Saturday, 23 September 2017

"Sometimes the best part is what if?"

Review: Oceans of Ink by Sheldon Sinnamon (available here and here and here, elsewhere)

This review is a year in the making, not that it has taken me a year to read Sheldon Sinnamon's collection. There have been many barriers and boundaries that cropped up, life's great effect on plans kicked into affect, though in the back of my mind I kept coming back to wanting to complete my notes and review.

Sometime Autumn, 2016, I was approached by Sheldon Sinnamon and asked whether I'd be interested in reviewing this collection. This would be my first proper review, not me writing about something I had read, someone asking me to review their work. I was rather chuffed to be asked. The plan had been to read through the collection during a trip to Belgium, make notes then type these up. It would all be done by December...

Oceans of Ink is a very enjoyable read. As another review noted, the poems are presented in five parts, with each part taking a theme. There's hooks in the writing, there's so much care and detail in the words. There are so many good lines and turns of phrase, I had trouble trouble picking one or two from my notes, so randomly, from Man With No Title:

So now, I have all these memories I need to repress.
My life became a disconcerting mess. 

The poems had a certain familiarity to them, while the come from Sheldon's perspective they had a way of conveying the themes and ideas. Boundaries and barriers were especially strong for me, Sheldon's personal perspective presented perfectly in poems. 

As I said, this review is a year, though I've read through this collection a couple of times. It's really enjoyable, approachable, and has a way of rattling around ones thoughts long after putting it down.



Thursday, 4 May 2017

It's been some time

You know that phrase Nelson uses in the Simpsons, when he's forcing Bart to punch himself, "stop punching yourself, stop punching yourself". That, I know that feeling.

It's the feeling of being blamed for being understaffed. It is the feeling of being perceived as wrong when one follows established process. It's the feeling of knowing I am doing my best (and I am f-ing awesome at my job) and not being able to do all the things that need to be done. It is a feeling of hopelessness unnecessarily growing because looking ahead, one week, one month, to the next year, one anticipates another "stop punching yourself."

I am exhausted by that feeling. Knowing the tide change coming, the 'dog wagging the tail' prophesies, the ever-ever-closer micromanagement tendencies, and the general move from collaborative practices to suspicions of being the them in 'us v. them.' 

Collaborative behaviours are key. What did the Golgafrinchans do to themselves?

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Drafts against the frost

Some poem drafts that have kicked and stuck around since October.

Untitled 

MPs
that make hard line
fascist policy normal
display lack of understanding
and thought

Never
again return
to the darkest of pasts
Progression means testing all with
respect

Not fear
nor suspicion
Like the old saying tells,
All strangers are not yet friends known
to us.

Untitled - Cake?

Waste time
on adventures
collecting carrot cakes
No ordinary shape holds more hope
than cake

Exciting times coming in Dustjacket Towers, expect a flurry of posts by the end of the year as winter falls around us.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Another draft poem

Jukebox communication,
Calling out for Miss Chien,
Stare deep into my eyes, you womble.
I want your love, I want your love.
Pull up to the bumper, curb, carwash.
Please don't take my man, Joleene, take me.

On this dreamy dreamy night
I've got Mr Sandman with me.
Dancing, drinking, singing, sinking
the evening from dusk till dawn.
Every day in every way, rave on.
I'm your brown-eyed handsome man

you're my girl at the bus stop.
Ship it music brain, say what you really mean.
No one shaved their head with a jumbo jet,
Or entered the room like a wrecking ball.
You can't show me who are the lonely people are,
The hound dogs, sun steelers, teenagers in love kicking teenage kicks.
My heart is equally uneven parts lying lyricists,
Nothing else makes sense,
I'm just a boy in love.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Bears! Woods! News! Bears In The Woods News!

A special Bears in the Woods News customer service feature on customer service, for customers using services. Tests have found that if one uses a false name when calling customer service lines they will not get the information one is seeking. Eleven out of ten times this proves to be true.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Notebook substitution

Slip in hand, wager set,
It only matters when there's money in it.
Tell that to the social worker, the nurse on the end of a shift,
Tackling a case load spread ever thicker.

No one ever stole services,
They were just chronically underfunded.
If the collective We don't want to pay for unused services,
Can we start with nuclear weaponry?

What We do with what we have 
is all we have as our legacy.
And the legacy we fight against is the one that         starves services, communities, people.
What equality there is is the level of inequality,
And still we have nuclear weapons that are more likely to see rust than action.

Note: I left my poem notebook at home, and decided to start recording my first drafts here. What will happen to this is it will make its way into my notebook, wait a few weeks while I write other poems, then I'll return to it and see how I can improve it and make it work.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Public information about public houses

You might not be aware of this but there's a couple of areas of Leeds 'history' that I'm fascinated by. Architecture, obviously, and the changing streetscape, cinemas and theatres, and the evolving public spaces. One of the really big fascinations I have are public houses. I've heard so many tales about them, descriptions and locations, clientele and staff, and I find them creatively inspiring. It might be a long way off though a project about these places is a distinct possibility. Public houses often serve multiple functions, meeting rooms, folk clubs, a liaison for the evening or long term companionship, and are often located in places that link communities. However, I often hear these tales in other public houses, so have no notes to reference. I know someone told me about a Roxy, though am I getting confused with similar public houses in Nottingham, London, Norwich? I've been in market taverns in London, you know the ones that open at 5/6am for the porters, and I think someone else told me about the Leeds ones, but I can't recall. In an effort to start collecting this information I'm going to start carrying a small notebook. In this I will jot down the things people tell me, any tales I get about the current and lost pubs of Leeds, their locations and the location in which I get the research. I might spend a bit of time explaining what I'm doing but think most people I've met in public houses, friends and strangers alike, would probably be happy imparting their stories.