After years struggling to get an answer from any of the three members of the Blake Cottage Trust without any response from any of them at all and with the cottage visibly decaying, I have at last found a chink in their armour.
On November 13th from 11 o’clock in the morning, there is going to be a literary event in the new conversion in Bognor station called The Track, I shall be among the local writers who will be present with their books, which is a very pleasant thing to be able to tell you, but when I read the leaflet about ‘Novels set in Bognor Regis’ which is prepared by the Bognor Regis Heritage Partnership I found something which I didn’t expect at all.
On the title page under the title ‘The Authors & Novels of Bognor Regis’, there is something about Blake’s Cottage that took my breath away. Here it is verbatim:
‘The town is also blessed with having within its environs the cottage in which one of Britain’s most creative artists and writers lived, William Blake. THE MEMBERS OF THE INTERNATIONALLY RESPECTED BLAKE SOCIETY MAKE FREQUENT VISITS TO THE COTTAGE WHILST RESEARCHING THE WORK OF THIS GREAT MAN.’
When I got my breath back, I sent a message to Irene Campbell who has been organising the event and is a member of the Bognor Regis Heritage Partnership to ask her where she got this information from or from whom and she told me, so I sent a message to the person she’d named who is the Chairman of the Bognor Regis Town Council’s heritage partnership and as it turns out, a splendid man. I left him a message on his official website and he came back to me with impressive speed and told me, among all sorts of other things, (it was a long and productive conversation) that he had been told about the ‘respected Blake Society’ and the ‘frequent visits’, by none other then Tim Heath himself (well, there’s a surprise!). And as you can imagine, I told him what a lie he had been sold and what the true state of the cottage is now. To my great delight, he’s following the case and has already contacted the Charities Commission. We have an ally folks and an ally with power!
I’ve cheered up so much I found poem I wrote 43 years ago, which I hope will bring a little fun to the end of this blog and celebrate National Poetry Day. It’s about political liars, I’ll bet that surprises you!
Good Guys Don’t Win – February 1978
(with apologies to Ogden Nash)
The assumption of superiority
Is, without question, a No 1 priority
If you intend to have the temerity to compete
With all those pushing, shoving, crawling members of the new bureaucratic elite.
You can commit adultery, fiddle the books, con, borrow or steal
Providing you do it in secret, and hide it even from yourself,
Because if you are so stupid as to reveal
Anything to anybody, even the hairline fracture of a mild self-doubt
Then you shouldn’t be surprised when hordes of insecure bullies come screaming down determined to knock you out.
For quite the most dangerous of any commodity
And really, if you’re going in for this game, for your own protection
It’s the first of the virtues you should jettison or hide away from any possibility of detection.
There may have been a few honest politicians but nobody has ever noticed ’em or missed ’em
Which is no surprise really, because you can’t expect natural justice from the British parliamentary system.
So if you want to be a success in our society you’d better try hard,
No matter how imperfect you may be, to acquire a facade
And if you’re thinking of kicking your way into the political scrimmage
Remember it’s not the personality that counts, nor the party, nor the issues – just the image.