Skaken and Stirred Poetry Tour

I’m on tour with a group of amazing Canadian Poets and novelists in October

Ian Burgham

Jeanette Lynes

Steve Heighton

Catherine Graham

shall be sharing their work with me in a number of Venues throughout the UK

Manchester – Chorlton Library – Monday October 12th – 6pm –

London – Fyvie Hall, University of Westminster, Regent St London – Tuesday October 13th – 6pm –

Edinburgh – Scottish Arts Club, Rutland Square – Saturday October 17th 6pm –

Edinburgh – Summerhall Arts Centre – Sunday October 18th

Please come along, listen to some live literature and share the words and work of Canada .

I’m a Doctor of Education now


I’m incredibly proud to be honoured by the Manchester Metropolitan University.

I’m now a Doctor of Education.

I was given the award in July with all the other graduating students from the Department for Education.  It was great to watch new teacher after new teacher being handed their award.  I love teachers.  They do an amazing job but don’t get the credit or money they deserve.

I did an acceptance speech off the cuff

I find when I write things down and read them, they sound daft, so i made it up on the spot and tried to do it as naturally as possible.

I think it worked

The whole graduation ceremony is here and my introduction and speech begins 43 minutes in –

Hope you like my hat



Leila’s small hands

could not hold onto the branch any longer

And she


Slipped through a sunshine sky

Silently and in slow motion

And i Froze to the spot

A freshly sculptured statue

Still damp to the touch

Mouth open

Screaming her name in silence

September 19th 2001

The Passion of St Anthony – (an article i did for Q Magazine)

I read a lot, write poems and I’m a qualified librarian.

That’s probably the uncoolest introduction to a blog you’ve ever read but if it’s cool you’re looking for, you’re looking in the wrong place.

Joy Division weren’t cool when they first started. They were a wannabe punk band high on seeing the Sex Pistols at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester. Then Martin Hannett got hold of them and created the Joy Division sound. Ask Hooky what he thought of Unknown Pleasures when he first heard it.

The Smiths weren’t cool when they first started. Morrissey wore National Health spectacles, cardigans and a hearing aid. I knew Morrissey. We were friends for a while. I worked with his dad who once asked me to

“Have a word with him because all he ever does is sit in his bedroom writing poems…… like you”

So I had a word with him.

We shared poems.

Then the Smiths exploded. It wasn’t my fault.

I worked with Johnny Maher (as he was then) but later became “Marr” so as not to be confused with the drummer of Buzzcocks.

We worked in Stolen From Ivor, a small chain of uncool boutiques selling cheap denim. He was known as

“Johnny Marr – Superstar”

Due to the fact that he constantly told everyone how famous he was going to be because he had……….“the greatest band in the world”.

Smart lad that Johnny Marr.

I always admired him. I still do.

That’s two bands born and bred within minutes of each other that have fundamentally shaped the direction of modern music. What I believe unites these two bands is “words” and a language that goes beyond language. A poetry.

I work with 10,000 young people a year in schools, colleges, prisons and Universities. I try to get them to fall in love with words. I try to emphasise the importance of language and expression by using poetry, literature and music as the catalyst to their understanding.

Occasionally, I’ll use the lyrics of a song but present them as a poem, on paper and read aloud. We’d spend some time looking closely at the words, exploring sound, poetic technique and meaning. Then, I’d play them the tune. The words alone are usually powerful enough but when they hear it with music, they’re blown away.

I see epiphanies on a daily basis where young people hear the words to a poem or a song that strikes a chord and changes their lives. Words have the power to do that.

I receive emails on a weekly basis that all start with

“You won’t remember me but you came into my school and read me poems and hearing those poems have changed my life”

I’ve worked with John Cooper Clarke for nearly 5 years, travelling the world doing a similar thing but on a different kind of stage. Our tour manager is Johnny Green, the legendary tour manager of the Clash and a great writer in his own right. We spend a lot of time talking about writing and why books, poetry and literature are so important to us.

I’m lucky enough to be working with Philip Glass. He came across my poetry when Bernard Sumner of Joy Division and later New Order asked me to perform with him at the Carnegie Hall in New York as part of the Tibet House Benefit in 2014.

I stayed with Philip when visiting New York in May. We are working on a Libretto about Alan Turing, the inventor of the computer. He wasn’t cool. He was the original Geek.

My favourite room in Philips house is an incredible library where I spend most of my time reading and writing. His mother was an English teacher and later went on to be the school librarian. It’s no coincidence.

Philips music contains a different kind of language – a language that goes beyond words but if you listen carefully and in the right frame of mind, you’ll hear the words. I’m reading his autobiography at the moment. It’s called “Words without Music.”

Words. I keep coming back to words. Joy Division, New Order, The Smiths, John Cooper Clarke, Philip Glass, Alan Turing and Tony Wilson.

Tony Wilson or Anthony H. Wilson as he was known in some circles, was a TV presenter, the brains behind Factory Records and The Hacienda, a catalyst for the Acid House movement and the greatest youth worker I ever had.

He loved words, books, libraries and literature. He studied English at Cambridge and quoted everyone, from his favourite philosopher Boethius to his favourite Lyricist, Shaun Ryder.

He was a genius with language and knew that the ability to express yourself was key to success. A bit like Alex Ferguson (another great book lover) who constantly told his players to “Go out and express yourselves”.

Tony died on August 10th 2007 and soon after Terry Christian, another lover of words and books, phoned me up and asked me to write a poem to celebrate his life and his achievements.

I did and I called it St Anthony after The Patron Saint of all things lost.

I began performing it as part of my live shows and people liked it.

Peter Saville, the greatest designer in the world, described it as “Genius”.

Joe Duddell an amazing composer and Professor of classical music, who’s worked with the likes of Elbow, Richard Hawley and New Order, heard me performing it, approached me and asked if he could put some music to it. He did and the result is St Anthony – An Ode to Anthony H. Wilson.

If you get a chance have a listen – – it’s really Uncool.

Cool. The greatest Oxymoron in the world.

Mike Garry is Associate Fellow and Artist in Residence at the University of Westminster.

Was recently awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Education for his poetry and work with young people

He has published 3 books, Men’s Morning, Mancunian Meander; God is a Manc and can be found on stage supporting John Cooper Clarke or at a school, college, and university near you.


Madness can just happen

it comes from nowhere

without warning

it is misunderstood by society as a whole and causes so much pain to families all over the world

That is why i’ve chose to be involved with “Headspace”

also, like Gandhi said………………….”The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”

so make the effort to come down and you will have an amazing evening

‘Headspace’ ~ Thurs 21 May ~ featuring Badly Drawn Boy, Mike Garry, Marvin Cheeseman

Headspace ~ An Evening of Manchester Music, Poetry & Comedy

Fundraising for Manchester Mental Health
 Charities, Mind and Unison.

On Thursday 21st MayHeadspace ~ a special fundraising night of music, poetry and comedy ~ will be taking place at Rebellion on Whitworth St, Manchester.

Badly Drawn Boy, Mike GarryMarvin Cheeseman, The New Southern ElectrikkThick Richard and The Marivaux will all be performing ~ followed by DJs, Martin Holland and Leo B Stanley (HAPPY) ~ as part of a fundraiser for Mental Health charity, Manchester Mind and grassroots initiatives ~ and is supported by Unison.

Aside from fundraising, the aim of Headspace is to raise awareness of how important the Mental Health Services are to us, and to highlight the fact that the government is constantly making cutbacks in this area. Plus, of course ~ with such a superb line-up ~ it will be a fantastic night out!

Spring Crossing

People smugglers cram open boats 

With the loneliest of souls with nowhere to go

Their land is baked

They have no hope

Nobody cares

Everyone knows

That sea is deep

That sea is cold

Bodies afloat as far as the eye can sea

Mothers screaming

Fathers freeze

She’s taking on water

She’s starting to lean

Nobody cares

Everyone sees

Upside down

A slow capsizing 

Horror reigns amongst screaming & crying

It feels like a sick game

The kids are diving & hiding

Never to reappear 

Never to reshow

The shock to the system 

A strike to the soul

Nobody cares

Everyone knows

That sea is deep

That sea is cold.

I’m on at The INDIEpendent Cafe In Scunthorpe Tonight – Friday March 27th

I’ve got a solo gig tonight

I’m on at The INDIEpendent Cafe In Scunthorpe

I did a gig in Scunny last year and some of the audience liked it that much they convinced David at the INDEpendent to book me.  He did and It’s tonight.  So come down. The fun starts at 7.30 and i’ll put an end to all that fun nonsense around 8.30

I’ll probably do 2 x 30-40 minute sets with a break in between and i believe theres some really good local poets on before me.

I’ll be doing some new stuff for the first time live and some oldies as well

and i’ll definitely be doing this

I’ll be selling books

so get some extra spends of your mam

and come and watch me

I believe the food is great there, so come down for your tea and watch some poetry.

Sack watching England.

It’s always a downer.

for more details about the INDEpendent Cafe check out this link and if it doesn’t work Alta Vista it!

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