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March 19, 2007 | by  | in Opinion |
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Hope For a Generation

I was walking through the train station
Listening with my headphones
When I noticed all these hundreds of kids
Completely crowding the station

It was difficult to walk through them

Then I noticed their haircuts, and clothing and could hear them
Talking about their incredibly mundane lives
Obsessed with boys
Totally spellbound with the latest trends
Laughing at stupid jokes

When I was a teenager I’m sure I wasn’t like this
I think
And decide to take a bus
The fastest way out of this plague to my flat

I got on the bus with two others
But every stop on the way picked up more of those
Spellbound teenagers

I was sitting by a window and it was now crowded with them
I tried not to look at them
Gazing at the shop windows
The signs were all bright with impossible slogans
All very simply written
And completely absurd

It’s only the stupid ones that buy into all this
I think looking at it all

I was listening with my headphones and
An old rock n roll song by the Beatles came on
I turned the volume up and experienced the most incredible feeling
I was being taken away from all the lies
With John, Paul, George and Ringo
I was with them, they were my brigade
And we didn’t care what we looked like
Or obsessed about
Or what social group we weren’t a part of
That sixties rock was the closest thing to me
I turned it right up, until it was obnoxious and spluttering
Filling my body
Louder and louder

I couldn’t hear the kids
I couldn’t see the signs
And I was very, very happy

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Comments (15)

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  1. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA!

    aren’t you a special snowflake then?

  2. Holden Iscariot says:

    So pretentious, so cliche, so terrible.

    Probably the lamest thing I’ve ever read in Salient. Seriously.

    H. I.

  3. Peter Fanshawe says:

    Indeed Steve, couldn’t have put it better myself. Not sure if anyone could have.
    Looking at the people you described often gives me little hope for this generation. Hope there are enough good ones out there to outweigh the others.

  4. Harold Bloom says:

    Steven, Steven, Steven.

    Reading your poem brings me great joy. Long have I searched for such a talent, one who might rank among the brightest stars of the literary firmament.

    Now, against all odds, I have found you. This poem – “Hope for a Generation” – should be remembered as a masterpiece. In just a few strokes of your pen, you eclipse not only Baxter, Curnow and Manhire, but Eliot and Keats and, dare I say it, Shakespeare himself.

    Yes, it is you, Steve Nicoll, who deserves to be at the centre of the literary canon, you who should be proclaimed as the hope of the generation.

    A brief literary analysis, if I may: First, the wonderful ‘station/station’ rhyme in your first stanza emphasises superbly the monotony of your scene, and possibly your own life.

    Then we move to one of my favourite parts of the poem, where you lambast a group of teenagers for:

    “Talking about their incredibly mundane lives
    Obsessed with boys
    Totally spellbound with the latest trends
    Laughing at stupid jokes”

    It’s so evocative, I feel like I’m there with you. The judgment is so superior, it’s like we’re listening to the words of a divinity. Marvellous.

    There’s no time to go on, but let me note your compelling repetition of words – “spellbound”, “incredible”, “crowded”, “completely” and of course, the stellar final line: “And I was very, very happy”.

    For such a unique look at the mindnumbingly generic thoughts of someone with a lot of anger and very little to say, I commend you!

  5. Nick says:

    I’d just assumed it was deeply ironic.

    I mean look at the photo of him with the horse!

  6. Steve Nicoll says:

    Thanks everyone for the support. Its often hard being a poet in a conformist world :-)

  7. Awwww, pity everyone didn’t coddle you to protect your precious self esteem!

    Conformist world, indeed.

  8. So what’s funny here is the use of the Beatles as an example to seperate yourself out from the teenagers you so despise.

    The Beatles in their day, were the ultimate teen fad, jabbered and lusted after by packs of young teenagers, and frowned upon by disapproving types such as yourself. Now you use the Beatles, a shining light for teen obsession in their day – to seperate yourself out. This, this seems funny.

    The irony for anyone who pours scorn on teenagers, is you were like that in the day. Teenage years are all about conformity, and your scorn reeks of failed arrogance, and doubled with that laughable picture of you on a horse, makes you look like a fuckwit.

  9. Nick Stevens says:

    I was walking through the station
    Listening with my headphones
    (not with my ears, I prefer to listen to my ears with my headphones)
    When I noticed all these hundreds of kids
    (Like Roman legions, several groups in their hundreds)
    Completely crowding the station

    It was difficult to walk through them
    (as I am made of flesh, despite my intangible writings)
    Then I noticed their haircuts, and clothing and could hear them
    Talking about their incredibly mundane lives
    (haircuts and clothing…)
    Obsessed with boys
    (The kind of girls that would ignore me as a teenager)
    Totally spellbound with the latest trends
    Laughing at stupid jokes
    (They made me feel small and hairy)

    When I was a teenager I’m sure I wasn’t like this
    I think
    (of nothing)
    And decide to take a bus
    The fastest way out of this plague to my flat
    (you see, the plague spreads all the way from me to my flat)

    I got on the bus with two others
    But every stop on the way picked up more of those
    Spellbound teenagers
    (I can’t stop noticing the kids, a bit like Kevin Bacon in the Woodsman)

    I was sitting by a window and it was now crowded with them
    I tried not to look at them
    (Itry to control my erection)
    Gazing at the shop windows
    The signs were all bright with impossible slogans
    All very simply written
    And completely absurd
    (such as ‘Just do it”, as in, stop being depressed and self-indulgent and write an editorial)
    It’s only the stupid ones that buy into all this
    I think looking at it all
    (I use this superior attitude to mask my feelings of loserdom)

    I was listening with my headphones and
    (again, I have no ears, only headphones)
    An old rock n roll song by the Beatles came on
    I turned the volume up and experienced the most incredible feeling
    I was being taken away from all the lies
    With John, Paul, George and Ringo
    I was with them, they were my brigade
    (That is where I should be, up there, in my rightful place with Ringo and Chomsky!)
    And we didn’t care what we looked like
    Or obsessed about
    Or what social group we weren’t a part of
    (Those teenage boys who made fun of me and girls I was too scared to approach will see! I will show them!)
    That sixties rock was the closest thing to me
    I turned it right up, until it was obnoxious and spluttering
    Filling my body
    Louder and louder
    (grew my egotism, based on specious self-belief )

    I couldn’t hear the kids
    (that reject me)
    I couldn’t see the signs
    (of my true nature)
    And I was very, very happy

  10. Your problem is that you are incredibly arrogant and apparently consider yourself far above the common herd without actually offering anything better. You sneer at the teenagers for using small talk (obviously no intelligent individualist would ever use small talk, and you never use it yourself- your conversation is doubtless sparkling, original, and deeply political) but what depth do you offer in return? You listen to the Beatles on an Ipod! To any bystander you would appear part of the conformist masses- consider that.

    If you’re so wonderful and intelligent and nonconformist, you should have got up on a soapbox and preached to the mundane masses, telling them about your wonderful brilliant mind and how much better than them you were. You should have done something to distinguish yourself from the ordinary people you apparently hate so much. But you didn’t, because you couldn’t, because you’re no better than them.

    Your poetry is shite (conformist, even) and no one supported you because the world does not owe you a living just because you wrote one shitty poem.

  11. Ernie Dingo says:

    Next time please publish Dr Seuss. At least it rhymes.

    YOU ARE A FUCKTARD!

    You write like a 13-year-old pillow-biter at an all-boys private boarding school.

  12. Holden Iscariot says:

    Mr. Stevens,
    That poem was actually great. Thanks! So raw, and honest.
    H.I.

  13. Ian Christopher says:

    I’ve actually lived with Steve and I still dont know if this poem is ironic. Genius.

  14. Hi ‘Ian’, non de plume of Steve.
    ; )

  15. I was pretty sure this was a piss-take.

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