Past Love In The Museum Of Transport,
Tapsalteerie, 2018 £5.00
The stained-glass of Irn-Bru and Ribena
There are numerous memories glowing through the ‘stained glass’ of this book. They include the grading of boys on the cusp of being men (by girls on the cusp of knowing what they want) in ‘Atomic’; and ‘two schoolgirls in a sailboat’ teaching themselves things beyond mere navigation — the ‘launching of our ship / this amazement at ourselves’ in ‘We Were Sailing’.
However, there are two lines in ‘Breakfast Deal’ that will stay with me:
Irn-Bru and Ribena
glow like stained-glass
If I wasn’t in love with the pamphlet up to this point, those two lines would be worth the price of entry — a very reasonable £5. Irn-Bru and Ribena. These two drinks have achieved prominence in the market-places of the shop fridge and collective memory. You may not have touched either in years, but I bet you can see them now, maybe taste them, and surely trace at least one logo on whatever scrap of paper you have to hand. They have the brilliance of inspired marketing behind them — and what marvellous challenges to nature they are, just like the ‘bats and knifes’ (sic) earlier in the same poem. Irn-Bru and Ribena are surely the bats and knifes to the old-fashioned ‘square go’ of healthier beverage choices.
And at the same time the ‘stained-glass’ evokes the twin forces of religion and capitalism — a heady pairing if ever there was one. The forces of globalism are being held back — it’s Irn-Bru and Ribena,not Lilt and Tango.They are local drinks for local people.
Like a literal and literary prism, those two lines for me focus the inner fire of the collection. It may seem over the top to unpack so much from just eight words but I’ll leave it to the last three lines of the collection to justify the praise:
It’s just the siphoning of a glad heart,
milking years of luck upon luck,
never wanting to spill a drop.