Wednesday, 30th. March: I’ve got a second open mike slot at “Bad Language” at The Castle, Oldham Street, Manchester plus my new poetry collection, “Seconds Out” is now available!

Seconds out_Cover_Front and Back_160325Seconds Out

He’d fought most of the big names in his day, our Dad:

middle weights, Terry Spinks, Chris Eubanks;

light heavies, Randolph Turpin, Don Cockell;

and the serious stuff, Rocky Marciano, Henry Cooper,

Cassius Clay (as he then was).


I’m watching him as he watches the boxing.

from his ring side seat in front of the TV,

ducking and weaving, shoulders twitching

as he swings, first a right (he was a southpaw pa)

and a left, a jab, a feint, then working the body

with a punishing combination of punches,

before rocking back with the deftness of Muhammad Ali,

floating out of range of flailing fists.


When the bell rings to end the round,

he sits back, drained from the effort

and prepares for Round 2.

He’s up on points, but it’s early days.

Mam fusses over him, as he crouches on the stool,

making sure his gum shield is out,

giving him water to spit into the bucket,

orange segment, towel for his brow.

Gum shield at the ready, she whispers advice into his ear,

taking the teacup from his outstretched hand.


The bell. Seconds out. Round 2.



“Trust” was the theme at the Snow Goose Speakeasy last Tuesday, 15th. March. The poem I came up with can be more or less sung along to the tune of “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” if you’re so inclined.


What a friend Dave had in Boris,

one on whom he could rely,

comic pair like Jewel and Warris.

How appearances can lie!


Tories aren’t renowned for U-turns.

Thatcher’s spinning in her grave.

The leadership for which he too yearns

tempts Boris, so too bad for Dave.


Boris, hair unkempt and ruffled,

stage manages his gormless grin.

With beanie hat, in coat enduffled,

“Britain should be out, not in.


I’ve always been a Eurosceptic,

for years, yonks, well, several days.

No need for Dave to be dyspeptic

“Better out” ‘s my paraphrase.


We can take control of borders,

halt the urgent migrant flow,

no longer bow to Brussels’ orders,

tell Eurocrats where to go.


So, in June the referendum

‘s when the people will decide.

We must take their ears and bend ’em.

Raise drawbridge on UK side.


We’ll restore our former glory

when Britannia ruled the waves,

the PM forever Tory,

that position, mine, not Dave’s.


Good people of our once great nation,

you know which side you can trust.

Brexit: be cause for celebration

BJ for PM is a must!”

3 more TLQs (Three Line Quips)

“Haiku” No. 6

Haiku 61

runs right by my baby’s door.

Got to revisit.


“Haiku” No.7

Met my first girlfriend

over sacks of Christmas mail.

That was me sorted.


“Haiku” No.8: The Haiku Cokey 

Put your whole self in.

You put your whole self out and

shake it all about.

Denis: Still Naughty at 90

Our good friend, Denis, is claiming to be 90 tomorrow, 7th. March. Preposterous! There must have been some slip of the pen when his birth was registered as being back in “1926”, as he stretches the word “sprightly” to new limits of its meaning. 40 of his friends and family  gathered at the excellent Olivers restaurant in Woodford to help him maintain the 90th. birthday illusion. His son, Richard’s description of Denis as “the 3rd. of 4 girls” (a reference to his mum, Dolly’s wanting another girl) could pass as a Tim Vine one liner (cf. “I’ve just been on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. I’ll tell you what, never again.”)  Follow that. Well, someone had to. Here’s my tribute to JDB.

We’re gathered here to celebrate, that’s why I’m on my feet,

our Denis’s big birthday, so, I’ll keep it short and sweet.

Each year, Time’s marched relentlessly. 90 times he’s come of age.

We’re here, all friends and family, to mark this special page.


He’s always got an anecdote, a titbit to reveal.

Sometimes he’ll stretch credulity. “Now, Denis, keep it real.”

His life’s been one long playtime. He has some ripping tales.

which he’s not averse to spicing up, when all else simply fails.


He’ll tell you of the motor car he had when just aged 4

and how the local plod-in-chief tried to enforce the Law.

Or driving down the Champs Elysées at 80 miles an hour

with totty on the handbrake towards the Eiffel Tower.


Bon viveur and gourmet are terms which fit him like a glove.

An oenophile he’s been a while when push comes down to shove.

He has his favourite bistros and he seeks out little gems.

where bubbly’s served. It’s time to finger champagne glasses’ stems.


It’s Payelle’s vintage nectar which Denis loves promoting.

“C’est magnifique. C’est fantastique.” I trust I’m not misquoting.

Reims, the perfect place to pause as they head south through France,

on twice yearly pilgrimage, sunshine quota to enhance.


And now he’s reached this landmark age, he’s 90 years young

and though he drives VW, he’s still durch technik vor sprung.

His equanimity is legend. He’s never beetle-browed.

By sheer force of personality he stands out in a crowd.


I’ve said he’s 90 years young, just like the reigning Queen.

No, he’s not effeminate, that’s not what I mean.

He simply shares her birth year, millesime ’26,

Year of the tiger, a striking year which in the memory sticks.


One word before I finish. I must mention the hereafter,

but in a nice way which I hope you’ll greet with laughter,

for Denis is a one off, non-pareil, unique, the only one

and Denis will still be here after most of us have gone.


So with Barbara, Olivia, Richard, Lynn and Alexandra

and their lovely children, let’s toast Denis with this mantra:

“Have a super 90th.” I’ll end this birthday rhyme.

Rendez-vous 2026. Back here in 10 years time.