You’re In Hardy Country, 1974 | Barney Ashton

Ladults loitered round the coconut shy at the annual country fair
That they measured the passing of the years of their rural lives by
And shamily, suddenly, a shaky hand picks up three balls
And is, allegedly, the poorest shot; no sense of direction at all!
And one ball cracks a scrumpy glass held by the first brassic ladette
Then the farmhand lackey, Paddy laddy to her left
Is the next to get one struck against t’brow of head
And, smacky smash, the third goes through the window of the pub itself
As the old man, sweetly smiling, shuffles on oblivious to the upset
The ladults laugh and, of course, get the blame instead…


Writer’s Commentary

Coming from Dorset myself, I can recall as a child a plethora of roadside advert signs that depicted nostalgic scenes and the words ‘Welcome To Hardy Country’ and ‘You’re In Strong Country’. The poem is based on recollections of country church fetes and the convivial nature of land workers at recreation.

Barney Ashton has had poems published in ‘The Pandorian’ ‘The New River Press Year Book’ and in the ‘Soho Nights II’ and ‘Soho Nights III’ pamphlets published by the Society Club. He has also written 3 theatrical song-cycles for Erasure’s Andy Bell as the polysexual character ‘Torsten’; ‘Torsten The Bareback Saint’, ‘Torsten The Beautiful Libertine’ and ‘Torsten In Queereteria’ and from these has had two spin-off poetry publications published. ‘Mottled Memoirs’ in the performance programme for ’Torsten The Bareback Saint’ and the full poetry collection ‘Schema / Stasis’ by The Society Club Press.

He performs his own poetry as the narrator on the current Downes Braide Association album ‘Skyscraper Souls’, is the organiser of ‘Soho Poetry Nights’ events and has, in the past, represented the UK through the Royal Court Young People’s Theatre with his theatrical poem ‘North’.

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