Saturday, 18 June 2016

Recorded Delivery Events



The vanity of blue tits.
Cutting your own hair without a mirror. 
Shouting “Raymond!”
Wearing two pairs of glasses at the same time.
A man whose name is Ken.
Nicola’s boobs.
Some light drizzle.
Arthritic nettles.
Not really doing wine.
Vigorously chamoising a Mondeo.
Having a nice sit down.
A bag for life.
Drinking Fanta and wearing sunglasses at the vintage tea-room.
Being Mr Grumpy today.
Ignoring the TV.
Pansies in pots, a defibrillator, and a needle bin.
Pink heather, pyracantha, honeysuckle, flowering current, daffodils and grit bins.
Discussing house prices with the owner of a Yorkshire terrier.
Acknowledging one another with a small wave.
Juicy Mango Avon Man.
A chaffinch on a branch and a man on a Muddy Fox.
Get Your Rush On T-shirts and spandex pants.
Chickens, a phrenology bust, and breakfast on the pavement.
Audi country.
The man with the tattooed shins and a banana.
A quarter-full bottle of Lambrini.
Talk of chimineas.
An old Volvo full of kids.
Wearing the cardboard tube from the middle of a toilet roll.


This Sunday evening I'll be reading from the Yorkshire Festival commissioned project Recorded Delivery at Holmfirth Arts Festival. It will also be the first chance to see Edward Cotterill's accompanying film (clip above). Edward came with me around West Yorkshire and a bit of North Yorkshire while I went on at him for ages and sometimes carried his tripod. 


Here's a link to the Holmfirth event: Holmfirth Arts Festival 

I'll be doing the same again in Hebden Bridge Arts Festival on Monday June 27th. Here's a link to that: Hebden Bridge Arts Festival

Edward's film and a series of prints from the project can also be seen at Grassington Arts Festival: Grassington Arts Festival

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

The Most Difficult Thing Ever is now available through the Pariah Press online shop



The print / CD version of The Most Difficult Thing Ever is now available through the Pariah Press online shop. 

Here: Pariah Press

Saturday, 28 May 2016

RECORDED DELIVERY

Things have been a bit quiet on here recently because I've been distracted by Recorded Delivery, a Yorkshire Festival commissioned project I'm involved with. This new project has a lot in common with The Most Difficult Thing Ever, the main difference being its extension over a wider area than solely Huddersfield. Material will be available to stream in audio and video forms via QR codes on the streets or via the Recorded Delivery blog. You can also stay in touch with Recorded Delivery events via its Facebook page or, probably less reliably, via my Twitter account. 

Anyway, here's a sample:

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Chorlton Arts Festival 2016: The Most Difficult Thing Ever




















I'll be reading from The Most Difficult Thing Ever at the Marble Beerhouse in Chorlton, Manchester, this Wednesday evening (May 25th) as part of the Chorlton Arts Festival. 

Here's a link: www.chorltonartsfestival.com

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

I Follow the Minibus Taxi with Rock’n’Roll Will Never Die Written above the Back Window



I follow the minibus taxi with Rock’n’Roll Will Never Die written above the back window. We pass dandelions, bluebells, flowering current, rogue tulips, and some jackdaws pecking at a new calf. On and up into Audi country.
“Has anything changed since your last visit?” asks the dentist’s receptionist. “I’m drinking much more wine” says the woman in the quilted jacket.

Outside the shop with the display of Worker Wagg Beef & Veg Worker Complete dog food on the fake grass underneath the broken awning, the rain has left a long pink stripe of cherry blossom along the gutter at the edge of the road.

The sun has barely been out an hour and the boomers are out too, flocking to the shop in shorts and sandals for print news.

The primary coloured lycra cyclist sets off from his garage on the new estate of concrete stone houses with plastic wooden doors. Past the pansies in pots, the developer’s ‘architectural’ cordyline, the not-yet-hedges of laylandii, the baby wisteria, the nursery birch and willow and the fake plastic balls of box hedge that hang inexplicably from brackets next to front doors. Past the vaping Tesco delivery man. Past the Co-op delivery woman. Past the Audi, the Audi, the Audi, the Audi, and the Nissan X-Trail for when it snows. Past the builders’ vans in rows seeing to the plastic doric architraves. Past the yellow millstone in the bed of polished spar. Past the blue slate chippings, the galvanised pots of lavender, the hosepipes, the solar powered garden lights and the detached garages that are too small for cars. Past the For Sale Boards: A Collection of Yorkshire’s Finest Properties. Past the Parcel Force man with the tattoo sleeves. Past the enormous blooming cherries left from when they lined the road to the old mill. And on, out into the hills.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

The Bin Lorry is Stopping Every Ten Yards



The bin lorry is stopping every ten yards. Its loading mechanism makes a noise like that long note at the beginning of Rhapsody in Blue. It dawdles its way down the long road which starts with pebble-dashed maisonettes and the smell of weed at one end, and finishes with detached inter-war bungalows and the smell of seaweed fertiliser at the other. 
Somewhere around the middle, a man is sitting in his front room ignoring the TV while he reads Russell Grant’s astrology page. Next-door, his neighbour is naked apart from a pair of spectacles, playing with his Playstation.

Out in the sticks, a goldfinch flies out from under my feet and the fake grass at the barn conversion is still too green. I pass an open window; a woman is having an angry telephone conversation: “Well, it says here that the short length is four-and-a-half centimetres. Well I’ve no idea what four-and-a-half centimetres is in inches!

Cherry blossom, tulips, a rusty cement mixer, leylandii, pyracantha, ruthlessly pruned buddleia, and wooden telegraph poles; a woman in one of those cream, full-length puffer coats that make you like an enormous maggot is walking a big black greyhound.

The pub is taking bookings for New Years Eve (‘food will be served between 7-10pm’). Tonight they are serving tapas between 6-9pm and there’s a wet pair of suede loafers in the hyacinth bed.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Stone Buddhas, Buckets of Cig Butts, Missing Top Stones.



Stone Buddhas, buckets of cig butts, missing top stones. 

The woman with the Brexit tote bag walks past the shop advertising ‘Kids £4’.
Litter traps behind broken gates: energy drink cans and takeaway-styrene.
Down from where the big stuffed Tweetie-Pie has been lynched from a fall-pipe, the young man holding a toddler is talking to the middle-aged woman in the bathrobe. She is sipping from a pint glass.
A bag-for-life in the gutter, cat shit in the ginnel, a torn office chair and a sodden carpet in the miry garden.
Outside the house with the weed smoke wisping from the open window, a woman screams “PACK IT IN!” to the children in the back of the new Freelander.
“Fuck off! What the fuck?” shouts the man when I deliver his post. The door opens and he runs across the piss soaked carpet in the yard and up the ginnel shouting after me, “What are you fucking doing! If t’dog catches you in t’garden, she’ll bite you innit!” He stops next to a slimy piece of roughly sawn timber and says in a more composed voice, “You need to rest it behind this bit of wood in the alleyway innit; if t’dog catches you, it’s gonna bite you innit.”
Down from the witch’s house with the hedge full of empty plastic bottles, I follow three men from the engineering shop on their way to the bakery. In identical overalls and of a similar build, the only thing that distinguishes them from one another is their differing stages of male pattern baldness.
The old man in the hi-vis vest is walking with both his arms outstretched, a bag-for-life full of groceries in each hand.
Two sporty young men walk down Forest Lane, one wears a Nike sports bag on his back, the other, grey-marl sweatpants which he repeatedly hoiks from his arse crack. I follow in the wake of their loud but largely unintelligible, expletive-ridden conversation and their pungent weed smoke before they turn off into the student halls of residence.
The lights are out in the shop and there’s hardly any stock now, but it’s still open.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

The recent spell of fine weather has brought other people onto the streets



The recent spell of fine weather has brought other people onto the streets over which the elderly women in purple anoraks have held sole dominion in recent months.

A dozen motorbikes pass a middle-aged cyclist-in-lycra cyclist as he rides through the village. He rolls his eyes and shouts to me above the noise; “Hell’s angels are out!”

A middle-aged man in Crocs is hard at work chamoising the Skoda Yeti on the driveway of the semi-detached new-build. The sun glints off of the plastic chrome while he whistles along to Bad Moon Rising on the car’s stereo.

The man sitting in the driver’s seat of the parked-up Vauxhall Astra with the custom paint job, body kit, blacked-out windows, and ‘Bang Tidy’ sticker in the back is eating a pot of Muller Rice.

Earlier, on the estate, I tried to deliver a parcel but was intercepted by a short middle-aged man with a grey side-parting and a three-quarter length beige anorak. 
“You can leave it with me if she’s not in. She’s rarely at home; she’s a very active woman for a blind lady”
I thanked the man and handed over the parcel.
“Could you pop me a note through — just to let her know I’ve got it?” said the man.
“I can,” I said, “but how will she read it if she’s blind?”
The man smiled wisely; “Sense of touch,” he said. Then he tapped his eye with his forefinger and explained; “When these pack up, the others pick up.”
“Oh” I said.
In the next street, a small Asian girl with a snotty nose asked me where I was going next.
“Over that way”, I said, waving my arm up the street.
“Pakistan?” asked the girl.

On the track down to the house where the men from Kudos Doors (Commercial and Domestic Door Systems) are working, I saw a green woodpecker.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

A couple of events:

A Bird Spotter's Guide to Yorkshire















DECAPOD - AirSpace Gallery 10th Birthday
I am showing two short films, A Bird Spotter's Guide to Yorkshire and A Seasonal Guide to Yorkshire at the excellent Airspace Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent between March 4th to April 2nd, 2016.
More information: www.airspacegallery.org

Huddersfield Literature Festival 2016 
I am reading from The Most Difficult Thing Ever at Café Society in Huddersfield on March 9th.
More information: www.litfest.org.uk

The sun is out.



The sun is out. Jackdaws peck at something in the road and an ambulance drifts by slowly as I follow the old woman with the done-up-to-the-top parka, pink floral leggings and four pack of Special Brew out of the newsagent’s. She almost loses her balance and has to steady herself on the bin for a few seconds.

Weed
Air freshener

As they walk into the early sun, both the man in the lumberjack shirt and the golden retriever he is walking, are haloed by its glare. The dog stops to piss on a holly bush and the resulting cloud of water vapour rises to combine with the mist of their breath, swirling around them until they almost disappear from view.

Dogshit

I disturb a small swarm of the first-flies-of-the-year, in the ivy by the house of the man who is wearing a football kit and no shoes.

Chemist shop interior

There is orange lichen on the ridge tiles and vivid green moss on the pavements. I side-step a young girl in wheelie-shoes and a grown-up’s sweat shirt empty arms flapping.

Cigarette smoke

There’s a man chopping timber in the woods with an axe: bobble hat and a pair of those reddy-brown rubberised gloves with the unbleached ribbing. And now the students are going past on the double-decker from the halls of residence that used to be the mental hospital where I was terrified by the patients while delivering harvest festival bounty on behalf of my primary school — I remember a marrow, some tins of sweetcorn and a skinny old woman  with dribble down her chin who shouted and swore and pulled at my sleeve.


Newsprint
Washing powder

The geese make that noise they make. I can still hear them all the way down at the house with the windowsill of silk flowers in Costa coffee mugs.

Weed

There’s a woodpecker on the avenue of Victorian mansions. Plastic fascia boards creak in the sun. Crocuses. People can’t agree whether it’s warm or cold. The woman in the camel hair coat who's waiting for a taxi with three children says, “Ooh, in’t it warm” but just round the corner, the window cleaner with the woolly hat and the scarf wrapped around his face says, “By ‘eck, it’s cold”.

Bins
Wholemeal bread



There’s a woman speaking Urdu very loudly on speaker-phone at the bus stop. The other half-dozen people in the queue are finding it amusing, catching one another’s eyes and laughing behind their hands.

Boiler flue vapour

I pass the house with the tiny cluttered garden: childrens’ ride-on toys in faded plastic, dogshit and a fallen over gravestone:
 
Mum
Gran
Sadly Missed

Perming solution

The roofer with the skinny jeans and Harrington jacket says he’s never had a cash card in his life, mate.

Washing powder

The house that was built on the field where I used to race my BMX has a poster in the window: SAY NO to greenfield development. SAVE OUR GREENBELT.