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Pete Mortimer Pens A Tribute to Red Squirrel Press

Nice One, Squirrel

(For Sheila Wakefield on the Red Squirrel 10th anniversary event,

Monday April 4, 2016, Lit & Phil, Newcastle upon Tyne)


Bloody books are bloody dead

they all said. It’s Facebook now, it’s Twitter

it’s U-Tube, it’s Tumblr. Don’t be a grumblr!

The printed word? It’s absurd!

It’s a dodo. You’re loco!

We don’t need to read

A book. We just look at a screen.

Know what I mean?

It’s U-Tube, it’s Podcasts

It’s tablets, it’s Skype

It’s laptops – we can’t stop!

It’s selfies, it’s Facetime

It’s Kindle, it’s the next app.

Books? They’re all crap.

Bloody books are bloody dead

They all said.


And who’s this? It’s a bloody greaser

A bloody mechanic. It’s a bloody woman!

Has she been to Cambridge

Or a public school?

Does she know the rules?

Tell me this, dear chap

Can she publish celebrity crap

Or a stand-up’s ghosted novel?

The twelfth autobiography of Wayne Rooney?

Are her authors good for chat-shows

Or a quick TV prog on two nights in a hovel?

Celebrity Bake-Off, or a spot in the jungle?

Are they PR groomed?


They’re poets, you say? Bloody poets?

Unknown bloody poets?

Unknown northern bloody poets?

More than 100 bloody books of bloody unknown

Bloody northern bloody poets?

In ten bloody years?

You’ll have me in bloody tears!


Someone should stop her, for her own good.

It’s unhealthy. And will never make her wealthy.

It’s delusional, it’s plainly illogical.

The problem must be deeply psychological.

At all costs we must prevent her

from future lunacy. I suggest a real job;

such as tele-sales at a leading call centre.


Peter Mortimer


  • I was fortunate enough to hear Peter read this at the Red Squirrel 10th Birthday Celebtation in the Lit & Phil. Excellent!

    Denise Sparrowhawk
  • Joyous! Thank you – and congratulations to Sheila; a long way in ten successful years.


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