2018. Let’s be cool.


Orkney Odyssey 3: Time Tells

Feeling the need to return.

City Jackdaw

There is a romanticism and a melancholy to the islands.

An echo of times past. A hint of meaning that lies just beyond the wind. Meaning whose origin is adorned by labels: Norse, Pictish, Neolithic. A procession of markers that will outlive us all.

I wonder if living here day after day, year after year, causes you to be blasé about it all? Do the markers become invisible, blending in with the rest of the storm-shaped landscape?

I remember seeing a documentary a few years back about people living in the Scottish Highlands. Among all that natural beauty and dramatic vistas, the young ones were bored to death. They said that visitors would tell them how lucky they were to be living there. They would reply that there was never anything to do. They would amuse themselves by sending travelling tourists in the opposite direction of the landmarks that they…

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A Four-Way Collaboration

I was sat in a café, reading a great poem about my home city of Manchester.*

The opening lines read:

Queen of the cotton cities,

nightly I pick you back into existence:

the frayed bridal train your chimneys lay

and the warped applause-track of Victorian rain.

You’re the blackened lung whose depths I plumb,

the million windows and the smoke-occluded sun.


A couple took the table behind me. The lad never spoke, but the girl:

“I’ve always had weird drinking habits. I used to drink the vinegar out of cockle and muscle jars. I think it’s the cause of my leaking bladder.”


All of this was underscored by a female cover of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s The Power Of Love. Haunting and ethereal. Alchemical.

All of these things merged and mingled into one tributary, collaborative moment, leading me to the page, transcribing slowly.



*Manchester, Adam O’Riordan.

Work In Progress: Night Poem

These are a few lines that I wrote the other night. Needs a lot doing with it.

Night Poem

The loneliness of distraction;
a question of language.

Cravat pirate,
hogging the turntable.

Wait — to see the shooting stars
tearing holes in the firmament.

Name a rose after that velvet queen
lost in the garden,

painting portraits and hustling
the elite for a pound.

Taste the names of those gone before,

their unfinished manifestos
staked to scarlet trees.