Thursday, 29 April 2010

can't look won't look

gordon brown
texture like sun

i can't look
gordon brown is like a
run-over dog in the street

a run over dog that's still alive
and down a street you don't have to go down
and it is not good viewing
at all
so you don't go down it
i don't want to look
if it was a tory i'd probably have the
same gleeful sadism as everyone else
but as it is
i can't look

Wednesday, 28 April 2010


temperate climate
temperamental weather
where priscilla comes from, the prairies,you can see a change in the weather three days away
and it takes forever to get to you
while in edinburgh the weather unhurriedly changes 30 times a day
sunny wet gloomy cloudy bright fresh wet sunny
etc etc etc
o look, the sun's out

Monday, 26 April 2010

the strength in writing and voice

thousandth edinburgh murky morn
some great fun edinburgh sunday night band
the beau nasties
in the jazz bar after midnight
good band
spectacularly great fiddler
after the rocking show at jenny lindsay's club
my first show for seven months and, well
it went great
there's nothing like stressing in quantity to get your brain gear for performance
and first time i've seen jennny lindsay and jennifer williams in a while
both of whom have rather come on since i saw them
its strange to not see a mate like jennifer for what, 18 months, two years
and then see how much they've changed
how much they've done
performance wise
poetry book
writing course in Glasgow
major upheaval in life
poetry and music
poetry with soundscape
job as literary officer at traverse theatre
which is alot
and see and feel the growth of strength in writing and voice
its a good feeling
though we will have to meet up so i can find out where her mind's been on this journey
and where it might be going

fifth-generational intergalactic conflicts

youtubing memorabilia by soft cell
which makes me think of playing
say hello wave gooodbye by soft cell to an ex girlfriend
and her saying
errr... diverse-adjective-ly
who is this ruining that david gray song?
[david gray did a terrible cover of it twenty years after]
and me thinking
somewhere in the universe there are longstanding fifth-generational intergalactic wars over statements less wrong than that

Sunday, 25 April 2010

a great city to take people round

one thing about Edinburgh
its a great city to take people round who've never been here before
as long as they don't mind walking
i remember a fine day with Brendan McCloud and Lucy English
and another with Derrick Brown
i also remember two oversized american poets who i deliberately took up every hill i could
in the hope they might have a heart attack
so a fine three hour stroll with p
leith walk, calton hill, the bridges, the royal mile, the tron, the castle carpark for the view, the elephant house, the scott monument, and all the bits in between
and a 22 bus back
great stuff

Saturday, 24 April 2010

scotland ... or the right thing to do

for those who know scotland
we bought a few pasties from greggs in berwick
and we were accidentally eating them as we crossed the border
which could be described as culturally
the right thing to do

from thurs to sat
we chewed up the A30
the M25
the M1
the M18
and the A[1M]
and i mean we ate them up
the transit van has a jaw a maw a great gobbling mouth
and the maw was underneath as we sat high above england
loving the greenery
and it swallowed up the tarmac
chewed it up near noiselessly and
puffed it out as smoke in our rear
and we landed in planet Alnwick
which took some adjusting
as did the very nice Beaconsfield B'n'B
aaah greenery
ahhh black pudding
ahhh black sheep bitter
ahhh terraced street pubs
ahhh staunch steadfast strong solid old churches
ahh the beige stone of the streets
ahh bamburgh castle
which turns out to be another lost capital
seeing we went to fifteen or twenty ex-capitals of now forgotten empires
though it was of course a rather smaller kingdom or empire it was capital of
the northumbrian kingdom of the 7th and 8th
till it got totalled by the Vikings
and we had to go to the castle cos well
we had to go to a castle
cos p had never been to one before
[apart from rosenborg in denmark
and bidar, i supppose, built by Arabs in central India
on a quasi-Italian model]
so now here we are in edin
and i have my first show in seven months
which focuses the mind

Thursday, 22 April 2010

new transit

so we have a brand new ford transit
full tank of gas
a map
and the whole world north of here
next stop leicester
alnwick b'n'b

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

rattleless fit

squares within squares
angles within angles
blocks within blocks

regularised time within
regularised time
rows within rows
columns within columns
grey within grey
shade within shade
rattleless fit
snug as a brick in a block
as a note in a wad
as a line in a grid
life is, i swear
but life is elsewhere
............................and i got taken away by the
way taken
born solid
born rock hard
born dry-edged
born squaresided
born born

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

keynsian economics with the truth

you've heard of being economical with the truth

well how about playing keynesian economics with the truth
i.e. inflating it

Monday, 19 April 2010

buroc... or nailing myself shut

crocked by the buroc
gruelled by the grind
right-angled right back
where i came from
by the
constant perpendiculars
turned square
turned square again
turned back on myself
turning the internal corners
nailing myself shut
forms to fill
thinlining the
flatlining the...
blips of the brain
time to squeeze
to squeeze thinner
time to grid
to divide into smaller and smaller squares
and squeeze again
time squared squeezed squashed and squandered
forms and lines and schedules and percentages
grids and grills and griddles and greys
grinds and growls and grounds and gruels
forms formulas and formulations
modules and modulations
regularised space
rectangular white between darkness,
between lines,
gridded air,
gridded space,
gridded thought,
gridded imagination
gridded hours
right-angled right back where i came from
by the constant perpendiculars
nailing myself shut
with a hammer bang
a key tap
a machine drum
a steam hammer
a clock tick
every exact second
nailing myself shut
in time with the ticking of the clock
in rhythm with the tock

Sunday, 18 April 2010

show is being rehearsed in a variety of places


behind pagodas in durbar squares

half way up a semi-himalalya ascending or descending

one hotel room after another

down the disastered lumpbumpy bashcrangy arterial road across to eastern Nepal

in hill-station parks high above the impenetrable everest-concealing cloud

across the calcutta maidan and onto the ferry cross the hoogly

by gate 23 or so of one or more airport

round the disused tennis court

in the gentle lump-floored glade over the heath with a directorial priscilla sitting on a tree-stump

in the artfully manicured english back garden


blimey, were we lucky with the plane and the prevailing glassy ash cloud

3 hours later and we'd've had to land somehwre else in Europe
and a half a day later and ow, ouch, still stuck there, in India
with a run-out visa
and a 1000 quid on flights who knows when...
who knows?

Saturday, 17 April 2010

low budget nevada desert kinda movie ash cloud creeping east to Russia and south to the Med

this the only message in the bottle
the only complete image
the only unscrambled burst of electrons
to emerge from the continent where one by one the cities are going out
the last choke of a bankrupted civilisation assailed by vengeful tectonics

cos its a
nevada-desert kinda low-budget-movie ash cloud creeping east to Russia and south to the Med...
in a sliced arc of a whirlwind, a continent wide dust devil, a rotating tectonic smoky glaze

and what happens next?
giant ants?
everyone turns purple and gets eaten?
everyone goes blind and gets eaten by the tetchy veg?


everyone drifts into the cloud and is never seen again
the only ones left are in remote lighthouses and mines
the future is the
gene pool of the Antarctic Sub-Station


so what happens when the cars stop?
the radio waves get screened?
when everything fails?

when only those good at growing potatoes and skinning their own rabbits will survive?

this is it
night of the living live
the incredible shrinking us
apocalypse yesterday

as Sheen Marlowe heads upstream with a diminishing gang of non-mates into the craziness of Huck's river, whittled down like the cast of a country mansion murder thriller... while out in the universal Novo Boondocks ... with the survivalist battling everyone on every side... splintering into splinters into splinters, till all is atomised... awaiting the new Genghis ...and most of the species who remain die being poured like cement to make the bridges to cross the moats to be the new cannon fodder, the new boiling oil fodder,
crushing dust
what with the fungus shaped clouds drifing over fifty mile wide conurbations just ripe for social implosion
thank god we're not america because we'd have gone crazy by now
the kind of crazy civilian guns do not help
and we'd already be splintering on race lines preparing for the great mass bloodlet

oil refineries burn in lines on horizon
sand and fumes and steam and volcanic glass merge above to steal the sun... thickening widening stretching darkening... and stealing the sun... to the eclipse of the day... the month of twilight

so the proto moorlocks are heading for their bunkers ... the miners came out of the mines took one look at the starless world above... and went back down their shafts

ahhhg, its controlling us


Friday, 16 April 2010

where have all the people gone?

the empty sidewalks
the empty streets
o right, its england, there's less of us

Thursday, 15 April 2010

snuck in at the last

snuck into blighty at the last moment before the giant volcanic cloud
of 50s sci-fi yore
closed off the south of england
and all flights are cancelled for the rest of the day and probably longer
the old magma meets ice routine creating billions of particles of glassy silicate drifting down over this long green island
parental fold
roast chicken

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

next stop the next

out of the heat and into whatever england will do

Tuesday, 13 April 2010



where we first started five months ago

which was an error

not much to do or see and a long way from anywhere...

after 30 hours on a burning hot train

the metal almost too hot to touch

from burning hot kolkata

which we liked a lot

far more than we thought

hot and easy

And yes

Free of symptoms

For the first time in what, six weeks

Since we got on the train at Aurangabad

No, two months

No cold no cough no ache no stomach no head

well, actually, a nasty rash

yet not enough to prevent

A sudden need for hypochondria


one day left in India


Sunday, 11 April 2010


Malcolm McClaren

I say in this year’s show punk rock is THE cultural event which has had the greatest impact on my life

And how much would have happened without him?

The bands would have happened

But would it all have been so big and massively resounding?


last free day

ferry cross the hoogly...

good time to be leaving cos



all round

The gusto, gusted

All keenness now busted

Broken and dulled on a hundred shores

A two-channel TV

A button in want of a polish

A windless flag

Where once the sap of curiosity rose and gleamed in the sun

It now rose weakly, looked blandly at the light,

and retreated back to the roots

The bowing arc has flat-lined

the spin has spun

the sing has sung

The glass

Then probably half empty

Now a quarter full


and seeping

Ja Ded

The zap has drained

The zest has leaked

The wax has waned

The point has peaked

So its


all round

have had enough of travelling

and of India

and am looking forward to whatever's next

ultimately coming back here was a mistake


and my view of the human race is decidedly lower than it was when it started

which wasn't the case last time i was here


appropriate memory...


Saturday, 10 April 2010


so, how's it going, i ask myself?
how indeed
how this blog
how travel
how writing
how show...

blogging does writing poetry writing no favours
for me
writing poetry involves boiling down ideas and boiling them down again
and again
and trying them together
and moving them about
trying to find a succession of thoughts which truly cooks
this is how the pieces i like the most have come about
and this is a slow process
is about distilling words in tiny drops with painful lack of speed
while blog writing is about spraying words out there daily
its an entirely other process
and one which has inhibited the poetry
has got in the way
stopped me from writing
maybe in the long run
the fact the blog has forced me to generate so many words and ideas that
on any reasonable mathematic
a certain proportion have to be quite good
and who knows, a few might be
so maybe in the long run its a good thing...
but for now
its an inhibitor...

uncle tom and alice

uncle tom's cabin
a great book
and one i was wholly prejudiced against
the fact that uncle tom is a curse flung with venom
and that i have used it myself as an insult
is pretty hard to take when the character is of a
christian martyr...
and the dramatic arc and moral force of the book require such a character
its a very well-written, very dramatic book
very clear and together for its time... 1850
and one of the most successful novels ever written
lest anyone forget
in terms of sales
and of impact
and to criticise uncle tom for not burying a hatchet in anyone's head is simply fatuous
a la james baldwin [who i would much rather read than this book]
for the book has a range of characters black and white
some much better realised than others
it is very much a product of its time
with some blunt sterotypes
white and black.
yet it has such a history of loathing
from white and black that almost beggars belief
i mean its not the movie birth of a nation
the film which invented film narrative as we know it
where the "happy ending"
is all the black people coming out of their houses to vote , being greeted by mounted white men with guns, so they have no choice but to go back into their houses and not vote
o yes...

which led to the biggest surge in membership of racist organisations the US has ever known

alice in wonderland
shite movie
v disapp mr depp
top h bon car
most of those childhood otherworld films are
the harry potters work great
a great amount of effort has gone into creating an alternative world
with lots of name and detail and care and, well, love
bloody narnia
or the golden compass
or this
simply haven't done that and don't work and i can't be bothered to follow it
plus there's a few ways the movie isn't properly trying
in what ways does it relate to previous journeys to wonderland alice?
how is this resolved, or realised?
its not, is it?
oo gives a toss?

Friday, 9 April 2010

first run through

of new show
95% of it
audience of one
not so much nerve-wracking as... hmmm
a lot of work to do
though that is always the way
yet a certain quantity of new technique must be acquired...
and storytelling is different
in some ways you have to let the story do the work
while i'm very used to chucking the whole technical kitchen sink into the mix
enjoying calcutta
bloody hot but an easy place to be
good food
good for strolling
nice and easy
just a few days left after 150 days

Thursday, 8 April 2010


like taking a bath in heat

Tuesday, 6 April 2010


All those swirls of words

Those twists of dissipating vapour

Now vanished into the ether

More gone than a deleted file





Monday, 5 April 2010

100 movies

in no particular order

come and see
loneliness of the long distance runner
hana bi
once upon a time in the west
city of god

hiroshima mon amour
ugetsu monogatari
citizen kane

les enfants du paradis
peeping tom

8 1/2
battle of algiers
jules and jim
great rock n roll swindle

aguirre: wrath of god
secrets and lies
ai no corrida
the seventh seal

a matter of life and death
the masque of the red death
twenty-four hour party people
farewell my concubine

la haine
bridge on the river kwai
deconstructing harry
black cat white cat

the magnificent seven
the sweet smell of success
the ladykillers
nights of cabira
grizzly man

my name is joe
doctor strangelove
night of the living dead
life of brian

the pianist
o brother where art thou
reservoir dogs

gone with the wind
kill bill
total recall
taxi driver

a clockwork orange
night and the city
hairspray [orig]
la dolce vita

doctor zhivago
mary poppins
all quiet on the western front

city lights
the great escape
crouching tiger hidden dragon
groundhog day
monty python and the holy grail

roman holiday
ashes and diamonds
what a wonderful life
terminator 2

the lives of others
fallen angels
high noon
high plains drifter
night of the hunter

duel in the sun
the third man
annie hall
to kill a mockingbird
the godfather

carry on cleo
its a hard day's night

golddiggers of 1933
raiders of the lost ark
who framed roger rabbit
boogie nights

hotel rwanda

tis difficult to list your fave hundred movies ever
not least because some films had a massive impact at the time
yet years after...

Sunday, 4 April 2010



what happens when a disintegrating

society is too crowded?

has no room to collapse into?

more no everest


up in the clouds
ten days ago we were in nagarkhot in nepal for a non-view of everest from the west
and now here we are for a non-view of it from the east


slow 1kmh crawl

up round the tight bends

some more than 360 degrees

into the mist


kinda jaded

and not enjoying the cold

and thinking to the next stop

beyond calcutta and hyderabad

to england and edinburgh


so will chiefly stay in and read

... have learnt 7400 of the 8100 words of the new show

and will less learn

rather than naturally acquire

the last 700



am reading UNCLE TOM'S CABIN

not a book i thought i'd ever read

but well

its one of the most successful books ever


the antithesis of BIRTH OF A NATION

and very well put together in terms of a drama...

so here we go

its gonna be grim

Friday, 2 April 2010


and then the whole thing happening again

worst journey ever
o hellish night
kathmandu to kakadbitti, the eastern Nepalese border
meant to be 15 hours
but takes 20
and you spend the first five hours in the
worst traffic jam ever
worse than getting out of glastonbury festival
the getting-out-of-the-kathmandu-valley bit
which is endless
and then settling down toa crazy speed on terrible roads
the main arterial road in this country
and yet appalling
and the driver always like this?
or the driver making up for time?
and the bashes
the crashes
the bangs and the kerrangs
so you are tenderised
for hour upon hour
upon hour
and meanwhile
not least the limb ache the head ache
the grind the gruel the numb the urrhh
you rashly ordered some lukewarm chicken and
o yes
you are suffering the consequences
o yes
so you are wiped for two days while recovering