August 6th and August 9th: Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Tsutomu Yamaguchi was caught up in both horrific events. In Hiroshima on business on the 6th, he returned to Nagasaki for the 9th, already carrying injuries from the first bomb. A remarkable tale and a remarkable man. In January 2010, BBC 3's 'The Verb' programme commissioned me to write about Tsutomu.Read More
...standing in the need of prayer. Well it felt that way in the warm-up room of Jacques Samuel Pianos on Edgware Road. I was there last Tuesday afternoon for a jazz trumpet exam. It's been a very musical week, starting with 'Simoraine' and ending on my music teacher's recital at The Guildhall School of Music. But in-between, my music exam lay in wait, like one of the crocodiles in Live and Let Die.Read More
[Given the Sun's reluctance to appear this year, I thought it was a good time to revive a piece I wrote for Birkbeck College's splendid Writer's Hub. This article first appeared there in June 2012.]
Among other things, I’m writing 121 poems about the Sun, and Byron’s pitch-black meditation feels like the reverse of my star struck project. Or perhaps its inky lining. I've struggled a little with Byron over the years but this poem, this dark matter, immediately gripped me.Read More
Every Father's Day I think about funeral music, a theme that's played through my mind ever since October 1997, when I heard the pieces that my musician father, Clive Barraclough, had selected for his final 'appearance'.
That bright and brittle day a water main burst in the centre of Huddersfield and the funeral cars were diverted through the vertiginous village of Scapegoat Hill. Unplanned, we drove past dad's first home, first school, and the practice rooms of his first brass band. Dad joined Scapegoat Hill Brass Band as a small but precocious nine-year-old, already good enough to play baritone horn with the grownups.Read More
This week (Monday to Friday), I'm a guest blogger over at the Best American Poetry website. I feel a little guilty, as I'm neglecting my own site, but I'm hoping to continue here from next week.Read More
A few years ago I had a blog called 'Fallout'. We fell out. This is going to be the new blog. Life, literature, culture, my struggles playing the trumpet, which I took up last summer.