Saturday, January 31, 2015


These are over painted embossed prints on hand made paper. I'm not sure where they are going but are part of the conveyor belt of my Out of The Machine Boxes.



Friday, January 30, 2015


A Test For Poets has appeared on Stride Books

Try it! I'm afraid that here there's only pale mash, burnt fish fingers and basic range baked beans for dinner.

Friday, January 23, 2015


It is entirely right to kick off celebrating ten years of blogging by featuring the work of two poets, Martin Stannard and Keith Dersley as we met in 1976 via the Ipswich Poetry Workshop and have, via the printed word and internet, kept in touch. Of course, the trajectories of our journeys have taken us in very different directions. That all three of us are still writing is something to celebrate in itself.



Some of Martin Stannard's books

Martin is a prolific poet whose work has appeared in a wide range of

magazines in the US and UK, a journey that began in the late 1970s. By the

end of that decade he began publishing the influential Joe Soap's Canoe

magazine, featuring poets from both sides of the pond (he has worked closely

with US poets, including the late Paul Violi).

His poetry, reviews and musings have been published by various presses,
including Stride, which published the paperback 'Writing Down The Days,'
packed with 140 pages of poetry.

As print turned to cyberspace, Martin ran the very successful Exultations &
Difficulties website.

He has been teaching at a university in China for over ten years and his
expansive body of writing continues to grow.

Here are some new poems.



Dear Consuela,

Since your return I am a stranger to myself. I look at my reflection on the bottom of my tobacco tin and see not the Prince I was expecting but an old man who looks like he might be a gardener from a faraway estate.

Dear Bella,

Since your return you have been so lively. How you do hop about! I have always been an admirer of tranquillity. I account for it by a general lack of energy and enthusiasm for life. Calm is my favoured condition.

Dear Pandora,

Since your return everything is different. My skin, for instance. I don’t think it has ever
been so velvety.

Dear Melancholia, 

Since your return even the famous John's pudding people of poetic legend are refusing to come out and play. I loathe having to make up my own solitary entertainments, but so be it.

Dear Atahuallpa,

Since your return you have been banging on about the song Marc wrote for you, but that was 1968 and the past is the past, and is the present only in our imaginations. Don't frown.

Dear Delilah, 

Since your return I'm without everything of value.

Dear Paranoia,

Since your return it has been too daunting to enter the forest. There is nothing but darkness among the trees, and if the sunlight will not go in among them I don't see why I should. I am not braver than the Sun.

Dear Sylvia,

Since your return it has been nothing but romantic chatter but it's pretty much all just noise. The more we use them the more our words lose any meaning they had.

Dear Fortuna,

Since your return the donkey at the mill has been restless. Perhaps his sense of distrust is heightened by your presence. He pulls with all his might and turns the wheel but the look in his eyes seems to suggest he knows it is all for nothing.

Dear Anaesthesia, 

Since your return you will not be surprised to hear I feel nothing.


I've put the shelf back up and repaired the wall. I leave you 

to put the ornaments back in place and re-hang the pictures – 

those that are still in one piece. I'll be here on Saturday morning

as usual. Please have the kids ready. I sign myself "The DIY Man". 

I have no idea where you are. Perhaps you are on Faraway Island

or on top of Cloud-Hidden Mountain. I hope you are not 

down Deep Dark Hole. It's not nice down there. But when you return (you will return,
right?) could you at least message me 

so I know I'm not talking to myself? I'll be here on Saturday morning 

as usual. Please have the kids ready. I sign myself  

"Global Repositioning System". 

By the way, did you come across my Alexis Zoumbas CD 

while you were having your clear out? I know you 

weren't a fan but I kind of miss him. His playing 

really annoyed the neighbours, and that was all the inspiration 

someone like me needs. I'll be here on Saturday morning

as usual. Please have the kids ready. I sign myself "The Fiddler".  

Dearest, did you ever like my mind? I had been thinking 

of leaving it to you when I check out in exchange for 

occasional touches of your most intimate clothing but this may now be 

the all-time mootest of moot points. I am becoming

a connoisseur of the pointless. I'll be here on Saturday morning

as usual. Please have the kids ready. I sign myself "Joe the Meek".

On the turntable as I write this Malcolm and The Countdowns are

spinning  out of control, Malcolm’s heart having been stolen away 

by a post-war party girl.  Notice how he doesn’t say 

his heart’s been ripped from his chest. I'll be here on Saturday morning

as usual, so please have the kids ready. 


What began as a tear-stained conversation over a pint of ale

turned into a popular television sitcom 

beloved by millions

but the authors (having given up their day-jobs) preferred to see it

as a tragedy of Grecian proportions -- but they should have known

our writings, our precious children, are often misunderstood.

It's, you know, wrong to castigate anyone

for chuckling

during the opening chapters of Moby Dick. And The Scarlet Letter

is now seen not so much as a futile attempt to assuage

Puritan guilt as one of the finest tools ever devised

for the filling of student lives

with misery, something with which we may safely assume 

Nathaniel Hawthorne would not have had much sympathy. 

We shall never know for sure, but to be honest we

don't care a hell of a lot. Poets

are among the most unsympathetic of folk

and often fail to understand themselves, yet it has ever been 

the lot of the versifier to be hailed by the tribe

as head cook, philosopher, 

Jack-of-All-Trades and bottle-washer 

by the jury of his or her peers, 

and someone to turn to in times of distress and/or boredom. 

So it was that last night 

came a-knocking at my door 

the mayor and his deputies and the ladies of the Knitting Guild.

When I answered their knock 

I was wearing my

My girlfriend says she loves me but she lets me go out

wearing this t-shirt” t-shirt

because I have a sense of humour. The mayor on his knees

begged me

to write a poem so the ne'er-do-wells 

who own the town's hot-shot-night-spots and low-life-wallow-dives

might gather up their shady belongings and

high-tail it away

so the ladies might not be hampered in their endeavours

to clean up the community and get everyone

knitting their way to Heaven.

Well, it behoved me

to clarify my position concerning morality.

The local good time gals are of variable quality, I said.

My ambition is to retire from poetry and start a Hell Fire Club.

I like recreational sex and video games.

And eating. Apropos of which, I once fell asleep between courses 

at my third-favourite restaurant — The Muses, 

a name that almost stops me from eating there. It’s only 

the waitresses and the bread and butter pudding 

that keep me going back. I noticed, when

the mayor and his deputies and the ladies of the Knitting Guild

turned their collective back on me as if they could not

get away fast enough

how at that time of the evening 

if one looks long and very hard into the sky 

there are words hanging, waiting to be plucked like stars

from space. The words

I harvested that night were (let me check my journal;

oh yeah:) credulous, fraternize, dyspepsia, tape,

Uzbekistan, dowager, plead, bind, syrup, and one short phrase:

"Be ever moved by life."


Some of Keith Dersley's books

Keith Dersley was a stalwart of the magazine scene which

proliferated from the 1960s to the 1990s. His poetry and

reviews appeared in The London Magazine, Poetry Review,

Ambit, Joe Soap's Canoe and literally scores and scores of

other periodicals.

In the 1980s he set up and ran Appliance Books and less t

than a decade later, the prestigious Ragged Edge Website -

not only promoting his own poetry and prose but publishing

poets largely drawn from the post-Beats generation.

An impressive range of poetry pamphlets and books were

published. His thick paperback 'Sketches by Derz' broke new

ground in its eclectic mix of high flying reviews and

reflections of the more mundane interactions of human kind.

Though the magazine scene has evaporated, replaced by an

increasingly insipid internet poetry market, Keith continues to write.

There is another side to Keith's work too. He is a song writer

and performer.

Here are a few of his recent poems.



was almost seduced

by the world

of zines.

this whole as it were

undersea continent of crazy people

spending their money producing some

fascinating and

some asinine works.

I got Zine World

and from the descriptions bought

a dozen zines.

two or three disappointed,

the others showed to me

worlds I’d never have

penetrated otherwise.

the more you looked the more

there was. it was clear that

I could start my own zine!


despite everything

the zine world

is clearly even more

rarefied than the

poetry world

of which I’ve had enough

of not having enough.

you could so easily fall into

this delicious Borg assimilation of zines,

spend a lot of money

and never be heard of again.


to Grover's bookshop after hours for 
the poetry read-round.
glad to see Gloria, and Harry.  
it had already started when we arrived.

in a whisper between readings
i told the organiser i had 
a poem to read and he said wait until
the tea break and i'll look through it.
(i thought this was odd.)

later he checked it and though
it was slightly gutter oriented 
there were no swear words
and he said, 'Fine, fine.'

'Oh you know Gloria, do you?' he 
said a little later.
if I'd said that before
I wda been in without a vetting.

but he had thought i 
was one of those rough 
types who came in and 
read gutter stuff

he didn't know how flattered that 
made me feel.



Flog It is great, and

some of the other programmes

about antiques.

how else would we have learned

about Clarice Cliff,

Wedgewood and Moorcroft?

one show they even had a valuation

of Lawrence of Arabia’s aviator watch.

TV catches these things well

but I don’t know about

some of the other stuff

like Friends or Frazier.

all I see there is

people sitting on sofas

throwing the badinage


now am I old fashioned

or shouldn’t they

be pushing a herd of beeves

from San Antonio to Sedalia,

maintaining law in Dodge

or harassing the gentry

on their way through Sherwood

whilst remaining loyal

to King Richard?


I've returned to writing. That is, I've never stopped writing

but I've returned to writing poetry using a large hardback

notebook and pen. I don't know who told me to put a large

margin down the right hand side but because I was told to

do that over forty years ago, I thought I would return to this

format in my sixties.

A landscape painter friend of mine says he often returns to

old landscapes, some of which didn't work the first time

round. With years more experience, he can make them work

now. More important than this, time changes the landscape.

To have the old landscape beneath the new landscape gives

the work a haunting quality, and yet an even more potent and

realistic view of change.

On that basis I am returning to some early writings too. So,

why not revisit some old methods as well?

Rupert Mallin

Thursday, January 22, 2015


This month’s concert at Milestones Jazz Club on Sunday 1 February features an exciting saxophonist leading his London band in their first appearance at the club since 2004 - The Julian Costello Quartet.

Julian Costello is a tenor/soprano saxophonist and composer who grew up in London and studied at the Trinity College of Music.

Julian's strong, evocative compositions with a nod to the work of ECM artists like Jan Garbarek, Charles Lloyd and Ralph Towner create some compelling music that showcases his rich and warm while still robust tenor saxophone sound.

The quartet combines the rhythmic and harmonic complexities of contemporary jazz without ignoring the traditions of composition and improvisation - freewheeling passages are unexpectedly resolved as rhythmic cycles, merged and de-constructed in unexpected ways.

His composing balances the personal, witty, exciting and playful, drawing on a range of musical styles from jazz and beyond.

Julian's search for melodic invention is aided by a wonderfully exciting band of musicians - his long-time musical associate, guitarist Patrick Naylor, the sought-after double bassist Dave Jones and the uber-creative drummer Tim Giles.

Julian has performed at prestigious venues like Ronnie Scotts and The 606 Club, at festivals all over the country and released five albums of original music, the most recent being 'Edge of Distinction' in 2011.

This is the only East Anglian date on a a short series of concerts around the UK

The band’s full line-up features Julian Costello (tenor/soprano sax), Patrick Naylor (guitar), Dave Jones (double bass) and Tim Giles (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).

Monday, January 19, 2015


Post war Claimants Unions (CUs) go back to around 1968. Indeed, these centres of action by and for the unemployed have grown and fallen away in cycles since then. From 1968 to 1976 over 120 claimants unions were set up across the country, organising the unemployed (an interesting history can be found here ) on a democratic basis.

Though these CUs faded in number after 1976, they were forged out of the workers' struggles. As those struggles ebbed in the late 1970s, so did the CUs.

The idea of CUs was planted and there was a resurgence in them around the Great Miners Strike of 1984-5 - via Unemployed Workers' Centres (UWCs). A long established and radical UWC existed in Norwich, while the UWC in Ipswich became a central point for campaigns and alternative culture.

In 1986 I ran some workshops at the Ipswich UWC alongside artist Gerald Nason who was leading banner making classes. The Ipswich UWC was a large space to house a café, a working area and more. It had one full time worker, I seem to recall.

Around the turn of the decade a UWC was set up in Great Yarmouth and in the early 1990s Lowestoft obtained its own centre. Operating as a facility in a building required staff and continual funding from the Trade Unions. Later, there would be local authority funding and more to meet costs and wages. They became a facility for the unemployed rather than a campaigning organisation run by the unemployed.

So, have the CUs disappeared?

Quite recently, Norwich Claimants Union has been set up as a campaigning organisation working with other groups. This is an excellent initiative if it can keep campaigning centre stage in an organisation run for and by the unemployed.


Recently I found a postcard of Rubens' 'Fall Of The Damned' and realised that a small drawing by my late father Tom Mallin (1927-1977) mirrored this famous work with almost tumbling naked Rubens like women, in a waterfall down the page (see the pen and wash study above).

This drawing can now be found on the cover of the republished novel 'Knut' by Tom Mallin - Verbivoracious Press

Rather than 'Fall Of The Damned' it is titled 29 Sutherland Place (London). It was drawn in the late 1940s, when Tom was studying at the Anglo-French Arts Centre. The centre brought together artists interested in the New Realism of the French, loosely connected to the Existentialism of Sartre and thereby in opposition to the religious symbolism and gratuitous plumpness of Ruben's women.

Tom's portrayal of the damned is thereby entirely specific to a house in West London some 65 years ago! What lies hidden behind doors and walls is as intriguing now as it was then, and is very much part of the reality Tom pursued through his art. After this drawing, he produced another series of illustrations with the walls taken away, revealing debauchery, hypocrisy and poverty behind them.

By removing the fourth wall, his art became more literal, wanting to tell stories, engage in the interactions between people, so it's not surprising he turned to writing novels and plays.

Sunday, January 18, 2015


If you like the concerts at Milestones Jazz Club, we thought you may also be interested in the following events this week:


'World jazz' band Pangaea return to Lowestoft this week for another dose of hard to describe music...

Thursday 22 January, 8pm
The Stanford Arms
Stanford Street, Lowestoft, NR32 2DD

Admission is free

Pangaea play modern jazz that is inspired by music from all over the world - Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, European folk - and draws on the groove orientated work of musicians like Pharoah Sanders, Abdullah Ibrahim and the late, great Yusef Lateef.

The band's line-up will feature Dave Ingham (tenor and soprano saxophones / piano), Stephen Mynott (guitar), Mike Reeman (double bass), Jesse Barrett (drums) and Azzy King (percussion) and special guest Rebecca Waller (violin).

More info and film of the band can be seen at


The fast rising star of European modern jazz, trumpeter Matthew Halsell leads a six piece band through original music loosely described as 'meditative and spiritual jazz in the mould of late period John Coltrane'. Supported by the equally lovely Mammal Hands from Norwich.

Friday 23 January, 7.30pm
The Cut,
New Cut, Halesworth, IP19 8BY

Admission £14

Friday, January 16, 2015


Abandoned Mine Workings, West Cornwall - mixed media on canvas




Monday 19 January to Saturday 14 February 



After The Storm, Bacton III - mixed media

As John Berger wrote “seeing comes before words” and it is the vibrancy of colours, the scale and the forms of Martin Laurance's landscapes that impact on our eyes. Ours is an immediately emotional response to the breadth and depth of his portrayal of coastlines and uninhabited fields, building and boats. Whatever the physical dimensions of the picture, each painting seems monumental.
In purely aesthetic terms, it is the artist's process of working between oils and other media that enables abstract elements to engage so well with his representation of a specific location. As John Allen of Mandell's Gallery says “his artworks can contain found paper pertaining to the subject, a shipping chart used as the basis for a coastal view, with layered paper and collage.”
Colour is essential to Martin's paintings. Or, more correctly, light (which makes colour) is essential. And thereby, so is light's opposite, the darkness. Whether in his paintings or monochrome studies the artist is not afraid to pitch the black sky or the black silhouette against the light. This technique is so effective in a mixed media work like

'After The Storm, Bacton III.' In this haunting portrayal of Bacton, Norfolk we can feel the storm, see the battered and broken breakers, while the clouds remain hanging over the scene (enclosing the scene) like a threat.
The play between the representation of a location at a particular time and the abstract qualities of the artist's rendering of his subject create great potency. The smaller study 'Still Evening, Orford Ness' alludes to its past but is not locked into its past as the shoreline changes daily. As in 'Abandoned Mineworks, West Cornwall,' here are modern ruins of our industrial society at the edge our land, now hammered by storms and tides that maybe the product of that society.
I suspect landscape painting is often overlooked because it can be static, over worked and sentimental – and can even be sentimentalized over the passage of time. Yet, many of the great leaps forward in painting have taken place through landscape painting (Turner and Cezanne spring to mind). Indeed, the best of landscape painting, in my mind, seems to capture a sense of movement – within the subject and on the canvas. Martin Laurance's work stands in this visceral tradition.

Rupert Mallin

Still Evening, Orford Ness - Mixed Media

Monday, January 12, 2015


It's been a month of being off-line but now I'm back. As you can see, being disconnected didn't stop my enjoyment of the Christmas holiday.

I shall be rolling out some exciting posts to celebrate ten years of blogging from Friday, January 16.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Theft: the dark side of the Internet

Apologies. I have recently had my internet address stolen and with it, my internet connection. It is one thing hacking giant companies, but something darker when ordinary internet users are attacked. Normal service will be resumed in the new year.