Thursday, 28 July 2011


The Men In Suits came to our city’s old walls
Armed with suspicious grins.  We all knew what was in store.
They tried to get into the city but the gate was shut
We said:  “You’ll pardon us if we don’t fully trust
But we remember Vikings and we remember Romans
We remember Dick Turpin, Guy Fawkes and Queen Vic
But we also remember non-magical money tricks.”
But the Men In Suits just smiled like vultures
Told us they had big plans for our town’s future
Promised shiny new hospitals worth every penny,
(though maybe not available to the smelly many)
Schools vastly improved at only slight expense,
(though maybe not everyone will access the contents)
Take the ‘Holiday’ out of Holiday Camp when it comes to prisons,
Sell off contracts, people and property with veiled good intentions.
But we knew we could not let our town be bought and slowly die
And as one we all replied in a mighty cry:
“You’ll turn Clifford’s Tower into one giant CCTV camera
Set up a base of operations in the crypt of the Minster
And if we disagree you’ll chain us up in the Dungeons.
What you’ll do to the Museum Gardens doesn’t even deserve a mention,
And we’re the most haunted city in Europe, but you’ll make it a real ghost town.
You’ll bulldoze every decent pub except you won’t knock The Willow down.”
Well the mask had slipped, the Men In Suits cursed and swore
As they tried feebly to batter down our gates and doors,
But were forced to bring their mercenary army to bear.
Armed with spears, axes, swords and hefty cleavers
They said “we’re going to chop your city and carve it up
And what we don’t hack, we’ll suck out all the blood
From your little town.  All its little history
Will still remain, but without a future of opportunity.
It’ll be our little quaint museum piece of peace,
A pretty little town sold and lulled to gentle sleep.
All those battles will be confined to the long forgotten past.
Any form of spirit kept firmly in a museum under glass.”
We (the people on the walls and the people in the roads
The people in the parks, in the pubs, in our homes)
Who had built the Minster, the Tower, the city walls
Knew this city was our home, these streets belong to us all.
So the cry went out from this old city fuelled by the past
Proving this spark and this community was built to last:
“You buy it, you break it
This city’s not for taking
We demand a future as well as a past
As One Voice Let Cry: York Fights Back

Listen online at:

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Protest Hugs the Movie (starring Bruce Willis as placard-holder-1)

What have I been up to?  Henry Rollin’s stand-up is bloody funny I’ll tell you that much.
Last week’s Snapping Turtle event was ace if I may say so myself, a busy and engaged crowd plus some amazing performers and some great laughs to boot.  Thanks to all the performers, Ben Winterton, Conor Whelan, Emma Swanton, Jake Holdsworth, Dan Sky Rocket, Jim Higo, Billy Lowther, Yuppa Brothers, Pete Sutton, John Holt Roberts and Al Baker. 
Thanks to everyone involved!  I really hope to put on more of these 'variety' nights on in York, I know enough poets/comedians/musicians/performers so hopefuly be able to start a regular-ish event bringing new talent to York as well as highlighting what we have here in the city.  There's a lot to be proud of in York, we have decent talent if you know where to look.  So if you would like to help out setting up these events, have any thoughts or might like to perform drop me a message we'll see where the wind takes us :)

In Other News:  Issue #2 of SNAPPING TURTLE PRESS is on sale now featuring various poets and hand drawn images by Lizzie Alderdice all for a mere 50p, copies of Issue #1 still available, please e-mail to get hold of one.
Also Lizzie has made a video of Protest Hugs:  A Love Poem recorded live at Stereo 13/07/2011
Watch it on youtube HERE:
 “These could be the last days/So let’s spend them together/ Let’s Never Surrender”-Evan Greer
“So here’s to love and solidarity, and a kiss behind the barricades”-David Rovics
“At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love.”-Che Guevara

Monday, 4 July 2011

Picketlines, protests and poetryzines

Last week 700,000 members of various Unions, including ATL, UCU, NUT and PCS, went on strike to defend their pensions. Rallies took place all over the country and I was very privileged and honoured to be asked to perform at the York Rally in Parliament Square to support the strikes.  These are genuinely historic moments, I don’t mean historic in the sense Columbus landing on what became known as America or Dickens writing Great Expectations but these events are catalysts and we should not underestimate the unity that comes from images of rallies in Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, London etc all happening simultaneously.  I’m very proud of my hometown, and would rather stand on picketlines in York than go to a big rally in a bigger city because it’s my town and my home and my neighbours.
So I performed 2 poems, and I suppose I cheated a bit because neither were particularly original.  However I’ve performed my other political poems before at rallies, and these seemed very relevant.  I’ve been sadly too busy to write something really new, but hopefully this week or next, at least before my Edinburgh Adventure.

I performed The Picketline Song by Evan Greer as a poem, changing the words from empathises on the character in the song’s mother to just simple unity of “we all”.  I think it works in the context, it turns it into being about Us rather than Me.  The song can be found here and is incredibly inspirational, and one of the very few songs I can actually play on guitar.
The second poem I first heard via Al Baker & The Dole Queue.  Go Call FEMA (again by Evan Greer is about community and unity and rejecting the government bureaucracy that doesn’t actually help real people.  Al changed it to be more ‘British’ with references to Blair, the TUC and Cameron.  In the spirit of folk music, adapting, handing down, keeping the traditional afloat, I made it more relevant to the current struggle, renaming it ‘Can’t Draw EMA’.

(Video can be found HERE:
Speaking of Al Baker, he’s headlining a gig I’m putting on at Stereo, York.  I haven’t put a gig on for a good while now, so hoping this one goes down without any hitches.  There’s poetry, live music and comedy from mates in Can’t Sing, Can’t Dance, Don’t Care.  It’s FREE ENTRY, kicks of 7.30 and proves to be an ace night, promise.  Here’s the Facebook Event:!/event.php?eid=213054468714727
It’s also the launch of #2 of SNAPPING TURTLE PRESS me and my girlfriend Lizzie Alderdice’s poetryzine, with the theme of urban cities.  We had a look through submissions yesterday and very excited for the next issue and where this project is going.
So, to summarise:
Keep fighting
Come to the gig 13th July 2011, Stereo, York, 7.30, free entry
Click the link here:!/pages/Snapping-Turtle-Press-Poetryzine/215596188477512 find more info about Snapping Turtle Press poetryzine