Friday 27 June 2014


Eadweard Muybridge was the man who took those early photographic sequences of people walking, horses galloping that enabled us to accurately see how living things move. I was talking recently about something totally related and the idea of writing something that connects the present day surveillance camera to Muybridge's photographs seemed like a good idea. This is what I have so far.


This is no place for a human,
secrets are revealed.
Muybridge cameras catch you,
in consecutive grainy images.
You were told not to look at the lens,
those twenty steps have fixed you in history.
If you are lucky some may even remember your name.

I then thought about the photographs that the Victorians took of criminals to illustrate their belief in phrenology and the misguided idea that criminals are born rather than socially constructed.  
The Faces of Felons

Conditioned to respond to the truncheon.
Each portrait proof that some are born criminals;
take in the thickness of the brow,
the shape of the skull,
then measure the distance between the eyes.
Such physiology condemns them - after the fact.

Here's  a poem I've been playing with for sometime. 

for easy access and reference write your truths on your fingers expect them to change as you age a job for life constantly recording changing reality this map will guide you through the time stream you wade in these are your truths and not universal they are only guaranteed for the time it takes to read them nothing is real let alone permanent don't let this stop you from rejoicing in the bliss of being alive within the beauty that surrounds us all should you care to look up from your palm and take in the wonder of creation

Again it was one of those stream of consciousness ideas that did not look right when spaced differently. It may be a little wordy, watch this space.

Here's Alela Diane live, it's a wonderful concert.

Tuesday 24 June 2014


Here are some more old photographs. There are a couple of psychedelic numbers, then one from a festival to celebrate Joe Strummer in Bridgwater, ending with some I took in California.

Friday 20 June 2014


I woke up this morning [there's a song in there somewhere...] with the end of a dream in my head and half a poem next to it. For once I did not have pen and paper next to hand and by the time I had found some both had begun to leak away.
I struggled on with what I had and managed to put something on paper. The line At the end of the story she planted a tree kept circling about my thoughts and led me to write a number of different drafts. I decided it was one of those lines that could be used in a workshop it was so open ended.

This is the first poem that attempts to support the fading dream.

Waking with Half a Dream in my Head Poem

At the end of the story she planted a tree,
completing the circle with this tired metaphor.
I can recall the image-just,
radiance from the tree uplights her face,
gypsy caravans, and the good people surround her.
Such a detailed engraving to underline completion.
This too is fading now my words have woken,
but there is nothing for them to do.
A different reality imprints its self on my brain.

I should explain that the dream had unfolded like a children's picture book, or a book with illustrations, I can remember even less now. There was this image of a page from a book with the main character in the middle, caravans off to one side and other people around her.

At the end of the story she planted a tree,
then climbed up its branches beyond my imagination.
This was not difficult, she tells 
the glass fox who nods.
They will dance a tango over mulberry leaves,
paint stars on the inside of a teacup,
then consult ceolacanths,
for whom water is but an abstract notion.
Hers will be an interesting life.
This just seemed to come of itself. I rather like it.

At the end of the story she planted a tree.
You can see it if you stand on tiptoe
and look through that wall,
it is a strong plant and will outlast my thoughts.
Perhaps it will be an extra in a drama 
that is played out in your head.

Later today this version popped up.

At the end of the story she planted a tree,
it was absent in the sequel.
This was commented on by at least three readers
but the forgetful author had hurried
towards his looming deadline.
It appeared in the movie,
an ill conceived affair,
designed to fly on the failing appeal 
of a tv actor whose voice was breaking.
The trilogy was squeezed into ninety minutes,
and the lack of finance showed.

Then that was that.

I would be interested in your thoughts. Myself I think I need to leave them be for a while to get an idea of how they work.
Here's Buffalo Springfield from 1967 with Mr Soul.

Friday 13 June 2014


I have been revising a poem that I posted a couple of weeks ago. Time does grant perspective. That and the help of the Secret Poets, to whom I say thank you for your kind observations and suggestions.

I am sure that you think I am an old record, with a needle stuck in a scratch, when I keep stressing the importance of revisiting and revising your work. There is no greater advice I can give.


Wiped from a migraine,
jingled nerved, scratchy skin,
I'm dealing with the July sun,
morning, driving south.

Then Charlie's there,
and him near six months dead,
but still, here's Charlie in the car.

Light pours through him, from him.
I talk about nothing,
as we did those nights,
a malt in hand and a record on. 
I drive the Sunday traffic,
in no hurry, Charlie smiles.

Exeter eventually.
I tell him I need a ticket

return to an empty car.
As you can see the spacing has changed and two lines have been removed. This is why it is always a good idea to put a poem away for a couple of weeks. 

I leave you with Chip Taylor Singing The Last Video.

Tuesday 10 June 2014


Brooke Sharkey's new ep is out. You can buy it here

I am constantly impressed by her development, as a singer and a writer. She goes from strength to strength. This new ep is a mature work by an artist who is confident in her own skills [and those of her excellent band] as a writer, musician and singer. 

This is a tour de force. Brooke keeps getting better with each release. This five song ep is over too quickly. My initial impression was a singer and a band at the height of their abilities. They are tight, melodic and dynamic. This is the best thing I've heard all year.

I would draw your attention to the ace guitar playing of Mr. Leander Lyons who has chops to spare. When I first saw Brooke live I was impressed with how supportive and expressive the guitar was and talking to Mr. Lyons afterwards, was surprised to learn that this was his second gig with the band. Well he has blossomed on this new release. Every note is impeccable, nothing is wasted or unnecessary.

Lyrically this is rich fare. Brooke switches from English to French with ease. This does not make for confusion but adds to the beauty of the whole. I can't stop playing this. It is a jewel,  overlook this at your peril.

Friday 6 June 2014


I've been festivaling it these past two weekends. First in the wind and rain, then in the scorching sun [well, on the Sunday anyway]. I ran a poetry workshop at Letchlade and read at the Acoustic Festival last weekend. My thanks to the organisers of both for inviting me back. 

Driving to Letchlade I realised that I needed new windscreen wiper blades. The driver's side blade had begun to tear. It did however lead to this little idea:

the practical metal arm repeats the windscreen wiper blade is tearing ruining Euclid's geometry

At the workshop I asked people to reflect on the arrival and that was what I came up with, along with this:

rain on the roof
tongue tastes water
they have travelled half the world
to be here today now
molecules reunited
green grass turning brown
rain taps a secret Morse on canvas roof
whispers of many incarnations
free again to fall on my tongue

It was good to see Jeff Japers, the Funniest Man in Wales, at the Acoustic Festival with his band Gordy Orde. There are few other comic geniuses in these troubled times and it was a joy to hear him sing his songs which exhort us to eat badgers. More of Mr Japers in a future post.
Here is an poem I wrote sometime ago. Not sure what prompted it but it sort of works:


Another man's words in your mouth,
then you speak them aloud,
your tongue caresses strange nouns.
How does it feel?
You deliver your coup de grace,
have so much pleasure at so much applause,
that does not belong to you.
I know you are a thief.
The prize you scheme after
is not worth a penny candle.

I shall leave you this week with more of Gordy Orde. Here is their video The Size of Wales.