‘The City’: a poem

You can meet anyone in the city
over the brim of a coffee
under the shadow of a bridge
with the help of the wind
mutter to a stranger of the rain
share knowing looks at ironic bad luck
in every tiny window lives another story
you know nothing of
and possibly will never
but possibly could


Inspired by this artwork by Kristyna Baczynski http://www.kristyna.co.uk/

(Written for my penpal, inspired by another of Kristyna Baczynski‘s awesome fishy postcards. I don’t even usually like fish! Thank you!)

This brought up feelings I always wanted to articulate about living in London and the feeling of vastness mixed with connectedness, which I still don’t think I could really communicate. I immediately thought of a city, and what city life meant to me, and after writing this discovered that that’s exactly what the artist called it! We are obviously in tune.

‘Margot’: a poem

I live on the top floor
just next to the surface
where I can practise the flute
and none of them notice
My name is Margot
and I’m looking up
my padre the crab
sees me as just a pup
none of them know
what I’ve got in store
but one day my name
is a doorway to war


Artwork by Kristyna Baczynski http://www.kristyna.co.uk/

(A quick bit of folly written for a sea-spirited penpal, inspired by this postcard image by Kristyna Baczynski. Thank you for the stimulus!)

Theatre Review: The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde by Theatre Mill

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6th February – 22nd March 2015, The Merchant Adventurers’ Hall, York

“Man is not truly one, but truly two.”

Theatre Mill deliver as promised an engaging site-specific experience beginning before the venue doors even open, and carrying the audience through the lobby – now a period pub complete with warming fire, period-style drinks and posters, and committed supporting cast creating an atmosphere from the off.

“Is there a Ladies’?”
“Of course, Madam, indoors as well!”

A brief encounter with an effusive, wary character called Rosie made me feel welcome and drawn in, though I was happy to leave her working on the macabre drawings of her visions that she had showed me when the time came to pass through to the auditorium.

The medieval guildhall is converted to Victorian London with disconcerting ease, foreboding fog creeping from crates in corners and footlights dimming under a green haze. Maids, bartenders and staff of the house of Dr Jekyll flutter through the auditorium, whispering their worries over the master’s recent habits.

Adam David Elms takes on narrator Gabriel John Utterson, David Chafer plays Dr Hastings Lanyon, and Viktoria Kay is Eleanor Lanyon, with James Weaver in the titular role.

Each of the cast save Weaver play a variety of roles, appearing from dark corners and behind pillars in an all-new guise, giving the performance a rich flavour of London society of the time. All are impressive and winning. A favourite of mine was Chafer’s patient, weary-looking butler, providing a touching, unspoken level of knowing and support for Jekyll that perhaps he did not even realise was there.

Weaver brings a worn, desperate quality to Robert Louis Stevenson’s driven doctor that tells from the first of tragedy and compromise. Indeed, the action begins with a sequence that is later revisited, instating the ominous tone and highlighting the precious value of hindsight in this particular ‘strange case’.

The design is incredibly effective; colourful, simple, versatile, smoothly adjusted. Hanging lights become streetlamps, laboratory surfaces become beds with neat theatrical trickery that calls on years of discourse between actors and audience to continue a willing suspension of disbelief.

The soundtrack is also notable; a continuous, fluid soundscape that efficiently serves to amplify the feelings on stage. It works in seamless conjunction with the narrative-driven lighting design.

Violent scenes are slick and, dare I say, enjoyable, and handled as tastefully as gothic should be.

Theatre Mill are a company to keep your eye on for an exciting, satisfying storytelling experience.

Find out more about the company and their productions here.

‘Arts Council Wanker’: a song

I look forward to hearing from any interested composers.


Dear Sir Mr Councillor

I’m sorry I can’t write to meet your needs

‘Cause I know you need help looking after

People without legs in York and Leeds


And I’m sure that it’s a very worthy thing

But I don’t know about not having legs


And don’t ask me what the poor kids like

Apart from putting things on spikes,

I just don’t know…

I think that’s it…


I hear you say turn to the wrinklies

They have stories of old times to dramatise

And they are wise


But I don’t care about the war or Vicks or ginger cake


And I’m wise too

And I’m young

And I’m poor

And I’m disabled…

… Without ability to put on a good show with funding…


I’ve given out more than my share

Of plastic ducks without a purpose

In the street

That’s charity


Now it’s my turn

Please hear my cry…

… I’m two grand shy…


I don’t often make demands

I am a simple kind of girl

With simple needs…

…Don’t your heart bleed?


I don’t need drugs or operations

But I’ve broken my left wrist n’ arm three times…

…And I can rhymes…


I could have paid for singing lessons

Pyrotechs and juggling dogs

That’s all I want

That’s all I need


So forgive me if I’m not nice

And I cannot help you out

I do my best…

I give to R.A.G….


I don’t have anything big to say

No profound gestures of important themes…

I wear nice jeans…?


…Please give me some money anyway…