Carrie Fisher, Princess Leia and a Lifetime of Love

I could never get a handle on Luke.  He was just too good, too clean, too bright-eyed and breezy.  A parental fantasy.  I, me, you, we’re not like that and I didn’t need puberty to help me realise it.  No, Han Solo was the man.  The man who could do good, if he could be arsed.  The man who did do good when it mattered.  He was also the man who fell in love with a Princess.  A modern princess, independent, one free from the domestic shackles forced on her fairytale ancestors.

Telling you that this archetype, created by Lucas and Fisher, has informed my own romances feels odd.  Nobody needs to know how that a glint of personality from a childhood film has led me to seek out my own similarly spirited princess.  You have your own glints from somewhere else.  But I can’t escape it.  As a child, Princess Leia was different.  She wasn’t like the girls I played with who wanted to dress up and play house.  Princess Leia wanted to save the galaxy.  She was her own woman and I can’t help but feel that’s what Carrie brought to the role.  A down-to-earth charm that evoked the elegant grace of romanticised royalty, and dressed in it a ball gown of counterculture feminism.

Princess Leia wasn’t there to be saved, wasn’t there to be pursued and wasn’t there to service male characters. She was there on merit.  The princess of the rebellion, its heart and soul, standing up to the man, not taking his shit and we loved her for it.  Leia is a character that I don’t think could have come from anyone else.  In a film crowded with heroes doing heroic things, it is the heroine that holds it all together, enforcing its righteousness, bringing others to heel and choosing to allow love into her vocation.

In the bigger picture, it’s meaningless.  A feminist icon in a children’s film and certainly not the first.  As a child though for whom Star Wars was the second cinema trip of his life, I know I will never forget her and she will always be My Highness.

Thank you Carrie and yes, may the force be with you.

A scruffy-looking Nerfherder




An Ode to Sepp Blatter

Michael Keating

FIFA16 (Custom)

Oh my darling, Sepp Blatter. You think it doesn’t matter,
because you’re the cock o’ FIFA.
Well let me tell you now, you corruption-ridden sow,
I’ve been on the phone to my mate Kiefer.

We’ve called up the Yanks, who are lending us tanks
because even you are not exempt.
Yes, in this dark hour, it’s time for Jack Bauer
to come and arrest you for contempt.

Next In Line To The Throne

Michael Keating

114356162__344272c (Custom)

Who’s next in line for the throne of this isle?
A land cloaked in sadness, led by its bile.
Green, pleasant lands, surround the great cities.
Liverpool, Leeds, and their reduced public kitties.

This former great isle is now lost in the sea.
Politicians don’t care, “it’s all about ME!”
Elected and protected by their vested interests.
Corruption the ideology, behaviour suggests.

And now, its people must look somewhere else.
Their hope and dreams, put back on the shelf.
It’s about big business, handouts to PLCs.
Shouts of “in it together”, drift away with the breeze.

So where do we turn in our hour of need?
Build a new vision, human rights as our creed.
Because nobody remembers who sold us what.
Or how many lives were ruined by this lot.

It’s time for us to move forward, starting right now.
Find a new path of existence. Start our own tao.
We’ve been abandoned by leaders and gods from above.
Let’s go back, build a new Eden and grow it, with love.

Arise Servants of Empire

Michael Keating


Richard the Lionheart, he battled in vain.
Military genius, a noteworthy reign.
A moral code of honour and nobility,
Be kind, have good manners, showing civility.

Values though change, over time and how fast,
No longer the preserve of the battle-weary class.
For knights now, a pat on the back, their blood no longer trickles.
Which is a shame when you’re stuck with, Savile, Murdoch & Pickles.

50 Shades of Splay

Michael Keating

Something a little different to the rest of the week’s mumblings. Thank you to those who have taken time to read my work. Have a great weekend everybody.


Back in the day, when I rolled in the hay,
My manner was suitably excess.
Share thoughts with our hearts, entwine bodily parts,
intimacy through a gentle caress.

Laughter and fun, the odd slap on the bum,
because naughty and nice is an art.
Desire driven by passion, is always in fashion,
until the lovers do part.

Now the straw is no more, less knocks at the door.
The phone has ground to a halt.
A canyon of despair, no love in the air.
A man worth half his salt?

But who needs romance, to kick start a trance?
Get a hobby or a game you can play.
If that doesn’t work and you’re still in the dirt.
Unzip, pull down and just jerk.

Maradona ’86

ESPN’s excellent 30 for 30 series is something I regularly dip into. Maradona at the 1986 World Cup is one of those life moments you think you’ve seen enough of, until you watch again. Sam Blair though has put together what can only be the last word. Backed with some wonderful narrative from Eduardo Galeano’s Soccer in Sun and Shadow (a book I now must read) I was floored by how Blair has compressed everything about it into thirty minutes.  The event, its essence, magic, beauty and the abstract existentialism that rises from it.  And the final scene…

The Last Boat

Michael Keating

the-love-boat-pacific-princess-ftr (Mobile)

The last boat just left, for Romance-on-Sea.
Packed to the rafters, with everyone but me.
Happy and smiling, tears of joy in their eyes.
Not expecting to return, even if one of them dies.

Sadly, many come back from their supposed one-way trip.
Having tasted one wine too many, more than a sip.
Those who don’t stay, can’t wait to go back again.
No matter how horrid their journey has been.

Now, I look out across old Lonesome Bay
and my heart, it fills up, as the boat sails away.
A sadness, melancholia, a deepening sorrow.
But I’ll come back, in case there’s another one tomorrow.

Tuition Fees Please

Michael Keating


“Tuition fees please” said the man issuing degrees.
“Give me £20,000” and I’ll teach you to think.
No learning is free, “It’s recession you see”
and your money will pay for our drink.

You can’t pick what you want or drink from the font
because knowledge isn’t meant to be shared.
It’s a means of retaining power, in this revolutionary hour,
to deny class progress. “Haven’t you heard?”

But what about the economy? Creative arts and astronomy?
Isn’t it foolish to cut off one’s nose?
Well they don’t give a shit, your face doesn’t fit
unless you’re a pure, white English rose.

Now get back in line, you uppity swine
before I eliminate your right to protest.
You’re a pleb and an oik, with few rights in this joint
and your future? It’s bleak and depressed.

The Queen’s Dress

Michael Keating

This is a poem I wrote after a recent visit to the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester. It’s inspired by Gary Harvey’s army dress, which is made from surplus camouflage fabric (pic below).

This is the dress that no Queen can wear.
Blasted, exploded, blook-soaked in fear.
Clothing commandeered from around the land.
Green, brown and black, sold second hand.

Rank and file sent across all the world,
to gather and plunder as flags unfurled.
Despots, depose, dispose and enslave.
Western democracy, “That’s what you crave.”

Rights for the few,
less earnings, more dues.
Sell off your assets,
no money for the masses.

No arguments.
No fuss.
This is the dress that no queen can wear.
Yet proudly, in public, she does.