Saturday Live's Georgian Pleasure

Listeners to the Sony Award Winning Saturday Live will have noticed a very hoarse poet coming down the line from Edinburgh this morning. The amazing Anna Chancellor was the studio guest and I was glad to hear she was as intelligent and cynical as I hoped she would be (I mean this in a complimentary way, all the best people are what I’d call “cynical,” she doesn’t say the “nice” things people expect). I’m in love with her all over again. Charles, if you only you’d loved Duckface!

The main feature was an interview with Elaine Chalus who is organising a festival called Georgian Pleasure. She was brilliant speaking about those naughty Georgians. I was moved to verse:

Austerity, that mangy beast
that thread-bare phantom at the feast
is serving up its tasteless slop
and miming to us: spoon it up.
Then after (for there’s never more)
it thwacks it’s mug and stands to bore
us with some carping tight-lipped speech:
Blah blah striver, blah blah leech!
Blah blah balanced budget blah
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.
Until it feels we’ve had our measure
and we’re gagging for some Georgian Pleasure.

Georgian pleasure! Pleasure dromes
Brighton Pavilion, stately homes.
Those romping Georgians knew a thing
’bout how to drink and eat and sing.
The Regent draining public purse
while Southey spooled his brown-nosed verse.
All lacey ladies, jodhpur-ed cads
as nonchalant as undergrads
affecting titillated looks
at Austen’s latest pacey book
O! What I wouldn’t give to have
some Georgian Pleasure round my gaff!

But NO I hear you cry with rage
you’ve read but half that Wiki page!
The Regency was riddle with
a hoard of cruel imbalances:
for every gossip over tea
were twenty lice-plagued rookeries,
a lunar race with unclipped diction
for whom the rich we’re just a fiction.
For God’s sake man, there was war
Commons treachery and more!
Uprisings and awful diet
for every roasted swan, a riot.

To which I nod and simply say;
so rather like it is today.
I never meant to cause offence
allow this dream of decadence
for that is all it is, old boy,
escapism, my favourite toy.
The thing they’ll never take from us
although they’ll stop the rural bus
and ostracise the northern towns
shut libraries and theatres down
the Georgians might have had cold hearts
at least they patronised the arts.

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