Thursday 1 October 2015

The Managers of the White Collar

I detest most poetry. That doesn't prevent me from occasionally giving it a shot myself, though. 

The below is a piece that came out of my term at a workplace which was known for it's idiosyncratic approach to following the spirit of the law. I was Harvey Dent at the time, and spent much time regretting that there was no space in the organisation for taking a principled stand.

So, inspired by the song 'Rains of Castamere', I wrote my own piece of doggerel, intended to be sung to the same tune.

For those half-dozen people left in the world who are not familiar with GRR Martin's epic saga, A Song of Ice and Fire,  a (very) brief background is given below:

Lord Tywin Lannister

Set in a scarily realistic medieval fantasy world, ASOIAF covers the machinations of politics in the Capital of Westeros, King's Landing, which is too steeped in itself to recognise the threats from the North in the form of Ice-Zombies, and from the East in the form of a vengeful Queen of Dragons. One of the primary powers in King's Landing is Tywin Lannister, patriarch of the richest family in the country, who earned his spurs as a battle-commander and politician when one of his own vassals, (the eponymous Lord Reyne of Castamere) rebelled against him. The ruthlessness with which Tywin not only quells Lord Reyne, but annihilates the family, leads to the sonnet, The Rains (Read: Reynes) of Castamere, which, in the space of 14 lines, tells us all we need to know about the rebellion and what Tywin did to the now-dead Lord of Castamere.

It goes like this:

(By George RR Martin)

And who are you, the proud lord said, 
that I must bow so low? 
Only a cat of a different coat, 
that's all the truth I know. 
In a coat of gold or a coat of red, 
a lion still has claws, 
And mine are long and sharp, my lord, 
as long and sharp as yours. 
And so he spoke, and so he spoke, 
that lord of Castamere, 
But now the rains weep o'er his hall, 
with no one there to hear. 
Yes now the rains weep o'er his hall, 
and not a soul to hear

Link to the traditional rendition of the song, by the inimitable Malukah:

I'd be reluctant to compare my former workplace to Westeros, if only for the lack of any proxy for the men of honour like Ned Stark or Jon Arryn (and also the utter lack of pulchritude), but Tywins we had a-plenty. And it would not be unheard-of for a young Manager to mistakenly think that he actually wields some power, that he has a voice, that he can speak out against his superiors for what he thinks is right. The fact is, just like the peasants of Westeros, for the vast majority of the white-collar working population, life is pretty much a nasty grind, though with marginally less danger of summary decapitation. And even if you are, in your own mind, a "Lord", with claws you think are long and sharp, it doesn't take much for you to become history, less than a footnote in the history of bad decisions that characterize corporate life. 

So here goes - to be sung to the same tune:

(by the poet known as P G Wadiwala)

And who are you, the proud Manager said,
that I must bow so low?
Only a slave of a different chain,
that's all the truth I know
In a chain of gold, or a chain of lead,
A slave is only delegated power,
And mine is vested in me, my lord,
As effectively as yours
And so he spoke, and so he spoke,
the Manager with the White Collar
But now the papers are strewn o'er his pedestal,
with no one there to clear.
Yes, now the papers are strewn o'er his pedestal,
with no one there to clear

Anyone wishing to render the song in words is welcome to do so :)

Picture credits -

1 comment:

  1. Hahaha! Now I sang songs like that AFTER I vacated my pedestal myself :)