onward and upward

2019. You look away for a moment, and it’s already over a week old, and is busy exploring the world, sticking its pudgy little fingers in the plug sockets, and scribbling all over the furniture with a felt-tip pen. Bless it.

Last year was a lot of fun. Shows the length and breadth of the country with Poets, Prattlers, and Pandemonialists, gigs of my own, and some superb headliners and open mics at our poetry nights in Walsall and Wolverhampton. On top of that, there were astoundingly good reviews for a book I co-wrote: ‘But after the gig…’ the autobiography of Tezz Roberts of Discharge (and a host of other bands). You can read one of them here – and see just why the first print run sold out in a couple of months – if the fancy takes you.

I’m busy making all sorts of plans for 2019 if it keeps away from the plug sockets for long enough to listen. I’ve already got a good number of gigs set up, with more in the pipeline, and I don’t doubt that PPP will be coming up with some outrageous new project or three, too. It’s going to be an exciting twelve months. Bring it on!

that’ll do nicely!

VLR review

When the first review of a book you helped write finally appears in the press, it proper blows your socks off to find out it’s as good as this one for But after the gig….

Thank you, Vive le Rock! I’m so happy to see Tezz’s story getting the big thumbs-up. Even happier that Vive le Rock gave it higher marks than a book about AC/DC. Hells bells!

If you haven’t read this wonderful book yet, do yourself a favour. Pop over to the Ignite Books site and buy a copy, here. 

Trust me, it’s worth it.

one week to go…

I’m a simple creature at heart, with no grand plan for my life other than to follow my nose and see where it leads me. It’s not the most complex of strategies, but it has led me to a place where I’m able to patch together a living from doing things I love.

One of those things is poetry. Another is working with legendary punk musicians to write their autobiography. They may seem like two very different things, but in my mind they’re two facets of the same vital human drive: storytelling. And I love a good story. 

At the start of this year, I put the finishing touches to But after the gig… the autobiography of Tezz Roberts. Tezz lives for music, and has played thousands of gigs with a huge number of bands, which is interesting in itself, but the book is so much more than another rock biog. Read it, and you’ll see what I mean.

Anyway, the point of this blog is to say that – while the book has been selling through the Ignite Books website for some months now – it’s officially published next week, on 1st November. And I’m doing an interview and Q&A on November 6th at the Arena Theatre in Wolverhampton as part of their ACT night. Doors are at 7pm, entry is free, I’ll have discounted copies of the book with me (and probably a few copies of City Baby, too). If you’re in the Midlands, it’d be lovely to see you. And if you’ve questions to ask, I’ll do my best to answer them. But remember, I’m a simple creature, so plan accordingly….

time for trumpets

There haven’t been many idle moments of late, which suits me down to the ground, but a couple of days ago I stumbled across one. At a loss what to do, I found myself – for no particular reason – doing a stock check on my poetry books. (I’m living the dream, I know).

Turns out I’ve sold over four hundred copies of my volume of poems more bees bigger bonnets. Four hundred. Wow. That’s pretty good going for someone who’s trundling along quietly, sorting out their own gigs*, doing their own thing.

Thanks to everyone who’s bought a copy. There’s been two print runs of the book now, and it’s unlikely there’ll be another. If you want a copy, there’s just sixteen left, and you can get them here. And now, I’ll get back to re-pointing the house. (I’m definitely living the dream)

*please note I’m available for birthday parties, weddings, barmitzvahs, poetry events, celebrating the fall of Tory governments etc etc.

bit more punk

Don’t get me wrong, I love my poetry. There’s something about getting up in front of an audience, spinning your words, and showing them that poetry isn’t the awful dead stuff they thought they learned at school (it’s just people saying words, folks!) which makes me incredibly happy. It can be in a pub or at a festival – like yesterday – or pretty much anywhere, but not many things beat someone saying I don’t like poetry, but that… that was OK.

Yeah, not much beats that.

But I also really enjoy finding untold stories and getting them into print. It’s not too great a stretch for a poet, if you think about it, and I’ve never been someone to settle for having just a single string to my bow. A few years ago I stumbled into working with Steve Ignorant on his autobiography. Then Ross Lomas of GBH and myself spent weeks recording his life story, which became the best-selling book City Baby.

Now, the manuscript for But after the gig… the life story of Tezz Roberts of Discharge, has gone to the printers. I can tell you it’s one hell of a rollercoaster ride. It’s on sale now at Ignite Books, and you can order a copy here. It’s well worth it.

Oh, and if you’re visiting Ignite, my books of poems are also on sale there. Just saying… 😉


If there’s one thing the past few weeks have shown me, it’s that collaboration is good for the soul. I knew that anyway, of course – I’ve been working with Wolverhampton poets Emma Purshouse and Dave Pitt for the past eighteen months, during which we’ve created a spoken word show (long-listed for a Saboteur Award) set up a thriving poetry night, and done our best to help local pubs stay open and thrive. Recently, though, we expanded this collaborative way of working to include several other poets from our region. The experience has been amazing.

We were lucky enough to get funding from Arts Council England (thanks, folks!) for our Black Country Broadsheet project, which aimed to take poetry out and about in the Black Country, make more people aware of what’s going on here, and entice some of them  along to the events we’d set up. We wanted to take poetry out of its comfort zone. And we did.

What was hugely enjoyable was the opportunity to get to know other poets better, to hang out together, and to have a laugh. To work together with one common purpose. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a project more. Thanks to Rob Francis, Rick Sanders, Casey Bailey, Marianne Burgess, Bones, Jeremy Grant, and Mogs for throwing themselves into this project and helping make it such a success. If you haven’t heard any of their work yet, you’ve been missing out. Luckily, the broadsheet project still has one week left to run, which means you can do something about that.

So pop over to our Youtube channel and give yourself a treat.


Way back in late 2016 – when myself, Emma Purshouse, and Dave Pitt founded the Poets, Prattlers, and Pandemonialists collective – one of our major goals was to take poetry out of its small-but-beautifully-formed niche and plonk it down in front of people who are convinced they don’t like poetry.

First, we wrote our ‘poets, prattlers, and pandemonialists’ show, performed it in Wolverhampton, and took it to Edinburgh (then Leamington, then Leeds, and on). That was fun. And a lot of people whose first thought is ‘Ugh. Poetry.’ thought so too, which makes us very happy. (some people who do like poetry enjoyed the show so much they put it forward for a Saboteur Award, and we don’t have words to say how overjoyed we are about that)

Now, we’re busy with another of our ideas which first saw the light of day as our collective met in a Wolverhampton pub and set the world to rights over a couple of pints: the Black Country Broadsheet.

It’s a simple idea. Ten poets from the Black Country. Five free events across the region. One specially commissioned video for each poet. 2000 copies of a broadsheet to hand out to people across the Black Country so they can see that poetry is written by people from their neck of the woods, that it can be funny, serious, angry, loving, and yes, they may not like all of it, but there’s going to be something there which speaks to them. That’s where the free events come in, of course. They’re an opportunity to see all these words come alive. And for people to get up and share their own words, if they want to.

You can find out more about this by following @pandemonialists on Twitter, or by joining this group on Facebook. And keep an eye open for copies of our Black Country Broadsheet when they start appearing towards the end of this month. There are some fantastic poets involved in this, and you’re going to love their work. We do.


Well, kind of. I was busy making a hot chocolate late last night (yes, that’s how wildly rock’n’roll life at mine is right now) and it suddenly occurred to me that I hadn’t updated the website in… what? Weeks? Ye gods! In our million-mile-an-hour world, where the expectation of regular cyber-updates is taken as a given, what on earth was I thinking??

Naturally, I had a word with myself. And now, I’m writing this blog to convince you – and myself – that I care. Because truth be told, I’m rather enjoying just cracking on with life. Getting out on the mountain bike. Going to the gym. Swimming. Sitting in and actually reading poetry rather than scrolling through my timeline on Facebook or wondering how may ‘likes’ a post will get. I’m diving into Jo Bell’s wonderful 52 book and spending hours letting my imagination run riot with ideas for new poems, then sharing them with friends and seeing what they’ve made of the same prompts.

It’s all very enjoyable. And revitalising. And exciting. And whatever that Danish zeitgeisty word is that people started using twelve months ago when they decided they were just that bit too old to go clubbing. Hygge. Yeah. That. Not a word you hear a lot of round here, where they just call it ‘staying in’, but you get the drift.

I’ve gigs coming up. The new book is out (if you buy a copy, I promise to crawl out from under the duvet and shuffle to the Post Office to send it on its way). I even found time to send a poem to Culture Matters, who published it here today, bless them. But right now, I’m more interested in getting a sourdough bread mix on the go, losing myself in a good book, and doing as little as possible.

And I tell you what, it’s addictive.


A huge (and slightly belated) thanks to everyone who came along to last week’s benefit gig for Paulette Wilson. It was a last-minute venture, and we didn’t really know what to expect, how many people would turn up, or how much it would raise. In the end, the room was packed, the bucket filled with donations, we collected over £300 for Paulette, and a good time was had by all.

Thanks to poets Steve Harrison, Emma Purshouse, Paul Francis, Dave Pitt, Bones, Rick Sanders, and Spoz for their excellent sets, to ukulele ensemble Not Quite Dead Yet for raising the roof, and to the Clarendon Hotel for letting us have the venue for free. Thanks, too, to those people who couldn’t make it to the gig, but supported Paulette via the Justgiving page we’d set up. Your generosity means we’ve already reached our target, but the page is still open till mid-January, so we may yet raise more.

Best thing about the night? Seeing Paulette and her daughter enjoying themselves and laughing. After everything they’ve been through, that was priceless. People 1, Home Office 0. Merry Xmas!


This Thursday I’ll be taking part in a benefit gig in Wolverhampton. It’s got one simple aim: to raise money for Paulette Wilson, a grandmother living in Wolverhampton who’s currently under threat of deportation. If you don’t know anything about her case (and there’s no reason why you would) you can read all about it here.

Poets, prattlers, and pandemonialists is a collective of Wolverhampton poets, and when we heard about Paulette’s case we knew we had to do something to help. So we pulled together this benefit gig in double-quick time so we could offer her some practical, financial support before Xmas. The night will feature a whole slew of our friends, every one of whom gave an emphatic Yes when we asked if they’d be prepared to take part. They’re giving their time and their skill for free, the venue has waived the hire costs, and all we need now is for an audience to turn up, put their hands in their pockets (entry to the night is by donation) and let Paulette know her city stands with her.

There have been times recently where I’ve simply wanted to shut the world out. There’s so much bad news – wars, starving polar bears, anything involving Donald Trump – that I’ve found myself feeling overwhelmed. This benefit has reminded me of what we can do when we work together, how the small steps we take turn into something bigger.

If you’re in or around Wolverhampton on Thursday, drop in to the Clarendon Hotel on Chapel Ash. It doesn’t matter if you can’t stay all evening, just grab a seat and a beer and enjoy what’s going on, and throw some money in the bucket. And if you can’t make it, but would like to support Paulette, we’ve set up a Justgiving page where folk can donate to help her.

Because together we are stronger. And every little helps.


I don’t know quite how it happened, exactly how it is I fell through the cracks and found a way of life which allows me to put bread on the table while doing things I enjoy (rather than slaving at things which I don’t) but I’m immensely grateful things turned out the way they did.

Last month saw the publication of my latest book ‘a fine fine place’ (my thanks to everyone who’s bought it, by the way). Last week, I met up with Reuben from Trapeze Films to make a video of one of the poems in it. As always, I’m left with a sense of wonder when someone – with skills which I don’t have – takes the vague idea I have for how I think I might like the video to look, and turns it into something which actually works on the screen. And which looks good, too.

A bit of background to the video… the poem was inspired by a question posed by Walsall artist Carolyn Bayliss. She asked ‘What would you say at the funeral of England?’ As someone who’s always been fascinated by identity, I knew I’d have something to say. I just didn’t know what. I ended up writing England, my response to simplistic nationalism. I hope you enjoy it, find something in it which makes you smile, and something else which makes you think.

Oh, and feel free to share it as widely as you like.

You can view England here.


Like a lot of poets, I genuinely struggle with self-promotion. Really. Writing poems? No problem. Sharing them? Yep, that’s fine. Appreciating other people’s work? Of course. But when it comes to making a song and dance about – say – my new book, my toes curl and I  post some kind of mumbled er… I’ve a… you know… book thingummy… online before running away and doing something else instead.

All of which means that although ‘a fine fine place’ is my fifth book of poems, I’d never ever had a proper launch for any of the earlier ones. And I still wouldn’t have, if my fellow poets and prattlers Emma Purshouse and Dave Pitt hadn’t cajoled me into doing it this time round. But they did. My heartfelt thanks to everyone who came to the Lych Gate Tavern in Wolverhampton last Sunday to listen to me read some poems from the book, have a few beers, and enjoy samosas and pakora with their literature.

For those of you who want one, copies of the book are available… er… on sale… um… you know….

Oh god. There go my toes again.

signed, sealed, delivered


Here it is. The new book. a fine fine place. To say I’m proud of it doesn’t begin to do it justice, but – if I’m honest – the pride is shrouded just a little in a fog of exhaustion and buried under an endless list of admin. I know I’m not alone in that: last night I did a gig in Bury with the wonderful Kieren King and we both mused how we got into poetry in order to, well, write poetry. Instead we find ourselves spending too many precious hours answering emails and chasing a living. Ah, but the alternatives are worse!

Anyway, the book. It’s everything you would expect, and everything I would have wanted. My thanks and gratitude to Brenda Read-Brown, Boff Whalley, Emma Purshouse, Jonny Fluffypunk, Laura Taylor, and Spoz, all of whom have found it in themselves to say very generous things about it. Donald Trump was too busy getting het up about football players protesting racial injustice to have anything to say, but I think it’s fair to say he wouldn’t like this either. Hey ho. Decide for yourselves by getting a copy here. If you want it signed, just say. The sealing and delivering comes as standard.

golden days

OK, where did the summer go? Last time I sat down to write a blog, August still stretched out before me with the promise of golden days and summer heat. Now, there’s mist in the mornings and I’m putting on the lights not long after I’ve had my tea.

Much has happened in the meantime, though. The ‘poets, prattlers, and pandemonialists’ venture to Edinburgh was a joy, outstripping our wildest dreams (well, probably not our wildest) of how things would go. We had a blast, we saw some great shows – spoken word, documentary talks, and theatre pieces – and we pulled enough of an audience each evening to cover our costs and put money in our pockets for a beer. Given that the average audience for a Free Fringe show is four people, that’s quite an achievement.

From there, I trundled up to Orkney in the camper van – yes, that’s the van with the newly-fettled brakes and steering – for a few days kicking back, watching seabirds and sunsets, and fitting in a pay-as-you-feel poetry gig in Kirkwall. I love the inclusiveness of these gigs: if you’re skint, you’re still welcome; if you’re curious about poetry, there’s no price-tag to deter you; if you love poetry, we’ll see you there. There’s an honesty about it. And of course, there’s the element of uncertainty, that edge, wondering just how much money you’ll find in the hat at the end of the night. And the surprise when you find out.

Thereafter, southwards via a string of festivals to another pay-as-you-feel gig in Falmouth (if you’re visiting, I recommend you check out the Chintz bar, it’s a splendid one-off of a place) and a chance to play in the surf before the summer slipped away. My annual ritual to mark the passing of the seasons. And now I’m home. I’ve a new book at the printers – I’ll be posting a blog about that, and the Wolverhampton book launch, very soon – and months of mists and mellow fruitfulness to come. Bring it on.

P.S. If, like me, you don’t do deferred gratification, the good news is that the book’s on sale already. You can click and buy it here.

festival time

The day is almost upon us. From Friday, I’ll be in Edinburgh. Saturday is the first date in a one-week run of ‘Poets, Prattlers, and Pandemonialists’ the spoken-word-show-piece-of-theatre type thingummy I’ve been rehearsing with Dave Pitt and Emma Purshouse. I can’t begin to tell you how much fun it’s been working with this pair of reprobates – because it absolutely has – but if you come along to the show I’m sure you’ll see exactly what I mean.

There’s still so much to do before I leave tomorrow morning. And yes, the eagle-eyed among you are right: that does mean I’m taking two days to get to Edinburgh. I’ve copies of the ‘punk in Walsall’ newspaper to drop off at Rebellion Festival in Blackpool tomorrow lunchtime, and a gig in Appleby in Cumbria that evening. But first I need to get the van back from the garage – the small matter of getting brakes and steering fixed before I set off – pack everything I need for a week at the Fringe, wash, shop, and fit in one final rehearsal. 

Sometimes it’s exhausting just thinking about it. But it’s also wonderfully, madly, bounce-up-and-down-like-a-kid-on-his-way-to-the-seaside exciting. It’s great to be taking part in the Fringe anyway, but to be doing it with two good mates, and with a piece of theatre I’m really proud to have played a part in helping create, well, that just takes the biscuit.

Watch this space for all the news of our adventure!


Sometimes, an idea blurted out on the spur of the moment in the course of a few drinks down the pub, a nothing, a casual aside you never really expect will go anywhere, well, it proves to be a moment of genius no-one ever expected.

That’s the nearest I can come to explaining the concept of ‘poets, prattlers, and pandemonialists’. An idea which first saw the light of day as myself, Dave Pitt, and Emma Purshouse wrapped ourselves round a fourth (or maybe fifth) pint during one of our regular meetings in a pub in Wolverhampton. We liked each other’s poetry, we got on, we had a laugh and took the mick out of each other like there was no tomorrow, so why not work together? What could possibly go wrong?

That was less than a year ago. Since then, we’ve run poetry slams, put on the premiere of our show ‘Poets, Prattlers, and Pandemonialists’ in Wolverhampton, and set up an entirely new – and very successful – poetry and spoken word night in Walsall. We still like each other’s poetry, and we still have time to meet down the pub and take the mick out of each other.

edinburgh jpgFor our next venture, we’re taking the PPP show up to the Free Fringe in Edinburgh. Why not? It’ll be an adventure. We’re doing a cut-down version of the Wolverhampton show, so it fits into the 50-minute slot we’ve been given, and from August 5th to 11th we’ll be performing at BarBados on Cowgate each and every evening at 7.30pm. Like all the Free Fringe events, it’ll be free entry, and we’ll be passing the hat round at the end of each show to help keep the wolf from the door.

Courtesy of the very talented photographer, Matt Timbers, we’ve a fantastic image to promote our show – you’ll see a small version of it to the left of this sentence. If you’d like a copy for yourself, or to share with friends who live in Edinburgh, or who might be visiting the city in August, drop me a line at  Maybe we’ll see you there for a pint, too.

P.S. You can read more about when we first performed the show in Wolverhampton by clicking here.


In 2012, my book ‘Island Songs was published. It had been a good while since I’d dipped my toes into the world of performance poetry, and I ordered way more books than I was ever likely to sell. Ah well, nothing to do but roll up my sleeves, get out there gigging, and hope to find people who’d want them.

This last Monday – just before the evening rush hour – I hopped on the motorbike and rode out along motorways and A-roads for a gig in Welshpool. There, in the interval of a poetry event in the back room of a pub, I sold the last ever copy of ‘Island Songs’. It had come as something of a surprise when, a few weeks earlier, I’d found I had just ten copies left, and I decided that all the money from those last copies would go to a worthy cause, the charity Shelter, who do so much to help people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

My thanks to every single person who’s bought and enjoyed ‘Island Songs’ (there’s more of you than I would ever have dared to imagine). Two years ago I followed it up with ‘more bees bigger bonnets’ and this seems as good an opportunity as any to announce there’ll be a new book – my fifth – in the autumn. If you organise poetry events and are looking for a feature poet (or you know someone who does) or you’d simply like me to come to your town and read to you and your friends, get in touch.

I know not every gig will involve sitting outside a pub in the sunshine watching swifts and swallows and jackdaws, but I’ve a motorbike and a strong urge to travel, so let’s make it happen.

(This morning, Ignite Books made a donation of £40.00 to Shelter. If you want to support their work, you can do so here)

it’s a wrap

It’s a worrying moment. You’ve just about made it to the end of your poem, and you know you’ve nailed it. Tone of voice? Bang on. Body language? Perfect. You’ve even remembered all the words, and got them in the right order. You start the last line – and someone sends the cameraman a text.

He hasn’t got his phone on silent, which means the audio track picks up the ‘ping’ as the text arrives. On the one hand, this is hilarious – if you’d started the poem two seconds earlier, or whoever sent the text had pressed ‘send’ a fraction later, you’d have a perfect take in the bag – but behind the laughter there’s a nagging sense of doubt. What if that was the take for the day? What if you spend the next couple of hours stumbling over the words, forgetting your lines, and being interrupted by traffic and street noise from outside?

The pressure is on. Fortunately, the next take is fine (the cameraman has put his phone on silent, thankfully). You do another one – just for luck – and that runs without a hitch, too. Job done. As the cameraman packs his gear away, you laugh about the timing of that text, how it could have thrown the whole day into a spin. By evening, he’s sent the video over. A little later, you post it up online.

A new poem. A new, strong, stable poem. You hope it’ll make people smile.

(if you want to, you can view it here)

island of hope

Five years ago, when I first dipped my toes back into the world of performance poetry, I put together a volume of poems – some old, some new – called Island Songs. They went on sale via the Ignite Books website, and I took copies with me whenever I did a gig. Since then, I’ve also published more bees bigger bonnets which I’m immensely proud of, but Island Songs has continued to slip away into people’s pockets, copy by copy, to a point where I’m now down to the last ten copies.

It’s great to make some money out of my words, but life’s about more than that. I got caught – pleasantly – by surprise by how few copies of Island Songs are left, and it set me thinking. I decided that all of the sale price of each of those last ten copies is going to go to charity. Specifically to Shelter, who do so much to work with people who are homeless, or facing homelessness. If you’d like to buy one of those copies – and it won’t be getting re-printed, so it’s now or never –  then you can be sure all of the money is going to do something good.

If you want to, you can buy Island Songs here.
And you can find out more about Shelter here.


Almost a year ago to the day, I sat down in a pub with poets Dave Pitt and Emma Purshouse and – over the course of a few pints – the three of us decided working together might be a lot of fun. We didn’t really know what it was we wanted to do (and for a while it looked as if it would mainly involve keeping our favourite Wolverhampton pubs healthily solvent) but we knew something would turn up.

And it did.

Last night, at the Arena Theatre in Wolves, we gave our first ever performance of ‘poets, prattlers, and pandemonialists’. It’s something we’ve poured our hearts and souls into, which we’ve drafted and edited and re-drafted and grafted at, and which has been a hell of a lot of fun to chisel into shape. But you don’t ever know if you’ve really created something that works till you put it in front of an audience, and last night – for the first time – we did.

Wow. It worked. Over one hundred people came along to watch it, and the feedback we got – both in applause and laughter at the time, and in texts, emails, and social media posts since – has been gobsmackingly positive. If I’m honest, it’s all slightly surreal and I’m still trying to get my head round it. I don’t know what more to say, other than to say thanks to everyone who helped us along the way. The Arena Theatre for finding us a date in their calendar, and giving us space to perform; poet Mark Niel for generously giving up an afternoon last week to watch what we’d done and offer suggestions as to how we could make it even better; and everyone who came along last might to clap, laugh, cheer, and tell us how much they loved it. Thank you all.

You’d expect me to blather on about how good the show was, I guess. So I’ll leave you with someone else’s take on the show. Reviews – especially from people who watch a lot of live performance – don’t come much better than this:

“Tonight I have seen something extraordinary. A night of poetry which was fiercely engaging, infinitely accessible, loud, proud and bold about where it came from, but most importantly framed in a manner which gave space for the work to shine but kept the audience on the edge of their seats throughout; this wasn’t just poetry, it was storytelling, and most importantly it was theatre. Glorious theatre. Dave, Steve, and Emma, you guys rock. Thank you for being awesome.”

From one happy, tired, and gobsmacked poet: thanks.

prattling on

Poetry, it has to be said, is a bit of a solo pursuit. Most of the time, you write and edit and practise alone. You share a stage with other poets, but you don’t often get to collaborate with them.

Right now, that’s all changed. For the past couple of months I’ve been working with poets Dave Pitt and Emma Purshouse on a three-handed play, all about what happens when three poets meet up in a pub to put on a show. How did we come up with that idea? Easy. The three of us met in a pub (more than once) had a few drinks (as you do), took the mick out of each other (repeatedly), and somewhere in the ensuing mayhem and pandemonium, the show took shape.

‘poets, prattlers, and pandemonialists’ has been a huge amount of fun to be involved with. It’s also been challenging, and demanding, and bloody hard work. It’s eaten up evening after evening in rehearsals as we improve, re-write, improvise, edit, add to, and change the script. And I’ve loved every minute.

Now we’re just ten days away from show time. April 21st, in the Arena Theatre in Wolverhampton. It’s going to be theatre, and it’s going to be poetry and it’s going to be more banter than you can shake a stick at. It’ll be like nothing you’ve ever seen before. It’s going to be ace.

It’s also going to be the only performance of ‘poets, prattlers, and pandemonialists’ before we take it up north for a week’s run at a large arts festival in a certain scottish city. We think we should probably mention that. It’s quite exciting. Come and see what we’re making this song and dance about!

Ahem. If you haven’t got them already, you can buy your tickets here (or click on any of the highlighted text). Thanks.

still more bees

Two years ago, I got to see the first copies of my book ‘more bees bigger bonnets’. Two days ago, a van courier delivered the latest print run. The third one. My thanks to everyone who’s bought a copy of ‘more bees…’ and enjoyed it, to all the poetry nights that have given me a gig, and the festivals who’ve put me on the bill. Books don’t sell themselves – there’s a lot of hard graft involved – but I’ve loved sharing my words with people. Every train journey, every drive home in the rain, every new audience has been a joy. 

I’m a lucky man. I know it. Over the next few months I’ll be out and about, getting up behind a microphone wherever people will have me (next week, that’s Guildford; after that, it’s Wigan) sharing my words and listening to the words of others. Making connections and revelling in it, having a chat over a coffee or a pint. It’s a good life.

You can – of course – buy my books at my gigs. Alternatively, they’re on sale here, and to celebrate the third print run of ‘more bees…’ there’s currently a special offer. It ends this Sunday, so – if you don’t want to miss out – get your skates on, eh?

buzzing about

Everyone needs something in their life they’re passionate about. I don’t suppose it matters too much what it is – whether it’s football or painting or fishing or dancing – just as long as it’s there, as long as you’ve that special something to give focus to your life and brighten up your days.

For me (and there’s no surprise here) it’s poetry. Which is to say, the sense of communication that comes with and through poetry. I get an absolute buzz out of meeting people and having a blather which is every bit as important as the act of getting up behind the mic and sharing my words. That’s usually why I’m there in the first place, but listening to and savouring all the different interpretations of the world and takes on life which I get to hear while I’m at a gig, well, that’s the icing on a particularly tasty cake.

So a huge thanks to all those people in London and StAnza, and Ludlow, and Galway who’ve shared their take on the world from behind the mic or over the top of a pint or two. It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to hear you. I hope you found something in my words that you enjoyed in turn.

If any of you are still wondering exactly what it is I do, you can get an idea from this review of StAnza festival. It’s all worth reading (you should definitely listen to Kevin McLean) and – when you get to it – you’ll see why I’m so chuffed about it.

I’ll treasure that while I get on with the rehearsals for Poets, Prattlers, and Pandemonialists. It’s going to be something really special, and I’ll be jabbering on about that very soon.

whispers: but if you can’t wait, you can get tickets for the premiere here.

long march

It’s gone five thirty in the evening as I write this, and it’s still light outside. Spring is coming, and it seems only right for me to celebrate these ever longer days by getting out and about. So I am.

This weekend, I’m going to be at the StAnza international poetry festival in St Andrews, for what is only my second ever gig in Scotland. If you’re in the area and fancy coming along, or have friends in the area and fancy badgering them about this feast of poetry, the details are here.

I hotfoot it back down south in time to read at The Poetry Lounge in Ludlow on March 7th, and then I’m having another bash at reading in Galway. Last time I tried to do this – in early February – my plans were well and truly scuppered by a missing ferry, so I spent a couple of hours in Holyhead port and went home. I like to think the ship in question was still up on a ramp with a bloke in overalls looking at it, shaking his head, and muttering something about the ball joint being knackered and the big end past its best and it’s how long since you last checked the oil?

Anyway, I’m assured the ferry has passed its MOT and got a new set of tyres, and is now happily chugging back and forth between Holyhead and Dublin, and I got a refund on my February ticket, so there’s every chance I will manage to get to Galway in time to join a host of wordsmiths at The Museum in the Spanish Arch on March 10th.

Pop by and say hi. Or stare at the empty space where I should have been and know that the ferry is parked up on the hard shoulder with its hazards on and steam billowing from under the bonnet, and I’m wailing and gnashing in Holyhead once more.