Category: manchester

Them ratpack bastards
with their fuck-me smirks.
Didn’t pay no dues
got mafia handshakes and greasy palms.


In the house of falafel the deck is stacked
as the greybeard muslim
strokes his salt and pepper
The secret is to lose all dignity, let your face ache.
Only then will you notice the truth.

Fire followed where his feet fell.
Grass burned snow burned
soil burned snow burned. But
no heat no heat.

Fireman enjoys
whimsical car adverts.
He collects
taxi business cards.
He sometimes suffers from
insomnia. It’s been
known to make him cry.

His grandmother
in Cumbria
grows pampas grass
in front of her bungalow.
When it flowers
she sprays
them red. Still
growing where
they are.

The girl moaned a little in her sleep. Fireman went downstairs to fry eggs and watch the news. When he’d finished eating he fried two eggs and made a cup of tea for the girl.

There was blood on her mouth. Blood and saliva sticking her face to the pillow so she had to peel them apart. She didn’t say anything. Didn’t look at him.

She left. She didn’t touch the eggs and tea. Didn’t throw them or smash them. Fireman watched her walk down the street hugging herself from the cold.

When he made the bed he found three of her teeth. He addes them to the jar. 58.

::::long deer:::Salford Media City:::: [ music ]

This track has laid claim to mine brain! Let it into yours and rejoice!

:::: A playlist of noise ::::

A playlist of noise from none other than Matt Dalby!

Yes, I know! Matt Dalby! Can you believe it?!?

Ya cannae embed youtube playlists on blogs, but here be the first track for y’all.

possible futures [fiction]


Lady Margaret’s daughter Alice heard but appeared to ignore people. Her mother’s funeral was on a hot sunny day. There were only a few attending.

Alice didn’t care that they thought she was strange. They already thought that.

Alice was upset but couldn’t cry. She tried to upset herself. She imagined her mother in the coffin beginning to decay. She still couldn’t cry.


Walking on her own Alice saw something white, an animal struggling in the bushes. She went to look more closely. Not an animal but two people fighting.

A woman she knew. An old woman with a mark on her cheek. The other person looked at her. Her father.

Simultaneously it seemed he was shouting something at her while he fought the old woman, that Alice stood staring at him, that Alice was running away through the woods to hide somewhere, that her father stood heavy hairy and white.


Alice talked to a boy she knew called Henry. They wondered what it would be like to be disfigured or die in a fire. Henry watched her face closely.

Henry’s eyes looked strange. The way they had a month ago when he had talked with Alice about marriage. He knew that he would marry. Alice said she would never marry and never have a child.

Henry touched the back of Alice’s hand. She moved her hand and walked away. He apologised but she ignored him.


Alice swam in circles in the river. She felt the water hold her body. She felt light. Especially so in comparison with other women her age.

Later she sat naked on a large slate at the edge of the water. It was already warm from the morning sun under her arse. Water trickled and gathered and ran back to the river as though she’d pissed.

Alice felt just as free as when she was a child. In some ways more. She had obligations to nothing and no one.

tamlyn 11

The fiend!


Counting Backwards #3

Counting Backwards is a new series of text-sound-performance events. It takes place on the first Thursday of alternate months at Fuel Cafe Bar in Withington. The third evening in the series takes place on Thursday 7 October 2010 with performances from Mick Beck, Stephen Emmerson andSonic Pleasure. The event also sees a special performance for the launch of Richard Barrett’sSidings, a new collection of poetry.

Start time is 7:30pm, and entry is free.

Mick Beck is an innovative instrumentalist and composer who plays tenor sax, bassoon and whistles. He is based in Sheffield. His current projects include Gated Community, a 15-piece workshop band exploring the interaction of composition and improvisation, and a number of other groups, collaborations and solo projects.

Mick has been on the free scene since 1980 has worked with musicians such as saxists J.D. Parran to Alan Wilkinson, guitarists Derek Bailey to Hugh Metcalf, percussionists Tony Buck to Steve Noble and Paul Hession, bassists Marcio Mattos to Simon Fell, pianists Chris Burn to Stephen Grew and Pat Thomas.

For more details of Mick’s activities, past, present and future see his website

Stephen Emmerson lives in the North of England and his work has appeared in Jacket, Great Works, Cake, Poetry Salzburg Review, nthposition, FREAKLUNG, SPINE, and The Red Ceilings.

He is the author of  ‘X’ The Arthur Shilling Press 2010, ‘Attack of the Gas Powered Angles’ KnivesForksandSpoons 2010, ‘Chimera’ Erbacce Press 2009 ‘Poems found at the scene of a murder’ ZimZalla (July 2010)

‘No Ideas But in Things’ By Stephen Emmerson & Chris Stephenson due out this winter.

Marie-Angélique Bueler, composer, studied at the University of Sussex and at the University of York. Her compositions have led to a whole host of orchestral performances including Dust Parade and Shiny Blues. Adding to the mix, Refry for solo accordion and Tumbling in Time, a spectacular duet for Chinese flute and Western flute, are evocative, timeless works representing only a tiny corner of her deliberations with sound.

Marie-Angelique also performs and records improvised music under the name Sonic Pleasure. When improvising she plays Bricks. BBC 4’s Woman’s Hour has been so fascinated that it has surveyed her music twice. She has worked and recorded extensively with Mick Beck, Derek Bailey, Alex Ward, Tony Bevan, Simon Fell, Lol Coxhill, Mark Browne and others. One such temporal and sonic moment was frozen as Limescale, featuring Derek Bailey (Incus Records). Her Facebook Fan page, Sonic Pleasure is at

An important part of the broad radical opposition to Islamophobia and the ConDem coalition’s offensive to bring back the welfare of the nineteenth century workhouse, Marie-Angelique lives and agitates in Levenshulme, Manchester.

Counting Backwards can be found at




Counting Backwards is Richard Barrett, Matt Dalby and Gary Fisher

Counting Backwards editors

Counting Backwards in two weeks

Counting Backwards is a new series of text-sound-performance events. It takes place on the first Thursday of alternate months at Fuel cafe bar in Withington. The first event is on Thursday 3 June 2010. Entrance is free. Performing at the first event are Mike Cannell, THF Drenching and Holly Pester.

Mike Cannell is an intermedia poly-poet from west Midlands who works in visual, linear and sound poetry of various types. His work is primarily concerned with exploration of the materiality and emotional power of language. He releases the experimental sound poetry podcast  l,angu(ages)paz,m, which is to be regarded as both one long, ongoing sound poem and an audio essay proclaiming ideas regarding experimental poetics He is also is the editor of würm, a monthly e-magazine showcasing experimental poetry  of all kinds. His work including many e-books can be found at:, worbdlog, {n/o/t/a/t/w/i/t}. His work has featured in online periodicals such as Otoliths and wordforword.

THF Drenching is a free improvisor and composer of musique concrète, based in Manchester, England. As a dictaphone-player, he was one fifth of Derek Bailey’s final band Limescale, and has played with many of the UK’s best improvisors. He was also half of the bricks and dictaphone duo Pleasure-Drenching Improvers. As a poet (writing under his slave name, Stuart Calton) he’s published four books. Three came out on Barque Press and one is self-published. His fifth is awaiting publication. As a composer, he’s completed thirteen albums of musique concrète, electronic music and various dubious overdubbed semi-improvised amalgams.

Holly Pester is an experimental sound poet and writer undergoing practice-led research at Birkbeck, University of London in ‘Speech and the Archive in Intermedia Poetry’. Her performance texts are experiments in the sound and shape of speech, blending pre-verbal noises with semantic surrealism in an investigation into language transmission. She is currently investigating the sound aesthetic of the ‘radio-voice’ and the poetic qualities of analog sound.

Holly Pester regularly performs her poetry at art and literary events in the UK including the Serpentine Gallery Poetry Marathon and the upcoming Text Festival 2011. This also includes collaborative works with regular co-performers Jamie Wilkes and Abbi Oborne. She has been published in numerous journals and an anthology of London poets, City State.

Examples of her work and theory can be found at

poetry month - april 2010

Every cause in the known world seems to have a day dedicated to it but who exactly is in charge of this shit exactly and what gives them the authority to attempt to control our thoughts like this? In newspapers and light and vapid news programmes the call will be sent out that today is the day or the month where we’re supposed to think about these things. International no smoking day? How about international lick my festering lungs clean day? Leave your contact details in the comments and i’ll set it up.

April is international poetry month. Of course, it’s not international good poetry month so prepare for pain. Prepare to have poetry of all description shoved down your throat. One of the books I’m reading at the moment, reality overload, has a number of paragraphs discussing this approach to poetry – a sort of flattening of value and draining of meaning wherein all poetry is the same and is merely a commodity to be consumed. It’s a pretty involved book which I’m going to have to re-read with a dictionary on hand, but I’ve garnered alot from it. I hope.

I used to write alot of poetry, in a completely untutored way, but I don’t like alot of poetry.  I used to do open mic readings alot as well. The types of places that have poetry readings are usually the kinds of places that cultivate culture like one would attempt to conservate an endangered species and as such draw crowds of, well,  a mixed bag. The events ended up feeling quite sterile. I once got a knowing nod of respect off of an acclaimed poet as I got off the stage at one of these quite sterile feeling events – the event being centered around her reading.  Her name is Pascale Petit and she was really quite good but her performance was totally marred by, dare i say it, the ambience of dead air. The poem in question was this one and it’s honestly a total mess, formless and making makebelieve at having a structure. Stil, there’s something about it that I’ve always liked.

In later years, having decided that the vast majority of poetry readings/open mic opportunities carried this same weight of dead air, but still finding myself writing and developing, having this sense in my head that poetry could be vital and full of life (the way it seems to be in Manchester at the moment), I started doing readings at an open-mic night at a club. Obviously, such spots were intended for musicians and I was in fact the only writer who read there. My performances there went pretty well. People used to come up with me and attempt to converse, ocassionally buying me pints of lager. On one ocassion the noise of people talking drowned me out and I started shouting. The moral of the story i guess is don’t ever give me a live microphone.

Since I’ve decided to give being a ‘novelist’ a go my poetry output has dropped a hell of alot. I want to come back to the form, give it a studious attempt for a change, but I barely trust myself to write a novel, let alone write a novel whilst studying and writing poetry, so it’s gonna have to wait.

Which brings us to this post on writers rainbow I found wherein the author encourages the novelist to step away from the keyboard and take on the techniques of the poet for a while.

Poetry, for me, is an intuitive process, very different from my work in fiction and prose, in which everything I do is analytical and purposeful and organic to my nature. I come from a storytelling family, so that has to have had some effect on me. I also continue to have trouble finding poetry that resonates with me. For such a short form, I find it wears me out, all the same. I like a puzzle as much as anybody else, but let’s keep it to jigsaws, crosswords and sudokus, I say. Give me access.

But one thing I admire about poets is their relatively low-tech writing practice. Most poets I know can write poetry wherever they are, whenever they are. A pen, a notebook, and a moment is all it takes to get them writing. Prose writers, on the other hand, are keyboard junkies (to be fair, if I hand-inscribed everything I ever wrote, I would have a terrible case of writer’s cramp!) who need outlets, laptops, perhaps a mouse and a thumb drive, to get their work achieved. Not all prose writers are like this…

I totally get what she is saying here. I used to fill notebook after notebook with scribbled notes and poems like i was shelling pistachios (i have a thing for pistachio shells) but since I’ve been on the prosetrain… My current notebook is like 3 years and it’s still far from filled.  It’s definately something I miss – the spontinuity, the writing by intuition alone. these days notes are thought and grown invitro before even reaching a page or screen. There’s still intuition and spontinuity, but nowhere near as much.

Still, what is said is no absolute. Not all poets work this way. Not all prose writers work at the opposite end of the spectrum. The point is, i think, new perspectives and techniques are always valuable as your never quite sure where they will lead you and any creative process should be something of wandering into the unknown.

International Poetry Month « Writer’s Rainbow.

New Sun addendum

My friend Matt, whose poem New Sun I posted on friday, emailed me with some comments he wanted to add (basically a massive linkdump of the players, zines and nights of the manchester poetry scene), so here they are:

I lost the original comment I tried to post here on Saturday, so I’ll try again.

I wouldn’t like anyone to get the impression I’m anything other than a peripheral figure in the ‘Manchester poetry mainline’ – which in itself is only a small part of the total Manchester poetry scene and dwarfed by the mainstream activities. So if you don’t mind I’d like to post some links to some more important figures in and around Manchester.

My way in to the experimental (or post-avant or innovative) scene was through The Other Room series of readings – which initially were closely linked to the London group Openned (full disclosure – I read at The Other Room in June last year). The organisers of The Other Room are James Davies who runs if p then q press and is currently embarked on a yearlong collaboration called Absolute Elsewhere, Tom Jenks who used to run Parameter and now runs zimZalla (full disclosure – zimZalla Object 003 will be a CD of my sound poetry), and Scott Thurston who runs the University of Salford’s MA in Experimental and Innovative Creative Writing and is co-editor of the Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry.

Other writers better established and more successful than me locally include Richard Barrett, Tony Trehy who runs Bury Art Gallery and organises the text festival, next on in 2011 and Steven Waling . There are many many others.

There are also semi-regular/occasional attendees of The Other Room who are significant figures over the last 30 years of innovative writing including Phil Davenport (full disclosure – his forthcoming guest-edited issue of ekleksographia features some of my visual poetry), >a href=”” target=new>Allen Fisher, Geraldine Monk, Maggie O’Sullivan and Robert Sheppard.

That’s really only a sketch of some of the first names that spring to mind mainly associated with The Other Room – everyone I mentioned has read there. Have a look at The Other Room website if you’re interested and check out some of their links. While I’m flattered to be part of the Manchester poetry mainline I am, as I said, still very much a peripheral player.

new sun

so, to make up for the bad poetry from 6 years back (okay, there are a few good lines, and maybe the narrative is interesting, but as poetry it fails) I bring you some good poetry. Not written by me though. It’s Straight out of the manchester mainline, courtesy of the Mighty Matt Dalby.


low sun
(c) Matt Dalby 2010

these books
concerns and outcomes recorded
eating tar melted from the road by the sun
soft boxes from thick rain
turn down crack offered by small group in underpass
old overhead photo of pomona strand
one about natural structures
apply positive pressures to the flue stack
sharp stones
wet road and glass frontage mutually reflect
muslim community outreach group
flooding among trees close to fence
paul klee
many thanks
waves in and back from confined cave semi submerged
paramedics treat driver in car while police redirect traffic
unable to go back down slope short climb on rocks
wires wrapped round piece of wood used to pull them from under traffic light
mythology on mainly historical non monotheistic beliefs
key to holidays
cumberland sausage
written instructions in margin
men in car trying to offload cannabis resin
steps overgrown too dense to climb
distorted faces
general manufacturing engineering
pulled out of a stream
asked for passport as identification to register with gp surgery
you have very clean hands
short drop down from edge of docks to strand of mud
penguins voices anthologies
green tea
rowed water like roads
bought eight figs
slept in short bursts during the day by albert park
fences broken down
horse skins and horse skulls
our union
lost more than thirty kilometres forest
pass joggers cyclists people fishing
cruised in the park no idea till he pulled his cock out
manhole cover smashed in
from giotto to cezanne
softens and relieves
written list in notebook of what sounds recorded to save work later
korean christian group would like to share passover
graffiti on large dressed stones laid to block vehicle access
wooden buildings
unlike some other juices
pages of porn magazine on pavement
threatens he has a knife in his pants
burned shopping trolley in pool of water
recipes stained and damaged spines
here are some of the items
eight nine hours
canal appears frozen still
three wearing hats look cold
tyres half covered in soil and grass
effective and pleasant to use
walk to castle along the coast
flame war in comments over review
trestle tables photocopied literature photos on the walls
heap of gravel
rebound marbled end papers
does not contain solvents
soft toys flowers cards outside private hospital
shock every time foot slips
plastic casing stripped off cables
pen drawings
for all types of correction
given plastic container for urine sample
driven to cashpoint
road runs out
the pictures interested
please do not remove your unique tracking number
cold tent
man in suit with golf umbrella too large to fit through space under pedestrian bridge
you don’t look like a vegetarian
slivers of rust
clay masks
volume control
project of reification
would have liked to move back to wales
man climbs down ladder into water of ship canal
lang fairy tales
in this bin you can recycle paper including
stream emerging from side of hill in a field
created in multiple sites
approached looking at the river
filming under tram line
el greco
providing or replying to requests for advice
watching a combine harvester
played an unfamiliar varient of go
uneven ground
a dickens about pirates
during my visit to the above premises
a campsite in grizedale
negotiation between elements
threw bottle that missed
road blocked each end

Crunchy. Synthetic. Sonic Obnoxion Machine Records.

“The taxi driver asks where St Philip’s church is. Which building. What’s going on there tonight. Once again have arrived early as it turns out.

Among others, using a slideshow of text and a loop station Matt Welton performs Dr Suss from his new book We needed coffee but we’d got ourselves convinced that the later we left it the better it would taste, and, as the country grew flatter and the roads became quiet and dusk began to colour the sky, you could guess from the way we retuned the radio and unfolded the map or commented on the view that the tang of determination had overtaken our thoughts, and when, fidgety and untalkative but almost home, we drew up outside the all-night restaurant, it felt like we might just stay in the car, listening to the engine and the gentle sound of the wind, available from Carcanet.
Something weird happens. St Philip’s Church in Salford doesn’t look like any other building nearby. From their website it’s Greek style, designed by Sir Robert Smirke in 1825. The view from Chapel Street is straight on to the ‘bow-fronted porch with ionic colonnade and balustraded parapet and bell tower above.’ Alternately as Tom Jenks points out there’s a kind of Silent Running vibe to the Geoffrey Manton building at MMU, only perhaps more deserted even with people in it. We are the last people drifting in this forgotten ship.”

santiago’s dead wasp.

Cat Hepburn

scriptwriter | spoken word artist | educator


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