Greetings, book friends!

Roger Tagholm
Opinion - Publishing Thursday, 21 December 2017

Roger Tagholm rounds off the year, in verse

Let the trumpets sound and off we go
On this Yuletide frolic amid the snow
You know my name, I'm here each year
"It's him with the sleigh!" Distribution? No fear!
Sweeping o'er the streets so hushed
Whom do we see? (though really we're rushed)

Why it's smiling Tim, the Hely, the Hutch'
Still in the office - he's meant to have gone! -
But you know what he's like - he loves us so much!
Let's see whom else we can spy from on high;
There's Tommy Weldon, gazing 'cross at the Eye
Wonderin' what to buy for boss Marcus Dohle
An app, a platform… or just a Book Token!?
Let's whish along the night-time river
With all our reins stretched and a-quiver
To Harper C where Charlie Redmayne yells hurray
And begins to pour the Sharddonnay.
Over yonder is Larry Finlay, out down Ealing way,
The longest-serving staffer, or so the angels say
What's that cloud of smoke around his head?
Ah, you know Larry - he'll even vape on a sled!

Now we glide to Bedford Square
Where Bloomsbury has made something of flair
It's a Christmas grotto with a twist
Santa's bardo complete with spooky mist,
All to please that clever George Saunders
Who through the creation now happily saunters
But hark what is that tinkling sound?
Someone's ringing a bell and walking around;
A voice rings out "I am I am!" - why ‘tis Sam Missingham,
Who does not like green eggs and ham
(Which isn't Christmassy at all, it must be said,
But just might work in this hammy slam instead).

So what is in my sleigh, you ask?
As the stars rise high
And the homeless reach for a flask.
I've something for everyone, LBGT and Q
It's a rainbow coalition, an equality zoo!
(And how long, how long, how long overdue)
Prancer's about to become Princess -
Get ready for all the press -
He's the first reindeer to be fully trans
And she'll tell her news across the land;
And Blitzen and Rudolf's wedding is soon -
In Vegas beneath a lovely full moon.

Come gather round and warm your hands
On these Kobo Glos from Hey Mister Tam-b-lyn man
("Play a song for me" and for the gang)
Not forgetting Anthony Forbes Watson
And his PanMac Nibbie-lers
Winning and winning with lots of great scribblers.

Let us spread the spirit of giving
On this planet where we're all living;
From Sheikha Bodour and Sharjah's Pub. City
To suffering Syria and its bookshops of pity;
From PW's top person, dynamic Ms Reidy
To clever Ms Smart with You Tubers speedy;
As we hear that voice booming a carol
(It's Canelo's Michael Bhaskar, lungs like a barrel);
And as we prepare to gather our loved ones close
Perhaps to break bread with them over Christmas roast,
Let's light a candle for those who've gone
Like Ed Victor, for 40 years "the Don"
And Nielsen's ever popular Mo Siewcharran.

Hush, for that hour so special draws near
The hour when we think of that Midnight Clear
And gather with one accord to proclaim -
By Twitter, Snapchat or plain old mail -
"May your God bless you, whatever their name,
You family, you throng, you who love this book game
May your season be merry and love flow to all
And see you t'other side - hope your titles enthral!"

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