For those of you who didn’t make it down to the show I thought I’d post some images from the installation so you could see what you missed! I know – it was Mother’s Day – so you had a good excuse. With any luck we’ll re-run the show at other venues later in the year, but in the meantime take a look online.

The installation was separate to the performance for the piece. We rigged up a washing line and pegged lots of T-shirts on to which we projected stills and video.

Here’s – which includes pirate radio samples cut-up to create a new score from producer . The music reflects the ‘found’ methodology behind the poems and installation which was commissioned by Tom Chivers for the 2009 London Word Festival.


Dad used to go down the bookies, throw money
on the horses. You’d know he was home
from the blare of the box in the front room:
Years later mum wrote
a story about her pregnant belly, the rent spent
on a mare called Super Lucky 7.

Even when Dad left to slam down his dominoes
on another coffee table we still watched
the Grand National: mum showed me how
to cover my back with 50p each way and the thrill
of an accumulator. On the day I thought
I was bad enough to lay down my own bet
I marched into a room full of men and cigarettes,
tripped on a step and landed flat on my face.
Yeah yeah yeah. I know. What were the chances?

Gamblers became a thing I liked to view.
Like junkies. The fine film of sweat, the way
they walked funny and their closed open eyes.
I observed a tragic poetry in all those screwed-up
betting slips. Casinos had more glamour:
women with long legs, chandeliers, roulette.
I went once with Zara, my Greek-Cypriot neighbour
who was on the dole with four kids. She said
the Golden Horseshoe had more ‘family atmosphere’

not like the meat markets on Leicester Square
and that I should only bring what I could afford
to lose. The men stuck to the skill of cards:
sat on stools for poker and blackjack, placed
their complimentary drinks on disposable coasters,
while the women crowded round the wheel.
I won and lost my twenty quid in seconds.
At first I liked the silver rattle of the ball,
the chink clink of the chips, heavy in my hand.

Then I noticed the hush. Thick carpets dulled
the sound of chips and money being counted.
The room was quiet as a temple.
A Money God with Seven Thousand Hands grinned
at the altar. Each one of those hands could kill you,
caress you, squeeze your voicebox during sex.
Yes! That Money God knew how to work it.
He knew I was his in a roll of the dice. At four
we stepped out on to Queensway. I never went back.

Did I mention that My T-Shirt Says has its own soundtrack composed by Simon Automatic ? What will it sound like? Well, I may be able to squeeze a preview out of him soon, but in the meantime, something like this:


Or as Simon puts it:

T-Shirts are like Guerilla art – they’re a free form of expression which walks around the streets. Living in London, the musical equivalent is pirate radio – the outlawed bad boy of the airwaves, broadcasting day and night for those in search of a little more excitement and randomness than the licensed frequencies can provide.

The music for My T-Shirt Says is entirely constructed from recordings made of various pirate stations over the period of a month. Mostly it’s been twisted, resampled and processed to be all but unrecognisabled from the original tracks – but it’s still full of static, noise, thick backayard accents, and all the other stuff that makes these stations so unpredictable and fun.

You’ll hear distant memories of Latin, RnB, House, Reggae, Dub, Ragga, Drum and Bass, Bashment, Bassline, Chillout and Lovers Rock if you listen hard enough. So, shouts going out to Vibes, Galaxy, Unknown, Ice Cold, Sub Jam, Lightning, Select UK, Bounce, On Top and many more which don’t even have a station ID. Stay locked on. Peace out!

I heart ny

My dad drops us off at the airport in his old white Mercedes.
Left-hand drive. . He presses a yellow Kodak wallet into my hands.
His instructions are explicit. I’m travelling with Kate. She’s dyed
her blond hair red and has a girlfriend at Sussex. We bus it straight
upstate, on to Smith College, Massachusetts: the place is swarming
with home-made blueberry muffins, politicised lesbians, plaques
that say …
Our house has a porch and is owned by a woman who’s reading
. She has a small son who won’t
wave goodbye when we leave. As the Greyhound pulls in
to Port Authority a man with a crack pipe circles in a wobbly
figure of eight. I’m dropping Rescue Remedy on to my tongue
but I’m so paranoid it might as well be acid and now there’s a change
of plan: Cleveland – who we’re supposed to be staying with –
won’t be home from Rio for another two days, so it’s my other brother
Saul who I don’t know, that ambles up to meet us, two hours late.
he shrugs He glances, briefly, at Kate.

Saul wears gold and big square glasses. On the drive through Brooklyn
to his place in the Bronx we stop by a video shop that sells hard-core
kung fu and porn, then at a hot, dark flat. A woman with a wig
and a nylon negligee lives here. We eat brown stew fish with rice
from plates on our laps. Saul lays newspaper on the floor.
I see a cockroach and at the same time the woman screams
In the car Saul warns: . Shakira
welcomes us in a whirlwind of and a
while she helps us unpack.
She’s loud. Alive. Thin. Energetic. Unstoppable. I’m desperate
to change the subject so I say the worst thing I could possibly say
which is . I try but can’t take it back.
Shakira searches my luggage like a customs officer on a bonus scheme.
Her face brightens with the prize then falls.
I don’t sleep well that night. Neither does Kate who can do everywhere
and anywhere. It feels like forever before we ring Cleveland’s
front door. He flings it open, smiles with a cocktail in his hand.
he cries and we step, finally, inside.


I wouldn’t dream of wearing this T-shirt
in public, , not on the street
in my area. I’d be in fear

of getting smacked or at least challenged,
what with increasing political
problems in Israel. And I don’t want

to out myself with anything more
than my face. So this one’s under wraps.
No I don’t think everybody does

love a Jewish girl. Of course they should
because we eat lots, cook, get PhDs
and are supposed to be good in bed.

And we’re known for our GSOH.
Mrs Elswood is the King – no Queen
of pickle producers. The gherkin

manufacturer we all adore.
She makes them sliced, sweet, flavoured with dill.
Yes, everyone loves Jewish girl.



Mrs Elswood has not married out.
Her whole Haimisha cucumbers are
grown in the fertile soils of Europe.

Give them a quick shake, all the mustard
seeds shimmy like nobody’s watching.
There’s a fresh harvest every year.

Mrs Elswood does not do gherkins.
Her cucumber spears are long and lithe:
a New York deli sandwich filler.

Being sliced and quartered angles the edge.
The jar weighs exactly 670 grams.
Parasols of dill float in spirit vinegar.

The flesh is coloured to E101.
Each segment is wedged in tight:
the heart exposed through the glass.


What I love about global warming is the flamingo
sunsets that flap their wings but don’t fly south for winter.
What I hate about global warming is that air hostess
with an orange can tan and a wonky French manicure.
Everything, all of this mess, including the rings of landfill
that circle every village you can see from the train in Morocco
is her fault. The way her nose crinkles like an empty crisp packet.
If that lady has a flavour it’s prawn cocktail.
She used to be as bendy as Malibu Barbie. Now she creaks
like a seat in economy class. None of this is really her fault
but there has to be somebody to hang the blame on.
And if I’m not going to get upgraded to a place where
nothing really matters because now I’ve got much more legroom
then it might as well be her. After all she is a woman. I say

let’s blame it on the burgers because
All that rumination .
Such is the stink fruit of our insatiable worst. Would a Big
‘N’ Tasty Whopper with Cheese, Bacon and Buffalo Sauce ™
smell so sweet under any other name? Oh, let Our Lady
cast off the knee-length hemline of her peach nylon pencil skirt,
and burst out of the cockpit in her super short pants, magnificent
as a one-breasted Amazon with milk to suckle the world.
And the world will guzzle and spit
What I love about global warming is the anthemWhat I hate about global warming
is the palm trees, those flamingo sunsets that flap their wings
yet fail to cool the earth, while we fly south for winter.


At some point every generation thinks it’s the last.
This usually happens
when people are young enough to still believe
they are immortal. If they must die
then the whole world dies with them.
We went on CND marches, assembled
at candlelit vigils in Trafalgar Square, wore T-shirts
that said
and where the A of Authority
was circled to read as an anarchy sign.
Armageddon was a BIG and serious thing
that was just about to happen. Only we could keep
the blinding white flash and the mushroom cloud
out of our bedrooms. Our tender flesh
barbecued down to the bone.
The end would be so quick
we wouldn’t have time to lose our virginity.

Now weapons are more precise
and can be fired into tin cans rattling with kids.
The new end is a slow, thirsty
retreat into a scarce and foliage-free world,
where trees are rare as pandas and inedible fish
swim up limpet-encrusted escalators
in submerged shopping centres. The sea
is a faded temptress lapping at a mountain
of empty Evian bottles. Every now and then
she tosses her oil-black locks and throws up
a catch of jiggling fibula, old sofa carcasses
and millions of silver CDs. Schools of flat laptops
litter pavements that have become beaches;
from a distance they look like skate.
Anything that can be burnt as firewood is burnt.
This will be the battle for x, y, z generation:
each more hungry than the last.

Once again we pray to the sun – our merciless God.


At first glance I think somebody typed

‘my aunty went to Kazzakstan and all I got was this lousy T-shirt’

into a rogue version of Babelfish

but then I realise it’s not actually saying

‘make this thing that is the fuck up harden like clay, God’

- a fuck up -

but something more along the lines of

‘Oh come on, I don’t WANT to go yet – and besides

we’ve only been at the afterparty for eleven hours

and they’ve still not played any proper techno

for Christ’s sake, so go get me another G & T from the bar

and while you’re at it tell that twat of a DJ


We all know what good is. Good is sharpening your pencils sharp and using them to draw a lifelike yet alluring sketch of a pear-shaped vase on a table with two lemons on the side. Many people enjoy the drawing.

Bad is rubbing out the drawing with the pink rubber at the end of an HB pencil that smudges and tears the paper, then scrawling TITS in place of the lemons and ARSE on what’s left of the soft, sensuous curves of the bowl.

Ungood is deliberately jabbing the pencil lead into your little brother’s knee and pretending it was an accident. 


It pains me to say it, but I was never that good at maths. I was bad at maths in the sense that it was touch and go whether I ‘got’ something or not: so I’d just as easy get 1 out of 10 as I would 9.  I was consistently bad maths in that I spent a lot of time as a senior lieutenant in the campaign to terrorise our small and aesthetically afflicted teacher to the edge of his endurance. 

As a result I am now generally ungood at maths in that I still can’t quite work out whether ++ ungood is good or bad or whether there is significant difference between ungood and bad as to affect the equation. What’s more I am willing to inflict this maths on others (remembering that ungood more or less equals bad, with a twist of the knife, possibly).

Anyway, two negatives make a positive, don’t they? So +ungood ought to equal good. As in ‘yes, I know this drawing took me many hours, but I forgive you for defacing it with your childish obscenities.’ No: actually +ungood should = bad because ungood = bad + bad which must therefore = bad because bad + bad can only = bad? Right. As in ‘that drawing was shit, so what do I care?’.

Add ‘and anyway, I prefer collage’ to the equation and there you have a definitive ungood. But if a positive and a negative make a positive, then +ungood = good. I’ve decided. That’s good. Deciding.  Therefore ++ungood must = good because two positives always make a positive. So ++ungood = good. As in ‘you know what, despite that year spent torturing Mr X-Divided-By-Y you’re really quite good at maths’ (If a little slow.) (And uncertain.). 

BUT (ungood), surely  if +ungood = bad, then ++ungood must = very very bad. One thing I do know is that whenever the owner of this T-Shirt wears it, he is not altogether good, although by nature he is good, with a healthy streak of ungood. Perhaps it just means very very ungood. Which would be about right. In a good way. Good.

I have only met Shakira twice. First when she turned up at my birthday party in a white convertible. She let me sit in the car and chat. It was hot and everybody was outside smoking. The second time was when I inadvertently turned up at her birthday party in a basement in Tufnell Park. We remembered each other and hugged on the dance floor.

I like a woman who knows how to love and celebrate herself. Easier said than done, I’d say, that loving yourself bit, but Shakira seems to have it down to a fine art.


Love, or should I say ‘lurrrve’, has been the theme all weekend. Personally, I find Valentine’s Day irritating: either it’s a ram-it-down-your-throat like-a-cock-in-a-porn-film overdose of sloppy, manufactured romance for couples who end up sitting opposite each other in restaurants, ordering from the overpriced ‘Valentine’s Menu’ and trying, desperately, not to run out of conversation or it’s a smug ‘yes, you’re on your own AGAIN, when are you going to find someone, ?’ reminder for singles.

Of course, once upon a yesteryear I took this kind of event very seriously. So seriously I organised a Valentine’s Postal Service from the school canteen, just so I could send X valentine. A queue of lovesick teenagers lined up to post their cards. Result! X got his mystery message from cupid; me and my friends got to find out who had it going on.

That night at the bus stop after school it was just me and X waiting for the 15a. Perfect. No Bethany with her flawless, pale skin and big blue eyes to divert his attention. No Tanya to muck about with. We were alone at last.

Suddenly, and without warning, X whipped a small white envelope out of his pocket.

‘Look – I got a Valentine -’

Before I could catch my breath or loosen my corset or do whatever breathless Victorian heroines did in this situation X continued, his face flushed, his voice shaking with excitement.

‘See – it’s not all corny and naff, it’s good taste -’

Oh joy! X had finally realised we were to be together. My superior aesthetic judgement and hours of deliberation in Paperchase had payed off.

‘I mean it to be from Bethany.’ X gushed, clutching the card to his chest.

I stared at the envelope, the careful, handwriting – careful, tasteful handwriting.

‘Yeah,’ I croaked. ‘Nice.’