Poetics and the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band

I have had a poetic weekend. I was a poet at the Poetry Café’s Fourth Friday in Covent Garden. That was great fun. Poets gave us love, rye humour, politics and a nice tale of a gasman. There was music, too, provided by Rattle on the Stovepipe –foot-tappingly good. My poems were about people: some famous, others not and a sprinkling of fictional ones.

One of the poems  I read at the Café is published today by www.inksweatandtears.co.uk It is about the time I danced with Viv Stanshall of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band. Only afterwards did I realise that the man, eccentrically attired in a dressing gown, was the Original Urban Spaceman. What an honour to have danced with him.

 

on the street

Check the googles

Check the googles

I mean why would you live anywhere but Peckham? Yes, I know there are reasons, very good ones, for living elsewhere. But does your street cleaner – I bet they have fancy titles like hygiene directors or refuse managers – look as good as this guy in his pair of comic-book glasses, which he swears he can see out of? I thought not.

before I die I want to

A blackboard on Barry Road (Peckham Rye end) is headed ‘before I die I want to…’ Here are some of the wishes

The chalkface of desires

The chalkface of desires

see a puffin… say love you… see the Northern lights (with Amy)… hang out with my dog… (dog’s wish – to catch a squirrel)… make a masterpiece… eat around the world… meet David Attenborough… do well in SATs… witness the end of poverty… enjoy every moment…make my kids proud

todobeforeyoudie

The little girl’s wish is to dance. I’m not saying what mine was… and by now it has been rubbed away to make room for other people’s wishes .

 

 

We’re in the pink

Rye Poets at Ivy House

Rye Poets at Ivy House

I am a Rye Poet. We are a triangle of poets. We live near Peckham Rye, which is one explanation for our name; the other is that our poetry can be wry. Tonight we will perform at the Ivy House, London’s first community pub. The pub was saved from demoliton a few years ago by achieving status as a community asset. That wasn’t the end of the story. The next move was to get the community to cough up the cash to put the business back on its tremulous feet. And it did. We did. Now the pub  flourishes as a venue for all kinds of entertainment including evenings of poetry and  blues. We’re in the pink!

Desmond’s barbershop

desmond'sAre you familiar with Desmond’s, the Channel Four sitcom – its longest-ever-running sitcom – and still available for viewing on 4OD? Well, it was inspired by a real barbershop in Peckham. I am exhibiting photos I took over a period of three visits, 2009/10. It was a gloriously ramshackle kind of a place that had seen a lot of life, now consigned to history as it closed  six years ago. Here is one of those photos. An exhibition of them is currently being shown at DKUK, a hair salon that doubles as an art gallery.

Baby Love

Where Did Our Love Go?

An example of the new and old face of Peckham.

New is the man pushing a buggy. Once this was a rare sight, now they are  everywhere. I wonder, though, if beards are about redressing the balance. As if to say, I may be a caring, sharing type of guy but I’m also a caveman.

New is the Foxtons’ sign, or F for short. They too are everywhere.

Old is the fab looking hairdressers. New and old is the artwork. A portrait of Diana Ross circa 1960?

A dead pigeon

There was a crow busily eating something with a flurry of whiteness around the meal; another stood guard. It was a two-bird operation. My bus had yet to crest the hill, which meant I had time to wander over, outstare the crows and check out the action. On the menu: rare pigeon.

Given the number of them, I have (occasionally) wondered why you don’t see more dead pigeons. At the other end of the avian life span I’ve never seen a baby pigeon. Then the bus came.

Loving a wallflower

My relationship with my blog has been on a long sabbatical. Frankly, I’d lost my way. Writing about Peckham and posting a picture was what I did, mostly, and I don’t want to do that any more. Yes, Peckham will pop up, but I think now I will focus on small word sketches. BTW if you want a Peckham fix, check out http://joanbyrnesnaps.blogspot.co.uk/

Here goes. It’s grey out there but on the edge of my garden is something ochre, mustard, maroon, like a star-shaped stone on a ring. It is a wallflower. Wallflowers are bought as half-dead-looking  plants with muck on their straggly roots, which you stick in the earth and forget until they bulk up and make flowers. I like not knowing what configuration of colours they will produce. This one is all the more precious for blooming on an ashen day in December.

Homes filled with art

NAT-2015-smaller-fileHow marvellous to live at a time and place where people make art and invite people into their home or studio to see it… a chance to visit friends and strangers and be assured of a welcome. I’m showing work with three other artists; my effort is a collection of photos of mannequins for which I have an uncanny fascination. Each to his own.

NATHomeleigh