Note to my teenage self about my first stereo

My latest poetry video, Note to my teenage self about my first stereo, is up on my YouTube channel.

I got my first stereo as a Christmas present when I was fifteen. Although it was a supposed to be a surprise, I actually knew about it in November. I’d spent the week on a geography field course trip at a place called Bockleton in Worcestershire and my parents bought it while I was away. As soon as I got back home, my dad couldn’t wait to show it to me. The excitement was clearly too much for him. He was always rubbish at surprises.

Hard to imagine, with music being so easy to get hold of these days, but that stereo opened up new worlds for me. It was probably the best Christmas present I’ve ever had. Who new such treasures could be found in Woolworths?

I was a huge Roxy Music fan at the time. This was back when they were weird and arty. So, the first albums I bought were by them. My best friend and I spent hours dissecting the lyrics, trying to understand the meaning. For us, it was as much about the words as the music. Once we spent weeks trying to find out who Zarathustra was because his name appeared in one of their songs – Mother of Pearl, in case you’re interested. There was no internet then so, when the school library drew a blank, we had to resort to the most knowledgeable person we knew. Our Religious Education teacher. He told us he had no idea. All I can say is, our opinion of him went down several notches.

I’m still gripped by those early Roxy albums even though my tastes have become more eclectic over time. And I still get the same thrill when words and music collide into a perfect, heart-stopping combination.


High on Tulsa

Fresh off the press. Catch my live recording on YouTube.

High on Tulsa: For John Moreland

If you haven’t come across John Moreland before, I strongly advise you to look him up. Here he is playing “Hang Me in the Tulsa County Stars” – one of my favourites. Cracks me up every time.

This poem is about a memory I have of seeing him play live at the Cambridge Folk Festival on a particularly hot day the the summer of 2018. I’d made a deal with my partner that we’d watch half of John’s set then go to see Patti Smith but I’m afraid I just couldn’t tear myself away and Patti had to make do without me. I don’t suppose she was too upset about that.

It’s been a while since I last posted a poem. That’s not because I’ve stopped writing poetry. Far from it. I’ve been writing quite a few, in between forging my first novel and some short stories. I suppose I’m just being a little bit more selective about the ones I post these days, for a couple of reasons. First of all, I’m trying to pull together a collection of themed poetry that hasn’t had too much previous exposure. I hope to publish them in the near future. Second, I take more time in crafting a poem these days so I’m often reluctant to let them out into the world too early. That said, I only wrote this poem in this April’s NaPoWriMo and have been diligently working on it since then. So much so, there’s little of the original version left.

I’m reasonably happy with it now – a record for me: I’m still tinkering with some of the poems I posted on this site a few years ago. Anyway, I’ve recorded this one for an online event that would normally be held in a little pub in the Black Country (that’s the West Midlands of England for those of you who aren’t so familiar with British regions). The event is called Yes We Cant and this month’s event will take place on Sunday 7th June here.

My performance will be featured in the open mic sections, along with several other excellent local poets and storytellers.

Alternatively you can check it out on YouTube. It’s my first ever recording and clearly I have a lot to learn but I’d be really interested to know what you think of it. So please, have a look and a listen, and drop me a comment or message me. It would be great to hear from you.


  NaPoWriMo day thirty. NaPoWriMo  2015 has come to an end and here’s my final poem. As I enjoyed writing my poem about dogs I thought I’d also do one about their nemesis. This one’s called Cats. Bye bye NaPoWriMo. Until next year…


Cats are devils in disguise.

They draw you in with big cat eyes.

They rub against you with their fur

and mesmerise you with their purr,

pretend to be your bestest friend

all to meet their evil end.

You think that it’s only you

they do all this stuff to,

then one day you meet

someone living in your street

who calls Kitty by another name

feeds and pets them just the same,

sits and strokes their silky fur

whilst listening to their gentle purr.

Habit Forming Theory

  NaPoWriMo day twenty nine. One more day to go. I have recently started a new book on how to form good habits, not exactly a literary classic I know but the subject interests me. Anyway, it prompted me to write today’s poem – well that and the fact that I have  wanted to write something with the phrase Moral Turpitude in it ever since seeing Beulah Balbricker accuse Ms Honeywell of it in the 1980’s film Porky’s. A terrible film I know but it made me laugh at the time. For the uninitiated, Ms Honeywell was played by Kim Cattrall. The poem is called Habit Forming Theory…

Habit Forming Theory


get into the habit

of having a habit.


if the habit

is a bad habit,

stop the habit

and get a new habit. Continue reading “Habit Forming Theory”


  NaPoWriMo day twenty eight. After yesterday’s frivolity poem number twenty eight is much more sober and was inspired by Anzac day, the centenary of which took place on 25th April.


Sunlight dances on bleached beaches.

We remember a time

when men were killed in their pursuit.

Penned in small coves they fell

over fallen comrades like sacrificial lambs.

Crowds bow their heads

shedding tears for their forebears,

disconnected lines on the family tree;

branches cut before flowering.

Young men, straight and tall

mark the passing of those lives against their own

and thank some unknown presence,

call it God, call it luck,

that they were not here a hundred years ago

Going Out

  NaPoWriMo day twenty seven. For poem number twenty seven I have gone with today’s NaPoWriMo suggested prompt to write a hay(na)ku. The hay(na)ku is, apparently, a variant on the haiku. To quote NaPoWriMo “A hay(na)ku consists of a three-line stanza, where the first line has one word, the second line has two words, and the third line has three words. You can write just one, or chain several together into a longer poem” so here’s my take on it. This poem’s called Going Out.

Going Out


in bath,

shave legs smooth.



teeth, cream

face and body. Continue reading “Going Out”

Cracking Up

  NaPoWriMo day twenty six. Poem number twenty six is called Cracking Up…

Multi tasking’s

not working for me.

Too much to do

too little time to do it.

Waking in the night

with a thousand things

running through my head.

Lying there thinking

don’t think,

don’t think,

don’t think.

It will come to no good

if you keep thinking

about the things you

shouldn’t be thinking about.

Losing my grip on reality,

obsessed with minutiae

of ridiculous proportions.

Think I’m going crazy,

cracking up,

cracking up.

Yeah, I’m cracking up.


New Babby

  NaPoWriMo day twenty five. Poem number twenty five is a Black Country/ Brummie version of poem number 24, it’s called New Babby. For my readers and followers outside of the UK, a Brummie is someone who comes from Birmingham and the Black Country is an area to the North West of Birmingham so called because it was once very heavily industrialised. We have very similar and unique dialects. Here it is, enjoy…

New Babby

Our Cheryl’s ‘ad a babby

A right bugger ‘e is too

‘e screams day and night

until ‘is face is big and blue.

Our Dad went up the wall

said he’d throw her out

when she sat ‘im down and told ‘im

that she was up the spout.

The lad who was responsible

legged it the same day

so Dad was left with Cheryl

and a babby on the way.

Still now that he’s born

we’ve grown to like the little sprog

Cheryl’s called ‘im Tyson

after Dad’s favourite dog.

New Baby

  NaPoWriMo day twenty five. Here is poem number twenty four, it’s called New Baby…

Once they were a couple

who stayed out late and drank in bars

when the mood took them.

Once they slept late and whiled away weekends

pursuing hobbies that gave them pleasure enough.

Now they are parents.

Late nights are the time for feeding

and listening out for snuffles and tears.

Mornings are early and pleasure comes in the shape

of a small bundle lying helpless in their arms.

They talk of those days of couple-dom with fondness.

Yes it was fun but this, this is real

Once they were a couple,

now they are a family.

Hipster Cocktail

  NaPoWriMo day twenty four. I’ve been away in London for a few days and didn’t get to post a poem yesterday so this is poem number twenty three and I am a day behind again. I will catch up over the weekend. In the meantime this poem is called Hipster Cocktail and was in fact inspired by a few strolls through Borough Market in the Southwark area of London

Hipster Cocktail

Old is the new, new

the new, new

is the new old

last year’s thing

is way too young

reuse, recycle

pre-love me up

and make it retro-tastic

vinyl kills disc every time

make it local and organic

or don’t make it at all

mass production

is the mass murder

of our trades people

hit me with your

gentrification stick

make mine a Hipster

and make it slow