Creative Brighton

Last week Design Week asked a group of creative directors from around the UK why their location was a good place for a creative agency to be. My husband and co-director at Harrison Agency, Chris, suggested I respond with a poem about Brighton. Never one to turn a fun piece of creative writing down, I got stuck right in. Here’s my answer below. (And if you’re looking to relocate to somewhere with creative work in mind, the full article is worth a read.)

 

You might think you’ve got Brighton sussed

A town built on weekends of lust

With hipsters and greens

Mods, rockers and queens

The odd bit of new agey crust

 

Yet bold ideas are key to this place:

Its royal palace once deemed a disgrace

But a prince with a vision

Ignored all derision

The result? An iconic ace

 

This city gets under your nails

Its freedom puts wind in your sails

Be creative, be a freak

Brighton loves what’s unique

By contrast elsewhere simply pales

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A poem about… Budgie Smugglers

Dedicated to all British men who dread putting on the appropriate attire for the French piscine… Allez. Bon courage.

 

One thing about France that British blokes hate:

The piscine rules aren’t up for debate

Baggy shorts are seen as a foreign man’s crime

Blokes, there’s no point complaining – it’s budgie time

 

You trawl the internet, seeking lenience

What are the reasons for this inconvenience?

How can baggy shorts be more of a scandal

than bikini bottoms that draw attention to your handle?

 

Get over it Britishers, work that stiff upper lip

Remember, in France, you’ll look pretty hip

There is one advantage to the hammock de banane –

all the French ladies love a budgie smuggler man

Away in Pret à Manger, a dubious Christmas poem

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The theme of this year’s Christmas poem is the frustrations of Christmas shopping, and I dedicate it to anyone who’s ever queued for the loo in M&S on a Saturday in December. We’ve all been there and it’s not funny.

Away in Pret à Manger
No seats to be had
I need some cake and coffee
And I need it real bad

I’m doing some Christmas shopping
Scrap the coffee – I’ll need booze
If I spend any longer
In the check-out queues

I trudge into Tiger
And am thrilled at the sight
Of cheap plastic rubbish
That won’t last the night

What to buy for my children?
Will they like it? Will it fit?
To be honest, I am thinking
They have got enough shit

I move on to Marks and Spencers
But I’m bursting for the loo
And join a zillion pensioners
In the world’s longest queue

We shuffle very slowly
Towards the smell of urine
To the songs of Noddy Holder
Mel’n’Kim and Springsteen

This is painful, I am wilting
Then I have an epiphany
I will treat myself to something
Slinky and sparkly

I hurry to French Connection
And emerge with a smile
It turns out that this foray
Was totally worthwhile

Be generous at Christmas
So says Mark chapter three
Dear father, I have done so
For I have given unto me.

Is Santa real? A Christmas poem

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This festive poem was inspired by a conversation I had with my 8-year-old daughter recently. As her questions about Father Christmas grew ever more searching, I was finding it harder and harder to make up convincing explanations to keep the magic going. Luckily, after demanding the truth, she took the news quite well.

Now the truth is out I feel quite relieved! However, now I’m faced with another challenge – keeping the magic alive for my youngest daughter while persuading the eldest to keep schtum. My eldest is pretty smart, so it won’t be long till she works out I’m now in an easily blackmailable position: “You want me to keep your dirty secret? That’ll be an iPad please. AND a puppy.”

Anyway, without further ado, here’s my dubious poem about how that conversation could have gone…

Santa’s days are numbered
The truth’s as good as out
My daughter’s asking questions
And I’ve only fuelled her doubts

It started with the wrapping paper
Should’ve bought a variation
I said Santa had to borrow mine
Not the greatest explanation

“How does he fit down the chimney, Mum?
And what if our fire was lit?”
“Santa wears extra padding,” I said
“Beneath it, he’s actually quite fit.”

“Wouldn’t he burn his feet though?”
She asks, increasingly thoughtful
I said, “His boots are fire-proof
And anyway, he’s immortal.”

“But how can he get round the world
In just one little night?”
“Well, Santa’s reindeer are magical –
Faster than the speed of light.”

“So will Santa get me an iPad, then?
It’s top of my Christmas list.”
“Um, he may have just run out of those,
Best choose a back-up gift.”

“An X-box then, or a puppy – please?
I’ve made a good impression.”
So I tell her, Santa’s just like us
Struggling with the recession

Then one day she comes out with it
“Mum, I don’t think Santa exists
I was looking through your make-up draw,
And found my old Christmas lists

“I also found my baby teeth
Rattling inside a pot
I wasn’t sure about the tooth fairy
So that would explain a lot

“Tell me, Mum, I’m right, aren’t I?”
Tears well up in her eyes
I hesitate, what should I do?
I’m caught in a web of lies

I tell my daughter, “Yes you’re right,
But cheer up – it’s not tragic
There are lots of other things to enjoy
That are filled with Christmas magic

“Like opening your advent calendar
Singing carols by candlelight
Decorating the Christmas tree
A family snowball fight

“I’ll miss him though,” my daughter sobs
I regret my revelation
“We could…” I say, “pretend that we…
Never had this conversation?”

“Let’s pretend that I just banged my head
And now I’ve got concussion.”
My daughter grins and we conspire
To forget this whole discussion

“Is Santa real? Tell me, Mum!”
She repeats the momentous question
“Of course he is!” I squeeze her tight
“What a ridiculous suggestion.”

My Twitterverse (a poem)

Move over gambling and alcohol,
Seductive sweets that soon turn bitter
There’s a new kid in town, who’s stolen your crown –
That social media site called Twitter

You vow you’ll never go near it,
It’s for celebrities, app geeks and fools
Then someone you trust says it’s a must
“Why darling, it’s a genius tool!”

Genius indeed for us writers,
Who always have something to say
Twitter lets you publish your every thought
A hundred or more times a day

Still it takes you a while to grasp it
There are different rules of thumb
Such as, plug yourself more than 5%
And you’ll be unfollowed by some

You tweet something and someone retweets you
It gives you a buzz and a glow
You tweet something and nobody notices
Answer me damn it! Hello?

You start to tweet before breakfast
On your i-phone while still in the buff
You burn the dinner while tweeting a winner
Your partner snaps, “I’ve had enough!”

Then one day a lightbulb goes ping
It’s time to climb out of the pit
The penny drops: real life has stopped
You’ve been acting like a Twit

Like medicine, Twitter has healing powers
Interaction and praise make you high
But too much leads to getting hooked
While real life passes you by…

That’s not to say that Twitter’s all bad
It has many a positive quality
But once in a while, have some goddamn style
Give yourself a good Twitter holiday.

 

OK, so I’m an indie author…

Nervous, unsure and doubtful

I launch my novels online

I’m guessing that selling one copy

could take a very long time

 

I join that dreaded Twitter thing

and tentatively start to tweet

I discover that people are friendly

supportive and rather sweet

 

It seems I’m an indie author now

so I must learn to promote myself

but without annoying other tweeters

in my bid to stand out on the shelf

 

I blog about writing and publishing

the highs and lows of the ride

sometimes people relate to my posts

which makes me feel warm inside

 

Little by little my sales creep up

and I feel like celebrating

after years of seeking a publishing deal

going indie is liberating

 

Still I’m just a novice at marketing

and I’m only a one-man-band

I’m tweeting, blogging and editing too

but I need to establish my ‘brand’

 

Women’s fiction – that’s definitely me

but I know that men like it too

I’m romantic comedy as well you see

but ballsy – not cringe-worthy goo

 

Mummy porn? Not me I’m afraid

though there’s an abundance of sparks a-flying

There’s drama a-plenty in my books

that’ll leave you laughing and crying

 

Beach reads is a good one, I’ll admit

as there’s sunshine and foreign soil

But my next one’s in Brighton in winter time

so is that another good label foiled?

 

All in all I’m just loving this journey

It’s amazing my books are being bought

I’m no longer seeking a publishing deal

But if you’re offering I’ll give it some thought


by Tasha Harrison, 2nd July 2012