Observations On Commitment (from the Perennially Single)

Lovers, do you want to know if your loving works?
Are you turtle doves or just a pair of –

Well-intentioned dopes with no long-term hopes

Then check how you do with the single folks.

See, commitment’s not selfish, that’s rotten, that’s rancid,

the love from a couple yes, is romantic but it’s also

effusive, seductive, substantive and when at its best

that seduction’s expansive.

So ask…
Are you a steady source of fun

for those sans plus ones?

Do you find a third wheel stable

Or tap teetering toes beneath the table?

When you feast with lonely friends

Do they laugh and laugh again?

But when they’re in the loo,

They pray the world to end?
If that last feels familiar, you fear it might be the case?

Well, here’s some advice that’ll help you save face:

We “Unwanteds” prefer pairs that can handle their liquor,

Who don’t snicker or bicker or titter or

lick each others


In front of us.

In public.

Don’t do that.

It’s gross, honestly.

Enough to kill off a rhyme.

Please, if you’ve done it.

Don’t do it next time.
When your solo buddies stick, it means you’re not a…

…lone together and, sure you are two but when

it works it’s a singular view for jaded old hacks to

stare at your backs as you walk down the aisle and feel

warmth not denial ‘cause as a two you’re no trial or vulgar nor vile

merely twin beacons that mark the edge of a smile.
And some day should you find our presence unbuoying

Perhaps our poems too cloying?

Or that we’re just plain annoying

Don’t blow your lids.

It’s all just good practice

For when you deal with your kids.


Written for Lauren & Mark, The Mighty Mighty Foxcrofts.

Hitched 24th September 2016

Rehearsal Reversal

True Brits started rehearsing last week and I stayed the hell away from it until yesterday. I’ve learned from experience that if you come into the room too early then the actors can instinctively look to you, the writer, for the answer. While that’s flattering and sometimes useful, I’ve found it much better to let the director establish a dynamic with the actor first and let them approach the text together. Before, of course, sauntering in a few days later and telling them they were all wrong.

In this case though, there was no sauntering to be had. I’ve been with this play for so long that I give totally frazzled, jibberish answers when people ask me “so what’s it about?”. Truthfully, though I know I knew once, it had been a while since I could say with absolute certainty what I was trying to do with the piece, which is a dangerous situation to give interviews and/or rewrite in. Sometimes you can completely forget why you set about writing something and you just start hating it.

Yet, watching the first run for True Brits – just the actor, no lights, no sound, no nothing – I had a moment, as it reached its end where I went “Oh yeah. That’s what this is.” Having it a bit ‘weirded’ through another voice and out of my head let me not just know why I wrote the play, but love it again a little.

Thank fuck for that. Here are some pretty pictures of funny faces.

£15 Patels

JayabenI adore this photo of 70s factory strike/union leader Jayaben Desai.

It makes me think of my grandmother, though her situation was a little different.  Whilst she, like Desai, worked in a factory when she came over, she got spat on by union workers for her trouble. My granddad – a man who used to be a union shop steward – told me that as much as he disliked Margaret Thatcher, he was grateful to her for getting police to put a stop to the abuse women like my grandma got from union men.


Allegiances: Always a lot messier than you’d like, eh?

Lunch with Grandad

One of my heroes. I love the fact that I can walk in talking about the vagaries of weather and walk out having bet against his assertion that the GDP growth in 2014 will be close to 3.5%. In hindsight, that sounds a bit dull but really the man just knows a lot about a lot.