The Comedians

I haven’t blogged for a while, I have been suffering quite badly from depression among other things, and it’s been hard to get myself to do things. To keep myself going I watch a lot of comedy, and I got thinking about writing a poem about it, about the people that make me laugh, who go back as far as the early days of cinema. I started out by borrowing the title of an Elvis Costello/ Roy Orbison song and eventually wrote the rest in one evening. I’ve also put together a gallery of some of the people I was thinking of, not used this feature before so as usual I’ve gone overboard. Most of the captions from my own recollection from books and DVD extras etc. I hope you like it. To absent friends!

The Comedians

They knew you from an early age,

Working the crowd long before a wage,

Daft kid spoiling the photographs,

It’s all worthwhile if someone laughs,

The hard life of a humourist,

Becomes much harder when no-one’s pissed,

Add sentiment to slapstick games,

They’ll root for you, they feel your pain,

They see you failing your romance,

Disaster strikes down every chance,

But don’t take it all to heart,

That’s the nature of your art,

A smile holds back a thousand tears,

Show your strengths and hide your fears,

That things going right going wrong goes wrong,

That the music ends before the song,

Let all that land on your persona,

But don’t let it usurp it’s owner,

Become the plucky underdog,

This contraption’s most important cog,

Be the creative destructive spark,

The firefly knife that cuts through the dark,

If it works, and you make it big,

Then give it all at every gig,

If it doesn’t, if no-one laughs,

Then dust the death off of your arse,

It happened to them all you know,

Can’t guarantee a perfect show,

Stan and Ollie, Charlie, Eric and Ern,

All of them, they had to learn,

To get there it was going to take patience,

To deal with all of these frustrations,

And many found, even at the top,

The heartache doesn’t really stop,

The struggle to retain success,

To remain yourself amid the stress,

Can tear apart a man inside,

Witness how poor Tony died,

He had an audience millions strong,

But he felt too much had gone wrong,

So if you still want to be a clown,

Kiss the heights, absorb the sound,

Make sure your feet still touch the ground,

If they don’t, it’s such a long way down.



Bleeding (trigger warning: self harm)

A new poem (or several) I just came up with, a rough cut, well that’s usually where I finish them anyway. I’ve been training for a transition into a social care role, that’s what the last part is about. It is a long late night composition so it may be a bit all over.


One time I bled,
It was wet and red.
It came from the top of my foot
When I kicked off a tiny piece of glass.
They checked in an X-ray whether it had gone inside,
It hadn’t, but you can still see the scar.

Another time I bled,
From the back of my head
It smothered my blonde hair
A deep shade of red
Now my hair’s long been a mane of light brown
But when I part it, I can still feel the scar.

Many times I bled,
From cuts on my wrists
It flowed impressively when I made a fist
It stung, but inside I hurt more.

Now I have scars, but I cover them with a watch and wristbands
And experience has given me worthwhile uses for my hands.
Time has healed me and relieved me of the sufferer’s throne
I know that the pain
Is not mine to face alone
I have been helped to my feet by a guiding hand
And now I’m helping others who need
My assistance to stand
And the pain inside has been replaced with a feeling so warm
I feel like I’ve found my destiny’s form.

People Watching

Here’s a poem I wrote on the bus yesterday, trying something different, ended up going in quite a different direction to that I intended…

People Watching!
There’s time to kill,
People Watching!
Seats to fill,
People Watching!
Scope the view,
People Watching!
See the people watching you…
People Watching!
Feel self conscious
People Watching!
Check your conscience
People Watching!
Hide your secrets
People Watching!
Bury your Regrets
People Watching!
Sitting and staring
People Watching!
Standing and swearing
People Watching!
What’s their problem?
People Watching!
Will you help solve them?
People Watching!
Is that a knife?
People Watching!
Do you fear for life?
People Watching!
It’s escalated…
People Watching!
Is that thing serrated?
People Watching!
Think of the damage it could do!
People Watching!
Well, it’s up to you…
People Watching!
Do you call the Police
People Watching!
Or do you pray for Peace?
People Watching!
Leave them with no witnesses,
People Watching!
Let them resolve their witlessness,
People Watching!
Do you watch them hurting?
People Watching!
Or do you close the curtain?
People Watching!
Do you make a stand?
People Watching!
Will you lend a hand?
People Watching!
It’s always a choice
People Watching!
To raise your Voice
People Watching!
And if you do
People Watching!
Have no fear of the people…
Watching you!

Punk renaissance

I decided to get back to my blog. Again. I am, at least consistent in my inconsistency. So I need to break the silence. I have still been working on poetry, and I will share some more soon, but I first I thought I’d try and talk to you.
It doesn’t come easy to me, it seems like an effect of my dyspraxia that my thoughts are often disorganised and I fall over my words trying to articulate them. That has been a barrier to me in all walks of life, including creatively. I never set out to do poetry. My memory is bad. Even though I love reading I have difficulty absorbing from the page. I couldn’t quote much of my own work, never mind classical poetry. But I’ve ended up writing poetry for a number of years now, and I was thinking about my influences. I always loved the anarchic humour of Rik Mayall, particular Bottom which had a lot of absurd wordplay. In my teens I found more countercultural entertainers in The Dead Kennedys, a US punk band that had an eclectic catalogue of albums, a frontman going by the name Jello Biafra who reminded me much of Rik, and a similarly memorable turn of phrase in their lyrics. I just put their albums on my phone, and realised that they are still my favourite band, I’ve never listened to another for as many hours, and I do listen to a lot of music. Bringing me towards poetry, there was John Cooper Clarke, a slightly mad Liverpudlian performance poet who brought humour in place of niceties, and Jake Thackray, a singer poet who could paint a seaside postcard picture in a few verses.
These were somewhat passive influences, I listened and watched them for entertainment, with no plans to turn them toward anything.
So then, I got into poetry as one of many confidence building exercises- I was a nervous wreck after I graduated University- and I just found a group to try some creative writing. This was The Baggage Handlers, who were actually more geared towards poetry, formed by Rommi Smith, who I later learned that everybody in local poetry seems to know. Another member was Steve Lunn, who also counted John Cooper Clarke as an influence. Steve is so prolific, working up several short poems in a short time, all rhyming. I was inspired by that, the idea that you don’t need to spend hours crafting an epic poem. Using the writing exercises in the group I became able to put together poems in my own style within twenty minutes each, and at some point actually found myself able to rhyme- I had never been able to before, but soon reached the point where it felt harder not to rhyme.
So this is me as a poet. I still can’t perform vocally very well, I practice, but there’ll always be a gap between the voice I write in and my speaking ability. But I have confidence in my writing, more confidence in this than in anything I do. Words will be my legacy. Not new ones, but used in my own way.

Getting it Over With

Here’s a poem I wrote for a Christmas party. Typed it up a bit late but I’ll publish it here as a new years resolution- to revive my blog!

Remember remember the 5th of November,
But you never forget what happens in December,
It’s rammed down your throat,
And yelled in your ear,
As they try to sell you Christmas Cheer,
Caterwauling the familiar songs,
Those festive types do come on strong,
You’ll tire of all the martialled pleasance,
As you comb the shops for elusive presents,
You’ll keep it up just for the kids,
Back in when you thought you’d gotten rid,
Of the crowds, the panic, the rush of noise,
When the day comes, you’re frogmarched to the try at seven,
Then dozing off in front of the film by eleven,
But the mission’s accomplished, the kids are happy,
If you’ve changed the channel before the Queen gets yappy,
Next, round them up for a Christmas meal,
The green bits ever lack appeal…
And then- at last- it’s over for another year,
You can shut up about it, I don’t want to hear,
Another word about Christmas,

Christmas Spirit(s)

Christmas Spirit(s)


Christmas is a joyous day,

After an excited sleepless night

With a fir tree at the centrepiece,

Wrapped in blinking fairy lights.

It’s an old religious festival,

Regifted to all faiths,

Celebrated all across the land,

From the wealthy to the waifs.

It’s fun for all the family,

With all  our ways of sharing love,

Shaking hands with Grandad with a snowball in your glove!

It’s a time to let your rivals in,

To forgive and to forget,

To prepare a brand new calendar,

That’s clean of all regret.

Deep down in there you must remember,

The times you cherished in December.

Make room for another, you can always find a place,

Show some Christmas spirit in your heart and on your face,

Whatever you give, whatever you get,

Whatever you think you know,

There’s something to be said for everyone gathering around a show.

Now pass around your memories,

Your Ghosts of Christmas past,

When the Sherry’s polished off,

It’s those that are going to last.

Flattened by ambition (Check out the Ruby Slippers)

I guess it’s pretty obvious that I haven’t gotten around to blogging for a while. I haven’t been much of anything for a while really. I always hoped I would be able to write a book, but despite having the imagination, things lose the spark when they’re written down. And I’m expected to go on living while I try to do this, not that I manage much living either, I’m just someone who happens to be at some places, in the background, in the direction no-one’s looking in… I guess I’m saying I can get things done on the fly, like writing this blog post here but the more I think about them, the bigger they become, and I can’t remember enough to get them written down. I’m trying to get myself to write here more, so I need to just write, without a big subject. I have lots of days where I can’t see the way forward, and I think so much that I am exhausted from it by the time I am actually in the position to talk to someone. So this is me trying to talk, without writing something down first, or planning a subject, other than that I need to start talking. Which I have done in a stream of consciousness, but at least I managed not to be sorry for myself the whole way. I feel sorry for you if you’ve read this far. I’ll try to write something interesting next time. But remember interesting is a very subjective word.