the streets of Bootle town.

The mildewed thatch and earth-clod walls of cabins battered by the gales,
with hungry children and the unemployed, are but the parents of
the concrete bunker cells where sorrow, misery and debt exist
within the high-rise gaols.

But Gaelic poets did not die: through centuries of pain
they wandered through their ravaged glens,
and used their songs and used their pens,
to give the peoples’ word again.

And so, in Bootle, do the same (your enemies were theirs)
they’ll rape your streets and steal your land, and crucify your soul:
they’ll mutilate your children and put you on the dole:
but your voices they can never kill - the poet always cares.

So darling, dearest, Martha, this is the way I took
to try to understand the pain within my childhood land,
and why I sigh - to reason why -
you had to write your book.

So dearest love I honour you for doing what you did:
for bringing forth the common word,
that it be heard, and be a sword, to point out Bootle’s ills so
do not Pass the Valium.......just throw away those pills.

Brian Anson
London 1982

As I’ve said, this poem was written (very quickly) as homage to a book published by the Liverpool (working-class) Writers’ Workshop in 1982 just as Thatcher was imposing her dreadful policies on Britain. The book contained two of my own short stories: BULLET (about bullying), and IF THERE’S TO BE A LIFE HEREAFTER (about a young girl who died from meningitis). Here is the title poem written by Robert Murray. PASS THE VALIUM MARTHA which inspired me.

When they’ve held up your money,
And life ain’t so funny,
When you’re needing a job,
‘Cause the whore’s stopped your dole,
When you know you’re a slob
And you’re right up the pole,
It’s pass me the Valium Martha.

Valium milkshake, Valium pie,
From when you wake up,
‘Til you lie down and die,
It’s the one thing that helps you
Look life in the eye,
And you know it makes sense,
Because they wouldn’t lie,
So, it’s pass me the Valium Martha.
When being working class,
Is a pain in the ass,
And you’d do yourself in,
But they’ve cut off your gas,
It’s pass me the Valium Martha.
Life can still be enjoyable,
Even though you’re unemployable,
If you’d just pass the Valium Martha.

When the siren goes up,
And the nukes start to fly,
Don’t panic, don’t run,
Don’t fret and don’t cry,
As the Magical Mushroom cloud
Lights up the sky,
Just stay in your pit,
Roll over and fry,
It’s the ultimate Valium Martha.

Robert Murray.
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Title: Response to the "Coming out as an artist" blog - from visionary yet definitely not hooked up Architect Brian Anson
Date posted: 22 Oct '07 - 21:07
Filed under: General
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