Friday 25 August 2023


I flipflop as to where I stand in the Artificial Intelligence debate. I cannot decide if it is to be welcomed or feared. Partly I think this is because Frank Herbert's Dune made such an impact on me as an adolescent: the Butlerian Jihad- never suffer a machine to think I think is Herbert's injunction in the original novel. Truth be told it is the only Dune book I've ever read, the endless series held no attraction. 

On the other hand Ian M Banks Culture novels describe a meta society that has always been always been alluring to me, a society that is overseen by immense AI minds housed in starships. I could move to the Culture tomorrow if they'd have me [please].

All of this is a build up to this post's poem. Thanks to the wonderous Secret Poets for their invaluable in put once again.


we will be concluded

consigned to history

afterwards all we deemed important

will have stopped

of course there will be no poetry

or sounds we label music

no action named art

no further need of the novel

-that fleeting distraction

words themselves will be extinct

numbers reduced to a one or a zero

no click clack of mechanical switches

registering on or off

reality will be something else altogether

something unique and singular

to those vast computing systems

we have let into the world

and who have learned too well from us

the art of the double cross

The poem came in a rush about two weeks ago and took some sorting out. As I started writing it down I had no idea of the ending which just seemed to appear. My difficulty was in line length and ensuring I did not repeat myself. On reflection I shall choose to welcome AIs, they can be a force for positive change and equality. Where do you stand?

Anna Ternheim has been touring but sadly not the UK. Here's Shoreline.

Until next time.

Friday 18 August 2023


Writing about something that you are afraid of can rob the fear of power. It's a variation of how naming a thing can defuse its impact. I suppose the story of Rumpelstiltskin is all about this. I did have to get out of bed the other night and write out this first poem.



the latch bolt stuck

or the handle failed to turn far enough


I was locked in our bedroom



rattling the nob loud enough to wake you

and for you to ask what I’m up to

just as the door flies open

and I swear I will fix this tomorrow

awake three hours later

I write my account

trap my fear on paper

so I can sleep in a room with the door ajar

This is not a poem where the end came first, rather I wrote the story chronologically and the ending presented itself. I thought that it was the ending of the poem that could turn the very personal story into something more universal. Not sure what I am going to do with this poem. It needs time to breathe.

This second poem is somewhat more surreal. The Lizard King is Jim Morrison, late of The Doors. Recently a friend asked if I had the lp and as luck would have it I had, so we listened to it.

you invoke the name of the lizard king

set him spinning to have him speak

his words are here then he is gone

movement is all this night

here is my reality

see my silver tracers

Again this is autobiographical, dense and open to your interpretation. 

I suppose I should play some Doors. Here's Hyacinth House. I'm not a fan but this is excellent.

I got a copy of the expanded first record by Comsatt Angels recently. It is as good as I remember.

Until next time.     

Friday 11 August 2023


Don't you just love the tories? This week we've had the deputy of the party being offensive again. I think the amount of gravitas they could scrape together would be the opposite of a black hole. The quicker these clowns are out of office the better it will be for the nation, and don't get me started on how the crime minister has sided with the fossil fuel lobby. Planet or profit? Let's see...

Enough. Here's something I've been writing for a couple of weeks. It has grown organically and does not relate to real life, rather like the crime minister...

another race to run

the clock ticks down

distance stretches out

so here I go rounding bends

racing straights to curse

the sequence of coloured lights

that slow me to a stop

release the clutch

to gun the engine

thirty minutes after I arrive

movement is in my blood

my mind inhabits that track

and half an hour from then

you will ask your question

after too long a pause

I shall give you my second answer

the one that took the time to craft

and all that space

the machine ate

springs back into place

I suppose if I had to sum this poem up in a sentence it would be something like how we are the engines of our own destruction. Truth in all aspects of life is essential. We know this but do something else. Perhaps this is the human condition?

I make no apologies for this acoustic version of what for me is the song of the summer. Here's boygenius.

Until next time.

Friday 4 August 2023


I was visiting the National Portrait Gallery last Saturday and I had just found a seat in the café when I looked out of the window to see someone taking a photograph of the building. Simultaneously I realised I would be in the picture framed by the window. This thought led me to write this poem.


I will be in your photograph

the one you are taking now

of the grand facade of this building

as I am sat in the coffee shop

sipping green tea

looking out of the window

my face a collection of coloured pixels

caught on the screen of your phone

as you record every moment of your life

It's an early draft but I suspect it's almost there. I went to see the Paul MacCartney exhibition of photographs from 1963/4 and very splendid it was. I can't recommend the show enough. If you can get there it's more than worth a look. 

I also went to naifs for a meal on Saturday night. Honestly I cannot sing the praises of the cuisine highly enough. Every time I eat there the food is superb. It has to be the best place to eat in London. Here's another little poem I wrote in response to the wet summer we are experiencing.

the weather is changeable irrational non-negotiable

like an actor playing against type

who discovers joy in the chaos their character unleashes

There's not much to it. It arrived quickly. I think it captures the cold, wet summer we are experiencing here in the south west. Perhaps September will be dry...

I suppose I should end with The Beatles in all their glory.

Until next time.