Friday, 13 July 2012


I can remember where it was exactly
a former field, in a state of a home
off the A12,  twixt Southwold and nowhere
at the end of a tree-lined boulevard
full of brand new wheelie bins
and busy, baked and blustery hi-vis volunteers

I remember who was there the first year
a full set of friends and Patti Smith’s rider
a caravan bulging with flowers and vodka
an angsty Trigger from Dibley droned
whilst DJ78 spun shellac
and we danced & danced, our pleasures abundant
and just the tiniest bit guilty

I remember the air crackle with expectation
as the sun shone in buckets & spades
we all drank bottomless cold lager
and discussed poor Kylie’s cancer
in the shade of a backstage green-room
from dawn until dusk and then way past noon
until the day-glo sheep were safely home

And I don’t remember why, but the rains came the following year
and with them came the profits of doom
there was money to be stolen and the Sky was the limit
executives in Barbour twittering endlessly
their subjects feral punters
trying to escape the deluge,
the fug of burning plastic and the enmity

A dystopian nightmare played out
against a boundless and pregnant
East Anglian sunset
angry mud and fatigue won over
but not a toilet to be seen with
amidst the relentless overwhelming stench
of shite and doughnuts.

And The Levellers.

Can you remember your first time?
I'm glad I can’t forget.

Thursday, 12 July 2012


Although afflicted & cursed with many an ailment, my biggest personal health problem is my sense of smell.
Unlike a colleague who, along with the liberal lefty whinger Lucy Mangan, has anosmia (no sense of smell whatsoever), I have the complete opposite.
I can smell a cigarette from over 100 yards on a still day, and I know when a nappy needs changing way before the mother & child do.
I empty my kitchen waste on a daily basis, and wash out my wheelie bin fortnightly.
I can smell anything that has been rightly or wrongly flushed away, or washed down a sink.
And in springtime I can smell bluebells before they are in bloom.

Although some would think this a minor super-power, I consider it an affliction.

As a writer of many poems in my past, it's easy to see which of my senses made the most impression on my work.
One of the principle reasons for no longer attending pop festivals was the 'overwhelming stench of shite & doughnuts'.
I would refer to my domestic situations (and past girlfriends) in terms of aromas and whiffs, and the analogous use of bleach in my later work said more about my addictions than any reference to illegal drugs.

So it is today, with great pride, that I present to you my Top 10 Most Offensive Smells.

I have been harbouring a lot of this information for several months, but deep inside I knew there was at least one smell missing.
Because of its lack of appearance in my life for many a day now, I had forgotten how utterly repulsive this odour was.
It is so vile and obnoxious, that I have deliberately encountered loss and pain as a consequence of its recent renaissance.

For those of you reading this that do not currently reside in the UK (Hi Russia! Hi Taiwan!) we have recently  had the wettest summer on record.
We have had flooding on a major scale, and very little sunshine.
The temperatures however have remained pretty constant.
As it is technically warm, nearly every great British citizen has turned off the central heating.
We should be drying our laundry on clotheslines, balconies or Hills Hoists (Hi Australia!), but due to the persistent rain, we are merely marinating our clean garments on cold metal radiators or clothes-horses.
And whilst taking the time to ensure my washing is clean & conditioned, and my washing-machine is fully functioning (totally clean fluff filter/no black mould/vinegar & baking soda applied), after 24hrs of sitting in its own cold, wet lethargy, my laundry has 'that smell'.
I have washed & re-washed several tea towels, only to throw them out yesterday.
I refuse to dry my dishes in a rag that smells like a 1st Year university student without an umbrella.
I grab every opportunity to peg out my bundles, but the rain just keeps coming, and that adds to the problem with its own particular odour.
I'm even considering buying Febreeze - this was never an option in my household before!

And as a consequence, this is my Number 1 Most Offensive Smell.


1. (See above)
2. Muck-spreading with human waste
3. Cider, weed & doughnut fuelled human waste, left to simmer for 5 days.
4. Mutton.
5. Money.
6. Rape Seed.
7. Sugar beet extraction.
8. Brothers Bar Flavoured Cider.
9. Any cigarettes smoked before 6pm.
10. Single mens' trainers/socks.