It was lunchtime and we

were walking around

the new school block

when Bobby Philips came 

up to us to talk about

conditions on Venus

and what was weird was

nobody thought it strange

that one of us talked

his strangeness away by

saying he came from Venus.

There he was, striding

at the top of the playing

field talking to himself.

What he said, the details

I can’t recall, but I do

remember the yellow brick

for the new school wall,

the same they used

for the Phelipps estate

and a thousand like it

all over England

in the 1970s.

How fragile the new

equipment looked

in the science block

all of a sudden. I was

only nine or ten,

Ziggy Stardust

was in the charts

and Bobby Philips

and the Venusians

were ordinary to me,

we’d just ask him to get

a reply if we wanted

to find out what life

was like on Venus.


Tim Cumming

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