It’s all we can do
To hold the world together.
An explosion of life
An eruption of love
Then fill the void
With anger.

A gunmetal sky hangs
Over restless waters.
A tsunami of need
Of restlessness
Of want
Stirs below the surface.

The maelstrom boils
And we ignore;
Occupy our time
With fripperies
Well dressed celebrity.

Where will you be
When it ends?

Force of Nature

Fierce as a maelstrom

locked up in a jar.

Like lightning strikes

upon the sea;

the thunder of a heart.


It stirred a storm

Inside the soul.

Spans whirlwinds

through the mind.


Shook the foundations,

cracked to the core.

Surged like lava

through quivering vines,

twisted into veins.


It stalked like a predator,

hunted prey.

An early bird

who catches the worm;

spirits him away.

Seconds Out

In the red corner,


Staring across a ring

a thousand



Her adversary

only grins.


In the black corner,

weighing in

at the totality of life,

the grim reaper

flexes his bones.

A dry, ancient crackle

shivers her spine.


She wears


a dark veil,

a tartan skirt.


The reaper wears sequined shorts,


Emblazoned with his name.




from bony hips,

he shadow boxes;

queensbury rules.


The seconds are out.

She stands,

Bumps leather gloves


Wonders idly,

why the reaper

gets to use a scythe?

Negative Space – A Review

This is a review of a play that we went to see and was submitted as part of an assignment in my first year at Edge Hill University.


Negative Space is a stage production from the Reckless Sleepers, a UK/Belgium based theatre group.  The Reckless Sleepers have a philosophy about their work in which they embrace mistakes and accidents as part of the performance in the hope that it will add to the piece or help describe it in a way not thought of before.

This latest production is something of an oddity.  For a start, there’s no dialogue at all, the whole thing is pure physical theatre.  It takes place on a stage where, it’s fair to say, the real star of the show is a plasterboard cube in (and through) which the actors perform.  The performance begins with a single actor stood alone in the cube.  Not long after, another actor drops in from over the top of the wall and pretty soon there are actors everywhere, pulling and pushing at each other, leaving through holes in the floor or using ladders to climb out of the cube.  The whole thing was a little confusing, but I think it was meant to be some kind of love story.

Things started to become a little more interesting when one of the actors came crashing through one of the plasterboard walls and onto the stage.  From that point on, the whole performance became an orgy of destruction, slapstick and comedy violence.  From a fairly underwhelming start, the performance suddenly found some life.  Unfortunately, once you get over the initial surprise and delight of them smashing up the set, it loses its ability to hold the audience.

I couldn’t help but get the feeling that Reckless Sleepers were trying too hard to make art for art’s’ sake.  The performance just didn’t seem to have any direction and if there was supposed to be a plot, I couldn’t figure one out.  Overall I was left with the feeling that, yes, watching a group of people smash up a plasterboard room is quite cathartic, for a little bit at least, but ultimately I was expecting a little more substance with my style.

If you like your theatre to feel avant-garde while not really innovating at all, then perhaps Negative Space will be the show for you, but if you’d prefer something with a lot less pretension and a lot more plot, then I think you would be disappointed with this one.  It’s an interesting idea in theory, but in practice it turns out to be the equivalent of paying good money to watch plasterers work.  Now if they’d all been dressed as plasterers and the pseudo love story unfolded from that, it might have been a little more interesting.  As it stands right now though, Negative Space was disappointing, underwhelming and ultimately as flimsy as the plasterboard walls themselves.

Shopping and F**cking – A Review

Written as part of an assignment in my first year at Edge Hill University

Warning: Contains swearing.


Mark Ravenhill is a British playwright whose second play, Shopping and Fucking, propelled him into the forefront of contemporary theatre in the 1990’s.  He has since gone on to great success in the theatre, due in no small part to the popularity of this play.

Shopping and Fucking is a shocking and cynical look at the disposable world of 90’s England.  It opened at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 1996 and was a major part of the Nineties movement known as ‘in-yer-face theatre’.  Despite the play now being 20 years old, it still manages to resonate the shock factor that put it in the forefront of the movement.  However it has to be said that a modern audience may not be as shocked with the complexities of the relationships between the characters in the play (who are, amusingly, named after members of the boyband Take That).  It’s a testament to a (little) more enlightened age that the relationship between Lulu, Robbie and Mark doesn’t seem as shocking or strange in 2016 as I imagine it did to a theatre audience in a time when homosexuality and pansexuality were not as accepted as they are today.

The plot of the play revolves around four characters; Mark, who used to work in the city but is now a recovering drug addict, Robbie, Mark’s jealous and insecure lover, their girlfriend Lulu and a sexually abused teenage prostitute called Gary.  Mark meets Gary and pays him for sex which serves up one of the plays many shocking scenes.  An unforgettable bedroom scene which includes analingus and blood.  This play is definitely not for the faint of heart!

Lulu goes for a job interview at a tv shopping channel where her sleazy boss gets her to audition topless before convincing her to sell Ecstasy for him.  Lulu agrees and involves Robbie in the dealing too, but when Robbie practically gives all of the pills away, they find themselves in trouble to the tune of £3,000.  After trying to set up a phone sex line, Mark introduces them to Gary and the four of them are faced with a life altering choice.

The themes behind the play, those of the disposable nature of the world and the fact that everything is treated as a commodity, still have relevance in the world today.  Perhaps even more so, as the slightly far fetched world in which the play is set resonates uncomfortably in the even more throwaway and commodity rich world of today.

Perhaps then, the most shocking thing about Shopping and Fucking is not the ‘in-your-face’ sexuality of its characters, or the pints of blood and sadomasochism.  Maybe it’s the fact that Ravenhill was onto something twenty years ago, he tried to warn us and we didn’t listen?  Whatever the answer, the play is hard hitting and darkly humorous, so if you’re not easily shocked and you have a strong stomach, I’d recommend watching Shopping and Fucking.

Kids – A Review

Written as part of an assignment in my first year at Edge Hill University


In 1995, Larry Clark arrived on the film scene with his directorial debut, the controversial film Kids.  Written by Harmony Korine, the film, styled as a documentary, explores the lives of a group of teenagers in New York City.  Hard hitting and challenging to watch, showing an unflinching view of teenage life in the mid 90’s, Kids has the feel of a dogme film about it.  

The film opens with a long and graphic kissing scene involving Telly (Leo Fitzpatrick), the unforgivable and irredeemable fulcrum on which the whole movie turns, and a young girl in her bedroom.  The stuffed animals and juvenile quality of her room isn’t lost on the camera, despite the tight angle it’s constrained to.  Telly is trying to get the girl to sleep with him, having set himself the task of deflowering as many virgins as he can.  He says all of the right lines to make her feel special and convinces her to sleep with him.  We next see him on the street, boasting about his conquest and allowing his idiotic, sycophantic friend Casper (Justin Pierce) smell his fingers as proof of the deed.

This type of vulgarity is rife throughout the film, as the boys and their friends talk about drugs and sex almost constantly.  The roughness and frankness of the script is what gives the film its biggest impact.  Much of the script, though written by Korine, seems improvised which adds to the documentary feel of the film.  Leo Fitzpatrick says of Korine’s writing “Harmony was such a good writer and it was so natural…A lot of what we talked about in the movies we talked about in real life.”

Across town, Jennie (Chloë Sevigny) and her friend, Ruby (Rosario Dawson) are getting tested for STD’s at a clinic.  It’s here that Jennie is told that she’s HIV Positive and since Telly is the only boy she’s ever slept with, it could have only been contracted from him.

So begins the basic plot line on which everything else in Kids hangs.  It’s not an overly complicated plot; Jennie spends the whole film trying to track down Telly to tell him the bad news, but the film doesn’t require a complicated plot.  Instead it serves as a skeleton on which Clark and Korine hang their uncomfortably realistic cautionary tale.  Sevigny, in her debut role is just as powerful an actress as she always is.  Her portrayal of the naive and scared Jennie is brilliant, compelling the audience to feel both sympathetic and protective for her as she travels New York City in an ever desperate hunt for Telly.  

Ultimately though, despite her central part in the plot, even Jennie is just another tool that Clark and Korine use to show the disregard the boys have for everything around them.  Despite Sevigny’s acting prowess, Jennie is never more than a victim.  She is given drugs by a boy at one party and when she finally tracks down Telly, only to find him in bed with another young virgin, she falls into desolated unconsciousness in an armchair, where she is raped by a drunk and high Casper.

It is a testament to Korine’s writing and Clark’s refusal to pull punches that Kids still manages to shock nearly twenty years after its release.  It is never an easy watch at any stage and it feels purposely hard to feel any sympathy for the characters.  While the film will surely be in very bad taste for some viewers, there is no doubt that the hand held camera work and the punchy, hyper-realistic script provide a bleak and horribly reflective view of youth in 90’s New York.