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PLEA FOR A HISTORY OF WORKING-CLASS LEEDS

Written by: Barry Tebb | Biography
 I want a true history of my city

FUCK THE DE LACY FAMILY AND DOUBLE

FUCK JOHN OF GAUNT ESPECIALLY

And all his descendants

With their particular vilenesses -

I met one in the sixties

Who had all the coldness of Himmler

So svelte and adored by the cognoscenti.



I want a history responsive

To the needs of the working-class

One that will minute the back-to-backs

Spread over the city like a seamless robe



SO FUCK CUTHBERT BRODERICK’S TOWN HALL

BRIDEWELL AND MAGISTRACY.



I want a history of the culture

Of the working class and not

Hoggart’s slimy gone-up-in-the-world

Jabber for the curious bourgeoisie

He was especially maladroit

On working-class sexuality

A voyeur picking humorous moments

To show the ignorance of the class

He sprang from. “Anything was an occasion” -

Or did he mean ‘excuse’? - “for intercourse,

Even a visit to the chip-shop”.



O for the gentleness

And the quiet intimacy

And joyful spontaneity

Of working-class sexuality



Reading Shelley’s ‘Defence of Poetry’

Sitting on a bus by a girl who, smiling, said,

“I told Jack if he was finished with me

He wasn’t having any but he pulled me

Into the bushes laughing all the way

So what could I say?”



I want a history of the warmth

Of working-class mothers

Explaining the mysteries of periods.

To their adolescent daughters and the

Revelations of working-class brides.



I want a history of family outings

To Temple Newsam where I saw an ass

Eating straw from the steel manger

Of Christ.



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