Friday, 17 March 2017

HiJilled Event Manchester

At the end of the month we have a new sensation mooching its way to Manchester - Hijilled! It's nice to have something uncompromisingly female-fronted in an industry (well, dare I say, 'a world') in which men are more readily put into prominent positions.

I don't actually know all that much about the acts, but I'm still excited :) It's mainly a music-focused event, but I always find with punk that I just end up enjoying whatever/whoever's on. Maybe, in that respect, not knowing all about the acts is a good thing. One thing I will say is that the reviews section of 'The Johnnie Squizzercrow Experience' made me chuckle! But yeah, if you want to know more, click those links (couldn't find Cosmic Slop, but here's Lou McLean, and here's The Lab Rats). Otherwise, do what I'm going to do and just be prepared to be surprised and delighted :)

Sophie Sparham I know a little more about. I'm sure my sister had one of her books, Snow in Hell, if my memory serves. I've heard other people saying good things about her work too, and am generally  just keen to see what her work's like, and how the performance poetry is going to sit alongside the music. Lots to look forward to!

It's free in, by the way, and everything else you need to know is on the poster. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Asymptote Hiring!

I've followed Asymptote for a while and think they're great. Truly visionary, and you should at least take an interest.

I've also wanted to work for them for a while. It's hard not to, really, when you think about the opportunity to be immersed in so much vibrant and probing art and helping to bring it to others. I always thought it would be a bit selfish of me, to get to do what I love, but then I checked out Guy Sewell's words, which I see as a strong rallying call:

At a time when nations are increasingly looking inward and
destroying decades of hard-fought internationalism, I
consider projects such as Asymptote to be at the forefront
of a cultural and ethical resistance: an alternate vision of
artistic collaboration.

I had thought about it in softer terms, you know, bringing lightness to the dark, but this call is really more about bringing the fire to the ice. Active! Yeah!

DEADLINE MARCH 17th 2017. All other details available by clicking on the link below. Good luck!

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Robert Sheppard Symposium @ Edge Hill University

Oh gosh, is that the date already? Please forgive me for being so late to advertise this. I thought March seemed like a way off, and yet here it is, being the second day of itself already. Anyway, enough of my incredulity at time's passionless passage - if you can make it on the 8th (next Wednesday...), then do come to what promises to be a great and illuminating gathering of people, papers and presentations on the legend that is Robert Sheppard.

If you click anywhere on this whole paragraph, you'll be taken to the Edge Hill website, where you'll find all the details you'll need, and the opportunity to reserve your place. Both the presentations through the day and the reading in the evening are completely free to attend, but booking your place is what you gotta do. I just booked mine, and I'm getting excited! That's why I've knocked up this wee post, because now I've done that, it all seems very real and imminent...

I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Project Failure

Yes, I wrote haiku in a spare address book.
Wasting stationery is a sin, damnit!
Just to clarify; this post is about a project that failed, not about 'Project Failure', which is something entirely different... By the way, if one tries to fail, and fails, has one succeeded?

Enough! On with the post:

You may have seen me talking about my 'yearly projects' before (I've done 'diary a day', 'line a day' and, last year, 'haiku a day'. Well, basically, I'm declaring last year's one a failure. Although I'm guessing I wrote well over 365, the aim was to write at least one every day. It was more about the discipline of sitting down every day to write, not the amount I produced. As usual with these things, I ended up messing up here and there, having a few days where I hadn't written anything, then having to catch up. I came to accept 'slipping' as part of the process (hey, life gets in the bloody way, alright!), but I knew there had been a lot of slippage since I last looked. About a week ago, I thought I'd go back and finish it off. The last entry I made was on the 15th of November... I decided not to carry on.

On the plus side, I think there's a couple of decent haiku what I did. However, my tendency to make them 'about the day', i.e. 'plot-based' (rather than about the image or setting) often hampers them. I realise, when I go back to reading other people's, that there's a massive gulf between most of what I write and the potency of the form done competently. The same can be said with respect to most writing, but there's something about this whole 'daily thing' I've been doing that can make it hard to see the wood for the trees. You know, you sort of spiral down into a 'just do it' mentality, rather than what normally happens spontaneously which is more, you get an idea every so often and think 'I might have something here', then you put it down on paper. But again, I suppose reading is a good guard against that 'spiral', and conscious concentration, so it comes down to my personal incompetence, really.

I find the whole analysis of it more and more distasteful as I try and look at it. What's wrong with intuition, just doing things? Well, that doesn't seem to be enough for me... I can at least say that writing a lot, regularly, is good for stamina (or rather, I've found it to be so). The real problem here is that I can't comment on much else, because I'm hardly in a position to say 'my writing's getting better', and even if I was, I don't think it has. And that's the big issue for me; I was less concerned with how these projects turned out - whether they could be deemed a success in and of themselves - but was hoping it would have wider-reaching implications for my writing as a whole, and I don't think that's the case. The 'haiku' thing may have been good to try and sharpen my viewing [of the world] process, but it didn't encourage any serious engagement [with poetry, or writing, as a whole]. And yes, I can use these haiku for another project [collaboration with the self, as Richard Barrett had it], but I want to stop building this material up and kidding myself that, if that's all I've come up with, it's been worthwhile. If I make a good poem out of it, then groovy, but right now my effort has been poor and I've got little to show for it.

Since giving up on the latest project, I've still been writing. Not enough, I'd say, especially given that hours in my job dried up in January, so I've had more time to do what I want (what's necessary, even?). I think the idea of putting tasks into your diary is good, as it can help you 'ring fence' time. In this respect, I need to take my own advice, because I do suggest it to others, but haven't done it myself. Then I wonder why I hate myself, and why I have to write another blog post like this!
This year I was going to plan something, like a poem a week (finished, that is, or to a decently-edited degree), or something like that. That's a good target - more than, on average, what I would normally be doing (I can write new stuff at that rate, sure, but it's the editing where I come a cropper). Then I did nothing. Had no specific, long-term fixation. I want to say that not having a project has felt liberating, or I've put more energy into something else, but neither's true (well, except for more social pursuits and the recent collaboration).

It must be time to wrap this solipsistic sh1t up... I never think I'm doing enough. I find targets helpful but sometimes I set myself big and slightly inflexible ones. So maybe I should do a weekly quota/target? Something less rigid, with more chance for affirmation (things are lonely enough without doubting yourself...). I know some people might find it pathetic that I have to go through all this, but then there are other writers that I speak to who find they need deadlines and extra motivation to get to solve their craft problems. I'm struggling a bit, for sure, but at least it's not a struggle from the bottom (i.e. doing nothing) up. It's a struggle from the near-bottom up. Hey, that was almost positive!
I always try and find justification for my posts, otherwise (by and large...) I don't publish them, and I think that is why I write about these projects. Anyone reading can see another perspective on the struggle for production, and certain other aspects of the work. Hope this one's helped, even if only in a small way!

Peace, love and light.

Sunday, 12 February 2017


Is Antonio Conte's future really that secure? After what looked like a promising start to the season, it seems that we were too quick to call them 'title contenders' and 'leaders'. Obviously, when Liverpool heroically held them to a draw at Anfield, that was just a blip, but now this. Against Burnley! Har har!

With just one point out of a possible total of three in their last one game, it looks like the steam has run out of the blue locomotive's chuffer. If their whole season had run at this horrible 33% rate, they would have, by now, twenty-five points, and be sitting fourteenth in the Premier League table (although their performance merits relegation, if you ask me), five points ahead of the relegation-zone-toppers.

Come on Chelsea, get it together!

Up next: Is there any truth to the rumour that Dider Drogba plans a return to Stamford Bridge?

Monday, 9 January 2017

The Enemies Project: North by North West Poetry Tour

Biiig news! It's barely more than a week away now, and Blogtastic is proud to announce the upcoming collaboration between myself and Laura Tickle. I've been saying for a while [in fact, it's on my blog bio thingy on this very site] how I'm open for collaboration with other artists, and my prayers have been answered. I'm extremely happy - and even luckier - to be given the chance to be a part of The Enemies Project, a massive and wide-reaching organism that has swallowed up most of the world and showcased a lot of talent across many disciplines in a [successful] bid to examine artists' creative interrelationships. I really enjoyed the one I went to a couple of years back at the Fly and the Loaf, and to perform at one is huge for me.

The process has been cool, y'know. Sort of different and sort of the same with respect to what I was thinking it'd be like. It's really exciting, I find, as there's a pleasant pressure to the whole thing. Might go into that more at a later date, might not. Right now, it's just important that you remember the date: 19th January 2017. You should also remember the venue [Edge Hill Arts Centre], and the time [1800hrs]. It would be great to see you there :) There are other dates as well, so here's a re-link to the North by Northwest Tour so you can check them out - hopefully I'll be at the Liverpool one :)

Here's a link to Laura's piece that appeared on Pages [more links to some of her other work in that post]:

Here's a vibrant flash fiction she wrote for Calum Kerr's Flash Flood, 'Carry Him Safely':

Steven Fowler already has a collection of collaborations published with Penned in the Margins [sold out at this link, but free sample available:], any other Enemies related stuff just check the link I've already given you.

And as for other poets and their works - Google it! I've not got time to go into it all, I've got poetry to do :D

Thursday, 10 November 2016


That's first as in FIRST, got it?

I just wanted to say a few words about my first taste of FLIM NITE, a [performance] poetry/comedy/spoken word/music-based meditation on a chosen popular film. Last Monday, it was the turn of Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away to be poured through the conceptual sieve of an eclectic mix of artists. It was really good fun.

It made me feel excited about life. Other poetry events have made me feel this way before, but FLIM NITE's extra charm comes from a sense of fearless confidence, honest experimentalism and refreshing changes of style. It wasn't all poetry by any means, however I did approach things from a poetic perspective.

I'm not a big user of technology in my work - Microsoft Word is usually as hi-tech as I get - but I enjoyed the artists' use of powerpoint presentations, music, recordings etc. There was only one instance where I'd say it was gratuitous. Also, as someone who's not generally a proponent of 'performance poetry' [as distinct from what I understand as 'slam poetry', which I think is more language-based with an emphasis on the spoken delivery, rather than delivery in general] I was still impressed with the uses of props, drama and different methods of delivery on the night. If you'd described this to me as I just have to you, I'd probably cringe, but it did work.

I was going to go into the specifics of each act, but it's really hard because there was a lot that went on, so to give you context would just take too long. There were some bits I felt didn't work so well, too, but overall I enjoyed the evening a lot. Plus, I think that right now it's more important to focus on the many positives we can, rather than try and get bogged down in much else.

This was the set list etc [minus open mic-ers]:

The next one's Die Hard, in honour of Jesus being born, and if I can make it I'd love to go. I'd recommend you do too.

Peace, love and light x