John Lindley’s seventh collection of poetry, ‘Screen Fever’ ( Pinewood Press, Swansea) is a very familiar collection of fifty poems on movies and movie stars, which really does ‘shimmer’ through the golden years of the silver screen. Heroes and Heroines, literally the good, bad and ugly, rampage with a splendid wit and irony which will leave you, as it did this reviewer, laughing out loud on the Number 9 bus. If you know your movies you’ll love ‘Hang on…what was Michael Caine’s ‘great idea’ on the Italian cliff edge? I could recite the intercessions in Lindley’s ‘Pearl and Dean’, and aloud, which did I admit, disturb a few other passengers! ‘Carefree’, a simple and yet somehow complete portrait of Fred Astaire, the ‘flair of inventiveness’, his modest shrug, hurls you into the silver screen the lights and music. ‘Marilyn’ I thought a near perfect poem, alive today she’d be 82, but, as Lindley says of Valentino, Harlow and Lombard, ‘die young and have a good looking corpse’. The poem ‘not to miss’ in this is ‘Character Actor’. Yes, you know, what’s his name? With Fonda and Cooper’s sidekick, oh and in, oh yes who was he? I kept thinking of Jack Elam. Remember him?
This is a rippling, romantic, roaring sequence of poems, all memorable, tragedy, comedy, irony end to end. Perhaps it’s a clear indication that the curtains have closed over the magnificent era that inspired John Lindley to provide, at the end of the book, a few notes on movies and moguls and stars who are perhaps fading from modern memory. Not from mine. I loved this collection, and still live in the time of ‘galloping music and a drink on a stick’.
Rob Morgan July 2015