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Watching an Astronaut Go into Space

After ‘Goodbye to All that’ by Joan Didion and ‘You, Very Young in New York’ by Hannah Sullivan

I fold into a bar stool,

watching astronauts airlock, a cockpit,

gulping their last earthly inhales like a front crawl breathe.

I smile at pilots enduring

g-force, loads of vacuum food,

this is a resupply mission, no giant leap for you.

SpaceX is an obvious step for philanthropists when they run out of islands,

they don’t live up to the love in their Greek root of ‘philo’.

A guy in the chair says ‘over’ but, disappointingly,

nothing has even started.

Some time passes.

/

So long in fact the moment the launch actually happens,

I’m watching a cockroach slaloming shoes by the door.

Eating Padron peppers, Piri Piri fries on my 4th pint.

The playlist crackles out Prince’s ‘Sign O’ the Times.’

“Truly man just ain’t happy unless a man dies.” 

I beam, bigger than in weeks,

a man can be truly happy with an indefinite number of pints and fries.

Those astronauts won’t get a bite or sip of either from that whole resupply.

I look up and see the television screen,

the launch is way past lift-off,

a family is being interviewed who drove all the way from Utah to Florida.

Somethings been released and it’s burning up.

I invite myself to leave, the pubs busying for the evening.

The bar doors swing, a goat-looking man walks in.

/

“My my, the inane prince, fancy a drink?”

Someone’s screaming; the cockroach has decided to fly.

I smile, “We come back to our minds with our dance and our drink.”

But I’m still staring at the screen, watching the rocket shrink.

Something hasn’t fully burned up, nobody seems to care but I

point it out to my fleeced friend “haha” he chuffs “Apollo’s tricks.

God’s just ain’t happy till they see a man die.”

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#poetry

Fight In a Chippy

Shakin vinegar drizzlers spatter the menu counter as he flicks for the want of a wetness to his chips. Flippin me off with his feculent middle digit of vinegar, booze-blind and deaf they jest at the sinister curry mess shot down my shirt. 20 eyes spearing the curry orange spilled like the sign for Pi. Poland streets been invaded by bruisers, real mccoys, tweed boys on speed and Shawarma slagging off the pickled eggs. Pukka pies in a warp, microwaved in maudlin walls with every gut coated ruby in red doner rage. Piss painted peddlers they’ll piddle themselves when I run em 4 storeys for fear of my name!

Meanest insults, saved for friends, offending to enemies when the silence descends. The saltshakers tilted, tipped like a sand timer. Mixed with stella and whiskey in the blood, the fuse is lit. Potent and malign so the rational slides the news has spread. The fights happening inside! Be the ropes or be a ref or be off or say yes just know, we’re in a ring. Other than a dealer’s old Mercedes there seems like no escape but the ferryman of Hades. But for a second, in drunk radiance, firecracker blows landing slowly like moon rovers, fists of battered fish bubbling in the neon of a drunken death wish. I’m content, the parties begun. Dawn peels from behind a tree-trapped balloon,

Helium in pink.

Growling louder with lost teeth

When I disappear.

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#poetry Poetry

Cows are Ok

You watch the other children play late on the turn of the solstice.

The youngest almost naked scatter amongst the outhouses.

Their pearly skin returning the moonlight, terrifying the horses.

The witches miss their hour,

And the somnambulists stay in bed.

You grumble about bent coppers in a burnt-out trailer,

Surrendering what remains,

Paralysed in a state of an embittered stranger.

A black stream collects in the courtyard as it rains.

The courtyard where I imagined when I first read Animal Farm,

The courtyard where the pigs would address the square with the authority of crows at traffic lights.

I wondered why horses were the only animals to need shoes when they went running,

Cows have hooves and they seemed to be doing ok.

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Article

IDLES: Abbey Road Review

By Sebastian Lloyd

In anticipation of their new album ULTRA-MONO, IDLES covered The Strokes, Ramones and The Beatles in 3 live-streamed sets at Abbey Road Studios. On the weekend where IDLES should have been gracing Reading + Leeds with their liveliness it was a pleasure to have a show with such high production values as a nice change from Instagram lives.

Singer Joe Talbot admits before the final song of Set 1 that he is ‘inconsolably nervous.’ Mistakes on unreleased track ‘Kill ‘Em With Kindness’ and ‘Stendhal Syndrome’ only served to endear the band further to the fans in the comments section. There was nowhere to hide in the rehearsal-room-like gig and the tension it created made for a very absorbing performance. The cover of Ramones song ‘I wanna be sedated’ lacked the punk energy of the original in a ballad version that didn’t work but as the band began to settle in the shackles loosened. In Set 2 guitarist Mark Bowen put down his guitar during ‘Love Song’ to sing ‘All You Need is Love’ and ‘Up Where We Belong’. Other guitarist Lee Kiernan snuck off to sit on the bannisters like a child left alone in a mansion.


Few bands have such a crystalline message as IDLES. When I saw them live at OnBlackheath in 2017 there were only about 100 people in the tent but the vehement lyrics and frenetic energy connected with me. They giggled at the middle class contingent of one-day festival goers who had stumbled across their rage. It’s remarkable to see how their music has connected with the nation since then and the best moments of the live streams were when they relished the opportunity for statement. In a rare moment of seriousness in set 3, Joe says ‘Long live the open minded down with the Tory scum,’ before ripping into a version of ‘Divide & Conquer’ which had the band in furious raptures. Even the usually calm drummer Jon Beavis was bouncing with frustrated zeal. ‘Danny Nedelko’ still gleams from their pack of irreverent post-punk cards as an anthem that doesn’t attempt to politicise punk through derision but through empathy.


The cover in Set 2 was a scrappy version of The Strokes song ‘Reptilia’ with lyric ‘You’re in a strange part of our town,’ given a new sinister screech by Joe’s vocals. ‘Model Village’ gives a interesting taste of a refined IDLES sound coming on ULTRA-MONO, but may be one of the few songs that does start to lean towards cliche a little. I noticed the slow songs they played including new song ‘A Hymn’ didn’t work for me apart from ‘Slow Savage’ which drones on a little. It’s saved by the self-deprecating lyrics and mournful melody. They’re a better band when they’re loud, proud and growling.


As guitarist Mark Bowen puts it ‘if the drums are really crashing then you’re going in with that, if the vocalist is really giving it stink you go with that. It’s all kind of about the feeling at the time.’ This isn’t an original approach but there is an authenticity about IDLES post-punk revivalism with a vulnerability at the core of their music. Before playing ‘Benzocaine’ near the end of the final set, Joe dedicates a moment to Guitarist Lee. ‘How many years sober?’ Lee replies ‘8’ before Joe says ‘Thanks very much for looking after us my man.’


The band wear their hearts on their sleeves and it comes across very endearingly throughout the sets. The fury is intense, the emotion is raw and I’m sure any impostor syndrome they had from being in Abbey Road was something that only made them more likeable to old and new fans alike.

IDLES exist as an example that a semi-professional band who have been around for years without getting recognition can break through into the mainstream. The bands closer is at long last a Beatles cover. They miss the first cue to come in and Joe yells ‘keep going!’ while the guitars one staccato note loops alone. Bowen evokes Paul McCartney’s opening scream into a disappointingly quiet mic before the band crash through with searing commotion. ‘Helter Skelter’ is an excellent choice and one of the highlights of the livestream. Joe curls up in the centre of the carpet and screams ‘you might be a lover but you ain’t no dancer,’ in the second chorus and it’s a gleeful crescendo.


The jittery nervousness that circulated initially broke into playful joy. Fans will have relished this pulled back curtain on IDLES. With almost their whole discography on show, it was a daring set-up for the huge sold out tour they’ll play when the curtain comes up on these restrictions. I have got a ticket myself for their final night at Brixton academy next June and I will be shouting for that ‘Helter Skelter’ cover again.

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#poetry

Golden Street

A man sits in his van on Langton way.

He flicks through the sun, squints in the ray.

Every pipe needing plumbing’s been run for the day.

Lets the radio play; Noodles lunchtime Bombay.

Happy feet underneath the seat tap to a trap beat.

Glad to meet the teeth of a big issue athlete.

Concrete below her feet selling sheets by the heath on the high street.

Bittersweet never discreet, job never complete.

With a style never downbeat,

Golden teeth smile that you meet.

Her story unrevealed,

8 years on the street battlefield.

Are these present-day gifts worth the rap?

8 years her big issue not repealed,

High street chains rattle when their dragged.

Coins barely drop from the city handbags.

Credit leaks on account of new price tags.

Same clothes entrap when the cold snaps.

Hope that your coat fully overlaps.

Booby trapped sleeping in a Santa hat.

Laying on the pavement in a lapse,

Deprivation makes homelessness into a weather map.

Its a speed trap at a camera gap,

Got to get some coins in the cap,

Lay them in the lap.

8 years on the street battlefield.

Are these present-day gifts worth the rap?

8 years her big issue not repealed,

High street chains rattle when their dragged.

She sits in an internet café checking her emails,

She still dreams about how she want’s to live.

Empty’s her ashtray before checking every detail.

Outside we’d walk past and watch the cars pass,

Talk about how we wanted to live.

A broken glass trail reflecting her golden teeth like eyes reflected in the sun.

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#poetry

16/05

You could describe the last months with reductionist name-calling

But things are going to change whether my attitude or actions are ambiguous to it or not

Today I take breaths to fill the world with life.

M a s sH y s t e r i a

Mass hysteria gurgles with laughter.

Growing fat,

it laps and licks the nectar of our fears, 

but the sweetest fruit bears the most potent poison. 

It’s insides are rotten, fed on gluttony and misinformation, 

it becomes grotesque.

Terrified onlookers weep in dismay

and cry out in confusion.  

“Was it not us in the West that championed ourselves as the keepers of law and order…

Why is this happening to us…?”

We don’t understand…

It was a ******* virus…

Why is it over here…

Please, answer us?” 

Mass hysteria tosses and turns its ugly head

and shrieks in a cacophony of voices,

“Toilet paper, we are running out of toilet paper!”.

@alexandersrage @aflat_white

Written by Jordan Labarr & Seb Lloyd

SYMPATHY’S REACH

We were punished,

the perpetrators of said punishment,

now find themselves in a similar position.

They were pitied;

Some things never change.

@alexandersrage

Jordan Labarr

@jaalabarr

God’s $$$

IMG_1540 (1)

but what about the value of monetary pleasure?

The irreplaceable individual,

Have you seen how low stocks are?

the way the most vulnerable in society are treated.

In times like these we must act with haste,

Or we risk a recession of humanity.

A time like this,

reflects those at the top,

and humanity; Well,

what about the recession?

2020-04-10

@alexandersrage

Jordan Labarr

@jaalabarr

 

Categories
#poetry

SALT FLATS

Tender tendon string, lined with sweat beads from hot open palms, poring springs of sensory hand weaving roots 

Wrapping thumbs and fingers of warm bodies like woven silk in cotton sheets;

Salt flats , Heaven for a goddess

Exception to a rule, a paradigm shift; 

His eyes in a crowd, like staring up at dancing clouds of a million raindrops afraid to be a world of light

Hiding in strangers