Monday, August 13, 2007

The Ballad of a Thwarted Pip

Some imitated Elvis, with the sideburns and the swagger,
Some grew their hair like Lennon, while some others favoured Jagger,
But me? I wasn’t very good at curling up my lip,
And so, from quite an early age, I yearned to be a Pip.

When me mam went out, I would push back the kitchen table,
Pretending I’d been signed up to the Motown Record label.
Gladys Knight on 45 would really let it rip,
And I’d be there behind her, doing vocals like a Pip.

I’d hear those sweet sounds coming down, and ‘cross the floor I’d glide,
Getting paid for staring at Queen Gladys’s backside.
In practised choreography, I’d wave my arms and skip,
Me sister in hysterics, as I tried to be a Pip.

I didn’t fancy carpentry, I wouldn’t be a plumber,
Completely unimpressed with selling ice-creams in the summer.
My teacher, looking worried, said I ought to get a grip,
And doubted I’d the qualities to make it as a Pip.

Possibly he had a point – for one thing I was white.
I had no sense of rhythm and my harmonies weren’t tight.
With glasses and mad acne, sure, I didn’t look too hip,
But still I held on to the dream that I’d become a Pip.

They knew that they had made it when they went to Motor City,
With records like “The Friendship Train” and also “Nitty Gritty.”
Her backing group weren’t quite in tune, but that was just a blip,
Their reputation would improve, when I became a Pip.

I bought the suit and shoes, so I’d be ready to impress,
And scoured the personal columns of New Musical Express.
I’d only get a single chance, I mustn’t let it slip.
Oh boy, would Glad be glad, when I applied to be a Pip!

Gladys’ star was rising, she was hailed in speech and prose,
But though I checked the ads each week, no vacancy arose.
It seemed as though she ran a very tight and loyal ship,
And I became quite doubtful that I’d ever be a Pip.

Vandellas? They just came and went, they dropped away like flies,
And every week I read about a Miracle’s demise.
But Gladys’ bum had some strange hold, I heard somebody quip,
For no-one that I heard of, ever ceased to be a Pip.

And then one day, I heard the news – a Pip was down with flu,
I bought my airline ticket, and I soared into the blue.
I didn’t have a second thought about the mammoth trip-
At last! This was my destiny! My chance to be a Pip!

But in the space of time it took to fly from coast to coast,
I heard a jumped-up wannabe had pipped me to the post.
The news cut me up badly like the flailing of a whip,
And I vowed that I’d get even with that interloping Pip.

I followed them around the States, with vengeance on my mind.
A woman scorned had never felt such fury unconfined.
My shoulder nearly buckled, as I carried round that chip
Of how I had been thwarted in my hopes of being a Pip.

And thus I say, Your Honour, I am guilty of this crime
Of putting powdered laxative in this man’s rum and lime.
So lead me out in manacles, and tear me off a strip –
I did it all for Gladys, and the dream of being a Pip.

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