Monthly Archives: August 2015

Greetings from Tallis

Tallis Steelyard


I have been asked to write, but as usual the compensation lies almost entirely in the haltingly expressed gratitude of the reader.

Apparently it is now expected that a poet should not merely create the work but should then proceed to promote it.

Somehow this feels wrong. One does not wrestle with one’s muse merely to hawk her around the streets like some common panderer. No, in a civilised world a patron approaches you. They are courteous, diffident even, and suggest gently that they would be delighted if you could find time to pen them a short ode.

But it seems we live in an altogether darker world where the poet has to jostle with the huckster or fairground barker in an attempt to have their art noticed.


But in my day


Was not the poet’s pay


And look not into my eyes


The world that…

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City of Culture

It has to be said that Barrow somehow produces the best in culture. We must do because we’ve pretty well got it all. We have the young ladies who stride out into the icy darkness between nightclubs protected only by a purely nominal amount of clothing and a sensible layer of subcutaneous fat; all the way up to amateur dramatics and dance troupes.

As a friend of mine used to say, “When I were growing up in Barrow we made our own entertainment; admittedly it was mainly sex, drugs and rock’n’roll.” If my memory still serves me, in his case at least the ‘drugs’ was alcohol, served in pint glasses and drunk under-age in one of Barrow’s many pubs.

Traditionally it’s normal to take the Mickey out of small northern towns. But Barrow has contributed in many ways. If you’re a fan of Dorothy L Sayers and Lord Peter Wimsey, you’ll know that in ‘Strong Poison’ we meet Charles Parker, the detective. Charles was not only from Barrow in Furness, he also went to the Boys Grammar school here.

We know this because somewhere there is a throw-away line where Dorothy L Sayers has him buying lingerie for his wife. She says something like ‘He purchased the lingerie with the total lack of embarrassment possible only to an old boy of Barrow Grammar school.’

(Yes I know it’s a paraphrase, and because this is on the internet I’m equally sure someone will send me the correct quote. Probably faster than I could find it using Google.)

Aside from that our fair town appeared on the TV series ‘The Likely Lads.’

Bob was getting married and Terry turned up to hear them read because Bob had never told anybody what his middle name is. When the vicar reads the bans everybody discovers his middle name is ‘Scarborough.’

Apparently this is where Bob was conceived. Terry’s comment is ‘It’s a good job they never went to Barrow-in-Furness then.’

So yes, we’ve got culture. We just had a concert at our church given by the Barrow Male Voice choir. A good night, at one point I realised pretty well everybody was singing along with them when they sang the Beatles song ‘When I’m Sixty Four’.


So obviously it behoves me to do something for culture as well. After all with this weight of heritage on my shoulders I must do something.

So out there, entirely for free, is a slim volume of poems called ‘Lambent Dreams’

Admittedly it’s not entirely what you might think and it amused the reviewer, so go on, treat yourself. Download it now