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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Another poem from the Passengers project.  This is in honour of this very special day, the first working day of the year after the clocks change, so commuters are hit by night falling early – probably when we’re still in the office.

Animal Calls

Pencil-thin moustache,
grey jockey hat
mustard-leather bag
eating a home-made
ham sandwich
mucus –filled nose,
black-leather jacket,
corduroy trousers,
brown leather shoes,
reading Metro newspaper,
a rumbling cough;

as if in answer
a cough stutters
from the next carriage.

Outside the window,
the sun still not risen.


This is the next instalment of the Passengers project.  Early 2008 and the Credit-Crunch hasn’t bitten yet. These are some portraits of fellow travellers just going about their business, not knowing what was around the corner.


7:00 am, Goring Station, Platform 1.

She holds a metal flask-mug.
Long straw-coloured hair looks wet,
Although the weather is dry.
She smiles, talking to the man
On the blue metal bench.
Wearing a peach t-shirt and denim skirt
Just above the knees, legs crossed.

Both man and woman
appear to be in their forties.

He wears a grey suit. To his right.
She sits; to his left, a copy of the Daily Express.
He listens. He wears a shirt, no tie.
Hair cropped short, at the front receded
In the midst of harvest.


Platform 1, Bracknell

She rifles around in her large gold handbag;
Swaps hands.
Pulls out a mobile, which she holds in both hands.
She stares intently at its screen,
Her hair is pulled black in a flowing ponytail, skin lightly tanned.
Green t-shirt, an apple-leaf-green.
Grey trousers, tight, then flared, slip-on shoes with a slight heel.

I just read the penultimate issue of Garth Ennis’ magnum opus comic series The Boys, and it’s been quite a ride at seventy-one issues so far.

It’s been in turns hilarious, gruesome, poignant and ultra-violent.  But I think when it comes down to it, it’s got a lot more heart than you might think if you just read the reviews, or took it at a superficial level.

It’s about very bad superheroes and the very bad team who keep them in line.

But it has a lot of heart too.

Let’s hear it for Wee Hughie, who could so easily have been your normal decent guy, who, out for revenge at the death of a loved one becomes a monster.  How many times have we seen that story?  Hughie’s better than that.  This is a story about a decent man who has all the horrors of the world perpetrated against him.  Very bad things.  But I’m hoping this is the story of the decent man who despite everything can remain a good person.

This is a poetry project I did in 2008, 2009.  It describes commuters observed and their behaviour as the Credit Crunch slid into peoples’ lives and started to bite.  It’s a series of snapshots of an interesting time.  It’s about me and my fellow travellers who, being British I never connected with on the daily commute, except during more extreme circumstances.

Commuters are travellers
Who never arrive

Passenger 1: Daily Commute

Didcot 7:10 to London Paddington
Platform 2
Reading 7:52 to Waterloo
Platform 4A
Do not disembark:
Lower Earley
Winnersh Triangle
Arrive in Bracknell 8:28
Then walk through
To Western Industrial Estate
Past the derelict 3M building,
Through the underpass
Then cross the main road
And carry on past
Empty new offices
Until you arrive at the glass tower.
Reverse in evening
Repeat until retirement.

I read this on the BBC site – this is quite something.  A virtual massacre.  Bear with me, although this is in no way comparable to actual people being killed, it does make me think is something happening to the stories?  Are stories under attack?

There does seem to be an undercurrent at the moment in some cultural products of stories being under attack.

Stephen Fry once said “stories are the only access we have to truth on this planet.”  I’m with him on that one, and what happens when our stories go wrong?

World of Warcraft is essentially a massive shared narrative – and so many narrative threads will have been killed by this, not only online, but the imaginative worlds of the individuals they created their characters from.

The best examples I can think of where stories under attack is a theme is Mike Carey’s The Unwritten series and Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: 2009.  If something is wrong in the world of stories, something is wrong with the world.  Maybe it is. I do believe that the world can be made a better – or worse place by the stories that people read, watch and experience.  Think of the Saw series, then think of The Cabin in the Woods, both powerful entertainments, but they are subject to quite a different world view.

Lets start the fight back by writing and living fantastic stories!

This is a blog about words and ideas.  I’d like to share mine.  I’d like to experience your words and ideas too.  I write short stories, poetry and novels.  I’ve had some stuff published and you can follow the Bibliography for all that.  This blog is also intended to showcase some of the works that may not be commercial enough to get published but may still have some thoughts that may interest you.  I hope so.  It will also feature work I just want to get out there, plus my thoughts on the world of ideas out there.  I hope you’ll find something to enjoy.


*yes, this is from The Truman Show