My creation Bertie Ramsbottom is best known as ‘The Poet Laureate of the Boardroom’ – so-called by the Financial Times for his long weekly series in the FT and Harvard Business Review in the Eighties.
Books followed (The Bottom Line, The Poetry of Business Life, Boardroom Ballads etc); and, through continuing press reproductions, radio and live presentations in the UK and USA, he built a wide and influential following among ‘thinking’ professionals – men and women – in our business, educational, arts and science communities.
Musical settings by brilliant New York composer, Joyce Hope Suskind, were performed in Oxford colleges, at The Savoy and elsewhere..
Yet – as Oxford, London, Washington , BBC and other insiders know – Bertie began and continues life as the canny Cotswold sheep commentator on human affairs.
The contents of ‘The Bertie Ramsbottom Book of Improbable Sheep’ (‘your felicitous muttonings’ as the great Frank Muir described them) have delighted young and old around Oxfordshire and Georgetown; and enlivened Money Box, the Today Programme, The World Tonight and other BBC audiences.
It was in the little known role of Poet Oveate – and in friendly complicity with the then Poet Laureate, John Betjeman, who was unhappily ill at the time – that Bertie stepped in to celebrate the Royal Nuptials in 1981.
His ‘Bertie at the Royal Wedding’, which drew warm thanks from Prince Charles and the Palace, established a precedent which a responsible Poet Oveate cannot decently ignore as newer generations of Royals flock ceremonially to the altar and selflessly divert a loyal citizenry from the depressing realities of bankers and economic downturns.
And along the way, as you will see, Bertie and the Younger Set has begun the critical process of putting right some of the myths of the ages by which the human adult, even where well-intentioned,has frequently blighted the prospects of the young.
So, let’s get on with it.
(‘ ‘The Bertie Ramsbottom Book of Improbable Sheep’ ).