September 9th, 2003.

Tambourine dream.

I guess I have to face the fact that I'll never be an international playboy rock star touring the world's exotic playgrounds, playing sell-out concerts in huge stadiums, and partying with hoards of nubile young groupies. I suppose I need to accept that I'll never see scores of reporters and photographers getting involved in a scrum with my security team at the airport as I calmly make my way through the melee in scruffy designer clothes and overpriced sunglasses. At thirty-two years old, I have to concede that, regardless of all those years of rehearsing for such an outcome, rock star I am not.

Of course, it might have helped if I had learned to play more than two chords and one bad riff on the guitar. I suppose that actually owning a guitar would have been a good idea too. I can sing, kind of. Okay, I haven't ever sung in public or in the presence of other human beings, but when I'm driving on a long motorway trip late at night, I can bellow a few reasonable notes, which I am going to say counts. But come on, how important is all of this anyway these days?

I can shake a tambourine, but how many posters that adorn the walls of University students' bedrooms feature a big-name rock star wildly playing the tambourine? Hang on though, doesn't Michael Stipe from R.E.M play the tambourine? But wait a second, he is constantly in some kind of personal identity dilemma, isn't he? So that's no good. Mind you though, he's still Michael Stipe from R.E.M, isn't he?

I wouldn't want to be the drummer. Who would? How many drummers' names do you know? The drummer is always the guy at the back of the stage, the back of the pictures, and at the back of the line as the band trails through the arrival area at the airport of whatever country they've just arrived in. I bet the drummer never gets the good groupies. Mind you, following that train of thought for a second, how bad can a bad groupie actually be?

I can't really write songs either. It's just that bit too close to poetry for me, and I can't stand most poetry. It seems to me, all you have to do to be a poet is string a few long and rarely used words together, throw in the occasional 'fuck' here and there, then stand on stage and recite it slowly and with many pauses, paying special emphasis to the expletives and clever uses of long and rarely used words.

Every poem I ever wrote rhymed, and great poets don't rhyme, do they? Not that I'd know a great poet if they slapped me in the face.

Maybe I should have a go at poetry though. That way, I'd get to stand on a stage and do that non-dance thing with a microphone. I could join a poetry group and enjoy the two-faced pats on the back from my peers. Who cares if they hated me and my work.

Writing poetry can't be all that hard, can it? So, I'll write about what I can see out of my window right now, not forgetting the important rules of poetry though (rarely used words and 'shocking' expletives). I'll call this piece 'The road.'

"Concrete slabs and tarmac carpet,
Tin machines and double-decker buses,
Faces looking but not seeing."

Hey, this isn't a bad start. Oh but hang on, I need to swear don't I? Okay, next line then.

"Fuck the establishment!"

Wait a minute, it's gone a bit awry there hasn't it? I mean I can't really go from 'faces looking but not seeing' to 'fuck the establishment' can I? I think a bit more filler is required before we can use the F word.

"White lines separate us, Hieroglyphs dominate us, Fuck the establishment!"

This isn't really working out for me is it? I need some help if I am going to make it in the poetry world. I need to enlist the help of a real-life poet. My friend Michelle does poetry; I'll call her..

"Hi, this is Michelle. I'm sorry, you can't get hold of me. If you'd like to leave me a message, I'll get back to you as soon as possible."

Typical, you can't find a poet when you need one! I bet when I'm not looking for one, three will come along at once, always the way I guess. And for someone who is a poet, that's a pretty unimaginative answerphone message isn't it.

So, it doesn't look like I'm going to be a famous poet either. No great loss there, I suppose. Poets all seem to be struggling to make ends meet from what I've seen. After all, you never see a massive house with flash cars on the driveway and think "Oh, that's where that poet lives," do you? And when was the last time you ever heard of a poet having groupies?

I'm not really bothered that I'll never get to be a rock star. But it would have been fun to have been a rock star for a day, you know, just to try it out. I imagine it must be a bit of a rush to stand on stage and have people cheer at your every word, regardless of what rubbish you spout. It would be fun to do encores and stuff. Certainly, the hours would have suited me.

Maybe there is a late alternative to the rock star lifestyle, politics maybe? Yeah, that's it! Think about it, it's nearly the same. Everyone knows your name, you get in the papers loads, and nearly everything that comes out of your mouth is garbage. It's like being a rock star in a suit. The only downside is that I'd have to learn about world affairs and stuff, and like a poet, I'd have to use a few long words here and there, but on the whole, I think I could do it!

Well, listen, you've been a great crowd, but I'm out of time already. So, with no further ado.

Thank you, and goodnight! [Cheers, whoops, whistles, general adoration.]
Thank you very much. [Exit stage right while blowing kisses to hoards of groupies.]