"Paying off the Mortgage": a poem by Olivia Byard

In the end it’s obscenely easy –
the sudden windfall, a debit card
a phone call.
                I stare at magnolia walls,
same colour, same picture frames –
try to pinpoint relief, but all I can see –
is ants with aphid eggs on their backs
a hedgehog’s pallet-hideaway,
the garden store’s field mice
hunter spiders in cracks.
                              And beneath us,
worms, and the earth’s hot thin crust –
miles of shifting, cracking rock
down to magma – that heaving roil
around a compressed solid core
of crystals, lengthier than Everest is tall
and where the world’s magnetic field
is formed –
                to repel radiation
as the fleet planet spins, and decree
north is north, and south, south,
until it tips us arse-about
on a whim.
              While above us
heady sky miles, where low-riding birds
sweep in to nest among hawthorn twigs
within the sight-line of infinite stars.
                 How could we
hold more than a brief repairing lease
with rackety windows, walls and floors,
on a patch of dirt, like this?

This article first appeared in the 10 June 2013 issue of the New Statesman, G0

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Casting the Brexit movie that is definitely real and will totally happen

Details are yet unclear as to whether The Bad Boys of Brexit will be gracing our screens, or just Farage's vivid imagination.

Hollywood is planning to take on the farcical antics of Nigel Farage et al during the UK referendum, according to rumours (some suspect planted by a starstruck Brexiteer). 

Details are yet unclear as to whether The Bad Boys of Brexit will be gracing our big or small screens, a DVD, or just Farage's vivid imagination, but either way here are our picks for casting the Hollywood adaptation.

Nigel Farage: Jim Carrey

The 2018 return of Alan Partridge as "the voice of hard Brexit" makes Steve Coogan the obvious choice. Yet Carrey's portrayal of the laughable yet pure evil Count Olaf in A Series of Unfortunate Events makes him a serious contender for this role. 

Boris Johnson: Gerard Depardieu

Stick a blonde wig on him and the French acting royalty is almost the spitting image of our own European aristocrat. He has also evidently already mastered the look of pure shock necessary for the final scene of the movie - in which the Leave campaign is victorious.

Arron Banks: Ricky Gervais

Ricky Gervais not only resembles Ukip donor Arron Banks, but has a signature shifty face perfect for the scene where the other Brexiteers ask him what is the actual plan. 

Gerry Gunster: Anthony Lapaglia

The Bad Boys of Brexit will reportedly be told from the perspective of the US strategist turned Brexit referendum expert Gerry Gunster. Thanks to recurring roles in both the comedy stalwart Frasier, and the US crime drama Without a Trace, Anthony Lapaglia is versatile enough to do funny as well as serious, a perfect mix for a story that lurches from tragedy to farce. Also, they have the same cunning eyes.

Douglas Carswell: Mark Gatiss

The resemblance is uncanny.

David Cameron: Andrew Scott

Andrew Scott is widely known for his portrayal of Moriarty in Sherlock, where he indulges in elaborate, but nationally destructive strategy games. The actor also excels in a look of misplaced confidence that David Cameron wore all the way up to the referendum. Not to mention, his forehead is just as shiny. He'll have to drink a lot of Bollinger to gain that Cameron-esque puppy fat though. 

Kate Hoey: Judi Dench

Although this casting would ruin the image of the much beloved national treasure that is Judi Dench, if anyone can pull off being the face of Labour Leave, the incredible actress can.