Saturday, 27 October 2012

David Mitchell

one of best male comedy minds in Britain
signing someone else's book -
bloke in front takes centre stage

Friday, 26 October 2012

2012 B.C.

It was a bit Python-esque in parts. It was totally free. It was one of the best cultural experiences I've ever had. It was was a celebration of Bob Cobbing's life and works, held at The Castle Hotel in Manchester, organized by The Other Room.

I was suffering a little bit from anxiety (not related to the event), and that coupled with the crowded conditions in the venue meant I didn't get the most out of the night (so it could have been even better than the glowing report I'm about to give it). Yeah it was very cramped, and the way I was 'squishing myself in' led to a wee bit of pain, but that was only due to the popularity of the event, not the limitations of the location (incidentally, The Castle Hotel is a lovely place. I had a couple of pints of Robinson's 'Double Hop', but I'll try and keep this literary and leave the ale monologue for another time). Once I'd settled down, though, the fun began.

The performances were genuinely brilliant, from "only the warm up" right through to the deep-sea diving and Hollywood films, all in the spirit of the late Mr. Cobbing (1920 - 2002). He was an Enfield poet noted for his work in concrete, visual and sound pieces but if you want more biographical details, click on the above link to be taken to his UbuWeb page. Clive Fencott, who was reading from his own collection Am I On My Feet (El Uel Uel U, 1976), helpfully explained a couple of bits and bobs, including the idea of poetry as experience, rather than language (and that Bob could have 'performed a wall panel' if he'd wanted). This brought home to me the importance of the works that were being read out and also meant I 'got' more out of them.

There was a lot of humour, especially during the Hollywood poems, but overall the experience was nigh on indesribable ('fascinating' is right, but doesn't do it justice). I feel sorry for you if you didn't make it, because you really had to be there to feel the full extent of the performance. Even a video recording wouldn't give a fair reflection, the sense of passion from the poets burnt so brightly in person.

The second half saw a cavalcade of poets performing Cobbing's own 'ABC in Sound' which turned out, despite their ostensible reservations, to be well organized. One poet in the ensemble performed accoustically a digital remix he'd done of part of it. The thrill of seeing such a physical and audible collage of artists was fantastic, and I thought to myself I could have no regrets if I died there and then.

I went a bit mad on getting some of the poets' books afterwards, but mourning the pecuniary loss would be silly when I consider the poetic treasures I have gained. It was great to see my sister and other friends there, and everyone was unanimous in their support of a great night. Check out the links throughout the post for more opportunities to take part. Go on, do it now!

Here are some more linky-links to relevant stuff:

Monday, 15 October 2012


The recent events surrounding the uncovering of Jimmy Savile's disgusting past (60 alleged victims and 340 lines of enquiry now sullying his once okay name) have shed new light on other celebrities' sordid 'kiddy-fidling' affairs.

This crisis of sexual depravity is thought to have stained and corrupted the decent nature of Christian folk as far flung as Hollywood. A documentary, shown recently on ITV2, has shown how Johnny Depp (star of such previously 'family-friendly' films as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Rango and From Hell) has engaged in 'indecent activities' with young people.

Sleepy Hollow (now thought to be a sick joke of a title) flagrantly shows blatant scenes of Depp 'co-starring' with Christina Ricci (who has been in other films too). Camera's captured Depp (now 49) and Ricci (once as young as one month old) embracing, kissing and swooning at each other's feet.

A man who says he saw the 'documentary' told MIBR, "Ricci looked about 10, 11 maybe at a push, and Depp loomed close to her looking like a man possessed. It was clear to me that he wanted to 'violate her' and, such was the intensity of his animalistic desires, it took only the strongest of supernatural forces to deter him from his aim.

"Personally I would. I mean I'm not 'paedo' but she is very attractive. It's okay for me to say this, I'm a father myself, not a monster. Especially in that corset, though, she looks very mature and personally I'm a breast man. Her breasts were very alluring."

Tum Birton is yet to comment.

If you've been effected by any of the issues in this post, please remember it is disingenuous.

Thanks to the BBC news website and IMDB for their cooperation in supplying the facts for this story:,

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Half Nederlands

I've just been reading some of Rene Van Valckenborch's poetry.

Admittedly the sight of a breast heightened my involvement (from a flying start, I assure you), but after reading Twitterode 87, I was absolutely hooked.

The Twitterodes are fascinating, accompanied by an image which gives a pleasant alternate plane to the words.

They are often amusing (in Twitterode 79, the "lip-moulded stream of eternal spittle" is amusing because the classical statue framed in the picture seems beyond 'spitting', as a 'disgusting act', but referencing it so lyrically and 'philosophically' - that is to say 'deep', considering the theme of time contained within - almost brings it back to a beautiful act worthy of the subject of the sculpture).

There are also twists and shifts of pace that drag your eye (and brain) along like the strongest of currents. Take Twitterode 73, marrying senses of similiar and yet opposing dualistic worlds; the "dog-cobbles-bollards-street-city" represents a process akin to a camera panning out from a small object to a larger expanse of space. To represent this in a small linguistic space screams out an energy and tension that, PERSONALLY I rather like.

Given the chance, I'd certainly publish it and not feel remorse for getting prosecuted for purveying immoral materials :-P That's before I've read 'em all too.

Check out the Van Valckenborch posts on Robert Sheppard's blog Pages right here:


I wonder what that would be like?

Thursday, 4 October 2012


The other night I went to Edge Hill again. Monday heralded the beginning of my MA course in Creative Writing there, and though I know there's a lot of hard work ahead of me, it was great to be back. There were a few 'old faces' there from my time on the BA in English and Creative Writing, and it was a pleasure to see them, but it was also an invigorating experience to meet the 'new faces' too (all of whose faces were actually older than the 'old faces', what with them being more mature students). After some initial introductions and feet-finding, we got onto talking about methodologies, which is a very cerebral topic and the harbinger of tough (but no doubt enjoyable) times ahead.

When the seminar was over though, and I had chatted a bit to a good friend and fellow blogger (check out his 'Utterances of a Heathen'), I walked back through Edge Hill's lovely 160-acre campus and it brought back to mind the day I first moved there three years ago. I was pretty hungover, thanks to nice night of farewell drinks with my Lancaster pals, and was sleeping a fair bit during the journey down. I was wearing my Liverpool shirt (I thought it important to let people know my football standing and probably have some banter over it) and some classic sensitive-eye sunnies and I remember actually that I wasn't clean shaven (I was a bit annoyed I wasn't because I had to have a picture taken for my new unicard and looked a bit scruffy).

I'm not going to go into the whole day, suffice to say that being back in education at Edge Hill transported me all but bodily into the past. I swam in the - probably compromised - memories: sharing drinks with new hall mates, mum crying as she said goodbye to her smelly son for a while and, something which continued for a long time, not unpacking.

So I'm back where I began. Or am I? The shirt's different, though it still bears the same badge. I've put on a bit of weight. I guess the core of me is very similar, but here I go again into the unfamiliar.