Sunday, November 02, 2008

Lyrical Ballads

A most amusing media catfight between Lily Allen and Marina Hyde has developed, in which the Guardian hack takes issue with a press release that rather incautiously refers to the singer as "the Wordsworth of the MySpace generation".

The two of them get stuck in in the comments, with Allen taking the spat to defcon two status by bringing up the Piers Morgan thing (scroll down here to find it). Defcon one would be… let's say it would certainly deleted by the Guardian's moderators.

Interestingly, the two also swap their views on Wordsworth: Lily likes Westminster Bridge, but Marina recommends the Prelude. Now never mind her alleged dealings with Piers Morgan: liking that particular bit of poetic frottage is a serious lapse of taste that diminishes someone's standing in my eyes. The Prelude is bloody awful: solipsistic, self-important and dull, dull, dull. Poetry has become ever more inward-looking, self-referential and utterly irrelevant ever since the publication of that wretched work; Wordsworth's true literary legacy.

Anyway, Marina Hyde's poor poetic judgment has also played her false with regard to her original sneer. The lyrics she chose to mock:

Now I lie here in the wet patch in the middle of the bed,
I'm feeling pretty damn hard done by, I've spent ages giving head

are actually Wordsworthian, in their own way. Not so much the subject matter admittedly (it's Byronic, sort of, but without the wit and subtlety). The rhymes, however, are all too worthy of Wordsworth's output (if not Southey's). Compare it with these gems for instance.

And to the left, three yards beyond,
You see a little muddy pond
Of water, never dry,
I've measured it from side to side:
'Tis three feet long, and two feet wide. (The Thorn)

Or His master's dead – and no one now
Dwells in the halls of Ivor
Men, dogs and horses all are gone
He is the sole survivor. (Simon Lee).

Where is the Coleridge of the MySpace generation?

Those stars, that glide behind them or between,
Now sparkling, now bedimmed, but always seen…
I see them all so excellently fair,
I see, not feel, how beautiful they are.

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Blogger Quink said...

Defcon, dear boy, not Defcom. The latter is probably some sort of military communications watchdog.

9:20 am  
Blogger bill said...

mother of fuck, you're right and I was more hugely wrong than the Republican party.

2:22 pm  
Blogger Glamourpuss said...

I agree - Wordsworth was an insufferably pompous bore. I could never stomach his verses.


10:57 am  

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