Revolution [at the Albert Dock, Liverpool]

I ended up in Revolution after a gently frustrating day writing my dissertation.  I managed almost 1000 words by 1pm in the beautiful Picton Reading Room in Liverpool’s Central Library, but then some friends rather rashly played some fairly useless practical jokes on me.  So I decided to reward myself for surviving their onslaught with a meal.

Revolution is a great place for drink – more shots than a doctor’s surgery I imagine – but what I never realised is that its food is helpfully left-field too.  A twist on almost everything.  Chicken strips are chicken strips, after all; but bathed in buttermilk and then fried to a golden crisp … well, you can sense where I am going with this.

I had the superfood salad, and though these are lately the vogue, it was a highly respectable and flavoursome combination of tastes and textures.  In the end, I had the dessert too: my gorgeous, friendly, thoughtful, responsive waitress Ashleigh snuck out a sufficiently moist and never overly sweet carrot cake from a part of the menu she clearly had privileged access to!

Ashleigh helped drive the pleasure of the evening.  It’s good to be in the presence of a born communicator, whatever the transaction.  She was approachable, amusing, professional and helpful.  She was a credit to the wider organisation operating that evening: the delivery was quick; the food freshly prepared; the coffee correct; and the final apple shot a treat.

But most of all in her Cambridge lilt, the wonderfully fruity Camden pale ale I drank, and the voices of tourists visiting from near and far, we get a sense of Liverpool’s own historical virtues too: cultural inclusion; breadth of vision; and a pure and simple enjoyment of the kinder things in life.


reviews, trails of thought

#Belfast [discarding the passed / embracing the future{s}]

My recent visit to Belfast showed me the kind of muscular beauty I love in any city or urban space.

And then, towards the end of my stay there, I ventured over to Queen’s University.  I had a fab Guinness in the SU Speakeasy bar; a grand fry in the Other Place nearby, the following day; wonderful walks around campus; bought a primer on Criminology at Blackwell’s; and generally fell in love with evident history and reputation. 

But what really blew my mind away were two buildings of such profound contemplation that the peace I found there – as I am remembering it now – can only make me a tad weepy in hindsight. 

The first – visited second – was the postgraduate School of Law building: curiously unsigned from without, and entirely sensible and embracing from within.  I spoke with a very gentle and softly spoken woman, who provided me with contact details for further information.  I went to the website yesterday: I now have a clearcut, absolute goal – achieve a 2:1 in my Master, taking the time I need to do so, and then researching at PhD level in a place I could only dream of being at a year ago.

The second was the wonderful wonderful McClay Library.  Oh, what a dream of a building and space.  And then inside, on the first floor, to the right as you come out of the lift, the astonishing C.S. Lewis Reading Room.  I wrote a poem whilst sitting there; and I wrote it in the presence of a beautiful young woman who reminded me so much of the beautiful Belfast woman the poem was about.  The woman who, if nothing else, has been my all-too-real muse over the last thirteen months.

And I realise my future lies in my future; and I realise there is so much I must discard from my past that I really don’t know where to finish.

But at least I have started. At least I have started.


reviews, trails of thought

I love my daughter – sincerity imbued 

Got such a lovely series of texts from my brill daughter the other day.  She had been looking through old photos of mine.  She said that in another life I could’ve been a really cool photographer.  I trust her judgement like no one else’s.  She has just achieved a Level 4 distinction at Level 3 Foundation Art & Media, as well as previously obtaining an unconditional to study Film Studies at Kent this coming academic year.  She will be the fully formed artist I always yearned to become – and never now will quite manage. 

But on top of all of that, she even said how photogenic I used to be; and how I always looked honestly and directly at the camera – no shame!

Am happy this morning.  Am really happy.

I love my daughter.  She is sincerity imbued.

reviews, trails of thought

And a lonely life is better than no life …


It’s now 3.20am.

Crashed out after a grand – but lonesome – day in Belfast.  Pride Belfast was amazing: so many young people, some older generations too, wrapped in the rainbow flags of equality for all.



And it’s still real tough for me getting used to the idea that the people I see around me, having cool fun and joyously enjoying each other, never will be something I can share; except from afar.

Yeah.  And, in fact, I didn’t even end up with a lonesome pint of Guinness.  But I did have a fab meal in a fab place I will return to for sure: Tedfords Kitchen.



And though I must return by myself, if myself it must be, I shall return.

And though as I write these lines I shed a tear or two of serious loneliness, in some cases life offers nothing else; and so in my case, this is one; and whilst it’s a goddamn shame, a goddamn lonely life is better than no life at all.  Right?


reviews, short short story

Kane [and Welles]

I am sitting in The Estuary Kitchen and Grill at Liverpool John Lennon Airport, writing this brief review, whilst waiting to fly to Belfast.  It’s my first visit to the city in thirteen long years.  I hope I shall revisit more often now.

I ordered a large americano with hot milk on the side, as well as a pain au raisin.  The lady who served me was efficient and helpful.  The americano was hot and strong as I like it.

I sat down at a table and took some photos of my surroundings.  I saw a young man talking to an older man.  They were working and talking. They had a good relationship.  I felt relaxed by the food and the music and the gentle exchanges I could overhear.

A few minutes on, they went their separate ways.  The younger man came up to me and I gave him my tray.  I thanked him.  Then he started talking to me.  His nameplate said he was called Kane.  I can’t forget the name.  My favourite film of all time, by my absolute favourite genius of all time.  Kane and Welles could be a comedy troupe.  Or maybe a department store.  Or perhaps a law firm.

But not here.

Kane made my day.  He talked to me about this and that, and made the modest café shine.  A word here and a word there is all it takes.  Thank you Kane, and thank you to your employers for encouraging you to do what you did.

Hope to see you again, soon.

Take care.

poetry, reviews

I like that …

I like that this book sits on the table in front of me.

And I like that on its marker figures my 55th Bloomsday.

And more than either of the above, that on the same there be a woman 

Whose one job it has always been to draw from all of us



On “Mooreeffoc”, and other superhero stuff …

Some thoughts on stuff I read last night and watched today …



I posted the following first on my Facebook feed last night:

Have just read a short story which reminds me of my experience of mathematics when I was at school.  It’s an equation which resolves, but it’s also a dreamy pursuit of language and culture.  You feel you understand it whilst you are reading – much as golden Hollywood seemed cohesive during its watching – but then the understanding resists being picked apart.  Or at least I resist wanting to reduce it to being completely understood. I’d rather, in its ambiguity (for me at least), for it to stay entire and whole and complete in its dreaminess.  And whilst its structure clearly aims to triangulate its truths, I’d far rather myself leave triangulation to the politicians.

A lovely lovely experience I’ve just had.  I wish I could create such items of such rounded and spiky beauty.  But failing that, just encountering them is fine enough.

Today, I saw “Batman vs Superman”, and reacted thus (also posted initially via Facebook):

I must be from a different galaxy. Find myself giving “B vs S” 80-85%.  If you haven’t seen it yet, I can fully recommend.  If you have and agreed with the critics and popular opinion, consider being unpopular.

In response to agreement from one of my cousins, I went on to argue:

I basically did the Hitchcock bum squirming-in-seat test first: I didn’t squirm the whole two hours and a bit.  Also, some people I think have confused the word wide-ranging with confusing.  It’s not confusing – it’s wide-ranging.  Plus, the relationship between B & S, despite the special effects around them, had real intimate moments.  And the key scene for me was the M & M scene.  I guess for people who know the stories inside out or who love super-hero stuff (trad style), maybe it could disappoint.  But I’m not a typical lover of super-heroes, and there is a really good film waiting to be appreciated in there.  In short, as you did – I loved it!!!

The really interesting thing, however, for some weird and still unfathomable reason, is that I ain’t half wondering now – at almost midnight time – whether the first story and the second aren’t somehow linked in some curious way.

Read the first, watch the second – and then tell me I’m wrong …


And to round the evening off, some photos I took in Liverpool today.