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factual
SATURDAY LIVE: Meet the Poet
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Kate FoxKate Fox is a poet, comedian and performance and writing facilitator based in Newcastle upon Tyne. She recently came second (by 0.1 point!) in the Radio 4 Poetry Slam.

Some of her funny poems have been published in "Why I" by Zebra Publishing and some of her miserable poems are in "We are Not Stone", Ek Zuban Press, both available through www.northernpublishers.co.uk.

More of her poems are at www.myspace.com/katefoxwords

Kate on You Tube
Starter Poem

Gail Trimble’s University Challenge team,
Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant dream,
Geek chic-ery
Snail porridge freakery
Fat Duck eating,
Text Book beating
Culinary acumen,
Cerebral tricks,
One had many starters for ten,
One with starters that’d knock you for six.


Score Score, not War War.

Let’s put down the guns, set aside the shoots,
use ballroom dancing competitions to resolve international disputes.
get Gurkhas doing Mazurkas,
Coldstream Guards in Leotards
Don’t count the cost in lives of men,
but in white squares with marks out of ten.
Len would say techniques were better in World War Two,
Craig Revel Boer Warwood would add that
It’s down to how much shimmying you can do.
Brucie could oversee the theatre of war,
Stumble over timings and punchlines,
Step over words and landmines.
Tess could tend wounds, all long sinews and flat vowels,
ready with cold compresses and hot towels.
though you’d find men on the ground being given the wrong kit,
issued with tight sequin catsuits that just don’t fit
But square dancing beats square bashing,
Footwork for foot soldiers
practicing twirls and wheels,
swapping jack boots for kitten heels,
Waltzing not warring, only dance techniques to prove,
American hawks declawed by the American Smooth,
It takes two to fight and two to tango,
A Samba, A Foxtrot,, quick slow, quick quick, slow
Merengues not missiles, salsas not scuds,
motivated by competition, not aggression,
a desire to come up with the goods,
create beautiful shapes, not death and despair,
resolve conflicts in a way that’s harmonic and fair,
leaving just glittery costumes, not entire countries, in need of reconstruction,
and John Sergeant as the only Weapon of Mass Destruction
Incey wincey money spider

Incey wincey money spider
Going down the spout,
Incey wincey banks
need bailing out,
along came the recession and washed away the gain,
Incey Wincey money spider’s
going to take thirty years to climb up again
Incey wincey money spider,
Helping folks in need,
maybe Chris Tarrantula will host a show called
“who wants to be a millipede?”
Incey wincey money spider,
Sometimes they kill then eat their mate,
Suppose that’s one way of saving the cost
of a second date
Incey wincey money spider
can the world wide web help losers win?,
eight eyed Peter Mandelson,
a weaving master of spin
Incey wincey bankers
and other venomous predators of that ilk,
spraying out their threads of Robert Kilroy Silk,
Incey wincey willis,
oh hang on, she was on TV Am
Incey wincey economy,
shrinking down again,
Incey wincey money spider,
things are hanging by a thread,
you don’t need to call Rentokill
to know it’s nearly dead.

December Poem

I’m dreaming of a Brown Christmas,
just like the ones we used to know,
where the fake diamonds glisten
and Robert Peston gives a frisson
of fear about fuel bills as they grow.
I’m dreaming of a Brown Christmas,
with every credit card payment that I write.
may our days be frugal and bright
and may all of us get pulled out of the sh-
ocking economic turmoil we’re currently in.

We didn’t start the fire 2008

Northern Rock, in hock, Robert Peston, Nostradamus.
Lehman Brothers, loads of others, Tax cuts don’t calm us,
Boris wins mayoral ding dong, will be bringing home ping pong
Dr Who to be or not be, more telephone trouble at the BBC
Exit stage left Peter Hain, Lord Mandy’s back again.
Oil prices have us over a barrel, Countdown figures don’t add up for Carol
Phoenix lands on Mars, fuel reprieve for big cars,

Gok Wan, Batman, elves punched in Crapland, Nato in Afghanistan.
Briefs on Paxman’s pants, John Sergeant Foxtrots off Strictly Dance
Hadron Collider, black hole, where did the billions go?
Prezza brings it up in a book, Iceland’s banking bjerks run out of luck

Walcott Hat trick, Woolworths that’s it.
Max Mosley, not a Nazi, just a twit.
Jeremy Beadle, Game for a Laugh, Kathy Staff
Heath Ledger, Reg Varney, Littleton, Postgate, QE2, RIP
Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, had Jackie O to a tee,
Shannon Matthews, Baby P.

Hockey Moms, Sarah Palin, OJ Simpson’s belated jailing
Mumbai cleans blood from the floor, Burma’s under martial law,
Still no end to Middle East war, the world can’t take it any more

Andy Murray and Laura Robson, Britain’s latest tennis dream,
Portsmouth’s got a winning team.
Beijing Birds Nest, Bolt is the world best,
Olympics Golden British joy; Adlington,Foster, Romero, Hoy
A shoe in; Obama’s historic win. Dubya has a film, a rout and a shoe out.
First black president for the USA, what else do I have to say?

We didn’t start the fire, it was always burning since the world’s been turning
and it still goes on and on and on.
Banking failsafes have been exposed as shoddy
The market’s doing more twitching than Bill Oddie,
The gloaters with their cash under the bed,
shunning the systems built on being in the red
Will Shakespeare was ahead of his time,
When he pointed out in rhyme
What my Nan always said to me,
Neither a borrower nor a lender be.



It was when I found myself making a cup of tea,
then turning on the tv so I could see
someone else making a cup of tea
I thought I might be addicted to Reality TV.
Well, heightened reality,
But when the only murders I ever see are on Taggart
perhaps that’s why I need a kick from
watching a z-list celebrity eat a maggot,
mankind can’t bear very much reality,
but I’m hungry for a gauge of normality,
Even 24 hour surveillance of reality stars won’t keep my appetite fed,
ideally we’d see live MRI feeds of the inside of their head
Without leaving the settee,
I’ve sung badly, learned the tango,
made a four course meal using just a Findus crispy pancake and a mango,
Had a family row,
Inseminated a cow,
such is the power of reality TV.
I’ll be on “The Family” as long as there’s no “sex and lavatories” one participant said,
and somehow Wife Swap runs without
ever following the subjects into bed,
so there’s only one show where the mirror really reflects,
the brute stuff of life, the precedence of sex,
Seeing creatures actually fighting and rutting
is the opposite of off putting
on this show you can even watch them eating each other,
which is probably what they’ll try next on Big Brother
all life is on it from throat to crotch,
it’s not just cos the host’s sat next to me I’ll say
the realest reality TV show is Springwatch
Summer of Love

'88 was the second Summer of Love
maybe another's just what we need.
Heathcliff Gordon could take the romantic lead.
As part of initiatives to combat knife crime,
he could make love compulsory.
If not demonstrating appropriately
you'd get an on the spot fine.
All official notices will end affectionately;
"No Flytipping-smiley face,
Mind the Gap-kiss, kiss, kiss"
Councils failing to hit happiness targets
would be prosecuted in the courts.
Max Mosley would be made Minister for Extreme Sports.
Schools would fight for places in league tables of empathy promotion,
Anti Smiley Behaviour Orders would be given to anyone watching musicals or "Animal Hospital"
and failing to display appropriately elevated emotion.
New ravers will be hooked up to generators in depleted oilfields,
their moves making enough energy to power all the country's electricity yields.
Failed building societies could convert their abandoned financial halls
into venues for thumping parties,
impassioned deposits and rapid withdrawals.
But mud's not good if your look's ghetto fabulous,
most folk would rather stay in on Facebook playing Scrabulous.
Meeting up virtually in a cyber zone,
separately ensembled, collectively alone.
Summer love's a bit dangerous now, and hard work,
it's safer online so sit there and lurk.
If we want a revival it's pointless waiting,
we might just about manage a "Summer of Internet Dating".
The Apprentice

Go on Sir Alan,
Give me the job,
Poets are the way forward,
I’ll make you a few bob.
I’ll sell some stanzas,
Vend some verses,
Get the literati to empty their purses.
Maybe words’ll sweeten up Sir Alan Sugar,
Show he’s not such a tough old…bloke.
A lyrical boost making sense of the day,
Surely that’s worth a hundred K?
We could hawk villanelles on QVC,
Flog off some old sonnets-
Buy one Petrarchan, get one free.
Focus minds in the boardroom
With a helpful haiku, a perfect Pantoum.
Market in the millions to corporate bores
Mess up their minds with memorable metaphors.
Words can sell sand to Arabs, snow to Eskimos,
Persuade anyone Michael Jackson always had that nose.
When corporate blue sky thinking gets a bit hazy,
Bards on the board might not be so crazy.
When the world economy’s heading for a crash,
Creative accounting could salvage your cash.
The poetic bottom line is that folk want to be inspired
And find a way to say-greedy bankers-
You’re Fired!

Consolation

Soon it’ll cost more than your vehicle
To fill up your car,
For the price of a chip buttie,
You might as well scoff caviar.
You’ll need a hundred percent mortgage
To buy a potting shed,
And it’s not just a new series of Big Brother
Creating a creeping sense of dread.
But there’s other joys when things are going wrong economically-
Fill up on Saturday Live
Where talk’s not just cheap,
It’s free!

Cherie Blossom

The cherry blossom’s out
it’s not quite summer yet
but Cherie Blair’s
making sure we don’t forget.

You might have thought the country was led by a square
but she’s reminding us of the shape of the triangle that used to be there.

How she wanted Tony massaged by Carole Caplin,
Gordon might want his figures massaged but that’s not happening.
She’s like the ex that won’t lie down,
she’s not gone quietly,
says the path to power was determined by one of three.
Was it her? Was it Tony?
Gordon could be forgiven for thinking
“I hope it wasn’t me”.

Moo-sic and Moo-vement

Eastern martial arts and practices of that ilk
are relaxing our bovine friends,
helping them produce truly chilled milk.

Making animals watch gurus,
it’s been revealed
can increase their yield.

Get Jane Fonda doing Pilates for prawns,
bring them out of their shell,
Reflexology for rabbits,
throw in some Reiki as well.

Have Bernard Matthews
take meditation to his turkeys
so they can find their inner Bootifulness

Have hompeopathy for hedgehogs
Dramatherapy for dogs
Tantra for pandas
Shiatsu for Salamanders.

Deepak Chopra could read chickens
cooped up on a battery farm,
extracts from “The Little Book of Calm”.

Allen Carr’s “How to stop Smirking” for hyenas
or “Dogs are from Mars, Bitches are from Venus”,

When your amphibian chum’s unravelled
give em a (hardback) copy of “The Toad Less Travelled”.
Get your peahens thinking out of the box
with “How to make Friends and influence Peacocks”.
Give a copy to your neighbourhood fox
of “How not to Run with the Wolves”

These things new age
may be all the rage
but when all’s done and said
would there be much comfort in an abbatoir
reading the Tibetan Book of the Dead?
A not very hard riddle

There’s a head man
Who this week did sometimes quite surprising,
He’s an unelected leader,
Who’s not averse to nationalising.
He’s already a difficult year
Fending off predictions of the end of his career,
Gets a bit stroppy, prone to rage,
When folk see his Socialist beliefs as relics of another age.
But if I say his country’s health service is seen as a global role model,
You’ll know this country’s not where we are,
And if you were thinking Gordon Brown
You’d be close but no cigar.
(Cuban)


State of Emergency

Dear ambulance service-user,

Thank you for calling 999,
here’s a recorded message while you’re waiting on the line.

Sorry you’re not feeling great,
would you like us to deliver;

A baby
A pizza
or
A target-hitting health outreach service fit for a modern Western state?

Just checking.

Your siren tune can now be pre ordered and personalised.
Positive choices like “I will Survive”, “Help” or “Staying Alive” are advised.

We regret that due to numerous examples of misuse
we cannot assist with the following issues;

You’ve ruptured your hair extension,
need advice on your loft extension,
had a bad reaction to Jeremy Beadle’s death,
or non-localised sexual tension.
Your usual taxi’s too slow or the pine air freshener makes you gag,
your teenage son’s chucked up after his first Margherita,
you can’t open a plastic bag.
They said you’d better go to rehab, you said no, no, no
But you can’t stagger to the offie any more and want an ambulance to go, go,go.

Nonetheless we hope your problem will soon be gone
and suggest you alternatively contact;

Your own higher brain functions,
One of those helpful TV programmes that tell you how to live your life
Or, for celebrity addicts, Elton John.

Things down here are reaching a state of emergency
but please stay on the line
our operators are all currently busy
phoning 999.
An optimistic poetic perspective on the week’s financial cock ups

Oops, said Peter Hain, an extra hundred grand,
Admin error, slipped his mind, he failed to mention,
But maybe that’s just the sort of bloke
You want in charge of working out your pension

Another man lost a bank three billion quid,
Sent the world’s markets into shock,
At least he was never sent on a French Exchange scheme
With someone at Northern Rock.


A rogue Marks and Spencers employee replies to Jeremy Paxman

Dear Jeremy Paxman,
Thanks for your letter,
we know you want to help us make our pants better,
when it comes to big issues, you're the man to discuss it,
you don't shy away from the state of your gusset.
You've destroyed many a politician's carefully prepared brief
and are naturally miffed when your own came to grief.
No wonder you share a permanent slightly pained look with that crooner James Blunt,
you've been battling to save the National Y Front,
suffering a big swing to the left, then a big swing to the right,
wasn't just Emily Maitlis seeing it hang out on Newsnight.
We're glad you've added our underwear shortcomings to the wrongs you refuse not to see
and may have to admit that thongs ain't what they used to be.
You're a man who demands answers from ministers with spin to say
and scarf wearing students who watch Neighbours twice a day,
so we're sorry the quality of our keks has cause to worry you,
can you forgive us? Come on, come on, we'll have to hurry you.
We do realise everyone should have proper support to do their jobs
even, or especially, when they're one of the big nobs...
Snowing in the studio
I was dreaming of a polite Christmas,
Just like the ones old movies used to know,
And here’s the perfect gentleman,
It’s Jon Snowing in the studio.
The bloke’s a blizzard of news,
He’s no flake,
If I was visiting either Iraq or Tie Rack,
He’s the man I’d want to take.
Whether you a turkey date or Fi Glover,
Or just glad Christmas is nearly over,
Wilting faster than your Norwegian Spruce,
Or trying to get a refund at Marksies on your Mother,
The Christmas Countdown starts
In the studio
It’s 361 more days to go,
Until we have another.


A poet’s wishes
In 2008
I hope your blessings overflow but not as messily as a Humberside river.
I wish you the talent of Any Winehouse but, dare I say it, not the liver.
I wish you more cheer than Northern Rock’s Christmas bash
And if not the unlined features of Anne Robinson, then at least the cash.
I hope you’ll flame into bravery like that baggage handler John Smeaton,
Or whoever it is did the taste tests to check Turkey Twizzlers were fit to be eaten.
I hope any period dramas you have, aren’t menstrual nightmares that make you contort like Bonnie Langford,
But are muslin and bonnet filled Sunday night TV like that lovely Cranford.
I wish you gentler transitions than Gordon Brown’s from Stalin to Mr Bean,
A hope you’ll find that Derek Acorah place, a happy medium somewhere in between.
But I wish you the freedom of identity of a Labour Party donor
And that your vote counts more than that of a competition line telephoner.
I hope if you’re up a certain creek without a paddle, you can remember what to do
Without being tempted to float off in your canoe.
I hope if you’re bold and crazy when you follow your dreams, that no one interferes
But that you don’t go bald and crazy in the manner of Britney Spears
And if there’s just one more thing I wish you could use 2008 to do,
It’s ignore the words of poets, or anyone, who would impose their wishes onto you.
Me and Gordon Brown
I wish Gordon Brown was my Dad,
I'd try my utmost for him, be fiscally prudent,
put my photo of Tony Blair face down on the sideboard
when he came round.
I'd buy him a woolly jumper at Christmas.
He'd buy me a piggy bank and a copy of "A Pilgrim's Progress".
He wouldn't have repressed rock star dreams he'd want me to live out for him.
The way I get excited about famous people I've met would slightly disgust and bore him.
So actually, I'm relieved he's not my Dad cos,
though I'd have tried hard not to show it,
I'd have felt too guilty to stray from his sensible path
and run off to become a poet.

 
Dogs In Heat
Imagine, dogs taking the lead on a weekly of animal gossip
called, perhaps "In Heat" magazine
features like "How to Lose your Puppy Fat"
or "Is Lassie just a Has Been?"
Babe the Pig stars in a centre spread
on learning the art of seduction
after a course of Liposuction.
Jaws realises he can soothe public fears
with a set of camera-friendly porcelain veneers.
Blue Peter do a tie-in on their cosmetically remodelled dogs;
"Here's one we made earlier-in a lab!"
with some sticky back plastic and Superglue
and a bit of DNA scraped from Percy Thrower's shoe.
Lassie extends his film career
after injections of cells from the Andrex puppy's ear.
Victoria Beckham cross breeds with a whippet,
the surplus hipbones
kept for Prince William and Kate Middleton's kids
when they're old.
Chihuahuas carry bags
woven from Paris Hilton's hair extensions
and studded with gold.
It takes a campaign by pugs fed up of Botox,
unrecognisable without their frown,
to make their canine colleagues see
it is barking
to keep putting each other down.
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