What does it take to turn an idea into a poem? Into a story, a polemic or a play? That, I’m afraid, I can’t answer fully, though time, skill, experience – and imagination – are obvious prerequisites. But what does it take to turn those poems, stories, plays and polemics – or a long forgotten […]

I had a slight case of textile mill overkill earlier in the spring. But after a few weekends spent stressing out over the weekend papers, the lure of the loom proved too much. Burnley’s Queen Street Mill was calling. I’d no idea what to expect. I knew it was a working mill museum. I knew […]

Whenever major industrial enterprises are threatened with closure – like the British steel industry, as I write – we all wring our hands. Well, those of us who care about the fate of ‘deselected’ workers do. There’s not much else we can do. There are only so many online petitions you can sign. And the […]

Originally posted on MEMOIRS OF A HUSK:
Is it a peculiarly British thing? There’s trainspotting, which I could understand when there were gleaming Thomas-style tank engines huffing and puffing and spitting out sparks. It’s harder to see the fascination in a dirty diesel with a serial number. But still they stand, men and boys (mostly),…

Originally posted on MEMOIRS OF A HUSK:
On dimly lit suburban streets, in the hours before dawn, it’s as silent as our world can be. Up in the lofty fir trees, knowing owls watch for prey. Foxes prowl through tangled brambles growing beyond neat garden fences. And six days a week, a bold human interloper…

Dark, Satanic Mills. Grim up north. Where there’s muck there’s brass. The stereotypes are many – and not very varied. Belching chimneys and squalid terraced houses. Dark, cobbled alleyways and clogs. Men in flat caps and women in shawls, their Lowry-stick-figures bent against the wind. Whippets. Ferrets. Coal holes. It’s persistent, the old image of […]