I was pleased when the publishers Merlin Unwin Books asked if they could use my poem Visibility in their book of Lake District literature - and stunned when it turned out that my work appears along poems by Norman Nicholson, William Wordsworth and the poet laureate Simon Armitage! A String of Pearls is a gorgeous book which captures the character of my native country perfectly - a great read from start to finish. Published May 2021.
I was awarded second prize at the Liverpool Dead Good Poets Society's annual competition to find the 'most romantic poet in Liverpool' in March 2020.
I read my poem BBC (Be Bloody Careful) at the Liverpool Dead Good Poets Society on 5/2/2020. The poem is a reaction to the Conservative government's attacks on the BBC. Read it HERE.
Two of my poems, Generation Protest and Statue of Liberty, were 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. In July 2019 This Place I Know won the Bookends Prize for Literature and Poetry at the Lakeland Book of the Year Awards.
Liverpool Art Clinic selected two of my poems for an audio production on the theme of 'Time', premiered at Liverpool's Central Library in June 2018. The soundscape (producer: Michelle Richards) is now available on YouTube.
My poem Again explores the slow passage of time during repeated sleepless nights (at 25 mins 37 secs along the timeline) and Growing Old Together (53'37) reflects on the changing realities of life as we advance beyond middle age.
The excellent website Poetry24.co.uk published one poem each day on a subject on the news agenda - a great site for someone like me with a background in journalism. The site no longer accepts submissions but continues to make the work of a large number of poets available. Do have a browse through my Poetry24 poems HERE and let me know if you have any comments.
Among them is Day of Reckoning, published on the first anniversary of Donald Trump's election as president of the USA and written 12 months earlier in Hokitika, New Zealand, as the American public went to the polls.
These are a few others from Poetry24
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. 'If I could choose my death / it'd be Pablo Neruda's death'.
A Dead Sirte was my take on the then British Foreign Secretary, now Prime Minister, Boris Johnson's crass language when addressing reconstruction issues in Sirte, Libya, 'Once we've finished with the shovels / we can hand over to Boris's / bright British guys...'
Autumn Equinox was written with my mind on a good friend who was very ill with cancer.
National Disgrace was my response to the 2017 tragedy of Grenfell Tower. 'Don't worry about / cutting corners. We're Brits / it's what we do.'
Poetry24 ceased daily publication early in 2019 but the site remains available. Big thanks to Martin Hodges for his great work and encouragement as editor.
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 book, TT Talking - the TT's most exciting era, was published by Veloce in 2014. 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 qualified journalist with previous experience at the Liverpool Daily Post & Echo and the Daily Mail.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
My involvement increased in 2020 when I became chair of the Norman Nicholson House Community Interest Company.
For four years, until spring 2019, I was 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. Now I'm happy to continue contributing as a member of the tenor saxophone section.