Thursday, 29 November 2007



Yesterday was William Blake's 250'th birthday, so I went off to the Tate to look at his etchings (ooo err..) and walked around London thinking full of tygers, and images of angels and Albion...

Had an amazing meeting, which was my main reason for being in London, which will (cross everything) result in a very exciting project for me in 2008. I can't tell you anything yet, don't want to jinx it, but if this comes off properly I will have fulfilled one of my great ambitions in my writing careers.. Promise as soon as things are clearer I will reveal.

Also have discovered the photographer's gallery in Covent Garden, such an inspiring place. photography really excites me, and keep thinking about using image along with text, so many things one would like to do....ohhh and Joy of joys, I'm tutoring at The Ted Hughes Arvon Centre at Lumb Bank again early in the new year...

I'm in heaven - have an early copy of the new Alizee album, she is a young beautiful and totally brilliant french pop singer, real pop, like Abba, you know that means more than the package, yet at the same time is great singing and music too.... lovely, lovely



Just back from a dash to the Apple shop in Manchester, yes the old powerbook has a new harddrive... decided to eat out in one of the wonderful Indian cafes in the northern quarter, where I did the writerly thing of being kinda invisible whilst tuning in to people's stories going on around me... drove home listening to Alizee and The new Six Organs, and some old beloved Scorpions, strange how Alizee and The Scorps make me want to live in Europe...

so reinstall operating system, then load the backup files, and it should be my laptop again, I shouldn't notice any change they tell me, except I haven't written any novel for guess what I'm doing in the morning, God & Goddess and All the Buddha's and Bodhisattvas willing. bet I wake at 4am full of words..

off to have a cup of tea, and watch some old Red Dwarf, for a laugh, while the software trundles on.


Tuesday, 27 November 2007

To Hear Blake

away to London to hear poems of William Blake, to walk along the South Bank, to bump into poets in the Poetry Library, to drink tea and be serious at the Poetry Cafe, perhaps to scribble in my notebook, read some Neruda love poems that are warm in my bag.



Monday, 26 November 2007

What matters is how well you walk through the fire

said old Charles Bukowski. I went out at six a.m. for a early walk. My task to simply walk and give gratitude for the loveliness I am glad to know. It has been a weekend of meeting up with people, and eating good food, talking writers, family stuff with a lot of love in it. So I just wanted to walk this morning. around 7ish the sky lit up, and I thought of this line from a Bukowski poem. Dunno how it has been for you but 2007 has been very tough in parts. My friend Peter and I have considered getting tattoos together as members of the 2007 survivors club. But since Samhain, there feels like a change in the air, perhaps the universe is breathing out.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

A lovely review of The Prize

The Prize


John Siddique's writing is playful and poignant. It explores the complexities of a fragmented world - of sex, family, loss and dream-life - with such clear-eyed, unsentimental candour that I go back to certain poems time and again for another immersion. He's not afraid of writing about love, its pain and rewards, its sudden, shocking forces and darkly funny epiphanies - and his poems demonstrate a generosity and humanity so often lacking in more brittle, defensive writers. The Prize is a book I keep in my bag, to be dipped into as an always intriguing and fascinating companion.

Catherine Smith

Friday, 23 November 2007



Sometimes writing takes a break from me, and I try to force it to be there. often we think of this as writer's block, but maybe one cannot write all the time, every day, surely we have to fill up again, and let's face it live our lives, live other lives, experiment and look so that we have something to write about.

my laptop being away for repair has forced me to take some time out from the novel, there have been questions in my head for a couple of weeks, how do I continue a certain strand of story and move through time in quite a large leap. the gap time has allowed some deeper part of me to answer that. laptop should be home this weekend... phew. but I am grateful of the deeper thought.

so this last week just been living, reading (The new issue of Paris Review, David Deida's Superior man book, and some Pema Chodron,) laughing at old episodes of Red Dwarf and Frasier, and just being out there. also been working at Jimmy's Hospital in Leeds on the Children's Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, and the Dialysis Unit yesterday.. quite humbling, not there today as seem to have picked up a cold, and people have trashed immune systems when they have had Chemotherapy, so I'm reading, laughing, coughing, living, and I'll be back next week when I'm not carrying this cold about.

was chatting with my friend Marina Benjamin yesterday about Samina Malik the so called the lyrical terrorist she was found guilty at the Old Bailey of owning terrorist manuals. The jury heard Malik had written extremist poems praising Osama Bin Laden, supporting martyrdom and discussing beheading.

Now the question is, and you know I am completely anti war & anti nation state, but could one's poems, and the books on one's shelf make you a terrorist. I've written about the London bombings, including one piece where we are on the bus which explodes. I wrote it so we could see the moment caught in time, it is not a commentary. so am I to expect a police knock at the door, okay so it was published by Granta, does that make me safe? and I own books by William Burroughs which document all sorts of 'terror' activities and how to bring them about, one involving making a bio weapon from a tin of green beans..seriously in 'my education- a book of dreams,' canned green beans & a piece of pork. I'm not taking the piss, what else on my bookshelf could put me away. This woman has been found guilty of owning books.. Okay so perhaps she harbours thoughts of a Muslim world, When I worked in prison, a couple of the officers were BNP members, and they actively dreamed of a white world.. to me you are allowed to think what you like, don't expect me to like you or want to know you, but you are free to think anything you want. if a thought is illegal, if reading or owning book is illegal, perhaps we are dead already.


Tuesday, 13 November 2007

computer troubles


hard drive has died on my main machine, so if you sent me an email in the last day or two i won't be able to respond as i've not run the backup in the last 24 hours. will be a week before machine is back from the apple shop and then have to restore it which might take a wee while.. please email me again, if you think you need to and i will reply from my webmail...

novel, poems and all the writings are backed up and backed up, but emails are the biggest trouble... lets hope all restores properly next week.

a writers spent making computers behave....

Monday, 12 November 2007

November Writing and Poetry News

Mic Check
Originally uploaded by John Siddique

Hello there
I hope this newsletter finds you well and thriving, it has turned very cold here at the bottom of the Calder Valley, and the sun has not touched the house today, I’m locked away working on a book and sitting still far too much, so I hope it is warmer where you are. Thank you for all your kind letters in regard to the poem I included in the last post. This time I’m posting a poem that asks for peace by turning our back on war, given that it was Remembrance Sunday recently, while it is good that we remember, I sometimes reflect that peace is not an absence of war derived from doing nothing, but is more to do with having the heart and will to do something else, peace being an active state that needs encouraging and growing and protecting..anyway.. Here is a poem and some news.. May I wish you all well.

John Siddique


War rides in to town as a peacock.
All his eyes on fire. Oil mixing with rain.

Peacock says: " This is my land.
This is my oil. This is my food."

We stand & fall in love. Fascinated, hypnotised,
separated by the blue flaming fire of the bird.
His colours brighter than a wedding kameez.
We cover our ears at his siren of a cry,
it does not stop his voice.

A small boy, all ribs & arms & legs kills the bird
by turning his back on it.
Tonight we share bread and feast.

© John Siddique 2005
(from ‘The Prize’ – Rialto, and also appearing in a changed
form in ‘Don’t wear it on your head – Peepal Tree’

Note – Skanda Karritkeya is a Hindu war god who is seen as a peacock.

A Painter’s Sky
I was asked by Radio 3 to write a short play for ‘The Liverpool Freethinking Festival,’ as part of a series of three specially commissioned pieces. We recorded them last Saturday and over the next two weeks Radio 3 has a nightly programme called ‘FREETHINKING,’ in which the pieces will appear. As soon as I know which night my piece is on I will let you know, but if you are a radio listener keep your ears open. I’m sure the pieces will be available on the BBC website too on their listen again feature.

St. James' Hospital
For the next few weeks I will spending a couple of days a week at Jimmy’s in Leeds where I will be working with children in the ordinary wards, and also on the special unit for children who are recovering from neglect and abuse. We will be creating poetry, decorating the walls, and working alongside the playworker to give the children an open creative and safe space.

Manky Poets
I will be reading at the Wonderful Manky Poets Night at Chorlton Library in Manchester, at 7.30pm on Friday 16th November, I will be joined by Peter Kalu, writer and good soul who will be reading a selection of his latest work.

Rebranding the blog – A Writer’s Life
Readers of my blog please take note its name and web address have changed, it is now called ‘A Writer’s Life,’ and is at While the content is generally going to remain the same, I do want to talk a little more about being and staying creative. I am also considering relaunching my old podcast to tie in with the blog a little. The old blog address is now being used for a music blog where I talk about rare and out of print music that is worth digging out.

Schools info
I am gearing up schools projects to align with The National Year of Reading, as ever I am happy to deliver school projects, as I see working in this area as vitally important.

Poet in the City Forum
It was lovely to see so many people at last month’s reading at Poet in the City at the National Portrait Gallery. Poet in the City have set up a form page to dicuss the event and subject of ‘poetry and family.’ Wendy Cope, Anne Atkins and Myself turn up on there every now and then, to answer questions and comment.

More info at
Children’s website at

'In a world of universal deceit,
telling the truth is a revolutionary act.'
- George Orwell

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Recording 'A Painter's Sky' for Radio 3

A Painter's Sky - Script
Originally uploaded by John Siddique

Paul Regan & Roy Carruthers - 2
Originally uploaded by John Siddique

Gary Brown (Producer) with Roy and Luke
Originally uploaded by John Siddique

Roy Carruthers as 'Ray' & Luke Broughton as 'Dave'
Originally uploaded by John Siddique

Yesterday i spent the day in Liverpool at the Radio 3 - Freedom Festival, where my short radio play was being performed and recorded for broadcast.

It was so thrilling to hear words i'd written coming to life, my actors were brilliant...I'm sitting there going - 'I wrote that.'

thanks to everyone involved..lovely to meet the other writers and actors too. 3 pieces were being recorded...and will be on the radio in the next week or 2

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

The dance of Joy - Joss Whedon back on TV

Joss Whedon
Originally uploaded by kwc.

Oh thank god.. writing god/genius/guru Joss Whedon is coming back to telly with a new show called Dollhouse. tv has been so lacking with out his input... now if we could just get him to do the rest of firefly.....

Numfar - do the dance of Joy!!!


Just got the mail through, my little play will be recorded this saturday.. so I am going to go and sit quietly at the back of the rehersals and recording with a strong coffee, and hear actors make the words I wrote be alive.. 

This is a first for me.. sure I read my poems and stories all over the place to all sorts of audiences.. and have heard other people read my poems once or twice.. that can be scary..ahem.

but this is the first time i have written words for other people's mouths, and had them acted and recorded. I have written another play, but that didn't make it though the BBC machine, as they are not too fond of poetry on the beeb, and i had the nerve to write a play all in verse.. but no sour grapes, will simply put it back out there in a while when the regime changes again..

anyway..i am thrilled to be thinking about these people I have created coming to life and speaking..Okay so it's only 8 minutes, but picture me amazed.. will let you know when it's being transmitted..and it will on the BBC website for a week of so once it's been braodcast anyway so you'll be able to listen that way.


HEY TO CHRISSI in Boston.. blowing you a kiss.. have a letter here I need to finish and send you. Hope yr good