Monday 26 September 2016

Carol Ann Duffy to mark demise of gas meters with new poem

Published 18/04/2016 | 11:01

Carol Ann Duffy is writing her most unusual piece yet to mark the passing of traditional gas and electricity meters (Mikael Buck/Smart Energy GB/PA Wire)
Carol Ann Duffy is writing her most unusual piece yet to mark the passing of traditional gas and electricity meters (Mikael Buck/Smart Energy GB/PA Wire)

A far cry from dancing daffodils or the capers of an owl and a pussy cat, Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy is set to bring literature up to date with an ode to a gas meter.

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The Glasgow-born poet is writing her most unusual piece yet to mark the passing of traditional gas and electricity meters, the coming of smart meters and the end of estimated bills.

Since her appointment as Poet Laureate by the Queen in May 2009, she has written verse for significant national occasions.

She wrote Last Post which marked the deaths of Henry Allingham and Harry Patch, the last two British soldiers to fight in Word War I, and Achilles (for David Beckham) about the Achilles tendon injury that left the England footballer out of the 2010 World Cup.

She then wrote Rings for the 2011 wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The replacement of old gas and electricity meters with smart meters in every British home and small business by 2020 is the latest significant moment recorded by the Poet Laureate.

Duffy, who has been working on the as yet untitled poem for the last few months, will publish it later this summer.

"Gas and electricity meters have been a fixture under stairs and in cupboards for more than a hundred years so it felt fitting to preserve their place in household history with a poem.

"It is definitely one of my most unusual projects, but hopefully I'm able to produce a piece that captures the last whirs of these spinning machines before they make way for their digital counterparts," she said.

In November last year, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performed A Requiem For Meters, a three-minute piece of music played entirely on instruments made from old gas and electricity meters.

It was recorded at Abbey Road Studios and released for free on Spotify to raise awareness of the coming of smart meters.

Sacha Deshmukh, chief executive of Smart Energy GB, said: "There is a great British tradition of marking national moments with poetry.

"Carol Ann Duffy, as our national Poet Laureate, is the perfect person to express the significance of the demise of traditional meters and the transformation that will come about as a result of smart meters."

More than three million smart meters have already been installed across Britain.

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