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December 01, 2011

Writing the Harvest

Some second year poems. I've tried not to be funny.

One Hundred Years

I was Juror Eight,

I had two Chalazions,

I took her for dinner and asked her to pay,

I was responsible for a brilliant first act, a passable second and a diabolical third,

I owe all to Deborah,

I felt my glasses cutting my face,

I remember Roger Moore’s eyebrow,

I initiated indecent exposure in the classroom,

I don’t remember Pat’s dog trying to rape me,

I asked if he had a nose-bleed and was myself asked “well what does it look like?”,

I loved Holly and Oscar,

I loved Nana and Grandad,

I refused to bury a time capsule for fear it would be found.

Daniel Piper

It Could All Go Wrong

What if a note hits the wooden floor,

What if if the voice cracks and draws a sigh?

What if applause is an empty hall,

What if the silence drives us to cry?

Are we stronger than deep grey sea,

Are we sweeter than dulcet winds?

Are we sturdy as a ship of dreams,

Are we safer with just two wings?

I won’t throw you to the desert sands,

I won’t drown you in a cloud.

I won’t neglect your warm warm hands,

I won’t brand you disavowed.

We could let our strangled hands slip aside,

We could watch our sadness coincide.

We could fall asleep but not close our eyes,

We could see if our hearts really do collide.

Daniel Piper

Never Grow Old

I don’t feel like dancing now,

Age brings harsh light now.

I’ll sit and watch neglectfully.

Condemn the edges of an empty hall.

I am not coerced

Whilst they quench their thirst

With items of commerce.

I’m sinking in solidity.

My lifeguard has already drowned.

Daniel Piper

The Anarchist’s Handbook

Hear the noisy report of my passing,

And tell the scarecrows what you think you saw.

No whisper of Chlorate Potassium,

Merely my mutilationary corpse.

I tried I tried so hard never to die,

And three times begged you softly take me home.

Where, you ask as I choke on the smoke-lit sky.

I cannot speak, but for a wistful sigh.

Tenderly harbored was my concoction,

No pin pulled as I closed the metal door,

Though such cruelty is natural selection,

Jolted and stricken my face kissed my hands.

Here you run while one man primes his heels,

To me amidst my billowing plans.

Remember restaurants, our frugal meals.


You never heard me sing, and never will.

Daniel Piper

Passenger Accouncement

Sit on the aisle, the inspector approaches

you have no ticket just a screen of numbers


He tells you to swap when you have to change,

But a girl you’ve not met says the change is delayed


You’ll need to replace your original ticket

at the fork in the road, but in only ten minutes


Without an original you have but a choice

hit the desk and machine or explain to save face?


You decide to run, to complete step one

enter a code then collide head-on


Back to the bridge, words echo fast

telling you time is what you don’t have


Then one phrase cuts through the others

you’re stopped in your tracks, all other thoughts smothered.


We’re sorry for the delay, not our fault you see,

but due to an untimely fatality.


You’d rather stop but you’d better run

the connection is escaping from platform one.


Reach the edge of road and rails,

Pistons scraping and turning wheels


Consider the departure’s distant whisper,

and ask yourself why, why did you miss her?

April 28, 2011

Performance Writing – 'The Warp Monologues'

The Warp Monologues

A series of surrealist radio monologues to be accompanied by the ambient soundscapes of Warp Records’ Artists ‘Aphex Twin’ & ‘Boards of Canada’.

Dr. Hans Kauffman

(To be read in a subtle German accent very monotonously, almost too slowly, with few changes in expression)

Oh yes, I’ve had complaints. More than that in fact, I’ve had tears. One man even attacked me. He fashioned a sort-of truncheon out of his syphilis test results. It didn’t hurt, though. It was made of paper. But my answer remains the same; the work I do is unequivocally professional.

Music has forever been a passion of mine. Yes, whilst my peers were compiling mix-tapes featuring the likes of ‘The Sex Pistols’, ‘The Rolling Stones’ or ‘Iggy Pop’, I was assimilating the works of Stravinsky, Beethoven and Rachmaninov, My love of whom fell somewhat by the wayside when I reached Oxford. I fell in love with a young rugger boy called Jake. You see, within that rugged, sporty exterior, Jake harbored, like me, a delicate affection for the classical works. It was during one of our first discussions in the great dining hall of New College that we stumbled across such uncanny common ground. I was sat at the far end of the room with my medicinal companions. Such a lackluster bunch they were. Fredrick in particular, I couldn’t bear the sight of his carbuncle-infested face. One pustule erupted ferociously during a biomedical lecture and saw him running to the toilet clutching the gaping boil. Anyway, into the hall walked Jake and his masculine pals, and they sat down beside us. Their guffawing banter consisted mostly of balls and breasts. Mary, a bland girl sat opposite me, whose face I can’t and never shall remember, asked me “Who are you listening to at the moment? Stones?” “Rachmaninov” I replied proudly. “Rachmaninov?” Came the rugger voice next to me. “He’s just candy. No depth”. My world was brilliantly shattered. I wanted to take this boy upstairs, to ravish and be ravished by him, such was my delirium. We never spoke again, but that didn’t stop me watching him daily, with fantasies of simultaneous ejaculation to the strings of Beethoven’s 4th.

That’s rather a pointless little story to be honest. But it does go some way to depict my passion for music, still alive now as it was thirty years ago. I do sometimes ask myself if I’ve entered the wrong profession. Perhaps I’d be better off as a composer or a secondary school music teacher. However, I always reach the same conclusion; I was made to help people, and being Doctor has allowed me to do that for years. It is only now though, that I feel fully satisfied with my work. You see, at first, there was something missing. Patients came and went, received good and bad news with a vast multitude of responses. But something was missing; the room was too quiet, the mood was stunted. I needed my patients to feel what I was telling them. If I told a woman she was pregnant, I wanted her to hear the joy of this news. If I told a man he only had months to live, I wanted him to experience the tragedy of the fact. So I hired a pianist.

Katherine was an accomplished musician. Our relationship (platonic, naturally), was, at first, very successful. She would stand in the corner of my Office with the Yamaha YPT210 I had selected for her, and play only when signaled. We would look over the patients’ files and decide whether their diagnosis was likely to fall into the ‘bitter’, ‘sweet’ or ‘bittersweet’ category, which would then dictate the chords Katherine would play whilst I did the talking. One woman, upon receiving the ‘all-clear’ and no doubt succumbing to Katherine’s delightfully triumphant chords, launched at me passionate elation and managed to put her tongue inside my mouth. Listerine was soon employed. We even shared the odd musical joke. Katherine played beautifully sparse minor fifths whilst I told one man that he was suffering from nasal congestion. He left looking rather flustered, but Katherine and I were in hysterics. Unfortunately she became conceited. Once, to accompany the news that a sensitive old lady would require knee surgery, I had precisely instructed Katherine to play a calming, prolonged B major scale. Just as I was reassuring the lady that it would be a painless procedure, Katherine launched into what can only be described as a disgustingly indulgent arpeggio. She had to go. I now use a rather more humble gentleman called George, who plays exactly what I ask him to. Our relationship (platonic, of course) has remained, thus far, productive.

Even I myself, however, am prone to artistic misjudgments. There was a young boy, a lovely little thing called Simon. A real joy, full of life. He always brought his toy dinosaurs to my Office. Tragically, Simon was diagnosed with a form of Leukemia, one which is in fact extremely rare in children. It became all too clear, as Simon’s condition worsened, that he wasn’t going to live beyond the winter. This was in October. Now, with the prolonged strain on his parents, the incredible rarity of his condition and indeed Simon’s sheer child-like exuberance, I decided to do something special for Peter and Janelle. Those were his Parents’ names. So I hired a full Symphonic Orchestra to play whilst I told them the news. The players were in fact the Badische Staatskapelle, based in Karlsruhe, Germany. Not only did I travel to Karlsruhe to meet with Kazushi Ono personally, but I also requested, and indeed funded, an original composition. There was to be a Flugelhorn solo whilst I gave Simon’s parents time to process the information. It was a magnificent piece, a bittersweet joy. There was enough staccato to capture Simon’s buoyant, bouncy nature, but the underpinning cellos acknowledged the tragedy of the situation. Unfortunately, the gesture proved too much for his parents. His father tried to wrestle me to the ground whilst his Mother sobbed. I have since apologized to Peter and Janelle, and they were very accepting. I now appreciate that my passion can prove somewhat overpowering and invasive, and I am careful to monitor its presence. The music now takes a somewhat ambient, subconscious quality. I think this is for the best. It helps my patients, and it helps me.

Cecilia Tetbury

(To be read in the voice of an elderly Woman with a Northern accent. Her mouth moves faster than her mind, so there are a lot of stumbles and pauses. Her voice echoes, clearly through a microphone to a crowded room)

(‘Arrival of the Queen of Sheba’ by Handel starts to play. It fades out slowly) Hello! Me name… me name is… (The music starts again, then stops). Er. Oh dear. Me name is Ce… (Again the music plays, cutting her off, then it stops. She pauses for a long time to check it has really stopped). Right. Me name is Cecelia Tetbury and I’m (The music starts again, then fades out). Oh dear! I always left the technical side of things to Jim. Right. Me name is Cecilia Tetbury, and I’m very, very delighted to speak to today. Sadly, however, today is a sad day. I mentioned Jim. Well today is the first anniversary of his…of his…his…he died. Yes, he died. He were out doing the weeds like he always did on a Sunday afternoon while I watched ‘Strictly’[Come Dancing]. That were our Sunday routine. Well a policeman walked by and mistook him for a mad man with his shears. So he tasered him. It weren’t that that killed him though. Oh no. The electrical current messed with his pacemaker. So he blew up. Bless him…smithereens. But I suppose that’s one of the reasons I’m here to talk to you today! You see, I did mope about a bit after Jim’ demise. But then I thought, y’know what, there’s no point moping! I’m going to use this time to do the things I’ve always wanted to do! So I joined Warwick University to study Creative Writing. I’ve always said, I’m a poet, but I didn’t know…I was one. So what better place to become a famous poet than Warwick? Its lovely! I’m living in Rootes accommodation with a lovely bunch of young lads and girls. They are very welcoming indeed. Now, I’d very much like to read one of my poems to you. Would you mind if I did that? It is about my first experiences at Warwick! Ooh! I will, then! Ok. This is called ‘Fresher’s Night’. It’s a sonnet!

I pulled up on the Sat’day, it were noon-time

Me bags were all packed full of bits and bobs.

Me first thought of the SU was ‘Divine!’

And me flatmates. Well, some were hot-rods!

I were told that night there was to be a shindig.

And I was thinkin’ “well what will I wear?”

I decided that I really ought to think big.

“Tonight I’m wearing silky underwear!”

Well Darren told me it was time to ‘Pre-lash’.

Which sounded like it might involve a whip…

But it was in order for us to get smashed.

Listen to me, I’m sounding rather hip!

But I had too much to drink and ended up being rather ill in the corridor

Before Darren put me to bed and tucked me up with a cup of cocoa.

I went a bit off-meter at the end there, did you notice? It was a bit cheeky! But they’re always tellin’ me to take risks in the writing sessions at Warwick. Now, another routine of mine and Jim’s was our weekly Saturday-night visit to Pizza Express. We were members of the Pizza Express club. Not only did they give us vouchers but we each got a birthday email every year! Jim always said it was probably automated, but I like to think it was personally written. Now, we could never decide what to eat at Pizza Express, and that is the foundation of my next poem. Its called ‘Pizza Express’ It’s a bit groovy, this one:

You say Romana, I say Legarra,

Should we start with tomatoes or olives?

Then comes the time when we really should decide

What is going to be our chosen dish.

What should I go for?

(Very slowly)Quattro Formaggi?

Funghi Di Bosco?


American Hot?

Sloppy Guiseppi?

Piccante? No, the pastas are never sufficient.

(Back to normal speed) Soon we have to have to pay,

and you turn to me and say,

“Have you got your vouchers?”

I say, “I thought you were printing then?”

“No, you said you can show them on your iPhone”

“No, Jim, they need a hard copy of the vouchers”

So we end up paying full price.

Thank you very much. You see, I’m a bit of a natural! Now, one of the things that does irk me about student accommodation is the din. They’re noisy buggers in Rootes! Darren (he’s me next-door-neighbor a bit like Doris used to be at home), Darren is always listening to what he calls “Thud N’ Bass” music. Its sort of got this “um-cha” sound in the background while they ‘spit lyrics’ such as ‘Going to catch me riding dirty”. But I do want to stay contemporary so I’ve got a little surprise for Darren. I’m going to embarrass him now, he said he was coming to watch me. Darren? Darren? You here, Darren? (Silence). Oh. Anyway it goes like this: (She ‘lays’ down an awkwardly slow ‘Um-cha’ beat)

(To the tune of Amy Winehouse’s ‘Rehab’)

They tried to make me go to Smack and I said, “No, No, No.”

They tried to make me go to Kasbah and I said, “That’s too far!”

They tried to make me go to The Copper Rooms and I said, “Well that’s more feasible because it’s on campus so I could go home when I get tired.”

Thank you very much! It’s still a bit of a work in progress. Oh. Oh, there’s a man waving a sign saying ‘Time Up’. That is a shame. I had another poem ready about the Royal Wedding. Oh well. I’ve enjoyed this ‘open microphone’ lark. I think I’ll do it again. Goodbye! 

March 05, 2011

What's Happened Is Happening

You tell me life goes on and

Mine has. The cogs are turning,

The wheels are spinning but I want

To find a branch and thrust it

Between the spokes. I want

To be thrown in the air,

To land in puddles of mud and tears.

Yes, normal service has resumed 

But I've been left on the platform whilst

Some silhouette sits in First Class,

Sipping Champagne on his way from A to B.

February 20, 2011

This Is A Passenger Announcement.

Please keep your luggage with you at all times.













If you see anyone acting suspiciously, please alert a member of staff.

February 18, 2011


I'm quirky. I'm kooky!

I own a moleskin! 

I write poems in FREE VERSE!!!

I like fluffy things like cats!

I mix up UPpeR and LoWEr case!

I drink weird things like Vermouth!

I wear wooly jumpers! I listen to swirly nice ambient music!

I do doodles of things! (cat doodle)

I'm always HappyyyYy!!!

but inside i'm crying.



(title at the bottom!!! lol) 

February 17, 2011

A Life So Golden

It's time to say goodbye to this old room.

What joy you leave behind.

What a life you have woven.

As your days transcend I hope you'll meet her again.

Carrying a century.

I've only known the final fifth of your being.

Only heard of your presence in history. 

But what a tale it is. A life so golden.

You say you are proud but it is we who stand in awe.



Always present.

Always in a dream.

February 16, 2011

Remember The River

Remember The River

February 15, 2011


Long pause as though the culmination of an argument.

I signed it Whatever it was Then they just let me go

Straight away No punches no chubby hands around my throat.

Then I was out of there None-the-fucking-wiser no.

They kept saying your name it was the only English word.

Lose control for a second They smacked me they beat me hard.

It was the massive one I saw first in that fucking shirt.

There were five of them staring me down like a little rat.

I stumbled around the kitchen looking for an escape

Ran at fatty thought that maybe he’d tip over and fall,

It was like what’s the metaphor? Running into a wall.

Pause. Shift in tone. Contemplative. Solitude, hate, rape.

Nothing is more isolating than to hear a man scream.

But this was fucking, search for words, surrounded seclusion.

Sounds of keys, footsteps, shouting, hands dragging me to my feet.

I thought they were going to kill me, mate, what have you done?

Ode to Daniel Craig

Roger Pierce Timothy and Sir Sean,

Taught me exactly how to live my life.

If only I could say the same for George,

But he was given only bad advice.

The man I really ought to thank is Ian,

He’s the reason that you’re reading this.

Basking in the sunlit Caribbean,

He made that man who likes to kill and kiss.

Gripped by the scent and smoke and sweat,

Dreading the pain of the carpet beater,

Right up until learning the bitch was dead,

My awe was such I can’t commit to meter.

So when you ask me how I want my drink,

I’ll tell you if I choose to give a damn. 

February 13, 2011

The Man With Fire In His Eyes

There is a man with fire in his eyes.

How could anyone be sad when he’s around?

How could anyone despair or even despise?

There is a voice in your head that won’t say yes,

Won’t let you walk without turning around.

But it never seems to see the fire in your eyes.

Look to the sands to the the castles that rise,

Boundless spirits that roar from the ground.

How can you despair or even despise?

So don’t stop to wait or compromise,

Don’t let your thoughts be drowned.

Look to the man with fire in his eyes.

I’ll hear you tell me a thousand why’s,

Take my ear for your stamping ground,

But I won’t despair or even despise.

So throw it to the sands,

Shun that dead sound.

You are the man with the fire in his eyes.


I ought to go to sleep.

The stars are calling out and screaming ‘stay’.

My slumber should be deep.

The cold cool moon is bright this New Year’s day. 

Rebel Without a Point

I stole a book today,

I’m a rebel without a cause.

I haven’t written my essay,

I’m a rebel without a point.

I’m a rebel without a cause.

I’m floating on placid shores.

I’m a rebel without a point.

I’m writing the word anoint.

You see it rhymes with the word above,

Oh, I’m sorry, I digress.

I’ve really broken the rules this time.

I’m a rebel without a point.

I’m sorry, I digress,

I’m only trying to write,

I’m a rebel without a point,

I’m not failing out of spite.

December 01, 2010

They don't slow–dance round here no more

5 out of 5 stars

I was a major Guillemots fanatic before Fyfe decided, much like Roald Dahl, to go solo. The tracks on this album are much more stripped-down in nature, allowing for a more heartfelt sound. From the opening exaltation of "When You Walk in the Room" to the the bittersweet "Livewire", Fyfe's voice remains ripe with emotion. Those looking for the bombast of Guillemots' early work will revel in "She Needs Me"; and "Faster Than The Setting Sun", my personal favourite, is a work of pure, irredesant atmosphere (it's a word from the song, it fits). With a solo debut as strong as 'Fly Yellow Moon', in the words of the album's closer, "this could go in any direction."    


John was very unhappy. His job, his love life, his health; nothing seemed to be going right for him. He felt like the rest of the world was carrying on and he was getting left behind. Then, one Friday, John found the answer to all his problems. He met Steve.

Thom Yorke Goes to Costcutter

"Automatic Door" (in affectionate parody of Radiohead)

Open my eyes. Morning bearing down on me. Engulfing Me.

Open. Close. Open. Close.

Where was the water? Where was the water when I needed it most? Where were you?

Open. Close.

Orange Juice. Water. What do I want? What the fuck do I want? I want you.

Costcutter. Cutting the cost. Cutting my soul.

Open. Close. Open Close.

The price is cheap. My life is cheap. Without you.

Open. Open.

Automatic door. Automatic Life. Automatic love.

Open. Open. Open. Close.

November 17, 2010

Flash Fiction

He’s not here to drink; he’s not here to eat. He’s here to think, to reflect, to predict, and to compose. She’s here to serve, to earn, and to get out. The others are here for plenty of reasons.

“If it’s meant to be, then it will resolve itself”, one over-zealous student tells her larger, glasses-clad, less worldly-wise friend over their Chai Lattes. “I mean, everything happens for a reason.” Then…

“Obviously I forgive you, now that I understand why you did it.” A story. His pen begins to caw frantically at his notebook. Then his gaze drifts to the old lady, who has finished her tea and devoured the article, “this year’s X-Factor isn’t a singing competition, it’s a freak show!” (“I couldn’t agree more!” she internally proclaims, raising an eyebrow from her cavernous forehead). Now she’s standing, hands clasped regimentally behind her back, looking out of the window to check that the cathedral is still erect.

He writes, tightly wringing all manner of loss and desperation from her posture. The Old Woman is now a metaphor for wistful decay. He smiles smugly, raising an eyebrow.

“You need to order downstairs.” A voice of impatient encouragement. She’s standing over him, looking at the notebook, calculating him. Is he writing for some high-class publication, reviewing her ‘homely’ establishment for the good of the country? Or is he a mere pretentious arse, using her chair and her table for some indulgent drivel? She’s silenced by a single nod, and carries her snarl downstairs. He panics, momentarily. What has me missed? Some cataclysmic shift in the potent atmosphere of this iridescent world? The two girls are still talking, nursing their drinks absently. The large one is looking down into hers. It holds no respite.

“Look, I’m glad you told me, honestly, Mary” His pen is reunited with the acid-free paper. He writes of friendship, betrayal, love, lust. They’re getting up to leave; the skinner girl places the other’s scarf around her neck. Begrudgingly, of course. And as they descend, their story concludes. He muses for a second about how there’s probably a third party somewhere playing them both for fools.

“Will you be ordering now, sir?”

She’s feigning politeness. She’s been nurturing that snarl and has learnt to make it appear concealed, but not vanished. He tells her ‘soon’, then looks back to the old woman for inspiration. But she’s leaving too, delicately folding her newspaper in half. She slips it into her bag, turning her attention to her coat. Beige. Then with short, premeditated steps, she takes her loss, desperation and sorrow downstairs and into the outside air.

Suddenly he is alone.

The pen wavers, but he cannot summon that familiar flourish. He searches for a story in each empty chair, but finds nothing. The room, once so full of vivacity, so full of life, is now solid, motionless and dead. He closes the notebook with affirmation. Obviously it’s not writer’s block, it’s just a natural point of conclusion. He slips the notebook into his jacket pocket and begins his own descent. She’s waiting at the bottom of the stairs, smiling, almost in victory.

“Are you here to order, sir?”

He’s unprepared. Empty seats downstairs too. There is no story here except that of the writer and the waitress.


“What can I get you, sir? A drink? Perhaps a savoury treat?”

What will be ironic? What will be satirical? He doesn’t want a Chai Latte, or a Flat White, or an Almond Amaretto Chocolate Deluxe Cheesecake.

What will be true? To walk out of the door. Maybe even with a flaunting “Nothing.” But that will obviously be undignified. Maybe he can endure a Coke Zero.

But he can’t endure the vacuum he is about to enter. His own personal purgatory.

Suddenly he is afraid.  

You walk in the room and you either grab a chair or they’re already laid out for you and you sit down and you’re smiled at and told that it’s “nice to meet you” or if you’re in a big group then you partake in an exercise that involves learning names and removing inhibitions and proving yourself and team-work and you want to show you can do both so you try to gauge it correctly so you come across as both fair and determined but sometimes it’s difficult and you look either indulgent or reserved and eventually the tone shifts to something more contemplative as you begin to approach the text or concept itself and the room becomes open to debate as you consider potential methods and approaches and there’s always one guy who you think is an arse but you keep it contained because you may be working alongside him in a few weeks time and then the text is finally opened and you’re assigned a temporary role which means so little yet so much and as you journey through the plot you grow designs on a particular part and find yourself dropping timely hints that you suit it well and then the day comes and the laughter stops and the silence starts and they take their time and your name is always last and then that’s that, you now know.

You come to terms with it and map out the weeks ahead and whether you’ve got your work cut out or you’ll be sitting there watching but you tell yourself that might be ok and surely you’ll learn along the way then things seem slow because the cycle has begun again because you’re starting at the beginning because it’s time to get it on its feet and it’s exciting and you watch everyone tackle their role but you’re holding a piece of paper and so is everybody else and you become frustrated because you can’t move freely because you’re holding the paper and you promise that it won’t be for long and you either fulfil the promise or slowly begin to irritate everybody leading to glances leading to whispers leading to murmurs leading to arguments as the piece begins to take shape and you reach a point where you can step back and see a finished article and you go for the run and there’s the adrenaline and there’s the pride and there’s the fear as you’re doing it tomorrow and you’re nervous, you’re scared.

You’re in the wings and your heart is pounding and the lights are dim and you hear the sounds of those who have nothing at stake and can’t lose and you’re intimidated but you translate it into energy and you run and run and run over what you know so well and you look at everybody around you and it hits you what you’ve shared and you’ve experienced and you take a moment to appreciate the respect and the affection and the love and the downright will for success and the eye contact is knowing and loving and you wait for the cue and you step forward.

It’s working

It’s working

That worked

That didn’t work

He delivers that line well even though you were always irritated by it and you thought he didn’t really grasp the meaning of it but tonight it fits and she makes that gesture really clear and you know that that they know exactly what she means and you’re revelling it all and you know that your big moment is coming and when it does, you give it your all.

But then you stop thinking, and you start doing, and you start being.