Big bag o’ pants

Each week he would give me laundry,
For he had no machine of his own, and I,
An amiable soul, willing to help and filled
With the goodness of one who wants only to
Spread joy to humanity,
Offered to do a load for him.
‘Someone else did offer’, he said,
‘But I’m too embarrassed to give them anything other
Than the good stuff.
Any chance you can do my pants?’

So each Friday he’d lumber me with a big bag of
A bulging canvas sack
Filled to the brim with multi colored briefs, scats,
Boxers of every hue, a solid
10kg of smalls which I’d have to lug home
On the bus
Wondering how someone can go through so many
In one week
And deciding it was best not to ask.

And for months, yes, I would take part
In this underpant migration, that
Bulky canvas bag bulging with pant delight
As I stood on the lip of the bus doorstep,
The whole vehicle slightly tilting with the excess weight,
Wondering if the driver would charge me for two seats,
And then, scurrying up the narrow steps to the upper deck
Often wedged halfway to emerge gasping,
A cork from a bottle, stuffing the pants beside me
Between the seats that no-one may gaze upon
This curiously crusty cornucopia
And figure me to be
Some kind of fetishist.

But one day, oh,
Disaster struck.

Lady fortune deserted me at just the wrong moment.
Halfway down the bus steps in preparation of a
Pant-assisted disembarkation,
A jab on the brakes of the bus and I almost fell,
Toppled down the steps yet saved at the last moment
Only to see that bulky bulging bag bounce,
Fall from my hands, and spill its contents
Far and wide throughout the lower deck.

Like a fountain, an explosion,
A brief firework display
Of briefs,
The lower deck passengers,
Like astronauts welcomed home by a ticker tape parade,
A knicker tape parade,
Sat and flinched as pants rained down in all their
Gussetty glory,
Some put in mind of the Blitz, others
Of a particularly uncoordinated acrobatic display.
John from the chip shop had Y-fronts on his head.
Jan had a pair land in her lap.
The lad at the back went right off his KFC
When his six piece variety box was breached
By boxer briefs
While these suddenly animated underpants
Simply slithered down the bus steps,
A musty Niagara, a thousand stinky slinkies,
While I held on with all my might,
Now surfing this
Predominantly Primark-produced wave of polyester pants,
While some kind of dark conjuring or undie witchcraft
Caused one of them to stick to the front windscreen,
As the driver, suddenly obscured
When a pair of XXL novelty Spider-Man scats
Wedged over his eyes, nose and ears
Like a multi coloured Mexican wrestling mask,
Slammed on the brakes.

Hardly anyone screamed.
That old wartime community spirit
As disposable gloves were handed around,
And a rake borrowed from a nearby hardware store
And the canvas bag refilled,
That I should escape that bus with my dignity
As tattered and shredded
As the vast majority of those intimate undergarments.

Monday morning
I handed the bag back.
Cheers, he said,
I owe you one.

An Ode to the Daily Mail


I'd do anything for my mother.
She brought me into this world
And she was there during those teenage years
When I was all
Hormones and acne
And now
I try to pay her back
Anyway I can
Often and without fail
Except when she asks me to go to the shops
And get her a Daily Mail.

I mean,
What if someone sees me?

I’m not religious
But I believe that one day, God
Was violently sick
And that the vomit spewed forth
In a never ending cascade,
A torrent of absolutely disgusting
Relentless upchuck
And when she finished she
Wiped her chin and said,
I’ve gone and created
The Daily Mail.

Oh thou art a putrid and filthy concoction
In those pestilential pages
A generation booms its last and softly dies
Amid sofa advertisements,
Nodding in agreement with letters to the editor,
Opinion dressed up as fact.
Your headlines are misleading,
Your logic is twisted,
You stand for an England
Which never existed.
You’re a comic with no humour
Your editorials are absurd
Peddling anecdote and rumour
And about as patriotic as a turd.

There’s a middle England somewhere,
A place of patios and pathos,
Middle class porcelain and so achingly white
Yet you wouldn’t know it because
Everyone’s so bloody crimson with rage
Because of what they read on the page
Of the Daily Mail.
The lace curtains twitch
When there’s someone in the cul de sac
Because nothing sells better
Than righteous indignation
And a subtle reassurance that
The reader’s prejudices are normal.
Anger has become performative
And inevitably, heteronormative.

Oh, Daily Mail,
Oh you rancid hate-mongers,
Oh,You peddlers of puke,
Oh, You snivelling badger-breathed scumbags,
Oh, You’re a parasite on the face of intellectual debate,
A fart in the public toilet of common decency,
A ranting screaming spitting shower of bastards
Who make
Mussolini look like the Chuckle Brothers.
I’d rather snog an electric eel
Than be seen
Carrying your stench-emitting
Saliva spitting
Sorry-assed excuse for casual racism
And institutionalised transphobia.

Oh dear!
They haven't got any,
Is what I say to the Muv
When I come back from the shops
Empty handed.
Well, she says,
It is popular.

London (A poem cut from my show ‘Bouncer’)

This poem was a part of my new show, Bouncer, but was removed just because of the way it fitted in. I still think it’s quite good. I hope you like it!


Hark, doth London linger.
In lingering humdrum exhaust fume longer
Doth it linger
With that sweat tang white van traffic jam
Lingering in the humdrum London.
River bridges glower tower block
Chock a block gridlock London.
Overcast mellow weather does it settle
Yellow smog hacking hacking Hackney cab London.
London fun with traffic tang
On the tongue
Coming undone I might succumb
Lingering loitering London.
Sunday parks car parks Cutty Sarks
Torn apart grabbed my heart
Seedy humping in London fun parts.
London looming in surly amid the
Hurly burly London fog so swirly
You never get there early
In London.

Sweaty set sweat stains
Train seat sweat stains and the
Sweaty armpits tube hanging
Sweat stains hanging from that
Tube strap sweat stains
Tube strap pulsing veins
Very much like the tube map.
Mind the gap.
Sweat stains armpit blotch like
Map of Greater London.

Drunken wine bum
Drunk on London
London low life lowdown lurking.
London terminus ominous terminus
Probably verminous
Not cleaned since Copernicus.
Charge by the hour
Ever so sour looming tower
And I hover likewise
I have the power
Eardrum thrum in London.

City city pretty scape
Skyscraper cityscape
Mass escape city pretty
Sitting pretty cityscape.
London undone fun run London
London squares and bars and fairs and cars and bears
Kick that burn that kicking in
Floating high on fog bank London.

I hover tentative grey sky
Square mile London longer
Doth it linger deep within
My city my thing my
History my place my dream
My London.

Ink to the Pen

Hello, here’s one of my earliest poems from around 2009 / 2010. It’s an experimental piece which I only ever performed once, and then forgot completely about, until I found a video of it. This is from a time when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Anyway, the video is below and that’s followed by the poem.

Vintage Robert Garnham experimental sound poem

Ink to the pen to the page to the mic.
Think to the pen to the page to the mic.
Wink to the pen to the page to the mic.
Sink to the pen to the page to the mic.
Pink to the pen to the page to the mic.
Drink to the pen to the page to the mic.
Kink to the pen to the page to the mic.
Link to the pen to the page to the mic.
Zinc to the pen to the page to the mic.
Jink to the pen to the page to the mic.
Ink to the pen to the page to the mic.
Think to the ink to the pen to the page to the mic.
Wink to the think to the ink to the pen to the page to the mic.
Sink to the wink to the think to the ink to the pen to the page to the mic.
Pink to the sink to the wink to the think to the ink to the pen to the page to the mic.
Drink to the pink to the sink to the wink to the think to the ink to the pen to the page to the mic.
Kink to the drink to the pink to the sink to the wink to the think to the ink to the pen to the page to the mic.
Link to the kink to the drink to the pink to the sink to the wink to the think to the ink to the page to the mic.
Zinc to the link to the kink to the drink to the pink to the sink to the wink to the think to the ink to the page to the mic.
Jink to the zinc to the kink to the drink to the pink to the sink to the wink to the think to the ink to the page to the mic.


Jonathan removed my antlers and said, ‘Not in here, the clientele are mostly Dutch’.



When does a mess become a muddle?
When does day become the night?
When does a spillage become a puddle?
When does a shudder become a fright?

When does a brag become a boast?
When does a mess become a fuss?
When does bread become toast?
When does a train become a rail replacement bus?

When do we become middle aged?
And do we only know we are middle aged when we've lived
Our whole lives?
Is it only then that we can look back and say, oh yes,
That's when I was middle aged, that's when I had a
Midlife crisis,
The day I went out and bought a jetski?

When does a crowd become a throng?
When do pants become a thong?
When does a dirge become a song?
When does a whiff become a pong?

When does a settee become a sofa?
When does a look become a demeanour?
When does a pamphlet become a brochure?
When does a verbal warning become a grievance procedure?

When did I decide that maybe you weren't the one for me?
Was if at the opera, or was it in the supermarket?
Or was it that time I came home and found you in bed
With a stamp collector from Barnstaple?

When does a trumpet become a bugle?
When does an imposition become an impertinence?
When does prudent become frugal?
When does a TV advert become a nuisance?

When does pruned become sheared?
When does uncanny become weird?
When does stubble become a beard?
When does a poem not have to rhyme?

When do we lose ourselves to the delirium of the
Beauty of the world of the planet of the people of the creatures
Of the moon of the tides of the sea of the land of the cities of the
Absolute if the spiritual of the technological or the brave of the bountiful
Of the beautiful, possibly at two PM on a Thursday afternoon.

When does it all become meaningless?

You Should Write A Poem About That!

This is a poem from my new show, ‘Bouncer’. It’s about something that people say to me every time they discover that I’m a comedy performance poet. I’m sure lots of other people also get told this especially if that’s the sort of thing they do.

I hope you like it!

My new show will be coming to various places in 2023 and 2024. At the moment it is booked in for the Barnstaple TheatreFest Fringe, the Guildford Fringe, and for two weeks at the Edinburgh Fringe. I’m also hoping to do it at other places, too.

Here’s the new poem:

You Should Write a Poem About That, from ‘Bouncer’, 2023

If you like what I’m up to, feel free to buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/robertgarnham

This Is My New Show (Poem from my show ‘Bouncer’

This is my new show

Ink flowing from a polished nib
Blotch on the paper Mrs Henderson
See those letters dance
Find that rhyme
Slam it on the page
Boom, that's a poem!
Do those similies look good together?
It’s a dating app for metaphors!
That’s what poetry is.
Any fool can do it
And I’m living proof.

Oi, Professor of Whimsy!
Got a poem for us?
Well, so impertinent!
But as it happens
I’ve got a cracker!
Not only a poem but
A new show,
A new show!
Do you like poetry?
Do you like Keats?
I don’t even know what a Keat is.
No thanks you can keep your cup of tea
I’d rather have some poetry!

It’s my new show!
My new show!
The show I’ve just written
It’s a new show!
It’s a word jamming grammar scamming
Rhyme scanning beat panning
Big slimy monster of a show!
It’s a finger licking word flicking
Rhyme dictionary-picking big bad
Grumbler of a show!
It’s so new it’s still got the cellophane on it!
It’s got that new show smell,
Red wine and angst.
It’s a new show!
This is the show.
This is the start of the show.
Oooooo I can’t wait for you to see it.
Oooooo I can’t wait to perform it.
Oooooo did I tell you it’s a
New show
A new show
Welcome everyone to my
New show

Bouncer Diary 2022-2023

As I did with my last show, I’ve been keeping a diary charting my progress from the very first day I started work on my new show, to the present moment. Obviously, as the show has not yet been performed before an audience, there may be spoilers here. But not many people read this blog, so that should be OK!

Bouncer diary


Decide on theme of show to be based around appearance on BGT


Write some linking material about poetry, and start work on opening poem ‘Welcome to my Show’


Work on ‘Welcome to my Show’ and an autobiographical poem called ‘Orange Juice’, which may or may not be used to add background character.


Sat in the sun in the back garden in Brixham. Worked on a new poem, provisionally titled ‘This City Never Seemed so Cruel’, the obligatory downbeat poem for near the end of the show. Also worked on some linking material about my Great Uncle, and a bit about Thundercats. 


Back in Paignton. Heard the Squeeze song Hour Glass on the radio, and then some show tunes, and the idea for a call and response poem came, with a similar structure as the chorus of the Squeeze song. Called ‘Everyone Wants Fame!’ Jotted it down on a ticket, then home, worked on the poem. It’s the bare bones of something fun, but it really needs to be 30% funnier.


Worked on ‘Everyone Wants Fame!’, added two jokes.


Worked on ‘This City Never Seemed so Cruel’, ‘Orange Juice’ and ‘Welcome to my Show’.


Wrote new poem ‘You Should Write a Poem About That’, plotted the storyline and poem list for the show, then worked on a new version of ‘Fabaranza’ written from the point of view of the BGT producers.


In Brixham, worked on linking material. Wrote the goose joke, and then one other joke, and then thought, ahh, that’s two jokes, a good days work, let’s relax for the rest of the day.


Back in Paignton, more work on linking material. 


Paignton, worked on linking material, then started to put the show together so far, right up to the Covid section.


Worked on ‘You Should Write a Poem About That’, then typed up all of the show so far before working on more linking material. Worried that the version of my portrayed in the show is negative, whiny, too much like a victim, and generally unlikeable.


Worked on rewriting linking material, added a few more jokes and funny lines. Worked on ‘You Should Write a Poem About That’, took out the line about all other poets being bastards! 


Unexpected day off due to yesterday’s death of HM The Queen. Started work on the BGT phone call linking material.


In Brixham. Worked on new poem, ‘The Contestants Await’.


Worked on linking material and ‘The Contestants Await’.


Worked on the start of the BGT section. Worked also on the ‘Everyone Wants Fame’ poem.


Worked on the BGT hotel section. Went to a coffee shop and thought of two jokes about the contestants which made their way into the show script. 


(In Brixham). Worked on the BGT section. Almost finished the first draft of the script, just need to write a kind of summing up section. Current word count is over 7000 so it may need editing down.


First draft completed!


Had a read through of the linking material having worked on the Cold Callers project in the intervening months. Pleasantly surprised at the cohesiveness and tone of the show.


Had a complete table read run through of the show at Brixham’s Sunrise Rehearsal Studio. 52 minutes, happy with that. Had a couple of rewrites to ponder: Fabaranza as a poem instead of a song, and tightening up the lyrics of the opening song Welcome to my Show. Also, does the show need the Covid section? Seems put in just to get on the one liner list! Later on, back in the Rehearsal room, rewrote the opening song ‘Welcome to my Show’.


Paignton. Ran through ‘Welcome to my Show’ a few times, then rewrote the song ‘Fabaranza’ as a fast-paced poem.


Began line learning ‘Welcome to my Show’.


Line learning ‘Welcome to my Show’.


Line learning ‘Welcome to my Show’.


Line learning first batch of linking material.


In Brixham. Ran through ‘Welcome to my Show’ several times and videoed it so see how it looked. Worked on linking material.


Paignton. Line learning linking material.


Line learning linking material and began line learning ‘Zach’. First five minutes of the show memorised.


Line learning ‘Zach’.


Line learning ‘Zach’.


Been ill for two weeks so unable to line learn or rehearse without erupting into coughing fits. Staying in Brixham for Christmas. Had a great line learning session in the Sunrise Rehearsal Studio, memorised the whole Zach poem and videoed it too.


Brixham. Worked on the Zach poem and the subsequent linking material. Started a video diary.


Paignton. Linking material and You Should Write a Poem, which I also rewrote.


Learning You Should Write a Poem


Learning You Should Write a Poem.


Brixham. Learning You Should Write a Poem, plus ran through whole show so far, about 12 minutes.


Paignton. Line learning You Should Write a Poem.


Line learning You Should Write a Poem.


Line learning You Should Write a Poem. Managed the whole poem with no mistakes, 3m30. Then performed the first 12 minutes of the show with no mistakes.


Line learning linking material.


Brixham. Line learning linking material (producer phone call section), then started work on a possible backing track for Welcome to my Show. Very camp.


Line learning linking material.  Chatted to film maker John Tomkins about filming the show with an audience.


Line learning linking material.


Line learning linking material. Chatted to photographer Jim Elton about taking photos for the publicity pictures. That evening, performed two minutes of linking material at the online Woking Write out Loud gig. People laughed at the funny bits!


Rewrote ‘Who Wants Fame?’


Line learning Who Wants Fame?


Line learning Who Wants Fame? Chatted to photographer Emily Appleton about taking publicity photos.


Brixham. Line learning Who Wants Fame? Then to Paignton, to Emily Appleton’s studio, had head shots taken in various poses for possible poster designs.


Paignton. Line learning Who Wants Fame?


Line learning Who Wants Fame?, and adding some choreography.


Went through all the material I’d learned so far. Then line learning linking material. To Exeter, performed five minutes of material and the Zach poem at Taking the Mic. On the train home I started rewriting Fabaranza.


Rewriting Fabaranza.


Rehearsing the show so far and experimenting with different tones of voice.


Brixham. Line learning linking material.


Line learning linking material.


Bristol. Line learning linking material. Back to Paignton. Started learning ‘London’.


Line learning London.


Early morning session, line learning London.


Brixham. Didn’t get into regular Barnstaple Theatrefest so applied for an ‘alternative space’, pledging to do four shows.


Line learning London.


Line learning London. Barnstaple Theatrefest alternative space application successful! 


Ran through all the learned show so far. Experimented with using song or different tones of voice on Who Wants Fame. Line learning linking material. Then in the evening, completely rewrote Who Wants Fame, now based on the music to Three Little Fishes, with an incredibly stupid chorus.


Continued rewrites of Who Wants Fame. Line learning linking material.


Line learning new version of Who Wants Fame.


Line leaning Who Wants Fame.


Brixham. Line learning Who Wants Fame and linking material. Also worked on the poster after Emily’s photo arrived.


Paignton. Line learning The Contestants Await.


Line learning The Contestants Await and Who Wants Fame. Then worked on the show poster.


Line learning The Contestants Await.


Line learning The Contestants Await.


Brixham. Line learning linking material and rewrites of Fabaranza.


Paignton. Line learning linking material and rewrites of Fabaranza.


Line learning Fabaranza.


Practising random bits of the memorised material so far, then line learning Fabaranza. Evening, went to Exeter and performed five minutes and Who Wants Fame?, at Taking the Mic. Fluffed one line but generally it went well and people laughed at the jokes.


Brixham. Line learning and practicing Fabaranza. Afternoon, went to Totnes and performed at Word Stir, tried out some linking material in front of an audience.


Paignton. Fabaranza more light rewrites.


Line learning Fabaranza.


Ran through all of the show so far and was very pleased at how much I remembered. Then line learning the section after Fabaranza. Good progress.


Line learning linking material. Also, ordered a game show style buzzer as the only prop for the show.


Line learning linking material at the shop before work. The buzzer arrived. Evening, performed a little of the new linking material at an event at the Little Theatre, Torquay.


Brixham. Line learning linking material incorporating the buzzer.


Paignton, Line learning.


Line learning linking material.


Line learning linking material.


Line learning This City Never Seemed so Cruel.


Line learning This City Never Seemed so Cruel.


Brixham. Line learning This City Never Seemed so Cruel and linking material. Made decision to read the final poem from a piece of paper during performance to accentuate the fact that it was a piece written, so therefore the line learning phase is completed. On to actual rehearsing, now.


Line learning This City Never Seemed so Cruel.


Ran through the whole show so far. 58 mins so will have to prune maybe the last poem. Also decided that the back of the piece of paper uses for the last poem will have David Walliams written on it in big letters. Email from Guildford Fringe offering a date which I accepted.


Rewrote ‘To the Celebrity’.


Rehearsing ‘You Should Write a Poem . .’.


Brixham. Writing the show blurb and publicity material.

An Introvert’s History of Performing

An Introvert’s History of Performing

So a colleague from work was chatting to me the other day.
‘I’ve seen your act’, she said. ‘You become a completely different person when you’re on stage. In fact, you seem to be much more awake’.
I didn’t know if this was a compliment or not.
And I remember back in 1996, when I first moved down to Devon with my parents from Surrey, and then surprising them with the announcement that I’d decided to take acting lessons at a night school run in a local theatre.
‘I suppose this means that you’ll want to grow your hair long’, my Dad replied.
(Mind you, hair length was always a touchy subject with my father. He would complain about the students at the local college with their long hair and he would declare that everyone should have the same hairstyle. Dad had gone bald in his mid twenties).
So it really does come as a surprise when people discover that I am a comedy performance poet. It’s like having a secret double life. It’s not like I’m the sort of person who wouldn’t say boo to a goose, but I probably would preface the boo with ‘I hope you don’t mind, but . .’, before I said it. If anything, my parents had always taught me to be polite.
‘Hang on a minute. Exactly why are you going to Milton Keynes next week?’, someone might ask.
‘I perform comedy poetry. That’s what I do’.
‘You? Really? But you’ve never said anything funny’.
To which I might have responded with, yes I do, and sometimes it rhymes, but he was quite right, I never say anything funny, and by the time I’ve thought of such a witty comeback, they’ve long gone.
I’m not the most outgoing person. I don’t go out much and I probably have around two or three friends. I’m not a big drinker and I hardly ever go to pubs. And yet in spite of all this, I’ve managed to make something of a career as a comedy poet who stands on stage and does outlandish things and makes people laugh. How on earth did this happen, and how did it come about?
Quite by accident around twelve years ago, I started performing comedy poetry. I went along to a gig and I really liked the atmosphere and the people, and I asked the host whether it would be possible to come along and read some poems. Id always written comedy poems, only I’d never really shown any of them to other people. I still don’t know why I decided to do this, and I remember being incredibly nervous in the days before, but the night itself went well and people seemed to laugh at the right moments. After a while, people started inviting me to other gigs in other parts of the country and before long, I was zipping about all over the place to strange and erotic places like Lancaster and Swindon.
I was just as surprised as anyone else. Looking back, I didn’t think it would ever be possible that I’d have the ‘guts’ to stand up in front of a group of people.
For a start, I’ve always been what you might call an introvert and it’s probably still the same now. Part of working in the arts is having the confidence to put yourself forward for opportunities, and this is still an area where I struggle. I’ve never applied for funding or any other kind of sponsorship because, well, that’s not the sort of thing you do, is it? I hardly ever apply for big gigs or showcases, either. If someone asks, that’s great, and it makes me really happy for the rest of the day. But the idea of asking them gives me the willies.
Another reason is my dyslexia. I just can’t handle all the forms and the paperwork and the incredibly complicated questions using big long words like community stakeholder engagement or financial budgetary management. My mind just fizzes and pops and nothing makes sense. I’ve tried to get funding on numerous occasions, like the week or so I spent filling out an Arts Council form to apply for a development grant, only for them to immediately reject it because the form I’d used was for project grants.
I’m also really bad at self-promotion. I think the default setting of a comedy poet is to downplay one’s achievements. It doesn’t seem natural to talk about one’s successes, particularly if you’re having difficulty thinking of any to begin with. A friend of mine, who works in the arts in the theatre side of things, said, ‘Just make it up. They won't check’, but that would make me feel very nervous.
And it’s not just me. When I put on a poetry night in Torquay and asked a comedy performance poet to headline, I was overjoyed when they said yes. I asked them to send me some publicity material and a blurb, and the blurb they sent was so self-deprecating that I don’t think anyone would have bothered coming along if I’d used it.
‘X performs poems, badly. A lot of his friends have told him to pack it all in. None of them have any literary worth. He’s won slams in places like London and Edinburgh, but only because no-one else turned up’.
The version of me who appears on stage is nothing like the version of me who exists 99% of the time. The persona I’ve created is just that. I don’t even wear the same sort of clothes on a day to day basis. And this is interesting, because for the 99% of the time that I’m not performing, the very idea of it also gives me the willies. It’s not my natural environment. Again the thought comes to mind that this is not the sort of thing that should be happening to someone like me!
Yet one or two people have said that there are parallels between the stage ‘Robert Garnham’, and Robert Garnham the human being. Someone once said that they kind of liked my ‘vulnerability’, and my sense of being ‘ever so slightly nervous’. Yet typically, them saying this made me even more nervous! Nevertheless, it’s rather comforting to me to know that there aren’t too many differences between the two different sides of my personality.
Social media creates avatars, versions of ourselves that we want the world to see. I see poets and comedians in the real world acting more or less the same as the version of themselves that appears on stage, and to this day it makes me wonder where they find the energy. My other little rule is that I never mention my comedic poetic adventures in ‘real life ‘. I’ve never shown any of my friends any of my books or videos, and frankly, if I did, I’d feel very embarrassed indeed, and as for my family, well, I've never even mentioned it to them at all. For a start, nobody is interested. It’s like living a bizarre double life, like some kind of poetic super hero.
But that’s what makes it so amazing. Right at this moment, reading this, I wonder how on earth I can possibly stand in front of strangers and not completely clam up. I go through a comprehensive sequence of preparation methods before I perform, including putting on a costume, doing my hair, changing my glasses, lying on the floor, doing breathing exercises, and then listening to very loud music. I think it’s fair to say that I’m not a natural performer! I still get very nervous indeed.
Indeed, people ask me about the nerves, and I reply that perhaps it’s good that I’m so nervous. It means that I’m concentrating on what I do, and that kind of allows me to step away from the introverted version of myself. Nerves are a sign, perhaps, that I care about what I do. It still comes as a surprise, though.
Often, I’ll be on a bus, or doing my laundry, or walking home from work, and I’ll think of what I’ve done and what I’ve achieved, and it really makes me smile. Sure, it feels like it’s been done by someone else, but it’s a person I know really very well. This last year I’ve worked very hard on my performance and next I need to start working on being a bit more forthcoming and what my dad would describe as ‘pushy’. I’m like the kid in the corner who wants to join in but is too scared of the big kids.
I was chatting about this to another friend, who’s a poet, and she reckons it might be a class thing. I don’t have that middle class sense of entitlement that some of the bigger names might have, nor do I have the confidence that I have a voice that should be heard. I take great comfort in those who are naturally quiet, who seem to have made a successful career, and have done so through a mix of intelligence and luck, and I think, oh, I think, wow, I, too, have been really lucky!



Biscuit donkey chocolate eclair.
Traffic light pomegranate Yogi Bear
Slam dunk Bill’s big hair.
Almost bought a pair of trousers there.
Don’t look Timmy it’s rude to stare.
Weston Super, Weston Super, Weston-Super-Mare.

Krypton-born hero talking
In a Devonian accent, six across.
He owns a horse.

Guess where the villain has his secret lair.
Debonair kitchenware chemical warfare
Can I come and spend the weekend? Don’t you dare.
I lost my virginity there.
Who wants to be a millionaire?
Afternoon tea near Bloomsbury square,
Don’t move you’ve got something crawling in your hair.
Weston Super Weston Super Weston-Super-Mare.

Since you left
I’ve actually tackled that
Big pile of laundry
We argued about.
And I fixed the shelf
That we argued about.
So there, you see, I can do it.
Ohhhh, the things I’ve done
Since you left.
It’s been a crazy 14 years.

This picture was not taken at Weston-superMare