The Singers Tale. Creativity & ageing- Mad old Bat. ©

Ageing and the rest.

Michael Kemp took an extract from my Book, The Singers Tale, re wrote the scene into a song lyric/poem and –

Hey Presto – a Track called Mad Old Bat

Mad Old Bat


Nothing like feeling old and in the way. 

On a crowded high street, a gang are walking towards me –

spreading out like a line of resistance.

Straddled across the pavement – an impenetrable wall of young women. 

I stand my ground or I could be swerved into the gutter? 

The Gutter is full of Deptford Market. It is a Saturday.

Nowhere to stand aside.

They show no sign of seeing me. Closer closer. 

As if I am invisible, not here. 

What will I do? 

‘Perhaps I should lie down and you can walk over me?

Save you the trouble of giving way?’ 

Said me to myself & I.  

‘I am a nuisance, old and in the way.’ 

Laughing chatting with each other, filled with the enjoyment of their own wit. I stand my ground – avoiding the gutter – refusing to be elbowed out of the way – with my bag full of vegetables – fruit – two pots of red geraniums and a loaf of bread.’Hello? ‘ ‘Excuse me?’ Louder. They do not register me until almost nose to nose I stood still, not moving left or right. 

‘Where did she come from?’ ‘Mad old bat or what?’ ‘

‘State of her?’ 

Shrieks of scorn as I pass, they barely part the line they make across the pavement. 

‘Look at that Hair.’ I am madder than hell, shaking with indignation.

 Move on ‘old gal’ move on you’re in the way. 

‘Fuck off and die – Da ya get me? 

Understand what I’m saying? Know what I mean? ‘

I am dismissed, sneered at and pushed aside. 

They are still laughing at the audacity of their own words of ribaldry. 

Some people are in this world under the illusion that only they

are important- only they have right of way

the only pebbles on the beach – 

At the centre of all things human. 

Bikes on the pavement, bells furiously ringing,

get out of my way. 

Loud phone calls on trains –

do we all need to know about other peoples lives? 

Legs splayed and elbows on both armrests on Bus and Train,

with no intention of giving room, giving way –  

‘My space mate, I was here first.’

Backpacks swinging this way and that. 

Oblivious of the mound attached to a back.

It feels as if it is twice as wide as a bus –

as it knocks me flying. 

Meandering – along bustling, busy streets, eyes down –

thumbs busy on Smart Phones. 

Annoyed if you are there,

‘How dare you be in my path?’ 

Gossiping on crowded high streets- exits and entrances –

on the Tube Train platforms. 

‘Excuse me?’ 


‘Excuse me?’ 

Surprise, and a reluctant move, an inch – no more. 

As if they want the floor to swallow up those in the way.

The lack of a queue – courtesy or kindness.

‘Who are you?’

Push shove –

‘Thank you Gov?’


Old Woman or old Man, pregnant Woman, a Boy on crutches.

Parents struggling with children, shopping –

Out of my way, me, me, me first.’ 

OH DEAR – What can the Matter be?

Gonna have a dance now, that I have vented my spleen xxx  

For every Areshole there are the good ones.

Then came forth, my inner Warriors

Make way… 

for  The Chimaera. Strong Singer & Betty Blues Belter

Echidna bore Chimaera whose breath was raging fire, 

 terrible and mighty, swift of foot and strong. 

And she had three heads: 

One the head of a fierce-eyed Lion,

Roaring –

– a Snake and a mighty Dragon

-breathing the terrible might of a blazing fire

In the midst, a Goat, fleet of foot and nimble.

Hesiod Theogony.

Strong Singer, when possessed sings –

She grows in stature: becomes powerful & omnipotent.

She sings as if she is in control of her domain.

She has many tongues. 

She strides and struts within her lair.

 Betty Blues Belter, and Clara The Clown –

They collide and conduct a full frontal assault –

as a 1, 2. 3 or more, headed being.

When Strong Singer appears, it is a marvel.

Afterwards, I am left feeling drained, but exhilarated.

I feel as if my body has been occupied by a much more

commanding and forceful presence than I contain. 

As if fury and frenzy were bubbling just below the surface of –

my skin.

 As if I am in a battle with my many selves. 

Seeking to gain control and create some sort of truce-

in order to be strong without losing myself.

Strong Singer is hard of muscle and swift on her feet.

She flashes fire from her eyes and is capable –

of a quick retort when she feels misunderstood. 

She is a Lion and a simmering snake.

A Dragon breathing flame. 

She is old and young, timeless and formless.

Constantly changing shape and substance. 

She goes into battle for me, fights my corner. 

Speaks for me.

Sometimes elusive. I cannot find her when I need her.

She only appears as a performer.  

Perhaps it’s just as well. I feel she could do damage!

She hovers on the edge of danger. 

She dwells in a fiery place, full to the brim –

shimmering with her anger and passion.

Strong singer.

She frightens and intoxicates me. 

© 2017


  1. Absolutely bloody wonderful. You are all those things. Rage on. The young and the unconscious twats will feel the fear of their own mortality gradually creeping up their backs and their necks and will have no inner dragon or snake or goat.. and only one tongue with nothing really to say, no lair to wait within, no possibility of true personal power like you have found.. like we only really gain on our own, through riding the deep despairs and bobbing up again still here.

  2. Frankly, despite a 5,000 plus music collection, I had never heard of Carol Grimes, until I picked up a copy of Uncle Dog in a used vinyl shop. I’m always on the lookout for sidestream stuff. You’re on heavy rotation now!. Thanks for the music!

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