Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Poetry In Motion, Or In Letters To Constituents, Anyway.

Oh, my God. How did I forget that the County Council were planning to send out the notifications of secondary school places yesterday? If I'd remembered, I'd have taken today off to avoid the fall-out - on the quite legitimate  basis that I am already suffering from PTSD as a result of last night's poetry reading.

Traumatic isn't a strong enough word for that experience, actually - and I have no idea what happened to Greg once that poet he fancies, Jessica Something-Or-Other, approached the microphone.

First, he started behaving as if he was Lord Byron, waving his arms around and getting as pissed as a fart; and then he committed the heinous sin of calling for seemingly-endless encores, until I had to point out that I'd be forced to kill him if he caused me to have to listen to any more poems about rodents in the wild.

"I like animals," he said. "They're all God's creatures, after all."

"So are constituents," I said, "Allegedly - but we don't encourage them. And why are you talking as if you've become a latter-day saint?"

"Jessica thinks I'm a nice person," he said. "And I don't want to disillusion her. So there'll be no swearing or abuse of minority groups while she's around, okay?"

Seeing as those particular activities are Greg's forte, rather than mine, I had no control over whether they took place anyway, but he went on to prove as good as his word. Which made for a very long evening indeed.

I'm a bit worried that Greg won't have recovered from his transformation into Renaissance Man when I arrive at work this morning, but luckily, he seems to have reverted to type and goes on to spend the whole day swearing about the number of letters and phone-calls we receive from parents complaining about the schools to which their children have been allocated.

Well, not the whole day - but most of it, anyway - apart from when he's writing Greg and Jessica all over his notepad. His brains have definitely been addled by love and, as if that wasn't quite bad enough, now he's decided that he has an aptitude for poetry, too.

"Listen to this, Mol!" he says, while chewing on a mouthful of Haribos.

"Do I have to?" I say. "I'm trying to write these bloody letters about school places. And you're supposed to be doing half of them."

"I am," says Greg. "But mine are much better than yours, not least because mine have rhythm."

He swallows hard and then stands up, climbs onto his desk, and clears his throat.

"What are you doing?" I say.

"Centering myself," he says, taking a deep breath before beginning to declaim:

"Dear Acting Head of Education,
I put to you a complication:
Charlotte doesn't want to go
To Easemount High - because it's so
Full of scary Chav mutations,
It fails to meet Mum's expectations."

I stare at Greg in silence, until he says,

"What's up? There's going to be a second verse, but I haven't finished that yet. I did well to get the word 'mutations' in, though - didn't I? What d'you think of it so far?"

"It's incredible," I say. Which, like most MPs' staff, I find to be a useful, multi-purpose word.

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