Unsung

There is no certificate you can obtain in becoming an artist 

You never applied for the position 

You work in sales on a commission basis 

Like sex work you sell yourself as product 

You have a few testimonials from satisfied customers 

But these are subjective reviews imbued with personal circumstance 

They are empirical truth of nothing 

The money you do or don’t make is no barometer of artistic achievement  

Glittery shit sells and greatness often doesn’t 

There are no catergoricals to be found in cold hard cash 

You could insist the prolific nature of your output is the proof of your pudding 

But you know quantity does not denote quality 

Nor are they mutually exclusive 

So the slimness of your cv is no signifier of success  

Thus you drift denied your definitive 

Like an addict only after applause 

An exhibitionist enabled by audience 

A crowd pleasing, precarious, conditional 

Question mark 

My Cutting Tongue

No one says they like the sharpness of my tongue

to be on the parched tip of it

but licked luminant by the light of a thousand forest fires

you were seared into the landscape

never so strikingly seen

lit up bright

bathed in light

Rock and stone

may break my bone

my back

is only so strong

so straight

arches under the weight

of dragging you along

Clinging to the fraying end of my tether

for dear life

a guide rope in the dark

your dark

the one you grew with your doubt

that you carry about

With its deepening void

its vacuum

into which

every good deed must go

but never unpunished

derided and diminished

for doubt is all you know

A shadow

defined only by opposition

a negative preposition

needling, feeding on

the only light left

May you linger

in your ashes and dust

rusted by your own corrosion

may it dampen all the fires you started

fade around you

like the smoky plume of gloominess

you are

left

alone

in the

dark

longing to be scorched

upon my cutting tongue.

Can’t do right for doing wrong, are there any winners here?

I’ve had a few gig offers come in now and obviously these aren’t quite how they used to be. They are 200 seater venues limited to 40 tickets or 70 if you hold it outside in October, with free streaming or ticketed streaming which has problems or streaming with donations which is hard to budget for etc all with a take home pay way below what it used to be. But what they all are is good people doing their best to keep an industry afloat. Trying exhaustively to get events on for people who need that connection to music to lift their understandably ailing spirits and help back to performing the people whose raison d’etre has been all but obliterated. Not to mention keep venues from shutting and staff who relied on furlough something to exist on at all.

So should I do them? If we’re all brutally honest, despite all these best intentions none of this quite works well enough for anyone. Some venues have opened with limited ticketing but many tickets bought were not redeemed on the night. Those audience members are judged a little for not turning up but those who did are judged a bit for fraternising during a pandemic, the venue is judged for holding events but judged for not holding them as artists, crew and the industry need them. Artists are judged for ‘going about like everything’s normal’ or judged for not supporting themselves, each other and the industry etc etc. “where is all this judgement coming from?” you ask and well, let’s face it, from ourselves mainly. We are all questioning whether or not the thing we are doing is proactive enough, supportive enough, safe enough, advisable, sensible.. the list of worries goes on and on doesn’t it. None of it makes enough money for anyone involved so what’s the point in it all? But hang on thats an awfully pessimistic sentence and I don’t mean that as a conclusion.

There are a few examples of how this has been made to work lucratively in a few exceptional cases (so don’t @ me about those) I’m not criticising anyone and yes I know that Folk on Foot raised 50k but there is a finite appetite for streaming so it’s not an option for every single venue or festival that would manage in ‘normal’ times gone by.

My intention here is not run down any of the efforts people are making, I mean the opposite really. I mean it’s hard to know how to be a force for good at the moment, how to be sensible AND supportive. How to make the right decisions and what I want to say to you (and myself) is. You already are. You’re asking yourself the questions, you’re trying and thinking, taking an action and correcting it when it doesn’t yield the right result. Navigating a constantly changing terrain, and existing optimistically within it, as best you can. That’s enough. Thank you for caring to consider it all and try.

So I didn’t fly to Germany to record a radio show, that didn’t feel right and maybe I’ll go next month or next year, I’ll see. Maybe I will play a socially distanced gig to 40 people at some point, I’m just weighing it up. Attempting to balance the risk and benefit as best I can. Consider each decision with its own unique context is all you can do in the circumstance.

So try to be easier on yourself. I hope to see you all soon, however soon that will be, we’ll get there x

Poem #10

Not without fault or failure 

To choose to accept change 

To live in lines and in laughter 

To live it all again

To live it all again

Expand the reach and range 

Untethered and braver

To drift like a drop of rain

Hold the heart of a stranger 

The one without the pain 

The one without the pain 

Gift it all away

I have a heart that harbours

I have a heart 

I have a heart 

That harbours 

Not without fault or failure 

Poems in Isolation

#One
Postpone the thought of a handshake 
Or a hug 
Forget the future for a moment 
Actively narrow the horizon 
From a line to a dot 
A full stop 
That begins 
and ends 
only 
today. 


Let the sun set 
May it rise tomorrow
Hope for much 
Expect less 
Need other things 
Things nearer to you 
Eat only what is here 
Love everyone that’s not 
Love and let love a lot. 
#Two
The single biggest 
Lip sealed, censored 
Soundless 
Unspoken 
Forbidden 
All consuming
All or 
Something and nothing 
Invisible 
Inexistent


When does an unspoken truth become a secret 
When does a kept secret become guilty 


Held forever 
Like a breath 
#Three
What good does it do
If we build a tree 
In the middle of a town 
Surrounded by traffic, noise and fumes 
Suffocated in sound 


Its roots 
poke and protrude the pipes under the ground 
Interrupting existing life 
Trying to live alongside 
All that is alive 


Is it still an act of love 
If it can barely breath 
If it might not grow 
If it isn’t chosen 


To flourish and thrive
All green earth 
Who am I to plant it here 
In this dirt 
To decide 
#Four
Waiting is the game with you 
Whether you will or won’t 


You would’ve said if I had waited 


My impatience impaled your intent 


Your cautiousness is never cruelty but it cuts the same 


A will is just words without deed 

Poem #9

 I do not speak subtext anymore 
 No longer do I wrangle with the entangled communication 
 If you have something to say, just say it 
 
 However unkind. 
 I promise not to mind more for your honesty 
 
 But don’t try to blind me with your offensive defensibility 
 The trick you stick with is the cruelest of slights 
 The slow trickle of truth from a sewn mouth
The barbed knife, 
Insidious insinuation device 
 
Regardless the work is all mine, to refuse to find the hidden messages 
 To change my ears and the way that I hear things 
 And what I take to heart. 
 
 A place of limited space must not have an open gate policy 
 
 I must finally learn that all must earn their time 
For a kingdom of carefully crafted kindness  

Poem #8

The Monologue 

The deafening silence 

The absence 

The one and only echo in your lonely chamber 

The slow creeping of regret 

The cold sweat 

The restless night 

The sight of it slithering over the brow of the hill 

The still of the sound 

The downs

The reflection 

The dissection of every word exchanged 

The change that is necessary 

The scale of it 

The futile fight 

The missed moment 

The opportunity skipped over 

The clipping of wings

The sound of it singing 

The words endlessly ringing in 

The begin again 

The end 

Poem #7 Notes on the Indestructible

If I cry in public

Will you believe me then?

Is the onus on me to display my vulnerability ?

Must I wear it like a badge ?

If I make myself small and weak am I then deserving of care ?

Is it the rough skin on my palms?

Is it hard to believe that words of pain are truthful from a mouth that speaks them with such assurance ?

I practice them you know

I don’t sing songs I’ve just written for fear that my crying will crush them

and I’ll never get them out

You have to pull yourself together

Or you would fall apart in front of their eyes

It is learned poise, a pretend

Strength as an artifice I made

That now I cannot end

Poem #6

Held like an unexploded bomb

At full arms stretch

a threat that must be neutralised

Restrained, Contained

A wild cat in need of neutering

A small unknowable thing

At both the centre and the edge of it all

The burning episcentre and a bit part player in the story of your own life

Unsure if you’re the factory floor

Or the silent partner haunting the halls at the top of the tower

Like a bad tempered Repunzal

After countless calls to let down her hair

she cuts it all off

Content to cocoon in her seclusion

This is a coffin or a chrysalis

For eithers sake

a prison break of sorts

#4 Final Words

Let this be the final time you steal the very words from my mouth

For now you must make your own sound in the dark

And the hallowed other ground be yours alone

To make of what you will

And still remain the memory

Of all you used to take from me