making a porno (2018)

Director is a rich man

But not through the back-hand

His bookshelves can boast

His kitchen cupboards curve beautifully – they delineate the avant-garde

He used to eat prawn cocktails and steakhouse steak

But now he eats pancakes with fruit a la mode

On his walls are framed posters of his previous films

The eldest are retro 70s prints:

Real men, hairy chests, wonky teeth, lumberjack moustaches

Poor girls, untanned skin, dainty breasts, untouched pubic hair.

Historian and fashionista dinner guests study them, take interest in them

Good, thinks Director.


Director calls himself an artist

And it is only those hidebound masses who disagree:

Those bastards Nigel and Mrs Jones and Revered Green.

University-educated-people reward him during award shows

Which are never televised for fear of ruining TV-dinners.

Director is a rich man

Need not chase a quick buck

Not like those Hollywood directors

He wretches at Hollywood blockbusters:

Superman is just ridiculous, no-one is that strong

James Bond is a womaniser

He resents that they earn box-office millions.


He says to the girl

I’d like you to sit on his face

I’d like you to smother his nose with the arsehole you bleached yourself


Fill up his nostrils with your vulva

Shaved in a salon, paid for with money you’ve earnt

I’d like you to trample on him

I want him to become indistinct from the dirt

And please, enjoy it cos you’re owed it


He says to the man

I want you to lie there whimpering

I want you to plead for the humiliation

And be grateful for when it comes

I want you all the while to think of your mother

And apologise to her

You must eat the dirt, bite the dust

You deserve it


Director arrives home, alone.

He sits in the shower naked, looking at himself in the mirror

He slaps himself

Then apologises

He tells himself not to worry too much about the future

And that everything will work out for the best


religion and boredom and me

In Karel Capek’s play ‘The Makropolous Case’, we meet Emilia Marty. She is 342 years old, made immortal by the consumption of an elixir. Time has ravaged her interests, exhausted those desires about the things she cares about so that her being ends up joyless, devoid of meaning, intolerable. She eventually refuses the elixir, destroys it and proclaims the “end of immortality”, the end of boredom.

Someone clever said that meaning and one’s pursuit of it died with God’s demise. Lucky, then, I live in the suburbs. Here, Gothic spires still puncture through translucent, evergreen canopies of chlorophyll, the clayed brick, noble gas Tesco extra signs, through the nitrogen (78%) and oxygen (20%) and miscellaneous gases (0.2%). They shield English faces, white as lamb’s wool, from UV and cast sober shadows over front lawns: opaque, perfectly conceived triangles, co-substantial angles and lines drawn by the invisible hands of Father, Son and Holy Spirit[1]. They highlight, guide, where Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Thompson, Mr. Butler have made unshapely their grass. Thou shalt not allow tufts of turf to remain uncut. Love thy carnations as thyself.

Thank Christ (or thank the Sunday School my Mum ran) for the light (and dark) of the world. It lets me see. I can see the agential being of my feet hang off the edge of the sofa. I can see the space and time inbetween my toes, wiggle, wiggle, I did that!, wiggle, wiggle, in the afternoon’s sunlight. Ew, I’ve sinner’s soles, they need a wash. I need a shower. The sweat of Clark’s leather and Marks and Spencer has dried leaving salty residue in the wrinkles of my arches. I walked around the shop for £7.80 an hour and stacked refrigerated Bangers’n’Mash ready-meals for the pleasure. And it really is a pleasure. I wake up and I have rules to follow. Boring? Yes, I mean, of course not. There’s a plan in place, work til you die, there’s a plan in place. Amen.

But I’ll shower later, I’m tired right now. That’s fine, isn’t it?
No! You know what happened last time.
But I promise. Cross my heart and hope to die.
Okay, fine.

What happened last time? Last summer, I didn’t wash for a week or so. Didn’t cut my nails for 2 months. By the time my tenancy ran out, I returned home with the right side of my big toe green, simmering with pus, caused by some charming pathogen which had nestled itself under the distal edge[2] then sauntered down to the paronychium[3] one Tuesday afternoon, found a wound and got stuck in. Geezer. Opportunist. Loveable rogue, a former me would have said. Before I came home, my Dad told me I couldn’t walk around with an infected toe all day and that I needed to sort it out and he was definitely right. Saying that, I was sad as I evicted the septicity with a sterilised needle. My eyes winced in agony – the pathogen obviously didn’t know any better. I said this to my Dad whilst he watched another episode of Time Team (I know he doesn’t even like it, he told me) but he just looked at me, bewildered, as if to say “I can’t wait til you start work.”

I cried when I left my house in Peckham. It was the first time I had properly moved out and I was as fascinated in its ecosystem as I am in Charles Darwin or Immanuel Kant. I was, and I suppose I still am, a gentrifier and I found ample company in the themed bars and gutted pubs of SE15. A white, lower-middle-class grammar-school-boy with ambitions beyond my semi-detached childhood and quasi-intellectual interests in the arts and sciences. All the art school kids had silly haircuts and silly clothes and silly ideas but were all validated by each other, contextualised by their sheer number. We were all children of Tony Blair’s pluralist social policy, education, education, education, and our conversations harmonised with the scream of bus tires and the clink-clank of construction. Gone was the smell of pollen for the nose-hair singeing whiffs of petrol. Gone were palms covered in soil for fingers soiled by Zone-2 grime and nicotine.

“Typical honky,” I used to hear the Caribbean women whisper. They would hand me leaflets imploring me to repent before the Lord takes me and the hymns of the Pentecostal church on my road would waft down hungover Sunday mornings: give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning, give me oil in my lamp, wretched white man. This is the new racism, the Peckham apartheid. We came over here by the boatload in the 50’s, promised new jobs and new money and new hope. And what are we? The maligned black working class, forgotten in Le Corbusier’s tower blocks, left in the hands of poverty and the National Front. Repent. Repent. Work. Repent.

No. I will not, I said. I was obstinate. I would not get a job. I was recently free by my subsumption into London’s engineering. I was a punk made of cogs and springs and blood and thunder. Anarchy in the U.K. Fuck you. There’s a swear word. Here’s another one, cunt, the worst one, hahaha, spouted from my mouth which masticated burgers and fried chicken and the insides of my cheeks, slurped and burped beer and vodka and vomit. Hahahah. I laughed like a nutter at everything and all the time. My cackles and shrieks chuntered down the streets like the traffic, threatening never to end. And I thought they never will.

And then they did. And then they did. You ever see that advert about gambling where it says “when the fun stops, stop.”? Yeah, um, I didn’t listen to adverts. I didn’t listen to anyone. By the end, I didn’t have anyone to listen to. My housemates and I would potter about wordlessly. We’d sit stewing in summer’s hot breath, watching superhero blockbusters on our sofa with, at most, a grunt of recognition or a snort of mild amusement. Wow, Superman can fly fast. Wow, Spiderman is so flexible. How does he get into that suit? His bum looks so pert. I wish my bum was pert. Ambition seeks its targets where it can. I wish I was as strong as the hulk. I wish I could save the day.

Ambition reflects those things which you lack. I know this because we didn’t have days, we didn’t have nights. We had the time when the sun was out and then when the sun wasn’t as according to the rotation of the earth. Dawkins would be proud of our reductionism, exacerbated by the arrogance of youth. The immortality of youth. And what do immortals do? They suckle out the lager which saturates beer mats, they smoke a 40s in a day and curl in a ball, they kick a ball round the park, they fuck people they shouldn’t do, they listen to techno, they wank til their shaft blisters, they scroll through memes on Facebook, they do it all again, they don’t shower, they’re bored, they’re bored, they want finitude. Ambition reflects those things which you lack.

As I travelled back to the suburbs, I cried. As I sat in the car waiting to leave, the Pentecostal church warbled “Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning, give me oil in my lamp, I pray.” I regretted what I didn’t do so I suppose I regret nothing. I guess it was grief. I guess I was mourning the death of boredom, like I would a deceased uncle who never remembered my name. May God bless his soul. This was Old Testament sacrifice. May God give me oil in my lamp as long as He promises to stop my burning one day.

[1] I use the Anglican terminology, of course.

[2] That’s the end part of the nail which can overhang the finger. I know that because I did A Level Biology. I got an A.

[3] That’s the soft bit around the edge of the nail. Ibid.

mind gap

Excuse me Sir, you got the time?

He looks up – perturbed, zealous – from his phone;
Iridescent screen beams, like petrol in sun,
conceal the true colour of his iris.
Synthetic rainbow blends, whiter than bone;
Just sclera and pupil – which I become.
He teaches me. Listen! Adhere to this:
The time is now, she is, he is, we are
late, suited, workers, we’re the trains, the cars,
Self-impelled, scared, as Phobos orbits Mars.
Just exist now – stupid question to ask.
Yes Sir, right you are sir, I’ll move as you
do cos I have to, I’ll do as you do,
we do, she does, he does, (but what is the time?)
The time is you’re late, it’s 5:59.

Oh shit, that’s right, that’s me, sorry, thankyou, bye-bye, I’m late, always late, A to B machine, Oxford Circus to the Elephant, changeover, quick snap, black line to Morden, but first the Bakerloo:
I sit down in the second carriage from the back. I hadn’t noticed the rows of people standing steely behind me as I waited to cross the gap. For the first time in a while I notice other people.
I can feel the elbow of the woman next to me. I feel lucky to grab a seat as every space in the tin-can tube is filled, as commuters clatter on, colliding like atoms in compressed gas. A jolt and we’re off.
The rails thunder, dum dum, dum dum, like a pacemaker beneath us, getting quicker and quicker, dumdum dumdum.
From someone’s mouth, a piece of keratin shrapnel projects somewhere, gnarled and chewed. My hand brushes gum, gloopy like unset glue.
Veins throbbing loud and blue. Dogshit on a shoe, sneezes which spew snot, hot like lava, achoo, achoo, ew, ew, fucking disgusting, dumdumdumdum, try and screw shut my eyes,
the seat is like goo into which I am subsumed, “the next station is Charing Cross”, my skin is textured by the tube’s metallic grooves, the greasy poles bending like pipes bubbling with excreta, glass smeared by fingers clambering, scrabbling, everywhere, everywhere, arachnid fingers attached to arms, “the next station is Waterloo”, dumdumdumdum, dense fleshy limbs knotted like neglected wires into which I am tangled, heat heat, heat produced by lumps of meat rubbing together, dumdumdumdum, lubricated by sweat, muggy pate, humid sardines, heat heat, the brakes scream, scream, scream, crushed into the seat, my motherboard is overloading, scream, exploding, blood and electricity, can’t see, can’t hear for the heat, heat, scream, scream, need to breathe, need to breathe, “the next station is Lambeth North”
Force myself up

Jolt, mind the gap

Force myself out
Breathe, Breathe,
That didn’t go according to plan
Where am I now? Lambeth North. Not to-ing nor fro-ing; just a-ing or b-ing.
Breathe, close your eyes
Body and mind wriggles to be free as a tear escapes its duct
What’s the time? Display board is broken and there’s no one here to ask, small, commuterless underground station, forgotten by London’s skyline soaring higher and higher with ambition

Breathe, breathe
Brown Bakerloo line paint
Dull, variegated bricks and tiling, yellows and creams ageing since Victoria’s reign
Dim orange lightbulbs create soft shadows – ghosts move like Golden-age Hollywood stars with each flicker
Breathe, close your eyes
The tear wanders down my cheek lawlessly, like the words of a happy madman, enraptured by nonsense
Upon the black of my eyelids, the ghosts morph, stories from indefinite yesteryears are painted, all at once, united only by the past tense, using the same pallet as the station:
Old, drunk cockneys cackle saucily at a dirty joke whilst waiting for the last tube; a young girl waves at a rat running parallel with the tracks; two teenage puppy-lovers are oblivious to passers-by, their tongues tangoing to the arrhythmic soundscapes of a daydream; a teary mother, rereading a letter from her son who moved away, mouths to herself the closing words – “love you Mum, see you soon”.
My own Mum is painted in the same sepia tones. She’s handing me the necklace I always wear, for my 18th birthday. My Dad hugs me in a moment of suburban despair and he shakes my hand when I’m feeling better. My first girlfriend tells me she loves me and I believe her. Staving off tears, I give a speech at my Grandad’s funeral. I put the world to rights during a sleepless 3am with my best mate whilst we eat a Tesco sandwich.

Open my eyes
Was that a blink? Was that a second? It felt like a lifetime
It felt like the past hugged me, comforted me, laughed with me, cried with me
Exactly as a good friend would
My airways opened up so I could breathe, breathe
Like a machine never needs to
Like a man who is blessed with life

waterloo sunset

Rusty bus brakes moan,

Cheap earphones sing bitter,

To rows of empty seats.

Trying to drift off,

But tears burn like chip fat,

Cos this scene’s meant for me.


I really need my friend but,

Ray’s longing blue croon turns pink bubblegum now;

The colours blend arcanely.


Every night I look at myself in bus windows,

See stupid, wretched boy get poorer in sighs.

What can I say is mine,

Other than this bus-ride whine?


We used to meet up,

Cans on the common,

Then share my single bed.

But I played with your hair,

Owned liquid gold rubies,

Like Waterloo sunset.


I still need my friend,

But the arc of the bridge starts to come into focus:

From fleapit to paradise.


Every night I look at myself in bus windows,

See stupid, wretched boy get poorer in sighs.

What can I say is mine?

Maybe I’ve a piece of time.


Rusty bus brakes moan,

Cheap earphones sing bitter,

To rows of empty seats.

But I can drift off,

Downstream in dream boats,

Into sunset memories.


And I don’t need my friend,

As long as I have my waterloo sunset

I can shut tight my eyes.


Waterloo sunset’s mine.

My very own piece of time.

Your Waterloo sunset’s mine.

midnight poet

I am the midnight poet, get to know it

Gimme a dark-seized scene and I’ll own it

Writing as I beat my chest hair – i’ve grown it

My fag end illuminates, come and toke it


Toke it, see us in the shimmering smoke:

We are the ripe lychee lung to the old

Toads’ tarred raisins who ribbit, croak, soak

In stagnant pub-booths browned by yeasty mould,

Whereas our fresh froglet legs bounce from bar

To bar, make way has-beens, this city’s ours:


Our dicks pierce it’s air, spelling out our names

On a wall with hot piss, midnight poet

And mates and dates all hunting, we’re all game

For a house party, call them, don’t blow it,

Promise we’ll try not to eat them alive,

“My round. What’s your poison?” Mine’s a snakebite


Glug that down quick slurp burp, another one,

More more more jagerbombs which detonate

Reminders that I’m my sweet mothers son,

Replacing enlightened childhood landscapes

Is the ink-blot vomit of bus stop glare,

Porch bulb, disco ball, where’s the bog?, upstairs

I scramble,

Past dying partiers


look in the mirror

W h o’ s t h a t b o y?

The mind and mouth empties

of word’s as I





Check my breath


Should take it as a



W h o ‘s  t h a t  b o y ?

But the nightsky’s incessant grin taunts me

Threatens to swallow me whole in dark victory

And my fists clench.

Who’s that boy?

It’s a man:

I am the midnight poet, get to know it

Gimme a dark-seized scene and I’ll own it

Writing as I beat my chest hair – i’ve grown it

My fag end illuminates, come and toke it


I spit blood-clot phlegm mixed with vomit back into the ceramic piss bucket, dim but still lit, gob rocketing out of whistling lips, I’m kim jong young and fulla rum, hahaha that’s a pun, this is fun, so fucking fun, told you I was good with words, stumble drunk, clunk, bang a table, ow that hurts, some chump says “a bump for you you sweet mother’s son of a bitch? numb the itch in your nose, sniff this, dab that, this powder’s white, not black”, crack open a tin, “that’s a sin”, who said that? Spin round on the attack, condensed mass of sweating backs, need a fag, need a fag,


just relax, just relax,

tilt your head back, listen to this tune from 2002, “has it come to this?”, the streets, 2002, reminds me of a childhood beach, sat with my family, licking happily on a rocket lolly bought by my mother, lovingly smothering on suncream, the sea beams green, gulls swoop serene, lie back and breathe as aimlessly as daydreams,

“OI OI you alright lad? Sniff this, dab that, this powders white not black”

Brain whizz, blood fizz, shit, has it come to this?

“you shouldn’t be doing that” advises some lips,

who’s are they?

I’m seeing a guy I remember is my mate but out of his head sprouts my mothers hair, his blue eyes roll 360, reappear as her brown, his voice modulates up from a tone down,

“You can do whatever you wanna do,” she says. “But is this you, ‘midnight poet’?”

Has it come to this?

Brain whizz, blood fizz,

I’m gonna be sick,

I’m gonna be sick, need air,

Gonna vomit kaleidoscopic like this this disco ball

need air,

down stairs

nee.pld air


Subs.u8med int…o sha;;do’w

S.inknnk itno som790/ebue wooorrd.d.,llleee9ssss corenrrer

Sxelsesss proootttte.,,.ein

Timiiiidddj g        d,

Coweee/ri/ng./,//. As a b.o.yy.

Clo.,se myyyy eyes



Succt//.umb i.nto eybi/…e.lids



He is the midnight poet,

And don’t we know it?

In the dead of night,

As the ashen oranges of cigarettes shrivel

And the sodium shadows dissolve,

into the viscous gloom,

The silhouette of a gasping body victoriously wears it’s gang’s black colours

Villainously sniggering at the futile striving of masculinity with it’s Don, the night sky.

He was the midnight poet

But it’ll probably be alright

Cos the sun,

Always rises,

Always resurrects.

The sun,

Always beats bright golden sobriety as loud as a judge’s gavel,

Rays which enlighten

As lovingly as a mother


Cope cope cope cope
Do a line of coke
And have another toke
Lose yourself in smoke
Ignore blood in your throat
Pass out on the road
Don’t let woman know
Why your wrist got broke
Cope cope cope cope
Punched some other bloke
Streaming bloody nose
Pick up some mongy crow
To sleep when you get home
Watch the latest show
Fall into a black hole
Just don’t let woman know
No, dont let woman know
Cope cope cope cope
Cope cope cope cope
Cope cope cope cope
I’ll drown in this pillow
Freeze in sheets like snow
I really wanna go
Somewhere out my dome
But won’t call up her phone
I only want the tone
Cos I can’t ever show
Cope cope cope cope
No, I can’t ever show
mine don’t work like those
Who’ve got their life in tow
They know how it goes
They roll with the blows
Can mend a bloody nose
There’s still blood in my throat
There’s still blood in my throat
There’s still blood in my throat
There’s still blood in my throat
Cope cope cope cope
Cope cope cope cope
She’s found me in the snow
In air which likes to blow
Like fatal traffic flow
She says get out the road
She says to take it slow
You’ve still got room to grow
You need to learn to cope
It’s not just hit and hope
It’s not just shit you throw
Spit blood out your throat
Spit blood out your throat
Let your lover know
Let your mother know
You’re never on your own
Cope cope cope cope
Cope cope cope cope