Friday, September 22, 2006

Special report

by Amanda Saxonheart, Media Editor

When Gyorgy Petch arrived by coach in London with just one suitcase, a notebook, and no discernible skills, and certainly no tool kit for plumbing jobs, the immigration authorities must have been tempted to advise him to get back on the bus, forget about us, and head back to the Hungarian/Slovakian border.

How amazed they would have been to have followed him into the streets outside Victoria Coach Station and witness the tumultuous scenes there. Word had already got out that Gyorgy was arriving and the streets were packed with families desperate to secure his services. His services? Some mistake surely? What services could Gyorgy Petch possibly offer anyone, least off all the families of north west London who were out in great numbers vying to outbid each other to get Gyorgy to ride home with them. After all, Gyorgy has no degree, no plumbing skills, has never picked a strawberry for financial gain in his life, has never even seen a cockle.

Well, the secret resides in that notebook which Gyorgy takes everywhere. And what is in that thar notebook. Is it gold? Oil? Not quite, but not so far off the mark either. Why, you cry, what then is in this magical notebook? Poems of course. Hundreds of them. Sonnets, sestinas, rhyming couplets, comic quatrains about the accession of Eastern European countries to the European Union. Page after page of black ink gold.

Poets, for all those who have been on Mars for the last five years, are BIG, and they are in demand, and though the world is full of them and even fuller of their verses it is undeniable that demand is outstripping supply. In a recent survey over seventy three per cent of households on Hampstead Garden Suburb were found to employ at least one poet. At least?! Yes, at least. You read it right. A staggering seventeen per cent of households on the Suburb now employ two or more poets.

Said Father Thomas McGuinness, waiting at Victoria and hoping to snaffle Gyorgy as poet-in-residence for St Edmund's in Finchley Central..."We hope that Gyorgy will look upon our offer favourably. He will have a five year contract, five weeks holiday, a non-contributory pension scheme and...

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