an open telegram to people who write open letters in The Guardian

Stop Stop

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on hearing incidental music in a news segment on a radio news programme

We need a montage on the news.

Let music sweep

Survivors weep

And experts share their views.

Let us skilfully juxtapose

The soaring tones

With victims’ moans –

Let editors impose.

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What the terrorists don’t want

What the terrorists don’t want

is my hot take:

my carefully crafted tweet,

sincerely fake.

Admire how hashtag riddled

I pontificate:

on why my politics is right

and why those others are talking shite.

And you will see

what this tragedy

means really

for me,

for me.

For me.

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The first named British storm – live blog

16.16 – still windy. and wet.

16.10 – the rain is so hard it has set off all the car alarms in the street making a sound like an orchestra of found sounds in an avant garde concerto by an American who spent too long in Paris in his early twenties

16.06 – the trees visible from my bedroom window bend awkwardly in the wind like Jeremy Vine completing a Latin dance move with his much shorter partner on the Strictly.

16.02 – the sky is as grey as the suits worn by Conservative MPs sent to tell a party leader that he or she has lost the confidence of the backbenchers.

15.59 – the lampposts are  swaying like an alcoholic man walking along a road after an evening in a local hostelry.

15.58 – the rain is bouncing off the ground as if it was rain hitting the ground and bouncing.

15.57 – it’s wet and windy, and dark, and wet. And did I mention the wind?

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the news where you are

They sit on the sofa. As he speaks she gazes through him with awestruck attention, nods and smiles to camera as he tells us

– and now a chance to hear the news where you are.

It never is though. With news of crime there is nothing about missing school ties.  It is strangely silent on the trauma caused by the Cheerios running out when all that is left is Weetabix. Amidst the politics the newsreader has no space for the prohibition on living room gymnastics.

– and now the weather.

We look out of the window.

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the shy atheist

in court

he speaks

he swears

(and lies)

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A letter to my solicitor

Dear sir,

I wish to meet with you at the earliest opportunity to instruct some amendments to my will. I would be grateful if you could advise on the implications of disinheritance of children and whether reference to the reasons within the will is valid.

Yours faithfully

E. Malley

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A further letter to my twelve year old son and ten year old daughter


Mother would like a word with you.


Yours etc

E Malley

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A letter to my twelve year old son and my ten year old daughter

Look you two,

I am not saying this whole remote control thing is putting a strain on our relationship but if you don’t tell me where you have hidden it right now I am afraid I am going to have to go public on this in a clickbait column in a newspaper.

yours faithfully

Ernest Malley, esq

(your father)

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A letter to my ten year old daughter


he says you had the remote control last and it is not down the side of the sofa and I am not watching this rubbish any longer. Now where is it?



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A letter to my twelve year old son

how do?

Where the fuck have you put the remote control?



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this afternoon’s phone call

Mid-afternoon, the house still, the phone was insistent.


“Hallo sir. You have had an accident.”

“who is this?”

“You have had an accident sir.”

“no. Who are you?”

“A bump. a small bump. An accident. You have had sir. An accident.”

“no one here has had an accident. Who is this?”

“National insurer sir. Your insurer. You have had accident in your car.”



“You’re a liar.”

“sir. Your accident. I call about your accident.”

“no one has had an accident here. No one.”


“how did you get this number?”

“your accident. In your car sir. I am insurer. your claim.”

“There’s no claim. There’s been no accident. How did you get this number? It’s ex directory. And I’m on”

“Sir. There was bump. In your car.”

“the telephone preference service. Where did you get this number?”

“your claim, sir. Your claim. the bump.”

“There was no bump.”

“Your car”

“You’re a liar.”

“the car”

“You’re a scamming liar”

“Your claim for your car.”

“I don’t have a car. I don’t drive.”


“so, liar. Where did you get?”

The line purred.

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there’s a poet in every one of us

There’s a poet in every one of us, says


And when they eulogise Corbyn

Beware of the influence they’re absorbin’.

Old Tom knew the score

With his poetic lore:

The younger ones will imitate

Defacing, making Tom irate

But watch for mature versifiers of the left

For whom all poetry is theft.

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I do not want to have to stop the kids going to buy their comics tomorrow. But I will.

Because I do not want to see pictures of someone being murdered, or the reaction of a person watching another person being murdered, on the front page of the newspapers. And I do not want my children to see those pictures.

And I do not want news websites to show a video of someone being killed, or hint that they are showing a video of someone being killed – urging the click through with their disturbing video warnings.

But the battle’s lost. This is what sections of the media here do: voyeuristically ogling violent death. For clicks. For revenue. Because this is what the people making editorial decisions are, and what they think we have become.

Sod them.

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lost Tolkien work published

I was delighted to learn earlier today of the planned publication of the annual pre Christmas lost Tolkien work. The work, long known to scholars, is intriguing and I am pleased to release an exclusive excerpt.







Eleven apples

It is thought that the  work is based, in part, on a free translation of Snorri Sturluson’s Younger Edda, although the influence of the older Poetic Edda is clear. I don’t think I’m the only one who sees echoes of Skirnir’s Journey here, and the way in which Tolkien expands the produce offered to Gerd by Skirnir Is characteristic of his expansive translation determined to build the contemporary relevance of Norse myths.

Appetite whetted, I for one can’t wait for the full publication

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some personal reflections on the reunion of the Spice Girls and what it means for people like me



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Hastily written topical poem about vilifying matadors

Unlike Papa Hemingway I abhor
The bullfighter’s art. In fact I despises
Brandished scarlet capes, and blood, and gore
But I’m less sure about cats torturing mices.
I, for one, vilify the matador
Whenever the opportunity arises.

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A statement from acting Labour leader Harriet Harman

Responding to tonight’s opinion poll on the Labour leadership election, acting Labour part leader Harriet Harman released the following statement to waiting reporters.

“Oh my God.

“All the time, it was…

“We finally really did it.

“You Maniacs!

“You blew it up!

“Ah, damn you!

“God damn you all to hell!”

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The Greek leader addresses the nation – a hastily written topical poem

“This tryst with mother Europe’s
The best deal I could have got
– Poke my eyes out with a sharp stick
If it’s not.”

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Why I left London

In those last hours before I left London I wandered aimlessly marvelling at this vast cultural mix wondering why I had decided to turn my back on this great city, this cultural hub, in order to allow me to record the reasons in a banal think piece for one of the newspapers.

And as I considered the reasons I remembered that the main ones were that my brief holiday was over and I had reserved seats on the train from King’s Cross.

Sad Chorlton

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