For Tom Shakespeare
Did you have a record player in that room?
I had a Sanyo radio-cassette
with aerial, dial, grey plastic keys
for play, rewind, fast forward, record.
Our neighbour was none too pleased,
thought music threatened industry,
complained in his low Canadian drawl,
distraction from serious business.
He wasn't home when we assumed
that her desire disguised despair -
her footsteps receding outside
down that architectural trench -
and couldn't have been more wrong.
Half a shelf of cassettes:
The Fall, The Cure, Red Army Choir,
They're in a drawer now,
the one in the dresser I painted blue.
The Sanyo went to the dump.
On the staircase leading down
from a castle's cobbled precinct,
a busker's singing 'No Woman No Cry'.
You did, you played that on vinyl.
Tom Phillips, May 2013