Friday, 21 April 2017

Another love

Not much blogging here... much working... bit of a holiday... family business... keep wishing I could blog 'hey, my new book is available' but still working on getting it out in quite the right way. In the meantime listening to some music (in and around everything else) and sharing with you my latest love, musically anyway, Rhiannon Giddens (above). Maybe you already know her work but if not resolve that issue right away! I loved the Carolina Chocolate Drops' album 'Leaving Eden' (2012) and then I really loved Giddens' first solo album 'Tomorrow is my Turn' (2015) and now I am pleased to report that her new solo album 'Freedom Highway' is another great collection of songs - fantastic singing, great playing, lovely variety, real strength to the whole thing. Can you tell... I just love her. I've always fallen in love a little with my favourite musicians/songwriters (I think that's pretty common) - some you stay in love with your whole life, others it's just a quick fling and 'never speak of it again'. I used to write about this kind of thing a lot on the old blog... it feels almost nostalgic to be doing it again. More about the song... still quite a ring to that phrase (for me anyway!).

Here is one of the songs from 'Freedom Highway' called 'We Could Fly' (but as I say the album is very varied so don't think it's 8 songs like this one because it is anything but that). Feel free to comment and tell me your latest musical loves... or just enjoy this:

Friday, 10 March 2017

A word matter

A muddy field, last week, near here.

Mostly my posts on here have been poem-posts for the past few months or longer - no opinions on anything (other than in poems). Then yesterday I was listening to the radio - Desert Island Discs, as it happens (I listen to that so much these days I wrote a poem about it, back here). The guest was TV presenter and comedian Jimmy Carr - not someone I like (or dislike) particularly but sometimes I make myself listen to guests that I wouldn't choose as friends or dance partners - it can be good to be surprised ('hey, that guy's not a twat after all') and I was ready for one of those experiences. It's depressing to think that the world is full of twats, isn't it - who wants to live in that world? 

And, you know, he wasn't a total twat... he was nice about his Mum... he got a bit excited about having lost his religious faith (for those of us who've never had any this is 'big deal, well done you' kind of a revelation), but the thing he said that most bothered me is something that has bugged me on and off all day. He said "people don't remember what you say - they remember how you made them feel." (He said something like that anyway, it must be a regular theme because I actually took the quote from a recent article online; I have to be honest, I couldn't face listening to the show again...). I suppose it's his defence for jokes he makes that get criticised for insensitive content (a kind of 'well, it doesn't matter - no-one remembers anyway' kind of a defence) but I think it is one of the most stupid, tiresome, Trump-esque comments I have heard in some time. Sure, no-one remembers every word  of a comedy show (especially if alcohol is involved and at comedy gigs it often is, I suppose) but words matter, now more than ever (in comedy, in politics, on the radio). And now we don't need to remember them ourselves anyway because they will be repeated on youtube and dvd and google forever more. So if you speak to thousands, nay millions, of people every week your words really matter - no matter how stupid they are, maybe especially if they are stupid. You have power if you have that kind of audience so don't deny that and pretend it's not there. Don't lie to everyone (including yourself). 

The show left me with a really unpleasant feeling (and that's rare for that show - it's usually a bath of positivity/triumph over adversity/coping with life's slings and arrows to come up with something amazing). No matter how hard the charming Kirsty worked to make him seem interesting I just felt uncomfortable and disappointed (not sure exactly by what... the lack of honesty I think). Words matter. I don't believe in much really but I guess I do believe that. Which is good, what with the poems and all.


Friday, 24 February 2017



It came to me like a dream, you see,
There I was - drunk as a sailor,
A sailor who's lost a ship perhaps,
And then it was suddenly slap-bang in front me,
Right sharp where I could see it,
Staring at me, in my face.

I saw you, me and all that laughing,
A lot of blood, a splash of time,
A little your place or mine,
And it was a mess alright, one hell of a mess,
Some folks would tidy up,
But that's not me.

No, love be damned – I'll let it lie,
The full graffiti of our lives,
I'll leave it red, raw as it is,
Stripped back with gusto to see the glory,
For we had everything, amongst our troubles,
We had the best times, the brightest highs.

RF 2010

Busy with this and (very much) that just now so here is an old poem that hasn't been out and about much.  And a photo from summer 2013 too.

Friday, 3 February 2017

What is down

Japanese Tea Garden, San Francisco, May 2011


Who talks about despair?
It’s boring, a deep hole.
And what to say?
The dance is hard.

You felt it, for sure;
The evidence is stone.
But we can’t talk about it,
Not now.

RF 2017

It's been a while since I wrote anything even remotely about my Dad. He killed himself way back in 1973 and Mum died in 2010 so her loss kind of took over, in the parental bit of my mind, from the very old history of his. But I suppose the fact that there is so much news just now that can depress a decent caring person (i.e. all the people I like online and in the flesh) has brought thoughts of depression back into the foreground for me (what it is, how to deal with it, how to get things done in a world that seems so difficult and... mental at times). I'm not depressed myself, I should point out. I do feel down here and there but usually with good reason. And there is much to feel good about just now too... we join together, we oppose together, we do not let them pass...

Saturday, 28 January 2017



Aye, you were that right enough,
Write from the start,
A story once heard,
A presence so light,
Like a pulling together
Of all the best words.

And paths aren’t plans;
We are our own page.
Read us in peace,
Sing us on streets,
As la-la-la-la lullabyes,
Tra-la-la-la love yous.

RF 2017

It's new. First line sounds pretty Scottish (to me) but then we have been living here 14 and a half years now... Photo was taken in Musselburgh in October 2016.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Sign of the times

Significant age milestone approaches so here I am (above), in 1970, having the kind of crazy fun we had in the 1970s. Beach is somewhere in North East England... it could be Scarborough, Redcar, Filey... it doesn't say. I was 3. It says 'September' on the back.

As part of grand ageing I promised myself I would put out a little pamphlet of poems this year. My last publication was 2008 so I if I am serious about this it's probably time to be getting on with something. I don't do a lot of inspirational quoting but here is something from Jeanette Winterson's very marvellous "Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?" (possibly best memoir ever...):

"I am an ambitious writer  I don't see the point of being anything; no, not anything at all, if you have no ambition for it."

The poem below is from a few years back and I come and go with it... is it cheesy (a cardinal sin in poetry world...), do most 'proper' poetry folk think my poems are off the scale anyway so what does that matter, have I got too many 'I' poems already (another sin), am I just a sinner (answer, well, yes, undeniably, out of choice for the main part), do I want to write like anyone else? Anyway, here it is. What shall I do with it..?

A rainbow state of mind

It's just another image,
Me up on a cliff edge.
Can you see me – look harder,
I'm doing something absurd.

I'm on my tippest toes,
My whole being straining
Like I'm taller and daring,
Arms reaching, quite mad.

There are colours above me
And I'm trying to grasp them,
To grab hold of a rainbow,
That is my task in hand.

Its arch seems so solid,
The prettiest concrete,
I'm mocked by a playground
And we all love to play.

I stretch for the edges,
My muscles complaining,
The prize looks so perfect,
The true swing of swings.

And though I know it's unlikely
I'll feel satisfaction,
My eyes still burn upwards,
My touch flies sky high.

RF 2010

Thursday, 5 January 2017


Make forever

I sprinkle you lightly
Wherever I go.
Ashes are ashes,
Dust is dust,
And we’re the same,
All crumbling.

The artists outside
Are sticking and slapping,
Building and raising,
A freaky palace here,
A rambling folly there,
Their reign is free.

Words can work too,
Make whoopee.
A daft bat in a hat
With a fistful of tat,
Is scribbling, giggling,
Wailing, nailing.

And the woods still grow,
Still call out names.
So, here and there,
Do what you can,
But don’t give in,
No, never that.

RF 2017

Not exactly a New Year message. Just something I've been working on a for a while. It may change again... just throwing it out into the 'world' for a bit. Photo is from early December 2016.