Friday, 31 December 2004

White paint

I've got white paint everywhere, I'm repainting the bathroom, have just done the ceiling, painting onto bare plaster: knackering...


spend a few hours chatting with friends abroad. Early to bed, No wish to engage with the New Year. I live by the lunar months, which is a much more natural rhythm. sometimes it is hard as the imposed system, which makes little real sense, is so strong in its presence, but I'm lucky to live by my own means so I can be a little freer with how I do things

music for today: Kayah & Bregovic

Thursday, 30 December 2004

Lions & witches

Hannah's birthday today, we went to see 'The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe,' and had lovely Japanese food for tea... I've actually managed to stop working for the first time in years, even on holiday I write and work, but I'm allowing my head to fill with fresh poems, and my body is composting the experience of the year.

Music - Karunesh - Alibaba

Wednesday, 29 December 2004

Tidal wave - HELP

Here is the link to be able to make a donation to the work of the Red Cross, please seriously think about doing so. This kind of unspeakable disaster, is unavoidable and is without borders, we must act and sometimes money can help: Red Cross Link

Tuesday, 28 December 2004

28th and counting

Went to the Tate in Liverpool, very excited to see some Stanley Spencer's I haven't seen before, but end up very pissed off as the have put glass over almost all the paintings and you cannot even see many of them anymore, all you see is reflections and yourself and the lights. It would be more honest to stick a good fake on the wall than this. I guess they think, they are preserving the art, but when one can't see it what is the point. Depth and texture are as important as the image. This is a stupid policy, which has to stop. I'm not interested that this object is by a famous artist. I just want to see the paintings.


Liverpool is mostly closed apart from the madness of the spending xmas money whirl, so the chain stores are open. We find a charming African cafe and I have an odd breakfast/lunch which is half a full English, and half African. The plantain is lovely and the blackeyed peas.....I know they'll make their presence smelt later.


Booked myself a few days in Paris for late Jan, this will be my first trip there in a long time, and my first holiday where I have gone away alone. I am going mostly just to write and go to the museums, if I can find a yoga class and some poetry readings, I will be very happy. Please let me know if you know of anything...... I am very nervous about going, mostly because I have never really travelled alone before except for work, and my French is not great. But this is the new world I wish to live in, as a poet who goes places, writes and experiences things, and I love Paris so much. I am determined that 2005 will be the beginnings of a more open & brave John, Bravery only comes if you practice it, and this is an area I have to work on for my work to deepen further.

Music for Today - Buddha Bar II, Lucinda Williams, and Prince

Monday, 27 December 2004

Christmas is so many Sundays

Boxing day was silent..reading and sitting by the fire all day. in the evening went to see the beautiful house of flying daggers.


I am deliberatly not writing over xmas, so my system can recharge. I work myself to emptiness sometimes.

Music for today: Miles Davis - Round About Midnight

Sunday, 26 December 2004

Moon Head

Had Xmas dinner with my girlfriend's family, a lovely affair...Turkey & Trifle and homemade ham.


We arrived back late. It had been snowing so we walked up the hill at Midnight, in almost full moonlight. Full moon is the 26th. The snow glowing blue. The town silent except for a barking fox running loony in the field next to us and 2 still creaking horses cut as silhouettes in the headlight of the moon in the fields at the top of Horsehold. Where the hill levels out, the town goes away. Here is moon magick, I take off my furry hat and the moon fills my head, I can still see the light in me now. We breathe deep, take in the moon charged light and the snow scrubbed air. The Gravity lifts us high into silence. The whiteness scorching my mind clean. 'May I never be acceptable.'

Music for tonight COIL - Batwings

Saturday, 25 December 2004

The Fight

Sometimes the point of a fight is not necessarily to win. The fight itself is the point regardless of the outcome. Sometimes its about having honour and humanity and fighting back even when all is lost. It is a voice in the darkness, a fist in the face of smugness, a ripple in the fabric of acceptability.

My motto this Christmas, never to be acceptable, never to say 'okay' when I know something is a lie. This it seems to me is the real job of the poet.

May there be peace, but not at the cost of truth...

Music for Today - Buddha Bar II

Friday, 24 December 2004


Raining and dark here. The day started well, optimistic even, but the ghosts of xmas past live right here in Hebden Bridge so they were out and about today. I'm not good at this xmas thing.


Bumped into M who has a monopoly on misery, no one else is allowed any of their own experiences, his are always worse, this man's childhood trauma is everyone's fault......I run for home, remebering why this man is no friend of mine.....I spent the afternoon watching 'Easy Rider,' an America that was never allowed to exist, and is deader than ever now.


I seek refuge in curry in the fabulous PUNJAB in Rusholme this evening, that great christmas standby & comforter, dear god thank you for curry, and people who can spin a good yarn.

Thursday, 16 December 2004

Won't see, can't see

I didn't watch any news yesterday, so I wake up to the brilliant news that David Blunkett has gone. I feel like hanging bunting out in celebration. Two sad facts in all this, that he has gone because of his ‘little lies’ over visa applications for his lover’s nanny, and not because he is a man without honour, who has conduced an affair which has betrayed another man’s trust, and that he has spread racism and hatred throughout our country with his headline chasing, lock them up without charge, daily mail pleasing agenda. Blind in so many ways beyond his disability, refusing to see what this country is, and self serving until the end. Next comes his own money spinning book and fortunes for after dinner speaking engagements no doubt, and endless news coverage as he battles for his rights.

The second fly in the ointment is Blunkett may be gone, given this is ‘new’ labour we’re talking about, we just get another sub-human in his place in the form of Charles Clarke, who has turned his back on the teachers and made secondary education a thing of no value to anyone. Part of the level three education brigade which serves to make us all consumers, afraid of individuality, house owners, and all the same. So there’ll be no real change, but let us enjoy Blunkett’s misery while it lasts. Its not good to mock the afflicted, but what the hell....

Sunday, 12 December 2004


The new issue of The Rialto arrives this morning, in its new expanded style, still beautifully put together. I had kind of forgotten it was coming so there is a nice surprise to see my article on reading, and a new poem of mine. There are some great poems in this issue. I am blown away by a Les Murray piece about a body under a porch.

the most exciting thing for me in this issue is, there it is in black and white...'John Siddique's first collection will be published by The Rialto in 2005.' I rush around showing everyone.

the rest of the day is filled with accounts, getting things ready for my meeting with John Thewlis, my singing accountant on Monday.

music of the day - Essence by Lucinda Williams

Saturday, 11 December 2004

Friday, 10 December 2004


For some reason I keep waking up at 4 ish, not in a poetic mood as one would hope but just waking up. This flu has got a really deep hold, I’m freezing, shivering and sweating, my nightshirt is soaked through, joints ache, so its a trembling visit to the kitchen to boil up the kettle for lemsip, then I sit in bed and wait for it to kick in, decide to read a bit, then write this whilst waiting. This time of day does give one time to reflect. I’m thinking what a strange job I have. I’m very lucky, I get to tell people stories and discuss very serious things with them, and sometimes I get paid for it. Last nights reading was charming, though I’m afraid yesterday’s working has made this flu quite worse.


I’m trying to not think about Christmas too much, I hate this damned season, I love the dark, but can’t bear consumerism and false sentiment.  Also I find this time of year hard as family values are rammed down my throat, I haven’t been that lucky with the family I was born into, and have had to create family from my friends and lovers, which makes it difficult if there is discord within any of these relationships, with blood family, blood usually wins out, but outside of that, even the deepest friendships and love are sometimes subject to insurmountable objects, fear and pride being very large contributors.


I have put the heating on even though I’m sweating, as the dreaded lemsip kicks in my back begins to unwind a bit. Yesterday the light was astonishing driving over the tops. No one should belong to anyone on days like that, we should be naked and free falling even though it is so cold.

Thursday, 9 December 2004

3 fathers

After a bit of feeling okay, the flu retook its stronghold yesterday to lay me flat out again.


Meeting today at Commonword in Manchester about some possible work, will know next week if its come off.


Reading tonight in Leeds, launch of the ‘Four Fathers’ book, but we’re down to three as Tom Palmer’s daughter is poorly. Nice turnout and great questions from the audience. Quite difficult subject matter the area of fathers & sons. I think this little book will do some good work out there. I can guarantee that there are some big conversations going on tonight after this event.


Typing my diary in bed on my Powerbook, in my pyjamas, aching badly and money stuff to do in the morning, YUCK

Tonight’s in car sounds – Lucinda Williams – can’t remember the album name but it has the song ‘BLUE’ on it, heard her the other week on Whispering Bob, and was blown away by this song, and that voice...truly lovely.

Tuesday, 7 December 2004

Early trembles

I wake at 4.10, Need rest as I have a school workshop today. Try try try to get back to sleep.


get up at 6 and bathe, pack bag for school, eat Millet Rice, and ring school to cancel, I am sweating like a pig and shaking terrible. The one advantage to today is my mind is clearer, so I hunker down by the fire, write my diary, and drink tea. Will spend the day alternating between reading and catching up with correspondence.

music for today

Monday, 6 December 2004

stinking with a flu, i have been in bed for 2 days, but got to get up for a meeting at Arts Council in manchester, with the new Head of Literature there, Avril, who used to be at Commonword.


Talking about my work makes me realise how much there is to do, what I'm trying to do is find a way to support myself to actually get all these books written. Have a long conversation about how recent and current schemes to aid black and asian heriatge artists are so far off the mark. So much money is spent creating side projects, which are not taken seriously, and seen as a type of 'affirmative action' by the mainstream, when it is the mainstream, the publishers etc, who need to be developed into being inclusive in their range.


A small amount of Christmas shopping in Waterstones, faux Japanese lunch at Wagamama's, and home back to bed.

Wednesday, 1 December 2004

Wednesday 1st December

Dear God its December.
Wake at 5.45. Finish Fight Club. Have been thinking a great deal about fear. It seems to me that god is the god of Death and Loss. The nature of the universe and our world is death and loss. What we must do is have our lives and humanity in spite of these things. In fact to spite these things. And to find joy in this standing up for ourselves. I’m not being nihilistic or existential here. It just seems that there is no way to avoid these things or to overcome them except through creativity.  
I agree with a great deal in Fight Club, we need to stop being ‘educated’ by television, and working in jobs we hate, making money for things we don’t need. Imagine what we could do! Things go too far in the book and render people inhuman in their ways. But perhaps that’s human nature. Greed and fear stops us from being civilised in any real sense. We have to eat we have to live; we need these jobs, this mobile, these shoes. Do we? Michelangelo said ‘its not that we aim high and miss, that is the problem, it’s that we aim low and achieve.’

Marie comes over to Brixton to see us, she’s got a great new job starting soon, just having to survive until that money starts coming in. then Stephen and I head into town to do the bookshop circuit, Watkins, Shipley's etc. Melanie, my agent rings to tell me there is a package for me in the office sent by a Serge Vollin, in Germany.