Tag: Manchester

Peterloo2
Our kids don’t know politically some of Manchester’s feats,
It’s strange that we don’t tell ‘em of the war fought on these streets,
It’s odd that we don’t say… just how those people died,
Fighting for the freedom that voting would provide.

It’s not their fault; I don’t blame them, only a tiny plaque was cast,
To honour this momentous day, this secret from our past,
It’s like MPs are still embarrassed or maybe they don’t care,
For this defining moment of an age, Manchester’s Tiananmen Square.

Coz it really was the moment, that they forced politically,
To change public opinion and bring democracy,
Is it fading from our memory banks, this fight some never knew?
Our greatest moment of reform; the battle of Peterloo.

It will soon be two hundred years, since eleven people died,
On these very streets of Manchester; where the authorities had lied,
They claimed it was a tragedy and arrested those who said,
That it wasn’t quite an accident but a massacre instead.

The people came in thousands to fight against their toils,
Sixty thousand gathered close to Discotheque Royales,
Just four years after Napoleon and the battle of Waterloo,
Poverty had bitten hard and northern life was cruel.

We didn’t have the vote back then and jobs were hard to find,
The Corn Laws were a barrier and daily life a grind,
The rich were getting richer; the poor had nowt to show,
And rich mps in London town just didn’t want to know.

Revolutionists in Manchester, guys like Henry Hunt,
They chose to fight for normal folk and do what mps wouldn’t,
But marches south just didn’t work out; London didn’t yield,
So they kept the fight here in Manc, and marched to St Peter’s field.

The banners shouted loud and proud, their message defiant,
Vote By ballot, No Corn Laws, Annual Parliament!
It was time to drag our politics from this darkest of Dark Age,
Let us die like men, the women said, and not be sold like slaves.

Reform leaders across the north, gathered there to say,
That parliament in London couldn’t have it their own way,
The masses came to listen; the authorities weren’t too keen,
At what remains today the biggest… UK meeting ever seen.

But as they started speaking and the crowds began to cheer,
The local MPs panicked and ordered soldiers near,
To run into the ordered crowd and swing their swords about,
To arrest the public speakers and pull the leaders out.

But the crowd refused to buckle and tried to stand its ground,
They tried to hold their banners high and form a shield around,
The speakers they were gunning for, their voices must be heard,
But through the crowds with sabres drawn, they were savagely murdered.

The horses trampled, crushing folk who had nowhere to go,
Whilst soldiers swung their swords, butchering innocents below,
Some were stabbed by bayonet or trampled underfoot,
Some were shot by muskets as the cavalry went nuts.

Women died, and kids were hurt, no concessions made,
The cavalry just didn’t care for the people they had slayed,
Eventually the soldiers won and broke the human shield,
Eleven killed, five hundred hurt, a bloodied battle field.

Arrests were made and sanctions sought, the speakers put in jail,
But eventually from that shameful day, the changes they did hail,
For on the site those people died they built the Free Trade Hall,
Where the Anti-Corn Law league won out; a free economy for all.

Demonstrations hadn’t worked but a newspaper was born,
One to challenge everything and politically pour scorn,
Today it’s called The Guardian; a paper for us all,
A tribute to the folk that died; a Manc memorial.

Doorway Under The Arches

MrsSaxophonist2

For twenty seconds as we pass you by,
We’re the best of friends, we always say hi,
Standing proud outside Kendalls or,
sheltering from rain by the Music store.

Whatever the weather you’re always there,
An icon of the Mancunian night air,
Your soulful notes catch on the breeze,
As soon as we hear them we remember with ease.

That you’re always there come rain or shine,
And your pockets we should remember to line,
For the music you play always gives us a treat,
The Simpsons, Corrie and Baker Street.

We’ve seen you before but what the heck,
We giggle and laugh and dance for a sec,
Like a long lost friend from a time gone by,
We ask for our favourites, then say goodbye.

Off into our evenings, your notes float away,
And once again we’ve forgotten to pay,
All we did… was ask for our songs,
You obliged, we danced and then we were gone.

I glance back, more folk are twisting your wrist,
But I wonder who are you Mister Saxophonist?
Where do you live and where do you go?
When you pack up your stuff at the end of your show?

Does someone come for you, do you walk home alone?
Does anyone interrupt with a call on your phone?
All I see… is you there each week,
Playing your saxophone, puffing your cheeks.

But what do you do with the rest of your life?
Do you play in a band? Do you have a wife?
Do you buy her some flowers on your way home?
When you’ve finished playing your saxophone.

You always look happy, I hope that you are,
I hope your music pays for your car,
And a house somewhere nice with a beautiful view,
But I need to know…what do you do!!

My girls drag me back as I stop and stare,
At your happy face and your afro hair,
Friday and Saturday you stand on the street,
But what do you do with the rest of your week?

I feel ignorant now coz I’ve known you so long,
But all I’ve done is danced to your song,
Another drunkard to dance in the rain,
Does anyone even ask you your name?

Next week I’ll ask you of that I am sure,
The questions build up; you’ll think I’m a bore,
Please turn up saxy because I need to know,
Is there a Mrs Saxophonist who loves you so?

Copyright©2011 by Phil Martin

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BulletProofSmile2
“You’re not coming in, you’ve not reserved space,
We don’t like your jeans; we don’t like your face,
Read my lips sunshine, it’s guest list only,
Your names not down, shall I say it more slowly?”

All over town the script is the same,
The swanky bars want a celebrity name,
But us normal folk just ain’t willing or able,
To pay a thousand quid bar tab just for a table.

The posher the place the worst the banter,
As z-lists and wannabes go in at a canter,
We stand outside with rain on our face,
Knowing we ain’t getting into this place.

But it’s busy tonight and the guest list must wait,
And this is something that wannabes hate,
They think they can waltz up and go straight down,
All thinking that they’re the main face in this town.

We stand in the queue and we watch for while,
And see for the first time the bullet proof smile,
Of the bouncer that’s nice, even when he says no,
Even when he’s sworn at, it still doesn’t show.

I stand and wait for him to turn me away,
As dozens of people rack up to say,
I’m mates with the owner; it’s always the same,
Do you know who I am? Do you not know my name?

They push and they surge to force themselves in,
But not one of them can steal the bouncer’s broad grin,
They shout and they swear, but he still doesn’t frown,
As the crowd shouts as one; I’m the most famous in town.

But it’s full downstairs, its’ one in one out,
Not even that stems their arrogant shout,
The guest list is fuming, they’re starting to bitch
You’d best let me in, I’m famous, I’m rich.

We stand in the queue, all mild and meek,
Is this what it’s like for the bouncer all week?
Smiling politely as folk scream and swear,
All saying things they wouldn’t normally dare.

The insults like bullets fly through the air,
But don’t lessen his smile or ruffle his hair,
They bounce off his teeth but don’t shatter his grin,
Shout all you like, you’re not getting in.

He smiles politely as the girls start to hiss,
Standing quite happy but not taking the piss,
Then with no warning and to my great surprise,
The smiling bouncer looks straight in my eyes.

It’s my turn for rejection but there’s nothing to fear,
You’re in- he says -with his smile ear to ear,
The guest list gasps – in horror, I’m in,
His bullet proof smile, my Cheshire cat grin.

Copyright©2011 by Phil Martin

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Chargrilled, burnt out buildings spewing up their insides,
Carcasses, stripped of all their meat, spilled guts, missing their sides,
Contorted concrete confetti, showered in shards of glass,
Roofs ripped away like cardboard by the power of the blast.

The streets all strewn in debris; the end of the world has come,
Battered, tattered, shopping mall, society undone,
Girders bent in agony, the bridge to Marks and Sparks,
Is hanging from the rafters which are nearly blown in half.

Exploded and imploded, sirens pierce the city air,
The streets are scorched and scolded; rescuers stand and stare,
For as the smoke has cleared and the dangers gone away,
A symbol of Manc stubbornness comes firmly into play.

Standing proud, still bold and loud, puffing out its chest,
Is an unscathed red pillar box, Manc defiance at its best,
Devastation on all sides, destroyed and torn apart,
But like that bright red letter box they’d never take our heart.

The fabric of our safety lay unravelled in destruction,
But rising from the ashes came Manchester’s reconstruction,
And just like that little post box protected every letter,
They’d do their job, rebuild our town and make Manc even better.

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