Hands Off



HanNone ds Off

This week copyright is uppermost in my mind with the news that my son’s you tube series Dave Green’s Street View Show where he interviews comedians using Google Street View has been ripped off without acknowledgement by another comedian Geoff Lloyd who is doing a radio version on Radio Union Jack. There is more about this on the comedy website Chortle.

Meanwhile in case anyone is eyeing my stuff for similar treatment:

Hands Off

None of my work is any good
You needn’t read; but if you should
Remember not to copy it.
It’s all my own, stuff what I wrote.

Everything is copyright
So no one has a legal right
To copy or to steal my stuff
I’m really fearful that you might!

If you achieve celebrity
Stealing stuff what’s written by me
It really won’t be very fair.
So leave my stuff. Just don’t you dare!

You may think that I’m paranoid
But steal my stuff I’ll get annoyed!
I’d hate if you got rich and famous.
Stealing my stuff; that’s really heinous!

Please like or leave a comment if you enjoy reading my work but DON’T  under any circumstances copy. It’s rubbish and spreading it across the internet would be a public disservice.


Do not alight here

Among my favourite examples of over complicated English are the signs of the platform of what was an international station saying, ‘Do not alight here’.

Do not alight here

There’s a sign as you pull into the station
It says,’do not alight here’.
No need for an explanation
You’re sure to know what it means?

We don’t want you planning to set it alight
We don’t want it set on fire
Be careful with your matches
Don’ set the place ablaze.

Or could they have kept it simpler
Said what they meant to say?
If they don’t want us getting off the train
Why don’t they just say?

Say what you mean
Mean what you say
Use much simpler words.
So confusing for foreigners
When you use such arcane words
You don’t need to say
‘Do not alight’
When you just mean
‘Don’t get off’!



Sarcastic or something else?

I’ve laid claim to writing in clear plain English and saying what I mean but there is an important qualification. I’m British and have a very British sense of humour. Irony is a key weapon in our armoury.  We will often say the opposite of what we mean to mock the ideas we are pretending to hold so, when I talk in All Fall Down about the answer to all the killing being more good men with guns, I rely on the reader to understand I mean the exact opposite.

This is very British. If you doubt that check out Quora and the habitual way the British respond to what they regard as stupid questions from Americans about the UK.

Some people have referred to the way I write in comments as ‘sarcastic’. I get quite hurt by that. I think of it as gentle mocking irony while ‘sarcasm’ in my book is something quite different.

I wrote the poem sarcasm to explain what I see as the difference.


You say my work’s sarcastic
But I don’t really like that word.
Sarcasm comes with a caustic bite
It stings, it’s meant to hurt.

I may say the opposite of what I think
But I say it for humorous effect.
It’s gentle, mocking irony
Not really meant to hurt.

It’s a very English humour
The kind that we do best
It’s almost force of habit
A gentle mocking jest.

Please don’t be offended
Or even worse confused
I only hope you get it and
You know it’s not meant to hurt.




Poetry in plain English

You’ll have gathered by now, if you’re not a first time visitor, that I do plain straightforward writing in clear, easy to follow English. I’d happily adopt another style if it worked for me,and I thought there were others who wanted to read it, but, as I expressed in the poem Voice; published on here before anyone was actually reading this, I feel like I’ve found what works for me. Voice has had 19,000 plus reads  on Wattpad so hopefully I’m getting it right for others too.

The truth is I had any pretentions to florid, discursive writing knocked out of me in a working career where ‘writing’ was a key part of what I did but for a very different audience. The ‘writing’ I did to earn a living was far from being creative. I wrote reports for decision makers.

My work was expected to be clear, concise and to the point. Brevity was the order of the day and the instruction was never to use a long word where a short one would do. We would never ask people to ‘peruse’ documents we suggested that they  should ‘look at’ them.

One of the missions I was given was to re-write the local authorities contract conditions in plain English. The lawyers hated me for it!

My ambition to write the great English novel is never likely to be realised. The Next Big Thing, as the poem of that name expresses, is unlikely ever to be written but ‘verse’, comes very naturally to me. I’m not always sure I can glorify it with the word ‘poetry’ but that is for others to judge and worry about. My mission, as the tag line has it, is to entertain. I’m sometimes seeking to entertain with a purpose but I try to express what I am saying as clearly and effectively as possible.

Todays poem, Red Lines, is a tribute to the manager who honed my writing skills with a liberal helping of red ink.

Red Lines

The report you have written
Is ‘basically fine’
The words are yours
But the ideas are mine.

I’ve covered it liberally
With red ink
Please rewrite
But don’t rethink.

I’ve altered all your capital letters
Crossed out all the “howsoevers”
It’s punchy now
All bullet points
You can rewrite again
If it disappoints.











I wish I could write obscurer.

I’ve read other people’s poems
And they don’t much look like mine
I wish I could make them obscurer.
Be done with silly rhymes.

I’d like to shroud in mystery
But I just say what I mean
I wish I was better at writing
And could write obscurer lines.

I’d dab words round my canvas
Pluck metaphors out of the air
Draw a veil over what I was saying
And leave you crying for more.

I’d like to leave you scratching your head
And wondering what I mean
But it seems to come out
In the same plain words
With no hidden meanings at all.

Maybe I’m just shallow?
Don’t have any hidden depths.
There are other, cleverer writers
And I’m just way too dumb.

Think where I could take this
If I didn’t just say what I meant?
Fathomless conjectures,
Museful meanderings,
Pensive pontification
Big words, long
and perhaps extravagantly constructed sentences?

But would that still be me?
My tired and torrid attempts
To twist, turn and complicate
My communications for the benefit
Of audiences immune to the
Innocence of my simplistic doggerel
Are condemned to fall on fallow ground.
Seeds ungerminated
Failing to come to fruition.

I can’t be doing with that stuff.
I’ll just say what I mean.

Nothing to say

His work exuded sophistication;
That clever poet.
There’d be endless layers of complication.
Name a technique and he could show it;
He displayed such knowledge; erudition.

The most perfect rhymes he’d always retrieve.
The power of his intellect there on display.
And, at choosing his words, he was quite a magician,
His extensive vocabulary hard to believe.

It was just such a pity he’d nothing to say!

The Next Big Thing

6081CE55-339F-498B-8CCC-2F2933ED1187Writing can be a struggle sometimes but there’s always that dream that keeps us going.

The Next Big Thing

I’m sat here in a coffee shop
Like a J.K Rowling thing.
My book’s going to be the
Next big hit
But I’m not quite certain when.

You’ll be taken by my hero
Quite an amazing chap.
Or he could be a girl
I’m not quite sure
I’ve not cracked that bit yet.

It’s bound to make me millions
All I need’s a plot
Half an idea what to write about
Then it’s certain to take off.

I’ve not quite got it started
I don’t know where to begin
But if I ever write this book of mine.
It’s gonna be the next big thing.