Wednesday, 27 February 2013


only one child
not two
only pretty
not stunning
only bright
not a genius
only five days a week
not six
only comfortable
not wealthy
only enough
not plenty
only a recent model
not the latest
only rented
not bought
only a job
not a vocation
only wales
not italy
only mild
not warm
if only
then what?

Tuesday, 26 February 2013


to tell the truth
i am none to keen on the concept of the music video
for me the whole point of creating music
is to transport the listener to another world
one of their own imagining and emotions
inspired by but independent of the song itself
in this my ally is the twilight domain of metaphor
that shadowland of unpredictable images and emotions
working in tandem
with the emotional language of melody harmony and rhythm
i have no desire to bludgeon the listener over the head
with my own preconceived agenda
or to ram a message down his or her throat
there may be an underlying conscious intention for sure
but who knows what role that other levels of consciousness might play
in the conception incubation and birth
of the creative and performative process
in sharp contrast
the music video is liable to tell one what to think
to impose a narrative or relationship that does not really exist
it is a blunt blunt instrument
to one who paints pictures with sound
so why bother?
the simple answer is that it is the easiest and cheapest way to self-publish
to disseminate the fruits of one's labours to a wider audience
so i have been playing around with some freeware
and experimenting with simple stills
but there is a ghost somewhere in the machine
it was there at the end of lunatic driver
putting the climactic sequence of images oddly out of sync
now it strikes again at the beginning of automaton
where it cunningly transforms the first still
into an almost subliminal image
thereby sending the rest of the video a few seconds out of sync
the weird thing is
it actually works!
at least some of the time
the advancement of the images acts almost like a serendipitous syncopation
freeing up the connection between sound and image
inducing a disconcerting but pleasing dissonance
between the aural and the visual
perhaps the music video can occupy the same twilight zone as the music itself
perhaps that ghost needs to be embraced and nurtured


Monday, 25 February 2013


last summer's olympics passed me by
the media infatuation with 'team gb' was completely lost on me
its glittering gold medal-winning celebrity athletes made no impression
the obsession with competing to win
the hallmark of modern industrial civilisation
hijacked the whole event
(along with the corporate sponsors)
for the olympic spirit is not about triumph but about taking part
among the thousands of athletes
few won a medal
most were also-rans
disappointments by the impossibly high standards of winner-takes-all
but this attitude is pernicious
beginning in the nursery and weaving its way through the social fabric
competition trumps cooperation
the power of self subordinates the common good
human is pitched against human
humanity is pitched against nature
it is the guiding principle of our age
meanwhile out there in the real world
the gap between rich and poor grows
natural resources are inexorably mined and polluted
and an international climate treaty remains a hazy mirage
the challenge is olympian


the family sits watching a film
what is your purpose in life?
one of the protagonists asks her friend
she deliberates briefly
then decides
your purpose is to fix things that are broken
what is your purpose in life?
i echo to the room
there is silence
mom reflects for a moment then answers
to raise my two sons
very laudable i say
but how about over the last twenty-five years?
the woodle's purpose is quickly identified
to provide comedy and entertainment
but the others remain silent
what about you?
says mom
my reply is swift
to create art

Sunday, 24 February 2013


as i draw into the station
much steam is being let off
huddles of disgruntled passengers
stare up myopically at inscrutable monitors
or cuss the glib recorded announcements
maddening in their affected robotic concern
there are no trains
there will be no trains for the forseeable future
there is an equipment failure
somewhere down the line
an outage
a shortage
a power vacuum
wrapped up warm in my furs against the harsh winter cold
i desert the drafty platforms and the uncouth concourses
manoeuvre my way out of the car park
and lurch down into the pit of selly oak's stomach
sticking to the pavement
foiling the over-eager traffic lights
i nonetheless stay vigilant for straying pedestrians
soon i am warming to the task
as the vistas open out into leafy edgbaston
and the pavement becomes a bona fide cycle path
ten minutes later i am dropping down into bristol street
where i stop at the door of the diskery
to check out upcoming gigs
getting lost in the underpasses
i reemerge and climb steeply past the post office vaults
resonant with memories of wintry ale and banter
at the central library
i fare little better than at selly oak station
all the books are boxed up for the move to the new building
and it is with a 'one of those days' sinking feeling
that i descend into the bowels of paradise forum
forging now down new street past steely street executives
to my chagrin
no - muji does not have any cardboard cd sleeves in stock
have i tried on the web at all?
asks the not overly employment-hungry assistant
finally i strike lucky
there are no polo neck sweaters to be found
but there is just one pair of unripped boot cut jeans in my lanky size
and they fit like a glove!
relief - in spades!
meanwhile a celebratory black americano
awaits in the bookshop cafe
the caffeine and warmth reanimates
while my literary companions ball and dagger
state the following:
an 'adversary' culture of left-leaning intellectuals
and assorted malcontents
poses a greater threat (to the neo-cons of the united states)
than islamic terrorism
i like that
the idea that assorted malcontents
those of my ilk
could threaten to bring about power failure

Friday, 22 February 2013


looking down from my eyrie
under a moody grey sky
nothing is black and white
criss-crossing paths weave a confusing pattern
irregular triangles and polygons
hasty decisions on a tired architect's drawing board
shuttling denizens navigate these arteries
as february bites
they hurry and scurry
past empty benches
their plaques unread
how i got here i don't know
tall poplars punctuate red brick and neoclassical curves
a mermaid flounders
stranded high and dry on the library frontage
inside the dust falls and gathers
across the square
revolving doors spill out puddles of arts undergrads
like me
on their way to somewhere else


Thursday, 21 February 2013


you hunt me
and you kill me
you murder my children
you lock up my brothers in tiny cages
you conduct your cruel experiments
you dig up my home and my hinterland
and cover it with inpenetrable grey tarmac
and buzzing power lines
you come with your guns
your gas
and your poison
with your euphemisms and your metaphors
killing is culling
or worse still
it is management
or even development
you are so clever
and yet you are so vain
your arrogance knows no bounds
you choke on it
you outwardly prosper and thrive
and yet you are dead inside
you tap and stare at your little screens
but see nothing
all things must pass

Wednesday, 20 February 2013


pedalling to the factory
where the bones of language are reconstituted
harborne lane vexes
its casual ugliness
its traffic blight
its lack of care
shell petrol garage
measures out the price of environmental carnage
in the niger delta
i am singing the song of the moment
brother wolf
softly under my breath
as i pass a fellow traveller
tracksuit bottoms
head bent
low under his breath
the grunt erupts with sudden violence
shut the f*** up!

all they will find is his bones
licked clean


a key turns
the mechanism engages
cogs and springs stir into action
wheels revolve
a train of events is set in motion
the automaton jerks back into life
what it will do
who can tell?
its eyes are impassive
the polished head balanced serenely
on the slender neck
the limbs stiff but purposeful
the hand poised to write
the lips poised to vocalise
the senses reawakening