"An ever-intriguing writer."
"A genuine talent."



An English Man In Hermosa

When I leave North London
and move to the West Coast of California,
I'll choose to move here. To Hermosa Beach 90254.
I'll sit upon the hot golden sand
and watch the bikini-clad girls
at the world-famous beach volleyball nets.
I'll sit upon the hot golden sand
and watch the rollerbladers along The Strand,
competing for space with the bicycle crusiers
and the joggers and the baby-strollers.
I'll sit upon the hot golden sand
and watch the boogieboarders shake-a-shaka
on that sweet South Bay surf.
The morning haze slowly burning off to reveal
Santa Catalina Island floating like a faerie castle on the horizon.
The gentle sea breeze will play havok with my hair,
but if worst comes to worst
I'll just buy me a hat to wear.
On the way back to the apartment,
I'll swing by the corner store and collect
some groceries in a brown paper bag.
Maybe stop for a weiner at Skooby's Hot Dog Shack.
I'll boil some water on the stove so
that I can sit in the yard and watch the sunset
with a mug of imported Russian Caravan tea.
You’re right, it's not Venice 90291 or Santa Monica 90401
but I think that's why I like it so.
It reminds me of Finchley in a strange way.
Hermosa isn't really Los Angeles.
Just like Finchley isn't really London.
I’ve always found the outskirts to be more interesting.
I prefer life on the margins. I prefer life on the fringes.
I prefer life in the sticks. In the Burbs. In the Boondocks.



KMIR-TV: Good Morning Palm Springs

The headlines this Tuesday morning:
At least 2 dead in fatal ambulance accident…
NFL quarterback pleads guilty to dogfighting charges…
Embattled Attorney General announces resignation…
It's 5.30am. The lunar eclipse ended half-an-hour ago.
Only me, the cicadas and the water-sprinklers are awake.
Rancho Mirage, clear, 84 degrees.
Banning, clear, 84 degrees.
La Quinta, clear, 86 degrees.
I’m sat in a canvas chair opposite a man called Gino.
He’s clean-cut, well-drilled and borderline thermoplastic.
Gino’s quoting Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde.
Or is it George Bernard Shaw?
Thousand Palms, clear, 84 degrees.
Indian Wells, clear, 84 degrees.
Cathedral City, clear, 84 degrees.
Gino was born and raised in Orange County.
His wife’s Portuguese and they have a young daughter.
Gino’s been in the TV News business for 10 years now.
Since 1997. He warns me that we’re about to be broadcast live
to the fine-and-upstanding people of the Coachella Valley.
Wish me luck…

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Little Miss Kidnap Yourself

The mighty Hawk sees all from 10,834-feet.
From far above the dry desert floor of the Cahuilla Basin.
Perched on-high atop San Jacinto Peak,
he trains his nimble eyes upon the Inland Empire below.
And in the darkness, he sees the lights
of the resort community at the northwest end of the valley.
He sees the rental car parked opposite the Mexican restaurant.
He sees the two figures slumped against its hood.
He sees the tequila and lime dancing in their eyes.
I've never "made out" with an American girl before.
This is a first. And truth be told, it tastes a little salty.
Though that may have something
to do with the unseasonal humidity.
Tattoos of the original serpent run the length of both her arms.
Her eager tongue feels like it’s been pierced with a barbell.
Little Miss Kidnap Yourself is charming me but good.
Little Miss Kidnap Yourself is benumbing me but good.
I can sense my pineal gland slowly expanding.
My mouth filling with cordite. Teeth vibrating. Lips pulsing.
Muscle cramps, dizziness, temporary blindness.
She’s threatening to drag me back to her Joshua Tree adobe.
She’s threatening to take me to her ample bosom
for the night, eat me alive
and leave my pale English bones for the coy-otes.
The mighty Hawk sees all of this, but keeps his beak closed.
The mighty Hawk sees all of this, but keeps his wings clipped.
For the heat does funny things to folk
and the mighty Hawk knows this. He knows this only too well.
Instead, He shifts his gaze elsewhere;
Out towards the Western shores of the Salton Sea.
Out towards the furthermost edge of the world.

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The Former Playground Of The Stars

Back in The Swinging ‘40s and The Nifty ‘50s
you couldn't move along Tahquitz Canyon Way
without bumping into the likes of
Bing Crosby, Humphrey DeForest Bogart,
Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks Jnr or Judy Garland.
They came here to play golf and to sip cocktails.
They came here to escape the glare of the West Coast spotlight.
Al Jolson, Wladziu Valentino Liberace
and that arch-reclusive Greta Garbo too.
The Chairman Of The Board and his Rat Pack
came to Riverside County to play high-stakes baccarat
around a swimming-pool shaped like a piano.
Elvis and Precilla came here for their honeymoon in 1967.
Steve McQueen and his Porsche 356 Speedster
visited so many times during the early Nineteen Seventies,
that they knew the tarmacadam of Vista Chino Drive
and Avenida Caballeros like the backs of their hands.
Known more these days as a haven for senior citizens
and those of the gay-and-lesbian persuasion (33%),
Palm Springs averages 354 days of sunshine per year.
Now, that’s one hell of a lot of sunshine, let me tell you.
354 days of glorious sunshine and less than 6 inches of rain.
Date Palms thrive in that kind of climate. Which is lucky for them.
It helps their fruit develop high glucose, fructose and sucrose content.
Unfortunately for me, I’m not a Date Palm. I’m nothing of the sort.
I'm busy melting out here. I can feel my brain oozing from my ears.
Little wonder former mayor Sonny Bono enjoyed skiing so much.
The Agua Caliente band of Cahuilla Indians
survived in the harsh desert for 500 years
without the need for Starbucks coffee houses
or used-car dealers or steak houses or casinos.
Their original name for the area was "Se-Khi",
which roughly translates as "The Place Of The Boiling Water".
Today, its 110°F in-the-shade, so it’s something
of a blessed relief that the cinemas are air-conditioned.
Less blessed, is the fact that most of the films
I've seen at this year’s Shortsfest blow so hard
they're in danger of coughing-up their own sigmoid colons!
Mad dogs and English short film-makers anyone?

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Spirit Of The Green Man

The music began in the elsewhere;
carried over the Black Mountains on a stormcloud.
The notes fell steadily and rhythmically
against the tightly-stretched skin of the tipi.
Soaking the greasy grass. Falling upon Grandmother Earth.
Turning the Usk Valley to slurry as the Mighty Sugarloaf looked on.
Down here amongst the many beards and the elk antlers.
Down here amongst the sagebrush smoke
and the burning tobacco bundles.
Let peyote juice flow. Let the mystery dance commence.
Watch the notes as they continue to fall.
Down upon Findlay Brown.
Down upon Kenny Anderson.
Down upon the girl from Tunng.
Down upon Emma-Lee Moss and Johnny Flynn.
Down upon iccle Joanna Newsom.
Down upon Steven 'Singing' Adams.
Down upon Andy Cabic, James Yorkston,
Bill Callahan, Vashti Bunyan and Diane Cluck.
Down upon the many-headed Earlies.
Down upon old-timer John Renbourn and local boy Gruff Rhys.
Down upon Oh-Great Sage Naturalismo Devendra Banhart.
Down upon David Ya-Ya Herman Düne and Neman Herman Düne.
Down upon Portland's Stephen Joseph Malkmus. Down upon The Jicks.
The moon and the stars move in perfect harmony.
We emerge from the stormclouds purified. Born anew.
Cleansed by the sacred rains.
Cleansed by the sacred winds.
Cleansed by the sacred music.

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