BACK TO FESTIVAL INDEX
Ode to Terry Gifford with apologies to the ghost of William McGonagall
‘Twas in the autumn of eighty seven,
that Terry got a sign from heaven
To mount a festival of mountain lit-
erature – (OK, the words don’t fit.)
He put it on at Bretton Hall,
(The name for most meant bugger all)
But every year in autumn mist
We all drove up to get the gist
Of Terry’s annual list
Of mountaineering’s glitterati
Invited here to join the party,
To air their views - sometimes contentious
And one or two downright pretentious.
Taking his cue from Andrew Motion
Terry excels in self-promotion,
Working flat out rain or snow
To change the format of the show
And bring in people in the know.
Half a teacher, half a preacher,
The festival would always feature
Ideas good – a few were bad,
Some were mad and some were madder,
He got Ed Drummond up a ladder
(Though if you want to be pedantic
He used a tripod for this antic.)
The audience was often voluble,
Some impressively knowledgeable,
Until that dreadful moment when
Discussion was upset by Ken,
Who would invariably rant
At any controversial cant,
And always found it quite revolting
When hearing any praise for bolting.
‘Twas an event not to be missed,
Though not much chance of getting pissed
With vile red wine a pound a glass
And catering reduced to farce.
Some saved themselves for the slim
Chance of getting drunk with Jim
Who has fond memories of Bonatti
Drinking Stones with this old fatty
Along with Sheffield’s illiterati
Who never missed the chance to party.
So today is Terry’s curtain call,
Alas, the end for Bretton Hall.
Now is the time for him to send all
You faithful punters up to Kendal.
25 March 2006