Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Portuguese Hay(na)ku)

Day 27 of NaPoWriMo asks for a Hay(na)ku, a variant of the haiku. As the site describes, A hay(na)ku consists of a three-line stanza, where the first line has one word, the second line has two words, and the third line has three words. Here's mine. I'll go into more detail in a later post. Stay tuned.

Alcohol flows
nearly lost nose

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Erasing Eraserhead

For Day 20 of NaPoWriMo, The site organisers suggest we attempt an erasure poem. To do this, we take an existing piece of text- possibly another poem, although it could be any piece of writing- and delete certain words to alter the meaning.

The year before last I used the lyrics to an Erasure tune and erased some of the words to create a strange poem. This year, I used the plot to the David Lynch film, Eraserhead. 

I found this synopsis on Wikipedia. It's a surreal movie to begin with- as are all Lynch movies- so I only had to cut a few conjunctions and pronouns, then format.

Man in the Planet moving levers floating in the sky.
A spermatozoon-like creature emerges
from Spencer's mouth, floating into the void.
an industrial cityscape, Spencer walks home filled with
piles of dirt and dead vegetation.

carve a chicken
the bird moves and writhes on the plate and gushes blood.
tries to kiss him.
X has had his child
X, however, is not sure if what she bore is a child.
caring for the child—a swaddled bundle
with an inhuman, snakelike face,
resembling the spermatozoon
infant refuses all food, crying incessantly, intolerably.

sound drives X hysterical, she leaves Spencer and the child.
Spencer attempts to care for the child, it struggles to breathe,
has developed painful sores.
Spencer experiencing visions, again seeing the Man in the Planet,
the Lady in the Radiator sings to him as
she stomps upon miniature replicas of Spencer's child.
a sexual encounter with the Beautiful Girl Across the Hall,
Spencer has another vision,
seeing him get decapitated,
a stump underneath resembles the child's face.
Spencer's head sinks into a pool of blood, falls from the sky,
landing on a street below.
A boy finds it, bringing it to a pencil factory to be turned into erasers.

seek out the Beautiful Girl Across the Hall,
she has begun taking other men home.
Crushed, Spencer returns to his room,
child crying.
a pair of scissors: for the first time removes the child's swaddling.
the child has no skin; the bandages held its internal organs together,
they spill apart. The child gasps in pain,
Spencer cuts its organs with the scissors.
The wounds gush a thick liquid, covering the child.
power in the room overloads, lights flicker;
child grows to huge proportions.
the lights burn out completely,
the child's head replaced by the planet.
Spencer, in his normal form, billowing cloud of eraser shavings.
side of planet bursts apart, inside,
Man in the Planet struggles with levers, now emitting sparks.
Spencer embraced warmly by the Lady in the Radiator,
both white light and white noise crescendo
screen turns black and silent.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Anti-Tesco Reduced Isle Challenge Review

I've just realised I should have written this post two weeks ago- on 7th March I uploaded this post describing how I wanted to keep away from the reduced isle in Tesco in a bid to eat better and stop being a cheapskate.

Well, I certainly cut down from buying from that particular shelf. I've made a point of eating fresher food, and more veg, and it seems to be doing me well. I've crashed back into it when I've seen a deal here and there- like tonic water or something- but I've not bought any reduced pizzas or microwave meals. And I feel better for it.

Then the project deadline passed and I completely forgot to write it up. Let's see how it affected me in the gym. What improvements were made during that month-long period?

I'm lifting 15 plates on cable crunch, and doing as many reps as possible. I've put on 10 more reps on when performing this with a metal handle, and 10 more reps with the rope handle. That's it. Not an amazing improvement, it may seem, but I'm spending more time doing boxing and gym classes, and working out at home, rather than using the actual resistance machines in the gym. My weight has gone back down to around 73kg, which isn't great but is 4kg less than what I ballooned up to. I'm sleeping a little better, which is forever a problem overall, and I'm feeling more energetic.

I've made further improvements since the 7th April, both in the gym and other areas of life, but that's for another post...

Monday, 20 April 2015

Diamond Robbery Fail

I made it back to feedback group Writers Connect for the first time in nearly a year. For a warm-up exercise, we wanted to write in second person. We used the recent Hatton Garden robbery as a prompt. We didn't research the details- we just set the timer going and wrote, hence my deviance from accuracy and slightly abrupt ending.

Once you feel the engine cut out you pick up the drill, smashing it through the brickwork, the movement vibrating your bones and drowning out the hammering of your pulse. You make six quick holes, then John slams the sledgehammer through the wall. The alarm sounds. Three minutes. You crawl through the dust and rubble and onto the carpet, John running ahead of you to the cabinets. Another swing smashes the glass and you throw the sack to him. You scoop up the diamonds and dump them into the sack, and it reminds you of your stint in the post room. Similar, yet not so.

Michael shouts from the truck. “Two minutes.”

The sack is now full and the shelves are empty, and you make a point of fighting your urges to scramble back to the vehicle's waiting side door. You walk professionally, hands feeling cold, stifling panic, placing the sack onto the floor of the truck, sparse treasure, worth more than the warehouse truck's usual stock even when full to the brim.

You climb in and John yanks on the shutters, plunging you into darkness once again, and you scramble, arms out in front, to the wall at the back of the driver's cabinet.

The engine coughs to life and you feel the lurch of movement, and with your back to the wall you slump into your hoard.

Where's your glove?

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Dear John Letter

I'm not sure how to put this, I don't know how to say
What I'm thinking and I'm feeling without it sounding gay
You need to come to terms with this, I think because it's true,
No other way to say this, but there's something wrong with you.
You're determined in your efforts to stay inside my life
Inviting me on man-dates, like you're my man-wife.
I'm under the impression I'm the only man you know
Hence when the weekend comes around it's only me you phone.
At 5 pm right on the dot on every Friday evening,
I know exactly what it is that I will be receiving.
Your life is clearly empty time except for occupation
So now you want to take up mine, in essence what I'm statin'.
But all your efforts, I must say, are anything but fruitful,
'Cause now I've got to take a stand and hand it to you brutal.
Not trying to be an arsehole here, not like I've got a cob on
It's just that realistically we don't have much in common.
I tried to tell you how to go and open friendship circles
I tried to help you sort things out, it's not meant to be hurtful
My advice to you right now is meet some folks your own age
And as Fleetwood Mac would say, you can go your own way.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Why I Unfollow

The prompt from Day 10 of NaPoWriMo is an abecedarian poem, a poem with a structure derived from the alphabet. I chose to start each line of my poem with the subsequent letter, hence constructing a 26-line poem. The theme is unfollowing- but not unfriending- people on Facebook, something I've been meaning to write about for some time.

Although I like you,
Boring statuses bring me down.
Corny “life advice” posts,
Dodgy videos or dull updates
Exacerbate my discomfort.
For too long, I've been seeing your
Garish brags and tedious accounts.
However, I don't want a fallout.
I don't want you to think I don't like you.
Just please don't take offence.
Kicking you out of my friends list
Like a lecherous leper,
Might feel brutal, besides,
Next week I could bump into you on the street. Awk!
On the other hand, only I will know if I
Pick the “unfollow” setting.
Quick solution to too much information.
Rather than removing,
Stay “friends”, only not.
The University of Oxford Professor Dunbar explains
Under 150 connections is an acceptable real-life amount.
Very simple life will be this way.
When will Facebook ever count your remaining followings?
Yet although I unfollow people I actually know, my newsfeed
Zigzags between people already in my life, and those I wish were.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Abbey Hey Rendezvous

An unpublished erotic poem I wrote a few years ago. Uploading it for NaPoWriMo. If it's not your thing, click off now...

You walk in, the corridor is dusty and musty.
Nice house,” you say, because you don't know what to say.
She looks back at you, still in your bar uniform, staring deadpan.
She leads you up the stairs, confirming your fears: you're here for one thing only.
She doesn't turn on the lights: you can smell the nicotine on the walls-
you can see just the silhouette of her in her nightie.
She pushes open the bedroom door. You take a deep breath
of dust, old sheets and cat piss.
This is it. Can you still do this?
Your head throbs.
She crawls onto the bed, feline, drunk.
A breast escapes her slack nightwear, she rearranges pointlessly.
In the silence of the room, a pain in your finger
shouts a reminder of handling broken glassware-
a tiny crucifix in the tip of your flesh.
You need to tell her. You need her on the level.
She lifts off her nightie and her breasts are full and real,
and she pulls off your tired clothes, your heart and mind in a race.
She touches your once-toned body,
your physique softened through a carnival of student-priced booze.
You're kneeling, facing, and you lift her butt off her heels,
to hold her close in false affection.
She pushes her breasts in your face; it's an act, a charade,
a mimic of every sex scene you've ever watched.
You lay her on her back and hook your fingers into her,
curling, beckoning a climax.
She comes with a moan, clenching and wet,
the sting of her juices salty in your wound.
If she has anything, now so do you.
Breathe in that cat hair. That ammonia. Her scent.
Can you still do this?
She pushes your shoulders to the mattress,
a broken spring thrusting at you from behind the worn fabric.
She eats you, drooling with enthusiasm,
but you stop yourself, right there,
with the yellowed window frames
and the previous inhabitant's wallpaper creeping closer to you,
you drop the bomb.
You haven't done it.
She's “considerate”, “affectionate”, holding you infantile in her arms.
What... do you want to do?” she asks.
And you lie together until she ups her game, urging,
her lips on your sweat-clad neck.
A girl fucked me once,” she says, clearly,
but you make her say it again, lust blocking your nose,
and you call bullshit, forcing her into detail,
the feminine embraces, the kissing,
the girl's breasts against hers like a mirror,
the girl licking her, her back arching like a stretching cat.
But the fear of sex- the step into the void, the pain,
the shedding of your twenty-year childhood-
it's a big emotional cock-block, and you collapse, foetal around her,
clinging to her in shallow, twitching sleep.
The next morning, neither the scrambled egg nor the blow job
give you the further courage to commit,
leaving you with only the pulsing memory of her.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Bank Holiday Rap for NaPoWriMo

-Bank Holiday, Blur

I used all my knowledge and all my verbal tools
To think up a self-depreciating April Fools

The plan backfired because of its transparency
Our senses of humour seemed to have a disparity
Well with Facebook messages, there isn't an eraser
And what do I look like, a male Mother Teresa?
But then when I got home, hmm, how ironic,
I had to slip an Ibuprofin into my tonic
My head was gonna split to two halves from a whole,
And my throat swelled up like a horse's arsehole
So instead of hitting Milton Club for an event called Marquee,
The only thing I hit was the pillow for some sleep.
Its a good job I did, I needed rejuvenating
for the following night, and the moves that I'd be making
Going to a rave in a renovated church
Where, up on the alter in an elevated perch,
The DJ Carl Cox wouldn't stumble or falter
mixing techno and house from the booth at the alter.
The weekend's remainder was pretty subdued,
A few quiet drinks was all I could do.
I missed on Pianoman, I missed on Static,
I missed on Stu Allen, I just couldn't hack it.
I missed out on Sankeys as I didn't get a ticket,
And they'd sold out by that time so I was gonna have to miss it.
I suggested The Mill to see Miguel Campbell,
But no-one had heard of him, so that went down like an anvil.
But at the last minute, I found a winning deal,
And my mate came out to meet me for some drinks in Spinningfields.
Oh, a little bit of gossip, I don't know if you've heard this,
But The Lawn Club and Alchemist are being refurbished.

So that was my week, and another begins,
and I must return to work for all of my sins...

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Carl Cox & Friends @ Albert Hall

Legendary house music producer, DJ and fellow Oldhamer Carl Cox played at Manchester's Albert Hall last night. He played after a warm-up by Eats Everything and Jon Rundell as part of Transmission: Sound from the Second City, a series of events at the Peter St venue. 
The hall- a renovated church- was rammed by 11pm and the music was great. The audience- 18-25 mostly- seemed at first subdued by other club's standards, with a lot of standing and watching as opposed to actual dancing. The people in the upper level took a little time to loosen up. My team- suffice to say- did not act with restraint in that manner. We were there to rave. One of us even turned up in a top hat and a monocle, because, well, why not. We stayed mostly in the throng of it on the church floor, a stone-throw between the stage (the altar) and the bar (suffice to say, a new fixture).

It's really hard to shoot video in Albert Hall due to the lasers and giant LCD displays messing with the Xperia P's focus. Are other phones better for this scenario? Mine didn't come out well at all. A quick Youtube search for “Albert Hall Manchester” reveals a mixed bag in terms of video quality but features some big name DJs and bands.

Did you go last night? Did you happen to look up? On the church's ceiling there's a strip of semi-transparent plastic. People were walking on it. Technicians? Ghosts? Special effects? I was driving, for the record, so nothing in my system clouded my judgement.

Below Albert Hall, there's a unit previously housed by nightclub Brannigans. When Albert Hall opened as a venue in 2013 the area was seating space for clubbers to break from continuous dancing. The bar's interior hadn't been altered much at all, at that point, from its previous incarnation- seating and fixtures of the bar were still intact, although not stocked or prepped for use. Last night I found the area had been simplified somewhat. No longer the chillout room it was being used for,  The bar area had been stripped back to the concrete making it unrecognisable- the carpets, the seats and the d├ęcor all gone- but this space made for a perfect secondary stage with the DJ booth at the back of the room. This lower level was also more spacious with slightly quieter music, so a good area to find friends and catch up before heading to the main stage.

Also, bucking the trend for Manchester venues: in Albert Hall you are allowed hats. FUCK YEAH!

Top night all-in-all. Spent most of it dancing.

Thursday, 2 April 2015


This is an erotic poem for National Poetry Writing Month. I wrote it in 2010 and it's been turned down from over 10 publications. Fuck 'em. It's going up here. If erotica is not for you, click off now.


A movie-themed bar,
obscure films on TVs and framed posters of the semi-famous.
We swallow shot after shot of sickly-sweet liquid
tequila blurs the neon lights,
and our image of each other.
With her dark hair and false eyelashes,
She becomes Liza Minelli in Cabaret,
and I start to wonder
who I am becoming to her.
My leap of faith -
Am I coming to yours?”

She uses her fingers, stroking clumsily.
The taxi window lowers
as we speed away from the city,
warm summer air invading the cab.
She leans out, risks decapitation-by-oncoming-car,
vomits, leaving trail behind us
then ups the window like it's nothing.

She has guinea pigs
They squeak nervously
When I walk into the room
She lifts the lid of their tiny home,
Placed in the corner of her own compact apartment.
The lights on the Quays, through the full-length windows
Burning like the Vegas of North England.
Her pets feed eagerly, like I plan to.
I'm craving her juice-
She makes me a berry cordial
I swallow it all.

We stumble into her bedroom
And watch each other undress in silence.
We kiss on the bed,
she smothers me with cleavage, rides me,
it's been so long that it hurts.
Tiny white marks on her stomach
visible in the room's halflight
faint signs of her past
A baby?

There's further temptation when she's on her knees,
screaming, gripping the headboard
I see myself thrusting
in the bedside mirror,
her head lolled down,
hair matted to her face
she can't see me
but she'll feel one hand
leave her hip
I flex my bicep,
smiling proud at my reflection,
Patrick Bateman-style.
I'm doing so much
that I've been meaning to do for so long.
I've had a drought,
But now she's flooding me.
I'm working through a mental to-do list,
Ticking off intentions;
Oral, given and received
I feel empowered, arrogant,
ordering her around the bed,
I deserve this.
When I finger her,
She screams, the same high-pitched note
as her guinea pigs' squeaks.

I'm a fleshy Roman candle,
the sparks go on and on
and there's no bang on my behalf.
Dull pain in the small of my back
tells me to stop thrusting;
woozy from boozy lusting
I fall face-down into her pillows,
breathing in a cocktail
of cigarette smoke, booze, lipstick, perfume, fabric softener
and woman.
The next morning she sits me on her couch
with the Sky remote while she dresses.
A music channel blares.
Keri Hilson's “I like” fuses forever with my memory of last night.
She asks to swap numbers, fine by me
Her next railing experience is the tram to work.
I walk her there;
She tells me she was a size 24 once,
and slimmed to a 14.

Flashback: I'm on top of her, fascinated by her reactions
The harder I slam into her, the more she screams.
I remember the scars.
She gets on, sits, the tram leaves me.
She doesn't reply to texts.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

NaPoWriMo 2015

National Poetry Writing Month is upon us. The principle: write a poem every day, based on a series of prompts from the site.

I'll be doing a few different poetry-related activities throughout April: following the prompts from the website, uploading some old poems I've stored on my hard drive (some may be adult, so brace yourselves), polishing up a musical comedy sketch and possibly writing a few rap verses.

Stay tuned for more, and let me know if you're giving it a shot too.