14 August 2012

Tuesday Poem: The Wind Blew Back Biff Byford's Hair

We stand in the face of the wind, of the wind machine
Our stylists ready with product and comb
We take up our stance and seize our guitars
In the face of the wind, of the wind machine.

We sing in the face of the war, of the war machine
Our stylists ready with product and comb
We watch the director and follow his cues
In the face of the war, of the war machine.

We laugh in the face of death, of the death machine
Our stylists ready with product and comb
We tease out highlights and re-shoot some takes
In the face of death, of the death machine.

We sneer in the face of hate, of the hate machine
Our stylists ready with product and comb
We shout out to fans who've stayed staunch and true
In the face of hate, of the hate machine.

In the face of hate, in the face of death
In the face of the war, in the face of the wind
We take up our stance and seize our guitars
Our stylists ready with product and comb.

Credit note: This is one of the poems I cut from the final manuscript of Men Briefly Explained. It is published here for the first time.

Tim says: You will scarcely need reminding that Peter Rodney "Biff" Byford was the magnificently-maned lead singer of Saxon, one of the bands that came to prominence in the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, or NWOBHM as one should properly call it (Nu-wobbem).

Here's Biff's barnet getting a good workout in an otherwise rather dubious hair-metal cover of Christopher Cross's yacht-rock hit "Ride Like The Wind"from 1988: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0OFr3-JPSE

After Billy Collins invented a parody of the villanelle called the Paradelle, I felt I had to go one better (or worse). I call the form I have invented for this poem the "Paradiddle", and hope that more poets will take up the challenge to write in this form, especially when writing poems about the lesser bands of the NWOBHM era.

My poetic tribute to the St Valentine's Day Massacre EP by the combined forces of Girlschool and Motörhead, should it proceed, is almost certain to be in the form of a paradiddle. I plan to call it "Please Don't Touch": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5dAyPoYax4 (R.I.P. Kelly Johnson, sadly missed).

The Tuesday Poem: can be found in all its multifarious splendour on, and in the sidebar at the left of, the Tuesday Poem blog.


pscottier said...

Hate the music (and the stone wash jeans), love the poem. Surprised you cut it from your collection, Tim.

Helen Lowe said...

Enjoyed the poem, too, Tim. :)

Kathleen Jones said...

I liked the poem too - and the form. I can see why you didn't include it in the collection, but maybe in the next?

Tim Jones said...

Thanks, Penelope, Helen and Kathleen!

Penelope, I should have remembered that your commitment to the post-doom/sludge/stoner/psychedelic metal scene based in Savannah, GA would mean that you'd find Saxon awfully bland ;-)

Kathleen, my every intention (seriously) is that my next collection will be extremely serious. But sometimes I just can't help myself.

Ben Hur said...

I'm assuming being the erudite fellow you are, you realise a paradiddle is a drumming term.

My 13-year-old son is into metal (can't say I'm terrifically enamoured of it) and has educated me to the many sub-genres. It's fascinating. There's Viking metal, post-industrial hardcore, technical death metal, scream metal and the list goes on. Scandanavia seems to be a hotbed of metal, almost its spiritual home.

Love the paradiddle, Tim.

Tim Jones said...

Thanks, Andrew! I did realise that, though I have no idea how to perform one.

I have thought of turning Wikipedia's list of the sub-genres of metal into a found poem: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heavy_metal_subgenres. I'm definitely not into Norwegian black metal and its church-burning propensities, but you can't go past a little Swedish melo-death for a quiet night in.

Anonymous said...

A paradiddle...love that word!
great title too. And a fascinating poem. I liked this form :-) Wonder why you didn't put it in your collection?

Michelle Elvy said...

I love that you posted the commentary with links to Ride Like The Wind. This made me laugh and I'm so glad you posted it here. Would've fit well into Men Briefly Explained, I think -- though it's not as quiet as some of the other in the collection.

Good to take us back to earlier eras sometimes. I feel my metal locks blowing in the Northland breeze just now...