Monthly Archives: December 2013



I didn’t know about this video until my friend Googled my name, which just goes to show how exhilarating and fearful the Internet can be. Here’s me performing a slightly older version of Architects’ Triptych, including its older, shittier title. I’m not exactly sure why I’m posting this, because watching, or even listening to it, makes me cringe a little. But that’s what we tend to do, as we look back on our work, older and cooler, so I’ll take it as a good response. My main gripe is that I think my delivery here is too slow, breaking up the flow.

This was done at an event in Montreal (where I lived for 8 months this last year) by the McGill University performance poetry collective McSWAY, both an exhibition (which this piece was) and a slam at the end. We were invited to add to our exhibition pieces with other works of art; you can see my contribution at the top-leftish, a photo-collage of three buildings, reflecting the three sections of the poem. It’s been a long time since I’ve done visual art, and it was really quite enjoyable to just sit in my bedroom, alone, with card and paper and scissors and glue. When I’m creating something I’m often very focussed on what the end-product will look like – the all-important performance. But you don’t ‘perform’ a collage in the same way, and making this reminded me how enjoyable and how important the process, not seen directly by anyone else, can be.


Dad is silent on the sofa, nose in Reader’s Digest;

Granddad silent even more so, rattling through Sudoku.

My mouth isn’t moving – so I’m silent,

But that’s all there is to it.



Tramp across the heathland feel the wind between your shins

– Breathe it in.

‘Gainst your forehead ‘gainst your chest feel the walls of what’s before you:

Man-made tor, disused monastery.


Reformation rumbles through the centuries to this moment:

Ritual and sacrament;

Torment now repentant:

Stone buttresses still stretch and speak in stretching;

Stone walls still span and speak in spanning;

Stone columns still stand and speak in standing;

Quiet majesty in local stone.



Built: 1847

Ex-parish church

No special features

Awaiting listed building status

In need of restoration

Missing slate from roof,

Missing glass from windows,

Missing hinges,

Missing opportunities hushed before fruition.


Gentle spirits in every room; a simple ease and softly stated humour

In the pots and pans abandoned,

The dangling cables that spark on occasion:

A self-contented mess in need of loving care and inclined ear to hear the stress of two hundred years.



What am I?

What am I?


I am something to say!

I am the latest example of post-modern architecture!

I have a roof in the shape of a Chippendale!

I rise from this tiresome urban uncut lawn





Talk to me!

My pants are full of money!

Wads in my waistline that make me a mushroom –

– That’s it!

I am a building in the shape of a mushroom

And they shall call me… The PORTOBELLO.

My pants are full of money! And so is everyone else’s!

The builders?

Pants are full of money!

The foremen?

Pants are full of money!

The architect?

Pants are full of money!

The developers?

Pants are full of money!

The managers?

Pants are full of money!

The city council?

Pants are full of money!

Prince Charles?

Pants are full of money!

The Qatari Royal Family?

Pants are full of money!


Friends, Romans, Countrymen: Lend me your pants, and we’ll stuff ’em!


From my heady heights,

I see the old parish church fighting for funding from English Heritage

But no one’s listening.

I see the rural ruins in the distance that swell and say nothing.


The business day ends.

Computers on standby.

The developers move into a disused car park next door.

Pegs of cranes and scaffolding snag at my ankles.

With every mark of dirt and dust I shorten my sentences

Filter my phrasing.

Every year I have less to say and more to stow away under my tongue

Until one day –

Paint peeling on the ceiling,

I tell my story in




[For a while this has had the title Son of an Architect’s Architect Son, but I always felt that had a toxic adolescent mix of both blatancy and evasiveness. I was sorely tempted to retitle it as Patriarchitecture, but that just sounds like an awful album title.]

Reading The Baby at the Soap Box Open Mic at Pleasance Cabaret bar, 7th November 2013.

The theme was ‘Fear and Strength’; I tried to write something for it, but bar a rather crudely-etched stanza of something that didn’t speak honestly for me, I had nothing. So I thought to myself, ‘Fuck the theme’, and read The Baby. Which promptly ended up fitting the theme, somehow. How convenient.

People get quite amused by my use of a laptop at open mics, where I put all my finished stuff after drafting it. I don’t always refer directly to it but I have it on me just in case I forget something. I’m quite new to having a laptop at all and, it being my new toy, I use wherever I can like an annoying, technologically-backward child.

Soap Box’s Facebook page (and where I got the photos from)


Follow the love that you didn’t see coming

Follow the love that turns up uninvited

Follow the love that sits in the gut and refuses to leave

Follow the love that makes you horny

Follow the love that pulls you deeper

Follow the love that takes before giving

Follow the love that knocks on the door

Follow the love that shoots first asks questions later

Follow the love that is impatient

Follow the love that you fear to thinking

Follow the love that people on the street decline

Follow the love that your parents disapprove of

Follow the love that Hollywood doesn’t see the money in

Follow the love that you got given for Christmas and didn’t want

Follow the love that is an acquired taste

Follow the love that gets fatter

Follow the love that changes your plans

Follow the love that immediately takes its time

Follow the love that keeps you awake then sends you to sleep

“When all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone away from the well’s mouth and water the sheep. Then they would return the stone to its place over the mouth of the well.”

Early evening routine that daily takes me down,

Places me gently to the ground:

A softish tussock as I look out

Upon the plains and stretching sunset.

Centring upon this whorl in the earth’s sweet-smelling scalp,

Like that of my mother as I bend down to kiss her,

Or the ring of my children as I give them their dinner

– Food upon the table.


My rest is in my labour;

Through worn muscles and edified callouses

These hours of strength and sweat and effort

Are where I breathe slower and deeper.

Leaving my hand-print upon this stone we here brothers heave,

I like to believe I’ve excised with worthy effort

The waste of my being;

The stacked up bumf and chitter-chatter;

The things that only I have made matter

– The ceaseless noise.


Yesterday was like today; tomorrow will be like yesterday as

Yesterday passed on this way of doing and being

That fortifies my ways of feeling,

And stills our restless wanderings throughout the day.

Any path will do as we pass through

And eat the food that billows out our spirits and brings us to this here well.

Like the story father always tells,

Or like our dog exhausted by the fire, but his eyes still shining brightly

– Let sleeping dogs lie.

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