Hovis Presley – I rely on you

Not much poetry here on Minnellium but a good few years ago I was listening to a “Poetry Please” special on Radio 4 and heard ‘I rely on you’ by Hovis Presley – a Lancashire poet of whom I knew literally nothing. From what I recall, the poem was read out by Roger McGough, and ever since then, somewhere in the back of my mind, I’d been intending to dig out the poem from somewhere or other, but never quite found it.

I’ve now found it, and it’s every bit as good as I remembered. Here’s the poem:

I rely on you
I rely on you
Like a Skoda needs suspension
Like the aged need a pension
Like a trampoline needs tension
Like a bungee jump needs aprehension
I rely on you

I rely on you
Like a camera needs a shutter
Like a golfer needs a putter
Like a gambler needs a flutter
Like a buttered scone involves butter
I rely on you

I rely on you
Like an acrobat needs ice cool nerve
Like a hairpin needs a drastic curve
Like an HGV needs endless DERV
Like an outside left needs a body swerve
I rely on you

I rely on you
Like a handyman needs pliers
Like an auctioneer needs buyers
Like a laundromat needs dryers
Like The Good Life needed Richard Briers

I rely on you
Like a water vole needs water
Like a brick outhouse needs mortar
Like a lemming to the slaughter
Ryan’s just Ryan – without his daughter
I rely on you

Try as I might to love poetry to music, I find the fusion difficult, and whilst things like LKJ seem to work well, this version of Hovis Presley I found on Youtube doesn’t work quite as well as it should do (for me!), but it’s nice, nevertheless, to see the lovely poet in action, before his untimely premature passing in 2005.
Hovis Presley – YouTube – I rely on you

John Hegley did a similar poem, of equal stature in my mind… with possibly a touch more irony that, although brilliant, seems to make it less sincere.

I need you like a novel needs a plot.
I need you like the greedy needs a lot.
I need you like a hovel needs a certain level of grottiness
to qualify.
I need you like acne cream needs spottiness.

Like a calendar needs a week.
Like a colander needs a leek.
Like people need to seek out what life on Mars is.
Like hospitals need vases.
I need you.

I need you like a zoo needs a giraffe.
I need you like a psycho needs a path.
I need you like King Arthur needed a table
that was for more than just for one.

I need you like a kiwi needs a fruit.
I need you like a wee wee needs a route out of the body.
I need you like Noddy needed little ears,
just for the contrast.
I need you like bone needs marrow.
I need you like straight needs narrow.
I need you like the broadest bean needs something else on the plate
before it can participate
in what you might describe as a decent meal.
I need you like a cappucino needs froth.
I need you like a candle needs a moth
if it’s going to burn its wings off.

  • Bill Millen

    I hate poetry, but like you I heard this on radio 4 and fell in love with it. The youtube version does it no justice whatsoever. It needs to be heard without the music and with a touch more sincerity, but not to much to kill the homour.

  • John Muirhead

    I too am not a peotry fan and I too heard this on radio four. It instantly became our poem… amazing