Posted by: David Harley | July 6, 2013

Via Media

Rupert Murdoch is off somewhere
selling of Sydney to buy LA
having robber-stamped Westminster’s
selling off London to the Pentagon
to sell out to Moscow
to save Washington
from burning off the map

Meanwhile, back Backing Britain
Saint Robert Maxwell (63) takes time out
from single-handedly feeding Ethiopia
(which has had its 15 minutes of fame)
on surplus sugar
in order to repudiate in a Mirror editorial
and a fit of extreme pro-feminism
even the softest of soft porn

and Lo!
Samantha, Carol-Ann and the Brighton Belle
are banished
leaving us to drool disapproval
over reminiscences of the Sexual Revolution
or the flash of Jane‘s garter-bound thighs
revealing not-too-new insights
into the phrase ‘strip cartoon’

leggy, busty, shapely, flame-haired ladies
in perfunctory underwear are now by-lined
by the fashion editor…

after a decent interval
of a week and a half
the Brighton Belle is back
in a pose less offensive
than that of the editor

in the sitting room corner
my tasteful teak-effect magic lantern
electronically reassembles
carefully colour-matched coiffures
with colour-coded accessories
(and that’s just the weatherman)
and nervelessly neutered non-expressions
shrink-wrapping cultured pearlies
enunciating condescension towards
the urban battlegrounds and cemeteries
of Brixton, Broadwater and Belfast.

Back on the kitchen table
the bleeding editorial hearts
of the Midden, Scum and Scar
raise their cats-o-nine-tails
(one pink one, one white one,
and seven in shades of blue)
in the ritual cleansing
of the collective conscience by
flagellation of the traditional scapegoat

Jasmine whimpers in her coffin
and we all intone
‘There, there… naughty social worker!’

Norma Morris, defunct social worker
crowns a career spent
walking the fine line between
Fairy Godmother and Wicked Stepmother
by being murdered and decapitated
by a mind-blown client
bleeding unnoticed and virtually unreported**
into stainless steel
having no voice to say ‘sorry’
being too deadly polite
and politely dead
to scream


A (fairly) youthful exercise in venting some indignation at Cold War political and media manoeuvres, maintaining an audience of pin-up oglers while claiming the quasi-feminist high ground, racial tension in London, the Troubles in Ireland, and the persistent demonization of overworked and under-resourced social work departments and organizations. Living in London for so long was probably not good for me. Published in the Spring 1990 in issue 18 of ‘First Time’, ISSN-2068-0520.

* I’m afraid I’ve completely forgotten to which tabloid pin-ups these names refer. Sorry, ladies.
** Without any intent to trivialize the horror and importance of the murder of children by anyone (let alone their families), or the part played by failures on the part of the authorities and individual social workers in some such events, I couldn’t help contrasting at the time the media attention paid to the murdered children and the almost complete lack of attention to the assaults on and occasional murders of social workers.


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