Monday, April 14, 2014



I hated poetry at my secondary modern school. Hymns seemed like the only poetry until The Mersey Sound (Henri, McGough and Patten) and Bob Dylan found their way to me. Through this teenage interest I soon found my way to the Penguin Modern Poets No 5 paperback – the Beats Ginsberg, Corso and Ferlinghetti.


If ‘Coney Island of The Mind’ (City Lights) by Lawrence Ferlinghetti was my favourite book for many years, “Sometime during eternity…” was the first poem that gripped me for a life time. Its fluidity, which others might term simplicity, allows everyone who can read into it. The page layout is the metre (the voice). It is a universal poem, written in the heart of the beast, the USA, addressing religion, rendering that which is the human circumstance as chance – but the chance to be and to do.


At seventeen at college I had to read poems aloud as part of the intensive Speech, Drama and Dance course I was studying – for an English Speaking Board exam. I wasn’t a high flyer in that process but I got to read “Sometime during eternity…” I was also introduced to Louis MacNeice’s ‘Snow’ poem but preferred his ‘Prayer Before Birth.’


‘Prayer Before Birth’ is also an open, simple poem with the incantation of prayer; and carries the questions of the unborn into a world torn apart by war and exploitation.  


However, an interest in poetry carried me in all sorts of directions – back and forwards between the accepted cannon of classical poetry and the flowering small press poets.


My third favourite poem is more of an experience than a poem! After the college course I spent time in Liverpool and, by chance, stumbled upon a performance at the Walker Art Gallery by concrete Poet Bob Cobbing. I think the poem is titled ‘tantandinane’ (ABC in Sound?) and was an improvisation in sound using elements of words. Later, the revelation that a text could be an intermediary between performances became important to my own work.


Why a concrete/sound poem in my top ten? I was into artists like Kurt Schwitters and Diter Rot and the idea of things being broken (deconstructed) and remade, which is an essence of Modernism, appeals to me still.


A year later I was back in Suffolk and began reading Sylvia Plath – every poem. Though carefully structured, her work is ever lively and succinct. ‘Daddy’ became a favourite – opening up a debate in my mind about the sexes – a war between the sexes, Freudianism and the fight for women’s equality. The nursery rhyme like structure undercuts the images of the fascistic father and holds out the horrors of the world as male constructs.


If Plath was all about individual and internalised struggles – the world as an influence in the head and soul – Adrian Mitchell’s poetry was about the big struggles in the world, from war and famine, to a war between capitalism and socialism.


Adrian Mitchell’s ‘Tell Me Lies About Vietnam’ is a brilliant poem because he inverts the linguistic style of tabloid reportage to create a powerful poem of statements in opposition to the ruling ideology of the tabloids.


Twenty years after I first bought Mitchell’s ‘Riding The Nightmare’ I was lucky enough to read with the poet at a gig in aid of Medicine For Iraq in the wake of the US/UK embargo on medical supplies to its people following the first 1991 imperialist war on that Middle East country. If you can’t wipe out people with bombs, wipe them out with disease!


While Roger McGough got comfy money by doing the voice for Waitrose ads, Mitchell never gave in to that comfort. Apart from Sylvia Plath perhaps, these poets whose poems have ended up on my top 10 list, wrote or performed for objectives beyond themselves – for the world.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


This month's concert at Milestones Jazz Club on Sunday 6 April features the first return visit since 2010 of the master guitarist leading his own funky band - The Paul Hill Quartet.

Paul Hill, one of the region’s finest guitarists, is distinguished by the fact that he plays the specially built BJH 7-string guitar that creates a much bigger sound than the normal 6-string guitar.

Paul began playing classical guitar at about 9 years of age before progressing to the electric guitar and by the age of 13 was regularly playing in rock bands.

Soon he began studying advanced concepts in jazz and is now a very successful teacher, examiner for the London College of Music and the author of the popular book - The Paul Hill Guitar Theory and Technique Book.

His fleet-footed, punchy playing confirms the influence of jazz guitar greats like Django Reinhardt, Wes Montgomery, Barney Kessel and Joe Pass.

Here he leads a quartet of the region’s most respected players through an imaginative selection of both American Songbook classics and modern jazz standards by Chick Corea, Mike Stern, Bob Berg, Stevie Wonder and Pat Metheny that showcases Paul's warm tone, inventive lines and advanced sense of harmony.

The band’s full line-up features Paul Hill (7-string guitar), Simon Brown (piano), Andy Doyle (bass) and Cath Evans (drums).

 All Milestones gigs are held on the first Sunday of every month and take place at Hotel Hatfield, Esplanade, Lowestoft with the doors opening at 8pm.

Admission - £7 / £6 (concession).

Thursday, March 27, 2014

JUDGEMENT - a poem by Rupert Mallin

Days in chambers

Prosecuting climates:

A robe falls

Light catches lead in the panes

And ink scrawls

A spider concentration camp


You look through me

In a stranger’s dream:

Our history in your hair

Each word an old river

Your punctuation antique


Days in chambers

Prosecuting friends:

The globe tilts

Night catches ice

And only rubbery entrails

Remain of the erasure of failures


You look at me:

Nectar from your nightmare

Solid, pollen fossilized

Wing beats from a millennium ago.

You and I frozen.

DOVER SOLE - a poem by Rupert Mallin


We meet

Eye to toe

Head to feet

On a bench


We’d been to lunch

Grilled sardine and tomato

In The Accused, a café

At the corner of Dale Street

It’s off the beaten track

And we arrived via tweets.

Strips of blind shuffled like solders

And a sergeant of sunlight

Danced on Marmite

And was gone


We meet

Eye to toe

Head to feet

In a trench


We had been at lunch

Poached lemon Dover sole

In The Accused, a café

On the corner of Dale Street

And Alan Road

On the way to the crematorium

You said, “all you can eat”

Before we were reassembled by name

In the old livestock auditorium

Friday, March 21, 2014


Gary J. Jucha, in his otherwise informative book ‘Jimi Hendrix Faq, disputes that Hendrix’s Woodstock ‘Star Spangled Banner’ instrumental is political, is a rebellious howl against war. He is wrong.


In 1969 the HUAC (House of Un-American Activities Committee), established in 1938, still existed, and the shadows of the Hollywood Blacklist and controls against media and cultural criticism of government, persisted. Allegiance to the flag was everything.


On the reverse side of this was the Civil Rights Movement, a global rise in national liberation movements, industrial strikes and the War in Vietnam. Hendrix knew the score and lived his short life in the contradiction between the entertainment industry and the persistent fight for equality.


Hendrix’s rendition of the anthem is not an overly imaginative interpretation of the lyrics but a collision between their history and the moment – war, riots and a summer of love. “You can hear the bombs dropping in Vietnam” someone recently wrote on the YouTube video of Hendrix’s masterpiece.


Hendrix’s ‘Star spangled Banner’ isn’t his usual jam/impro. He almost instantly loses Mitch Mitchell on drums: here is a great musician turning the veneer of US reality over, revealing the napalm, the destruction and the pointlessness of war. With his eye on maintaining his own armour, his fingers paint a masterly satire of the state of the nation. It is revolutionary.


I remember seeing Woodstock in 1970 at a special screening in Sudbury, Suffolk, in the cinema the town once had. Way back then I wondered if he’d be arrested for such expression. But Hendrix knew how to dress the anthem up – with a hand to the crowd and a smile – and people saying, “well, how else do you think Hendrix would do that one?”

Saturday, March 08, 2014


The John Ward Band

Waveney Folk Club, Crown Street Hall, Lowestoft

Friday 21st March

Doors 7.30pm

together with Stephen Mynott (guitar, mandolin), Les Woodley (double bass, mandolin), Andy Marr(Cajon, Percussion), Lynne Ward (vocals) - who  will be joined by Mario Price (violin).

You don’t need to be a member of the ‘club’ (there is no membership). It’s £6.00 on the door, the door is in Factory Street and they open about 7.30

There will be some floor spots beforehand and we start playing about 8.45. Bear in mind if you are thinking of coming that space is limited to about 90.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

EPICS OF OPTIMISM, a poem by Martin Stannard - Stride Publications

Martin Stannard, who I have regularly featured on this blog over the years - and whose work I've enthused about - has a poem 'Epics of Optimism' published by Stride Publications

MORE POEMS by Martin Stannard at Leafe Press

And here are some more excellent poems by Martin Stannard at Leafe Press.

You can also find more of Martin's poems on his website - link on the right hand sidebar.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A POEM by GRZEGORZ WROBLEWSKI , read at a recent reading in London

A poem by GRZEGORZ WROBLEWSKI  read by the poet (with an English translation) at a recent reading in London.

OLD MAN'S SOIL a poem by Rupert Mallin



He feared bats because they had poked spokes through his eyes

As they crashed against the enormous creosoted edifice,

Black plastic sinews running like ash into lime dust,

Molten in the mixer to build houses.


Plans without plots, plots without bricks,

Frog up in the perpetual storm

Of the market.


Though he felt the pulse of tubes within him,

Wheels turned in there.

He used the shadows in his coat to hide

The wheels, the cogs, the pulleys.

They turned without him – against him.


They broke him:


“Just old man’s soil.”

Sunday, February 16, 2014



This month’s concert at Milestones Jazz Club on Sunday 2 March features a return visit by a talented saxophonist delivering driving swing and earthy blues – Josh Kemp’s Jazz Prophets.

Tenor saxophonist, composer and arranger Josh Kemp is based in London and known for his melodic inventiveness, warm sound and grooving swing.

Josh came to jazz at the early age of nine and by his teens his quartet was awarded the Daily Telegraph Young Jazz Band of the Year prize before winning scholarships to study jazz at London’s prestigious Guildhall and Trinity College of Music.

Josh’s lyrical and melodic saxophone style reflects a wide knowledge of jazz from the tender tone of Ben Webster and Stan Getz to the probing thoughtfulness of John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter.

Part of his repertoire and style comes from Hard Bop, the strand of blues and gospel influenced jazz developed by Art Blakey and Horace Silver in the 1950’s.

The Jazz Prophets remix Blakey’s bluesy swagger and the brittle explorations of Wayne Shorter on hard-swinging originals and standards that showcase Josh’s big, round tone.

This concert is part of a UK wide tour supported by Jazz Services to promote Josh's newly released album, 'Tone Poetry'.

Josh has already released three CDs to wide acclaim – Kukus, Animation Suspended and Animus, has performed extensively at venues around the UK including Ronnie Scott’s club, The National Portrait Gallery and The National Theatre and is active in jazz education, directing the Cambridge Youth Jazz Orchestra and coaching at workshops and courses.

The band’s full line-up features Josh Kemp (tenor saxophone), Simon Brown (piano), Bernie Hodgkins (double bass) and George Double (drums).

All Milestones gigs are held on the first Sunday of every month and take place at Hotel Hatfield, Esplanade, Lowestoft with the doors opening at 8pm.

Admission - £7 / £6 (concession).

Sunday, February 02, 2014

SEVEN BRIDES - A POEM by Rupert Mallin


The seven veils of seven brides as

Slender as the veil of another’s beard

And as delicate as the surgeon’s veil


The veil of health and safety


The first shipmate’s veil

The veil of the slumped figurine

The veil of Morgan

In the valley of veils


The veil of vinegar

The pom-poms and old beach handkerchiefs and

The scarf of the sex shop


The balaclava of Brampton

The V of the angry veil

The envied embroidery of Saturday’s bonnet

The sour Westerner


The veil of the vortex


Such are

The seven brides of Brampton

The seven beards of Brampton

The two houses and two barns of Brampton

The long moustache and longer scarf of Brampton


Such is


Tuesday, January 21, 2014


This month’s concert at Milestones Jazz Club on Sunday 2 February features a return performance by one of the region’s finest big bands, Horn Factory, playing dynamic music in an intimate setting that is all too rare.

Horn Factory was initiated by former National Youth Jazz Orchestra saxophonist Gilly Burgoyne in 1998 and is made up of eighteen of the finest jazz musicians from the region with proceedings being led from the front by percussionist and musical director Bob Airzee.

The bands varied repertoire reflects the rich history of big band jazz - classic arrangements from Count Basie, Stan Kenton and Buddy Rich to contemporary material by Pat Metheny and Michel Camilo and is performed with the attack that only a big band can muster.

Over the last few years Horn Factory have honed their skills, making numerous appearances at theatres, festivals, jazz clubs and several performances at Snape Maltings.

Since the band last performed at Milestones in 2012 there have been many requests for their return, making a packed room and exciting atmosphere guaranteed for this concert.

Horn Factory’s 18-strong unit features 5 saxophones, 5 trumpets, 4 trombones and a 4-piece rhythm section.

The power of a jazz orchestra in full flight on record or television is impressive but to experience it live, and in an intimate venue like Milestones, is exhilarating and not to be missed!

All Milestones gigs are held on the first Sunday of every month and take place at Hotel Hatfield, Esplanade, Lowestoft with the doors opening at 8pm.
Admission - £7 / £6 (concession).

Friday, January 10, 2014


‘Starting At Zero’ from Blloomsbury was part of my reading for Christmas 2013. Jimi Hendrix, His Own Story, compiled and edited by Paul Neal is particularly moving. Neal combines Hendrix’s diaries, letters and interviews with the lyrics of this revolutionary musician who lived just 27 years.

If Bob Dylan was the voice of 1960s rebellion, Jimi Hendrix was the revolutionary vibration of the era.

I was fourteen at an extremely conservative and rural Secondary Modern school when I first heard The Jimi Hendrix Experience – ‘Purple Haze.’ It literally shook me. While the Beatles had opened a door to popular music, Hendrix blew the roof off.

The son of a poor black man and a woman of American Indian stock (who left him and then died when Jimi was in childhood), the musician-to-be had only one way to be brought up – the hard way. He was not only thrown out of school but also the local church. Though he knew the criminal streets of Seattle, from an early age his heart strings were those of a guitar.

Though The Jimi Hendrix Experience was an urban sound spanning continents, Hendrix’s endless references to air, water, fire and earth immediately suggested to me that this man, like myself, was a) quite shy and sensitive off stage and b) not the product of a university!

I make no claim that Jimi Hendrix’s lyrics are poetry – as Dylan’s are poetry – but in all his songs it is impossible to separate his lyrics from the swirling blood of his guitar and arrangements. However, in ‘Starting At Zero’ the inclusion of some lyrics works because they are wrapped in the spoken tongue of Hendrix’s own words. They stand like illustrations in the book.

Together, word and sound here are poetry. In that sense, it was Jimi Hendrix who got me writing at fourteen. Just that sense from this libertine that anyone can write or pick up a guitar. More importantly, at the centre of each song was ‘feeling’ – which is referred to over and over in this ghostly autobiography. That is, the root of all creativity is feeling – a visceral rather than a cerebral connection with the world.

On ‘The X Factor’ Simon Cowell or Gary Barlow will advise contestants to make the song they’re singing “their own story.” But fake soul is not real empathy. Rather it is the expectation that popular music has to be enjoyed without creating a riot. Today popular music is created to make money, not to touch souls and make people feel deeply. Most of all, popular music does not want real engagement and collaboration between those listening. Its job now is to make the masses passive.

No one could accuse Hendrix of passive music. Within eighteen months of being in England in the 1960s, The Jimi Hendrix Experience had created three albums – Are You Experienced? Bold As Love and Electric Ladyland – and the group had toured half the world.
Most of his output was penned by himself and all arrangements of others’ songs were his - in collaboration with bassist Noel Redding, drummer Mitch Mitchell and, occasionally, producer Chas Chandler. In my view, he created the greatest popular song of the post war era – ‘All Along The Watchtower’ by Bob Dylan.

Without Dylan, Hendrix wouldn’t have sung at all. Jimi could hear the absolute sincerity in Dylan’s voice and lyrics and he knew that this must be his direction too. Between the two of them they made it possible for anyone to sing – not just the trained or talented. They opened the door to Lou Reed and Punk.

As said, Hendrix’s lyrics were never astounding when ripped from the music they breathed in. Not surprising, Hendrix wasn’t educated and his resources were the church (he’d been excluded from), Indian folklore, modern fantasy and a smattering of sci-fi placed firmly in the streets of the city.

I loathe fantasy. Yet Hendrix’s use of fantasy was to weave general myths increasingly touched by the folklore of his mother. For Hendrix, breathing under water is freedom and life beyond the mirror is reality. That is, to break the mirror is to pass from one controlled existence in this world into a higher, uncontrolled but universal harmony in another world. He wasn’t an atheist. He just hated the church. For him, life and faith were about passing from one stepping stone to another, echoing American Indian philosophy.

In my early poems I followed his stepping stones.

Though he had sudden fame and wealth, Hendrix hated money and sunk much of his earnings into making LPs, promoting concerts and into building a recording studio in New York. By 1969 The Jim Hendrix Experience had folded and he set up Band of Gypsies with Billy Cox and others. Though never overtly political, he knew which side he was on in the Civil Rights Movement in the USA and performed at anti-Vietnam War gigs.

As ever, his music was his politics (and his life was his art). His version of ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ at Woodstock is an anthem for those fighting for an alternative world of ‘love.’ In his last year, Hendrix was ever more fervent about the art of his music. With a Band of Gypsies he wanted to create a music for the open air – like the concerts he played in places like Harlem, often for free. His was always the opposite of “art for art’s sake.” Art was life – is life.

From our vantage point of 2014 it is easy for critics to belittle Hendrix on the grounds of sexism. Yet ‘Starting At Zero’ throws light on the sensitivity of the man and his contradictory nature. This is apparent from his songs, for ‘Little Wing’ is one of the most delicate and moving love songs of the age, imbued with a sense of another’s freedom.
‘Starting At Zero’ also undermines the notion of Hendrix’s own fatalism. He had big dreams and big plans to turn his music into theatre and film – and considered studying music. Every budding young musician or poet should read this book - instead of watching the X Factor or The Voice! 


Click on the Etsy logo on the right hand side bar to see more in my gallery


Another of my new boxes - Safe As Houses? Find more on my Etsy Gallery (click logo on the right hand side bar).

Tuesday, January 07, 2014


Regular readers of this blog hopefully will know the answer!

K.M. Dersley is an Ipswich born poet, reviewer and singer-songwriter whose work I have featured. Indeed, through the Ipswich Poetry Workshop, Syntaxophone and other ventures, our lives have often intertwined. Dersley is the closest we have to a Beat Poet in this country. In the best sense of the word folksy, this poet turns the mundane on its head and makes the dead pan and ordinary extraordinary.

Doug Coombes has written an excellent enthusiasm for this 'forgotten' Ipswich Poet in the online magazine InSuffolk

In Britain at this time the dead hands of academic poetry are burying voices from the working class, voices from otherwise anonymous locations. As Doug Coombes says, it's time again for The Derz. 

Monday, December 30, 2013


This month’s concert at Milestones Jazz Club on Sunday 5 January kicks off the 2014 programme with a band led by a
 much-loved veteran saxophonist - The Derek Cubitt Quartet.

For over fifty years Derek Cubitt has been a key figure on the East Anglian jazz scene, respected for his free-flowing, melodic and intelligent style on tenor, alto and soprano saxophones and clarinet.

Having just celebrated his 86th birthday, Derek shows no signs of stopping the music and this Milestones concert puts him firmly in the spotlight, leading his own band on a choice selection of jazz standards and a few Cubitt originals.

Born in Gorleston, Derek started playing clarinet in 1942, initially influenced by Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw, but with the arrival of modern jazz he fell under the spell of saxophonists like Charlie Parker, Ben Webster and Zoot Sims.

This experience of both traditional and modern styles of jazz has proved to be one of Derek's great strengths - a melodic melding of swing and bebop styles not only as a reed player but also as a respected arranger.

Although Derek spent many years playing all over the UK and Europe in everything from circus bands and pit orchestras to theatres and holiday camps, the exciting, unpredictable nature of jazz has always been his first love.

The admiration of the local jazz community is testament to Derek being still one of the best the region has to offer.
The band's full line-up features Derek Cubitt (tenor, alto and soprano saxophones / clarinet), Phil Brooke (guitar), Ivars Galenieks (double bass) and Brian McAllister (drums).

Listen to Derek's music via the club website at

All Milestones gigs are held on the first Sunday of every month and take place at Hotel Hatfield, Esplanade, Lowestoft with the doors opening at 8pm.

Admission - £7 / £6 (concessions)