A. Measles (after Grayson)


Consultations With My Mother

The series (I think) is drawing to a close now… but then again it’s quite addictive writing these poems and reflecting on the conversations Mum and I have.

VI in the series ‘A. Measles’ (after Grayson) introduces Grayson Perry as a recurring motif. It leads into my final poem in this series ‘The Trouble with Ezra’ – a comedy of errors that occurred when Mum and I were invited to the Poetry Society’s do in London for the announcement of the winner of the National Poetry Competition and the Ted Hughes award in 2014. The most exciting thing about this evening and one of the main reasons my Mum just had to be my ‘plus one’ was that Grayson Perry was judging the Ted Hughes Award with Kei Miller and Julia Copus… and she got to meet her idol!


VI – A. Measles

after Grayson


It’s early. My phone buzzes.

Morning Eleanor!

(Mum sounds unfeasibly excited)

Hi Mum. What’s up?

I’ve found an inflatable Alan Measles. On eBay

Oh right … I didn’t know he made inflatable ones

(The fact that I understand immediately what she’s on about is one of the many miracles of genetic inheritance)

£50 Buy Now + postage… It’s bright pink and stands up

Mum’s obsession with Grayson Perry has reached new heights

How big is it?

(I imagine a life-size inflatable pink bear glaring out of mum’s sitting room window)

I’m not sure, you can’t tell from the picture

 Well where would you put it?

 Maybe next to the framed silk handkerchief, or Alan Measles bags, or the wall mounted plates…

You mean your Grayson Shrine?

(Mum does obsessional collecting. She has Grayson tea towels, mugs, silk scarves, tote bags, the lot… dotted all over her house)

It’s not a shrine. I appreciate his work

Whatever you say Mum

When we were young it was Victorian glass tea-light holders (the rare ones had gold in them and shone like garnets) then fine bone china cup-saucer-plate hybrids of increasingly outlandish designs, then bold studio pottery and fabrics by Tibor Reich…. and now anything by Grayson Perry (that she can afford)

Well how much are they going for?

£50 is a good price. They’re from a gallery exhibition in Holland.

Limited edition?

I think so. Shall I put in a bid?

Well why not. Won’t hurt to try

(Mum loves a bargain. She is a female Lovejoy)

I think I might. Oh I love Alan Measles, I’m going to have him all over my house

Yes. Your collection is… spreading

My favourite are the Alan bags, especially the boy one with the dewdrop on the end of his penis (cue manic giggle)

Despite appearances Mum delights in all things subversive

Hmm, that dewdrop again…

(this particular detail springs up with alarming regularity in our conversations)

Well I better make a bid then, I’ve only got 36 hours to go

Let me know if you get him

I will. Oh I’m so excited! He’ll look really good on top of the dresser next to the handkerchief…

Bye Mum

Yes, yes (she mutters as I put the phone down)

She’ll be watching eBay all night.



Post Note:

Mum won the inflatable Alan Measles for £27.80 plus £10.00 postage and then sent me the following email and above photo:

 >> Alan now lives with me in Warwick 🙂 xxx