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What's Up Darlin'?

OK, OK... I know there are easier targets to pick on in the world of hackneyed, cliché-ridden song lyric writing than the otherwise talented Dizzee Rascal. I'm actually a pretty big fan of some of his work, particularly 'Fix Up, Look Sharp' from his precociously impressive first album, Boy in da Corner, and the unfortunately titled but belting Brit-hop Grime single 'Pussy'Ole (Old Skool)' from his third release, Maths + English.

But this little snippet of comedy gold is just too good to ignore, revealing as it does the way in which music artists half-disguise such lyrical junk with their vocalisations - which in Dizzee's case, is through rapid-fire, often double dutch style rapping. Get a well-spoken, middle-class radio presenter called Carrie to 'rap' along to the song's tune, however, and what makes for highly danceable Brit-hop descends into the complete farce it lyrically is, and not just because the girl can't rap or sing. I'd recommend watching the original Rascal version (below), before you listen to the Radio 1 spoof (above).

All this, then, and Michael Horovitz was still banging on last week in the Guardian book blogs about 'stuffy academics' ignoring the 'poetry' of Bob Dylan. What Horovitz, like so many others, fails to acknowledge is that there's a reason why the man himself was once so uneasy about critics trawling his lyrics alone for subtext and deeper meanings. You can belittle Germaine Greer as a person (or indeed, academic) all you like, then, but her much-publicised line on song lyrics as poetry is still right, and I'm yet to hear a compelling argument against it: they're not, 'cause all song lyrics collapse without the music they're set to whereas a good poem creates its own music through the rhyme and rhythm of language alone. As I said on this blog a year back, the good poem possesses a singularity that song lyrics - being what they are - lack. Good to see that the majority of reader responses to Horovitz's article were level-headed and considered in their defence of the thrust of Germaine's intelligent standpoint, then.

Oh, and I should point out that I don't think 'Dance Wiv Me' is hilariously solely because it happens to feature that detestable chap Calvin Harris. Not solely.


Anonymous said…
Moyles Englishness though, is also highly crass and really at the end of any credibility now..the whole of young ppl's English, contemporary adult (mentally) english of Caucer, Homer, shakes fear and shagging, Romeo and judge jules, top shot U2 please

where's the Art in two sides talking bollix, both guilty of the ooh con tray faux pas each side attempts to prosecute orally (in print) and on Radio and Television England, RTV english, where is it..

here, imitating the real thing and being better at foolong the crop of frankly uninspiring mob of gassers talking shit, puffed up rich ppl who work in the Me Jah majestic front for slavery of the Intellect, there is simply no excuse for it, apart from when you saved a planet 63 yrs ago B4 the olds skool wuz hanging for crimes against the state of Fashion, what inspirational role models for Poetry, do we the young ppl have today?

Insipid bland agreement and exercise in not offending anyone, at grass roots level, whilst our Me Jah leaders, like Diz get to shag lots queuing up for deep bone delusional Vidz of utter Lies..

how are we expoected to behave if we have to presume original sin for stuff the chaps at HQ get to prosecute, set in to Reality with their talk of saving US from the Threat of...what exactly? THEM mate

us lot, you, me everybody, needs somebody to live for love and be in John lennon's Mob Jah Man for the ladz, yah?

and Moyles, i luckily have kept as a big fat void of Unknowing, consciously avboiding any deeper association with his doings as anon, a fawning number to Him, to moylesy, who i know, i know

all the rads start out genuine, young, like sir Once Radical now an insufferable pillar of the status quo, who has talked themself into a hole, their best yrs, never to return, until they shut up, get off and let more interesting working class ppl who are not millionaires, speak for their Mass of loving public supporters, who are forced to pay our big fat salaries until the truth hits like it did Evans, yr boring Diz and M, off the fucking stage, please

thank you very much (untalented twit) for being so verbally inventive

to reach onto the pit of longing, in poverty, stay there, and still sing Freedom at 65 as you collect the pass to a whole new young persons paradise at the one way fat club, suction, assassin, poetry, miners of the Vibe English, aint even av wiv yis to be There da doon mah trews airs, succor withes, nuff bone,
BarbaraS said…
I was just going to say that Germaine has it pretty spot on there.

Economy of words being what it is.

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About the Author

Welcome to the website of the English poet and critic, Ben Wilkinson.
Ben was born in Staffordshire and now lives in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. He received his first degree from the University of Sheffield, and holds an MA and PhD from Sheffield Hallam University. He has won numerous awards for his poetry, including the Poetry Business Competition and a 2014 Northern Writers' Award
His debut full collection of poems, Way More Than Luck, appeared from Seren Books in February 2018.
He is a keen distance runner, lifelong Liverpool Football Club fan, and among other things he works as poetry critic for The Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement. You can find many of his reviews on this site.
To contact Ben about readings, workshops, or for any other enquiries, you can drop him a line at benwilko(at sign) Unfortunately, I am not able to consider unsolicited requests from authors for book reviews.

You can follow Ben on Twitter - @BenWilko85 - and on Facebook.

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Way More Than Luck (Seren Books, 2018)

From the thumping heartbeat of the distance runner to the roar of football terraces across the decades, Ben Wilkinson’s debut confronts the struggles and passions that come to shape a life. Beginning with an interrogation of experiences of clinical depression and the redemptive power of art and running, the collection centres on a series of vivid character portraits, giving life to some of football's legends. By turns frank, comic, sinister and meditative – ‘the trouble with you, son, is that all your brains are in your head’ – these poems uncover the beautiful game’s magic and absurdity, hopes and disappointments, as striking metaphors for our everyday dramas. Elsewhere there are tender love poems, political satire and strange dream worlds, in an urgently lyrical book of poems that take many forms and modes of address: pantoum, sonnet, sestina; epistle, confession, dramatic monologue. All are united by a desire to speak with searching clarity about matters of the heart. Way More …