Lives of the poets

I saw Roger McGough once in Barnes (where I suppose he must live) and, remembering a short poem he had written about his only being famous enough to cause passing pedestrians to walk into lampposts as they half-recognised his face, thought he’d appreciate the subtle gesture of my feigning a trip as I went past him. Not so. Not even a twitch of a smile. I learned then you can’t rely on a pratfall to convey the message: “I not only recognise you but remember one of your poems.” I bet Brian Patten would have got the joke, though.

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