The Road to Santiago

Have a listen to this audio piece that I produced with a good friend of mine using sound clips he brought back from walking the Camino de Santiago. All the sound was recorded on on a Tascam palm recorder and all the photos in the slide show were taken on an iphone. We’re experimenting with new ways of engaging online audiences with sound and I think this is a lovely little production.


Second poem in the sequence of character sketches I’m working on at the moment.


I think about him you know
out there
in the dark
and the vapours.

He seems twitchy
and afraid
and his cart smells.

I think it’s amazing actually
that they pay someone to do his job –
to sweep the towpath at night.

He has a transistor radio
a small black tinny-sounding one
gaffertaped to the edge of his cart.
And a little torch.
And small darting eyes.

He’s slight of build.
Average height.

I say he seems afraid –
he seemed afraid of us.
We were drunk and it was late
and there are drunks
out here
on the canal bank.

There’s something about this
damp Air
that draws them.

I don’t mean this in a nasty way
but I think he’s a bit simple.
Just, you know,
not quite a full shilling.
Whatever though:
he’s doing useful work
down here
picking up the litter.

I saw him this evening in the light
for the first time.

He’s black, Caribbean I’d say
and his high-viz-vest is faded
and dirty at the edges.
His chin has patchy
scraggles of whiskers.

I’ll tell you this
and you might not believe me
but he has a little buoyancy aide
slung round his neck
it’s dirty.
I guess the health and safety people
say he has to wear it.

The water at night-time breathes
and takes on
a character
some might perceive as menace.

I don’t know what to make of him
out there in the dark
like a wraith in the London mist
working away whilst I’m in bed.



I’ve decided to start work on a collection of character studies. This is my first one. Hope you enjoy it.


Monnie. Monnie Monnie Monnie.
What can I tell you about Monnie?

Well, she loved policemen.
She loved the attention
in a strange kind of way.
She’d spit at them and taunt them
and scratch them with her nails
as they struggled to cuff her
and cart her off

She was kind.
She was kind to me

She was a thief.
She’d playfully wink
at the security man
as she strode out the sliding door
with a four litre bottle
of white cider
under each arm

There was something shabby tigress about her
and she dressed like a gypsy pirate

I don’t know her real name
and a lady never reveals her age

She told us her father
was a South American ambassador
or consulate
or some such

She had dirt in the folds of her skin
and I have a suspicion
that under it all
was a beautiful woman

Her tree house was a magical boudoir
of tie-dye and Indian print.
It was always dry and warm
and sometimes she’d stay up there for days, alone
lowering down chunks of hash
in a bucket on rope
in exchange for food
and wood for her burner

I’m talking about her as though she’s gone
and Monnie, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry –
It’s been so long. Forgive me.
Ben told me you’d had a kid
and got off the gear
and I think you live in Brighton still.
I really hope you’re happy
and that you’ve not lost your roguish twinkle.
Maybe we’ll bump into one another
again one day.
I hope so

Wait. I just posted this poem on the internet
and Ben must’ve read it, cos he left me a comment
it said:
twins. and they were taken into care  : (