Friday, 27 March 2015

Non Fiction Poetry

For no real reason but to acquire knowledge I decided it was time to write a poem that overviewed human history. So far I've just got to the point int he story where Muhammed is born 570AD. Or year 0 in the muslim calendar. But before year zero shitloads of stuff happened. Here's the first instalment.

It took 4.5 billion years of cold calling
Mr. Living Cell, I presume
And you be?
Bacteria, looking for a room
No thank-you
Let me explain, I’ll make you an offer
Please be on your way
Wait wait I provide free energy
No bill you will pay
Why didn’t you say?
Come in dear fellow
Sign on the dotted line
We’ll be partners till the end of time
May I ask
What took you so long?
I’ve been 4 billion years alone
I used
But their algorithm said
We wouldn’t get on
When will they learn?
Be calm comrade the worm has turned
To invent the Earth
Every living thing
Even God don’t know what we’ll bring
Bottles of wine
Crates of beers
Pretzels for fuel
And we promise
Promiscuous atmospheres
It’s hot it’s humid
No place for humans
Lizards grew big
Brains stayed small
No telescope to see
No missile to fire
The imminent crisis
Arising from spaces desire
As they played catch
Across Continents and sea
A meteor strike
Mexico injured
Crime scene
And almost home now
A few things are missing
Lets begin with the Isthmus
Came out of the sea
Near panama, where the canal be
To block up the passage way between two great seas
Gulf stream shifted
Big deal, we’ll see?
Then there’s India
Making its move
Shiva foresees
A collision between two
Heavyweight boxers
Ready to swing like fools
It’s round 65 million
The fight goes on
Him Vs Laya
Lets get it on
So lizards be gone
Isthmus test passed
Mountains arise

Lets unwrap our prize…

Thursday, 8 January 2015

The Problem With Ched Evans...

The problem with Ched Evans is this. He isn’t very good at football. He’s alright. Solid squad player. Guilty of rape. Free to seek out employment. One footed. Not a bad leap on him. Has a terrible goal scoring record and has never been good in front of the camera.

If Ched Evans was the kind of player who’d guarantee success then he would have got a job already. Football clubs (businesses) take decisions based on risk and reward and if he could return 30 goals a season or stop 30 going in therefore delivering promotion and all the extra sponsorship that brings then signing him would be a no brainer. But Ched Evans is not that good a football player. He’s no Suarez. He’s Ched Evans. Below par.

Does Ched Evans really want a job that bad? If the answer is yes then he needs to find a business where that risk reward is no longer a risk. Because buying him will bring sponsorship flight like Roubles leaving Moscow. I’d suggest he starts sending his CV to teams in the conference. These clubs may consider Evans a valuable purchase. One who offers more good than bad and in a league where his average leaping ability, uncultured left foot and below par decision making could still make the difference and win promotion.

Or maybe (as he insists he is innocent) he should concentrate on clearing his name and forget about football because if he ever wants to play for glamour clubs like Oldham or Sheffield Utd again he’ll need to issue an apology, no matter what. Even Suarez said sorry and he’s fucking amazing at kicking a ball.

So Ched it's easy…Say sorry and you’ll get a job or refuse to and see how far the rabbit hole you’ll drop, maybe as far as Stains Town FC.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

The Screening

One by one, they entered in single file through the double door on the left. Women, men and children all wore different combinations of black and white clothing. I had worn a black tie that day. I hadn’t since. They all took their seats. The cinema brimmed, full to its maximum surface potential. A succession of popcorn bags burst open, one after another, releasing their toffee aroma before being consumed, one by one, in metronomic pleasure. 

The lights turned down. Slurps of Pepsi followed. A hush arrived. I took a deep breath, to request an injunction, but it was too late. My doubts and fears came out of exile. I shook my head violently but the memory had refreshed the tips of my fingers and toes with panic. I moved forwards on my pew, readying to leave, when an imaginary seat belt torqued, pulling me back. There was no escaping this time. 

‘Imran, it’s about to start,’ he whispered into my ear. His breath had the smell of neutrality. It never did before.

The cinema screen, dead so long, sparked and unleashed a silent countdown…5, 4, 3, 2, 1…The opening scene of the film was born…    


The door to a London taxi slams shut. The cab drives away to reveal the back of a mysterious figure holding a guitar case in one hand and suitcase in the other. He is staring at a semi-detached brick house in suburbia.  

 Home sweet home. 



Starring Liam Swift.       

As the film continued to roll I turned to Liam who was sitting next to me, but completely hidden by the darkness, to tell him, ‘you look exactly the same. It’s like it was yesterday.’

‘What did you expect? It’s me.’ Liam said.

‘I know I just…I dunno.’ I said before focusing back on the screen.


Travis stands in the middle of the cereal aisle. He is wearing a red and green chequered shirt tucked into denim blue jeans, which are fastened with a black leather D&G belt. Dark sunglasses cover half his face. He stares with a mixture of concentration and puzzlement at dozens of cereal boxes while others go about their daily shop. Giving up, he takes two steps back, and bumps into a woman. She spills the contents of her basket: a baguette, chicken curry ready meals and bottle of red wine.

Watch it!          

Alright, chill out love. It was an accident. 

Travis? Is that…Is it…you? 

‘You even react in the same way! Is this Travis or Liam on screen?’ I said before thinking this is going to be even harder than I thought, and buried my forehead to cover my face behind my hands. However, looking between the gaps in my finger prison, I could see Travis’s face turn from looking at Anna on screen to fix his gaze upon me. His blue eyes, hidden behind sunglasses, stared without blinking.  

‘Don’t give me that look. You know what I mean.’ I said back to him in retaliation but he continued to stare, reminding me of that day, 18 months ago. 

As I fidgeted on the oven hot seat I breathed in the poisonous thoughts radiating from behind his sunglasses, which manifested in my lungs before attaching to the iron in my blood. They travelled to every millimetre of my body before finally settling in my brain, to transform into panic. My body intuitively reflexed like the warmth of tequila bubbling up my throat to make me gag. Eyes now closed, I managed to starve my anxiety of the images it was feeding off. After the seventh breath I had removed the last of the poison. I unscrewed the lid to my Mount Franklin water bottle and took the recommended dose to ease the symptoms of dryness in the roof of my mouth. Several more minutes passed as I monitored my heartbeat, which was slowing alongside my breathing, and my legs and arms were returning to their original weight. The alchemy was complete. 

My eyes refocused on the cinema screen as the sweat, so quick to appear, now cooled on the air conditioned breeze blowing from above me to send a tingle, almost enjoyable, down my spine.


Travis is seated with a coffee. He is writing lyrics for a new song in his notebook about how he has fallen in love with Anna. The last sun of the day is shining across his face. 

The tip of my elbow, which was beginning to tattoo with the image of circles from the armrest, was balanced so to rest my head on my left palm and encourage the epitome of relaxation. I continued to focus on Travis, taking sips of coffee, when I saw myself walking onto screen, and joining him for coffee at Café Nero just as I had that early autumn day in September.   

I’m glad you called wanting to talk. I’ve got some news. 

What’s that then?

I’m going to Australia.

What? Why? When?

In six weeks. One way ticket booked. I need to get away from here. It’s tainted with her. Everywhere I go I see her. 

It’s not going to help. You’re just running away. 

I’m trying to move on.

But to Australia!

Why not? It’s as good a place as any?

How long?                   

At least 1 year, maybe more. Anyway this wasn’t why you called me. What is it you wanted to talk about?

How long have I been acting for? Working towards my dream?

Since we were kids…So almost 15 years. 

Exactly, 15 years of sacrifices. 15 years of being unable to commit to any long term employment because you might need time off for a small part. 15 years without being able to commit to a long term relationship because career was priority. 15 years of scratching around for money as you go from playing a small part in a 1 week theatre run to a temporary sales job, to a part in an advert, to being a waiter, to a part in Hamlet to working in a call centre.

Yeah, it’s hard, but at least now, you’ve made it. First feature film as lead is in the can. It gets easier from now on.

I think about her. What if I’d offered her security…? How my life may have been different if I hadn’t chosen to be an actor. 

You don’t get to choose stuff like that. It’s what you always wanted to do, and you’ve made it, you’re going to be the 1%. 

I asked her yesterday.

Yeah. What did she say?


(Singing Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop”) 

(Reluctantly Singing)

The point of my elbow slipped, grazing the skin, off the piste of the armrest. The delicate balancing act of arm, palm and head crashed me back into reality. I looked back up to see Liam, playing Travis on screen, now sitting beside Anna at the coffee shop. He whispered into her ear which made her eyes beam with a teenager’s rebellion. He always did have a way with words.     

‘Why did you do it, Liam, why?’ I said once again turning to look towards him. 

‘I don’t have an arc, OK. Travis has an arc. I don’t. Stop day dreaming. Concentrate! The end will be coming up soon.’   

The end, it came for him, and it would come for me, but it’s never when you expect it to be. The first step I took through the revolving doors at Sydney Airport and out into overcast Australia were filled with doubts, blame and what if’s, never to go away even if I did. The end was waiting for me, but last orders hadn’t been called yet as I sat on the wooden stool tilted on its back legs, suspended in perfect balance to always be a millimetre from disaster. My state of inebriation darkened the world through closed blinds but the subtle smell of tobacco tickled my nose. A nicotine meal warmed my lips.  

‘Gotta spare cigarette, I’m craving. Sorry, I mean this beer is craving. I’m just a middle man.’ I said, allowing my breath to arouse the smoke she exhaled. 

‘That’s witty.’

‘And it’s only Tuesday. Imagine me on a Friday.’

‘Yeah, I’d like that.’

Renewal, fire in nature, falling in love in humans, burned from deep within. My eyes sobered and found hers, and as I looked into them I saw an addiction, a reason. If only he had believed in thinking about tomorrow.          

‘This is the finale.’ Liam’s breath whispered, exciting the electrons in a single hair so it tickled and itched the inside of my ear sending a chilling sense of déjà vu along my spine.


Travis is sat on both knees in front of his mother’s graveyard. He mumbles words before placing a single white rose on the damp green grass. Anna walks into shot. Her brown hair blows across her face, which is painted with a letter distant sadness. The sun appears through the clouds and as Travis stands up he sees Anna stood a metre away. They step towards each other. A piano plays to match the delicacy of their kiss. The picture freezes and fades into a silver framed black and white photograph. The piano music pauses. 


In Memory of Liam Swift. 1978-2010. 

Gentle applause broke out across the cinema. 

My eyes stung with salted tears as the meaning of the words washed over them, making them blink away the shock that had resided there since that fateful day, 18 months ago. I swung the bathroom door open, unable to resist the fears and memories I’d hidden at my drunkest in the hope I’d wake up the next day to never be able to find them again, but they had found me instead. 

I stood there, waiting, thinking is this death? The mint smell from the Colgate toothpaste cleared my airways. I wonder if he heard me when I gasped in shock. Or maybe he was listening to the cold water from the bathroom tap dripping, tip tap, tip tap, tip tap. Liam’s face had gone to the colour of ash as every drop of blood had left it. His lower jaw hung loosely as if it were a mechanical jaw on a top cowboy. The D&G leather belt I had brought him as a present for getting his new leading role as Travis was tied around his neck and fastened to the metal shower rail above him, which had bent ever so slightly but hadn’t snapped.  

‘When you die, you don’t actually leave until someone witnesses it,’ he said, startling me. His lips moved again as he hung there, still, ‘you end up hanging around,’ he said then laughed.   

The film credits continued to roll along on the white tiled bathroom wall behind his still, hanging body. It was written and directed by Imran Mahmood. I looked away in shame, and took a step back to feel hard, round pellets stick to the soles of my sweating feet. That’s when I noticed the linen floor was covered with Paracetamols and I saw an empty litre bottle of Smirnoff vodka, which had rolled to its final resting place underneath the radiator. I imagined Mr Vyas, the local merchant of vice, paan stained teeth appear as he considered the unexpected profit on seeing Liam walk into his off-license Monday morning.  

The sound of stamping rubber soles leaving the cinema crunched down upon fallen toffee popcorn and Pringle’s crisps to release a sweet smelling concoction similar to his favourite Issey Miyake cologne.

‘So you still remember the scene?’ He mumbled as the belt tightened further to restrict his voice box, making it raspier as he continued, ‘did you ever go to Australia?’ Liam said.

‘Err…One week after. I’m still there now. I met a girl, Danielle, I think you may have liked this one.’

‘Did you read the note?’ He said.

I saw the sheets of A5 sized notebook paper, each line front and back, filled in joined up handwritten blue biro ink, below his bare feet. Apart from the dead hanging body of my best friend talking to me after the act of suicide the bathroom looked as it would do any average Monday evening. The aftermath of a weekend had left it a jaundiced yellow colour. The last few pieces of quilted toilet paper hung off the roll. I’d have to pop over to Coop before 10pm so we’d have some toilet roll for tomorrow morning, and some orange juice for breakfast too. He’d squeezed the Colgate toothpaste in the middle again and hadn’t replaced the lid. He knew how much that annoyed me. Suppose it didn’t matter now but it did make the air, the smell of death mint fresh. 

‘I read the note. It never said why…Could I have done anything different?’ I said.

‘You could have been a better friend.’

Did he just say that or was that guilt speaking? Even at the final goodbye I’d let him down. As the church doors closed shut, and Liam’s brother, Sean spoke generous words and shared his memories, not once did I cry. I sat there, still and watched. When his words ceased I stood up in unison with everyone else. When the hymns were sung I remained silent. When the doors opened to signify the end of the service I walked out single file behind everyone else, also wearing black.

‘I can’t forgive or forget the things I didn’t say to you. Did I ever ask you the right questions? Is that why I didn’t know what you were thinking? Could I have saved you?’ I said.

‘What would you have suggested?’

‘What if I had paid for your ticket so we both could have gone to Australia? Best mates travelling together.’

‘It may have delayed it.’

‘What if in the delay you met someone and fell in love?’

He remained silent, stubborn, just as he had in the past. I waited. His body persisted in its stillness, his mouth unmoved. His breath redundant as mine worked overtime, to now dominate over the dripping tap.  

‘I saw the film you made.’ I said to break the tension, ‘I’m there right now. You were there sitting next to me telling me to concentrate.’   

‘Am I a ghost?’ He said.

‘No, but I often find myself having a conversation with you.’

‘So what did you think of the film?’ Liam said.

‘You were good in it…’

‘I can feel a but coming.’

‘The directing was OK, but the writing was a little clichéd.’ I said.

‘It was a romantic drama, what did you expect!’ 

‘I’m glad I watched it though, despite my head screaming it would bring back the very images I’ve tried to forget, because I got to see your happy ending.’ I said with a smile. 

‘If only real life was able to conjure up happy endings like they appear on a script,’ he said with a wry smile before continuing, ‘where all decisions are made for you, and all you have to do is act.’

‘Do you think committing suicide was always part of your script?’ I said. 

‘The facts don’t lie,’ Liam muttered, before pausing then proceeding, ‘so it got into cinema?’

‘Not yet, I saw it at a screening for the Sydney Underground Film Festival. So you never know.’ 

His head shook from side to side as if to say it wouldn’t make it.