A review of Ian Arkley’s second solo album via poetic journeys on the London Underground

ArkleyII_COVERIan Arkley’s second solo album two is compellingly converse. Frequently touching on fiercely hunting, it equally remains subtle throughout. two picks up where one left of with bells on thanks to the addition of a dulcimer, lyre and pitched down acoustic guitar for bass. Mastering and layout are by Michael Shaffer of label Opa Loka Records, on which two is released; beyond that, Ian is responsible for all aspects including photographs and artwork. Continue reading

Walking the Dog

juuso-salminen-zA50EwhSCgg-unsplashWith thanks to Juuso Salminen for the header image. As is often the case with the image used, it’s chosen for its own merits as much as its relationship with the words. When first seeing, I thought it digital, a black on white image, not a photograph. Apparently much hanging around on a freezing cold lake was needed to get it.

Like the photo, the following is also true. Though it took place in the early 90s during a summer when I lived on a council estate in London. Numerous flats in different buildings of various sizes and ages looked onto a communal area with grass and also a high-walled brick area with benches built in. Meant as an outdoor meeting area, local kids used it to play football as the high wall at one end made a great goal where the ball bounced back instead of flying off into the distance anytime someone scored or missed (I often joined in while Ed—a Rottie named after Eddie Cochran—did his business). Continue reading

The Shop next to the Tower on the Top of the Hill

rocky biggs 1280px-Croydon_Transmitter_IIA poem written in November 2020, prompted by what exactly I can’t remember; there is truth to a degree in the words, and while this matters not to the reader, a need to expand on the actual facts took hold, from which followed a jaunt across the tobacco industry, teachers always being a-holes, a picture of my favourite gate, cheap snacks, Big Foot, how I used to live in the Lord of the Rings, laughing at my mum (sorry, mum), a real size but pretend Canadian Parliament, the world’s first dinosaur statues, and London’s most popular gorilla.

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Elephant and Castle, Stick It up Your Arsehole!

A Life of Crime vs. The Free Market Supplemental

‘The Elephant and Castle shopping centre, once a symbol of hope and regeneration could be on its last legs…’ started a BBC article published while I was in the throes of finishing the A Life of Crime… series.

If hearing a similar statement when living nearby—permanently 1984 to 86 and then again 1988 to 99—I would’ve partied hard like it was the latter year.

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Mr T and the Art of Profiting from Snow

In the early 90s I worked London’s markets; the following is an account of true events:

There we were, early hours of the morning, the market having been snowed off, in an illegally open workingmen’s club, surrounded by every one drinking there, having been led to a dark storeroom by the barman on account of our walking in laden with stock I didn’t want to risk leaving in the motor and T, in his quest for a sherbet, didn’t want to unload before going to the club.

They thought the gear was nicked; hot off the back of a lorry; perhaps one driven by a workingman mate and he’d get grief for it. Perhaps, in being workingmen who normally did an honest day’s work (allegedly), they simply didn’t like types who cut corners, did things at other’s expense in the name of a few bob.

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