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Thursday, November 5, 1998 Published at 17:40 GMT


Good ode, Des

Des Lynam: "I love poetry deeply"

Sports commentator Des Lynam has recorded an album of poetry - including one he wrote himself.

 Rudyard Kipling's If poem read by Des Lynam

He was persuaded to make Time to Stand and Stare - an album of 22 poetry readings to a full orchestral accompaniment after his oratory prowess was highlighted during the World Cup which ended with his poignant rendition of Rudyard Kipling's If.

[ image: Fans wanted to buy Rudyard Kipling's If, read by Mr Lynam at World Cup 98]
Fans wanted to buy Rudyard Kipling's If, read by Mr Lynam at World Cup 98
The album, which is due to be released on 30 November, features poems by Sir John Betjeman, WH Auden and Roald Dahl.

It will be set to music from BBC soundtracks.

And Mr Lynam proved he had talents beyond broadcasting skills when he revealed he was no stranger to penning prose himself.

The very last reading on the album is entitled The Silly Isles, and was written by the commentator in 1982 in protest at the Falklands War.

The idea for the CD followed BBC 1's coverage of the tournament, which ended with Mr Lynam reading If, accompanied by the World Cup music - Faure's Pavanne - and clips from the tournament.

Thereafter the BBC was inundated with calls from fans wanting to know where they could get a recording.

Mr Lynam said of his own work: "I wrote it in Christmas 1982 when I was on holiday in Spain.

"It was something that I felt very strongly about and I was moved to write about. I thought that things had become very gung-ho.

[ image: Silly Isles:
Silly Isles: "I felt very strongly"
"I wrote a few other poems around the same time, but since then I haven't written anything.

"But I love poetry deeply and was very glad to record the album."

Mike Cobb of BBC music said fans would probably be surprised at this new dimension to Mr Lynam's talents.

He went on: "The idea obviously came about following the world Cup.

"We found that Des was a big fan of poetry himself and it turned out that he had written this particular poem.

"When we were looking for poems to record, we obviously thought of this one. It is a very moving piece.

"He had reservations about recording his own poem. He is a very modest man and doesn't see himself as a great poet or a great reader."

Mr Cobb said that Mr Lynam was a very genuine reader, which would make the poetry more meaningful to listeners than the voice of an actor.

He added that he thought the album would be very successful, saying: "Des has tremendous appeal across a large age group."

    The Silly Isles

    by Desmond Lynam

    Politicians without their guile
    Army Hawks without a smile
    Did send our men 8000 mile
    To claim some rocks

    Since 1823 or so
    We shrugged and murmured "Let them go"
    They're barren, friendless, hard to sow
    Extinction even claimed this Falkland fox

    But threaten us with armoured might
    We'll always stand and always fight
    We may be wrong we may be right
    But that's our way

    But when those exocets are fired
    When men are dead and others tired
    Those sad grey rocks won't half have
    Cost a lot

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