Two Families of Rats

Sonnet VII, from Immoral Sonnets, published in Sonnets1999, Grey Suit Editions
Two families of rats were placed inside
Some rooms which set a limit to their space.
Adequately housed, they multiplied;
Indeed, their population grew apace.
Next, overcrowding caused them to decide
That segregated rooms would not disgrace
Their nature, and each quartered in the place
Allotted them. All mating was decried.
Instead the males chose only to embrace
Their brothers, just as on the female side
The same behaviour also now applied,
Though several sat alone, without a trace
Of interest in their gender or their race:
Since when the whole community has died.


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“Children’s shoes have far to go.”

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”

Boyd K. Packer

Watch Jack Chapple.


Have far to go,
And the road stretches
Ahead of them
All the way to infinity.
Romper suits,
A green beret,
A Dutch bonnet.
Holding hands,
They’re walking
Into the hoarding,
Getting smaller
As they grow.
They’re from a gone decade,
In for the long haul,
And what exactly
Is their aim?
To reach old age
Little pairs
Grown out of
Still exist, you know,
As hand-me-downs,
With mended strap,
Buckle sewn back on,
Heel renewed,
Or perhaps a scrap
Of leather from
An even earlier one,
One that has lost
Its partner years ago,
Serves as a patch
To save a sole.
“Use it up,
Wear it out,
Make it do,
Or do without.”
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Theatre Reviews



Here is a review in the Fortnightly of Christopher Reid’s Love, Loss and Chianti.

20 March 2020 – subject to postponement. Worth seeing when it returns.

Christopher Reid


Here is my review of two intriguing plays in London this April (2019): Third Person Theatre and Noises

Third Person Theatre

Mark Phoenix with Mark Gray – Third Person Theatre – Photo Kevin RbNt

Ali Wright, Old Red Lion, The Noises

Amy McAllister in THE NOISES – photo Ali Wright

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Here is my review of Love’s Victory.  This play by Lady Mary Wroth was written 400 years ago – possibly the production at Penshurst Place was its first performance.

Very pleased to see this in The Fortnightly Review.  24/09/18

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This page is for theatre reviews and this was the first:

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives

Very pleased to see this in the Fortnightly Review.

View original post

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Click the link to watch Trippin

This is a dance video set in the wonderful communist monuments of what was Yugoslavia.

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The Antonine Plague

At first it was simply a mild irritation
At his slightly buck-toothed expression.
He carried on, convincingly enough,
But then there was his lisp, you hardly heard it
At first, but gradually it became unmissable:
THs as Fs. It was tedious.
He tended to begin with a slightly out-of-kilter
Remark that caused you to pause,
But then he expanded, rapidly; his voice
Louder by the F, and there was no denial,
Remonstration or disagreement.
His own opinion poured out of him,
Flooding the ears of his unwilling listeners.
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Is There a Third Way?

A few months ago, as a joke, I suggested the start of The London Party, but I have been watching the astute Kim Iverson discuss a coalition of right-wing libertarian and socialist factions in US politics. Recently for instance, Ron Paul, in his Liberty Report, interviewed Tulsi Gabbard, and while in supposedly different camps they agreed about salient issues. So I am now taking the issue of a third force in UK politics more seriously.

For aren’t we are facing the same dilemma here in the UK?

Only Blue Labour will ever prevail in a two party race, and the Liberals and the Greens may swing that result by coalition but are not the answer. We need to coalesce Labour and Conservative Brexiteers, fuse traditional with Socialist values, and this means a “horseshoe party”, biting the bullet on some issues, but able to put a pincer movement on Blue Labour and at the same time drastically reduce Tory votes by gaining right-wing support.

Could something like this be a first draft? Now before you read it, I suggest we could try to agree to three salient planks of the twelve issues outlined below as priorities we need to effect – on the left and on the right. Roosevelt’s ‘square deal’ had three planks: conservation of natural resources, control of corporations, and consumer protection.

Social Libertarian Party

Coalesce the right with the left where agreement can be reached on several of these issues:

  1. Rein in corporate elites, and drain the swamp of politicians in the pay of corporate elites.
  2. Allow freedom of education – religious, private school, grammar school, state school – but insist that a root curriculum of science, rational debate, art and citizenship is implemented in all schools – perhaps on specific days – and increase government spending on education while drastically reducing the cost of education to students.
  3. Refuse to engage in regime-change wars, which entails recognising that anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism, and ensure that no dual-nationality passport holder can stand for public office.
  4. Rid the media of partiality and lobby sponsorship, and expect the media to educate people into coming to terms with the difference between beliefs and values and histories, not omitting the difference between city and country values: no belief should be imposed on another.
  5. Accept Brexit as the will of the people, and therefore assert control over immigration and refugees, but still aim to retain the United Kingdom, while conceding as much ground as possible to countries within it which may wish to retain a strong relationship with the EU.
  6. Uphold the integrity of gender being biological.
  7. Promote freedom of speech and religious and sexual tolerance, even about issues which you do not endorse, but do not allow spurious gender politics and representationalism to overwhelm education and the job market.
  8. Grant whistle-blowers immunity from prosecution.
  9. Return to the gold standard or some constant value not linked to the petro-dollar and seek for some degree of sustainable self-sufficiency so as not to be over-dependent on international lines of supply.
  10. Introduce a level playing field for taxes, no one pays more or less than 50%.
  11. Implement a ring-fenced Welfare State that is genuinely eco-conscious but truly an adequate safety-net, while returning appropriate power to unions and adopting legislation independent of corporates in terms of health, safety and based on a sustainable ecology.
  12. Value the planet and accept there is an emergency due to extreme weather.

So here we have 12 possible planks. What if there were three salient planks right and left could agree on? If there were, then these are the planks on which we should campaign.

Please feel free to comment, listing the three planks you would choose.



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Tree Poetry at the Room April 1, 2020

Poetry at the Room

I am afraid this event is now postponed.


Nobel Peace Laureate and founder of The Green Belt Movement

Sponsored by Tottenham Trees with Kenyans in Diaspora.

Entry free. Contribution for refreshments.

With featured poets and an open mike.

Wednesday 1 April at 7.30 pm.

The Room, 33 Holcombe Road, Tottenham Hale, London N17 9AS

Abe Gibson

Abraham Gibson is a London based poet and spoken word artist, director and playwright. He has been a poet in residence at the London Transport museum and is currently co~facilitator of Tottenham’s friendly poetry group. He is poet/mentor with streetzahead Dance Theatre in Tottenham schools. He has performed widely in the UK including on BBC Radio Four, Soho Theatre, the Hackney Empire and the Bernie Grant art Theatre (As co Director,Writer and Actor). Abraham regularly brings performance poetry and drama to communities through workshops to a wide ranging audience including mainstream schools, libraries, prisons and senior citizens’ groups. His poetry performances are uniquely sensitive, intimate and theatrical. He has published a volume of poetry – Violently Tender.

Peter Stickland has worked as a lecturer, architect and spatial designer. He has entertained myself as a writer, performer, installation artist, song writer and singer. 1974 – Architectural Association Diploma. 1975 – Joined ‘The Theatre of Mistakes.’ 1984 – 1992 – Spatial designer for museum interiors, historic refurbishments and numerous domestic refurbishments in London. 1992 – 2013 – Principal Lecturer – Chelsea College of Arts. 2014 – 2016 International Support Co-ordinator for Post Graduate students at Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon colleges. 2017 – 2018 – Visiting tutor at China Academy of Art, Hangzhou. I have published novels, lyrical texts, poetry and books on the creative process. or He now writes lyrics and sings.

Hilary Davies has published four collections of poetry from Enitharmon: the latest, Exile and the Kingdom, was published in November 2016. She is also a translator, essayist and critic. Hilary has won an Eric Gregory award, been a Hawthornden Fellow, has served as Chairman of the Poetry Society of Great Britain and is a Fellow of the English Association.  From 2012 to 2016 she was a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at King’s College, London and in 2018-9 at the British Library.

Anthony Howell is a poet and novelist whose first collection of poems, Inside the Castle was brought out in 1969. In 1986 his novel In the Company of Others was published by Marion Boyars. He has published twelve volumes of poetry, the latest is Songs of Realisation (The High Window Press). His Selected Poems came out from Anvil, and his Analysis of Performance Art is published by Routledge. He is a Hawthornden Fellow. His poems have appeared in The New Statesman, The Spectator and The Times Literary Supplement. In 1997 he was short-listed for a Paul Hamlyn Award. Plague Lands, his versions of the poems of Fawzi Karim were a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. He has recently published Consciousness (with Mutilation) – a novel – with the Fortnightly Review’s Odd Volumes and The Step is the Foot – an enquiry into the relationship between walking and poetry – with Grey Suit Editions 2019.


Those who would like to read a poem for the open mike, please ring 0208 801 8577


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