Acomb Crescent

I was daydreaming in the sweating bungalow
lulled by tea, cake and well-worn anecdotes
miniscule excavations of the mineralised past

the hothouse was incubating the faces of relatives
in rectangular plots covering every spare surface

as my Grandma’s words tapped gently on my skull
I went deeper still into my reverie
shuffling antecedents until
startled by the insectoid clicks of a multitude of shutters
I witnessed the scene
through the compound vision of those who stared from the frames

the disintegrating map of the family
the family’s eyes
the last surviving sister holding forth to a toby jug and her static kin
in a house without a coal scuttle

and then it was just me sat in the room
92 years old
waiting for guests to arrive


Signal Failure

An oldie but hopefully goodie…my indignant response to the moment when the analogue TV signal went the way of the dodo.

This was a long time before the massive resurgence of vinyl. Even as we speak, the pressing plants are banging out fresh copies of Brothers In Arms at the expense of new, interesting music so that the legendary “fifty quid man” can snaffle it on record store day. As the major labels try to geg into the medium’s mystifying return to popularity and bolster the last hurrah of a dying distribution model, I’m no longer sure what to think about it all.

This one really is a performance piece, so please check the audio. It was recorded in glorious digital. I’m well aware of the inconsistency of my position.

Signal failure

when they turn the analogue signal off
any number of things might happen
exactly one thousand cowboys and Indians
will shimmer away with their wagons

the shipping forecast read through a vocoder
everything manipulated before it reaches your brain
Michelangelo’s David spray-painted silver
wake me up when it’s safe to be human again

I still want to get my ears dirty once in a while
dial “A” for analogue
logged in the annals, these channels of communication
the glorious conjuring trick of transforming
the clunking gearshifts of our lived-in lives
into a foaming sea of possibilities
but the final wave has broken

“one small step for mankind” worms its way through
the calls of parakeets of pop & click
a smoke signal is turned back into words by the receptive brain
and subtle sings the surfeit of static
into an attic in which sits
a ship’s radio

with a blast on my two-stroke engine
I salute the last real radio station
give me a stick and a patch of dirt
and fuck your powerpoint presentation

reject the emperor’s new code
oh my brothers and transistors
spit out your feeds and sow your seeds
just wait for my signal