I don’t know what to read…..

I’m a librarian – I want to people to read, especially young people.

If your struggling to recommend a good read to your teenager child, student, nephew or niece – here’s a list of the latest best reads for young people, selected by young people

Sally Christie – The Icarus Show
Kiran Millwood Hargrave – The Girl of Ink and Stars
Gareth P Jones – Death or Ice Cream?
Tamsyn Murray – Instructions for a second Hand Heart
Alex Scarrow – Remade
Kim Slater – A Seven Letter Word
Liz Flanagan – Eden Summer
Alan Gibbons – The Trap
Patrice Lawrence – Orangeboy
Peadar O’Guilin – The Call
Sarah Pinborough – 13 Minutes
LA Weatherly – Broken Sky

Philip Hammond is stealing money from your local School

I met Philip Hammond on a train once.  I’d been working in a lovely primary school in Bolton.  It was a tough school with predominantly asian and white working class kids but the atmosphere was wonderful, warm and welcoming. The headteacher was an amazing woman whose work was her life and she knew the name of every child in her school.

It was about 12 years ago when he was shadow chief secretary to the treasury.  I noticed him because of the way he was slithering up and down Bolton railway station waiting for a train into manchester  – People from Bolton don’t slither like that.  He stuck out like a sore thumb.  A septic one at that.

I spoke to him on the train – I said, Your Philip Hammond aren’t you?” and he said, “Yes, how do you know?”   He was visibly shocked and looked intimidated by me.

I told him I studied politics and took a keen interest.  I asked him for a bit of financial advice but he couldn’t give me any.  He was in a different league.   He also told me that he couldn’t be bothered talking to me because I lived in a Labour stronghold.  I  also noticed him because of the way he looked.  He looked “Thatcherite” and i knew he would one day be politically influential.

I didn’t like him – he left me feeling cold.

Watching him yesterday made me feel sick – the way he swanned around the Tory front bench with the Theresa May sat behind him chuckling like a Maidenhead Witch and scorning Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party whilst massively cutting funding to the type of school I’d been working in in Bolton the day I met him.

The budget he introduced yesterday will further the divide the haves and the have-nots.  In terms of education schools are being asked to cut budgets, reduce staff and beg parents to come in and help out with the cleaning of the schools.  Have a read of this guardian article by Sally Weald and Sarah Marsh that expresses the dire situation much more eloquently than i can – https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/mar/07/headteachers-write-to-parents-over-school-funding-and-job-cuts?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+main+NEW+H+categories&utm_term=216383&subid=7644349&CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2

We can not just sit and watch while Philip Hammond and Theresa May, two Oxford educated Multi Millionaires, fundamentally reshape the education system in favour of the rich.  I urge you to write to your MP and ask them what they are doing to fight these cuts.

I work in schools on a regular basis and I see hard working, committed people working in conditions they never expected to be in.  Schools are so poor they are asking parents to help with cleaning and ex students with funding.  This can not continue.  What are you going to do about it?

Dark Clouds and Disappearing Children

Dark clouds and disappearing children

Aaaaaallllll gone!

To sunnier climes and taxi rides and night flights

and I’ll kiss you one hundred thousand times goodnight




Stick your tongue out

From a million miles

and I’ll still hear it

Take a ride on this smile

Dark clear sounds and disappearing sunsets

night time in daytime

Swallow that golden coin

Aaaaallllllll gone

To slumber times and night flights

and I’ll kiss you one hundred thousand times



Safe flight

Bryan Glancy – 1966-2006

20140121-191145.jpgOn the 11th anniversary of his passing, I thought I’d share this with you. Please feel free to share and let the world know what it is missing.

I Bet You’re Out Tonight

Every time I Walk down Oldham St

I think I see him or is it just day turning into night

He’s got twenty fags tucked up the sleeve of a t-shirt

Which is way too tight

So, I shout

“Alright Bry?

You out tonight?”

And you just turn and smile and say

“Too right

Too fuckin right”

And it’ll be drinks and sneaky winks

Your words were so succinct

You were like Rizzo Ratso

“Everybody’s Talkin’ at Ya”

In your daft hat and skin tight kecks that match your shirt

All those beautiful blags and your cheap Victoria Wine fags

Your coughs your colds and your sore throats

A voice like a hemp rope

Words unfurling with mischief in your eye

And a smile

You’re The Kid Who Saved My Life

You twirl to more girls than George Best

I bet your both up there now at the bar getting pissed

Talking Man U



Broken arms and your life landslides

And dreams and schemes and your daft cars

A mind scarred by all those kit kat bars

And tales of Salford

Tales of Crumpsall

Tales of Prestwich

Two souls

So tight

So tethered

And you played me a new tune every time we drank tea together

On those Bicycle Corncob Tuesdays

You were a butcher and a baker

You were a painter and decorator

You were a building site boy

You were gagging to be Irish with my Dad and drink Wild Turkey

Tell you what

Let’s go down Tops of Tibbs on Tibb Street

See Rob and Eamon and get three tight tee shirts for a fiver

And your Dad Bry – your Dad

And your kid and Robert and David and London mini bus trips

Off our fuckin tits

Your schemes and your dreams skating around the Manchester music scene

To Troubadours

Four Wheels Good and Manchester Poly

Where we learned more things than we ever learned at college

With Hulston and Kenny

Burgess in Leeds

Nicking things from clubs

Me acting the goat

You with something stupid hidden under your coat

Your haircuts were too much

And your holiday haircuts were much too much

As were your tales of the kibbutz

I’m in floods of tears I can’t tell ya

Bouncers who wouldn’t let us in cos they didn’t like the smirk we were wearing

Johnny Roadhouse for guitars in another one of your shit cars

Shooters and booters and remember that stupid fuckin scooter

A girl in every port

Girls with weird names from abroad

Tell us the one about you naked on Santa Monika Boulevard

Tell us the one about Mohammed Ali in the joke shop

Tell us the one about nicking the till at a Johnny Clarke Gig

Tell me another story Bry

Cos since you’ve gone my days have been chopped in half

I can see you

Walking down Oldham Street

Twenty fags tucked up the sleeve of a tee shirt, which is way too tight

Alright Bry?

You out tonight?

Too right

Too fuckin’ right

The Day the World got Smaller

The first passenger railway journey in the world was between Liverpool and Manchester

Don’t let anyone tell you anything else – Think about that for a minute – How we changed the world – It was a colossal journey as well

I worked with a group of  10 year old kids in Liverpool and wrote a poem about the journey – Have a listen and share



Manchester V Liverpool

I always struggle with anything that pitches Mancs against Scousers – So this weekend, i’m feeling particularly uneasy – I love liverpool, it’s one of the greatest cities in the world and it’s just down the road.

I know all the arguments as to why we should hate each other but those are the type of arguments Donald Trump has just won an election with.

My first experiences of liverpool was driving to the ferry when going to Ireland as a kid and there was always something very comforting about the fact that once you came of the motorway at the Rocket Pub, the houses looked like my house – i.e. Red and Council with a knackered ford escort in the front garden.

Then our Chris, first in the family to go to university, went to study there.  So I’d go and see him – he lived in Toxteth – I grew up in Moss Side – they were very similar, so, i always felt at home.  We’d go to the Everyman, The Casablanca and the State, the club where Frankie did the video to Relax.

We’d go and watch live bands there and look at how many brilliant bands came and still come from liverpool and in most cases, we saw them in little clubs and bars –

I made friends there with “REAL” people who had similar upbringings and experiences to mine – i.e. second generation Irish living alongside second generation Afro-Carribean or Asian in Ghettos and we all had one enemy –  Thatcher – It unified us – the hatred of a Conservative government determined to make me, my family and my community feel like shit, to usurp our confidence and to make us feel like useless second generation Immigrants – Please don’t think this immigrant hatred is new, it’s been going on for years especially by the Tories –

and look at the art that was coming out of the city – Bleasedale plays made me feel special and real and alive -Our Chris lived with art student so we were always going to exhibitions and galleries and the passport office was there – which was very important in terms of seeing new worlds

I never had any grief in liverpool for coming from manchester, never started on never picked on and never singled out – wish i could say the same for the other cities I’ve visited over the years.

So, Lets not hate and lets remember what MLK said about hate

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that – Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.



I know and I Love these Mersey streets

Cos I’ve raced and chased around here since 1973

From trips to Ireland

8 of crammed into a mark one escort

I’ve played football here and I’ve been through the courts

I lived in the last house on upper parliament street

Just before Smithdown Road

And I dance in the state before Frankie Relaxed

But the Casablanca was my Home

And I danced with Red Stripe to the jukebox late into the night

Never a cross word spoken never a single fight

I’ve bantered over football music film theatre and art

And I’ve drank with striking Dockers seen the passion in their hearts

And I’ve scored in the darkest alleyways of Liverpool 8

Never had a problem there

I was always treated ace

Aigburth Allerton Kensington Penny lane wine bar

Lark Lane Canning street

I’ve slept in Sefton Park

I’ve worked in schools in West Kirkby Anfield and Tuebrook

And through the art of poetry I’ve taught young kids to look

Deep into the soul of these magnificent places

Where the history of this city is carved into the people’s faces

And I travelled to Anfield a few days after Hillsborough

And place a single rose on the pitch and I said a prayer for the children

And the more I see

the more I hear

it’s led me to the conclusion

This city and its people remind me of Mancunians

The industry the Energy & the really good-looking lads

The way we don’t take ourselves too seriously

The way we love a laugh

And the second-generation Irish thing

The Asian Caribbean mix

And the way governments for centuries

Have treated our people like shit

It baffles me, confuses me how any scousers could hate me

When blood runs thicker than the Mersey down the 62 or the A580

See I believe we’re first cousins who secretly admire each other

So let me take you on a trip round our way

Tell me if it’s familiar

In Gorton the Girls they know all the words to songs by Chakka Kahn






Articulate- Dike Omejé

Before you read this, it might help to read this https://godisamanc.wordpress.com/2011/01/12/acceptance-dike-omeje-1972-2007/

January 13th 2017 is the tenth anniversary of Dike Omejé’s death. I want to celebrate his achievements with friends and family and introduce new readers to his life and his work.

So, a group of his friends are in the process of organising “Articulate -Dike Omejé” A day to celebrate the life of our beatiful friend and amazing poet and performer.

It’s taking place at Contact Theatre on Saturday January 14th between 12 noon and 10pm

We aren’t fully sure what is going to be happening yet, but we do know that we want to Articulate Diké – whatever that means!

We want to do workshops at both his Primary and Secondary schools

We want to talk about his life

Get people to read his poems

Assemble a collection of video, recordings and photos to share

Have a collection of his books on sale

We want to hear the amazing Speakeasy band, a wonderful collective of musicians who Diké performed with regularly (please see a festive performance here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjLXZ1jjil4)  and generally remember him.

If you have any recordings or photos or anecdotes about Dike please send them to me at


But most importantly, put january 14th in the diary and lets celebrate and Articulate – Dike Omejé


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