In 2011 the famous Dundee Hilltown Flats were demolished in an explosive way. By explosives. Many thousands gathered, though the number who mourned their removal wasn’t counted. I thought about doing a book on Dundee and made sure I was in the city to take photos and witness this event.
What might make poetry fans mourn is my tribute: a poem in the style of another of Dundee’s upstanding figures: William Topaz McGonagall.
McGonagall gave much in the way of entertainment but not to fans of the verse who he seemed to annoy. He enjoyed a renassiance which was too late for him as he was long dead before it arrived. You have to have a bit of regard for his tenacity in the face of widespread indifference.
If he was alive now he’d have a quirky twitter persona, a Radio 4 show and several books on the shelves, though possibly in Humour, and not Poetry.
He is remembered, and that is something. Something else is my poem written after soon the demolition and suitably named.
Lines on the Demolition of the Hilltown Multis, 31st of July 2011
Today will be remembered – the thirty-first of July,
When the Hilltown Multis came down from being in the sky.
On this very day, there was a great clatter,
Some said it didn’t – but I thought it did – matter.
Workmen had surrounded the site in fences steel,
In order that flying concrete on our brains we didn’t feel.
They flicked a switch and four great towers,
Were soon blown down, our senses overpowered!
Thousands watched the great drifting clouds of dust,
As many folks’ homes became totally bust.
Tears were shed and stories swapped,
When tons of high-rise to the ground were dropped.
So all of you whose days are full of trouble,
It could be worse, you could be rubble.
(With many apologies to Wm McGonagall)