a penny for your...

Friday, 7 October 2011

From Dumers Lane to Munich

So a few weeks ago I was offered a great opportunity by Cartwheel Arts to facilitate a writing group in Bury. Didn't take a breath to say yespleasethankyouverymuchta.

A few weeks later, and the first step on this journey was to knock on doors to help promote the group. I am no stranger to knocking on, though with the intention of creating poems from the responses received by those kind enough to answer the door, was a very interesting angle.

Without thinking that either canvassers or creationists wanted to whittle down their time, plenty of folk did open up - this poster, we posted more recently is a snippet of the poetry produced from those doorstep voices.

And while that was busy simmering away, I was off to Munich to sample the hospitality very kindly offered, and gratefully received. It wasn't simply a trip to do a bit of weightlifting - though i do heart exercise...It was also to talk poetry and view a the the University Gallery space, where I have very kindly been offered to exhibit my photography next January...i bet it's freezing over there then.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Kwik Plug

Just a kwik plug to say that i have been asked to exhibit my photography in Munich at their University next January.

I have updated the photography gallery on my site in anticipation for the promotional aspect of the exhibition - needless to say i am a bit chuffed about this...

Here is one of the shots I will be exhibiting

I have also received the latest edition of 'Other Poetry', which has my poem, 'Fallout Room' published within it. This is the second occasion that 'Other Poetry' have published a poem of mine - and again i am chuffed about this as 'Other Poetry' publish some excellent poetry and it's a bit good that I managed to sneak in there twice now...

Saturday, 16 July 2011

from Radcliffe's reserved space to Maconie's embrace

I was going to post a pic of Mr Maconie too with his arm around me laughing while my friend took the shot, but I can't. I have to admit to losing the shot, along with film of that night's event,run by

Bad Language

from a packed backroom at The Castle Hotel, a place where flat caps and crusted eyeliner vie for primacy in the indie individuality stakes, only to be overdone by the occasional Julian Cope looking bloke or the almost there Juke Box.

Instead, you will have to make do with this solitary image taken when i attended the BBC buildings in Manchester for a book review slot on the Indus Radio Show. The novel, and the author of the novel, Daisy Hasan was in attendance. I have to say that the experience was a bit nervy, having never read a book with a view to expressing a view of the theme and stylistic content, though I found that it was a rewarding evening, and one which proposed the potential for a written interview with the author for publication in India...watch this space.

I did however, make a little imovie film of the event, so if you ever have a coffee moment to spare, then I would much appreciate it.

So what else...I have been doing some new art - and have updated my website...ting

and now i have nothing more to say other than, than.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Najia Bagi

Najia Bagi

(Najia, from Arabic, free,escaped)

In the 1993 film Shadowlands, Sir Anthony Hopkins delivers to the attentive hushed in some echoey hall, a speech which never ceases to pause my breath - 'we are like blocks of stone out of which the sculptor carves' he claims, slow shifting his audience to a close within the moment, within the scene, within the film.

Now it doesn't matter if you have seen the film (though you should), or skriked like a baby as I did when i first saw this, or for that matter if you care at all, as the point is stand alone true like a knife in your sock drawer - life carves...

i could i suspect, bang on about how psychology, the infant of ologies, could provide pigeon seed along the path, or perhaps stray down the forked tongue of nature vs nurture, but i won't. Instead, I want to introduce some music.

It was last December when I first heard Najia perform with Paul Balcombe. Together they are, The Ground. Of these songs; this music - I feel a sense of malevolent disquieted yearning, within which the DNA of melody of pain lingers long after the last resonant guitar string tolls into the ether.

Dig further back and The Ground are framed as two members of To Sophia, a boxed, contained sound within which the seems no room for escape into any creative mistake...

So, it goes without saying then that I was well chuffed at the opportunity to hear Najia again at Matt and Phreds.

There's a scene in the film Leon, where the main fella is explaining to his unlikely apprentice that the closer the proximity to the proposed victim, the more professional the killer. I suspect in artistic performance land, that solo performance is of a similar ilk - stripped bare of band members, with your words and an instrument is perhaps the most skilled, yet exposed method to deliver the audience killer blow.

I was however on this occasion, somewhat disappointed. In Najia is an artist who possesses the vocal range most choristers would bid their frock for and voice which has so much capacity for projecting the landscape of emotional turmoil. I could of course use this juncture to polish my nails with a list of musical influences I feel in Najia's work, but I won't - anyone who quotes Led Zeppelin alongside Billie Holiday as well as a propensity to gravitate toward Neo-Gothic literature and Anthony and the Johnsons, needs no assistance in the influence dept.

Oh yes, sorry - i was saying that I was disappointed. Well, I was - i wanted to really hear -

I thought you knew more than I did
Where we walk we can’t get back from

ascend to the ceiling and fuel the atmosphere. Not on this occasion though - as the support act, there is always the opportunity to get a little burned on the mic. Though i didn't think this so much the case in point - the reality being that alcohol induced chatter and plates of garlic bread had made their bristling camp, and thus the only success perhaps for Najia was the completion of her solo set without too much artistic scrutiny; thus giving her nervous system a bye to the next round -

my only hope is that on that occasion, Najia is given the keys to the venue so she can rip the roof off it...

Monday, 25 April 2011

polythene dancing

Oh what deep joy it is to receive a gift. Radiohead are the wooded beard i dissolve into.

Their track 'supercollider' is one of those repeat numbers that provides the sublimity to solve any submersion...

so i did a little film to go with it

and while you watch -

I want to apologise.
I want to apologise.
I want to apologise.
I want to apologise.

and leave you with this...


Waiting at the station

toes scrunched over the lip

of the yellow line; he sighs.

She sees, moves over to me

her codex of numbers

slow falling inside seconds.

We swim dive down,

bellysmack the tracks -

sleepers stinking of theft and wine;

the 5:15 of us always arrives on time.

Friday, 15 April 2011


Hi folks - just a quick blog entry to share this latest painting and vid to accompany - MacBook Pro used - beaut...

Canvas 1m by 80cm - oil and acrylic on canvas... I took the initial sketch for the bottom half of the torso from a large canvas in Manchester City Art Gallery - one of the three sirens...

the top half just 'occurred' as the sketch and painting developed - although I did want to provide a second painting to the first one - see below...

I have been deliberate with the issue of gender in these pieces and I have one more to produce - my intention being to create a contemplation on humanity

I decided also to make a bit of a video - which can be be viewed here...

Sunday, 10 April 2011

a week is a long time in artifacts

I picked my brushes up again this week. But before I get to that bit, I want to share this painting with you. I bought this view of Irwell from an artist called Olga Gerke, who lives in Manchester. I like much of Olga's work which I found on Facebook, but this image has more than the sum of its parts. The palette allows for atmosphere, the tone I can feel. For my mind, this is an excellent painting, and I am very happy to own it - many thanks to Olga who also left a book in the bag with the painting in it....

The book is called The Invention of Morel -

I can't be given a book by mistake and not read it. What I find fascinating about this book is to discover that it links to one of the only games I have ever played on my home computer, holed up in a storage corridor tap tapping social care assignments in the late 1990s.

How odd that life provides this timely reminder for reflection.

Back then, I was scrambling to become a professional health and social care worker - first in the family to gain a university qualification. I recall that moment of realisation when the results came in, and certificates sent through the post, for a cv folder yet to be filled.

But now, as I plunge further into Mr Bioy Casares island world of fluid thought, I find his words to be only trees and scenery for this reflective act, which is comforting in the sense that, I have during the time since tap tapping in a storage corridor on the tenth floor of a high rise flat, been developing a parallel artistic journey. Creating work for canvas and page.

I have been developing a sense of creative honesty for about ten years now. And I feel very much humbled when another soul sees this...is able to delve under the veneer we project into the day to day - I am humbled by this image...

Rama Jamoukha's work I am also familiar with, and Facebook does hold merit outside of speed dating the politics out of each other - sometimes words can have a day off and the eyes can do the talking.

This week, I have painted four townscape views of my home town Rochdale - here is a view of Richard Street. Richard Street has its walkers,wasters and workers, and the aptly named 'penny bridge' is nearby.

I have also been progressing 'NUDE', now the title of the piece. I feel that the piece speaks...

Oil and Acrylic on Canvas - almost complete now - just some work on the candles and the buttocks

The launch went very well - it was indeed a pleasure to attend and read, my thanks again to those who turned out on a Monday evening - Isis is a lovely venue for food, art and of course, poetry - if you are ever at a loose end in Levenshulme - then say no more...

If you missed the launch - then come to Longsight Library, 5th May 2011


Sunday, 27 March 2011


Almost book launch time - i have sorted a couple of my favourite poems by Irish poets and also decided on which poems from the book to read -

I think i am free now to continue writing - back to writing the play and painting.

I have always been a lover of Matisse's work, so i thought i would have a go at that style of painting - it isn't finished yet - though when i made a negative view of the picture - i prefer that to the original...so when the skin has dried - i will change the colour to the negative view - much better i think

Saturday, 5 March 2011

the horses

Before I get swept away with the tide of time
Before I decide to hide in your cave of sighs

I thought I'd post this You Tube vid instead...

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Read all about it

Time marches. Sometimes on hot coals, other times on pillows. Either way, it does.And while it does, tides turn, whispering in my ear the significance of the turn on an arcade sixpence.

Since my last entry, I have put together a book of poems, a handful of which have been previously published. The decision to self publish was not an easy one. I understand that I surrounded by the market reputations of publishing houses, but then, with the advent of the Ebook eclipsing paper, what is there to lose in this life?

The truly excellent Shamshad Khan has very kindly offered me a launch night.


the book itself is called a Million Ways to Measure the Sun, and is I feel, the book I had to get out of my system in order that I move forward and develop as a writer. I have to say thanks to the many people who have assisted me along the way, am smiling as i type, for all their individualities, and presence of mind, whether it be about semi-colon placement, or the subtleties of Pagan thought enclosures, or the consideration of consideration, my thanks to you all. And of course, to Nihad Wicho for his art for the cover of the book - Nihad's work can be found on Facebook, and his work i admire very much, a true artist.


Outside of this book, i have been quietly gathering new material, and falling into the musical arms of Radiohead's new album, King Of Limbs, and considering a ghost story.

stay tuned for more rock n roll...

Monday, 3 January 2011


Manchester, early evening, early new year. This was the first request of me to film an event.

The request was from X Events, the venue; the Eastern Pearl, Plymouth Grove.

The event centred on raising awareness of the plight of youth in the face of poverty within communities in the UK, how to address prevailing issues through appropriating focused services, and donating personal time and understanding to redressing the imbalance within today's society.

When I arrived to film, two performers soundchecked their way to contentedness prior to the arrival of the guests. I liked the coupling of the two styles - Mohammed Yahya and Umar Abdullah, mixing soulful faith with street rap - a dress rehearsal for their finale after the fundraising.

I have, prior to the date of writing this entry, read poetry at the Eastern Pearl for charity. That, as this night, shared a similar tenor, excepting the premise of this particular event was to highlight youth within communities, and how attendees could better consider how to help and assist via X events, which, as well as being a service which promotes events - notably the recent Imran Khan Floods event in Manchester - also provide a raft of health and social care services.

After the guests had settled, Shayk Iqbal Qadri spoke, and the above mentioned performers delivered, Zahir Mahmood Mohammed spoke of the street and how best to re-engage with serving the community.

His interfaith comparisons i felt sighted to hit the gut-spot-place before the buffet arrived; and the fundraising commenced...

I only hope that X Events service-bridge-planning-in-powerpoint becomes a reality for today's youth. For my mind, such strategic lateral thinking is well needed.

Stay tuned for the film...