Chris Hall Collaboration

Just now a violent argument started outside. A man swearing and cursing at a woman calling her a crack head, saying she’s taken everything he has, and that no one trusts her. A broken glass. more people join in perhaps trying to calm him down. Now threatening those intervening with a can of petrol and a smack. Now the argument is between him and the ones trying to calm him down. Now more people are involved. Some passers-by are simply laughing at this.

Meanwhile, I’m working on Chris Halls lovely poem and trying to put it to music. And the contrast can’t be greater.

Here is a PDF update to the song.

chris hall poem 21.05.20

The Rent Office

Jimmy was a good friend, he was warm and unassuming and I got on well with him.
I bumped into him in the street, it was an overcast day and a bit dark.
He was going down to pay his rent he said. So we parted and I carried on until for some abstract reason I thought I should accompany him. I would have to catch him up. He was gone.

So I walked down to the rent office to find him. The rent office is a huge building. It is 16 stories high and covers a large area dominating an old high street of a long-forgotten town that had been absorbed into the asteroid belt of the big city.

I walked into the building from the rear. There in a glass foyer area was a reception desk with 3 desks but only one receptionist. A queue of people stood impatiently in line to see him. He was obviously irritable with everybody so I decided not to ask for directions.

I walked through a dirty old door and came to the loading bay area, there were no Lorries and no warehousemen so I carried on along the platform to the opposite side and went through the door flaps.

Now I was in a long corridor with a zigzag bend in the middle of it, locked doors all the way down the sides and a sense of disuse. I walked down, passed the zigzag, hoping the next half of the corridor would be different, it was not. I had a feeling of wasted time and energy and wanted to get out of there. At the end, through another door was a concrete stairwell that seemed to rise up into a vanishing point. I walked up the squared rising stairwell to the next level and opened a door.

A short passageway opened out into a huge high ceilinged waiting area. It was gloomy due to the weather. A few people sat in the rows of plastic chairs. A receptionist sat at a computer alone. I asked for the rent office. He didn’t look up, he was too preoccupied, he didn’t want to talk.

I crossed the large open hall and had to choose between two sets of doors leading into two corridors. I went to the right. It led to a lift with two lift doors and lights going on and off and strange crunching noises. I looked at the placarded list of floors. It was old with flaked paint. Nothing, no rent office. This was one of the older council rent offices where things were written on bits of paper and stuck on the wall, still no rent office.

I left the lift area and descended back down a stairwell to the floor beneath. A large grimy industrial area opened up full of crates and benches full of old tools and machinery covered over in filthy canvas sheets. A menacing man looked at me as if I wasn’t supposed to be there so I hurried on with the feeling I was being followed by a monstrous enemy until I came to a little door covered in grime and went through.
There was a big empty courtyard with walls all around it, I felt trapped, fearful. I searched for a way back into the building.

I came upon an old door that led to an old lift shaft, the sort that had cages all around it. I tried to call the lift, nothing happened. I walked up a narrowing unlit forgotten staircase like those in the towers of medieval castles to the next floor and saw a double set of doors onto a waiting room area. This was the council enquiry room. Two or three dozen worried people were crammed into the room. Sitting on plastic chairs or standing in a huddle by the door. It was a ticketed system and a red-backlit number said 665. My friend was nowhere to be found.

I left and found another stairwell and I made the bad choice of climbing all the way to the top. On the top floor was a large open plan office space with desks set up in rows. Women were engaged in making calculations on their computers. I had the feeling of walking into an off-limits part of the building and that I was unwelcome. I did a quick about-face and went down the stairs to the floor below.
Just as I was about to leave the stairwell I happened to look out of the window. Way down below I saw an ambulance and someone was being carried into it.

Chris Hall poem collaboration

Hello Chris – and fellow blog persons.

This is the beginning of a collaboration, Chris Hall’s poem: Together We Are Strong published on on April 7th 2020.

I was reading the poem when it occurred to me that it told a story, from verse to verse, has drama and strong expressive images and that would work as a song. So I got in touch and put forward my idea and she seemed OK with it.

I’ll try to publish the progress on my blog showing the changes and ideas as they happen. At first, I tried a couple of rhythms led ideas that didn’t seem to work, so then I just sat down with my guitar and tried to play a melody over minor chords. Then fearing I might lose what I had so far I took a break. Now that I come back to it I’m not sure and yet it could be ok or not. 🙂 (My smiley faces never work or some reason but I tried, no I’m wrong there it is).

chris hall poem

Song: Finty

I should have called you; I’ve been angry
I’ve ignored you; did you notice?

You didn’t call, and I don’t understand you
Are you unpleasant? Or am I in love?

I want to make things up between us
I want to make things up between us

I ‘m a passive victim in this game
I’m a loose link in this chain
Treat me badly all that you want
Life’s unfair, life carries on

I’m still holding on to old hurts
But still, the people here, do me wrong

My psyche is burdened, am I too nice?
Should I get angry, be cold as ice?

I walked away, no explanation
I’m not angry, only sad

I’m a passive victim in this game
I’m a loose link in this chain
Treat me badly all that you want
Life’s unfair, life carries on

PDF :-


A letter from “the struggling artist goes unpunished” to the world.

I had this fragment of dream-story stab my brain like a shard of ice. The struggling artist goes unpunished – well that’s not very nice.
Normally the artist is left to self-crucify and no one cares. They do the job for you and your money is spared.
But this struggling artist goes un-punished – why. It could be that a crazy comet was passing by, that looked down from on rocky high and said – we don’t want this struggling artist to die.
Feed the pigeons

Oh, all the rocky comets in the sky got together for a party. An astronaut who was passing by then thought “this all looks very he-arty”
“It’s a squiggle of comets, well I’ll be a pangolins violin. This whole corner of the universe is subject to their din”.
“Call the comet cops, the alien noise patrol before they get into rock and roll”. What a struggling artist may not disagree to is – are you off your tree my dear doctor who.
Feed the pigeons

An army of death apes appeared on earth. “What’s this about the pigeons we heard?” They swarmed over river and they swarmed over dale. They came to the gates of pigeon world in hell.
A brave artist then got up to say,” feed the pigeons -you **£$% lovers of expletives”. The pigeon leader began to play, let the pigeon rule today and . . .
Feed the pigeons.

For Aurora and AuAu
With Love from the pigeon princess.

The Great Gnome Fiasco

The gnome mobile knee-deep with top-secret documents about the French Gnome Liberation front is sailing on a halo of water across the English Channel.

When the spectacle of the pig-headed sea captain made of cuttlebone in a ship’s cabin where a crystal chandelier glitters over the sea in the night as he beaches his boat where loose pickle packers in a heap of cucumbers from a tribe of true blue Britons from the court of King Andy Pandy are caught in handcuffs by P.C. Christine the Great with aching feet festooned with fish faces that face the festering facades of the London republic of Urcha

Then appeared a blue carnival float stuffed with Gnomes dancing with a plethora of naked dusky beauty queens who dined on plastic hotdogs as policemen followed a strange trail of Gnomes eyes that shone in the night and collected them in jam jars donated by the Salvation Army who after periods of anxiety in the linen cupboard of life were French secret agents working as char ladies.

Oh, it was a lovely fiasco when Diamond Dan the fly picker was banned from the street corner for dressing in stockings and suspenders that sparkled like a searchlights energy from the deep thoughts of screaming girl fanatics who chased their housing officers through the abandoned council offices where the Gnomes slept on burning rag bundles to keep warm.

Oh, it was a lovely fiasco to blame the Lord Mayor of Urcha to stop him keeping his collection of London buses crammed with the carcasses of Gnomes in the gangways that became mounds of money in the moonlight that bounced of the bosom of the body snatchers from the Medical College. Whose liaisons with the Water Board Officials in the big boarding houses on Highbury Hill that put at peril the secrets of the Gnome secret nation.

Oh, the fiasco inflated newspapers and floated like fairies in fairy lights for yonks through the ether of their ephemeral ethics that oozed from the enigmas that emerged like German sausages from their refurbished tea machines.


In the year 2000, The Garden Gnomes Liberation Front was said to be responsible for stealing 288 figurines from lawns in the French town of Sarebourg. Police are reuniting owners with the statues, including 5 snow whites and a footballer which were found in a wood.

With you, I am not working class


“With you, I am not working class”
But I need reminding of who I am
It rains in my hair
There is a cold grey February light
That creates a stillness in the air
For man and beast who die together like grass

“With you, I am not working class”
I remember now the summer, especially the sun
How it flies in my heart like a white bird
How it covers my heart like thick butter
Even on a cold grey morning
Love is another thing that breaks down barriers

“With you, I am not working class”
My mother and father were just people who lived and died together
Their home was a place for children to survive
When the cold grey English light emerges from the darkness
Both Queen and subject feel its power to subject
And it treats all pedestrians as equals in its gloom

“With you, I am not working class”
I am just a man you have known for many years
Isn’t it a shame that God cannot make us love him?
Isn’t it a shame that God cannot make us love each other?
That we must do for ourselves
Isn’t it a shame?