Martin Rowson

Martin Rowson

Martin Rowson is a multi-award-winning cartoonist, writer and broadcaster. Photo: Fred Rowson.

The Clowns, The Crooks, The Cranks, The Chancers, The Careerists, The Charlatans and the Refugee
Sunday, 03 July 2022 16:04

The Clowns, The Crooks, The Cranks, The Chancers, The Careerists, The Charlatans and the Refugee

Published in Poetry

The Clowns, The Crooks, The Cranks, The Chancers, The Careerists, The Charlatans and the Refugee

by Martin Rowson (who also drew the image above)

Once the clowns, the class clowns all the other kids now shrank back from in Earth-swallowing embarrassment, playpenned my country and trashed it for a laugh
                I began to keen for exile
And when the crooks, their mates, had stripped down the dump of every last remaining ounce or speck of any value
               I prayed to be deported
And when the cranks then squeezed the final cloudy drops of decency from every other single thing round here
               I paid up and I raced towards the trucks
And then, when after all of that the chancers, in the others' wake, began to cadge off all of us for just another roll despite having already blown the lot
               I held my breath and crammed into the gap
And then when the careerists smiled with patronising eyes and turned away to laugh again too loudly at the monsters' jokes
               I slide down the pebbles on the beach
And when the charlatans at last monopolised the sole remaining free churned patch of mud - my land - as solely theirs to shit on as they choose
               I waded out towards the rubber dinghies
Finally then confident that if, as seemed too likely, I should soon be floating downwards to the dappled seabed, lungs ballasted with brine
              At least they do not own my refuge.
Yet.

Plague Songs
Wednesday, 31 March 2021 12:26

Plague Songs

Published in Poetry

In May 2020 the award-winning cartoonist Martin Rowson set himself the challenge of writing a Lockdown Diary in verse. The result is Plague Songs, a unique cycle of furious, bleakly comic and often offensive poems about COVID-19, fiercely inventive and desperately funny. Rowson, who recovered from the virus at the start of the year (‘sweating in freezing fits, embalmed in bed/ In sulphurous miasmata, my joints like broken walnuts,/ With hogtied eyeballs and less energy than dissipating smoke’) records in manic verse the long lockdown Summer of 2020 – coughs and sneezes, lockdown-haircuts, funerals and furloughs, hangovers and hauntings, track and trace, when Death and Pestilence were playing on the swings and visiting the elderly in their Care Homes.

Plague Songs is also book about living in Banarnia – a nightmarish world of jingoism and xenophobia, hierarchy and inequality, government incompetence, Boris Johnson’s world-beating wet dreams, and the deadly twin viruses of stupidity and selfishness. What rhymes with COVID except bovid? Is Matt Hancock the Tory Party’s answer to Fred West? Does every shroud have a silver lining?

Plague Songs is also available here on CD, set to music by Welsh musician and playwright Jon Tregenna.

Recalled to Life

by Martin Rowson

You’ve been stuck indoors so long you’re Monte Christo’d,
Scratched days runed on the walls,
Your eyes Ben Gunning madly,
So stir crazy now most mornings you can’t stir.

You’ve been stuck inside so long you’ve gone full Withnail
Breakfast every morning
From last night’s takeout’s tinfoil
Cold Korma which you spoon in with a shoehorn

You’ve been stuck inside so long that you’ve Rasputined,
Charles Manson in the mirror,
Homer Simpsoned in your y-fronts
De-evolving til you’re now the Missing Link

You’ve been stuck indoors so long you’ll Dr Manette,
But you’ve been recalled to life!
The shops have opened! There’s a fire sale
On strait-jackets and shrouds on down the High Street!

Cover image: Martin Rowson

Cultural Marxism
Tuesday, 27 October 2020 08:15

Cultural Marxism

Published in Poetry

Cultural Marxism

by Martin Rowson

I met a Cultural Marxist
Who took me to Swan Lake
"Those swans denote the Class War!"
Quoth he. I found his take
Compelling if naive, but now
I'm told it's a disgrace
By a Cultural Fascist
Who then shot me in the face.

Plague Songs - It Cures What Ails Ya!
Wednesday, 03 June 2020 15:01

Plague Songs - It Cures What Ails Ya!

Published in Poetry

Plague Songs - It Cures What Ails Ya!

by Martin Rowson

One should not mock the chronic sick,
And nor should we mock Dominic
Whose road-based therapies recall,
Damascus-bound, those of St Paul
Who was, you lot should be reminded,
On a road trip when unblinded.
Dom need make no apology!
It’s not just opthalmology
That sees Road Treatment’s benefits!
It’s a cure-all for the many! It’s
A tested and well tried procedure
From whooping cough to paraplegia!
For instance, the old dean of Keble’s
Gout’s returned: drive him to Peebles!
Abjure the lure of penicillin!
Simply drive to Enniskillin!
Infantile paralysis?
Why not try a drive to Diss?
Your child it born with a cleft palate;
Drive the brat to Shepton Mallet!
A cerebral catastrophe?
Fixed by a drive to Leigh-on-Sea.
You find your mum’s airways restricted?
Motor her to the Peak District;
A femur pops out of its socket?
Drive all the way to Drumnadrochit.
Obviously if you have a stroke,
It’s in the car to Basingstoke;
And likewise cardiac arrest
Demands a drive to Bristol West!
So if your stomach ulcer bleeds
Jump in the car and drive to Leeds;
Caries rot your yellow teeth,
They gleam before you’ve got to Neath;
Struck down with Huntington’s Chorea?
Simply drive to Hazelmere.
A touch of cancer? With a whoosh
Drive off to Ashby-de-la-Zouch!
And when they say you’ve caught malaria -
Hull Regeneration Area!
Just even feeling sort of sick
You’ll cure on drives to Walberswick
And when they say you’ve got Corona
A nice long drive to Barcelona
Should see you right! Whate’er you have
Just punch a route in your sat nav
And soon, on the A23,
You’ll find the perfect remedy!
All you have to do is DRIVE! It
Cures what ails ya! Or go private.