Journalist and writer
I'm a qualified journalist with previous experience at the Liverpool Daily Post & Echo and the Daily Mail.
In 2016 I added a different medium to my means of expression - poetry. I'm delighted that two of my poems, Generation Protest and Statue of Liberty, have been published in Write to be Counted, a collection addressing human rights issues which was launched at the Poetry Cafe in London on October 4th 2017. It was brilliant to be able to read both my poems in front of a packed house. I had the chance to do so again at the Northern launch of the collection at the Old Fire Station, Penrith, on Saturday October 14th.
I am also included in This Place I Know, a collection featuring contemporary Cumbrian poets, published by Handstand Press, in October 2018. The anthology is a lovely selection of work inspired by the landscape of my native county. My poem Visibility was inspired by a walk up Loughrigg Fell on a damp, cloudy January day, and tries to capture that unique moment when, without any warning, the cloud and the mist below you disperse to reveal the most wonderful landcscape.
The excellent website Poetry24.co.uk publishes one poem each day on a subject that's currently on the news agenda - a great site for someone like me with a background in journalism. The site has published a number of my poems, starting with National Disgrace which appeared on September 9th 2017 and can be read here. The poem is my response to the ongoing tragedy of Grenfell Tower and references Hillsborough among other examples of the British authorities getting something tragically wrong. Poetry24 followed up by publishing Autumn Equinox, on September 23rd 2017. It can be read here. This one was written with my mind very much on a good friend who was very ill with cancer. My take on the British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson's crass language when addressing reconstruction issues in Sirte, Libya, was also published by Poetry24 and can be read here. Poetry To Die For was sparked off by reports that the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda didn't die of cancer as generally thought in 1973, but was bumped off by agents of the government. It's here. The anniversary of Donald Trump's election as president of the USA was a suitable moment to revisit my forebodings of 12 months earlier. I was in Hokitika, New Zealand, on the day that the American public went to the polls. The poem was written at the time and appeared on the site on November 9th 2017. Read it here .
I was delighted when Poetry24 selected my Christmas Sonnet 2017 for the 2017 Boxing Day slot - at the end of a disturbing year I discovered a ray of hope here. But as 2018 got into its stride I found myself inspired (if that's the right word) by a familiar issue, the latest crisis in the UK's National Health Service and the responses of the Primer Minister and the Health Secretary. Political Health appeared on Poetry24 on January 8th here.
I'm a member of the Liverpool Dead Good Poets Society and can often be found at their meetings on the first Wednesday of the month at Blackburne House in Liverpool.
My third book, TT Talking - the TT's most exciting era, has been published by Veloce. The book tells the story of the period from 2004 to 2013 when the Isle of Man TT races underwent an astonishing transformation, reaching new heights of popularity and achievement. I saw it all from my privileged position in the commentary box. Order online here.
My previous books are The Boss, trials and tribulations of life as a football manager, published by Pride of Place in 1995 and updated and republished by Vista in 1997. and The Club that Jack Built, the story of Jack Walker's transformation of Blackburn Rovers FC, published in 2001 by Milo Books.
I'm a contributor to Posts and Echoes, published in April 2017, which is a very funny and often irreverent insight into a great era of newspapers on Merseyside, the 1960s through to the 1990s. If you'd like to get hold of a copy, contact me at email@example.com.
I'm also a contributor to 'Faith of our Families,' an oral history of Everton FC published in December 2017 by deCoubertin Books. I'm just one of an extensive list of interviewees including players, managers and directors who provide a fascinating inside account of the history of the football club. More details here.
And I'm press officer of Maghull Wind Orchestra, an amazing community orchestra which offers a high standard of musical direction without requiring participants to pass an audition or to pay any subscriptions - a truly inclusive organisation which gives concerts throughout the Merseyside and Lancashire area.
I'm also media editor of the Norman Nicholson Society which in 2014 celebrated the centenary of the remarkable 20th century Cumbrian poet. I designed and operate the society's website. In 2015 I was honoured to be elected chair of the Society.