Et Tu, Radio 2?

Ken Bruce may as well be for England at least, the new Lenny;
Broadcasting’s next martyr, as Radio 2 does him down.
For like the great Lenny Bruce with the cops in those wildcat days
Of the Sixties, today’s roaring twenties have rolled him not
From a jazz age but to a seemingly crumbling position
Where even the softest rock crushes crowns. As a Scot,
The old shade of Robert the Bruce will remind him that bravery
Under fire, duress, or here, firing is another phoenix-like call
To sift and stir ancient ashes and claim the air now unburdened
Of a corporate claim on each wing.  They want a younger audience,
Kenneth says, and so it has been decided to exchange scythe
And needle for someone already content with their plate,
As an imagined audience rush like dogs at the gate for Pop’s
Postthey, and where woke in the morning has less awareness
Than my time. In the light of this shift, even wisdom cannot quite
Compensate. We’re putting them all out to pasture right now,
By which I don’t just mean Broadcasters. Society’s view on age,
Says him aging, is a death sentence scored on the face. And while
That maybe so in every line or change there’s a lesson to which
The young of mind should now listen: the new is a nudging.
It is not a demand to replace. We should not diminish a star
In sky or on earth, just because it is older. Will The Rolling Stones
Stoop without Charlie or will Start Me Up, still revive?
An eighty year old McCartney will tour. Ringo Starr seems immortal.
Just as the work of Townshend and Davies continues to flow
As age thrives. Weller and Springsteen strum on, as the beautiful
Duran Duran start to resemble the mums of the girls who once
Love them, and Damon Albarn a generation along is prettier
Still than most women while he remains King of song.
Stevie Nicks shines. Rickie Lee Jones remains the faultless girl
On the bonnet. Kate Bush’s myth enchants always as she stays
In the world she has made. Berkoff, Sinclair, Harper, Brown,
Each one prospers. Edward Bond writes the future as Tom Waits
Stirs his nightshade. Peter Gabriel differs in tiny details after decades.
Sting’s skin bears time’s traces. And yet now the beautiful Linda
Ronstadt can’t sing. Parkinsons holds her hands. Seeing that talent
Contained is so tragic. And yet that face, so beguiling has wisdom
Within. Spirit wins. Only Phil Collins wilts as fans worry for him.
And so while these figures are fragile they each have
An unequalled force at this time. Ken is not of their kind,
But he is of the crowd they created. His views and standards
Would have been found at the summit to which these talents
Had climbed. Take the communicating Chorus away
And the startling verse becomes rootless. It becomes lost
Amongst other verses in a cosmos that even the digital dream
Can’t define. In ten years possibly, mine will be a world
Without heroes. Or heroines – maybe longer, as the women
Of course remain strong. But if certain Caesers are cut,
Who is the most brutal Brutus? As friends and countrythey falter,
Who can forebear life’s full song? We are cutting everything:
Cash, common sense, hearts and bus routes.
The world is unwinding. Radio 2. Putin. England:
Is this what you want to go on?
These singers sang to feel free and they sang about freedom.
We seem to have forgotten those lyrics. If something like Ken’s
Yen is fading, to what kind of station do you wish to listen to
And belong? This then is a poem that’s made from a time
Of true testing. Bruce and Radio 2 one example of the stumble
And slip beneath floods, which suddenly turn to drought,
As we awake, barred and barren. So, take out your own discs
And spin them. We’re the DJ’s now. The past bloods.
                                                                                                            David Erdos  1/3/23 

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