Neal pike final draft headline show

1 Jul

Heading to the city that doesn’t rock anymore

The pull of Nottingham is too strong for these
Mid twenties bones

Eighteen year olds pile on this bus
I feel like a old chair

This bus is smart shirts
This bus is dresses
This bus is shoes
This bus isn’t comfy trainers with holes in

I was you ten years ago
Scruffy haired and band tee shirted

Rabbit headlight eyes
stepping into
The unknown Nottingham

Here’s me in a teeshirt and chinos
Heading to a night that I wish was stuck in 2004

“This que resembles a funeral
I thought we where queuing for rock city?!”

This is or was the place
When you wanted to push things backwards
Who wants to push things forwards on Saturday nights .

This dancefloor was our beer soaked space
Dancing was a mixture of shuffling and hand signals
My feet stick to this WKD soaked floor
“You are
Way too cool
For this place “
The music you used to pull yourself in around it’s notes
Like vast cables clinging onto sanity
Now replaced by poorly made string

Not good enough to tie knots
let alone
Drown yourself in it’s waters

Glorious noise greets my ears like a old friend
This is what used to be

Nobody is too cool to air guitar
In these walls where sweat hangs like smoked salmon

People moaning to the dj
To play some good stuff
He yells back
“Sorry mate this is good stuff “

This is what do at weekends
To feel young again
we are eighteen again with more facial hair
And less hair

Time moves
Like a backwards grandfather clock

The green in my beard
Is now Turning grey

This was our ship
I don’t recognise
It now

Even the sharks
have changed

The water around
This ship
Ripples with youthful energy

It doesn’t swirl and pool
Like it used to

“who would want to be eighteen forever though “?

“This is your ship now

Wishing I could stay in that place
For ever everlong

The place where the Barrier is
my ribs bruise at the sight of it

I must climb those stairs marked growing up

normal people don’t wear green hats
Normal don’t sleep in basements under the stairs
Normal people aren’t afraid of ticking time
Normal people don’t walk in crocodile infested waters
Normal people don’t stay in one space outside for hours
with a deck of cards and a magazine

“average night
I spent fifty quid
On jäger and rum
Shuffling awkwardly”

This bus looks familiar
eyes drift off to sleep
My taurine addled brain

Trots around with annoying purpose
I could have read tonight
Or enjoyed a night
Where the beers nicer

and music doesn’t remind me of being
long haired
Eighteen and awkward

just the long haired bit
Forever awkward

forever awkward
Forever wishing
unexpected things
From places
that have got younger
While I’ve got older




2 Responses to “Neal pike final draft headline show”

  1. mouthypoets July 1, 2014 at 10:33 am #

    Hi Neal,

    I really like this piece, it is something everyone can relate to and a piece that has particular resonance in Nottingham. I like the moments of comedy, I am thinking about how we can push these in performance and have tried to include that in my feedback below. Overall, great final draft, so I have only suggested tweets – changing a word here, cutting a line there. You are a really where you need to be – a final line edit and getting onto memorising! Great work and definitely a really strong piece from you 🙂

    -The specificity spattering throughout; chino’s, band t-shirts, WKD,
    -“This que resembles a funeral”
    -“This dancefloor was our beer soaked space.” great, real imagery.
    -“dancing was a mixture of shuffling and hand-signals” … The key thing I like about your imagery is that sometimes I kind of know it feels so specific to you that I don’t 100% know what you are describing but the words you choose means I get it and feel contected to a world I might otherwise not understand.
    -“Nobody is too cool for air guitar”… love how real and relatable lines like this are. So down to earth. And also – it’s true.
    -“Where sweat hangs like smoked salmon” (I was questioning the verb, hang, but actually I have decided I like it and it’s very clever!)
    -The interaction between you and the DJ is amazing… I really want to see that happen between you and someone else – maybe Sylkie?
    -“taurine addled brain” FAVOURITE PHRASE EVER!
    -Like that you start and finish on the bus… I think this cyclical structure really works and it is making me wonder if we can mirror this in performance – maybe starting and finishing sitting down?

    -How do you use line breaks? I ask because I use them to guide my performance and create units of sense of the page, I am unsure of how much you plan your performance and also how helpful line breaks are to you when it comes to reading out loud… would be good to hear a bit more on this because I want to give advice around them but only advice that is helpful to your process both writing and in performance…
    -Why do you put a capital letter at the beginning of each line? I ask because in contemporary poetry, this is seen as ‘old fashioned’ also I personally feel it doesn’t make sense because often the sentence is continuing and it can feel a bit visually jarring to hit a capital letter in the middle of an image… it is something to keep in mind if you ever want to submit to magazines.
    -Why was there green in your beard? I didn’t get that image.

    1. I feel like some of your verbs could be stronger and suggest more of that dirty club atmousphere e.g.
    -The pull of Nottingham…could become… The drag of Nottingham
    -Eighteen year olds pile on this bus… could become… Eigteen year olds jumble on this bus
    -Verbs are the engine of a poem, that create the sense of movement; is it running, staggering or vomiting? I want to challenge you to put the following words from your poem into a thesaurus and see if you can find something with a bit more accuracy for the movement you are trying to achieve; pull, pile, stepping, soaked, drown, wishing

    2. When Stephen read this for you in rehearsals yesterday I felt that it was so strong throughout, there were some stanza’s you didn’t need. The art of the poem is as much about cutting the good, but not as good as the rest stuff, as it is writing all that good stuff in the first place. Some bit’s I would suggest cutting from the piece:

    This is or was the place
    When you wanted to push things backwards
    Who wants to push things forwards on Saturday nights.

    Glorious noise greets my ears like a old friend
    This is what used to be

    Time moves
    Like a backwards grandfather clock

    The place where the Barrier is
    my ribs bruise at the sight of it

    Normal people aren’t afraid of ticking time
    Normal people don’t walk into crocodile infested waters

    -Notice that most of the lines I am suggesting you to cut are because they are slightly unoriginal in comparison with the great specificity in the rest of the text or because you have already said the same point but better somewhere else 🙂

    3. I felt like the ending was strong, but could be squeezed a little and be made more compact and punchy, I know your drunk and meandering and it kind of represents that but when I head it the point got a bit lost for me. I would suggest these slight changes:

    My taurine addled brain trots.
    I could have read
    or enjoyed nicer beer music.

    Instead of eighteen and awkward
    long haired music.
    Forever awkward and wishing

    unexpected things
    From places
    that have got younger
    While I’ve got older

    …LOVE THE LAST TWO LINES. Great place to finish. By no means am I suggesting you copy and paste this (though I am cool with that too) I just want you to go through the last few stanza’s and ask yourself – what do I mean? Could I say this with less words? Could I cluster these words into shorter phrases and get more impact?

    -Am I right in thinking you are performing whilst Sylkie plays guitar? If so what music is he singing and what is his ‘role’ on the stage?
    -To be honest, mainly I want to keep pushing what we have already been working on: harnessing your natural movement and energy as a performer and channeling it into the piece… You need to get up practicing it, getting comfortable with it so we can play around with your voice and body and energise every image and the overall dynamic of the piece. I think there needs to be pauses and you need to ask either Sylkie or the audience the questions in the piece and really mean them.
    -Also look at who Sylkie is – is he the club? The DJ? Everyone else? He needs to have a role, once he has that I think we could play around with you interacting with each other int he piece to add a new layer of meaning – if you get what I mean?
    -Have you and Sylkie had any rehearsal time together at all?
    -Have you been practicing this outloud yet? Recording your voice and listening back?

    I hope this has been helpful?

  2. mouthypoets July 2, 2014 at 7:42 am #

    I bloody love this poem. More or less agree with Debs, though I liked the ‘green beard’ and the ‘crocodile infested waters’. Maybe because I know from your previous draft that you’re going for Peter Pan imagery right? Even without direct reference to Peter Pan though, I love all the pirate ship imagery that comes in towards the end, and the refrain of ‘normal people don’t’ is wicked too.


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