ANDREW Motion, the Poet Laureate, has revealed that he takes drugs each day to help him to find his muse. But unlike the opiates that hooked others of his profession, Motion's dependency is harmless, to the point of eccentricity.
He drinks a hot cup of the cold remedy Lemsip each morning because he says that it improves his writing by, oddly, making him feel unwell.
"Years and years ago, I read in a biography of A E Housman that he wrote most of A Shropshire Lad while he had a cold," Motion said. "And I thought, yes I know about that - that sort of slightly introverted, self-pitying mood that a mild illness can give. It is absolutely conducive to poems.
"I thought that if I could fool myself into feeling a bit ill then I could find that sort of introspection that can be useful when you are writing poetry."
Lemsip is sold to relieve the symptoms of flu and the common cold. Motion said he had no idea how or why it helped him but he insisted: "It works. I've been doing it for years. It's my Lemsip-inspired trance, and I can only say thank heavens it's not laudanum or absinthe."
(Daily Telegraph, London)