Forbidden Fruit

Where have the footballers gone
Who were our next door neighbours
Who could throw a decent arrow
For the local darts team
In the Dog and Duck
Where are the Stanley Matthews
Running around the ground
In hobnail boots
So that he could fly down the wing
When the match began
Or Tom Finney
Who came out to fix a leak
In your kitchen sink
Before mesmerising defences
Now they all live in mansions
With swimming pools and home cinemas
Protected from the fans
By bricks walls and fences
Agents Mangers and Bodyguards

Where is county cricket played now
When it lasted three days
On grounds
Surrounded by churches and cathedrals
And hospitality tents
Where deckchairs dotted the outfield
And fielders on the boundary rope exchanged stories
And drinks with spectators
Old men could be heard
Applauding a fine stroke
Well played sir
Then return to their glass of local ale
As the shadows lengthened
Stumps were drawn
And time called
By the Old man on the weather vane
Ushering in the white ball
And six hit slogging
It’s just not cricket
Is now the refrain

In the dark alleyways and cul de sacs
And unlit lock up garages
Bookies would take your bet
Runners ferrying your stake money
And if you were lucky
Bring back your winnings
Whilst on every corner
Lookouts kept watch
For the forces of law and order
Now we sit in comfort
In betting shops
With coffee machines
Or at home watching
The favourites fall on colour TV
Too easy to lose money now
No edge now
No looking over shoulders
In case you were spotted
By the anti-gambling league

They were in league
With the Temperance Society
Pubs closed at eleven
Earlier on Sundays
What joy to be there
When the landlord announced
It’s a lock-in
The beer tasted fine
Even though it was Watneys Red Barrel
But now served behind
Closed curtains
And no one rang last orders

Do little boys still explore
The Naked World of Harrison Marks
Under the dark of the bedclothes
With lighted torch
So as not to alert parents
What unexplored wonders
Were between the covers
Of Titbits and Parade
That were traded at school
In the hope that there was more than was promised
Inside those battered covers
The Sun printed
Black and white models on Page Three
Playboy offered full colour studio shots
Between the centrefold
Now there is no need for torches
Or heavy blankets
The private areas of a woman’s body
Once so well disguised
Can be found on the internet
The veils have dropped away
There are no mysteries now
There is no more forbidden fruit
Because no one hides
Unseen pleasures anymore
They have been discovered
Like darkest Africa
Like Puck showing us it all
In forty seconds or less
With superfast broadband

Forbidden fruit was Adam’s downfall
It tastes so much sweeter in the memory

Read what it was all about - The Naked World of Harrison Marks available from Amazon.

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