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Now with music! The Sad Machines by Before Victoria

20 Apr

drawing of a robot falling over. The text reads 'Before Victoria. The Sad Machines'I’m on an album! The Sad Machines is an electro concept album all on the theme of depression. It has spoken word tracks which pack even more or a punch with a backing of synthy music which swings between hypnotic, heartbeaking and the kind of badass where you need a long coat billowing in the wind and a choreographed fight scene.

Before Victoria is the musical side-project of the infinitely huggable Marc Burrows, better known as one quarter of steampunk anarchists The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing.

My track is I Called You Captain. It’s a poem I wrote a few years ago about when a relationship/friendship/houseshare is falling apart and the scales start to fall from your eyes. I always thought it was one of my strongest pieces, but also too depressing to slam and I never felt like I’d quite found a home for it before. All of which is to say: it’s an absolute fucking delight to see it so much richer with the musical backing – let alone to be among such awesome company. Continue reading

Poem: On being his final straw

16 Apr


Weeks, months or years later
He will apologise
Tell you how much he has changed
How he’s got help now
How if the timing had been different, you and him

You were his final straw
A redemption tale he has now spun
Into gold
Placed around another woman’s finger

You have played this part before
Wonder what the casting says about you:
Malleable enough to bend
Strong enough to stay whole
Still the one left on the ground

He is grateful for your kindness
For your lack of thorns
For the way you absorbed his mistakes
Insulated his falls
You will wish had more nettle or briar in you

You will miss how his alchemy hands
Made you shine
Are still not sure if that glint
Was yours or his.

Sign My Citalopram

7 Sep

New video – part of my one-woman show Confidence Tricks, touring the UK in October and November. Tour dates here.


Morning Star: Jobcentre

17 Apr

As seen in the Morning Star newspaper, 4th May 2016, in Well Versed, edited by Jody Porter

jobcentre_1Surviving the job centre
With your ego intact
Is a masterclass in

Wear the office clothes
You no longer have to.
Wear the smile of someone
Momentarily inconvenienced.
Like your career got a flat tire
And this is the garage.

When the security guard escorts you
From desk to desk
(Same as everyone)
Treat them like a valet service:
Thank them with an indulgent smile.

Have a book with you
A large one
With a sombre cover.
Carry a nice pen in your pocket.
Sail through the patronising print-out forms
With the air of a business-class traveller
Checking in.

Do not turn your head to the screams
Of the children in prams
Do not look worried when
There is slurring and shouting
Two seats away
Act as if everyone else is behind glass
Pretend you are not permeable
To them.

Do not let it flicker across your face
That rent is looming
That you are too bored to be well
And too broke to go out
That this is the first time you have worn shoes
In three days
That your days consist of forgetting meals
And remembering biscuits
While the mess stacks around you.

You are wearing nice shoes now.
The ones you bought
Before redundancies were announced.

Delicately correct typos and grammar
In the photocopied forms
Like a supervisor.
Like their supervisor.

Under ugly ceilings
The fluorescent strip-lights

Glint off your armour
Of accent, degree, CV

You are not one of them
You are just visiting.

Tetris – filmed at Queersay

24 Jan

Filmed in April last year at the Tate Modern, courtesy of Queersay, Apples and Snakes and Out in South London.

Beacon – Poem for National Poetry Day

8 Oct

The theme of National Poetry Day 2015 is light. Here is a new one:

An abuser is a heat-seeking missile
Why you?
Because you burn bright
And warm.

They were drawn to your beacon
As are moths.
As are friends.

Resist the temptation
To see your signs of life
As signs of weakness.
Do not view the world as they do.

Though you still feel the threat of it
Very few will view
Your light
Through cross-hairs.

Do not camouflage or draw shades:
Walk tall and proud.
Illuminate your own path
Spilling light like water
As soft wings flutter
To be near you.





Poem: This is Your Twenties

8 Sep

I wrote this piece a year ago today – when, for the second time in my life – a contract and a tenancy ended at the same time, and everything was stressful, uncertain and horrible. Since I only have a few months left of my twenties, and (thankfully) things are a lot more stable and happy now, it’s probably time to let this wallow loose on the world:

This is Your Twenties

This is your twenties:
Thank God for Facebook, emails and mobile phones
Because if we were landlines and filofaxes
Everything would be scribbled out three times –
‘Til we switched to pencil for everyone.
Each page crumpling under the weight of its history:
Each erased address a ghost of a houseshare.
Forwarding addresses and forgotten postcodes.

This is your twenties:
Postcodes make good additions to passwords.
A techie taught you that
Seven jobs ago.
Continue reading