8 May

Aprrox length 2 mins.

Theme: Humour. Family. Working class. Tong in cheek.

  • Not sure about what kind of feedback i’m looking for, perhaps just a way to make something read funnier, clearer. Anything that jumps out at you. This piece is definitely designed to be a performance piece though, as i don’t know if it would work as well on the page. Ps, anything in brackets is just a performance note for me so ignore.  


I was brought up on karaoke and kebabs.

Not just the chip shop kind, oh no.

The back of freezer,

soggy cardboard box kind,


(Slap fingers and ‘ping’)

Grey haired uncles

who smelled of … herbs

would stay till late, bang on our tables and sing

‘Que sera sera, whatever will be, will be,’  (sway hands in air)

And as the beer spilt, I laughed and laughed.

3am mornings and I’d wake up to Grandma

And her brothers coming home, dragging a not so sober

Granddad back from the Greyhound in Arnold.

He would always swear that Grandma’s Tiamarias

were all coke  and that’s why she was still standing,

but the truth of the matter is,

That girl can drink!

She goes to the pubs, with her bleach blonde hair and heels,

A cheeky fag in hand with a cackle that brings you to tears.

Think Benidorm.

Her sense of humour is killer, she once tied together my cousins

shoe laces while she was learning to walk. (Whistle and gesture hand slap as if watching something fall)

I have never laughed so much.

Granddad’s always somewhere close pretending not to smile

With a discerning ‘Barrrrrb’ as he tries to tell her off.

Nobody listens to Granddad.

Although, he did pull the rug from under us once,

When he turned up with a brand new jaguar he’d brought,

Out of the blue, no warning,

Because ‘he felt depressed.’ (act camp)

Turns out the chippy couldn’t fix that one!

Chips are a staple in my house.

So next time someone offers me ‘Welsh Rarebit’

Posh cheese on toast.

I’ll say no thanks,

Take back your guardian,

And your cafetiere and

Bring Me The Kebab. (raise hand in the air)



  1. mouthypoets May 8, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

    really like the feel of this. My first question to you and to any and everyone is:
    What do you want the audience to come away feeling about the poem and or you or Grandad.. is grandad the focal point or your family around grandad….. what did this experience do for you…… make sense ? once you decide that, you can go back and make sure your leading to that and addressing if within the piece. You still have space in the poem to stretch so again what ultimately do you wanna say.

    As you want this to be more of a performance piece the funny will come out. Don’t force it. if the main aim is to get people to laugh then expand on those areas of the story that are funny to you. There a direction you have there that says (act Camp) what it was something like……. who does that ? in a whimsical tone. Again Im not looking to influence the content but the audience can read when its forced. Sometimes even if they don’t the joke they can still revel in how much it makes you laugh — either way job done

    let me know if this helps


    • mouthypoets May 10, 2013 at 7:49 am #

      Thank you so much Tshaka! I want the audience to come away feeling uplifted, laughing about the grittiness and stereo types of a working class family. Grandad is the focal at the end just because it sort of came out that way, the little twist of Grandad doing something outrageous i.e buying the jag taking us all by surprise, but the poem is about everyone really, i grew up living with my grandparents and their house was always full of people and crazy antics so i wanted to try and get that in there, a little bit about the main ‘grown ups’ that were around. There’s definately bits i’m not 100% sure on, like the part about my cousins shoe laces being tied, i think i need to stretch it out there somehow for sure! Love the idea of the whimsical! I’ll do my best! Thanks Tshaka 😀 !

      • mouthypoets May 11, 2013 at 11:08 pm #

        1. I grew up with grandparents
        and their house was always full of people and crazy antics
        Karaoke and kebabs
        but not those……

        What you answered in your reply is the nugget

        2. Give me a few similes… Let the poem do the talking instead if or in addition to the hand gesture

        Tied together shoelaces ….. And she came tumbling down like a little Humpty Dumpty Or starting to tilt like a mini tower of Pisa until she came crashing down …….

  2. mouthypoets May 28, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

    Hey George,

    How are you? I haven’t seen you in ages, I hope you are okay? It is great to see some form of you in this poem!

    I love love love this poem. And I think it works on the page with the (performance bits)! I am curious as to why you think it doesn’t! And I think this poem is nearly the finished article so I have just got tiny detailed bits below…


    -I love how direct, clear and specific it is from the very beginning. You are straight in there: this is what this poem is about.

    -I love the story about Grandma and Grandad is is specific and shows me a clear and endearing image of a place, a time and a family dynamic. Beautiful, realistic and familiar.

    -I love the anecdotes, they will get everyone laughing on the page and in performance (and you can really push them). The Tia Maria is my favourite!

    -The ending from the line “Turns out the chippy couldn’t fix that one!” is amazing! I love how you pull all the images and language together so it has both a comedy pun but also a more profound and emotional contenxt.


    -I don’t understand this image, can you make what is actually happening clearer?
    “she once tied together my cousins
    “shoe laces while she was learning to walk.”


    -This might be able to help you come up with a title…
    …I would like to suggest Karaoke and Kebabs.

    -I think this poem would really benefit from consistent stanza’s and line breaks, I also think this will get you thinking about how you are going to perform it… so maybe you already know where the stanza’s and line breaks need to be? Read it out loud and see where they come naturally? I have had a play and if you want a challenge I think you should try at three line stanza’s with similar line lengths. I think this will also challenge you to use slightly less words and therefor be slightly more precise. E.g…

    I was brought up on karaoke and kebabs.
    Not just the chip shop kind, oh no.
    The back of freezer, soggy cardboard box kind,

    Microwaveable! (Slap fingers and ‘ping’)
    Grey haired uncles who smelled of … herbs
    Would stay till late, bang on our tables and sing

    …Subtle changes but I think they give the work clarity on the page and in performance. Give it a go?

    -I think your verbs could be stronger, try putting the following in a thesaurus ( and seeing what your alternatives are ; laughing (which you use too many times anyway), bang, sing & smile.

    -I think in places you could be more specific; what kind of beer? & Which pubs?

    -Cliches I want you to address; “cheeky fag,” “brings you to tears,” “her sense of humour is a killer,” “pull the rug from under us,” “out of the blue,” & “no warning.”

    ….I think with these it’s a combo of either changing the words or adding specificity
    e.g. “a ballsy Marlborough Menthol”

    I hope this helps?


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