Sunday, 9 December 2012

A cautionary Christmas tale - from 1982

Sneaking around in the dark as quite as a mouse,
the only hours of the year we silently ruled the house.
It was 1982 and me and my sister had had a few..... to many chocolates!
Brimming with excitement as the fairy lights bathed our bounty in all its Christmas glory.
Santa came good for the good girls that never unpicked the wrapping on their main present... sacrilegious.

We squealed with delight when we correctly identified our wrapped up video tapes, blank cassettes, nighties, socks.
Always wrapped individually, never in blocks.
We needed quantity not quality, substance over style.
A bin bag full of knick knacks made us smile, till our cheeks ached.

Once I went to unpick the corner of the wrapping on my main present, my sister silently wrestled me to the ground, careful not to make a sound and break our Christmas universe.
She was too late, I could tell it was the Mr Frosty I had dreamed of for what felt like years.
Oh to be able to make your own your own slush puppy, the height of luxury, the stuff of dreams.

By 10am red eyed and delirious I sobbed as I crushed the ice my Mr Frosty was unable to crush and poured it into the cups.
Karma, never try to unwrap your main present before its time, no good can come of it.

Merry Christmas xxxx

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Alex Keelan performing at Pussy Riot benefit Manchester

I performed last night at an amazing Unconvention event at Teacup Manchester, raising money for Pussy Riot.  There was a very thought provoking reading of the testimony's of the three women sentenced, they talked about the deterioration of free thought in Russia.  Their appeal is on Monday, if there is any justice they should be released.  I performed Slutwalks and a new one inspired by the Pussy Riot Punk Prayer.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Poetry for Plebs

I went to a great poetry night last night at Afflecks Place 3MT, its organised by Carly Bennett and Alex Klienburg, each week they choose a different theme, this weeks theme was Poetry for Plebs.  In the spirit of the night I wrote this.

I'm not that cultured, I'm not that well read,
that's why I'm right at home at poetry for plebs.
I'm not adverse to culture or being well read,
it's just 80's telly is how I was fed.

My poems aren't high brow, I wouldn't call them art,
they're not cryptic, mostly rhyme and come straight from the heart.

But mixing in these circles I've come to the conclusion,
all art is subjective and exclusion an illusion.
Hearing other poets, I've also come to find,
that the pleb in me is just a state of mind.

From my trepid trepidation's from a world I felt apart,
I've come to realise all expression is a form of art.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Alex Keelan reads "Matryoshka"

A few years ago a friend at work told me that baby girls are born with all their eggs.  I liked the idea that in 1949 when my nana was pregnant with my mum she also carried the little eggs that were to become my four sisters and I.

Alex Keelan reads "Fledgling"

A first reading of a new poem at the amazing Northern Elements event at Manchester Museum Living World Gallery.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

'G.R.A.S.S.' by Alex Keelan

Edinburgh was great and challenging.  I got ill the week before our  fringe show Life or Something Like it (with singer song writer Claire Mooney)  and had visions of me performing with flu and being assisted off stage with a recovery cape a la James Brown.  This did not happen, I was fine.  We were lucky enough to have 3 reviewers there for our first show.  Being a newcomer to all this I made a pretty basic mistake and read one of the reviews at 3am the night before our next performance.  I was staying in a travel lodge and some pissed lads screaming outside woke me up, I checked my emails and there was the review.  It started well but then descended into a pretty tough critique of my performance.  After the initial feelings of nausea I managed to talk myself round from throwing in the towel and realised I am still learning . The next day I tried to relax and perform better than the day before.

Below is a clip of one the poems from that performance. This was the third time I had performed this poem and the first time in front of my four sisters and my mum. It was great having my family there they really spurred me on.  If you have sisters or brothers I hope you relate and enjoy.

p.s If you're nosy (like me) the three reviews were from Broadway baby, Sabotage and Three weeks.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Really excited about going to Edinburgh fringe next week to perform our show Life or Something Like it on 2nd and 3rd August, if you're there check it out.

Monday, 2 July 2012


A poem I wrote about recent welfare reform after a chat about it with my mum on Sunday, thanks for the inspiration mum.

When we blame the poor for being poor,
when we make their punishment law,
we abdicate those with more, from any responsibility.

When we talk of scum,of lecherous workless bums,
about what they should become.
We take away their story.

When people speak with passion but a lack of compassion
about dependency and what these people should be.
We forget about how dependent they were on their parents money, how funny.

They don't recognise their would be demise,
without the education, financial protection, influential connections.
Where would they be if we took that off them?

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Slut walks

Performing my new poem, Slut walks, written in anger at the continuing, outrageous, unjust responses to rape around the world.

Don't Leave Me This Way

First performance of my new poem last night at the fab 3MT, Afflecks Palace. Confidence is not a constant state, this poem looks at losing confidence and is written through the seven stages of grief.

Don't Tell Me

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Living in fear

The glorious sun the other day sparked a conversation about S.A.D, do you remember that, people being prescribed a sun lamp, 30 minutes 3 times a day.  What happened to S.A.D, what happened to all those sun lamps? This poem is about other diseases that have disappeared.

What happened to SARS, Bird flu, Mad Cow, Swine Flu?
The apocalypse we never knew.
Like fraught parents using distraction to avert a tantrum and ensure their child is 'good',
the government uses fear to make sure we all do as we should.

Fear of death stops questions about education, health and foreign policy,
blind mad cow, headless chicken bird flu panic, our democracy.

I remember the news showing the awful effects of mad cow, CJD,
I was terrified at the time and I was a veggie.
Epidemic, pandemic end to humanity.

Hysteria mysteriously blows over, what next.....
and on that farm he had a sheep.
The sheep shits, you will die a painful death its evil its vile,
literally baa-ring like a shit filled sheep dying in a sci fi B movie style.
Shit seeping out of every orifice, your breath will stink
seeping out of your eyes so you perpetually blink
A condition known as the blinkity shits

Fear is limiting, don't believe the hype, psych.

I will be performing this poem and others at the fantastic 3 Minute Theater, Afflecks Palace, Oldham Street on 20th June at 8pm.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Pasty Tax

Inspired by recent political events!

He'd sell his granny down the river he's that nasty,
How can we trust a man that's never eaten a pasty?
The ancient staple of the working class with connections to the divine,
in the 18th century they used to leave pasties to appease the souls of the dead in Devon tin mines
The doppelganger evil twin of Robin Hood,
doing more for the few and less for the greater good.
Wouldn't catch him queuing round the block for petrol, fuming in a fume filled car,
its just a game for them watching the chaos ensue from afar.

He has all the boyish charms of the terrible two's,
doing his best to amuse....his mates.
They get mates rates on tax,
so his non pasty eating, chauffeur driven millionaire friends can relax.
For them life's one big money making party,
normal rules don't apply for the new world disorder illuminati.
The cut in the 50p tax rate is no comfort to those at the bottom of the chain,
the trickle down effect as illusive as rain... in the desert.
A minuscule drop from a bountiful river in a stagnant ocean,
no equity for the millions of cogs keeping the capitalist wheels in motion.

With the pasty he's not au fait,
bet he's never eaten at an all you can eat buffet.
Thinks BOGOF is a portable loo,
and Primark is an EU conglomerate manufacturer of glue.
So far removed from the state of the nation,
he may as well live in space on a satellite station.
It works both ways, I thought a kitchen supper was eating a pasty over the sink so you don't need to wash up
Not a phrase to down play secret dinners in No 10 for donors of the party, totally corrupt. 


Sunday, 18 March 2012


A few years ago a friend told me that baby girls are born with all their eggs .  This means that when your nana was pregnant with your mum she also carried you as a little egg. My nana was pregnant with my mum in 1949 and I like the idea that the eggs that went on to be me and my four sisters were in there too. It inspired me to write this poem.

I used to be a Russian doll and live inside another,
echos of my fetal self growing in my mother.

When pregnant with me at 20 weeks a set of three we were,
my eggs were formed so my future children also lived in her.

Three generations stacked together Russian dolls of flesh,
it can only happen though the female line making women truly blessed.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

One Over the Eight - Alex Keelan

This was the first performance of my new poem last night at M19 bar Levenshulme, if you have ever had too much to drink or been in the company of someone who has, you may relate to this poem.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

I wrote this poem not long after the social unrest last summer.


Social mobility immobilised,
hopes and dreams won't be realised.
Bound by boundaries the eye can't see,
loss of control, a predetermined destiny.
No voice, no movement,
no room for growth or improvement

I predict a riot

The consumer culture is all consuming it seeps through every pore,
infiltrating through the air telling people they need more.
You're a nobody without an iphone, that car, a pair of Adidas
so you remain a nobody if you haven't got the cash.
The capitalist culture,
bred and fed the rioting vulture

I predict a riot

Another miscarriage of justice makes opportunity knock elsewhere,
people have nothing left to live for so why should they care?
Live for the moment, seize the day,
grab yourself those trainers, free for just today.

I predict a riot

The establishment is broken, patched up with platitudes,
law breakers, scandal makers given no penalty but latitude.
Expenses scandal, hackers, corruption and greed,
casting judgement on others for similar deeds.

I predict a riot

Clegg said, if you want to protest come to parliament square, what for?
Millions have in the past and were not listened to before.
Placards read I'd rather Jack than bomb Iraq,
millions said no but they still attacked.
Students protested to stop education becoming a privilege instead of a right,
no one listened to them and they lost their fight.

I predict a riot

At the top they get away with it, they're all on cahoots,
with more sophisticated ways of getting their hands on your loot.
Whilst rioters get 6 months inside for nicking one trainer, not even a pair.
That'll teach em, yeah, that life isn't fair,
and that trainers are more sacred than public money.

I predict a riot

Friday, 24 February 2012

Our Blood Runs Red

A poem I wrote last year inspired by the unfortunate political situation we find ourselves in.

Laissez faire
Is that synonymous with I don't care?
The mantra of I'm alright jack and lady muck,
for people who really don't give a fuck, about others. 

Cameron's concern is protecting big business to hell with the poor,
removing state intervention so the rich get more.
Policies to make London a playground for the wealthy to have fun,
designed to get rid of the poor, the immigrants the northern scum
Widen the north south divide send them back where they belong,
he'll probably erect a wall a hundred miles long.
People gasped when they put up the wall in Berlin,
but capped housing benefit and 80% of market value for council rent is where it will begin.
Geographical social eugenics it's plain to see,
using the cuts to justify tory policy. 

He has no concern for the greater good,
just his political legacy and doing as Thatcher would.
Is he Thatchers love child, or Rosemary's baby?
A tinpot robot product of the Iron Lady.
I'd say there was a lump of coal where there should be a heart,
but an office stapler seems a more fitting part.

Slowly dismantling public services and the NHS,
cutting staff and performance targets to make it a mess.
In the end people will cry out for an alternative solution,
and he can swoop in with his privatization resolution.

Allowing the bankers to have their bonuses just rubs salt in the cuts,
while we struggle to get by and out of our financial ruts.
No concept of life for the masses,
the daily struggle for basics for the working classes.

And where's the diversity in government the representation,
the men at the top represent about 5% of the nation.
The educated, rich with opportunities and choice, 
the protected, connected the ones with a voice.

Everyone has choice the tories would say,
but what little girl would choose to grow up to be a prostitute one day.
Choices are limited by things beyond our control,
people are affected by self fulfilling prophecy and what society says is their role.
We're heading down a scary path,
where striving for a fair society will be a thing of the past.

Cameron says "fairness is giving people what they deserve, and what they deserve is based on how they behave".
based on that analogy you really don't deserve to be Prime Minister Dave.
A former member of the Bullingdon club, 
where money means there's no consequence for behaving like a thug.
Good behavior being defined by the powerful as they dictate,
yet they preach to stand for democracy and less intervention from the state.

And how can he dare to say he likes the Smiths,
when everything he stands for is the antitheses.
Morrissey's song Margaret on the Guillotine should have made their views on politics clear,
Dave probably didn't do his research and just said it to further his career.
Widen his appeal like his hug a hoodie, vote blue go green disgrace,
I don't know how he did those campaigns and kept a straight face. 
"Stop saying you like the Smiths, I forbid you" Johnny Marr tweeted,
since then Cameron's love for the band has not been repeated.

As my 94 year old nana said, don't be fooled they don't care about you,
our blood runs red their blood runs blue.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

All Born Equal

I performed this poem at Sound Women in Huddersfield in December 2011, it's called All Born Equal and is about two very different experiences at the beginning of life.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Call Centre

This poem was inspired by my days working in a call centre many moons ago, nearly all offices I have worked in since have contributed to the content of this poem in some way.

A YouTube video of me at Sound Women gig Huddersfield Dec 2011

Saturday, 11 February 2012

The year 2111 - I wrote this for the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day 2011

The cabinet will be awash with women  representing the masses,
with women from all races, abilities, sexualities and classes.
They will run the country with emotion and passion,
and maybe, if they want, a great sense of fashion.
Communication will aid democracy,
compassion will be law and listening the key.
These traits will be valued and not seen as weak,
attributes to strive for an characteristics to seek.

The media will present a greater representation of beautiful,
no longer will we be bombarded with airbrushed, unrealistic, plastic and dull.
Young women would have more to aspire to than being a celebrities wife,
spending hours tanning, plucking, shaving and dieting would be seen as a waste of a life.

MTV would play videos of the female equivalents of the Rolling Stones,
haggard rocked out grannies all wrinkled skin and bones.
Talent would not have to be tested or proved,
because barriers to opportunities would all have been removed.
Women could be themselves without having to conform,
and a woman in any job would be seen as the norm.

Women wouldn't feel judged for doing what is their right,
like wearing what they want and walking alone at night.
We wouldn't be bound by concepts of what women should be,
our choices in life would be valued, respected, expected and free,
Being called a girl won't be an insult to men,
but a compliment they would hope to be called again.

Sisters around the world won't be raped, beaten and vilified,
abused, humiliated, oppressed and petrified.
The current abuse of women would be unheard,
and the concept of violence against women would seem absurd.
Our bodies would be our own, no one could tell us.
No one could own us or rule us or buy us or sell us.
This is my dream for women in the next hundred years.
A life of endless possibilities and a life without fear.