Buses in East Yorkshire will soon be playing up to their regional stereotypes…

As part of the activities to mark the 25th anniversary of the death of poet Philip Larkin, around 40 buses will be displaying extracts of some of his work including Toads Revisited, Days, This Is the First Thing, Solar, New Eyes Each Year, This Be The Verse and Blues Shouter.

This Be The Verse’s antinatal acid might crack a smile but Toads Revisted is a damn sadistic choice. In it, Larkin muses on the cheerless trappings of his life – “Nowhere to go but indoors/Nor friends but empty chairs” – and decides that he must work for otherwise existence would be empty…

No, give me my in-tray,
My loaf-haired secretary,
My shall-I-keep-the-call-in-Sir:
What else can I answer,

When the lights come on at four
At the end of another year?
Give me your arm, old toad;
Help me down Cemetery Road.

Somehow this is both endearing and immensely miserable. To poor Yorkshire commuters I rather think it’ll seem deathly. Keep an eye on suicide rates in Hull. (How, incidentally, could they have chosen scrappy works like This Is The First Thing and New Eyes Each Year over transcendental gems like High Windows or An Arundel Tomb? Perhaps it’s just because they’re brief. Or in the latter’s case the librarians might be doing a sneaky bit of advertising.)

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