Monthly Archives: July 2012

Guy Garvey and Being Gobsmacked

I’ve just scraped myself off the kitchen floor.

Guy Garvey (he of Elbow and BBC 6) read my poem ‘Festival’ on his Sunday night show (about an hour and a quarter in, if you’re interested). I’ve just heard it on iPlayer.

Does this mean I’m famous?




Filed under oddbods, poems, poetry


Festivals. What a hoot.

Sunshine, easy lazydays sitting on the grass listening to music and poetry and going to bed at dawn with the very slight feeling that you might have had too much festive beer, talking to strangers about the loveliness of life and the sweetflower smell of summer.

Scratch that.

Mud. Thick liquid mud: the stuff that sucks the soles off your industrial strength boots (and it did) and has that slightly milky-dung whiff. Waterproof coat with a ganzy underneath (Lancashire for ‘jumper’ although they have them in Yorkshire too), woolly hat, black skies, dripping tent not long enough for t’other ‘alf’s feet, drunk blokes in frocks propositioning you with very easy to refuse offers of hot sex. Trench foot.

But it was a JOY nonetheless! My boy’s a natural stone stacker (apparently, according to the professional stone stacker), daughter found the henna tattoo parlour and came back semi-permanently covered and I’ve a new-found respect for slam poetry and dry shampoo.

Feels like I’ve had a 3 day intravenous energy drip.


It’s wet in here.

It’s coming in through the zip

and your knee’s in my back

and that hard bass thud won’t stop

and I can feel the start of a need for a pee

but I’m not going out in this

because I can’t get my wellies off without a pull from someone.

Don’t think about it.

She was good though wasn’t she

what’s her name again…

the one with the poems about women

about childbirth and the real purpose of breasts

(I can’t say ‘tits’ even in my head but she could)….

…remember that shelf of porn in the newsagent

labelled ‘Women’s Interest’….

and that girl with the guitar who made me dance,

the one with a voice like flying who took me away for a while

and let me swing through the trees.

God, please don’t snore.

We’re in a tent.

It’s starting,

those deep breaths that go far back into your head.

If I tip the pillow forward a bit it might stop…

Remember that man wearing his mum’s fur coat

and skinny stick legs laced into boots

do you think it’s because of Grayson Perry because it wasn’t just him

there were lots of them

neatly pre-war coiffed


and remember the sandy haired chap

who’d trimmed his yellow beard to a point

and that girl with the green sequinned nipple tassels

in the queue for the loo.

She looked cold.

I’m glad we got the extra thick self inflating mattress


Filed under oddbods, poems, poetry

Ants or Aunts (a nod to Mr Dahl)

I don’t know what to call this one. Suggestions gratefully received.

Colony (thanks Juliet)

Lying here in the thin London sun,

high on the scent of lime tree blossom,

I think of the smell of family gatherings,

of potted meat and alcohol and pastry and

flowers from the garden if it’s summer,

the high opiate smell of lilies.

The warm bovine scent of the kitchen curls through the house,

fingers its way under wallpaper into plaster,

through clothes into skin,

its hard back layer of rendered meat

made sweet with nutmeg.

A solid-girdled cohort of grandmothers and great aunts

moves in formation between pantry and kitchen and dining room.


But they were knowing women.

Women who knew how to knead dough to the softness of powdered cheeks,

how to embroider French knots and knit socks.

How to build a fire in a grate and tend

those fragile things which tumbled through generations, picking up speed.

How to let go of their youth.

I watched a procession of ants once.

A black lacquer line fetching the honeyed remains of

a dropped baklava.

A long way from here, in Greece, in a stench of diesel and road dust,

waiting in heat for a boat.


Filed under oddbods, poems, poetry


The other bridesmaid dress, the one for my quickly-turning-into-a-young-woman daughter, is finished and golly does she look lovely.


Filed under dressmaking, oddbods, sewing