Upcoming gigs

Upcoming Gigs

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TESTT (Durham): April 12th

The New Adelphi (Hull): April 15th

Workshop Theatre (Leeds): April 17th

Hydra Bookshop (Bristol): April 18th

Derby Theatre: April 20th

Harrogate Theatre: April 24-25th

Ovalhouse (London): April 26-28th


London Book Launch at Ovalhouse, April 26th

York Book Launch at All Saints Church, April 29th

Small Fry DIY, Warrington, 2nd May

Spoken Weird, Halifax: 3rd May

Born Lippy, Newcastle 9th May

Shaken In Sheep Town, Skipton: 10th May

Find The Right Words, Leicester : 16th May

Queenie’s Coffee Nights, Huddersfield: 21st May

Gong Fu Poets, Coxhoe: 31st May

Verse Matters, Sheffield: 7th June

Slam Dunk, Hastings: 28th June

Word Club, Leeds: 29th June

Poetry Jam, Durham: 4th October

Saturday, 3 January 2015


The 2015 blogs are a series of articles written by me in 20 minutes and 15 seconds.


It’s no surprise that music is a recurring theme throughout a lot of my poems.  For those of you that know me, you’ll no doubt be aware I own more band t-shrits than HMV.  The floor of my room buldges due to the weight of CDs, and my iPod is full to bursting.  It gorans and wheezes under the pressure of thousands upon thousands of songs.  My first love was punk, and then came ska.  Since then, I loved the mod music of the 60s and 70s, soul, blues, R&B and hip-hop, folk, hardcore, queer punk, rock ‘n’ roll and new wave.  Inevitably I always return to guitar music, like a cat finding sanctuary under it’s favourite grubby car.

But I want to write a little blog about dancing.  My first memories of dancing, like most, was school discos.  Cotton Eye Joe was a favoutie tune for us 90s children.  That song perhaps cemented my love for fusion music.  Hyphens galore, I love ska-punk, folk-punk, hip-hop etc. and Rednex did a odd merge of 90s dance and hillbilly.  Yeah, it never caught on, but it’s not your average pop tune either.

Me and my friends growing up never really went out for a boogie or a dance.  We used to hit old men pubs for ales, find a large table and crowd round and make up silly injokes and debate the meaning of life.

So the majority of dancing I ever did was at gigs.  Now, the first rule of punk gigs is obviously the pogo, but as I soon learned that’s an enourmous effort to maintain, and not always feasible with people slamming around you or even the low ceiling of punk dives.  The mosh pit is the second go-to style of dancing, and of course the skank is trademarked by the ska and ska-punk genres.

The Mosh Pit
I quite quickly fell out of love with pits, inevitably because of the small size of venues meant all it takes is one or two dickheads to wade in, and the pit becomes less fun and more of a battle to not get too bruised.  And let’s not forget, when all’s said and done, we’re here to see a band (at least I believe so).  I remember casually dancing along to bands like UK Subs and then some huge psycjobilly or skinhead punk would throw their weight (usually with shirt off) looking to start something.  Now, as a skinny and (traditionally) scrawny fellow I can’t keep up, and nor would I want to.

Pits should be about respect.  Respeting that not everyone is as tough as you, and therefore toning it down.  The old addage is ‘If someone falls down, you pick them up’ but I’d like to hope people only fall down in the first place, not because you shoved them.  I recall a gig with The Skints where the crowd were eager to mosh even to the most chilled out vibes.  I stopped seeing mainstream bands I liked, such as The Coral or Happy Mondays, due to drunk blokes throwing their weight around when the music didn’t call for it.  The dancing is a repsonse to the music, not a reponse to your own egocentric ideas how to behave to impress (both in the sense physcially and astonishingly).


This is where I’m in my element.  I’m a naturaly bouncy person, my feet seem to have the talents of a Tigger (thoughy my mind at times become Eeyore).  Ska seemed eprfect for me, in fact for a long time, I could onlt ever listen to music with an off-beat tempo.  Skanking can still be intrustive, those flying kicks can hit low and high, but you can find your own space with your own groove, and there are different ways depebnding on the music of said band, and the atmosphere.  My girlfriend has a video of me somewhere dancing in the York streets after a demo to Capdown on the sound system.  Any excuse.

So why is dancing so important to me, why does it keep reappearing in my poems?  I have a whole poem about it in the form of If I can’t skank, it’s not be revolution and my tribute to Emma Goldman is partly due to her famous quote (which my poem is based from).

Well, I remmeber one of the first gigs I went to rocking out to a local band called All Sexy But Ginger, and just loving being in my own world fuelled by the chaotic tunes of ska-punk.  Physcially, I often hold msyelf close, duck down, hands in pockets, hunch over (expect when performing I hope).

That same expression is the same as whne I do a gig, and try and bring that energy.  Punk for me is partly about energy .  Bringing some passion which otherwise doesn’t exist in day-to-day life.  We are battling the day-to-day.  The mundane must be killed, so let’s fight that drudgery with some physcial movement!  And that’s why punk pits need to acknowlegde that people are finding their terms of expression, so double-check before you intrude upon them on the dancefloor.

So wap on the soul and groove those feet, listen to some psychobilly and swing those arms, get the disco blaring, head that head a’head bangin’ and see you in the pit! 

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