Mothers in War

asked to writeof young lives lost

shelled and burned relentless frost
happy home to relentless fear

brave face conceals hot tears

once a hug and safety 

the currency you traded

exchanged inexplicable hatred

bones exhausted hope faded
At Marathon

Xerxes honouring father

and so on and so forth

these wars get ever harder

millenium echoes of ‘what’s it all for?’
and weaved into the words of life

new names come

sprung from their strife

our everyday

the balaclava

named from pain frozen hell like lava

became a young boys winter wear

running down streets without a care
cheerfully we sing of barrels rolled

Towns in Ireland myths unfold

a hundred years ago

In a room

a clock ticked

whilst cannon boomed

the heartbeat of a mother waiting to hear

that precious child coming near

the footstep on the path instead

solemnly told her

He was dead
If you see the sight of battlefield

with blood and guts and brain all spilled

sightless eyes who know no pain

Think of the ones who feel it again

and again and again and again
The ones who walk with the field inside flesh

Where their children are killed each day afresh

who cared for them fed them and loved them each day

but when the monster demanded them

waved them away

 Fairy stories talk of scary dragons

 demanding the people hand over their young

of evil archetype make panto players

but still it goes on and on and on

Bravery for an ideal or not is a hard won thing

sometimes pretended, just to get through the turn, away from mother, 

toward an unknown king.



Where are all the saintsThey should be marching in

Are they in Hoxton drinking all the gin?
Where is their conviction to right the wrongs

Surely not a fiction we sang all the songs?

Why is their armour rusted and worn

Bits mismatched some lost and gone
Turned their faces, heartsick of us

We’d rather a lifestyle than stand, make a fuss

To be the vehicle to dishearten a saint

Makes of us a race of taint
So this after all was our original sin

Blamed on a woman, serpents grin

our inability to stand to defend the weak

Our backbone jelly voices won’t speak
Will we ever connect to a higher plane

Within or without us all one and the same

Children play in gutters of fear

Patterns in the sky ashen tears
We want saints on demand

a credit card to buy a conscience

We want those who were burned 

For belief to take our presence
Life, sham and drudgery have made broken dreams

A society from a sweatshop poorly riven seams

A cleverness we espouse to leave superstition behind

embarrassed to take the fight of the kind
Contemplate our horror over a glass of fizz

Contemplate the fact none of us exist

Whilst we allow ourselves to be grass fed herds

The saints are on strike until we find the right words
Until we find that we will stand strong

Stop dictation, right our wrongs

Until we take our responsibility set fire to our cares

The saints are on strike not marching anywhere
And the angels won’t act as scabs in our war

Humanity it is time we got our arses in gear

Be cynical be wry be all sorts of clever 

Can’t blame religion if we fuck up forever 
It is all down to us now

It is not a roll of the dice

Our humanity resides 

On our ability to be nice

Grow Them, Feed Them, Love Them, Yet, There Is No World Fit For Them

I pulled up outside the school the news was on and smarmy djs shocked, just reporting over and over repeating what they heard as they heard it in disbelief. 

I was flustered with my toddlers in the back of the car and turned it off I didn’t register, my mind was on my baby’s birthday tomorrow what to buy and what to do the last minute bits with three kids in tow after rushing from work. I collected my son some were talking about stuff but most of us mums had rushed from work some to go back after dropping to an adoring nan and work more hours so the bills get paid or doing tea, stories, baths, reading books tucked up in bed and then turn on the computer to log in to work again. Scoop up kids and scoop up toddlers and scoop up babies and scatter our families to where they need to fit whilst we work to pay the bills and make ends meet. We had no time for news. So we went on and packed in the car, the radio still off whilst I heard about the news of the day.Reception is a very important place and the headline news in our car on 11 Sept 2001 was that some kids weren’t allowed the time on the wheeled toys at break because they weren’t being good listeners. 

I had on my mind my golden haired girl’s second birthday excited for the trampoline she would unwrap tomorrow, let her loose on some of the energy that always built up to make her like a little whirlwind. She had been a whirlwind in the womb, kick kick spin. She was overdue and I had to go and have a heart trace. It should have taken 15 minutes it took over three hours because they couldn’t get 15 minutes worth of heart trace, not because they couldn’t get a heartbeat but because they couldn’t pin down a heart beat she moved so much inside, my sister drove me and we waited and waited. I apologised as much because all the magazines in the waiting room were fishing or sailing ones none of which were her choice of read, she forgave me and Whitney Houston’s My Love is Your Love played on her car radio and I already knew that whilst I studied and worked, as I carried her that she was with me they all were and when she was born she stayed awake so much outside. I walked the floors at night just her and me, I sang songs and she was soothed, My Bonny Lies Over The Ocean (sing my bonny!! She would cry to me when she could talk) You Are My Sunshine (like my Mum sang to us) the Irish Lullaby (like my gran sang to my Dad) Goodnight Sweetheart (because I love Dean Martin) and so many more. If I had to leave her she would cry, I had to go back and press her cheek against mine. No one else would do. As years went on and the school office became familiar to me, the Head of Year had me on speed dial, the slammed doors the thrown things and walking off, being the biggest enemy in the world, the near tragedies that we experience as parents, with that pulling her back from brought her to my arms again just like the baby she was and will always be. 
On 11 September 2001 I took them to the shops after school, they badgered for a happy meal and I refused the junk food and started to walk back to the car park buggy laden with happy shopping and tired children, exhausted; noticing a crowd around the TV shop in the days they still had tv’s in the shop windows, I stopped to see why people standing speechless watching over and over, a plane fly into a tower, over and over and silent disbelief in retail outlets. I turned back to get the happy meal because sometimes we need to spend £2.99 on happiness. We buy stuff don’t we, when we can’t control stuff?
The next day, on her second birthday my golden haired baby thrilled, jumped up and down up and down holding on to the rail of the trampoline, her vest poppers undone and flapping, laughing like bubbles floating in the air and filling the room, her chubby arms holding tight to the trampoline safe with a rail, next to the big fire guard to keep them safe away from burning and sometimes handy for drying school uniform bits on. Keep them safe, keep them safe that is all we ever try and on the news over and over the sombre tones and the film, over and over, of a plane crashing,over and over, answerphone messages of people saying their last goodbyes, their last I love you’s because they knew they were dying.

The world was never the same again but my baby grew up, my golden haired baby and tonight she becomes an adult. Tonight I wish to hold the baby like I always do with all of them, but now every single baby I have is an adult; keep them safe, kept them safe to here and now I fear the world is mad and they are going into it………

Western Light

Western Sun

Delft in the press of an abandoned cottage

A lone sacred heart picture on the wall

Western rain

Our Lady Queen of Heaven in an abandoned bedroom

Where the Queen of the house hasn’t slept since 1939

And the baby she never held

Died this week aged 78

But stilled, the twinkle fresh in his eye

Now dimmed

She would have loved that nature

We don’t know the modern name of what took her away

We forget arranged marriages

We forget hardships

We forget hard work

We talk of legacy and heritage

and in these concepts

Don’t allow ourselves to fit in the everyday

Western light and arts of fire

On hillsides

Hearth lit 

Heart beats 

Across the world

Make a Trip Back Home…

Do you travel to learn soak in places

Or to escape the life you have made with your money

Faces that pass you by can you read their story?

Or do you not care? 

Crescent or whole moon – you choose

It waxes and wanes anyway even if you stand still

But you don’t

You chase the possibility of change that never happens

Because you never give time for the idea or the moon to ripen 

For the lungs to finish filling with air and exhale their contribution

You are gone or in between your head is down working towards the next escape

Escapism = using the number of allotted breaths you have

And never changing anything except currencies

Another country, another city break, another bottle opened that fizzes

Another ‘I deserve this because it has been three weeks since my last’

And still the world turns, and people walk to wells and people stitch the latest fad for Amazon to sell

And in between we swing our legs on bridges and dream of the vast possibilities of northern lights and cranes that fly home

And then we do something for someone else and see them smile, or walk a bit further or sing a song

And still the world turns and people sleep outside and queue

And we say there is an inevitability about life and how it is lived and we think we live it

By booking a trip

That we work hours of hate to afford

When really we could just take a walk

Breathe our council estate air and look at the fields beyond or the water of the canal that shines

Testament to youthful work and enterprise 

When animal and human, the last vestiges of a partnership existed

To make life happen

And still the world turns, and people cycle down canal paths to their jobs through the graffiti bridges by the fish basking just under the waterline in the summer or by the ducks dozing on ice in winter

Maybe you make memories in the sunshine

And that is what they are

A memory bank 

You work to make a memory bank within a world where nothing has changed, laminate humanity and plan it on a spreadsheet

Bite your own flesh to feel alive

And you could have made a life that made the world a wonder every, single, day

The Fiery Bird Show – John McNally Interview The Searchers

Fiery Bird Show on Radio Woking featuring an interview with John McNally founder member of The Searchers recently returned from their Australian tour and hitting Aldershot on 5 May.
The Fiery Bird Show this week featured an interview with John McNally a founder member of The Searchers and and Mabbsy and I used it to have a retrospective of 60’s poptastic tunes laced in with the memories we had of hearing the songs in the background on the radio (he does admit to being a 70’s kid really). We also mentioned the Fiery Bird Venue fundraiser with Eddie & The Hot Rods, Dept S, Ed Tenpole-Tudor and  Phoenix Chroi. 

To catch up on the show and the interview with John you can listen again here


Female of The Species – The Walker Brothers – well obviously 

The Clapping Song – Shirley Ellis – remember this one trying to remember the words

This Boy – The Beatles – 

Anna and I, singing along, 14 years old, hairbrushes as pretend microphones. Now, I pretend my microphone is a hairbrush, my friend is singing along and the whole world is ahead of us 🙂

She’s Not There – The Zombies – Andy interviewed Colin Blunstone on his radio show this was a song for me mate

Autumn Stone – The Small Faces – one of my London songs – on the way to sound check, early evening sun, train passing Pimlico plumbers pulling in to Waterloo, head against the train window the song on the iPod, in rhythm with the train moving, the usual gig thing – going up in the afternoon, no matter how sunny and then cold out into the night air after the gig to go back to Waterloo the portal in and out of London for us suburbanites, picking up my bike at the station and cycling home, cold clear night, stars out, moon full.

Swords of A Thousand Men – Ed Tenpole Tudor – a man coming to support our Fiery Bird Fundraiser

Is Vic There? – Dept S who arranged the fundraiser with their excellent hit from the post punk halcyon days

Destruction – Phoenix Chroi – our band – the local support at the venue fundraiser with the song that raises money for Living Without Abuse a charity supporting those who are surviving abusive relationships

Do Anything You Wanna Do – Eddie & The Hot Rods – headliners at the Fiery Bird venue fundraiser and their brilliant anthem to cut the shackles and do your thing

GLORIA – Patti Smith – because her version of this song is excellent – the Them song interspersed with her own poetry to make something completely new – I believe this is what is known as ‘ripping a new one’ and fair play to her – thoroughly enjoyed and enriched from reading Just Kids and M Train.

Sweets For My Sweet – The Searchers the song John Lennon credited as being the best single to come out of Liverpool

Needles & Pins – The Searchers – Peggy, my Mum and Dad’s neighbour used to get me to babysit her kids or rather my Mum told her I would – it seemed I communicated this willingness psychically. Anyway she gave me a load of records and among them was this one – listening to it again brought me slap right back to being 13 and the start of finding out about modernism, playing bass, writing songs and then only three years later putting the bass and the songs down for another 25 years.

Brand New Day – Deep Six – a new release from a band releasing new original material 

Never Buy The Sun – Billy Bragg – speaks for itself, this was the week that yet again there was controversy about truth in  papers relating to Liverpool and it’s citizens characters. Interviewing John McNally a founder of a band that was part of the movement that brought the cultural output of Liverpool to the world stage – we should all stand up for people of any city who are demonised and belittled by the international money that might seek to make of us knaves and fools. People deserve better.

You’ll Never Walk Alone – Gerry & The Pacemakers, if people listen to the words of the song adopted by Liverpool, credited as a hymn and forgotten as a musical gem it can really mean something. An extra religious head teacher at assembly once poured scorn on ‘football fans making sacrilegious chants of sacred songs’ using this as an example – I wonder did anyone have the heart to tell him it was a song from a musical and no hymn at all. Bless.

Fiery Bird Show with Eddie Roxy – DeptS 

This week I was joined at The Fiery Bird Show by Eddie Roxy from Dept S a band well known for their hit ‘Is Vic There?’ yet now touring and producing new material that has been delighting audiences hungry for more than a nostalgia circuit. In 2016 they released a new album ‘When All Is Said & All Is Done’ and more recently a video of the title track single available on YouTube here. You can catch up on the radio show here
Eddie, a charming guest brought his song choices in and also gave insight to the start of Dept S, from the brainchild of Gary Crowley ‘Guns For Hire’, gigging with bands such as The Jam in the early days, the music landscape, genres and tribes of audiences, to its current line up including Phil Thomson (previously Bug) & Pete R Jones (Public Image Ltd, Cowboys International, Brian Brain). Relating their experience as young band members working with Pete Overend Watts & Dale ‘Buffin’ Griffin – now both sadly passed away – who produced their single ‘Is Vic There?’ As well as talking of their plans for the year to come, an almost full circle to Mott The Hoople again playing with Ian Hunter & The Rant Band in June, Eddie gave insight to the touring experience here and abroad and the importance of local venues in the wider music industry.

He also spoke of the gig he has pulled together in support of our live music venue project in Woking- The Fiery Bird, where the Phoenix Cultural Centre CIC volunteers, musicians and community members are taking over an unused nightclub to make into non profit live music venue that supports community work. Whilst waiting to take over, Eddie brought together bands to play a fundraising gig which is taking place on Friday 21st April in the venue ‘as is now’. We were overwhelmed with this support, having seen and knowing how great Eddie & The Hot Rods, Dept S & Ed Tenpole-Tudor are live and how they appeal to a broad range of people, as he said, ‘if you love live music, regardless of genre, you will love this gig’. Our own Woking, post punk band, Phoenix Chroi are joining them as the local support, part of the philosophy of the venue when it is open is that a local support is put on with a touring band. Tickets can be purchased here

1. Theme from Dept S

2. Making Time – The Creation

3. Set The House Ablaze – The Jam

4. No Pain No Gain – The Witchdokters

5. Roxette – Dr Feelgood

6. Reaching My Head – The Prisoners

7. Roll Away The Stone – Mott The Hoople

8. I Can’t Make It – The Small Faces

9. Is Vic There? – Dept S

10. Public Image – Public Image Ltd

11. GLORIA – Eddie & The Hot Rods

12. Girl On A Beach – Phoenix Chroi

13. Have Love Will Travel – The Sonics

14. When All Is Said And All Is Done – Dept S

15. Who Killed Bambi? – Ed Tenpole-Tudor

16. Sound Of The Suburbs – The Members

17. My Way – Frank Sinatra