New Croydon Tourist Office Album!

The wait is over!

Those rockin’ cool cats have done it again! That funky groove sound is back with Croydon Tourist Office’s new offering, Take It Easy With Croydon Tourist Office! While other bands may rest on their laurels, Croydon Tourist Office have been hard at work for eight years putting together a collection of tunes which perfectly sums up the zeitgeist. Can there by any more perfect accompaniment to the world it is at the moment than these happening tracks?

These eclectic offerings may have a fairly fluffy initial outlook, but there’s menace lurking beneath the surface. By turns life affirming and post apocalyptic, those crazy groovers have been hard at work, like scientists, perfecting each sonic nuance, and by turns, probing the human condition.

It’s a huge honour for me to work with Croydon Tourist Office. As a non-musician, music is something that has a mystique and a magic to me, and to hear what my fellow band mates seemingly pull out of thin air seems somehow miraculous. The songs on this album date back to around 2012, though some were new compositions taking advantage of the lockdown situation, music and sound files emailed back and forth from one musician to another. The core of the group remains Bryce Dumont, John Samuel, Max Coulson and myself, but we have had an array of other talented people join us.

You can listen to the album and download it from our Bandcamp page here:

https://croydontouristoffice.bandcamp.com/album/take-it-easy-with-croydon-tourist-office

Playing Hungry Hungry Hippos with the Dalai Lama

I was playing Hungry Hungry Hippos
With the Dalai Lama.
He kept distracting me,
Manually manipulating the plastic balls
Out into the gaping hippo mouth.
His gaping hippo.
The red one.
What a wanker.

The cheap plastic rattles
With frenetic energy.
He’s winning.
He’s obliterating me.
The hunger to win
Comes from within,
He said.
And desire without hunger is meaningless.
And you are going down, my son,
You are going down!

His hands a blur,
His lightning reflexes,
Nimble and quick and precise,
And me?
I shouldn’t have had that
Sausage and egg mcmuffin.
I shouldn’t have had that
Chicken mayonnaise bap.
I shouldn’t have had that
Scone.

Before the game had even started
He’s turned on the table lamp,
The ceiling light, the bedside lamp,
The fluorescent bulb in the kitchen,
He’s turned them all on.
It’s all about enlightenment, he’d said.

He’s winning, the bastard is winning!
Yet still he gets a rockhopper penguin
To stand there and fart
Trying to put me off.
Farting penguin farting penguin
Pungent pungent
Farting penguin,
Geez, that’s rife!

Perhaps he’s not the Dalai Lama at all.
Perhaps he’s called Steve.
But no one called Steve
Can play the way he plays.
He’s a Hungry Hungry Hippo virtuoso,
He lights up the room,
The plastic balls zoom,
Tick, tick, tick, tick, boom!

Oh for goodness sake
Now he’s playing one handed,
Showboating,
The little plastic balls
Drawn to the gaping mouth of his
Cartoon hippo
With an eerie inexorability.
Jesus Christ!
He yells.
I mean, Buddha.

He’s not aiming at all,
There’s no strategy,
He’s just going for it,
But it’s working,
Even the farting penguin is smirking,
And me?

I can feel the hope draining,
My fingers are straining,
There’s four balls remaining,
Three now, the tosser
Has got another one,
This long show ceased to be fun,
I can feel every part of me
Starting to come undone
And now of all those balls,
There’s only one.

But he wants it,
The Dalai Lama wants it,
He clicks his fingers and in lumber
Four giant pandas,
Who lift up the table at his end,
And tilt
The last ball,
Gom!
Straight into the gaping mouth of his
Hungry Hungry Hungry Hungry
Hungry Hungry Hippo.

Next week
Next week
Next week
I’m playing Connect Four
With the Pope.

<div style=”font-size: 10px; color: #cccccc;line-break: anywhere;word-break: normal;overflow: hidden;white-space: nowrap;text-overflow: ellipsis; font-family: Interstate,Lucida Grande,Lucida Sans Unicode,Lucida Sans,Garuda,Verdana,Tahoma,sans-serif;font-weight: 100;”><a href=”https://soundcloud.com/robertdgarnham&#8221; title=”Robert Garnham” target=”_blank” style=”color: #cccccc; text-decoration: none;”>Robert Garnham</a> · <a href=”https://soundcloud.com/robertdgarnham/playing-hungry-hungry-hippos&#8221; title=”Daily Poem 16 : Playing Hungry Hungry Hippos With the Dalai Lama.wav” target=”_blank” style=”color: #cccccc; text-decoration: none;”>Daily Poem 16 : Playing Hungry Hungry Hippos With the Dalai Lama.wav</a></div>

A poem about meditation

Poem

Every now and then I need to chill
Relax and be calm
Or so people say.
But I’m a placid fellow
And I don’t get easily stressed
And if anyone says I do
Then I’ll punch them.

Sometimes though, I get miffed
And I just want to hit a pig
With a tennis racquet
And watch it run off squealing
Through TK Maxx.
But we’ve all felt like that.
Pardon?
Yes!

A mate said I should meditate.
Meditate? Meditate!
Do you mean sit still for a bit?
(No, I mean meditate)
So it’s not just sitting there,
I can do that!
I can do bugger all
I can keep my month shut
If that’s what it is then I can do it
I can sit perfectly still
I can sit perfectly still while standing on me head.
James.
If that is your name.

He said
Concentrate on your place in the world.
I said,
You mean like when you’re queuing for the bus
And someone pushes in?
Oi, what you playing at?
Bastards, aren’t they?
Oooo, I hate it when they do that,
Honestly I do.

He said, no!
Meditate!
Just shut up for five minutes, listen.
I said, do I have to go OOM
He said, you don’t have to go OOM
I said, I went to go OOM
He said, fine, go OOM then,
Jeez, you’re hard work!

Just meditate,
Obscure the hate
Let out a sigh
And hold your head high.
Fall in to the zone
And hold your own.
I said, I’d rather hold someone else’s.
He said, that’s not helping!

Meditate, don’t say you can’t.
Think of a word and make up a chant,
A phrase which brings an instant relief
Now tell me that this chant might be.
And then I said to he:
If it hadn’t been for cotton eye joe,
I’d be married a long time ago.
Where did you come from, where did you go?
Where did you come from, cotton eye joe?
Do do do do do do do do do do!
And he said,
You’re a bastard, aren’t you?

Meditate!
Sit cross legged on the floor.
I said I can’t, the money
Keeps falling from my pockets.
He said, good,
Change must come from within.

Just meditate,
The way to mindfulness
Is to empty your head of all thoughts.
I said, how can it be both simultaneously
Full and empty at the same time?
He said, I know,
Weird isn’t it,
Though in your case
An empty mind won’t take too long.

Meditate, just meditate,
For goodness sake just meditate,
Why don’t you meditate, you
Feckless Bulbous eyed burger chomper,
Just meditate,
Why can’t you do it?
Just close your damn eyes
And bloody meditate!

I said, oooo,
Someone’s a little stressed aren’t they?
Now let’s have a nice cup of tea.

<div style=”font-size: 10px; color: #cccccc;line-break: anywhere;word-break: normal;overflow: hidden;white-space: nowrap;text-overflow: ellipsis; font-family: Interstate,Lucida Grande,Lucida Sans Unicode,Lucida Sans,Garuda,Verdana,Tahoma,sans-serif;font-weight: 100;”><a href=”https://soundcloud.com/robertdgarnham&#8221; title=”Robert Garnham” target=”_blank” style=”color: #cccccc; text-decoration: none;”>Robert Garnham</a> · <a href=”https://soundcloud.com/robertdgarnham/just-meditate-dammit-wav&#8221; title=”Daily Poem 14 : Just meditate, dammit!” target=”_blank” style=”color: #cccccc; text-decoration: none;”>Daily Poem 14 : Just meditate, dammit!</a></div>

The Lighthousekeeper

Today’s poem is about a quite randy lighthousekeeper. This poem is not for the faint hearted!

<div style=”font-size: 10px; color: #cccccc;line-break: anywhere;word-break: normal;overflow: hidden;white-space: nowrap;text-overflow: ellipsis; font-family: Interstate,Lucida Grande,Lucida Sans Unicode,Lucida Sans,Garuda,Verdana,Tahoma,sans-serif;font-weight: 100;”><a href=”https://soundcloud.com/robertdgarnham&#8221; title=”Robert Garnham” target=”_blank” style=”color: #cccccc; text-decoration: none;”>Robert Garnham</a> · <a href=”https://soundcloud.com/robertdgarnham/robert-garnham-poems-trim-trim&#8221; title=”Daily Poem 10: The Lighthouse” target=”_blank” style=”color: #cccccc; text-decoration: none;”>Daily Poem 10: The Lighthouse</a></div>

Cocky

Here’s today’s Daily Poem Podcast. I hope you like it. It’s a poem about unrequited love and receiving a Facebook friends request from a figure from the past. It’s a brand new poem!

<div style=”font-size: 10px; color: #cccccc;line-break: anywhere;word-break: normal;overflow: hidden;white-space: nowrap;text-overflow: ellipsis; font-family: Interstate,Lucida Grande,Lucida Sans Unicode,Lucida Sans,Garuda,Verdana,Tahoma,sans-serif;font-weight: 100;”><a href=”https://soundcloud.com/robertdgarnham&#8221; title=”Robert Garnham” target=”_blank” style=”color: #cccccc; text-decoration: none;”>Robert Garnham</a> · <a href=”https://soundcloud.com/robertdgarnham/cocky&#8221; title=”Daily Poem 5 : Cocky” target=”_blank” style=”color: #cccccc; text-decoration: none;”>Daily Poem 5 : Cocky</a></div>

You can tut all you like

You can tut all you like

You can tut all you like Mr Pinkerton
This queue ain’t moving any faster
Going tut tut tut tut tut tut tut
Ain’t gonna make the queue go faster

He’s an uptight tutter he’s a bread without butter
He’s a mean low thing who lives in the gutter
But he ain’t gonna get any place soon
By going tut tut tut tut tut tut tut

Tut tut tut tut tut tut tut
Tut kyaw tut kyaw tut kyaw tut
Tut tut tut tut tut tut tut
Tut kyaw tut kyaw tut kyaw tut

You can tut all you like Mr Pinkerton
I’m gonna take my own sweet tine
Going tut tut tut tut tut tut tut
I’ll make sure you’re still stood in line

He’s an uptight tutter he’s a bread without butter
He’s talking to himself and the queue can hear him mutter
But he ain’t gonna get any place soon
By going tut tut tut tut tut

Tut tut tut tut tut tut tut
Tut kyaw tut kyaw tut kyaw tut
Tut tut tut tut tut tut tut
Tut kyaw tut kyaw tut kyaw tut

Youuuuuuuuuuuuuu
Can tut all you like Mr Pinkerton
I’m sorry if I disappoint
Going tut tut tut tut tut tut tut
Mind you, he’s got a point.

Hes an uptight tutter he’s a bread without butter
It’s clear we’re in the way and they think we’re just clutter
And we ain’t gonna get any place soon
By going tut tut tut tut tut

Tut tut tut tut tut tut tut
Tut kyaw tut kyaw tut kyaw tut
Tut tut tut tut tut tut tut
Tut kyaw tut kyaw tut kyaw tut

Oh for goodness sake now one of them’s gone to lunch.

A daily poem podcast

From today I have started a daily podcast featuring one poem every day. I’m really looking forward to sharing some of the new poems that I’ve been writing with the wider world.

You can find the podcasts on my Soundcloud page.

Here’s the first episode!

<div style=”font-size: 10px; color: #cccccc;line-break: anywhere;word-break: normal;overflow: hidden;white-space: nowrap;text-overflow: ellipsis; font-family: Interstate,Lucida Grande,Lucida Sans Unicode,Lucida Sans,Garuda,Verdana,Tahoma,sans-serif;font-weight: 100;”><a href=”https://soundcloud.com/robertdgarnham&#8221; title=”Robert Garnham” target=”_blank” style=”color: #cccccc; text-decoration: none;”>Robert Garnham</a> · <a href=”https://soundcloud.com/robertdgarnham/my-mother-is-banksy&#8221; title=”Daily Poem 1 – My Mother is Banksy” target=”_blank” style=”color: #cccccc; text-decoration: none;”>Daily Poem 1 – My Mother is Banksy</a></div>

An ode to darts

Darts.
Nightly pub-sport spectacle.
Like rhinos line astern gripping tungsten spears.
Darts.
Chunky-reaching cheek-wobbling darts.
Beer belly a-quiver overhanging too wide tee shirt unsolicited stomach glimpse darts.
Spherical hysterical measures out in trebles.
Darts.

Thud. Thud. Thud.

Cocky oche-jockeys crafty cockneys dressing sloppy.
Sports-upholding team mate-scolding beer glass-holding.
Carpet shuffling fart-muffling comes away with nothing.

Thud. Thud. Thud.

Double-chaser bullseye-maker opponent-hater third-rather.
Forefinger fling-flourish free-form darts throw panache.
Board-seeker tip bounce wire hitting kerplink.
Unlucky, Trev.

Thud. Thud. Kerplink.

Great big belly-man darts-land Leviathan takes a stand.
Meaty meaty clap-hand (nurses darts like baby chicks),
Arrow-flinging darts board-singing double-trimming
Guess who’s winning?

Thud. Thud. Thud.

Trophy-doting low-score-gloating show-boating local scrote
Boozy-wobbling woozy-toppling lazy darts-fling treble twenty
Bar staff aghast, darts stars laugh, fast darts dance, last chance,
Bust.

Thud. Thud. Thud.

Last game, the same again, self-same blame game.
In the team lean, seeming so keen, trophy a gleam, he’s a darts machine!
No pain no gain, no gain, no fame, oh, the shame!
Sudden-death shoot out, league-topping bullseye-aiming,
Thud, pretty nifty, scores a fifty, mores the pity,
Geddin my son quivering tentative there the dart itself hanging like a
Swan so graceful in its beauteous flight betwixt chubby
Sweating fingers slow-mo revealing the under belly wobble
Suspended in mid air aerodynamic like the philosophic truth
Writ large straight into the exact centre of the board!

Unlucky, Trev.
Unlucky, Trev.
Unlucky, Trev.

See you all next week?

A poem for Andrew Graham-Dixon

Andrew Graham-Dixon
Enthuses
And finds poetry in the raw
Of that which would
Otherwise bore me arseless.

He finds radical politicising
In a small painting
Of a warthog.
It’s all in the tusks,
He says.
He looks a bit like
Bryan Ferry.

The aurora borealis
Also
Bore me arseless.
Andrew Graham-Dixon
Talks about bleakness
With a Norwegian.

Andrew Graham Dixon
Enunciates.
Andrew Graham Dixon
Luxuriates in the last syllable
Of Van Gogh
Andrew Graham Dixon
Is the thinking mans
Maggie Philbin
Andrew Graham Dixon
Finds Pot Noodles
‘Hauntingly eloquent’
Andrew Graham Dixon
Uses exuberant hand gestures
At dull canvases
With a sad horse on it
Andrew Graham Dixon
Doesn’t move his eyebrows much
Andrew Graham Dixon
Would probably do the ordering
For me
In an Italian restaurant.

I turned up at work
With a side parting
And a shirt open
At the collar.
You’ve been watching him again,
My boss said,
Haven’t you?

I murmur something
About the stoicism
Of the early Romantics
And get on with
Things.

Sheep on a pogo stick

I taught a sheep to use a pogo stick. I wanted to do it so that I could unveil the sheep on the pogo stick at my sisters wedding and make some wisecrack about woolly jumpers. I spent weeks finding the right sheep. It had to be one that would not only demonstrate the necessary physical aptitude but it would also have to be glad of the limelight. And once I found the right sheep we had to go through several weeks of intensive rehearsals. I’d get home late at night, my neck aching from watching the sheep bounce up and down, my back aching from all the times I had to pick it up from the floor but by the end of the process and with just two days to go before my sister’s wedding the sheep was ready. It had a little hat and a sparkly one piece cat suit. Sheep suit. And I unveiled it at my sisters wedding just before the big ceremony and my sister just turned to me and said, ‘you’re sick. You really are sick.’

Bounce bounce baa baa bounce bounce baa
Bounce bounce baa baa bounce baa baa
Baa baa baa baa bounce bounce baa
Bounce bounce baa baa bounce bounce baa

Bounce bounce baa baa bounce bounce baa
Bounce bounce baa baa bounce baa baa
Bounce bounce bounce bounce bounce bounce
Baa
You really are sick she said she said.

Do you take this, yes I do,
Do you take this, yes I do,
I now pronounce you blah blah blah
Bounce bounce baa baa bounce bounce baa.
Woolly jumper, I shouted.

Nobody laughed.
I could have had a llama on stilts but I wouldn’t have been able to use the same punchline.