I saw Madame Maserati again today (not unusually) and a burning litter bin by the Quay spoke to me through the stench of roasting dog shit and take-away Chinese. It told me to observe the good lady and consider the words of the bard Keith Richards in his memoir ‘Life’. Madame Maserati (Parson Thru I collection) is about trying to stay outside routine from the viewpoint of my never-ending, largely fruitless battle to do just that. Keith wrote about his first day at school and how he was dragged there kicking and screaming. Oh how I remember that - being dragged from the house and from my friend Paddy the milkman. I spent the next eleven years looking out of the window and listening to the tap and scrape of far off chalk.
The poem is about freedom. Time. Time to watch and think and listen to your existence. Having time to be aware. Shit! Do you know where you are? Do you know what you are? Do you ever explore the potential of knowing? Imagine a world without clocks. Without beating the shit out of plastic keys all day and talking the arse off garbage that is believed in only because the reward for believing in it increases in large increments as you ascend the greasy pole.
Madame Maserati sort of personifies the daily drudge, the endless routine, the slavish adherence to daily repetition. The station car park cigarette, the train, the cigarette by the river, the text message and the inevitable walk to the office. Always the same. Never varying. Do you think she is going to turn into an explosion of unpredictability when she hangs her jacket up, takes a piss and boils the kettle on arriving in the office? Is she going to take out her husband’s trophy AK-47 and blast the plaster off the walls over the heads of her colleagues in a welcome break from the usual Tuesday morning routine? No. Even the text to her lover is painfully predictable. She is the routine – over and over. So, having reflected on this, the poem isn’t a contrived attempt to intrigue but is simply this: a lightning rod for my own frustration at the routinised life that I am unable to avoid and that manifests itself around me. I just needed the conjunction of Mr. Richards and Mme. Maserati one unexpectedly warm and sunny September morning to jog my memory, open my eyes to where the words came from and reveal why Mme. Maserati, frankly, got on my tits.
Madame Maserati isn’t a great piece, if I’m honest. Very little (if any) of what I write is. It’s just an attempt to get something that hits me between the eyes out of my head and into the mix. I try to share with anyone whose antennae might be up. It’s just a moment. It isn’t meant to be performed on X-Factor or Britain’s Got Talent and subjected to some hollow pseudo-debate before being weighed on the scales of living-room opinion, or some egotist’s attempt to second-guess that. It’s just there – a single thought among the billions, a moment in a thousand generations. And I’m still looking out of the window.