Category Archives: Diary

Movie Geek For Refugees – Reviewing My Unseen DVDs For A Refugee Charity, In A Time of Humanitarian Crisis

This is a pile of DVDs in my living room, most of them unwatched.

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“Movie Geek For Refugees” is an attempt to make something like a charity marathon out of film reviews, in aid of Refugee Action. Regular readers of my work might well note that silliness is never far from intense seriousness in a lot of stuff I seem to do, so while you’ll see me having fun as an amateur film critic finally getting around to viewing a two-column-strong pile of impulse purchased movies, I have seared in my mind what we’ve all seen is going on. People just like us have fled war, torture, indiscriminate violence, persecution and horror only to find that the international community is responding with indifference. People are living in unlivable conditions. Hundreds of unaccompanied children are perhaps the most greatly at risk. Your donations are desperately needed. If you’d like to join me in my fun movie critiquing sideshow at “Movie Geek For Refugees” you can, or just donate towards much-needed work and offer, in these times, a much-needed gesture of your compassion.

Refugee Action homepage.

 

Canción for a Hamster, Two Goldfish.

With Thanks to Alex for Translations

For my diary,
I talked a big talk
about the topness of my secrets,
the air good
and thin as my large-eyed intrigue.

Each letter of my name
like “Hollywoodland”,
punched-out with a label-maker.

I wouldn’t write more than a few pages,
before my siblings happily
devoured what was there,
silver-plated.

I grasp
an indie-rock pebble,
a guitar-pick from the air,
turning swept hair
away from muddied sea.

Eating fish food with the fish, at the cleared Saint’s table,
this January,
the difference between “I wouldn’t worry”
and “it’s okay”,
to me.

Someone out there knows
why Alexander Graham Bell’s first thought on waking
was the telephone,

while I arrive to worry my good grief
at a wall
like Charlie Brown,
like Charles Schultz was a preacher.

My pet fish swim
like Saints above.
My pet hamster April
exercises on a yellow wheel.

I visited a windmill,
and wrote this in Spanish –
“los molinos de viento.”
“Mi hámster, Abril”.

My fish have always danced an
lethargic flamenco,
always or since
I have been looking in.

My fish Miyamoto –
Nintendo pioneer –
turned around the fortunes of a
playing card,
taxi cab,
and love hotel company.

My smart goldfish who knows where his tub for food is,
has favourite corners,
watches us watch television,
sees remote control lasers,
looks at us and wonders
when flaked food will
hit the deck.

Professor Fishkins –
sorry you swam late into my eyeline.
If we were much quieter,
you’d be the underwater
one of our family.

Mi dulce peces de colores.
Profesor da una vuelta a la pecera.

I wouldn’t know one,
being terrible with names, faces,
drawing, maths, conversation, patterns, spiders, time, getting on transport, keeping in touch.
Wouldn’t know a Saint if
he presented the weather,
always forecasting rain
for himself.

You’re submarino, Super Mario!

Sometimes we stay still
and pretend the storm will pass.
They expect you to jump for stars
every day.

You’re getting on,
my senior
peces de colores,

where the hills have eyes,
and the clouds don’t remind you
of anything in your psyche.
You’re only notionally a plumber –
How nice.

Your silver belly, a generous segment
of orange.
De canción, Goldfish,
toca una trompeta de plástico,
simplemente si y cuando quiere.

In the swim of my inaccurate weekend,
we don’t count our fish
before they leap
to carpet.

Nothing screams
“You will do maths
whether you like it or not”
like the ruler shattering pitch of
my primary school teacher.

You will like maths,
as you will
eventually grow into ever-higher
numbers,
given time,

’til then, April, Miyamoto Shigeru, Professor Fishkins,
we all get what we decide –
I’ll see myself submerged in your wind turbine,
until that time, friends, compañeros,
until that time.

Join us for “Spring!” – A Day of Poetry and Dance Events at Embrace Arts in Leicester

Dear Leicester people,

On the 24th March at 3.30pm, fellow creator and awesome person Zara Dillinger  and I are collaborating on a dance/poetry workshop entitled “Wheelchair Bruisers” as part of the “SPRING!” spontaneous poetry event,  at Embrace Arts at the Richard Attenborough Centre, Leicester.

The workshop includes some themes relevant to disabled people and wheelchair users I suppose, but you absolutely don’t need to be one to come along, as it will be mostly an excuse to have fun.

The workshop is superhero themed, and we’ll be spontaneously moving and poetry-making around the idea of the superheroes we are, even in our ordinary daily lives, the things we can do, and how we can overcome any obstacle, however fantastical. Our workshop is in the family-friendly segment before 6.30, so will suitable for anyone of all ages.

“SPRING!” will be a wonderful event, thanks to the organisation skills, energy and enthusiasm of Leicester’s renowned “Grey, Gay Poet”, Bobba Cass. There will be workshops featuring esteemed local stars on the vibrant, always inspiring Leicester poetry scene, such as Pam Thompson and Magnus Gestsson, Carol Leeming and Rob Gee, and many others from a line-up truly bursting with talent, who promise to make the day a very special event indeed. I’m naming but a few for the sake of convenience in this post, but the full timetable of of what’s happening at the event can be found here. A finale from the excellent Jean Binta Breeze is sure to be especially spectacular.

Please feel free to come along to “SPRING!” and our “Wheelchair Bruisers” workshop, so that we have some lovely, awesome people to workshop to 🙂

I plan to continue trying to magic find  in the everyday, and I have more alter-ego themed hijinks and, yes, some surprises planned for my very first attempt at a workshop!

Here’s a brief description of our workshop so you know something of what to expect:

Based on the concept of “All-Powerful Invisible Capes of Us Obscure Superheroes”, in this workshop we will discover that we are all superheroes, capable of amazing things. We are also tiny dots in the universe, but that’s okay! Also, we don’t have to do amazing things all the time, because your power is in being you! And going to the shops is AWESOME! (When the aisles are wide enough for all of us and there’s a ramp into the entrance!)

In our mission as superheoes, it would be foolish to deny that everyday obstacles exist, but we’ll discover how we can do anything we want, and overcome any of these in many different ways!

Peter Buckley, a.k.a. Peter and The Hare, is the unexpectable Leicester-based purveyor and believer in the magical, the surreal and the silly, and here at “SPRING!”, he makes his workshop debut. Drawing from his experience in the use of alter-egos, he will ask you to imagine a garment or object that will instantly activate your super powers.

Our superhero gathering will create alter-egos and think about how you use your powers everyday. The gunpowder-stench of pulp fiction and the yawning mouth and eye-bags of reality will blur more than Mo Farah running-on-the-spot atop a freight train. If you’re an accountant by day, and an accountant by night; if your special power is making a wicked lamb tagine, if you have money-off coupons for hands, ready to dispense to poor and needy citizens… If you can’t stand this immature superhero nonsense; whoever you are, we need you in our team. If you can’t dance for toffee, I promise not to offer you any toffee. A team-like atmosphere will be cemented by a range of activities and surprises, that will assist the group and disrupt expectations. We’ll be in a place where you can be anything, which is not actually the stuff of comic book fiction, but of everyday reality. We’ll imagine into being an alternative, and certainly attainable, world where boundaries don’t exist, and we share an imagination that is more cool than controversial, but radical in its intensity. The poet Charles Bukowski said “Opening a can of sardines can be an art”; The Flaming Lips sang, “With all your power/what would you do?” ; Batman said “Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb” – Our spontaneous movements will superpower the everyday with magic. Once we get to know each other, we’ll be unstoppable. Check your common sense at the door to save a world that doesn’t necessarily want to be saved, and don’t hold out for a hero a minute longer, Bonnie Tyler, because “tag, your It” this SPRING! It’s a free-wheeling vehicle heading your way. We’re a few superheroes from downtrodden, depressing Gothic metropolises looking for something to dance about. Participants are invited to wear ECSTATIC DRESS and enjoy an atmosphere of “going with it, whatever it is”.

Please join us for “Spring!” – a whole host of exciting events combining spontaneous dance and poetry, happening from 11am to 8pm on 24th of March at Embrace Arts, Leicester! Full Schedule of the day here

Notes from Croatia

The duvet of roses,
the helter of the skelter,
in the approximate sort of funfair
that is present in all places,

acclimatised eventually
and, like a flower, planted;

growing
on the stairs,
able to see daylight;
to be considered a sculpture
by the sleepers in the morning,

of the unbelievable blue sky,
the Spring under the mattress,
the kindness of the light
Summer quilt.

The lady, as I live and breath,
wears orange hair,
which stays as it is in the minute she awakes,
until it is variously styled by the breeze at the harbour.

She’s sitting in the doorway
for minutes
full of hours
in the company of a cat.

The gift that is cast,
as a Roman numeral ahead,
is an hour of time
here, in Croatia.

When the clock strikes with some
“Hello Kitty” theme-tune,
she dresses unexpectedly in a lime-green,
matador’s suit of lights,
and expects to milk more honey from the day
than I would be inclined to.

A day to greet the many strays
in Rovinj, port city of cats,
to step off land onto a boat
– we know its owner –
and go fishing.
By which I mean
to see the clear sea in all our clarity,

and to repeatedly mouth the word “fish”
in-between kisses.

the gleaming stones,
the aluminium dolphin.

To softly open a can of lemon beer.

Fire Engine

The red living room,
the quick green lizard on the armchair facing
the beach,
it opens onto the world.

A portrait of the Virgin Mary,
a bird that is happy and yellow,
rosy-cheeked in its cage,
chirps occasionally.

We’re soon on the sea,
in a pedalo resembling a fire-engine,
legs protruding from behind honeycomb rocks.

The radio plays “The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite”.

Marmalade

A path of rocks
leads to the sea,
the jellyfish are as unknown
as we,
they are
the same colour as the donut filling,
they move as only jellyfish swim –
with marmalade donuts
floating beside them.

Night’s Dream

Not the sleepy-eyed, handsome priest
I imagined was on
the ten Kuna note.

Tired of Romans,
fatigued and nourished by
the milk of the sun,

who kissed his hand with kindness
who visited the yellow house
with the diamond window
to philosophise with a woman,
surrounded by sketches of fish,
that moved between blinks of his eyes –
the painted ones that swam behind the water,
in a tank.

As she floats on the sea,
her pet Croatian jellyfish,
her ever-changing
amphibious abode;

While he is afraid of things floating
in his pristine bathtub,
she takes to water,
another somewhere in Istria.

He has a fever,
and has had enough of politics.
He meets a man dressed as a lion,
who is tied to a tree.

As Samson between the columns,
the priest’s face from Dubrovnik,
and a tongue for seawater,
met the lion’s fur and mane.

Matko, the priest,
remained in his company
as the bird inside
the green dome of
the tree,
or the dog waiting
outside the supermarket
for his Master.

In the yellow room,
while behind the diamond-shaped window,
he and the woman
and the lion
continued to philosophise.

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the field of tall crucifixes painted by hand with
the red soil,
that can grow kiwis
cacti
tomatoes
easily here
olives

the hut of stone
the farmers I passed by at speed,
the bad bus driver
is efficient,
the network is confusing
to tourists.

Poems from Estonia

After Visiting A Clown Playhouse

The best gift you can give a clown
is purpose.
Circus headquarters closed
after a stupid Soviet crackdown.
The religion of performers.
A tinsel-covered drum,
a patchwork piano.
Now a small quiet playhouse,
soon full of children.
The lowered lights,
rebuilding for grown-ups;
it takes time,
since they joined hands in
protest from Tallinn.

Thank You

With every new flavour
We are disallowed in England,
outside a pink building,
an onion-shaped roof.

Thinking thoughts that might taste
precisely of plum,
and specifically of plum ice-cream.

Not using the word we half-know
for “thank you”* (*”tan-nan”?)
But being grateful nonetheless
in English.

Perhaps An Art School

An unused art school,
though we are not sure –
labeled heads of pottery,
a desk busy with books.

A table tennis table,
to play ping-pong without a ball.

The End of The Ice Age in Estonia

I can’t imagine what it would be like
to wake up in the morning
of a bad day in Tallinn.

When I’m on holiday I wonder
if there is such a thing?

Ham, cheese, “black bread”
for breakfast.
Estonian Coco-Pops.
Beats yesterday’s morning
chocolate cake and coffee,
for conventionality.

Irish Pub

In an Irish Pub in Estonia
plays a song,
♪”Far away from lovely Derry…”♫

The Estonian State Puppet Theatre

Even a member of
The Estonian Strong Man Team
parks his SUV outside
The State Puppet Theatre,
sits in the small room,
the curtains that raise themselves at the corners;
Sits a few rows back
reserving the nearest seats for children.
Behind the curtains,
the performers teaching
their little charges,
the steps to dance,
the lines to say.

Straw Theatre

The impermanent theatre
made of straw,
won’t be here next summer.

The technician with one motorbike glove
removes weeds growing around the stage.

The personnel of a company
reconvene their meeting outside –
the large group that descends,
a surprise to all.

One of the merrymaking workers was rude to us.
So I can’t think highly of what his company produces.

Bakery

Bakery
that looks as cosy as a home,
the warmth of bread and
Estonian pastries,
reflected in the
temperament of the old lady
who makes them.

Biscuits given jam shapes
of hearts,
custard fillings,
unfamiliar whirls of flavour,

windmill picture built into the wall
when the bakery and home
first emerged
fresh from the oven.

Harbour

Green harbour,
quiet with bathers
with nowhere to lay,
standing on the pebbles and stones
looking out at
cruiseships leaving port,

being calm with blue,
and the distant ancient town,
and, closer, a concrete
heavily graffitied building
that the locals have made clear;

which they love less.

Lady Collecting Daisies Outside The Museum

If the yellow lady with the red collar,
would ask me,
the wandering Estonian Avant-Gardist,
to paint something I have some skill to paint her,
like a flower or an eye,
a simple aeroplane picture,
of her collecting daisies
with our memories of MacDonald’s,
when she, from afar,
picked daisies together,
to sell or to keep in the house in a vase,
to make daisy chains,
or just to make time.

I would, for my part,
dispense with harsh
mathematic Cubism,
dark-eyed Expressionism
or Concepts, for a while.

I would sit in
the Grand Hall of the old Estonian Masters,
where colours are brighter and newer than any.

Someone would then instruct me to
remember a place in England,
after which I’d wonder “why?”,
and sway gently in a field of daisies.



Looking on the bus,
through space and people,
young and in love in
uncynical Estonia,

on the bus
waiting for the doors to open,
the young man on the lower step,
looking up with admiration
at his girlfriend,
together as sweet as
65 cent
“Südameke” cakes,

translating to everyone
as “heartthrob”,
and love.

Giant Bradley

Sunday 29th May was “Giant Bradley Day” in the town of Market Weighton in East Yorkshire, England.

The day is an annual celebration of the life of William Bradley, who at 7 feet 9 inches, is the tallest recorded British man who ever lived, and is popularly known as The Yorkshire Giant. According to Andrew Swalwell’s giantbradley.co.uk, “At birth William weighed 14lbs and at the age of 11 he weighed 11 stones. At 19 he weighed 27 stones and was 7ft 9ins in height. His stockings measured 3ft 9ins, his walking stick 5ft 10in and his shoes were 15ins long and 5.5ins wide.”

By chance, I happened to be in Market Weighton during the “Giant Bradley Day” celebrations and wrote the following, fanciful poetry-doodle while I was there.

Additional Citation:

William Bradley – The Yorkshire Giant (1787-1820) by Colin Westley.
Wikipedia – William Bradley (giant)

Continue reading Giant Bradley

Where to Start, If You Want to Start, and How to Start Again.


  • I wonder if you’d like to see my poetry. Try these, if you want:

Door [-] Handles

The iPod

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Those are my personal favourites, however some may find poems like Christmas and Bubble or even Bed-Time Story more accessable.

With the support of my friend Paul I did a few, I hope, fairly interesting works for The Orchid Room, his  collaborative poetry blog.  At The Orchid Room,  everyone wrote  stories concerning or related to happenings in an abandoned nightclub. One person would continue something from the narrative a previous writer started, and it carried on like that. It’s well worth reading the site, preferably from the earliest entries onwards. I don’t consider the works I did with the Orchid Room writers  my own. Rather, it is a wonderful, many peopled literary organism. However, writing those pieces was a mind-blowing experience, they are infused with a memorable collective spirit.

————

A little curio that I like, composed of found images –

A while back I produced Peter And The Hare’s Commemorative Montage Comicbook. It’s essentially a visual translation of my blog, and was conceived as a souvenir for myself and visitors. It marked a concluding chapter in the history of this site, which was not an “ending” but nevertheless felt something like that at the time. The Comicbook is now simultaneously entitled Peter and The Hare’s Commemorative Collage Piano Book, in a definitive version with more pages, and exists more to be enjoyed than understood.

It is available to download directly from Peter And The Hare here, for viewing with Adobe Reader.

Something About a Hacksaw, in Shanghai

I recently had the pleasure of helping out with this, for the awesome Shanghai based music site Layabozi. The site has been one of the links in my sidebar for a while. The variety of articles on Layabozi is great – it’s eclectic, open-minded, rich in mental and visual stimulation,  has no genre boundaries and is written by true music lovers, who take music seriously but still have a sense of humour.  They describe it better:

“Layabozi is a web magazine about music in Shanghai today, with a sprinkle of the extra-mural and a tart sassiness—without ever being cloying. We take our inspiration from the snack which is both exotic (to us) and down home, and from which we take our name: Spicy Duck Necks. We are led by an exuberant, but discerning, Chilean amateur flautist with a strikingly handsome, yet humble, American bass player in support. We strive to provide writing that nourishes while piquing the intellect, and knowledge of music all over Shanghai, from Classical to Nouveau, from the Shanghai Grand to the neighborhood Chinese Opera house.”

And there’s a cool article on there right now, by ed, about funky Afro-Peruvian Music! You don’t even know what that is, do you? so go find out!

Continue reading Something About a Hacksaw, in Shanghai