Poem - Wuthering Britain

<em>Cliff Richard, celebrating his 40th anniversary in the music business, reckoned that his role as

When I was younger, my spin doctor said,

Tony, please sweeten your tongue,

And what he told me I'll never regret,

For I've stayed eternally young,

He said, Son, you'll play the juvenile lead,

And that's the way to stay-ay-ay-ay,

Happy never to ru-un to seed

Until your dying day.

As time went on, I developed a scowl,

As Heathcliff, a fabulous role,

Varied my vocals and growled out each vowel,

To look like a suffering soul.

I said, One, looks like my lover is dead,

Old Labour killed her, so changes are due,

Two, I'll take her daughter instead,

And her name had better be New.

The shadows surround me, I strut on the stage,

Tough upon crime and its cause,

A Faustian pact means I don't look my age,

But look at the strength of my jaws,

So I say, Look, I've got the country to clean,

New guts, New garters, New teeth,

I mean what I say and I say that I'm mean,

And I am as wild as a heath.

Now I'm in charge of the fate of this race,

I've grown accustomed to scold;

I've still got two lucky lips gracing my face

'Cause living dolls never grow old -

So, yes, I'm still the juvenile lead

And that's the way to stay-ay-ay-ay,

Snappily dressed with New hair on my chest

Until my dying day-ay-ay-ay-aaaaaaay!

This article first appeared in the 18 December 1998 issue of the New Statesman, A time for unadulterated tradition