The shrewder amongst you may have discerned that this blog, far from being a innocently whimsical aggregation of my daily musings, is in fact a massive shill for my forthcoming non-fiction debut, We Can’t All Be Astronauts – which comes out on June 4, and you can preorder now (at a substantial discount). If you’re … Read more

Last week, I spoke to Dockers MC. This week, it’s the turn of the prodigiously talented Polarbear. How did you get into performance poetry? My best mate told me it was just rhyming without a beat and that I should get on stage at a poetry night in Birmingham. He had no idea what it … Read more

Lest we forget, video games are commercial enterprises designed to cajole/extort as much revenue from punters as possible. With the decline of the arcade, comes the death of the ‘Continue?’ screen. Coin-ops used a variety of strategies to try to convince players to reinvest – over the next few weeks, I’ll post up some of … Read more

Dear Andrew Motion’s agent, I am writing to offer my services as the new Andrew Motion Laureate. For just £500 per annum, I will compose poems in response to every major Andrew Motion event. Here is my first poem, in honour of the poet, Andrew Motion.Ode To Andrew MotionAndrew MotionO Andrew MotionYou damnable fucktardTake the … Read more

In contemporary page poetry, rhyme occupies an uncertain position in the technique hierarchy. If you’re a performance poet, it’s pretty much indispensible. That’s not to say that every poem you write need be in pat, metrically-tight couplets, but even if you’re delivering a prosey monologue, if you want it to flow satisfyingly you’ll need to … Read more

(via Metafilter)My favourite website, the community blog Metafilter, has yet again led me to something great online that really cheered me up. Tiny Art Director is a blog where Bill Zeman’s little daughter requests pictures, which he then draws for her. Each picture is accompanied by a description of the brief, and the Tiny Art … Read more

Hey folks. Here’s the first in my promised series of weekly interviews with the great and good of the UK performance poetry scene. Hopefully they’ll build into a nice little collection for anyone looking to find a new fave poet or find out a little more about an old one – I might give everyone … Read more

The story you’re about to read involves scandal, creative genius, and a 15 year conspiracy of silence. Oh – and Sonic the Hedgehog. So, after a long, long hiatus, I started playing Sonic 3 again. When I reached the Carnival Night Zone, a few bars of the awesome soundtrack were all it took to propel … Read more

So, some of you may have read the post I wrote last week, called ‘Why Gaming Matters’. In it, I complained that child literacy promoters too often present their task in terms of luring children away from video games, into the rich cultural world of books. I argued that video games have had just as … Read more

Maggie’s obituary appeared in the Guardian today. Maggie was my friend, and latterly my agent. I don’t think I can add anything to Francesca and Alison’s simple, eloquent tribute, except that reading it made me feel very very sad, whilst making me smile with recognition. Maggie made a huge positive difference to my life, and … Read more

Over the coming weeks, I’m going to be running a series of interviews with the great and good of the UK performance poetry scene. The nice thing about doing stuff online is that I can embed videos alongside the Q & As, and turn appropriate sections of their replies into hyperlinks so that, for example, … Read more

I was on my way to the train station this morning when I happened upon this sign in a Turkish grocer’s window: Initiatives like this are, of course, to be lauded. With the economic downturn biting huge chunks out of manufacturing and retail, we’re constantly being told that rising unemployment equals white, working class disillusionment … Read more

I was skittering and crabwalking my way through Northampton town centre yesterday when I came across a guitar-wielding busker outside the Grosvenor Shopping Centre, plodding through a workmanlike rendition of ‘Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door’. I’d barely had a chance to roll my eyes at his lack of imagination when a teen chorus chorus started up … Read more

A couple of people have asked me where this blog got its name. Well, the answer certainly isn’t this: [youtube=] For me, this video dances on the event horizon where ‘utterly shit’ and ‘strangely intriguing’ seem to blend into one. I find lots of small elements weirdly compelling – the fact you can hear the … Read more

Hey. You should put Mercy Recommends in your favourites list. It’s a new blog by the talented folks behind Mercy, covering lots of their interesting artsy projects and random assorted fascinating stuff culled from the interwebs. I’m going to be contributing a feature semi-regularly (or at least until they tell me to bog off), where … Read more

Look, straight up, I think the blog format where a writer picks whatever stories happen to be making the news then gives their opinion on them is hackneyed and crap. We have a culture of analysis over content, because analysis is a piece of piss, and content is hard. The opinion piece I wrote for … Read more

I feel as if posting this will mark an unshouldering of sorts – a chance for me to finally let go of baggage accrued over the past eighteen months. I first discovered This American Life via the superb community blog Metafilter, a website which has introduced me to almost everything I like on the internet. … Read more

BBC4 are starting a new season called Why Reading Matters. Reading and literacy are Good Things, I think we all agree. But it was a line in the Radio Times, previewing the season’s launch programme, where ‘Children’s Poet Laureate’ Michael Rosen ‘does for literacy what Jamie Oliver did for school meals’, that thumped one of … Read more

[youtube=](youtube vid via Metafilter) At 11, I broke my collar bone playing football at school. At the hospital, they tried injecting me with anaesthetic, but I was so fat it didn’t have much impact, so they switched me onto the nitrous oxide. I can still picture the high mullioned window going blotchy and indistinct as … Read more

Over the last week or so I’ve been waking up with pretty vicious lacerations across my forearms, thighs and back. At first, I had no idea where they were coming from, then I discovered the culprit – my ukulele. I started playing guitar when I was fifteen, and I’ve been playing ukulele for about a … Read more

He came to power with an agenda of change, and in doing so, brought hope to a hitherto disenfranchised section of the populace. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you America’s first purple president: All great villains evoke guilty admiration. Though your official allegiance is with the heroes, you can’t help looking upon the motley havoc … Read more