Of pirates and conveyor belt toasters

Poem

You know those
Conveyor belt toasters you get
In buffet breakfast bargain hotels?
My mate Brian
Has one of those in his kitchen.
It’s kept on all the time
On the off chance that
Someone might fancy some toast.

Brian is a pirate.
He’s proud of his toast conveyor.
I’ve seen him plunder a frigate.
I’ve seen him
Butter a crumpet.
The toast falls off the bottom
Of the conveyor belt
And he says,
Har harrrrrrrr.

We met on the high seas.
I was first mate on the poop deck.
He threatened me with his big blunderbuss
But after that we got on fine.
You must come round for dinner
Some time,
He opined.

I brought a fine Merlot.
I’d like to propose a toast, he said.
Would you like some too?
And we sat like lemons
In an awkward silence
As we waited for it to trundle through.

Four slices.
Cut in two.
Pieces of eight, he said.

London – A Poem

London

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 squares and bars and fairs and cars.
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.

Shakka Lakka Boom

I’ve been working on the new show and collection for months now so this poem has been stuck in my head for absolutely ages, and yet the weird thing is, it’s not been out into the big wide world yet. Until now!

Behold! Enjoy this brand new video of my poem Shakka Lakka Boom!, taken from my forthcoming collection Yay!, and my solo show Yay! The Search for Happiness. I hope you like it!

Shakka Lakka Boom!

Shakka lakka boom boom,
Shakka lakka boom.

Gotta get through the day,
Gotta do your thing.
Gotta get through the day,
Feel it deep within.
Gotta get through the day.
People, make some room.
Say into the microphone:
Shakka lakka boom!

Go to bake a cake one day.
Go to bake a cake.
Go to bake a bake one day,
Hope I don’t make a mistake.
Add all the ingredients,
Stir them with a spoon,
A little salt and a pinch
Of shakka lakka boom!

Shakka lakka boom boom,
Shakka lakka boom.

Made my Broadway debut
In a Shakespeare play.
I know all my lines by heart.
I know, just want to say.
‘To be or not to be,’ I said,
And, with a sense of doom,
Forgot what came just after that,
Said, ‘Shakka lakka boom!’

Shakka lakka boom boom,
Shakka lakka boom.

Go out on a hot date,
Small talk and a chat.
Go out on a hot date
And then back to his flat.
Making lots of small talk.
Hope I don’t peak too soon.
All he did was stroke my arm
And shakka lakka boom!

Shakka lakka boom boom,
Shakka lakka boom.

And then I went to the funeral.
My aunt had passed away.
Such a lovely funeral
On such a dismal day.
I went to give the eulogy.
The coffin lid went zoom!
My aunt, she suddenly sat right up,
Said, ‘Shakka lakka boom!’

Shakka lakka boom boom,
Shakka lakka boom.

Life is a cabaret! (Or it used to be, in the quirky world of 2000s performance poetry, and some of the utterly bizarre things I did back then).

There has been talk lately in spoken word circles of the direction that the movement has been taking over the last decade and how it has shifted away from the scene that existed in the 2000s and before. Many have cited the influence of slams and American slam culture, others have pointed out that spoken word has become more literary and closer to page poetry, with the emphasis very much on words and use of language. And while neither of these are bad things – (my own philosophy being that it is what it is) – I do ponder every now and then on how it used to be.

I’ve spent the last twelve years or so performing all over the UK and during this time I have honed my regular ‘set’ down to what seems to work best on stage. My poems are mostly humorous, and rely on conventions of stand-up comedy and a certain approximation of what poetry should be contrasted with what my poetry actually is. There’s a bit of prop work and an awful lot of silliness. And some awful silliness. And people seem to like it.

As Pete Bearder pointed out in his wonderful book about the spoken word scene, ‘Stage Invasion’, ‘Many older poets I have spoken to have lamented the loss of diversity in British performance  poetry that was previously known for its humour and cabaret quirk’. He goes on to mention performers such as Rachel Pantechnicon, Chloe Poems and AF Harrold, who were at the top of their game back then and were the zenith of the performance poetry scene. Reading between the lines, the question seems to be, ‘when did performance poetry get so serious?’

Over the last year I’ve been working on a spoken word / music collaboration called Croydon Tourist Office, led by my friend Bryce Dumont, who used to run the Epicentre Cafe in Paignton where there was a monthly spoken word night. It was at this time that the spoken word scene was still heavily influenced by a cabaret style where anything went, where most performed created a character on stage, and authenticity wasn’t as important as it has now become. Or indeed, maybe the creation of stage personas actually accentuated the authenticity of the performer. Who knows?

Anyway, Bryce had been diligently recording every set that I performed back then and he emailed me a link to all of the material. Several things struck me. First of all, the poems weren’t as good as I remember them, but hey, I was only just starting. Secondly, my linking material was much better than I remember it being. Thirdly, my performance voice was much, much slower than it is now. (This was before I’d even heard of poetry slams and the necessity of cramming everything into under three minutes). And fourthly, wow, I certainly did some weird things on stage!

When I first started performing back in the late 2000s, the local scene was heavily influenced by comedy and surrealism in south Devon, and I soon joined in with a bizarre mix of my own, of prop-based avant gard and whimsical verse which, at the same time, mocked the whole idea of poetry performance. And for a while, this was my Unique Selling Point.  And although I wore seemingly normal clothes on stage, I was very much a persona, the Professor of Whimsy, an exaggeration of my actual self.

So here are some of the incredibly bizarre things that I did back in those formative years, 2008-2012:

1. Used a mobile phone to deliver my set from a cubicle in the toilets.

This was fun. I set up a mobile phone I’d borrowed from a friend behind the mic. I put it on speaker phone and then called in my set while pretending to have raging stomach ache from the toilet at the rear of the premises.

2. Built a cardboard robot called Robot Garnham on stage and let him do my performance.

This was also fun. I operated the robot via a fishing rod from the side of the stage. And then at one moment I sat down and read the paper while the robot performed. It was really weird. People were facing the robot and laughing.

3. Phoned a friend halfway through a set to ask him what my next line was.

I had no idea if this was going to work. Again I used the speaker phone. A friend was at home with a copy of my poem. He fed me the lines down the phone.

4. Performed a set of Pam Ayres poems through the window from the street.

So the premise of this was that I’d orchestrated a row with Bryce. I said that I was going to perform some Pam Ayres poems and he pretended to physically throw me out of the cafe. I then proceeded to do a whole set of Pam Ayres poems through the glass windows from the darkened street. And people were walking past and I’d interrupt my performance to say hello to them.

5. Pretended to drink Pam Ayres urine after pretending to choke on a cream cracker.

Just the usual performance. I’d started the set by announcing that I’d gone to the doctors and Pam was in the waiting room, and that she had misunderstood when I said that I was a fan of her work. She got in a mood and left, but accidentally left behind her urine sample. I then performed a poem while eating a cream cracker and halfway through faked that I was choking. Of course, the only thing to hand was the Pam Ayres urine, and down it went in one gulp. The audience reaction was amazing. It was actually cold tea.

6. Performed a whole set with a tea bag sellotaped to my forehead.

Still no idea why.

7. Performed the same poem twice in a row with no explanation.

Which was fun but then at a gig a few years later one of the performers was so drunk that she actually did this, so now I’m a little embarrassed. Perhaps I should perform the same poem three times?

8. Tried to get inanimate objects to race each other.

OK, so this was my performance art piece, ‘Static’. I’d start by tuning a radio to static, and then placing these objects in a line on a table. I’d line them up and then wave a flag while keeping my finger on a stopwatch. Obviously the objects did not move. I tried this three times, then removed the objects, turned off the radio, and went and sat down in my seat.

9. Built a large hadron collider on stage.

Taking a length of garden hose, and a custard cream on a saucer. I’d eat half the biscuit, then pick up a crumb, and blow it through the garden hose, putting the two ends together and then taking a photo with a digital camera. I’d repeat this three times, and then use my laptop to show pictures of the atoms smashing together.

10. Got a poet to dress as a spaceman and pretend to interrupt my set as visitors from the future intent on making sure my rise from obscurity did not occur,

You read that right. 

11. Got an eminent and well respected page poet to perform Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance as a poem.

That was a beautiful evening. James Turner was the well respected poet. He did his research thoroughly and even sent me a critique of Lady Gaga’s lyrics.

12. Stood behind another poet as he performed and ate crisps, noisily, while staring straight ahead.

Not much else to add here.

13. Performed while standing on a hip exercise swivel disc.

That was fun, because the more I swivelled, the more I turned around to face the rear, so I kept having to frantically swivel to face the audience again. I’m still not sure why.

14. Performed through an iPad which I held up to my face while wearing a large box on my head.

The box was covered with fairy lights and tin foil. The iPad was showing a video but it was just my face. It was surprisingly effective. I’ll have to do this again some time.

15. Dressed as a crocodile, which had nothing to do with my set.

Nor did I refer to it during my set.

16. Wore a fake moustache which slowly moved around my face.

Halfway through the set I took out a large piece of paper and held it up and subtly moved the moustache every time I hid behind the piece of paper, which I was pretending to read from, and then pretending that I didn’t know why the audience were laughing every time I looked out from behind the big piece of paper.

17. Performed the Pet Shop Boys song Two Divided By Zero on a talking calculator.

You’ll find this funny if you know the song.

18. Used an Elefun toy game to blow small pieces of crepe paper with poems written on them into the air.

This worked amazingly well. Elefun is a plastic toy elephant that has a fan in it so it blows pieces of paper out of its long tubular trunk. And it was fun because the pieces of paper blew up out of the toy elephant’s trunk quicker than I could read them, plus I was catching them in a small net so most of the time was spent flailing around with this tiny net trying to catch and then read the small pieces of paper on which the poems were written.

19. Hired out my five minute set to another poet who wasn’t on the bill.

Inspired by a ‘gallery within the gallery’ which used to be at Tate Modern, if you’re interested. I can’t even remember who the poet was. I mean this was back in the day, so it wasn’t like anyone had come just to see me. But you should have seen the look on the host’s face. Plus I made ten quid.

20. Read a poem from an incredibly large piece of paper.

And I mean, really, really big. Which meant I’d spent the previous evening sellotaping together six incredibly large pieces of paper to form one huge humongous piece of paper.

Maybe I should be more adventurous and go back to these days. It certainly was fun. When I first started performing I received a lot of wisdom, advice and encouragement from Rachel Pantehcnicon and she told me that if she could change anything about her career, it would be that she would have less props that she had to lug around the UK. I suppose this was struck home for me when I had the pleasure and honour of supporting John Henley at a gig in London. Indeed, it would be just the two of us all evening. Willing to make a good impression, not only did I cart up on the train the biggest box of props you’ve ever seen, but also a table to put them on, which I then had to transport across London on the tube! After the gig I was so knackered that I just left it backstage at the theatre. I wonder if they ever wondered where their extra table had come from . . .

As I say, times have moved on, and maybe that’s not a bad thing. Or maybe it is. Who am I to judge? I do pine for the days when an evening out at a performance poetry gig (as they were called back then, no ‘spoken word’), could entail anything from performers getting absolutely naked to reciting poetry while standing in a paddling pool filled with jelly. Both of which, incidentally, I’ve seen. It was all a little rough around the edges, and most of the performers had stage names, and everyone was absolutely unique in their own quirky way, and the emphasis really was on comedy and spectacle, and at the end of the night you knew you’d seen something amazing. Audience expectations may be different these days. I just hope I somehow remain myself as a kind of bridge between the past and the present.

Feel free to support the work I’m doing by leaving something in my tip jar or buying me a coffee right here https://ko-fi.com/robertgarnham

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.

An interview with Laurie Eaves

Today I interview Laurie Eaves. Laurie is one of my favourite poems and he was due to be one of our headliners this year at the night I run, Big Poetry. Alas, the lockdown worked against that.

I’ve seen Laurie perform plenty of times on my trips to London and I was always struck by his mix of life, emotion, humour and the sensitivity and power of his words. His collection Biceps was recently published by Burning Eye and it’s an absolutely absorbing poetic description of a romance from start to end, a stunning piece of autobiographical poetry whose light touch belies the deep emotion behind its subject matter. It is a beautiful work.

I’m hoping still to have Laurie visit Torquay at some point, but for now, here’s an interview with him.

How did you get in to writing and performing poetry?

I started writing poetry way back in secondary school. My first one was called ‘Elephants Can’t Do Press-Ups’ and it was pretty awful – most of my poems at the time were just silly novelty rhymes that I mumbled too fast. In 2009 I moved to Norwich and found a very warm spoken word community. That’s where I first started performing proper gigs. At the time I did a lot of heavily rhythmic rap-style poems but over time I’ve moved further and further away from that – the new book, Biceps, couldn’t really be a lot further from that starting point. It’s very still, non-rhyming and more “pagey”.

Who were or are your major influences in poetry and performance poetry / spoken word?

I think my influences have shifted a lot over time. When I started out, I was mostly doing a semi-decent John Cooper Clarke impression. I was also thinking a lot more about the rhythms of my poetry than the meaning then and drew a lot on music for that. I was listening to a lot of hip-hop like Dream Warriors, Public Enemy and Kate Tempest back then but also nicking rhythms from prog bands like Tool, Dream Theater and Porcupine Tree and trying to emulate them with my mouth.

Music still hugely informs my writing, but in a very different way. Around the time I started writing Biceps, I got into a lot of US hardcore punk – bands like Minor Threat, Black Flag and the Minutemen whose songs each barely last a minute. You wouldn’t necessarily get that from reading the book, because tonally it’s not exactly raging punk… but the idea of trying to get an idea across efficiently and quickly is definitely there – very few of the poems go over one page.

Tonally, I’d say the book is closer to writers like John Osborne, Laurie Bolger or even Jarvis Cocker. The story is very intimate, soft and pretty kitchen sink. Caroline Teague described the book as “heartwarming and heartbreaking” which pretty much nails what I was going for.

How do you write? Do you have a specific method for writing? Do you write at specific times and places?

I do have a specific way of writing these days but it took me a very long time to discover it. I used to “make time” for my writing. I’d tell myself “ok, on Sunday you’ve got a couple of hours – let’s put that aside for writing.” Then Sunday would come and I wouldn’t do it. Something else would come up or I wouldn’t be in the mood or I’d just not do it. I didn’t have a lot of discipline around it. And after a while I realised I needed to snap myself out of that…

So in August 2017 I bought a tiny pocket notebook from Flying Tiger and started writing in it as a diary. I’d carry the book with me at all times and just write down what I was up to, anything unusual I saw, what I was eating – just anything. I burnt through the notebook in about a month and bought another. I’ve now got a big shelf full of those notebooks and I’ve written in them every day for nearly three years (except for three days when I was ill).

I know that 99% of what I write in the notebooks is rubbish. But there’s 1% in there that’s good and which I would have lost if I hadn’t written it down. So now when I do “sit down to write” or go to a workshop, I flip back over the latest notebook, see what I’ve written in there and use it as a jumping off point. The pen feels lighter because I’ve been writing anyway and I already have an idea to write about.

When did you decide to make a themed collection?

2018 was a year with a lot of change for me. On New Year’s Day, my partner and I broke up after seven years together. And my reaction to that was to write about it. A lot. It was a lot cheaper than therapy.

By April, I was still writing a lot. Not poetry really, just a lot of long free-writes, trying to process this new change in my life and starting to work out who I wanted to be in the world now. Then one Sunday, I went and had a pub lunch with my friend Laurie Bolger. I told her about all this writing I was doing. At the time I had no idea what this writing was – whether it was a play, a novel, a spoken word show, I just didn’t know.

Laurie said it sounded like it might be a poetry book and that I should go home, print out all these bits of writing and lay them out on my bedroom floor. So I did. Over the next few weeks I started to see the connections between all the pieces and that they basically fell into three categories: poems about making a relationship, poems about the relationship breaking up and poems about starting to rebuild as a new individual person. I started sorting them into those three piles “Make”, “Break” and “Build” and that structure stuck through to the final book. It’s your classic beginning-middle-end structure. Once I realised that, it became clear that I was writing a narrative poetry collection. It was very organic – I never sat down at the start and decided that’s what I was doing, I just stumbled into it.

Were the poems in Biceps written at around the same time, or over a number of months and years?

Of the 44 poems in the book, there are maybe four or five that existed in some form before 2018. By the time I consciously sat down to write the collection, the first poem “The Story’s Better When You Tell It” was a few years old. I knew I wanted that one in there because it fit the narrative and was also the first “page poem” where I felt I’d really nailed it. That’s why the collection starts there.

But the vast majority of the book was written in the first six months of 2018. It’s a very weird way to write a first collection. I think a lot of poets use their debut as a sort of “Greatest Hits”, which Biceps definitely isn’t. It felt risky – I know a lot of people who’ve seen me perform might expect a book of novelty rhyming poems – but I think the book is better because I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and focused on writing new material in a very different style.

Do you do a lot of rewriting?

Definitely. Honestly, I feel more like an editor than a writer at heart – I love pulling apart writing, seeing how it works, diagnosing problems and sticking it all back together. I love to edit for other writers and think it gives you a better understanding of how to improve your own work.

For me, the best writing communicates the thoughts in the author’s head into the reader’s head as clearly and concisely as possible. As I mentioned earlier, a lot of the Biceps poems started as rambling free-writes, so they needed a lot of work to cut down. The poem “Hull” started out as a three or four A4 page piece. That worked fine for a three minute slam, but made for a pretty boring read.

So the first big challenge for me was boiling the pieces down – making them more condensed and getting the language to be more efficient. We touched on it earlier, but I was listening to a lot of hardcore punk around that time. I was really fascinated by the way those bands would create songs that communicated a lot, often in less than a minute, and wanted to apply that same philosophy to my writing. “Why waste words?” was definitely a motto.

About three months after the infamous pub lunch, I had a draft that I was happy for other people to look at. I sent it to four poets I love and used their feedback to start redrafting. I worked on the manuscript pretty consistently until November 2018, working on it most days, before submitting it to Burning Eye. By the time I sent the manuscript I’d been through 10 full redrafts and about 30 “mini-redrafts”. I’m definitely not the most talented poet I know, but I like to think I make up for that through hard work.

Burning Eye took the book on in early 2019. That year I worked on it a lot less: I wrote 6 new poems to go in, but mostly focused on touching up the way it looked on the page. Form and layout definitely aren’t my strong suits, but I had some amazing advice from Roger Robinson and Amy Acre that helped pull it up a few notches.

All of which to say: yes, I do a lot of rewriting.

Did any poems on the same theme not make it in to the collection?

Yes, there are a few poems that didn’t make it in. At one point I was toying with the idea of doing a pamphlet called “More Poems About Break-Ups and Tidying” with some of the off-cuts… but the poems I cut were all for good reason. Either the idea wasn’t quite there yet or they were too similar to poems that did make the cut.

I originally had a run of three poems near the end of the book that just didn’t quite fit the story. When I first started the book, I thought those three were the best examples of page poems I had, but because of that I didn’t push them as hard on the rewrites. So by the time I really had to make decisions about the book’s direction they were suddenly the weakest poems and didn’t really fit at all. They had to go to make the book stronger overall.

There’s a prose poem in the book called “Check”, which almost didn’t make the cut. It took me a long time to write that piece – I couldn’t quite work out how to make it work, but knew it was an important beat in the story. It went through a lot of variations – at one point it was a sonnet, then a pantoum… it went everywhere. Eventually I realised: I was writing about quite a dark part of the relationship. I was writing about behaviour that was ugly and that I wasn’t proud of. Trying to force an ugly theme into a lovely poetic form wouldn’t work, so it needed to be prose. I’m really glad I managed to eventually make that one work – it pushed me and I think the book is better for it.

How did you feel once the collection was complete? Was it a therapeutic experience to talk about the relationship?

Was it therapeutic? Yes. I definitely feel like writing the book gave me a sense of closure and thankfulness about the relationship. But also I think it’s very easy to write badly about a relationship after it’s broken up – it was really important to me that the book felt like it was coming from a loving place and not feel spiteful or nasty about the other person.

The very first line of the book is “the story’s better when you tell it”, acknowledging that this is only one side of the narrative. There’s another, better version of the story waiting to be told. And the final poem in the book ends on a sense of thankfulness for the relationship, which was very important to me.

As for how I feel about the collection being complete… I don’t know. The book released a week before the UK lockdown, so I’ve not been able to tour it and hear what people think of the poems live yet. In a way it’s still not complete and I’m not sure it ever will be…

What has the reaction been to the collection?

So far people have been really positive about it. I’m really glad that it seems to be connecting with people – I’ve even had a few people who don’t really read poetry tell me that they enjoy it which is a real compliment to the work.

It’s funny to see which bits of the book people enjoy most – poems that aren’t necessarily my favourite seem to speak a lot to other people and that’s beautiful to see.

What are you currently working on, and what is your next project?

I have a few projects going on right now outside of trying to re-schedule the Biceps tour.

I’ve just recorded all the poems from Biceps as audio and have put them out on a shiny red cassette tape over on my Big Cartel page https://laurieeaves.bigcartel.com That’s been really fun to put together – I set up a record label for it called Buried Vinyl and I’m starting to think about a second release. I’m planning on doing a vinyl compilation album of poets I love for the next release, so I’m starting to put that together right now.

I’ve also started some “pre-production” work on a second collection which for now I’m calling “Get Human!” I have a few ideas I’m playing with for that at the moment, but I doubt it’ll be quite the “poetry concept album” that Biceps is.

The other big ongoing project I’m always working on is Dead Darlings Podcast which I co-host with Rebecca Cooney and Hannah Chutzpah. It’s a monthly poetry podcast with interviews, writing tips, book reviews and event shout-outs, which you can get wherever you get your podcasts. We’re coming up on our first anniversary and our latest episode has an interview with RikTheMost, who’s an incredible poetry tour de force.

I’m also starting to take on more editing work again at the moment – both for individual poems and manuscripts. If anyone’s reading this and is looking for an editor they can drop me a line on https://www.laurieeaves.com for a chat.

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?

Robert Garnham Delivers a Ted (Style) Talk

Welcome to my Ted Talk
(My clicker isn’t working)
Welcome to my Ted Talk
(My clicker isn’t working)

How are we going to solve
Various big big things?
Three golden rules!
(Shame about my clicker)

Coming in to the coffee shop
I’m the bastard looking for
A power socket
Charging up my laptop
Charging up my laptop
Charging power to power my
Power point presentation
I have the power!

If I do this
(:::::::::::::;;;:;;)
You’ve just witnessed me doing it
And that’s an example of
POSITIVE THINKING!
Three golden rules!

1. Achieve the continuous
2. Apply it like a haberdasher
3. Can be split into twenty four subheadings

(This clicker is not working!)

If I put my hand in my pocket
And wander around
It makes me look more relaxed!!!

You’ve got to understand
That people
Always make
The wrong decisions.

Welcome to my Ted Talk!
Smug!
Life hacks!
(Fourteen different subheadings)

You can usually work out EXACTLY where
The bus will stop
And this will save you
TIME and ENERGY

There are eight different things I learned
SMUG BASTARD
When I lost my luggage while backpacking
(This clicker is just not working)

If I do this
(;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;)
It’s an example of sonic dissonance.

Madam, when did you last knowingly
Have spaghetti?

MY BOAT SANK!
And I didn’t even get slightly wet
My life is charged with a new purpose
I learned twelve new things!
Twelve new LIFE HACKS
LIFE HACKS
LIFE HACKS
LIFE SUCKS!

(This clicker is getting on my tits)

1. Technology
2. Murdering people is generally frowned on.
3. The power of positive thinking!
4. This clicker this clicker this clicker this clicker
5. I know six people called Ted and they all talk

Power point presentation validate it
Power point presentation validate jr
Let’s just validate if shall we?
This is an aha moment

Take on me!

You!
You fiend!
You bastard!

It’s a unifies mental model, Mrs McGough
It’s visual interaction.
It’s.
The.
Same.
As.
Every.
Damn.
Ted.
Talk.

This clicker
Definitely
Is not working.

Thank you.