Barring Geoff Hattersley, you’d think most contemporary poets have never done a proper days work in their life. For me this poetic vacuum, this space walked around or avoided, leaves me unable sometimes to link myself to poetry and poets. We all work don’t we? So in, You’re So Vain You Probably Think This Book Is About You (YSVYPTTBIAY), I wanted to address this balance, to tackle work, the toad as Larkin called it, to show the vicissitudes of the work place, how employment shapes us and what it does to us. In doing this I use a sometime working class hero Crusoe whose mix of fecklessness and bad luck acts as a conduit for my own socio-political brand of Hulldonian existentialism. Either that or I just chew the fat about the workaday.
As the author, it would be completely wrong of me to tell you the subtext or underlying themes of this book, which are of course a virulent and rational hatred of Margaret Thatcher and a new blast in the re-emerging class war. So since my last book Cowboy Hat, I’ve pulled together all the poems about the toad and here they are. It’s not all work though, I can be found smashing up my old sofa in the kitchen, or telling you about Badger the Cadger, the slotterhodge blagging a free meal, or me being tied to Animal on a three legged pub crawl, or Renwick the serial chorer. Mostly it is work. You’re So Vain You Probably Think This Book Is About You, is a tribute to Bobby the TWOCKER, Ox the toilet door kettle balancing nutcase and the motley gang of wonderful workmates and workbanes I’ve had the fortune to work with. For me, a poetry book should be like a good night out with your mates, when you’re wearing a new snazzy shirt. It encompasses storytelling, drama, emotion, courage, humour and ultimately belief and spirit. Work will never diminish my spirit and my faith will remain strong. So here I come with my Northern Heart on one sleeve and my Yorkshire Soul on the other. I’ve bared my heart in this book to give you these poems. Now it’s your turn reader, chuffing eck, buy the book.