Friday, 13 January 2012


Poetry this week, an autobiographical poem to begin with that is based on someone as the title implies that I knew in the late 1970’s. It also captures the time in which it was written, when we used to borrow a friend’s house in Falmouth for long weekends. As you will realise, if you haven’t already, I am the type of person who can spend happy hours in record shops, shifting through the racks.


He told me that Blonde on Blonde would be

His 60th birthday epiphany

Unplayed, sellotape sealed he showed me

A non-descript standard double lp

Its untouchableness strangely appealing

Fast forward nearly thirty years,

I shift dog eared records,

So much musical dreck,

Washed up in this Falmouth shop.

I turn to scan the cds,

As Blonde on Blonde begins.

The record players arm,

Matches the ocean swell.

Suddenly in this mausoleum

I think of you.

I am fifty now that makes you?

A footnote

Then In Falmouth the moment was gone,

The stacked shelves appalled,

My children called

“Come on. Dad. Come on.”

What strikes me now, if fact seems almost touching, is our belief in the 1970’s that vinyl was the ultimate medium for music. I know some people still maintain this, but I am not one, partly this is due to hearing loss, I wear a hearing aid and partly to the convenience of the I-Pod and docking station.

Sidetracking for a moment, what is your favourite Bob Dylan album? Perhaps you do not have one? A musical anorak like me would offer the following:

  • Blood on the Tracks
  • Highway 61 Revisited
  • Freewheeling

With the 1966 Manchester Free Trade Hall recording as the runner up, I find it impossible to come closer than three albums.

This is another older poem and it too was based on a real incident. It took place as the first Iraq war was starting.


In the pub with my mate Jon,

Drinking red wine and soda.

Overhearing the biased tones

Of three armchair soldiers,

Discuss the merits of each

Gun, bomb and plane.

Laughing at the enemy,

Mispronouncing every name.

My drink seems blood,

Bubbles burst and ripple,

There is no talk of brotherhood,

Only of the dead and crippled

I think it was Samuel Johnson who said that “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel,” a view I have always shared, but the three blokes we could hear that night were even more offensive if such a thing is possible. If I remember correctly it took place in the Wheatsheaf in Frome, and the three men were getting really excited about all the technology of death, horrid.

This last one I tend to read every time I perform. I wrote it on holiday in Greece about ten years ago. It says as much about my dislike of football (I am the odd boy who doesn’t like sport – can you name that song?) as it does about anything else.


1. It’s your name on the back and you have to wear it at work

2. You hope to be mistaken for the person whose name is on the back (possibly some of their fame will be bestowed on you as you wear it)

3. Its match day and you hope (against reason) to be asked to replace the person named on the back of the shirt as they cannot play, naturally your goal will win the match

4. To show solidarity with your chosen team, especially if yours is a rare edition shirt


Have a very good week and I leave you with a link to the new Leonard Cohen album, it will be out very soon. If you read this blog on a regular basis you will know of my love of the writings and music of Mr. Cohen and it will allow you to listen to a new song off the album.


  1. I was more of a Beatlemaniac, but appreciate Dylan's earlier work now. Funny how the medium keeps changing. I haven't yet jumped to digital. It seems too intangible for me.

  2. Great post--I always enjoy reading your poetry when I come by your blog. :)

    I've never listened Bob Dylan, that I can think of . . .

  3. I LOVED the poetry! So evocative.

  4. Cate: I like the Beatles too, since I saw their first tv appearance on Scene at 6.30 when the first single came out-what's your favourite Beatles album? Mine would have to be Abbey Road, the "long 'un" on side two-fantastic, does not sound like the last gasp of a group disintegrating. The good thing about digital is you can plug it into the hi-fi; you can plug it into the car stereo and listen to it on a docking station in the kitchen. It is very versatile.
    Golden Eagle: Thank you.
    Peggy: Thank you.
    I am looking to up load my first book to kindle, the publisher went out of business and I have the copyright so it should be easy. More on that later.

  5. I usually stumble across poetry and then think, why don't I pay more attention to poetry? Our neighborhood has a couple of poetry posts and I always enjoy stopping to see what the latest offering is. So I'm glad you stopped by my blog, which prompted me to stop by yours and enjoy some poetry!

  6. Galen: I liked what I read on your blog, how's the novel going? Glad you liked the poems.

  7. I always get giddy when I stumble across a poet who is worth reading! Bert Carson directed me here and I thank him for the gift. Love this bit of nostalgia and your dry sense of humor! Made my day.

  8. Your poems are making me think. It is interesting that vinyl was revered that way at one time. My dad has tons of records that we will soon convert to DVDs. The football shirt points are amusing. My 7 y/I has 3 and loves, loves, loves them. He's not a sad bastard. :)

  9. Music is always a big inspiration, you put this nicely.

    / Avy

  10. Jo: thank you, glad you like the poems.
    Kelley: I would like to look through your Dad's collection of records! I know your son is not a sad bastard-he has you for a mother so he must be cool. The poem came about around when the kids and I were on holiday in Kos, a couple or three world cups ago, all the men were walking about in soccer shirts and it wrote itself when we were at a restaurant. It is my youngest daughters favourite of my poems. I always begin a reading with it as it usually gets a laugh.
    Avy: I agree, music is a big inspiration for me too. I constantly listen to music and am perpetually interested in new music-favourite new album is Laura Gibson's La Grande. It is superb.

  11. As a child growing up in the 50's & 60's, vinyl was the thing. When 8-track cassettes came in, we revered them and then CDs came and now, .... I love the use of the vinyl record in this poem to place it in time. Well said!

    1. Thanks Sandra. Like you I moved from vinyl to cd and back again. Glad you liked the poem.