Wednesday, 4 May 2011

A Vintage Claret Amongst Black ‘n’ Whites

A Vintage Claret amongst Black ‘n’ Whites

Is such unequivocal evidence

Favours cannot be chosen. They’re conferred,

Passed down generations like a gold watch,

Anachronism this digital age

Of just in time and use by dates. Who’d keep

Such a mechanism now, other than

As a curiosity. Allegiance

Has become a commodity, freely

Traded, worn for a season, discarded

Once fashions change or someone else becomes

Top of the league, top of the range. No one

Is fobbed off with a fob watch anymore,

No matter how great it might have been once,

No matter hallmarks, though rubbed almost smooth,

Are still faintly discernable, no matter

Those marks are eloquent symbols of place,

Of origin, of value beyond price.

It’s so much easier to buy the new,

To sport the latest fad, to see being seen

Through trend-tinted spectacles, to be

Transparent enough for the heart. Sitting

In a Newcastle bar when three o clock

Chimes Saturday afternoon kick-off hour,

When peals of “Howay the Lads!” and “Toon! Toon!”,

The tintinnabulation of fervour,

Ring around Leazes End and Gallowgate,

Sounding like distant clamour of voices

From beyond this mundane world, weaving through

Milling shoppers, the living dead who’re damned

To wander malls of the Eldon Centre,

And shooting, shouting through the open door

Of the pub, I’m a hundred miles and four

Generations away along the Longside.

Whoever is looking for me must see

I am the bastard in Claret and Blue.

Dave Alton