what was it
that I was chasing
way back when
I rode my dreams
by sea and Downs
and river paths
and later
holding onto
aquamarine railings
a hungover sun
squinting on the horizon
gulls prospecting
the promenade
for breakfast
before the tramps
rose from their slumbers
like preserved timbers
exposed at low tides
I wanted
what they wanted
a dream of something
out of reach
soaked in sun
and Special Brew
the shingle on the beach
made us stagger
drunk on love
and laughter
but love is a lie
you said
but I wouldn’t believe that
I kept on chasing
chasing . . .
chasing . . .

but mostly not

and then after
the week’s work
we’d drink our
hard earned pay
on Friday nights
and Saturdays
in bars and clubs
or strangers’
basement flats
where on occasion
love was found
in a cold kitchen
or crowded hall
but mostly not at all

on Sundays
we’d sleep till noon
or crawl our way
home on our own
or in the company
of a red haired girl
or a boy in black
as the sunlight rose
glinting gold
on a rippling sea
under a rusting pier
and a clear blue sky
yes you and I
but mostly not you

the week then
from Monday on
was mainly grim
with not much fun
as we soldiered on
our minds still on
the weekend been
and the one to come
pulling us back
pushing us on
nothing between
dawn and dusk
a trip to the pub
but mostly not much

years roll on
where did they go
none of us know
life happens that way
one day we’re young
the next we’re old
some drink on
like they were young
or wear their clothes
like they were young
which isn’t wrong
don’t get me wrong
it’s the way life’s sold
but mostly not mine

weekends now
come faster than
my memory span
can recollect the times
we’d drink our way
through all those days
the night times too
that red haired girl
that boy in black
those basement flats
those bars and clubs
all in the past
all fading fast
but mostly not

the only ones

on bright winter mornings
we drove hungover along the seafront
last night’s disco ball now a low hung sun
a billion twinkling dance moves glinting
on every tiny ripple of a wave
and through it all the beat of our lives
ebbed and flowed with every tide
racing – pulsing – floating onward
not that we had anywhere to go
except perhaps to the end of the pier
where the fishermen cast their hopes
and the drunks dreamed in gathered shoals
like driftwood drawn from the north
they too had nowhere left to go

we used to park at the end of Madeira Drive
and make out in the car when the clubs had closed
we weren’t the only ones

orange beetle

under a Brighton moon

in our palatial bedsits
punk posters on the walls
we stared into the smoke screen
can’t tell what we saw
can’t tell what we saw

and down the street
at the end of the street
between the sky and dirty gutters
is where we used to drink
is where we used to drink

we drank to get drunk
we got drunk to forget
we forgot why we’d even started
until the time was spent
until the time was spent

and down below the pier
on the dead and pebbled beach
the tramps all licked their wounds
just like they were dogs
just like they were dogs

yet still we wanted more
a line from a song or more
any something more we could score
to take our breath away
to take our breath away

under a Brighton moon
the glow of cigarette butts
stars safety pinned to the night
it’s all so long ago
it’s all so long ago

it’s all so very long ago
much longer than a lifetime ago
now it’s pulled out from under your feet
oh such a cruel fate
oh such a cruel fate

Hove 1985

she stood where the waves turned to leave
a smiling line of debris on the shore
he looked back over his shoulder
a line of grey buildings washed away
when she waved the sea came in
when he waved back the sea went out
somewhere very deep inside
they were both crying

Mendicant in Minor Key

I was nothing – I believed nothing
I wonder, do you remember me, as I remember you?
Is it enough that we thought we were doing enough?
You begged with me beside the sea
Beside the waves that sung in minor keys
You knew the things that terrified me
The preparation, the waiting, the diving
The neon lights and drug-fuelled nights
Coming down felt like an end to a new beginning
The colour of  the water reminding me of . .
Litvinenko’s hospital gown as he lay dying
Yellow faced on the TV screen
The owl in the park screeching
The cracks in the pavement widening
I would hold on to the aquamarine railings
As if to a floundering ship. And you?
You would be no different yourself
For we were both lost in that moment
Both cadging smokes like tramps on the pier
We dyed our hair black like dark clouds
Circling above our heads and believed
There was nothing to believe
And there was nothing
There was nothing . . . .

in black corners

the basement door ~ down a corridor ~ black boots on sticky floor ~ cracked linoleum ~ couples kissing ~ chewing gum ~ humming static ~ muffled laughing ~ your hand so small in mine ~ childlike almost ~ warm ~ sweaty ~ passing a joint ~ passing it round ~ mouth to mouth ~ resuscitating ~ kisses in corners ~ shadows flirting ~ from out of somewhere music ~ thump ~ thump ~ our hearts beat ~ senses pricked ~ poppers ~ pills ~ white lines ~ going fast ~ speeding’s fine ~ claustrophobic ~ now dancing now ~ black eye liner ~ red eye shadow ~ caught in the act ~ caught in a corner ~ touching too much ~ on a worn out mattress ~ play act fighting ~ a tussle ~ a hustle ~ punk posters hung on damp walls ~ smoke hanging on damp air ~ clinging to each other ~ stinging eyes ~ hoarse throats ~ louder now ~ shout to be heard ~ someone shouting in another room ~ a fight ~ a bright light ~ dark again ~ momentary quietness ~ red hair girl passes out in a corner ~ boyfriend rolls a spliff ~ it’s heaven he mouths to her ~ temple balls he’s saying ~ your favourite he adds ~ but she is gone ~ head lolling ~ vacant eyes ~ smile on lips ~ beer can in hand ~ dripping ~ your lips on my neck ~ your pierced tongue ~ love biting ~ coughing ~ hair spray ~ black pvc trousers ~ black denim and black leather ~ black ~ someone plays bass notes on an acoustic guitar ~ recognisable ~ joy division maybe ~ head is fussy ~ drunk ~ or high ~ or both ~ bauhaus ~ cure ~ velvets ~ cramps ~ bowie ~ find a toilet and puke ~ basement filling up ~ the usual crowd and more ~ word gets around ~ gets around town ~ gets underground ~ siouxsie sioux is spellbound ~ couldn’t leave even if we wanted ~ rammed jammed packed ~ but we’re safe in our corner ~ wandering hands ~ turn me on ~ turn you on ~ and later ~ we will walk along the beach and kiss some more before heading back to my bedsit for sex and one last spliff before falling into sleep in each other’s arms.



I used to be a claustrophobic deejay

I used to be a claustrophobic deejay
I’d spin a disc then dive outside
gasping for air
before the next tune was due to be played
I did this all night long
my heart thumping along to the beat
my head pounding out on the street
it was a crazy situation

but don’t get me wrong
I was electric and semi-eclectic
in my tasteful choice of songs
I played disco and punk
and funk and techno
I even once played al fresco
at a gig in Fresno (no not really)
but that was all before I went wacko
from too much Michael Jacko
and my life became a bad thriller

in my claustrophobic deejay days
I tried to stray from the straight and narrow grooves
by interspersing the unexpected
mixing with the likes of Carl Orff’s ‘Carmina Burana’
or Rick Wakeman’s ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’
just for fun and to give the dancers a rest
from the 125 beats per minute dance floor workouts

and to the twelve inch instrumental version
of Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’
I would take the chance of performing solo
a sermon of sorts from the mount of turning tables
my mirrorballed ideas would flash with the strobes
and set my worshippers alight
to be born again of the night


Early 80’s – this was the mobile disco I used to run with a friend before doing some club work for a while. The name was shamelessly borrowed from a brand of cigarettes! Can’t remember where the man and woman logo came from but I was into early 20th century b/w design at the time.