Temperature Shifts: Where’s Daddy’s Pig? (April 2013)

25 Apr

On the 24 April, Artist Taxi Driver Mark McGowan pushed a plastic pig with his nose on a journey across London, starting at 8am outside King’s College Hospital near Camberwell Green and ending that evening in Westminster, on the doorstep of Number Ten Downing Street, where he delivered a letter to David Cameron protesting at the Coalition’s enactment of a clause essentially opening up the NHS for irreversible privatisation: quite apart from being an ingeniously off the wall way to protest and draw attention to something around which what amounts to a media silence seems to have been imposed, it also seemed to me that this was the sort of thing that, back in the 18th and 19th centuries, would have pretty much instantly been the subject of broadsides and ballads for circulation in the pubs and cafes of the city. In that spirit, and considering the internet as the perfect medium for these cheap, quick and very fast turnaround responses, here’s a rough, ready and hopefully approximately sing-able set of verses to mark that absurdly epic and very important pig-pushing effort. McGowan will be showing new work at Nottingham’s Trade Gallery very soon, too.

daddys pig.

(xxv) Where’s Daddy’s Pig? (25 April)

(for Mark McGowan)

Mark McGowan pushed a plastic pig with his nose
from King’s College Hospital to the Walworth Road,
through Elephant and Castle, over Westminster Bridge,
with his nose he pushed a pink plastic pig.

Why a pig? It was caught with its snout in the trough
of a massive, unwanted health service sell-off.
That day Lords and MPs loaded with corporate shares
had taken our NHS and voted to make it theirs.

So Mark McGowan pushed a plastic pig with his nose
from King’s College Hospital to the Walworth Road,
through Elephant and Castle, over Westminster Bridge,
with his nose he pushed a pink plastic pig.

Who are these Lords? The usual useless sorts
who serve time playing at politics as if it’s sports;
as if it has nothing to do with your life or mine,
just buys a few rounds of golf and a cellar of wine.

So Mark McGowan pushed a plastic pig with his nose
from King’s College Hospital to the Walworth Road,
through Elephant and Castle, over Westminster Bridge,
with his nose he pushed a pink plastic pig.

Who heard about it? Well, those in the streets.
You’d not read much about it in the tabloids and broadsheets.
See, all those who’d happily carve up our NHS
are the very same lot who tend to own the press.

So Mark McGowan pushed a plastic pig with his nose
from King’s College Hospital to the Walworth Road,
through Elephant and Castle, over Westminster Bridge,
with his nose he pushed a pink plastic pig.

What was the use? It was a way of spreading the news
that those we didn’t elect are turning the screws,
the kind of shout-out you’d give if you saw somebody’s paws
slipped into a back pocket that wasn’t theirs.

So Mark McGowan pushed a plastic pig with his nose
from King’s College Hospital to the Walworth Road,
through Elephant and Castle, over Westminster Bridge,
with his nose he pushed a pink plastic pig.

And what happens next? Isn’t it now far too late
to start getting very, and I mean really, irate?
We can head-butt our steering wheels, kick our car doors:
what’s the point in protesting if it’s always ignored?

But Mark McGowan pushed a plastic pig with his nose
from King’s College Hospital to the Walworth Road,
through Elephant and Castle, over Westminster Bridge,
with his nose he pushed a pink plastic pig.

Know it’s never a waste when something gets done:
even the Suffragettes lost a few times before they won.
So strike your damp matches under every inflated pink arse
and keep sparking flints till a proper fire starts.

And Mark McGowan pushed a plastic pig with his nose
from King’s College Hospital to the Walworth Road,
through Elephant and Castle, over Westminster Bridge,
with his nose he pushed a pink plastic pig.

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