A letter to Guy Garvey, of the popular balladeers Elbow

c/o
The Middle of the Road
Manchester, England

Dear Mr Guy Garvey,

I went to see Prince in concert the other day.
He appeared in high heels, skimpy blouse,
and a manfrock made of velvet and lace,
a suggestive grin all over his face. He was
accompanied by Amazonian dancing girls,
wearing almost nothing bar a pair of roller skates.
I’m not quick to criticise, Mr Garvey, but,
between you and I, it was an absolute disgrace.

His lyrics, meanwhile, were boastful and dishonest
talking about “Purple Rain” and a “Little Red Corvette.”
If only you had helped him, he would have
come up with something decent, more modest
about meeting a slightly pretty divorcee,
at a black pudding stand in Bury market,
and driving her home in a second-hand Corsa
through normal, northern-coloured rain

That wasn’t the worst of it, I’m afraid.
After a costume change, he performed a song which,
if I am not mistaken, was called Soft and Wet,
the dancing girls pawing at his exposed, hairy chest
which display of prurience, I’m sad to say,
gave me a strange swelling between the legs
something which assuredly did not happen
the last time I saw Elbow at Manchester GMEX

I’m telling you, Mr Garvey, by the time that little imp
had finished performing I was dangerously aroused
when I got back home I had to listen to your entire
back catalogue to calm myself down

Mr Garvey. Please show Prince the error of his ways.
Have a word with him, man-to-man, over a packet
of pork scratchings and a pint of real ale. Tell him,
gently, like a portly, northern Gok Wan:

“Prince. If you want to become a man of the people,
with a string of solid yet unspectacular albums
and, potentially, your own show on BBC 6 Music
you need to follow Guy Garvey’s three-step plan.

1. Dress more ordinary, not like a girl
but in loose fit jeans and lumber shirts
2. Get rid of that funky afro; replace it with
a nice monobrow and pudding bowl
3. Stop performing like an eroticised Cocker Spaniel.
Perform sensibly, like me, as if you’re idea of fun
is reading a fridge freezer owners’ manual.”

Because watching a pop star on stage should not
undermine anyone of mixed ability. It should
be like watching telly on the sofa, with more
extensive toilet facilities. At the end of a concert,
people should know that all dreams are feasible,
all dance moves achievable, all footwear
comfortable and, something you demonstrate
brilliantly, Mr Garvey, all waistlines expandable.

Yours, dreaming of a more normal, ordinary future,

Richard Purnell

Chicken drumsticks or Kievs for dinner? - Guy Garvey has a quiet moment on stage
Drumsticks or Kievs for dinner? – Guy Garvey has a quiet moment on stage
A disgusting, prurient display - Prince in concert
A disgusting, prurient display – Prince in concert
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