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Greg Freeman is a former newspaper sub-editor, and now the news and reviews editor for the poetry website Write Out Loud. His debut pamphlet collection, Trainspotters, was published by Indigo Dreams in 2015. He co-runs a monthly open mic poetry night in Woking, Surrey. He watched the second half of England's World Cup drubbing against Germany in a pub in Ludlow with the-then poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy; and with hundreds of others, contributed vocals on Chuck Berry's no 1 hit, My Ding-A-Ling.
MARPLES MUST GO!
A VOLE Book
A mysterious slogan on a bridge across the M1 that remained there for decades denounced a 1960s transport minister who had a finger in the pie of motorway building, and also oversaw Beeching’s vandalism of Britain’s railways. Ernest Marples was a politician on the make who also liked to be chastised while wearing women’s clothing. Greg Freeman’s wry and bemused poems meander around this and other subjects such as free school milk, Juke Box Jury, Space Patrol, and the curious appeal of Andy Williams, as well as the first proper sentence of a two-year-old child: ‘Jack see Mrs Thatcher.’ As the years go by, the poet finds himself remembering the cartoon comic heroes of Beano and Dandy, picturing what might have happened to them in later life, and wondering plaintively: ‘Why can’t life still be hilarious?’
“In Marples Must Go! Greg Freeman pulls off the difficult trick of writing poetry that is both funny and thoughtful, poignant and personal. With topics stretching from the Beatles to Brexit, from childhood comics to Covid jabs, this collection constitutes a wonderful poetic romp through the history of modern Britain.”
— Brian Bilston, ‘poet laureate’ of Twitter
“Greg Freeman is not only blessed with the journo’s eye for a good story but also has a sound poetic sensibility and a social conscience to boot. These engaging poems span the eras from the Flowerpot Men to the swinging sixties to the zeitgeist of the present day. There’s much to savour and amuse in the range of subjects: Greg captures the exuberance and angst of our times with wit and compassion.”
— Maggie Sawkins, winner of the Ted Hughes award
“The sharp, entertaining poems in Marples Must Go! encompass a cornucopia of themes – first love, music, the newspaper trade, cycling, am-dram and holidays – but also the corruption, pigheadedness and racism of politicians, past and present, intent on ‘making mugs of us all’. In this richly enjoyable collection, Greg Freeman celebrates the best – and skewers the worst – of England.”
— Matthew Paul
“That graffiti was part of my life. In the late 60s I was a van driver for a chain of Manchester-based boutiques, and made the journey to London weekly, Ernie Marples being a landmark on an otherwise tedious journey. Now, though, I still miss it when I drive down there.”
— Julian Jordon, founder, Write Out Loud
Paperback, 21x14.8cm, 80 pages
Published 1st September 2021