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Uncertainty still remains strong in our house and many more as to whether our tentative sense of freedom, following the end (for now) of lockdowns and other Covid related restrictions, will end in regret.  As events in public have resumed I've found myself following the herd and becoming progressively less fastidious about wearing my facemask etc.  Time for a flow-test soon, I think.  But I have to admit, I have enjoyed the freedom greatly, and relished getting out there and doing things with people again.  What things?  Read on and you'll get to them in a while.


New Novel 


Second Draft is now complete and my readers have given me their opinions.  An assortment of synopses are ready to go to the publishers I've shortlisted and I have sent first two chapters and a synopsis to one of the publishers on the list.


I'm feeling quite excited about it, and itching to be able to share more details.  But until I've got a definite path towards publication ahead of me, I have to keep shtumm for now.





Shaftesbury's 'This is Alfred', which can be found at:, is still featuring my poems on an occasional basis.  I recently recorded four more bringing my total to forty two, altogether.


I have posted direct download links to some of the MP3s on the 'Wilful Misunderstandings' page (below the video links).


You can still check out a more recent short story, 'Dodgy Reg' on the Shaftesbury Arts Centre website.  Go to: .  


'Swamp Thing'


DC Comics Editor Axel Alonso tells me that the Nancy Collins Omnibus needs to sell over 3000 copies before I get any royalties!  I'm not sure it's going to happen, it's a hefty hardback tome and costs over fifty quid.  But, that said, Nancy Collins spins a good yarn so it's well worth a read - quite apart from the bonus of my three Swamp Thing stories and one Black Orchid story thrown in.  Check it out.  





















International Times


Another piece of mine was featured in International Times late last year.  I failed to include an update about it here at the time, so better late than never go to  It's about my participation in a local attempt to set up a 'Red Rebel action last summer in my home town of Shaftesbury.  There's also a video, which you can find at


Next, here's a link to an International Times contribution, posted in March.  It's a piece called Mystery Train-Whistle Blues.  If you look for 'train songs' on Wikipedia you'll find a list of over a thousand of them, mostly from American  folk, blues, rock and country music.  I made a shortlist of the ones I'm familiar with (and in most cases extremely fond of) and made a sort of collage containing lyrical fragments from my personal list mixed in with words of my own to create what I hope is an evocative synthesis, revealing the underlying sadness in so many of those songs.  Check it out at:


In June I contributed a review of Rose Simpson's excellent memoir on her life as a member of the Incredible String Band.  Find that one at:



Molly Bloom


Better late than never, again, here's a link to my contribution to the latest issue of online poetry magazine Molly Bloom.

My thanks to editor Aiden Semmens for including my three poems in the 25th issue of MB.  A wide variety of interesting contributions to this magazine, I can recommend the work of Mandy Pannett and Paul Rossiter, and will be reading more of the other contributions when time allows.



'A Shot of Words' at Shaftesbury Fringe Festival





















  It was a case of bad timing I think.  Though there wasn't a huge amount of Fringe activity that Friday evening and acts in the same venue had filled the room earlier, I found myself reading to a small (but select) audience of five people.  I pressed on, having prepared the programme and wanting to see how well it worked, and I think they had a good time.  I certainly did.  As for whoever else was out for the Fringe that evening, I hope they enjoyed whatever musical of comedy events they went to.  Back to afternoons next time - I seem to have done better with those.

The following night's reading, in two sets between performances by local musicians at Shaftesbury's Seasons cafe went down very well.  It doesn't take many people to pack Seasons but it was still gratifying to see that it was full to capacity.  My selection of poems, plus the 'What You Wish For' story that appeared recently in International Times was I'm told both entertaining and thought-provoking.  Nice comments.


Tears in the Fence Festival


On the weekend following the Shaftesbury Fringe came the next Tears in the Fence Poetry Festival (2nd - 5th September).  In addition to my book-selling duties there, I hosted the Saturday morning session featuring Simon Collings, Sarah Cave and Luke Thompson.  I also did a short open reading on the Sunday morning.  This was presented as a group reading by members of our workshop who meet at the White Horse, Stourpaine in Dorset.  TitF editor and Festival overseer David Caddy told us later of comments from Carol Watts and Harriet Tarlo, two of the more prestigious poets attending the festival.  "Both Harriet and Carol said that they think that we are the strongest poetry  workshop group / community in the UK. Knowing how well travelled they both are and the quality of other workshops in the country, I was thrilled with their comments. Such high praise is a rare accolade."  So there we are.  We did good.


Some video from the Zoom session on the evening of Thursday the 2nd, featuring amongst others superb US poet Rae Armantrout and a powerful reading from Vahni Capildeo should become available soon (and there is also a series of recordings from the magazine's May 2021 Zoom festival).  Check out the festival pages of the TitF website with  the following link:



Shaftesbury Tree Festival


I'll have to update this b.t.l. as this festival is taking place as I write. 'Dancing in Slow Motion', an opening event in the Town Hall  featured music by Karen Wimhurst and the Palida choir and tree poems read by myself and other members of the Shaftesbury Arts Centre poetry group.  I'm happy to say that our poems and the readings of them held their own against the excellent and complex harmonies of the Palida singers, and the event was deemed a decent package by many of the 60 plus audience.


On Saturday 25th I hosted a reading with three others, again at the Seasons cafe.  Reading tree/nature poems both of our own and the work of others I was with Georgie Faulkner Bryant, Elaine Cadogan and Robin Walter.  The cafe was as full as it's likely to get in these socially distanced times and between us we provided a varied programme, Georgie choosing three song lyrics to read and speak about, the rest of us reading our own work - which included a debut reading by Robin of his lengthy poem 'Living With Trees'  (a title shared with his excellent book published in 2020 and highly recommended).




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News Archive 2021

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