Friday, 24 March 2017

World Upside Down (a short tribute to John Lever, Band on the Wall, 1998)

Pushing and shoving on the dance floor
We must have looked a right sight
Ducking and diving next to the waves
Of distorted guitars and tribal like drums;
Our Hair blowing wild in the over ripe summer air
As we laughed at the singer
Stumbling at his words for a few seconds
Before carrying on, pushing each other
Up and down the dance-floor

Your hair was punked up, dyed bright purple
And resembled Sonic the hedgehog a little
Whilst I ended up got stuck at jury service
I was attending up the road
Until just before we were due to meet,
Leaving me with no choice but to turn up in my suit
Which drew some curious looks
From the bouncers at the front door.

The first beer went down, a bit too well
In a full measured stroke
As we both laughed at the support act
Pulling time, with a casual swagger
With how I dodged a horrible case
In the morning, only to end up on a botched robbery
That went on and on and on and on
While you carried on moaning
About your boss who was about to leave.

By the time the band you wanted to see
Came on, we were both half cut
On three and a half pints of Skullsplitter
Which left us wobbling all over the club
Stitching our drunkness
In out of synch singing
When-ever the band started songs
You said you knew,
Ribboned in energy.

When World upside down came on,
I stuck my head up with a primitive yeah
Adding unwelcome backing vocals
With a drunken slur
Gliding over the guitars
And drums bursting into life,
Only for you to fall into me
And sending me spinning
All over the place.

Waking up afterwards
I was told I had fell backwards
Spinning around in a huge circle into
A small group of chairs
That could have seriously hurt me
If the drummer hadn't leapt from his stool
Like an Olympic diver,
In a frantic panic
To make sure that I was okay.

I found out afterwards
That was John Lever.

(John Lever was most famous for being the drummer in 1980’s and early 2000’s Manchester, UK band The Chameleons which was my favourite band but also played in bands such as Chameleons Vox, Sun and the Moon, Weaveworld, The Professionals, Wilson and others I no doubt have forgotten about. This story above was a personal memory put into a poetic form about a gig I saw at the Band on the Wall in Manchester in 1997 when he drummed for Wilson which has been wrote upon hearing of his sad passing recently).

Thursday, 23 March 2017

New Write Up on the End of Summer

The following write up has appeared on the publication page of The End of Summer by Michael Holme (for which i am grateful for)

Right from the start of the first poem in this collection, I realised I was reading words penned by a writer very different to myself: “The first few times we met / was under a crossing of invisible bridges…” Whilst hard to picture, it seemed ironic, then not, crossing bridges separate, whilst it was established that a meeting had occurred. Andy’s words are sometimes simple, sometimes hard, and at other times plain obscure. I thought he offered a set of poems levelled at all manner of minds. My own poetry often mentions the season, more often spring than any other, and I like the seasons as a theme in Andy's poetry. Do not expect clich├ęd descriptions here though: “After Summer / autumn is always brushed / under the carpet / like a half baked afterthought…” Expressions such as “womb sunrise,” “forgotten shadows,” “splattered hammers,” “colliding motionless,” “like a postcard out of breath” and many more, make the poems the readers own. They offer an ambiguity that begs the book is reread with a different angle on previous suggestions. Some poems, for example, Out of Reach II, make me imagine parallels with the abstract painters, but not total abstraction. Again, there is left an offer for the reader to define the looser parts. In “Edge of the Flames” I recognised a poetry I was more accustomed to, and it’s presence in the volume only added to the overall richness. This, as an example, was admittedly, an easier read for me. But still offering gems like, “Before morning / the night was as vicious as ice / and the wind branded the windows / with a punk like sneer.” And the poet doesn’t always restrict himself to formal sentence structures, something I have never had the courage to do myself. Does it lack because of that, and the odd missing comma? I don’t think so. It’s like further food. For me the clearer works like “Divorced Memories” were favoured. Then I though, is that a laziness? And I loved seeing local references. I felt the last piece summarized much, in a hope and mystery perhaps?