Thursday, 30 December 2010

New Year's Revolution

So, at the moment I need to get writing some stuff, so currently have 3 poems I'm playing with to turn into not so much the 2-3 min poems that I usually have in my arsenal, but something a little heavier/bulkier.  More like short-stories or monolouges.  Indeed I'm certain at least one could be transformed into a piece of theatre.  I also want to work on a piece of writing about York called 'Gargoyles of York', something pershapes physcial based on the streets of my hometown.


The Wolves Also Smile:  A Neil Gaiman-inspired piece of darkness late at night.  No cowardly lions here.

Are We Forwarding This Generation Triumphantly:  A sort of celebratory/critical look at my generations attempts at improving the world based on Bob Marley's inspirational Redemption Song.

The Die Will Be An Awefully Big Adventure:  Need to read up on my Peter Pan, but suffice to say I have trouble thinking of a more striking phrase

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Henry & John's Christmas Tour 2010

So last week me and my good gingery friend John Holt Robets played a epic 3 open mics in one night round our fair city of York.  We kicked off at Bar Lane Cafe for 6 Lips' X-Mas party.  I did some of my more 'serious' poems seeing as I'd done a lot of Can't Sing, Can't Dance, Don't Care comedy nights with jokier poems.  I seemed to go down OK for a group who had never heard my stuff before.

Next onto The Habit, where after a poor cover of Street Dogs' Unions & The Law I did some stuff to a bemused crowd, and maybe I didn't quite crack them.  Another poem to end with might have worked...need to pen something new for pub crowd.

Finally Golden Fleece were happy to have us, and I loved the basic set-up...i.e. none.  Just talking in a pub, back-to-basics story-telling in the same style as Ian McMillan (  Went down well I think, because you couldn't ignore me like a song so the situation being bemusing working in my favour.

On Friday we did our good old comedy group (Can't Sing, Can't Dance, Don't Care: and I got to compare the night.  Hosted nights before but this was a little differant, almost ran out of material and had to keep writing stuff during acts but hopefully I went down OK and kpe energy for the night.

Open Mic tomorrow at Pulse with 6 Lips Theatre Company, gonna see what the mood is, probably a couple of 'serious' ones with a daft one here and there for the crack.

Vandal Raptor

If you thought music dinosaurs meant receding hairlines and 20 minute drum solos then think again because lurking in the undergrowth is a Punk Rock Dino

Encased in a leather jacket as tough as his scaly hide is a prehistoric monster with fire in his reptilian eyes with a burning desire not just for cold meat but also 3 chords played with sharp, razor claws

This is VANDAL RAPTOR who tore up his Latin name in favour of Punk Rock fame.  Spitting since he was an egg other predators aren’t even a factor they’re glad to avoid his sharp teeth, sharp studs and blunt language ‘cos VANDAL RAPTOR is a Jurassic savage

Did you know it was all the talk a few years back when an archaeologist shifted the earth and uncovered a skeleton with a bright, green Mohawk?

The VANDAL RAPTOR was mostly found drinking cheap cider by the side of volcanoes, usually singing along to the hide anthem:  Anarchy in the Cretaceous Period.

The only problem with dinosaurs and music is their tiny forearms make gelling up hair something of a trail.

VANDAL RAPTOR put a safety pin through his tail and started a band called The Tar Pits and would have got radio play if the mainstream radio shows had accepted his angry anthems.  And if radios had existed 65 million years ago.

You think the Damned released the first Punk Rock single?  Nah mate, VANDAL RAPTOR had a hit with Brontosaurus Blitz, and if cartoons were accurate then he’d be chewing on Fred Flintstone’s ribs.

Just like the Exploited sang Punk’s Not Dead, the Dino-Punks will stand up tall and proud and sing Dino-Punk Will Never Become Extinct

Last Train Outta Beanotown

I woke up one morning to the sound of my alarm clock calling me to rise and face another day but I couldn’t help feel my world was swamped in grey.  I expected to witness a splash of jet black and fire red horizontal lines streaking across the sky into forever but instead merely treated to overcast clouds and foul weather.  Did you ever get the feeling someone had pulled a dirty trick, that this isn’t the only world to ever exist, once upon a time there used to be another world they not only made fade away like a dream at dawn, but also tried to carve from our minds one panel at a time.

I remember a world of spiky hair, red and black hooped jerseys and Abyssinian Wire Haired Tripe Hounds.  Armouries stacked with catapults, peashooters and water pistols, carties and an endless supply of rotten tomatoes.  Unruly, unrulebale kids raised and educated on Bash Street, Minxs, Dodgers and Menaces who accept authority like Lord Snooty needs charity.

Did all the Dads and Mums and Mayors and sergeants and Teachers and headmasters finally charter a master-crafted stratagem to keep these hoodlum youths at bay?  Did they realise it would turn the world so grey?  Did they dismantle the world with such subtle revenge you woke up one morning and wondered when all the mischief ended?  Did the Dodge Books get thrown on some sinister bonfire or left under a mountain of dust in some old abandoned attic, each word and dodge left unreadable and static.

Maybe I got the last train out of Beanotown when I asked my Gran to cancel my subscription and cut off my 60p addiction to be replaced by a hunt for CDs and surreal TV.  But I still try and wake up each morning with a plan for the Hi-Jinx of the day, what scheme accompanies this 12 panel scandal.  Fights a blur of dust and fists, puns coming thicker and faster than a combination of Fatty and Billy Whizz, the reader’s voice accompanying every story in this weekly, ever-living glory.  Our thoughts are made real in clouds hovering above our heads.

 Never let the slipper have it’s bitter victory, never become a softy and quiver and simper.  Think what glorious rebellion we could achieve under the menace-manifesto of a British Comics Masterpiece.

I pressed snooze on my alarm clock and drifted back to sleep

Raising The Game

Put away your white flags, you won’t be needing them anymore
tonight we’re seeding dreams and reaping what we sow
Yesterday was important Because yesterday is gone and done
We learned our lessons & we’re coming back top of the class
Gentlemen, we can rebuild ourselves learning from the past
Find your weapon, find your target and then take your aim
It’s time we got down to business and began to Raise The Game
Put a post-it note on your fridge that reads:  “Don’t forget to kick it over”
Send yourself a text message saying:  “Just because I fight doesn’t mean I’m a soldier”
Make yourself a promise, right now, that if you notice yourself getting colder the older as you grow
You’ll defrost yourself with very little cost by returning to what you truly know
That this world isn’t nearly colourful enough, that this world is minutes from decay
That this world isn’t nearly bold enough, and this what we all stand up and say:
We’re raising the game

Barricades can be built quickly
But ideas don’t always get erected so swiftly
Fears are born from lives trapped in concrete
Regrets often pass far too freely
Sunsets don’t always mean it’s the end of the day
All bets are off in a crisis
What’ll they do when ten tonnes of human soul comes crashing down
We bite the hand that feeds us because we’re sick of the same old gruel
Armouries are stacked with poems and songs, we're ambassadors of the New
We’re Raising The Game

Grab that magic potion, grab your spinach, grab your black flags and grab your red
Grab your paint pots, grab your stencils, grab your pens and grab your paper pads
Grab your guitars and harmonicas and get your plectrums at the ready
With a poem and a song we’ll hold this course steady
Grab your friends, grab your family, grab yourself, just don’t turn up empty-handed
Bring your mind, bring your soul, bring your passion and your-get-up-and-go
Grab your banners and placards but what’s more remember we’re not fighting a battle
We’re winning a war

Poetry Is In The Streets

Poetry is in the Streets

Poetry is in the streets, we put it there under the cover of a radiant darkness when no one was looking.
We hope you will notice if only slightly.
Action is a creation and we acted like men and women on a daredevil mission with a glint of menace in our eyes.
We hope you clocked it, if only momentarily.
We'll catch you when you fall if you give us the chance, but we're not watching you all the time so be sure to let us know.
We don't really want to watch you all the time.
The streets will finally blossom with poetry and be washed in the torrent of earned smiles, raised fists and bruised flames.
We are all undesireables.
The lions rise and the Men In Glass Towers give a slight whimper.
Some of us are more undesireable than others.
Poetry is in the streets.

So it begins...

Well, here we are, I thought I'd better start one of these blog things 'cos I'm nothing if not a sucker for bandwagonning

Here's the bio:

Henry Raby has been making poetry for the past few years. His first ever gig was at the Big Youth Theatre Festival 2007, probably the 13th. Which was a Friday.

Watch poor quality homemade videos on the left-hand column and read some in Notes also on the left-hand column, or check out

He guesses he does punk poetry, though I guess he could class it as speed poetry or spoken word or ranting poetry. Based in York/Leeds, performed all o'er Yorkshire and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. And Kualar Lumpur.

Henry can perform anywhere between 30 seconds and 30 minutes, easily perfomring in-between bands or as a full act in his own right, and occassionally as a compare. And asks for nothing in return but clapping. Available to support bands, gigs, rap/hip-hop nights, poetry nights, parties, story-telling nights, anti-facist rallies, festivals, squat parties, protests etc.

He really likes the works of John Cooper Clarke, Sage Francis, Buddy Wakefield, Inua Ellams, Frank Sidebottom, Harold Pinter, Phillip Larkin, Lewis Carrol, Gerry Potter, Scroobius Pip, PolarBear, Alan Ginsberg, Samuel Beckett, Steven Wells, Phil Jupitus, Henry Rollins, Captain Of The Rant, Atilla The Stockbroker, Captain Of The Rant, MC Lars, Percy Shelly, William Shakespeare, Baba Brinkman, Sarah Kane, Chemical Poets, DNA Poets, The Ruby Kid, Dead Poets, Indigo Williams, Toby Thompson, Jack Mapanje, Sophia Blackwell, Cat Brogan, Richard Tyrone Jones to name but a few

Other influences of note include Alan Moore, Nick Kent, Joe Strummer, Derick Walcott, Frederich Nietzsche, William S. Burroughs, Salman Rushdie, Angela Carter, Alexi Sayle, Bob Marley, Grant Morrison, Phil Ochs, Will Hodgson, Andrew O'Neill, Phil Ochs, John Lydon, John Otway, Neil Gaiman, Thomas Paine, Jean-Paul Sartre, George Orwell, Terry Pratchett, Mark E. Smith, Tim Armstrong, Patti Smith, Paul Weller, Babar Luck, Franz Kafka, Frank Turner, Billy Bragg and everything and anything connected with Pokemon.

He's performed at Speaker's Corner, Project OMG, Click Clak Open Mic as a headline guest, Sticks & Stones, Take The Stage, Cert 18 open mic, TG24, Riverlines, Scribe Magazine nights, Leeds Theatre Group festivals, Barefoot In the Park, supported John Otway, supported Atilla The Stockbroker on his 30th anniversary tour, Hammer and Tounge Slam, C Venues Open Mic nights, Habit Open Mic, Golden Fleece Open Mic, Bar Lane Cafe with 6 Lips Theatre and is also a member of York's comedy collective Can't Sing, Can't Dance, Dont Care (

He also likes referring to himself in The Third Person