Sunday, 25 January 2015

Say Owt Slam 2

What an amazing night.

So may wonderful and talented poets to listen to on one short evening, almost too much to take in. But I tried and enjoyed every minute of it.
What a slam. And I so want to be in it, but to try and rank myself with those that competed that night, my beer poems will need a great deal of work, and I need some more open mic nights to quell my nerves, and to practise, practise, practise.
Well I might manage to talk myself into doing it some day, meanwhile I have Say Owt Slam 4 to look forward to on 22nd March back at City Screen.

I must give my congratulations to everyone who participated, to Jack Dean who won, and to Sophia Walker who was just so magnificent and touched on a myriad of important subjects with insight, imagination and boundless tact.

Thank you for such an informative night.

Back to more mundane matters, after my last post which was just a moaning rant, I have managed to do totally nothing that I wanted too. having the first cold in years for the past two weeks is no excuse, but it was interesting to explore How I felt exactly with a vague idea to use the experience in what I am sort of writing.
I did have the very unpleasant sensation of trying to cough up my uvula, (you know, that dangliy thing at the back of your throat). It just vibrated with every breath and played a cacophony with my gag reflex.
I am still coughing now, but only when I talk, or laugh and its getting better. No gold watches to cough up any more.

Well I have had a go at words in poem form, but only once, and that was in the dark, with a tasty pint of York Brewery Snowflake in my hand, while listening to some ace spoken word artists, and not up to any decent level at all. I will have to start editing some day but meanwhile...

Say Owt Slam.
Only here to nick ideas.
To be inspired,
Not enspired which would be painful.
But after my day,
At least this work would be gainful.

Both elated, and deflated
At the talent on show.
Where would I fit in?
I doesna know.
Tickled by words
Beyond my ken.
But I never had a Barbie.
I had Sindy instead.
Beyond the remit of this rhyme.
My mind both sings, and lingers
Wondering what delights I'll hear next time.
It thrumbs to internal  bringers
Of joy. The thought provoking word
That makes me laugh, and cry
And is fleeting as a snow shower
In the middle of July.
And as solid as a rock
In a blink of a poets eye,

Thank you for reading. Xxx

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Welcome 2015

Well, it's been a long time since I typed my thoughts on this blog, and now a new year is upon us all. I can't quite believe it was September when I last had anything to say, but I committed the cardinal sin of letting the demon job consume me until all I did was eat, sleep and go to work. No stories, no poems and barely any crochet to speak of, although I did manage one or two items for christmas pressies.

Will this new year be different?
I doubt it very much but more time for me things is a must, and less time for the soul destroying monster on my shoulder that aids me to pay for the everyday items all of us require to exist, like food, rent and beer.
Mmmum, beer. Even that has been lacking in my life for a while and it is not always the beer that is required, but the hour or so in the pub which seems to allow myself the right to sit and contemplate the universe, to let my mind unwind and the prose flow. (As it is not flowing tonight, I'm afraid.)

Well all I am doing is moaning at my own inability to do want I want, rather than what I think others want, or expect while not allowing me to just do. I can always find excuses not to do and the curse of lack of self belief is just another excuse not to do.

I write because it bleeds from my brain and colours my life with its twisted shades of a backwards rainbow. My lack of fast or accurate typing is just an excuse, my reluctance to edit my own work. Ok a total denial of any need to edit my own work would be more honest: is just a bigger excuse, and the knowledge that I have to push myself forward to either succeed or fail is the biggest excuse of them all.

These are the demons I must overcome this year. I cannot slay them, for the fight stimulates my imagination as much as anything does, but I cannot hold them close to me, to revel in the comfort that I cannot do, or I have not the time, or that I am not good enough. I must fight to keep them at bay. They will always linger, but without such a challange all this will be worthless. And life is never worthless, is it.

Well this turned into an interesting rant to myself. Hopefully I will reread it and gain some heart and let the year come. I acknowledge its challenge and stand before it.

Happy 2015 to us all.

Thank you for listening XX

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Journey of a Crochet Beer Jacket

It has been a while since I have spent some time on this blog. Too long I hear some voices say, but I have been busy-ish crocheting.

Last time I wrote, I had just spent an scared filled five minutes standing in from of an audience and reading out some poems. And I have full intentions to do it again, if I don't let work get in my way. That is the paid drudgery kind, not what I should be doing which is writing, and getting all these tales out of my brain so I can think of some new ones.
What am I saying? I don't need any more stories, but that is me just procrastinating once again.

One of the reasons for waffling on, on this blog is crochet. And I realised that I haven't done much at all, never mind posting it, so I decided to crochet some simple granny squares. And then put them together.

But that was not really a worth while goal. So the idea of a jacket was born, slowly I grant you, over a couple of pints and a time scale that seemed achieveable. It was just over a month to the York Beer Festival and while collecting stamps to get free entry (something I never managed as I did let work get in the way) I would crochet the squares in the pub.

  And so I started to make a stash of squares and watched them grow. Not all were made in the pub as I estimated I needed over 70 of them. Yes 70. Suddenly my task seemed too large to manage, and I had less than a month left. With work nipping at my heels to help out, the tattoo of mug visible to all and sundry. And I realised with mounting horror, my squares were smaller than they should have been. But I didn't want to give up. Mind you, I had tweeted it on social media and felt some what obliged to continue.

So my granny square pile grew, and my colours increased, as I spent every hour I could making more, and edging them so they were big enough, or so I was beginning to hope. No wonder I have done little else.

 The squares started to come together, but my time was running out. Now I had to put them together, and not all my squares were even, as I had used different weights of yarn and different sizes. Arrgh! How would I put this thing together and would it fit after all this work? I didn't know, but I couldn't stop now.

  I crocheted the squares and filled in the gaps with more crochet. Lucky my chosen craft is very forgiving to additions and manipulations. I would have never managed this if I had tried to knit it..

And then it was done. It was the morning I was going to York Beer Fest and I had even managed a hood. My hands were aching and cramped and my vision blurred, but I had  finally made my jacket, and now I could embarrass myself further by wearing it.

Which is exactly what I did!
And what now for my beer Jacket? and the months and a half of work I put into it?
Now I have to continue with my writing, and poem performing. And so it becomes a performance jacket for an ale drinking, beer poet, and chocoholic who crochets.

Thank you for reading xxx

Monday, 28 July 2014

Saturday Night at The basement

Well, I have had a plan for just over a week now. After watching Spokes at The Golden Ball and listening to some amazing poetry by Steve Nash, Amina Ayal, Dave Gough with special guest Zach Roddis from Manchester who has given up his job to become a performance poet and hosted and added to by Dai Parsons: I felt somewhat inspired.
       I have done it once before: stood in front of a group of people and read out a few beer related poems at York Brewery last year (the same place I met Jennifer E. Jordan and she wrote that amazing song based on a few lines of drivel) called On The Hop and part organised by The Flanagan Collective , but I never did any thing else. And it was a very accepting audience, most of whom were waiting for their own turn.
    But I had planned at some point to do more, especially after the lyrical punk poet Henry Raby said he liked it. And then nothing. I didn't even try to find an open mic night to give it a go, nor pop down to the poetry group I know exist in my home city.  (Well, to call what I do poetry is sometimes pushing it, and proper poets might have a lot to say about my hastily scrawled lines I call my own and I am rubbish editing).
      Saturday night was different.
     I didn't really tell any one, so had no support and no one with any expectations to watch me, and my choice of poems was hastily compiled in the two hours between finishing work and going to York City Screen for 7.30.
      And I went on first.
     Not through choice but when pushed I do foolish things: like say OK I will go. The lights were in my eyes so I couldn't see a single face (which was a bit of a relief), and I used a microphone for the first time. God knows what my voice sounded like as I wasn't listening. and I rabbited on for 8 poems. I don't know if it was too long as I never got round to timing my words either but the whole night over ran so I might have to cut it down a bit. And people laughed, I hope in appreciation of my beer fuelled thoughts and laughed a lot when I rounded it up with a poem about Tea just to prove I don't drink all the time (but I don't think they bought it), as some one asked how many I had had that evening: and smiled at me when I said two! And It was two.
A delightful light and refreshing ale called Number 7 by Rudgate and their best ale, Ruby Mild, but that is by the by.
       A young lad with a good comic routine did enjoy it and said he enjoyed the tone of my words the comfortable breath of ale produced in my thoughts and made me wonder about the strangest things while watching the clouds go by.
      It was a great night. There were some really good acts which made me glad I went first as it just got better and better after me. And will I do it again? I bloody hope so and not take 10 months to try again.

Have a good evening and thank you for reading. xx

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Ralph and the Purple Fly By Christopher Brunt

Ralph and the Purple Fly
My book review on this growing master of twisted prose.

The story is unusual although a work obsessed scientist who unleashed who knows what upon an unsuspecting public is not an original one, Chris tackles it with talented gusto and thought tickling prose that makes it shine.

Even as I feel sorry for Prof. Conrad Constant I am also annoyed by his inability to cope with the every day that gives him his sense of superiority from the general human race, and his driven pursuit of his dreams that have helped him gain this level of academic excellence becomes lacking in detail at further levels of his work, which lead to his downfall.

Chris writes in such a way that you feel you have met the man, however briefly in real life and you are left  frustrated by the genius's lack of common sense. And the quirks that Chris sprinkles like a trail of bread crumbs lead you onward, through the increasingly misunderstood mind to the twisted and enigmatic end.

Chris, I look forward to your next book, The Lost Family and the crazy journey you will undoubted lead me through like a mad hatter with a pied pipe. I might not dance to your tune, but I cannot help but follow where you go. Keep up the good work, and don't be too long or I might burst with the growing anticipation.

Thank you for reading this and hopefully this book as well. Well worth a bite of the difference.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

The day after

I was cold this morning, cold and tired despite laying for several hours with my eyes closed and snoring. And no amount of clothes could warm me up. Like an adder in early spring, I sort out the sun to try and soak up the rays so my body could start working again, and my mind function, plus I had to go out and do some shopping, and sitting, staring at the telly was getting me nowhere.
So I wrapped myself up in black and braved the day, and slowly, although my footsteps were my usual fast pace, the sunlight crept in and brought me back to life.
Ok, this is reading like a tale of someone else who is living my life but I suppose that's what happens when you have a couple of good ales the night before, your own life seems far away and far more interesting than it really is. And I need the writing practise anyway.
A friend of mine has gone and got himself published.
Ralph and the Purple Fly by Christopher Brunt is an interesting read. I haven't finished it yet but will let you know what I make of it soon. (Oooh, a blog with a purpose, finally.)
You can find him on twitter @ or at 
Am I jealous? No. Am I envious? Oh yes very. Not so much that he has got published, but that he has pushed himself to get published. He has got his finger out and made someone other than a friend read his work, and that someone found merit in it.
How can I do less than that? A thousand tales linger in this brain of mind but I have never pushed to do anything with them accept occasionally spoil a prefectly crisp white sheet of paper with irratic ink marks I call writing just to make some space in there so I can get on with day to day living.
Now I have been issued a challenge, and one I should have risen to long ago but my stories were just, well, stories that I wrote, and thought about, and occasionally discussed with others who had no choice but to listen to me ramble on about some odd character doing strange things in the safety of my imagination.
Where I go from here I do not know but I have to try. Even if I just end up blogging a tale or two, my work will be out there. Shame my typing is not that fast, and I tend to have difficulty explaining things in type where words just flow from the pen when I write (not always coherently or legible I admit) and the story arrives from brain to hand in one easy ink blot.
I don't write ideas and plans, and I don't usually know what is going on until it happens, but this haphazardness works for me as a creative being. So getting organised for me is a hard thing to do, but I cannot let Chris take the literary world by storm all by himself now can I?
We shall see.

Thank you for reading.. xx

Monday, 9 June 2014

Breath of the Mind

Does the mind breathe?
I know it needs oxygen in order to work efficiently, but do our minds need more than that? Does it inhale time, and exhale thoughts, imagination, relaxation and creativity.
 Do our minds need moments to accept the wonders of the world around us, to process all the information that is bombarding us from our over abused senses, before it can go on being healthy and balanced?
Because we don't stop. There is no culture to take a moment out and let the brain process the world, to let the mind relax and meander from thought to random thought until it is a happy mind again.
 And we make it worse with social media, always checking where we are, who is around, what our favourite people are doing, what our work requires of us even when not at work. Arrgh!!!
Where is the technology that will make us enjoyers of leisure instead of consumers of pointlessness?
I have to hold my hand up and be counted, as the more tech savvy I get, the more I use it, and the harder it is to not spend that spare moment checking up just in case someone has emailed you, or what the weather will be in the next hour, where all I have to do it look up at the clouds and feel the wind to see if it might rain soon. And if I looked up, I might see the wonder of the world around us, the sparkling newness of the early summer greenery, the dancing tide viscously up the river in long, slow rolling humps of water, and the birds singing and darting just over my head as they rush to feed their rapidly growing brood of young.
Don't get me wrong, it is a good tool to use to teach, to keep in touch with those that matter to us, to learn new things, and discover what is going on in the local area, but then we forget to DO things. to go out and join in with those local activities, to engage with them.
But there is no time to just be.
In this ever expanding world of dwindling boundaries, in this time of work hard, and play harder, there is no pause button, no allowance of time to let thoughts trundle through the air, collecting questions and unusual answers as it goes, making us wonder at the marvellousness of the space we exist in. There is only the time to DO!
I know people all work differently and all need varying levels of experience, but if we just do all the time, how do we know what we are? If we cannot spend some time listening to the thoughts in our own heads, then what are we afraid of? That we are not happy with our lot? Not satisfied with our jobs and homes and lives?
That we don't want to be consumers of endless advancement?
I don't know, I have no answers, but I am happy I have the questions, and the time to ask them, even if it is only myself I ask.
For a long delicious moment in the warm sun, with a tickling breeze sending the clouds into paroxysms of bouncing laughter, I let my mind breathe!

(Thought of on a walk to work to place an order 3 hours before I started my job and then home again. Breath of mind indeed!)