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all questions need answers

October 20, 2014 at 8:10pm

1 note

So, pages 10 and 11 of the Nottingham Post are looking pretty good today. Nottingham Festival of Words was excellent!
That’s my real name, by the way :-)

October 19, 2014 at 4:30pm

5 notes

The Pretty Boys of Gangster Town

I’d wanted to write this poem for years, but I’ve never been happy with what I’ve come up with until now. It’s about Guildford in Surrey, my birth town but somewhere I’ve never bonded with or missed. I’ve tried to articulate many things in here, not just my relationship with my birth town but ideas of roots, memories, identity, political ideology, blame, and how your bias can make you see what you look for. I hope you enjoy it.

“Get yer swank on mate, get yourself down
The boys are on their way to G-town
Be in Yates by eight o’clock and
Learn to loosen the ladies, you cock”

G was for Guildford
G was for gangster
And those were the words of our “Al Capone”
When small town boys sought small town joys
Every Saturday night

From the Bridge Street bars to Bojangelz just down
Via every ‘place to be’ in that three club town
We’d dare the bouncers to check our IDs
At every room of sharp shirted monkeys
Sniffing ‘raras’ with skirts as high as junkies
With their endless Mum and Dad funds
With Daddies little dirt boxes deflowered
During every night I never showed and
Every failed attempt to plunder
Solved by a Sourz or a tactical chunder
Until eleven when everything shut
But Bojanglez, The Drink or Cinderellas and
They’d flight by The Friary as they’d bring and
They’d mock the tramps by Burger King
A mating call from all the fellas
For our Lynx effected lack of shame and
How “Yeah we’d totally snort cocaine”

But for small town eighteen and all that it seemed
I lost my faith in their hand me down dreams
Yet through all the strawpedos and a little bad sex
I’d always to arise to the cries in their eyes
As I learnt to party with a frown
With the pretty boys of Gangster Town

Their adulthood looked effortless
As that younger me had been
In scruffy clothes in Scruffy Murphy’s
Where the bouncers were bruisers, the bogs were obscene and
The pints of pipe cleaner drowned every last thought
For a pair of tenners and a ‘photocopy of my passport’
Useless everywhere but there
Where we tested our limits, tested our fears
Where we learnt that innocence was not to be trusted
‘Til the day that dear old Scruffy’s got busted

But those pretty boys were never aware
Of any other kind of care
And every time I’d hark on back
Scruffy Murphy’s came under attack
As I tried to copy how the pretty boys lived
With every last fiver every cash point would give
Always on alert for the tossers and tools
From the daily misery of Glebelands School and
Those pretty boys would never understand
Why that town was far from a Wonderland
Just the same old streets of photocopied times
Where it mattered whose Dads earned more than mine

I learnt those nights
I learnt them well
I learnt that Gangster Town was hell
That small towns make big choices
That small towns amplify small voices
That small town time is empty and vast
That small towns trap you in their future and your past
In Gangster Town, where I was from
In Gangster Town, where I didn’t belong
A town that years ago ceased to exist
When the pretty boys abandoned station
For dinner parties and tax evasion
A town left to a new generation
That never partied with a frown
Never called it Gangster Town and
Despite defeating my small town fears and
Bojangelz being shut for years and
The Friary full of worldly grub and
Scruffy’s now a gastropub
Those pretty boys are ageing men
Raising kids to be like them
As they fill enormous pots with gold
Hedge fund rich and charity cold and

In that town is a ghost
Of a stranger called me
With different hair, different jeans
Different desires, different means and
Our eyes meet with every party frown
Every walk down Bridge Street
Or any street in Gangster Town and
That ghost looks intently as I grow older
But not at me, at the chip on my shoulder
That still puts people under secret duress
As they fail at his idea of success
The pretty boys who bought out their cares
Born into their world
And staying there

As if no other town had bullies at school
Bell ends filling small town bars
Families with too many cars
Charities struggling to get donations and
Hedge fund hacks who don’t pay their tax and
As if no other town would have made me fraught in my struggle to relate to a combination of love and hate that taught me to slate the way I articulate the fate I was given and the destiny I made in those fused and fading convolutions of teenage confusion from those good and bad experiences that still define me and
As if billions of people without shelter or water or safety will never dream for even a thousandth of the birth luck I had

Yet I chain myself to that party frown
I chain myself to that small Surrey town
To the nights behind those Bridge Street walls that built walls in my mind
To how somewhere in all those hand me down dreams
I found everybody’s dreams but mine and
To why I’ll always need that frown
That’s copyright of a little place
That some teenagers once called
Gangster Town

October 15, 2014 at 8:04pm

1 note

When the t*ries Tax

Just to clarify, when I say t*ries I’m referring to the t*ries and UKIP, as they are basically a bunch of ex t*ries.

When the t*ries tax
It’s calculated criminality
Dreamt up by blinkered hacks who want to miser their arses
To paper over the cracks
With ever more elaborate ways
To exploit the so called lower classes

The t*ries only take care of their own
They always have
They always will
They’ll claw away at our dignity
If it’s the only way to have their fill
They’ll keep turning a blind eye
To all those tax breaks for the brass
And if times get tough
They pick on the vulnerable
And keep telling us all that “life’s an arse”

In spite of the evidence they try to hide
The boarded up shops, the defaulted mortgages, the soaring use of food banks, the gagging order, the benefit cards, the ECHR, the TTIP, the NHS sell off, the carefully constructed defecit lies
The t*ries still won’t open their eyes
And in spite of them losing our triple-a rating
And failing their own test
And in spite of even most economists telling them they’re wrong
The cuts cut deeper
And deeper
At their behest

So when they slash, my friends, you’d better duck
Because when it comes to me and you
The t*ries couldn’t give a flying fuck
That’s the t*ry way
And if your business goes bust
If you can’t earn a living wage
If you want your kids to go to uni
Or if you’re trying to leave your council home

If your savings went on rising bills
If you’re too ill to work
If you’re too worried to sleep at night
Or if your bank turned you down for that start up loan

Then of course you don’t deserve their help
But if you need it
Well, that’s tough luck
You’re just part of the wrong faction
Of a crass, underhand, Social Darwinism in action

We don’t need the poor who want to learn, learning
And we don’t need the poor who want to work, working
And if you’re too ill to work, well you’re just shirking
A reluctant dependence on the state should be punished
That’s what the t*ries seem to say

That’s why disabled people on the poverty line had their benefits cut
That’s why the top rate of income tax was also cut
So if you want to avoid the t*ry knife
Try not to be disabled
Or ill
Or poor
Or vulnerable
Or disadvantaged

Next year, we can finish the final chapter in the story
Of this gory t*ry regime
We can fight them on the beaches, in the fields and in the streets
Together we can kick out austerity
And together we can kick out the t*ries
Because if we don’t
They’ll bring every single last one of us
Crashing to our knees

October 12, 2014 at 5:06pm

2 notes


Don’t rat on a rat
For in the night you’ll croak
And don’t call a duck Duck, duck
That’s just for Nottingham folk

And don’t pander to a panda
Bamboo is all they bring
And don’t you ever dog a dog
There’s laws against that type of thing

And don’t try to fox a fox
Those claws have quite a force
And don’t shout at a horse
Why? ‘Cos it’ll make you hoarse of course

And don’t be a bee
For you they’re far too small
And don’t badger a badger
They don’t like that at all


1 note

I learnt something today. I learnt that maternity ward jokes are all about the delivery.

October 11, 2014 at 5:16pm

1 note

Upcoming Shows

Please write to me at towelintherain@gmail.com to book me for a show, or see below for where to catch me live :-)

Upcoming live shows:

Speech Therapy @ Nottingham Festival of Words, Old Market Square, Sunday 19th October, 11.30am

Speech Therapy, Bar Deux, Nottingham, Thursday 23rd October, 8pm

DIY Poets Present, The Maze, Nottingham, Thursday 13th November, 8pm.

Hope to see you soon!


2 notes

I Met You in a Pound Shop

I published an abridged version of this poem earlier this year, but it seems I forgot to publish this full version.

My friend challenged me to write a poem with the following words and phrases included:

Kylie Minogue
Top Gear
Your French poodle
Student food
Mattress springs
Nicotine withdrawal

So I did. Oh, by the way, this poem is set in 2017.

I met you in a pound shop
On that fateful winters day
You were reaching for some medicine
But I was in your way
When I heard you say ‘Excuse me please’
The birds began to sing
My head spun round like Kylie Minogue
You were like eternal spring

Yes, I met you in that pound shop
But talk was all we did
By bargain hunters and teens
Who somehow had eleven kids
Like overcooked penne pasta
I was flat before the fall
I should have asked you out, that day
But I didn’t have the balls

'Cos when we met in that pound shop
You were the one thing on my mind
Five Kit Kats for a quid
But you were the real find
Now every cheap umbrella
Feels like an embolism
I would have loved your French poodle
And vegetarianism

But when we met in that pound shop
I got weakness in my knees
And then I stumbled headlong
Into rubbish DVDs
And now when I walk past them
The one thing that gets me by
Is what happened on that fateful day
As I gazed into your eyes

Another woman in that pound shop
One who’d lost her hated fame
Was crying by the calendars
That no longer bore her name
'A woman called Justine Bieber' you said
Who’d had a revelation
And figured he could boost his fame
With a sex change operation

'Cos when I met you in a pound shop
We saw how the big can fall
Into hopelessness, neurosis
And nicotine withdrawal
And how life can be beautiful
But how it cleans you with a chamois
If you think that you’re above the law
Or street race in, say, Miami

On that day inside that pound shop
I thought I’d see no more
But who could have predicted
That sink hole in the floor
Down and down Justine tumbled
To gravity’s indignation
As his fatal fall was broken
By a secret civilisation

'Cos when I looked down from that pound shop
Through where the floor had been
On a throne attached to mattress springs
I saw proud new queen Justine
I turned my head towards you
But you’d left without a sound
It seems you can put a price on love
When everything’s a pound

But if we met in that pound shop now
I wouldn’t feel the same
Not now the floor’s been reinforced
Then reinforced again
I’m happy with my student food
And Top Gear repeats on Dave
If it means a world without Justine
Is something we can save

October 2, 2014 at 8:12pm

4 notes

We Can

A politically motivated poem for National Poetry Day.

We can fund a war
But can’t fund the poor
Fund the tax of the ones
Who create all the mess
But we cannot fund the NHS

We can starve those cheats
Let their scrounging be seen
While we give tens of millions
To her majesty the queen

We can bleed all you paupers
From birth ‘til you pop it
While we let business sue us
For assumed absent profit

We can break up the shale
Underneath all your homes
While we poison all the water
But the water we own

We can swap all your money
For a benefits card
We will make you subhuman
Make you bleed every shard

We can rip up your rights
Until your fight has died
Make your protest illegal
Cast your words to the side

We can dangle some carrots
Make you hoard what you’ve made
We will lie to your faces
If it keeps you afraid

We are doing this to you
Ever day of your lives
With the papers in our pocket
We will keep you in hives

‘Til we have all your money
On you we must gorge
Yet we’ll still get your vote
…yours insincerely
David, Iain and George

September 24, 2014 at 7:42pm

1 note

I used to date an Australian chef in Paris, but her potato obsession was a bit of a pomme de terrent.

September 21, 2014 at 5:30pm

3 notes

A professionally recorded live performance of me at Mouthy Poets Say Sumthin 7. 

Sunset Eyes Will Paralyse.

Hope you enjoy :-)