Sunday, 30 April 2017

Conclusion of Ghost Story IV/ NaPoWriMo 2017

The more regular viewers of my blog will have noticed I’ve been quiet for a few weeks now knee deep in poems for NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month). NaPoWriMo (or National Poetry Writing Month) as a poet is always a challenging time of the year where you have to write a poem a day throughout April. It may sound easy to some people out there, but let me gently say it is not. I first attempted this in 2012 by following each one of the prompts on the excellent NaPoWriMo website on a daily basis throughout that April and struggled like heck with it. It didn’t help that was for sure I was working in a job at that point which left me exhausted some days by lunch-time and trying to focus to write sometime over lunchtime was let’s say was very hard work indeed and so in the result I produced a very mixed bag of poetry indeed.
2013 I followed the same rules again and although I found it hard again, I came away with around 1st drafts of a good half a dozen poems which eventually made The End of Summer but like last time burnt me out completely, it took me about two months to actually start writing poetry again.

I changed my perspectives in 2014 in the middle of March by deciding to try to focus the poems into a circular narrative which became Ghost Story.

The origin behind Ghost Story was only slight. Although I had wrote a number of sequences by that point, for example the four poems that made up the end of summer, trying to do a thirty part poem was a challenge that goes without saying, let alone trying to tell a tale which I would have got away in a novel or a novella possibly better.

The names of both characters if my memory is correct didn’t reveal themselves to me until several pieces, and I can’t remember why I chose them both like I did. The location of course at the metrolink (or tram or light railway stop) near my works and I was stood there a few days before 1st April and came up with the gory thought what if I was due to get on that next metrolink and a Ghost stopped me.

That first year was difficult as I didn’t know where the story was going, let alone who the characters were until halfway through the story and I treated it as a one off and gave them a strict one off kind of feeling.

In 2015, the origin of Ghost Story II came simply from walking across a certain major train station in the centre of Manchester a few days before, and I looked up at the roof and thought to myself why if a rifle man got up on the roof and started picking people off and Andy was in the train station and Michelle came to him again.

Last year 2016 and 2017, Ghost Story III and Ghost Story IV both were planned a bit more but not blogged until 1st April in both cases, in the case of III with my brother buying me an excellent book about secret tunnels underneath Manchester and for this year, I thought about some over the top rock bands I’ve seen over the years and thought what they would be like as Vampires with their myths set among the Pendle Witches.

All been good, Part V will follow next year with the story at least starting in Altrincham and we’ll see what horrors I can drag the characters through but part of the fun with NaPoWriMo at least for me now is seeing where the story goes for myself as well as everybody who reads it and all being good, there will be at least another two or three years’ worth of stories to come for Ghost Story and then perhaps health permitting I’ll start something else.

Ghost Story can be read at:

Ghost Story I   
Ghost Story II
Ghost Story III
Ghost Story IV
Ghost Story V (** Forthcoming April 2018 **)

Monday, 3 April 2017

Ghost Story IV Begins

It begins..

Anybody else doing NaPwrimo this year? (A poem a day throughout April).

Here is my blog so far. I am going to do as a 30 poem story. 4th in a series.

Let me know your links if you are doing it and hope you like. 

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?

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Ghost Story IV

Ghost Story IV will follow on from Ghost Story I to III looking at horror over a series of at least 30 poems told in 30 days.

In previous stories, we explored horror through a tram crash in Salford where a ghost came to warn a man about the forthcoming crash to a shooter at a un-named train station and a poisoned rat king running amok, Ghost Story IV will follow a new theme and turn the volume up louder than before.

In this story, although the core characters from Part I to III will remain Andy and Michelle, a human and a ghost trapped in a whirlwind of a puzzle of a up coming un-seen horror creeping into play, Part IV will focus on a character who came into the forefront Ghost Story III right at its end, Mandrake with his war that was hinted at during Part III now boiling over and exploding from one point onto the streets and into the underworld.

Andy and Michelle will still be an important part of this story and the full narrative, as will Inspector Brooks and Ghana and all over surviving characters (so far) but Ghost Story IV will look at things at a slightly different way before spinning back into focus and dragging the reader on a gore filled journey

As always told over 30 days, Ghost Story IV will consist of short and sharp poems designed to build up the tension and by the end of the sequence will leave the reader battered to the point of exhaustion but filled with an excitement what next?

And where next?

Due to start: April 2017

More details here 

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Review of last year / a few hints of things to come in 2017 / 2018

Review of last year..

Some quick notes on things that happened last year..

  1. Ocean in a Bottle pretty well managed a EP or album throughout all of 2016 which I am pleased over and it should carry onto in 2017 all being good.
See here for more details –

  1. Spoken Label– my interview podcast with writers, poets and all kinds of artists and I managed to do 36 separate podcasts throughout 2016. It is currently sleeping but the second season of it should start towards Spring 201The archive for this can be heard -

  1. I maintained doing solo poetry readings through 2016. Although none were videoed – highlights of some audio can be heard on my own bandcamp page Andy
    More details here -

  1. Work has been progressing slowly but surely on my third full length book ‘From the Diabetic Ward’. Expect a release date in 2017.
  1. My second full length book The End of Summer was re-released at the end of 2016. It can be bought here and has had some excellent reviews
  1. A split book with Nick Armbrister, Europa II following on from our well received anti war book in 2014 also followed. This can be seen here

  1. A steady stream of publications has also followed this year. These can be read here

  1. My live band A Means to an End alas finished in 2016 but not before releasing their debut album.
This can be heard and purchased from here

  1. Ghost Story III – my third Napwrimo Supernatural series was released and blogged

     (Part 1 to 3 were also released in a book -

Plans for 2017 are varied but will hopefully include:

  1. From the Diabetic Ward
My third full length poetry book.
  1. Ghost Story IV

  1. The Wall ‘series’
(A series of epic fantasy – swords and sorcery poems set in a world which has a land called The Wall in it – the first one is now called Enemy of the Wall. All being good when the third is done – I’ll then be able to start looking for a publisher for the book and then work on the next three)

  1. Acers and Jokers (A joint comedy novel with Adam focusing on two very stupid kids akin to the Inbetweeners who get fed up of seeing the local drug lords make loads of money and decide to join in with chaotic results)

  1. The Author Series – more likely 2018 at least but this will be a rewrite of childhood novellas wrote focused on a character called The Author who is a Charles Bukowski ish kind of character mixed with John Carter from Mars who stumbles his way into all kinds of adventures.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Post little tib bits from Write Out Loud Stockport

A few of you know I go to Write Out Loud Stockport and always love getting the report from John Keane who runs it with his always fun write ups.

Here is the one for December which features my pieces only:

Lightening the mood, Andy gave us a remix of an old poem, a fictional thank you letter by Snow White to Father Christmas – predictably full of fun, frolics and (cough) innuendo.

Caught up in the spirit of the season, Andy read us The Snowman Came Alive, a poem vaguely inspired by Raymond Briggs’ soulful fairy tale. Sadly, the Snowman’s ruminations came to nought in the end. And we were lucky it wasn’t Simon’s Snowman…

Andy delved into The origins of Evil (with the Birth of Evil aka The Origin of Billy the Kid) with an evocative piece about a gangster in Stretford who went by the name of Billy the Kid. He ended up in Boot Hill – no surprises there, then.

Andy’s poem (From a new sequence Europa II – Part VIII) seemingly contained the deathless line ‘Moaning like Lanterns’ – a phrase worth the price of admission right there.