Acts of Faith and Hope

For those who still have faith in fairness, honesty and trust

But live with corruption and injustice and daily pay the cost

For those who know together is so much better than alone

That a community of the ordinary can achieve extraordinary goals

For those whose daily grind begins with endless wheezing slow cold commutes

But shut up and cough up all their weekly wage to gangsters wearing suits

For those sickened by exhibitions of selfish avarice and greed

But believe in a caring society where we help those most in need

Those who could be homeless with the dropping of a hat

And forced to house their family where you couldn’t swing a cat

For those who now sleep on mate’s sofa’s while your landlords feast and laugh

And for those who feel like they’re over drawn at the Bank of Mam and Dad

For those confused and bruised, who’ve followed the rules but believe it’s all too late

Whose heads and hearts and mortgaged homes are about to detonate

For those who toil and work and pray but still cannot make ends meet

And those helping out kids and grandkids by skipping meals and turning off the heat

There are those who understand

Those who listen to what you say

Have faith and trust in justice

Together we’ll find a way



I truly miss my son today

I need to hear his name spoken aloud

I scream till I’m raucous when I’m at home alone

I sing whisper it when I’m stood in a crowd

We’ve not fallen out

We’re just miles apart

Makes me feel lost, lonely and Astray

My heart slow bleeds as my soul departs

And I truly miss my son today


I’m gonna hold that boy in these two loving arms

I’m gonna tell that boy just how his Father feels

How I’d walk across Europe and Asia in bare feet

Swim naked through the south china sea

For a moment of his beauty

For a instance of his grace

For a second of his cheeky northern charm

And I’ll tell him things I’ve never told him before

When I hold my boy in these two loving arms


Its the Good Life Experience on September , 14th, 15th & 16th at Hawarden Estate, Flintshire –

An hours drive from Manchester and Liverpool and bus away from Chester  It’s my favourite festival.


People – Dead sound, peaceful… the sort of people who say “hello” when you’re out walking. Ok there’s a few Tarquins and Ptolemnys in the gin tent, but they’re peace loving people.

Line up.  Well, I’m on the main stage with the Cassia String Quartet on the Sunday at 2.45 but i’m most excited about seeing Darren Hayman doing his amazing “thankful villages stuff” but there’s loads more with Gwenno, Arun Ghosh and his band, Norman Jay and loas of other cool DJ’s . but what i love about goodlife is that you can be stumbling round and suddenly you’ll be drawn to a tent by a sound and when you get there, there’s 20 moroccan drummers making the most beautiful sound you’ve ever heard.

When your festival is curated by the amazing Cerys Mathews and Steve Abbot along with their friends and Hosts the wonderful Gladstones, your likely to get some amazing music.

There’s also loads of great talks – I Sunday morning stumbled into a tent last year and had my hangover cured by an incredible guy talking about the decline of the hare population in the UK. nO, honestly, it was brilliant. that’s the thing, if you get people who are passionate about their subject, they’re great to listen to.

and there’s “Caught by the River” as well – poets like will burns and discussions with Jeff Town and a whole heap of stuff that makes you wish you read more books.

Food – the centre of the festival is the Farmshop. Ok, i can hear the bells ringing but it’s cheaper than the burger stall at the shit festivals but the food is all grown in the Hawarden estate, so, it’s fresh from the fields.  Food is central to the festival – Goodlife! Get it?  there’s more chefs than you can shake a ladle at – all top notch – all doing demos. If youre into the cuisine – it’s the place to be.

I love throwing knives an axes at people – but it’s Illegal – but at Goodlife you can throw them at targets and pretend they are people you dislike. There’s bow and arrow there and it’s a great opportunity to bring out the hunter gatherer in yourself and not get arrested for murder.

Fun Fair – I hate Fairs – They’re neither fun nor fair – Full of chungy men with unwashed Jeans and lots of keys pretending to be david essex.  But at goodlife, it’s different.  Firstly, it’s free.  that means no grubby guys hanging off the edge of your waltzer, palms outstretched. Secondly, it’s vintage old school victorian – it’s beautiful to simply look at cos thats what i had to do cos they would let me on anything cos i was too big.

Mobile Library – I’m a librarian – worked for many years in manchester.  That’s why i love Jeff Towns – he bought a mobile library from an auction to store all his books in – his Mrs hit the roof cos it didn’t even fit on the drive, so now jeff drives it around festivals and events up and down the UK sharing his beautiful Bus, books and booze.  He aint in it for the money, he must lose thousands the amount of books i see him giving away to kids. and there’s a whole fringe thing going on the bus with Impromptu readings and absinthe consumption.

Location – your in a beautiful estate – fields of green go on for miles – no mad fences and gates or meat head security bullying you about – See people section above

Price – I’m very tight.  I don’t really like paying money for things. neither do you if you admit to yourself.  Thats anther reason  i love the Goodlife Experience – A weekend camping ticket is £155 for an adult.  Compare that to Glastonbury, Leeds/Reading as a matter of fact, compare to all of them.  It’s the best.

an adult day ticket is £79 youth day ticket is £45 and under 12’s are free – You’s spend that on a day trip to alton towers just to throw up after going on rides that your kids bullied you into going on.


Do something different this weekend and bring the dog


Someone Stole my bike, then, Someone brought it back.

I was sat in Climpson and Sons on Broadway market drinking the best coffee in the UK and reading George Orwell’s “Why I Write” and generally trying to avoid work.  I’d parked my bike outside and across the road in front of The new Barber Shop.  I didn’t lock it cos………I could see it and no-one’s going to try and nick a bike in broadway daylight are they?

Then, from the corner of my eye, i notice a young portly boy walk up to my bike, calmly climb on it and off he went.

I sprang to my feet and took chase thinking, no problem, i will catch this chubby kid before the end of the street but the kid was smart.  He kept the bike on the pavement and the other side of a line of parked cars so i couldn’t  actually get to him before he’s picked up a head of steam.

By the time he emerged from the line of cars, he was up and running like bradley wiggins but i still chased and got close but not close enough so, i gave up and put my stolen bike down to experience – i wasn’t that bothered, i’ve  had loads of bikes nicked.

Just as I turned to walk back to my coffee and book, two guys who were sat outside Climpsons came riding towards me on their BMX bikes


“STRIGHT DOWN, BY THE SIDE OF LONDON FIELDS”  I replied and off they went at the speed of light.

I panted my way back to the coffee shop a bit embarrassed by my own stupidity but nevertheless accepting that you win some and you lose some.

Just as i sat down at Clipmsons, the lovely scouse lad from behind the counter handed me my phone and wallet that I’d dropped on the floor when i took flight.

“What happened”? he asked………. and i explained.

I sat down outside with a glass of water and waited.  Two minutes later the two guys with BMX bikes appeared ……………………….with my bike

They chased and caught the boy and retrieved the bike.

They were lovely guys.  One lad was from Peckham and big into BMX type cycling and the other guy was called sebastian from hastings


They Saved my Bike – Thanks lads

Mike Garry and The Cassia String Quartet At Hallé St Michaels’ Friday May 12th

Magic and Loss.jpgAfter the success of our Number One single “An Ode to Anthony H. Wilson” and having worked with the Cassia String Quartet on a number of tracks that Joe Duddel composed, I fell in love with the work of these brilliant, young and classically trained musicians.  I wanted to do more them and with Joe but he was so busy with collaborations with the Likes of New Order, Elvis and Frank Sinatra that he just didn’t have time. So, we decided to compose some of our own new material.

We disappeared to a beautiful riad in Essaouira, Morocco and worked and worked and worked.   The resulting work is new, exciting and groundbreaking.  I’ve never heard anything like this before.  It is very special and with it being so special we decided to present it in a special space.

My Grand Parents used to run a pub on Redhill Street, New Islington, now the residential heart (not soul) of the Northern Quarter – the pub serviced the workers at the Daily Express printing plant on Great Ancoats Street, the nurses and domestics at Ancoats Hospital and the general drinking population of that side of town.

My grand parents, aunts and uncles were strict Roman Catholic and would attend Mass at St Michaels’ Church on George Leigh St with other good immigrants like the Italian community.  The church, like many others closed down in the 90’s and has now been taken over by our very own Orchestra, The Hallé.

Fast forward 160 years virtually to the day of the Hallés’ establishment in May 1857, I’ve decided to celebrate, in my own way, by sharing with you what we have created. So if you are free on friday evening and want to see some smashed flags and paving stones in New Islington, come and see some poetry and classical music combining to break new ground.  Its going to be very special

for tickets follow the link

God is a Manc

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 –

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