Mechanicals, Blade Runner & A Brief Note About Reviews

I am giving up my current day job, no more market research for me…No more data tables, no more questionnaires, no more significance testing, etc. Nope, not for me, I’m now a car mechanic. I will be fixing cars for a living.

This is categorically not true, but I am proud of myself for finally fixing the boot of our car yesterday. It’s only taken me the best part of two years to do it. Four hours of swearing, sweating and repeated viewing of what may be the best video ever on YouTube has saved me the best part of 400 quid. I am happy. Are there any other poet mechanics? Come on people, announce yourselves.

In other news, there isn’t really any. I’m home alone this weekend—Come over if you fancy it—so in-between the mechanicery (I’m getting the lingo now) and the cleaning, drinking, etc, I’ve managed to work on some poems for the book. I think I’m almost…ALMOST…done with the second pass at them all, so it will be time to get them all in order again soon and go again…

I’ve finished a review and sent that off. I was so close to being up to date, and have somehow ended up agreeing to two more, so I now have 4 to do. Bloody heckers, like, Riches…learn the word no..

I managed to “attend” via Zoom/YouTube the launches of Jess Mookherjee, Ramona Herdman and Tania Hershman midweek. All three were amazing. I’ve not managed to buy Jess or Tania’s books yet (I will, I will, Jane…), but I got Ramona’s last week and read it quickly this week. It’s a wonderful thing. I love her work. It’s one of the four reviews I need to do, so I’m looking forward too going back over it in more depth and to revisiting her other work for context (and basically because it’s bloody great).

Having had two months off the sauce recently, I feel like I’ve been on the other side of this poem from ‘Glut’

Before this becomes the Ramona-show (and there’s no reason why it can’t), it’s worth noting that Jess‘ and Tania’s work is also ace, so there’s that too…I’ve linked to them reading from their new books as you need to hear them too.


Having mentioned reviews above and last week, it may well be pushing my luck to mention them again, but Friday saw a small scale discussion about the ethics of tagging a poet into a review when the review isn’t entirely glowing. The review that triggered the discussion is here. I’ve not read the book it’s about, but I have read some of Claire’s work before and enjoyed it. To my mind the review is fair, it backs up the questions it asks and praises when it should. Would that I could do such a thing, but Claire didn’t want to read it. Another poet leapt to her defence to say that poets shouldn’t be tagged in to review.

I have often wondered whether I should do this when one of my reviews is published, and I’ve always come down on the side of yes because poets get so few reviews and chances to see things that I assume people want to know. I do try and say if it’s going to be positive, and they usually are.

I can see why a writer might not want to read the review, but surely you want to know it’s out there? You can choose not to read it – and many do. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong here, and while I do think a negative review (if it isn’t an absolute kicking and malicious ) can be useful. Criticism can be helpful, I expect it when sharing drafts and it always helps, so an opinion of someone that has hopefully engaged with the work as a whole should also be helpful.

That said, I’ve yet to be on the end of a review yet, so ask me again should that happen- for better or worse.

Finally, a poem

I’m going to cheat this week and post one of my own poems. Prompted by Ramona reading her excellent Blade Runner themed poem mid week, I’m posting my own inspired by this scene in the film.

Originally published in Dreich Sci-Fi a couple of years ago, and also prompted by having done the cleaning yesterday.

The Replicants Have Reached Middle Age

You’re not in any hypothetical desert
and your name’s not Leon. You’re standing in
a hallway. There are no turtles present.
The arrival of the post rouses you
from your reverie, you see your vacuum
cleaner laying on its back: the motor
still running, a sound of air rushing in.

Do you flip it over to continue
the chores you need to get done, or watch it
just laying there, its wheels drooping towards
the ground? Are you helping with anything?

Either way, it’s probably time to let
you tell me about your mother?

I’m now starting to wonder if that should be in the book…Hmmm, is there going to be a trend towards having Blade Runner themed poems like there for bees, etc?

Tallies. Because it’s Sunday and I miss The Sundays (and the Sun Days for that matter). The title seems apt for the above, and their album is called Patina and we know that’s on the banned list of words for poets.

Finally, a gentle notice that we will be closed for business for the next two Sundays while Family Riches is on holiday. I’m hoping a week away will be the kickstart to loads of new drafts. Our last holiday abroad was, so fingers crossed.

Take care


8K running. Still slow and steady, knee still aching
0 days without cigarettes…I was doing so well..
0 Days since drinking. Had several yesterday. Intend to have one shortly
0 sleepless nights:

4 poems finished: Unlimited Texts, The Tea Hut (was Break Out), Waking Up, Trajectory
5 poems worked on: Swimming Lessons, Settling, Ingratitude, Dewars, New Mothers
0 poems published:
0 submissions:
0 acceptances:
0 rejections:
11 poems are currently out for submission.
78 Published poems
35 Poems* finished but unpublished
Twelvety poems* in various states of undress
554 Rejected poems* Eg I’ve decided they are not good enough

1 review finished: Richie McCaffery: Summer / Break
2 reviews started: Well, read and thought about
1 reviews submitted: See above
4 reviews to write: How the fuck did that happen…

1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green

* To date, not this week. Christ!!


M.R. Peacock: The Long Habit of Living
Belinda Rimmer: Holding On
Ramona Herdman: Glut
Raceme 13

Nine Arches Book Launch

Ahmed Malek & Flako: The Electronic Tapes
Kikagaku Moyo: Forest of Lost Children
Rich Ruth: I Survived, It’s over
Maggie Rogers: Heard It In A Past Life
Magazine: The Correct Use of Soap
The Magnetic North: Prospect Of Skelmersdale
That Petrol Emotion: Chemicrazy
Terry Hall: Home
The House of Love: Babe Rainbow, Days Run Away, Butterfly Album, The House of Love
Mall Grab: What I Breath
The Electric Prunes: Mass In F Minor, ST
Sharbail Ahmed: The King of Sudanese Jazz
The Blue Aeroplanes: Tolerance,Bop Art
Altered Images: Happy Birthday
Johanna Warren: Chaotic Good
Leo Kottke: Mudlark
The Seekers: All Bound For Mornington
Brian Jonestown Massacre: Fire Doesn’t Grow On Trees
Hot Chip: Freakout/Reslease
The Church: Starfish
Autosalvage: ST
Ellie Pop: ST
Lothar & The Hand People: Space Hymn
Erland Cooper: Music For Growing Flowers
Don Bikoff: Celestial Explosion
Julian Cope: England Expectorates
Ami Shavit: In Alpha Mood
Giant Sand: Swerve
Tallies: Patina

The Good Wife
Better Call Saul (Sad it’s over)
The Thick of It


Parts for the car
BH Fairchild: the Art of the Lathe

One thought on “Mechanicals, Blade Runner & A Brief Note About Reviews

  1. Pingback: Poetry Blog Digest 2022, Week 33 – Via Negativa

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