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Down Among The Flowerpots

By Ashleylister @ashleylister
Flowerpots! Not the most prepossessing of topics, I'll grant you, but let's see where we can go with this one. I've always preferred proper terracotta (literally baked earth) pots to the shiny plastic variety, even before the war on plastics was declared. Anybody with a garden almost certainly has a stack of earthenware flowerpots somewhere, either in a potting shed (if the garden stretches to such a luxury) or stowed neatly in a secluded corner waiting to be recycled into action.
I once knew a robin to build its nest in one such flowerpot. That pot was lying on its side over-wintering with a collection of pots of varying sizes in a sheltered spot at the bottom of my garden. In deference to the robin and its nest, all those pots remained undisturbed well into early summer.

Down Among The Flowerpots

Fearless Friend

That robin was seemingly fearless. I hesitate to use the word tame (as garden birds are wild creatures), but he often would search me out while I was gardening, would happily sit on the handle of my spade while it was stuck in the ground and I teased out small earthworms  for him. I somehow persuaded the cat (who would usually accompany me on these gardening jaunts) to just lie quietly and watch the robin unmolested. To her credit, she never showed any sign of wanting to attack him and he always appeared unfazed by her presence, as though some unspoken truce had been sealed between us all. On occasions when he felt particularly bold (or maybe just exceedingly hungry) he would perch lightly on my outstretched hand to take whatever disinterred grub lay wriggling there. I felt extraordinarily privileged.
Of course for a child of the Sixties, no blog about flowerpots would be complete without giving an honourable mention to Bill and Ben - the flowerpot men - and little weed. They were a staple of BBC TV's Watch With Mother on weekday afternoons.

Down Among The Flowerpots

Flowerpot Men & Blissful Weed

Although I didn't have one - TV that is, I must have watched occasionally at a cousin's house - I was as captivated watching creatures made out of flowerpots and who lived in flowerpots boldly pottering where no one had pottered before as any pre-school tot of the last two decades has been by the doings of the teletubbies. (Who remembers Slowcoach the tortoise?)
My predilection for the antics of Bill and Ben and little Weed was resumed briefly in my later teenage years when we watched with dilated pupils and a knowing sense of irony. That's a whole other story (and one you're not going to get here) but it provides a tenuous connection to this week's poem.
Blackpool hosts the Rebellion Festival over a long week-end every summer, usually at the beginning of August. It's been going since 1996 and has become the world's premier punkfest, filling the town (and the Winter Gardens) with thousands of punks from all over the world. I've never been to any of the gigs - though Flipper are over from the States this year and that's very tempting - but the influx of so many aficionados is a wonderful spectacle.
This, then, is an affectionate reflection on the Blackpool Rebellion extravaganza from one who was there in London when it was all kicking off over forty years ago. (The Clash were my favourites, I saw them the most often. The Damned were pretty good too.)
White Punks On Weed
There's a rebel yell
rolling down the tramline,
a rainbow pageant of defiance
taking the town by storm;
not gay pride this week-end
but Blackpool's annual punk fest,
non-conformance the norm,
a convention of the unconventional.
There's a sweet smell of weed
on the sea breeze
ensuring more beatitude than attitude
as the last of the mohicans
in proud defiance of the years
pogo with collective verve
to three-chord wonders in performance
at the Winter Gardens, ornate home
of the original holiday in the sun.
They're a curious breed,
these doctors, lawyers, postal workers,
draughtsmen, civil servants, teachers,
milkmaids, truckers and lay preachers
all got up in safety pins and bondage trousers,
sprayed DMs, slashed vests and dayglo Ts,
but you've got to hand it to them.
There's a sense of 'no future'
by the enduring spirit of punk
an all's well that ends well.
For witness the damned generation now,
this once ripped and torn
Radio Blank bin-bag nation
with no particular place to go,
happily reborn in tribal glory.
That's Rebellion week-end for you.
That's one hell of a story to tell.
Thanks for reading, S ;-) Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to Facebook


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