Behind The Scenes: The Making of "Trout"

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   I never cease to be amazed by the number of inquiries people make about the Shite we write (None). How did you come to write this poem? What's the story behind that story? Are there any amusing anecdotes you can tell us about the authors?

These are just some of the questions that readers never think to ask us. Well, that's OK 'cos one of the fundamental basic principles of Shite is that you don't have to think.

So, here is a bit of the background to the Trout poem that you've just read - and that you haven't asked for.

Trout was written over the internet. Kate (in Leeds) wrote the first verse on Monday 15th December 1997 and emailed it to Mike (in London) who appended the second verse and passed it back to Kate. The poem then developed by being passed between the two great poets, each one adding a new bit until it was completed on Wednesday 18th February 1998. All went well until, at the end of the fifth verse, Mike lost his nerve and it looked like the poem was going to end there. Concerned by the long response time, Kate became anxious that the poem was not going to be returned to her and the following email conversation ensued:

Kate:   Where's the next part of the poem then?

Mike:   It's finished. There is no more to be done. I've entitled it Trout. Here it is in its full glory:

Hello there, you floppy old trout farmer.
Still got a weasel bunged up yer jacksy?
Must be warm and smelly by now.
Give your horse a good sniffing from me,

'Tis a fair frog up the gibbet crank.
My lodestone weeps barleycorns and the throstle sings an ee-rie mire.
The gillie's up the steeplejack and the vestry is full of tapes-tries.
How are your grunions?

Foaming at the gusset,
Guinevere conspired, sentinel truffles oregami-ly,
shutting out the vestry appleby whiskered shaun-from-dundee lids,
my grunions have turned to mustard.

"Cheep cheep cheep!"
My earwig-splice nettles! My gooseberry frollick beeswax.
Whither shall the oxen fenster?
And from whence gather ye maidens fair for the rite of gorse?
Heed the crone,
oh, heed the crone, thee merry jigsters, three.

Merry jigsters, throned on nettles,
spliced the crone with shoals of kettles,
clung like clagnuts, spun like spaniels,
slung with slumber, paid Paul Daniels,
twenty shillings, bold as beetroot,
decked in doilies,
shrouded in a leaf of wonder at receipt of his
free suit.

Kate:   Mike! I'm shocked at you! We can't leave it there! It was just getting good. Go on, do another verse. I strongly feel that all Shite meets its end at some point, and this has yet to do so.


But it is finished. Can't you see? Read it through again - you'll see that it is perfect in every detail and is complete. If you want any more it will have to go in a new poem. Surely as a poet of your stature you can see that!

Kate:   Mike. You cannot, I mean cannot, end a poem on the words free suit. It is just too open-ended! It's practically mid-sentence. I have read it through again, just now, and I disagree with you more vehemently than ever. I insist that we press on with it. Although, since I am such a considerate being, I am prepared to compromise. If you, on closer inspection, find that you simply cannot agree with me, then I will accept the remainder of the piece to be confined either within brackets, or under a sub-heading with a suitable title on which we both agree (can I suggest, Part 2?). This is my final offer. I have no wish to come to blows over this. You and I have been friends for a long time and, although we have argued over many things in the past, we have never disagreed on the content of a piece of Shite.

Mike:   Oh, all right then.
However, just to prove you wrong about one point . . .

There once was a man called P. Zoot
Who bought fifty jars of beetroot
He read on the label
That he was now able
To send them off for a free suit.

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