Welcome to the TVA 2016 Summer newsletter!
I recently attended the Tony Harrison gig at Teesside University, as part of the Tees Junction International Poetry Festival. It was a delight, and an emotional experience to be in the presence of this fine poet, a firebrand now become physically frail, but still burning within – so much emotion in the room, lovely. Looking through his collected works I came across the following, and in present circumstances (up the boro!) could not resist:
Tony Harrison ‘Divisions – Part 1’
All aggro in tight clothes and skinhead crops
they think that like themselves I’m on the dole.
Once in the baths that mask of ‘manhood’ drops.
Their decorated skins lay bare a soul.
Teenage dole-wallah piss-up, then tattoos.
Brown Ale and boys’ bravado numbs their fright –
MOTHER in ivy, blood reds and true blues
against that Northern skin so sunless white.
When next he sees United lose a match,
his bovver on, his scarf tied round his wrist,
his rash NEWCASTLE RULES will start to scratch,
he’ll aerosol the walls, then go get pissed…
So I hope the TRUE LOVE on your arm stays true,
the MOTHER on your chest stays loved, not hated.
But most I hope for jobs for all of you –
next year your tattooed team gets relegated!