Grabbing 2018 by the B&lls!

Let’s be honest, 2017 as a year was… a bit shit. Too much hate-filled terrorism, too much idiocy-filled Brexit, too much asshole-filled Trump… even the celebrity deaths looked a bit shit compared with the previous year (RIP David Bowie and Alan Rickman). Not to mention that The Last Jedi was also…a bit shit. (Sad, but true. Feel free to fail to convince me otherwise below…)

But this isn’t the “a bit shit” blog. (Quiet at the back.)

I’ve had a poem saved in drafts for over two years now. It’s about feeling low in the new year (“the calendar moves on/ I remain still”)… it’s not going to get published here this year either. It’s just not what I want to share. Life is “a bit shit” enough without me releasing my faintly whiffy poetry into the air. It would be as welcome as a fart at a funeral. (As I’m fairly sure Geoff Le Pard would/has put it!)

I’m also not one of those annoyingly cheerful positive types. I know some of my American readers lap that stuff up, but us Brits don’t really go in for that either.


Those are our “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” equivalents.

I digress.

So… a middle way. A smidge of positivity, without the odour of negativity. A sustainable, splash-free course through the swirling turd-hills of terror, Brexit, Trump, #this-year’s-evil…

In terms of my poetry, things are starting to move along… I have joined a supportive poetry collective, DIY Poets… I will continue to attend open mics (am back to The Cave next week)… I have a brief slot supporting the brilliantly funny poet John Hegley in March… I got my first publishing credits last year (in a charity collection – Diverse Verse – and then in a wonderful local Christmas ‘zine through Mud Press)… I have collated poetry for at least three different collections I intend to self-publish (pending me arranging some cover art)… I hope to soon be sharing a few videos of my poems on youtube…

In terms of my other writing, I am currently developing an idea I have for a sitcom, and am trying to get to grips with screenwriting… I may even go back to a novel I started in 2016… plus some unfinished business with drafts of a handful of children’s picture books…

A few different options!

So… back to grabbing 2018 by the balls (or throat, if you prefer a more violent but less sexual image)…

I have volunteered to help organise the Nottingham Poetry Festival in April. I will be the official blogger in the build-up to and during the festival. What this means in reality, I can’t yet tell you (not because it’s secret, but because I don’t yet know either!), but when the call went out for people to help a month ago, I took an afternoon off work, got the tram into Nottingham, sucked in my gut, and said to a room-full of strangers “err…anything I can do?”

I am very excited about this one!

I hate “takeaways” (unless being used in the British sense of food delivered to your door, obviously), but if there is a takeaway from this, it’s just this:

When whatever-your-thing-in-2018 sends a call out for people to help (and it will)
– Get on the bus/ tram/ boat/ unicycle
– Suck in your gut
– Say “err… is there anything I can do to help?…”

To your success!



62 thoughts on “Grabbing 2018 by the B&lls!

  1. …and what balls, he has… I am thrilled to see/hear about all the participation in the world of poetry. Looking forward to the You Tube channel with poetry, I don’t think I am subscribed to any such channel as of yet, so this would be a good thing. Keep up the good work and yes, you can count on me for the positive energy for which I am known AND cheerleading whenever necessary. If you want something more violent, I could arrange to put my hands around your throat… but that could get to be habit forming..

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Happy New Year matey! And here’s to 2018 and having lots of festival fun (I’m going to be involved in supporting Newark Book Festival in July through Fosseway Writers, we’re gonna have an official stand and everyfink). We’ve also got Leanne to judge our poetry comp and I hope to catch up with you in the cave next week (I may bring my dodgy knee poem where I contrive a rhyme with “Lawrence Dallaglio” – whether the ‘dodgy’ applies to my knee or the poem is entirely up to the reader).

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dallaglio is an under-used word on the poetry circuit – look forward to that one! The Book Festival sounds fun too. Official stands, eh… Who woulda dreamt of the day you’d be manning an official stall…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It warms my cockles to read that poetry is so enthusiastically embraced over there. Brexit will surely keep out the uncultured and it will be like the good old days once more. We Americans cling to our frothy bits of nonsense and it’s only getting worse, we are dealing with the White House mafia, please cut us some slack. I adore poetry slams, they are a deep dark secret here but can be found if one is willing to risk it. Happy New Year Al.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Exciting news! It sounds like you will be busy with all sorts of good things. Now I need to figure out how to come over in April for the poetry festival! I love the British equivalents of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Americans aren’t all that happy anyway, maybe if we adopted a more level headed approach… 🙃 Anyway, wishing you an awkward, modest 2018 but not a self deprecating one! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for being positive without being preachy and over-the-top. I think I may not be an American at all. I don’t match up to the description. But really, what description do I match with? None, really. I’m all over the place. Best of luck to you with all your exciting endeavors! And here’s hoping 2018 is an enormous improvement over 2017! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Looks like an exciting year ahead for you, Al! Gutsy. Ballsy. Good luck, enjoy, perform. I’m struggling with the positivism of some people as well, now that I live in the US. But, I can always blame my “saying it as it is” on my European roots. And, who can be positive anyway, with Trump in charge? Happy New Year and cheers to positive change. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I always enjoy the sunrise more than the midday sun… modest amounts of positivity, and the not-yet-fulfilled potential, just seem more poetic, more beautiful… And we need all we can get in a world where Trump is in power…

      Happy New Year to you too, and to finding those changes! xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I loved the update, and I’m thrilled that your talent is getting out there. I look forward to reading more of your poems. You are brilliant and you are what the world needs right now.
    All the best to you and your family,

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Excellent, Al. I’m glad you sucked in your gut and err…asked. As far as us “cheery to the point of annoying Americans” (ha ha)… we have to be in order not to sink into the pit of Trumpian despair. It’s a matter of life and death, literally, since it’s impossible to go anywhere and not risk getting shot. *Sigh*
    Wishing you a wonderful New Year with many successes upon the stage of life. Happy Writing!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. A screenplay? Oh, I’m looking forward to that, Al. It’s something I’d like to get involved in but never had any idea how to. Don’t laugh, but I’ve always wanted to write an episode of Emmerdale. It’s an idea that never wants to go away. It’s always in my head and is one of the first things I think about whenever I wake up. I can’t seem to get rid of it.
    Good luck with your goals. I’m sure you’ll be winning the golden balls award. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  10. So many goals! I love how your life is just filled it seems with poetry. I have been playing with a Youtube channel too, I’d rather watch though then perform I think!! I haven’t tried to perform, on my bucket list this year as well as publish a poetry book my first time!! I wish i could hear some of the poets you are talking about. I just heard of Kate Temptest and she is from England and her slam poetry gives me goosebumps.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Hi Al! 2016 and 2017 were horrible years for me, but I had a great feeling about 2018 and so far, it’s been a wonderful year. I see you’re making the best of 2018 also. Good for you! You have lots of fun and exciting activities coming your way––so busy! I wish you all the best with all your plans! This is going to be an exciting year for poetry!

    Liked by 1 person

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