Le Tour De Yorkshire

I was recently asked to join the Tour De France when it came through Yorkshire – Not as a cyclist, as a poet. BBC Radio 4 wanted to make a programme about the tour from a poetic angle and asked me, John Cooper Clarke, Luke Wright, Phil Jupitus and Simon Day to follow the tour and write poems about it. So, on the saturday we followed the Peleton (as it’s called) as it travelled through Harrogate and on the sunday we went to beautiful sheffield.

We performed live both nights at the theatre royal in Harrogate and the Town Hall in sheffield. Our MC for the evening was Johnny Green (tour manager of the clash, writer and keen cycling fan) and we were also joined on stage by Matt Stevens, british cycling champion whose created a brilliant character called Kenny Van Vlaminck (spoof belgian cyclist, check him out, funny as…..for sure) and Earl Broad doing his own slant on Alan Bennet.

I didn’t really get the cycling i.e. standing there for hours waiting for a bunch of geezers in tight brightly coloured tee shirts and shorts to come flying past at 100 mph. I thought the true winner was Yorkshire and the Yorkshire people who turned out in their thousands to cheer and shout and drink and celebrate and here’s the poem i wrote to celebrate the success of Yorkshire as hosts – Well Done Yorkshire

Le Tour De Yorkshire

I saw athletes meet and walk the cobbled streets
Roaming soles were pounding Roman roads
I saw Olympians stand hand in hand
Medal winners standing toe to toe
And Calves did burn on Leyburns hairpin turns
In Glossop the cycling seeds were sown
And not a single frown could be found in any Yorkshire town
And kids are smiling everywhere you go

In East and West Witton the cycling shorts don’t fit them
Big boys in tight tee shirts look daft
But they don’t care if you wanna point and stare
Cos this weekend we’re all game for a laugh

In Constable Burton the locals are certain
They’ve serve the greatest bitter in the land
And they’re probably right cos on Saturday night
Neither man nor woman could stand

I saw one kids face look like he’d just won the race
I saw his gran stood behind him weeping love
His mams eyes were on fire cos his dad’s just retired
To the golden Peloton up above

I saw smiles for miles from a million Yorkshire guys
A million twinkles in the eyes of Yorkshire girls
I saw Sheffield streets where secret lovers meet
Become the centre of the cycling universe

And in Harewood and Ottley I’ve heard Parisians Cockney
Singing Allez allez allez allez go
The tea was sweet and milky
In both Burley and Ilkley
And the tea girls in Bettys know
There’s only one thing better than a yellow sweater
There’s only one thing sweeter than a Yorkshire cup of tea
And that the love your land is like the love of your mam
And that love cannot be beat

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