Gareth Glyn Roberts

Saffron - Poem by Gareth Glyn Roberts


For the last six months I’ve made it my mission
To be a celebrity on television,
In some reality show or other
Such as People Like Us or Big Brother.
I emailed this guy at the BBC
And I got a reply saying “Saffron...” (that’s me) ,
“Saffron” – no, hang on – “Hi, Saffron” it said,
“Thanks for your email, which I have read
With a great deal of interest and I have passed on
To a colleague who’s working for BBC1.
Your picture looks great, so thanks very much,
If things go any further we’ll be in touch.”
I couldn’t believe it: I’d made a connection,
And although at first it felt like rejection
The fact that I’d even received a reply
Sent me skipping about on an all-time high.
I emailed and emailed and emailed again,
Five or six emails – possibly ten –
Or possibly twelve – whatever – because
I wanted to know who this colleague was.
But this time I didn’t receive a reply
And I guess a couple of weeks went by
But still there was nothing, yet there was me
Checking my inbox like OCD
And each time I check there’s nothing but spam
And I’m starting to think what a divvy I am
And maybe this guy’s just leading me on
Maybe there’s no colleague at BBC1
Maybe my email wasn’t even read
And the photo went in the bin instead
Maybe it was just an auto-response
And no-one even looked at it once
And I thought, okay that’s too hit and miss
Nobody ever treats me like this
So I made up my mind right there on the spot
To be successful - no matter what.
I went on the web and I searched every site
I searched all day and I searched all night
I searched and searched and searched some more
Till I found what it was I’d been looking for -
The contact details of all the producers
Who’d palmed me off with their feeble excuses.
Top of the list was this guy at the Beeb
Who sounded to me like a bit of a dweeb
And I reckoned if I could give him a poke
He’d put me in touch with this other bloke
(Whoever he is) , and that might lead
To a foot in the door and a chance to succeed.
The first time I rang it was just after nine
And somebody asked me to hold the line
Then after a while they said he was busy
“Oh” I said ever so sweetly, “is he?
Please can you tell him I’ll call him again
A little bit later, say quarter to ten? ”
At quarter to ten he was on another call
I told his PA, “no worries at all”
I think she probably got quite a shock
When I rang back again at eleven o’clock
And again at twelve and again at one
When she told me she was sorry, he’d gone
Out to lunch and that she wasn’t sure
Whether or not he’d be back by four
So at four o’clock on the dot this pesky
Saffron’s back, “he’s away from his desk” she
Says in a tone of voice that’s so insincere
What she means is, “he’s right next to me here”.
But the effect of all these verbal gymnastics
Deliberate deceptions and delaying tactics
Was to make me all the more focused and strong
To get to the top and to prove them all wrong
If I was to follow through on my plans
I’d have to take matters into my own hands
In order to press home my point
I was going to have to gatecrash the joint
Physically get inside the place
And speak to these guys face to face
So instead of all this emailing and phoning
And getting rejected, I set about honing
My interview skills and anticipating
The kind of questions they may have waiting
The sort of things they’d expect me to say
The obstacles they’d throw in my way
To prove I’ve got the right personality
Perfect to star in a TV reality
Series, the looks and the armour platings
Guaranteed to sky the ratings.
That night in bed I hardly slept,
Billions of doubts and questions kept
On bugging me, whizzing about
My brain, like “Saff, you’re not cut out
For this, you’ll never do it, what
Is it that makes you think you’ve got
The talent or intelligence,
Don’t kid yourself, it makes no sense,
Forget it, give yourself a break,
Come on, get real for goodness’ sake.”
But when I woke the following day
I heard a voice within me say
“Saffron, assert yourself, be tough,
You know you’re more than good enough,
You can do it – only you,
Get up and make your dreams come true! ”
Thanks to that optimistic voice
I realised I had no choice
I had to do the thing I’d set
My mind on, otherwise regret
Would always haunt me. I’m no coward,
So having breakfasted and showered
Thinking “my God this is insane”
I left the house and caught the train
To Manchester and Salford Quays,
Media City if you please.

It’s so exciting to be stood outside
This place called Media City, with its wide
And tree-lined boulevards, plazas, canals,
Palace of my producer and his pals,
Where trams trace out their tramline’s parallel pattern
Beneath a glassy skyline like Manhattan.
Firstly though, I had to think of ways of
Getting inside the building past the gaze of
Grinning security guards, and when I saw
A group of school kids on a guided tour
Making for main reception, in a trice
I tagged along and nobody looked twice –
I even chatted to the teachers too,
And when we reached the door we got waved through.
The lobby was impressive and resembled
A first-class airport lounge; as we assembled
To hear the tour guide’s talk, I chanced to nip
First to the back then give the group the slip
By disappearing down the nearest corridor
Though what it was or where it went I wasn’t sure
Until I saw a sign which said “Fifth Floor,
Production Office”, through a double door
And then into a lift (I can’t stand lifts,
But it’s amazing how your focus shifts
From something you’re afraid of when you’ve got
A purpose firm in mind) . I don’t know what
Possessed me to be quite so self-assured,
But I knew one thing I could not afford
Was any sign of weakness, any sense
Of shyness or of lack of confidence,
So when those lift doors slid apart I stood
Up straight and breathed as deeply as I could
And forced myself to smile, now I was facing
The purple office door, my heartbeat racing
A thousand beats a minute, hesitated,
Then knocked.
No answer, so I knocked again, and waited
For ages: so I knocked a third time, firmer,
Then heard the faintest shuffle, then a murmur,
Then silence: and I’m just about to knock
A fourth time, when there’s footsteps, and the lock
Turns, and the door swings wide impatiently,
And there’s a girl just the same age as me.
We’re facing one another. “Hi” she says
(Then there’s a pause like one of Pinter’s plays) ,
“Hi” I say back, “I’m Saffron, who are you? ”
“I’m Jennifer” she says, “what can I do
For you? ” I smiled at her, “I’m here to see
A gentleman who’s been emailing me –
I’m not sure what his name is – but he knows
I want to be in his reality shows”.
“Oh, Saffron, yeah” she says, “Saffron, you’re famous,
You’ve emailed us a million times! It’s Seamus
You want to see – have you made an appointment? ”
I felt a massive wave of disappointment
Well up inside me, but I just suppressed it.
“The fact is, Jennifer” I said, “you guessed it,
I came on spec, but hoped that...” “Call me Jenny”,
She said. “Okay” I said, “Look, is there any
Chance you could do me an enormous favour –
Pretend you’d booked me in? ” She frowned and gave a
Sigh, then thought a bit and then said “wait”.
Grrr – this did not seem fair to me. My fate
Determined – how frustrating can it be –
By someone the exact same age as me,
But then if she can do it so can I –
And then this bloke says, “Saffron, Seamus, hi”.
He shakes my hand. “Come in and have a seat”.
“Thank you” I said, “it’s good of you to meet
With me at such short notice: as you know
I emailed you a couple of days ago –
Well several times in fact -“ “Yes, and because
Despite the fact you didn’t know who I was
You wanted to barge in and doorstep me:
Well Saffron, that’s not how it works you see.
We have to want to meet you: you’re the type
Who never quite lives up to their own hype,
Ambitious certainly, but not that serious,
With clearly no respect for their superiors.”
I went on the attack: “That isn’t true.
Maybe I did barge in and doorstep you
But you gave me encouragement when you said
Thank you for your email which I’ve read
With a great deal of interest so that’s why
I thought I’d take the trouble to drop by
To demonstrate to you I’m genuine
And as my photo’s probably gone in the bin
Despite the fact you said your photo’s great
Remind you what I look like, Seamus mate.”
He looked away and leaned back in his chair.
“What do you want? ” he said, “I don’t know where
You gathered the impression that you’ve got
Some special hidden talent we should spot,
Because as far as I’m concerned you’ve not,
In fact Saffron, I think you’ve lost the plot.”
“I want” I said, “an opportunity
And I was hoping you would give it me,
To prove that I can make it in TV –
I know I can. Give me the chance. You’ll see.”
“I’ve seen enough” he said, “I’m sorry, but
It’s clear to me you wouldn’t make the cut.
Full marks for effort though: you’ve guts, no doubt.
Now, if you don’t mind seeing yourself out? ”

Speechless I headed into the hall
Tearful and feeling two feet tall
Head in hands I sobbed and sniffed
But as I got into the lift
A voice behind me made me check
“Saffron” it said, “hang on a sec” -
Jenny! - “Saffron, can you dance?
I wondered if there’s any chance,
One of our girls has called in sick,
If you can learn the moves real quick
We’ll get you costumed up and then
We shoot the scene at half past ten.”
“Yes! ” I shouted straightaway,
Jenny I could have hugged all day,
She took me to rehearsal room three
To learn the choreography
The other girls were really sweet
And I quickly found my feet
The dance moves were a piece of cake
Then after a five minute break
We filmed it in a single take.
The dance captain was so impressed
She said “Saffron, can I suggest
You stay on to complete the series -
We’ll sort your contract. Any queries? ”
Amazing, ever since that fateful
So-called interview with hateful
Seamus, that weaselly guy with zits
And all he did was stare at my tits,
Opportunities by the plateful
Pile up for me, and I’m so grateful:
On a producer’s recommendation
An agent’s given me representation
Because they want me to have a go
Presenting my own children’s show.
So my message to you is loud and clear:
If you have a dream, then persevere,
Stick the course and never give in,
If you do that, you’re bound to win.
Remember, when you come unstuck,
I did it – so can you. Good luck!

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Poem Submitted: Monday, April 1, 2013

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