Written aged 18ish with my sister Juliet Samuel, who now writes for the Telegraph. Check out her work here. To the tune of I Will Survive. We were apparently really into chemistry.
The Carbon’s Triumph
First I was afraid
Just an allotrope,
All alone with excess neutrons
Without any hope.
I spent my time alone
In a gritty charcoal wand,
Then they threw me in the fire
And I formed a single bond!
And now I’m back,
An alkane gas,
And I float around the ether
With a great atomic mass.
With my four covalent friends
And my tetrahedral form,
I have now become some methane
And I keep you people warm.
You don’t see me,
I’m an alkane now
And that means I can decompress.
I found my catalyst when Bromine came to stay,
And we reacted,
In a very violent way!
I’m an alkene!
No longer crude!
I’m a form of plastic
And I’m used to package food.
I’ve formed a double bond,
And I’ve got some carbon friends;
We’re an alkene,
I’m an alkene!
It took all our energy
How our chain was torn!
Then some O3 trios joined us
And some ethanol was born.
We shared all our electrons
And were happy for a while
But then we met a lump of coal.
I missed my youth,
My life before,
I’m a chained-up hydro-carbonate
And I want more.
So I waited for a furnace,
Broke the bonds, went off alone,
Then I met some fellow carbons,
And we formed a diamond stone.
I’m a diamond! A diamond….
Written with Natalie Samuel for some of our very favorite cousins!
To Natasha and Richard Ascott, on the Occasion of Their Wedding Day
It was a summer’s day in Somerset
When Richard and Natasha wed. They vowed
Eternal love, and every eye was wet
And every head, so tearful were the clouds.
The guests thronged from the corners of the land
To share the joy, or was it for the feasts?
For lo, there poured from Michael’s open hand
Five desserts, ten speeches and two priests.
Who are this lucky pair? Natasha’s job
Means daily battle in a hellish school,
Casting pearls before antisocial yobs;
While Rich helps wealthy socialites look cool.
And yet they match, so cynics, keep in mind,
Real love is fun to mock, but hard to find.
Written aged 17 in response to Andrew Marvell’s To His Coy Mistress, a poem which the speaker whinges about how the woman he wants to bang won’t bang him. He says that if they could live forever he would be happy to take things slowly and court her at length, but since they are going to age, she should give her honor to him before the worms take it from her grave. Essentially, he’s such a creepy, entitled, manipulative shit that a teenager could see through him.
From His Coy Mistress
Thou wouldst not be content to gaze
Upon me ’til the end of days.
Shouldst thou inspect me much before,
Thy lust will fade with every flaw
Thou find’st; I cannot let thee near.
Thy love to me is ever dear,
Yet, if I give kind words to thee,
What more wilt thou then take from me?
Were any man thus made to wait,
His love must soon transform to hate.
Content to look, yet not to touch.
Methinks thou dost protest too much.
Thy kind doth live for but one thing.
Taunt me not with thy whispering
Of lies, that men before have told,
Which steel my will a thousandfold.
Thou speakst of romance tender, though
Thine inmost thoughts remain below.
If thou wouldst claim an ounce of praise
Speak not these lies; of endless days
In harmony, of one accord.
Could any man live thus? How bored
Thou shouldst be, thou must needs confess,
If thou couldst not thy love undress.
If thou wilt claim me e’en so fast
Pretend not that thy love would last
Denied. No man did yet succeed
To lust in word and thought, sans deed.
Thy words are false; yet eloquence
Could prompt me not to send thee hence.
Tell me of what I may acquire
Were I to fan thy raging fire.
First, deck me with that diamond jewel;
Think me not some believing fool
To love without the marriage knot.
Once wed, to bed, or I will not.
Hadst thou been born within my sphere,
With ample means to keep me here;
Hadst thou great wealth, high status, land
Thy ring might soon adorn my hand.
Then all will follow; sense foretells.
Yet thou wouldst have no wedding bells.
Then do not fear, thou foolish knave.
I’ll take no honour to my grave.
The worms’ hot lust shall ne’er be sated;
I am going to be cremated.
A reply to John Donne’s The Apparition, in which a recently-dumped whinger threatens to die of a broken heart and haunt his ex. Upon reading the original you have to conclude that the lady was better off out of it, and that Donne was a stalker. Written for a poetry contest aged 17ish.
Why should I care if thou wilt clank thy chains?
Thou think’st thou couldst affright
Thy murd’ress by thy ghoulish sight,
To penalise my sin. O, spare thy pains
And stay in Hell; go not bump in the night.
He, whose I am now, is two of thee
And of thy love a mockery doth make;
He doth not tire so easily of me
For slumber’s sake.
Thy negligence made our love cease to be
So wilt thou now in envy prate thy plaint?
It was not I who cleft thy heart in twain,
But impotence. Lust thus slain
Cannot by mere love expiate its taint,
For nature will be satisfied. ’Tis just
That I am not content to gather dust,
But will live now; not slave to thee, but lust.
To M. P. Lichtenstein, on the Occasion of Our Wedding Day
Mark well this day, and more so, mark this Mark
I said “I do” to magic, and to talk,
To weeks spent laughing, when out in Central Park
We both broke out in Python’s silly walk.
It doesn’t go how Hollywood might claim
What lasts six decades won’t fit in two short hours
I didn’t find him, lose him, want to take his name
Then show up at the airport with some flowers.
For, though it seems extremely unromantic
To note this on the day that I’m a wife, I’m
Sad to say – being English and pedantic –
Those Lifetime movies never last a lifetime.
I’ll vow to stay, not for easy times and kisses
Not to miss the mark, but be to Mark, the missus.
Another piece of juvenilia, this one from college. Apparently there was a time I could a) read Middle English, b) write rhyme royal, and c) saw “the Press” a bit differently to Chaucer.
Flee From The Press
Fle from the Press, and dwell with soothfastnesse;
Lend godsibbes’ columnes ne’er thy keene inspeccion.
Heede no tabloyde praise upon thine Oscare dresse,
Ne in the Mirror seke thee thy refleccion
Ne wait for late retraccion, ne correccion.
The crystal balle doth spy thy every dede,
The Sunne schal delyvere, and al shal rede.
The Heat of Fame doth blaste thy frozen brow,
Yit smale relief thou have, for al thy Fannes.
Stil More, they crye, and lat us tast it Now!
Al publishéd, thy inmoste, sacred plannes;
Thy drinke, thy rehabbe, and thy dryvynge bannes.
Ther are no reynes to curbe that chargynge stede,
The Sunne shall delyvere, and al schal rede.
Aske not Phoebus’ eye to been thy savioure
Th’art but the balle that torneth at hys whim,
He telleth thine unseemliest behaviour,
How thou wedst her, and woke up next to him,
And physick shaped thy bodye, sans the gymme.
As he who dyed for thee, know thou canst blede;
The Sunne shall delyvere, and al shal rede.
Written for my favorite professor and all round lovely human being, Tony Nuttall.
To Professor A.D. Nuttall, on the Occasion of his Retirement
Of Nuttall’s wit, twould take an age to tell;
Such learning’s rarely found in one so sane
And rarer still, he can convey it well,
To make us wise, with minimum of pain.
Keenly, he’ll impart a scarce-known fact,
From deep in his encyclopaedic mind;
Were all books lost, tis he would have to act
To recreate the wisdom of mankind.
Yet he must leave, to take to pastures new
From pastures New, his scholarly élan
Now those beyond the dreaming spires may view
This library, enclosed within one man.
The dons will mourn his loss for Learning’s sake;
Not all their minds could half a Nuttall make.
This chart refers exclusively to work clothing: how women dress for fun is outside its purview. This is a measure of how much effort a woman is expected to make with her appearance while she’s trying to make a living, taking heel height as a fair proxy for overall work. It’s astonishingly consistent once you notice it.
If you are an actress/model who makes a living from her art, you fall more into the star/supermodel category. Your feet may still hurt, but at least your apartment is comfortable.
If you like this graph and the Show/Biz one, check out Diana Kolsky‘s site. I draw these things by hand; she does the graphics.
There’s no business like it, and no people like the folks who keep it all going. But it’s called showbusiness for a reason. It’s a business, and like a business, it needs a mix of ideas and business savvy to keep it running. Whether you’re a hard-nosed capitalist or a pure and unsullied Artist, there’s a place in the industry for you. Find out what it is by taking this handy quiz.
After you’ve taken the quiz, check out this infographic that shows you what jobs belong in each area.