Archive for May, 2014

Such fun

May 30, 2014

I have been at \things’ just like this with rooms full of strangers. I used to borrow a female colleagues “Shut’em Up” line when asked what she did for a living.
“I’m a soft core pornographer,” she would say.

Anthony Wilson


We are driving to a thing.  We are lost. It is a lunch thing, so the children are in tow. They are babies really, happily unaware of the nervous glances my wife and I are exchanging in the front of the car.

No one we know will be there. Except the host. And we don’t even know her very well.

‘Whatever you do, please don’t say I’m a poet,’ I say. ‘I hate it.’

‘Of course not. I would never do that. Whatever made you think-‘

‘Just don’t. Please. They won’t understand.’


‘Ugly. Yes.’

Outside it is bright London sunshine, the streets suddenly wide in an area we have not been to before. Even though it is daylight, no one seems to be about. We pass a sofa straddling a street corner.

‘It can’t be far,’ my wife says. ‘She said it was past the library on the left…

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Michaela Ridgway

May 19, 2014

Jo Bell’s Always There Awards #2

May 16, 2014

I like very much indeed Jo Bell’s gongs for the toilers – a greater honour in my book than an MBE.

The Bell Jar

The second of my big yellow blobs goes to someone who, with his team, has done this to British poetry until it woke up rather startled, and shown it how to put on a live event.

Who knew that we were allowed to have FUN? Who knew that poetry nights could be so loud that the neighbours complain? Who knew that an audience of people mixing all ages, all races, all kinds of taste would pay to hear an equally mixed range of poets? Who knew that by bringing a spirit of love and good humour into a pub in Southwark, he could bash down the barriers between Spoken Word and Proper Poetry, and make us all proud to be part of one large tribe?

Dan Cockrill

Dan did.

Dan and his team at Bang Said the Gun are multi-handed superheroes of the poetry scene. Their flagship night in London advertises itself…

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Way Back When

May 15, 2014




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I post this not really to promote the site of The (though I have been considering joining an ancestry-tracing site as I do not know much at all about the previous generations of the families of my father and mother).


What attracted me is the depiction of how not only my own hometown of Blackpool must have looked at the end of the reign of Queen Victoria, but the seashore scene at so many of what have become modern seaside resorts both on the Fylde Coast and at the edge of land throughout the UK.  I regularly watch COAST , the lively and informative BBC combined travelogue and social history documentary, and because I was born “Beside the seaside – beside the sea” in the words of the long-gone popular song, I have always felt a strong connection with the beach, the waves, the storms, the strong winds, and the perpetuity of “fresh air and fun”, one of Blackpool’s early advertising slogans.

Our locations surely have a very definite shaping effect on us, I’m sure, and much of what I write nowadays relies on those memories of growing up here and in Southport, my other favourite resort.

Hope you feel inclined to take a trip.