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



Ten Sixty Six And All Of That

Welcome to the Shieldwall fellow fyrdsmen.
Chin up. Stand firm. Parry and thrust.
You're suffering from both constipation and hayfever.
Your hauberk armour is hanging wet and heavy on your shoulders.
Your Spangenhelm helmet is digging into your nasal bridge.
Your kite-shield’s rough wooden surface is skinning your knuckles.
As we all know, The Battle of Hastings
didn’t actually take place in Hastings at all.
As we all know, the area surrounding
Senlac Ridge came to be known as Battle.
And not the other way around.
Long, fierce and bloody-beyond-belief
they began fighting at dawn on October 14th
and fought for as long as the daylight lasted.
And then they fought some more.
Neither side willing to concede.
The Anglo-Saxons refusing to yield.
The Normans refusing to give up the ghost.
The sandy stream transformed into a sanguine lake.
But don’t believe everything you read on a Bayeaux embroidery.
Tall dark and and handsome, King Harold Godwinson
was only identifiable from tattoos found upon his torso.
He was beheaded and gelded. Though not in that order.
And there was likely no arrow in his eye.
Whilst the king’s body was carried from theatre
and buried beneath stones in an unknown location,
the corpses of the 5,000 Englishmen who’d died in his name
were left to rot in the open-air for the next 10 years.
As a warning. As a deterrent. Like so much cheap manure.
The wyrds remain wholly inexorable.
The wyrds go ever as they will.
Where’s a Russian linesman when you need one?



The Smelling Of The Greasepaint. The Roaring Of The Crowd.

Over the past 4 weeks
I’ve developed something of a routine.
Between curtain-up and my first entrance,
stage-right, I like to make myself
a cup of fairtrade gold blend tea
and sit on my own in the basement, listening
to the crackling ripples of laughter over the intercom.
After my first exit, stage-left, I push through the
double set of heavy doors marked; “Push This Door Only”
and follow the signs for; “Toilets, Studio Bar, Cloakroom”.
Whilst waiting for my second entrance, stage-right,
I find time to plan my escape route in the event of a fire.
Our designated Assembly Point is Trafalgar Square;
beneath 1st Viscount Nelson’s Corinthian Column
and across approximately 6 lanes of fast-moving traffic.
In the gap between my second exit, stage-right,
and my third entrance, stage-left,
I return Understage to collect a bunch of flowers
and a pair of sunglasses that I bought from
a Premium Outlet Mall in Cabazon, California.
Leisurely re-ascending the 10 concrete steps,
I push through the spring-loaded door marked;
“Private, Authorized Personnel Only”
and tippy-toe through the crossover and vomitory
back to the airlock between off-stage right and the thoroughfare.
Past the photograph of Samuel Barclay Beckett (1970).
Past the photographs of Alan Bates (1962) and Brendan Behan (1952).
Past the photograph of Sir Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi CBE (1960).
Inbetween my third exit, stage-right,
and my fourth and final entrance, stage-right,
I undress and lay down on the rough dark blue carpet
to pull some sit-ups in my American Apparel underpants
and my UNIQLO vest. My record is 161 (during a Thursday matinee).
After my fourth and final exit, stage-right,
I pull my clothes back on, tuck myself in,
and fasten my belt using the Flash Gordonesque buckle
I bought from a hipster store in Williamsburg NYC NYC.
I return the flowers to their vase of water downstairs.
I return the sunglasses to the prop-table.
All this helps kill a little more time.
Whilst waiting backstage for my curtain-call,
I’ve been known to skin a rabbit or two.
Sometimes I turn an imperial unit of base metal into gold.
Sometimes I fold a thousand multi-coloured origami cranes.
Sometimes I memorize Pi to its 722nd decimal place.
Mostly I remotely update my social networking status.
On a good night we can be in the pub by a quarter past nine.

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He's Not The Gay Messiah, He's Just A Very Naughty Boy!

There’s late. There’s fashionably late.
And then, it’s fair to say, there’s us two.
I’ve come hotfoot direct from theatreland.
Took my bow and jumped straight in a black cab.
Rendezvoused at Waterloo station’s platform 18.
Caught the delayed 21.36 all the way to Hampton Court.
We take our seats in the historic open-air courtyard
just in time for the closing song of a 2-hour setlist.
Cultural duties fulfilled, the locals are shuffling away in droves;
clutching pacamacs and wicker Fortnum & Mason hampers.
They can’t be waiting around for any falsely-tabbed encores.
It’s a school night afterall, and they’ve got
Poggenpohl kitchens and miniature daschunds
and Eastern European home-help to get back for.
Some might call it folly, yes, but it’s not like I’m here
to see Rufus McGarrigle Wainwright perform live for the first time.
And besides which, and more to the point, the tickets were free.
I first saw Rufus play live on the eve of my 30th birthday.
As time’s arrow ticked unbendingly towards midnight,
I stood next to Leonard Cohen’s only daughter
on the well-worn floor of The Bowery’s CBGB club,
and watched Rufus sing ‘Moon Over Miami’, in French,
with his sister Martha. I didn’t pay on that occasion either.
For Miss Milla Mouse, Rufus McGarrigle Wainwright
reminds her of that summer she spent living in New York.
The summer she spent out in Greenpoint
with the transvestite and the 2 puddycats.
She first saw Rufus McGarrigle Wainwright play live
in the basement of a lesbian-and-gay bookstore
just north of Manhattan's Meatpacking District.
Afterwards, he signed her shirt while she smoked a cigarette.
She wore that shirt every day for the next week.
Rufus's affected vocal warble has certainly grown on me over the years.
Tonight, his grand piano doesn’t look at all out of place
beneath the Tudor rose and the Beaufort portcullis.
This, afterall, is a royal palace used to entertainers.
Like Rufus, King Henry VIII grew up surrounded by music.
So much so, that by the tender age of 10, he had
developed into an accomplished multi-instrumentalist.
Henry VIII could play the harp, the viola and the drums.
Though he didn’t write ‘Greensleeves’, as some might have you believe.

Rufus & Martha singing 'Nuits De Miami' in Amsterdam