Hand Job 10

There is a lot of spirit in this issue. I’m sensitive to these things and this seriously vibrates with the stuff. Poetry, photography, short stories and performance, all here. I slowly peel back the clear plastic sleeve to see who’s inside. Hand Job Issue 10 gave a call out for all things a little…um, strange. An ‘Occultist Realism’ theme. You know, something Alistair Crowley could peruse while dunking biscuits in his tea. Jim Gibson and Sophie Pitchford searched far and wide on this one. No stone circle was left unturned. The tin foil hat brigade reject slips were sent out quick, leaving them with a stellar bunch of writers to accommodate the page. CmmNHI7UEAAmKfbSo, we start with Granton Leviathon. I grab my blanket and get stuck in. Like Renwick’s grandchildren, I stare up into the old man’s face and let the tale unfold. ‘Tell us of the Granton People eater’ we whisper. We are all ready for a candle-under-the-chin story, but my ears are settled on what is going on next door. Magdelena is frustrated. Promises of a new home, a new life back in her homeland once they save enough money is not coming quick enough. So she kicks her no good husband out into the cold night. A lighthouse and a six pack is his destination. Will he meet the monster himself? Of course! No one writes domestic squalor with comic accents quite like Joseph Ridgwell can. Funny, edge of your seat and nasty, his Granton Leviathon is a great start. Another component of this surprise package of a zine is the bonus poetry performance CD of artists who have been in this and past issues. Joseph turns on the mic and bursts out first with his do-it-yourself, no airs, no graces, just himself and some chintzy back up tapes. It has all the clunks and amateur fades of a bitter bingo caller. I dig it muchly. 8mm is all tequila and mucho macho, and reminds me of his brilliant novel Burrito Deluxe. He spins a few on this bonus CD, Arose From The Dead, The Kiss and Satan’s Garlanded Pimp, all with cheek, irreverence and fun. I’m excited because I have Raif Mansell in my ears at the same time reading him. I remember other poems of his when I was catching up on the evolution of Hand Job. Bang On is a lesson in synonyms and love ‘the moon was hanging with the sun in the sky‘ a touching poem of a father and daughter, and the influence from all that surrounds them. His soft delivery exactly what the title suggests. A Waiter In Kingston Upon Thames just as thoughtful and hopeful. The Holy Hydron Collider is next forming a weird synchro as I can hear the popcorn festival of Angels & Demons on the background telly as I type. So its links to the Hadron Collider and the god particle is pretty fresh in my mind. Ben Williams confirms that these scientists’ gods are in for a bollocking, theories fly by like short stories, their own gods dangling from their keyrings. Time for some photography and Hand Job‘s own Sophie Pitchford nymphs it in the buds and brambles of nibbled mushrooms and shows us some nature shots. We ask the forest for answers, we see them in the trees and soil. Onto The Shine Of John Donne where ‘everything glistened like the inside of a drunk God’s puppet-theatre’ I’m an avid follower of Miggy Angel‘s work. His poetry, photography and collaborative ventures are exceptional. This metaphysical story on the stairs glows like a dustbin fire and tears into you. No truer tale could teach as much. Besides hosting a premiere performance poetry night called Speech Therapy every month, Miggy is also editor of the wonderful ‘not for profit/for prophecyBurning House Press community. It is a must to explore this supportive and encouraging project. Azeem Ali’s symbols and simulcrae have me staring for a while and ready to tackle Dead Witches and that old chestnut fear of being different. Cody Yeo brings the rituals of both parties through a tight dialogue and brings to the fore the truer evil. Ian Cusack’s The Wicker Man is as mad as putting a toad in your mouth. I love its cantakerous rant. Terence Corless never stops impressing me. So pleased to read his short story Gladys. An intriguing, mystical, sad and joyous mind bomb of a story. Bonus thrill is his aural contribution Taking It In produced by Penny Ashdown with Music by Matthies -LS. Thoughts swallowed when the sensurround kicks in. There is a cool abstraction by illustrator and collager Blair Frame, his contribution If Death Can Fly, So Can I swirls with everyone’s own meaning. Dean Lilleyman reads like a hallucination with Moon Burns The Sun. A ritualistic trance into another realm, shifting shapes raw and instinctual, in and out of his own night sweats. The poem Changeling by Michael Murray skips inside its folkloric beat ‘with crumbs for dreams and a blob of butter where my heart was’, loneliness is a strange creature. Thrilled to see a piece from Dean Cavanagh. This poem I’ve read dozens of times. Like a casino floor of Dante’s that’s been closed for renovations. The dice man’s reflection twists in a modern fury of randomness and manipulation leaving me with a beautiful fear, a calm inside an uncontrollable future. Yvette Robinson and Jennifer Skip’s photography looks like a switched on absurdist revival. Closer investigation reveals a deeper meaning on gender, body image and the media. Their photography from promotion during The Festival Of The Body held in Leeds in March stops me in my tracks. More words and Michael Murray is resurrected inside the vivid world we enter in dreams and vice versa. Onto the world of a cashless society. Paul Case’s story of Mr Fitzjohn’s frustrating transformation in The New Bank shows the futile circle we get ourselves into. The pages now thinning I see Jason Jackson’s name. His childhood once again reminisced. A haunting of Worms so perfectly recalled, where dream becomes real becomes dream, just perfect. The words keep flowing as I pop my headphones back on and get all snug inside Holly Watson’s (The Conventry Conch) The Carboot story. This has me in stitches. Later, she has Nanny Pams Jeans on. Holly sounds exactly how I read her in my mind. The sweet, straight delivery of her own prose has perfect comic timing. She just has to share more of these aurally. Holly is getting quite a fan base with everyone I share her work with. Listening to her read is just a joy. Hollow Hyms – Captain Of the Rant Vs Hair Explosion blasts nice bass beats between a spleen let loose, waxing on the homogenisation of our world, his passion wilted with frustration. The orchestration around the strong lament is enough to take this to the level of an extraordinary recording. CmmNDXPUIAAtSWpIan Cusack pops in between lunch and records this exclusive Universe Of Life. Having read Ian over the years, it is a delight to hear the strength and nuances on the lines he has cooked up. He is a great story teller, his no thrills intros like calling the next patient inside his surgery. Poisoned is grim, but what a story, I adore this CD so much, hands free, all ears. Dean Lilleyman’s I Get Into Town Early, is a piece from his novel Billy & The Devil. I have heard him recite many pieces before, usually uncomfortable squirmers, absolutely fantastic. His latest The Gospel According To Johnny Bender has been launched and ready to check out. Meetings And Tales by Yessica Klein and read by Anya Oderyakova flies over your mind. Words rest where they are needed. Line by line, the delivery is mesmeric. Lay on the grass, let the light in. This is a beautiful collaboration. When I first heard the collaboration of We Bleed Ink I was gobsmacked.  The poetry of Miggy Angel (Words/Voice)  combined with the brilliant sound sculptures of John Freer (Instruments/Production) are mesmerising. Freer’s audio poise is sublime and if they don’t release all the pieces they have in their back catalogue soon this emptiness inside me will remain forever. Their audio piece, The Saint, strolls the pavement until it has the guts to spit the truth. Finally something slips onto the ground. A folded A4, Jim Gibson residing on each side. These two pieces highlight his own skill with prose. You become the observer inside the melancholic haze of childhood, black and white moments. A great way to end this fantastic package of lit and performance that Hand Job has produced. Limited edition so get your hands on one quick.  Also out RPM – A Micro Zine and Children Of Snakehill, all available here.




Dean Cavanagh Dean Lilleyman Hand Job Joseph Ridgwell Miggy Angel Poetry Reviews Uncategorized Zines & Journals

“I write poetry for the heart and the gut. I write poetry for the boy and girl in the miniature Minotaur masks crouched in the corner of the burning doll’s house” – Miggy Angel

part 4 of interview series with Miggy Angel

miggy 4


Words & Image by Miggy Angel

art as therapy
“Poetry/writing saved my life. The blank page was the only receptacle that could contain the infernal mess of wild overspill that I was. I believe that art was/is the first therapy. Art was the first tool we wrought and reached for in our initial primeval howling and wailing. I have for a long time had this image in my mind of a woman crouched down, directly after a stillbirth, and in her grief she reaches her hands down into the blood and viscera and begins to mark the walls with the raw material of her grief. That’s the birth of art, right there. I saw recently that they did a study and found that the vast majority of hands used in the very first cave paintings were womens’ hands. Basically, if a person doesn’t understand that blood and viscera were the first ink or paint then I don’t have a lot to say to them. We are obviously not mining the same vein nor drinking at the same vine. I facilitate a weekly writing workshop for people who are facing addiction issues, and I also take poetry workshops into schools for teenagers. My whole life makes sense in the context of community arts. I went through what I had to go through, so that art could save my life, and so I could then take that passion and enthusiasm for art into the lives of people who need art the most. Poetry for some of us is do or die, and around people for whom that is the case, I am at my most content. If you ever saw me turn a school assembly hall into an open mic for 300 teenagers then you would understand. I feel most myself when I am pulling poems from the forever nooks of your broken heart”.

poetry for the ear or eye
“I write poetry for the heart and the gut. I write poetry for the boy and girl in the miniature Minotaur masks crouched in the corner of the burning doll’s house. Ah, I don’t know. I crawled on my hands and knees for eternity across broken glass and molten tarmac just to tell you a poem. But if you’d like to read it, instead, quietly, inside the halls of your own sweet mind, to yourself, then that’s perfectly ok, too, because I love you enough to let you choose. I’d say that craft is what people mean when they talk about page poetry, and content is usually associated with oral, spoken, performed poetry. So when I write I suppose what I’m trying to do is achieve a balance between wild content and hard craft. Go read a book like Ai’s ‘Cruelty’ for the balancing of content and craft. Women tend to do it best, in my opinion. Plath knew all about it, and no one has ever done it better, really”.

Miggy’s poetry collection Grime Kerbstone Psalms is available digitally here.

GKPPaperback copies are a little rare, best to contact Miggy’s website.
Miggy organises and comperes Nottingham’s monthly
poetry event Speech Therapy and facilitates writer’s workshops.
Part 1 & Part 2 & Part 3 of interview series with Miggy



Interview Miggy Angel Poetry

the kid who can blag for a life-time discovers eternity inside the black hollow of his mouth – Miggy Angel


Words & Image by Miggy Angel

A person doesn’t have to have ever written a poem to be a poet, you already know that though, I’m guessing. So the poets that shaped me have not necessarily shaped me by virtue of their having written poems.

Watching my mother drag two kids and a pram and shopping bags up the stairs to the top floor of a tenement block with no elevator every single day of my childhood taught me all I need to know about poetry.

South London asphalt taught me all I need to know about poetry.

Addiction taught me all I know about poetry.

Panic disorders, amphetamine psychosis and spectral voices at 4:48am taught me all I need to know about poetry.

London and Cordoba banging their frantic morse-drums in my chest day and night taught me all I know about poetry.

The crack-pipe in my mouth at fourteen years old taught me all I need to know about poetry.

In South London, language, and the commandeering of oral communication, was power.

As working-class kids knocking about on council estates all you have is your tongue, your larynx, your gnarled alphabet.

Spiel is an act of survival.

Every kid I knew growing up was a poet by another name.

We splayed the alphabet daily.

That’s where I learnt everything I need to know about rhythm and emphasis and repetition and refrain and the silences and crawl-spaces between tenses that hold a lit match up to life and death.

The kid who can blag for a life-time discovers eternity inside the black hollow of his mouth.

I’ve seen people murdered by glottal stops.

Verbal wounds you’ll spend a lifetime removing guttural-shrapnel from.

The bruised air of a girl holding her breath for infinity.

The beauty and fragility of a self-worth erected upon nothing more than the lightning dynamo of a street-kid’s hyperbole and rhetoric and bravado taught me every single thing I need to know about poetry.

And, by the way, I was that kid….



Miggy’s poetry collection Grime Kerbstone Psalms is available digitally here.

Paperback copies are a little rare, best to contact Celandor for options.

Miggy organises and comperes Nottingham’s monthly poetry event Speech Therapy and facilitates writer’s workshops.


Part 1 & Part 2 of interview series with Miggy

Interview Miggy Angel Poetry

the internet is a love letter we are writing to ourselves – Miggy Angel


Words & Image by Miggy Angel

The internet is the greatest art installation we ever built.

Made of light and longing.

The internet is a mass act of clairvoyance, the biggest seance in the universe, and we are all seers and the dearly-departed there.

The internet is a selfie that god is taking.

It’s an infinite sculpture made of blue smoke and our passive-aggression and we’ll only recognise our creation once it steps down from its plinth and puts its hands around our throats and throttles us in the name of love.

The internet is the scatological vapour and mist of consciousness made mercurial replicant of the quotidian and material.

It’s a weapon of mass disjunction.

It’s how they put a barcode on the soul.

It’s McCarthy’s wet dream.

It’s the missing one in black hat with hands behind the back who walks ahead of the hearse which is your life.

It’s a brain on fire.

It’s a boxing ring and you can feel the gloves but not the ropes.

It’s a neon gallows and the hood fits.

It’s an emergency room and all procedures are urgent and psychic and the walls in the theatre are red.

It’s a pageant of heaven and hell held in the little copper pocket-mirror stitched to your breastplate.

Maybe, along with pollution, the internet is the fingerprint we’ll leave at the crime-scene.

The internet is what happened to us when we became as frightened of intimacy as we are desperate to acquire it.

The internet is a love letter we are writing to ourselves, and it says Hello, and it says Do you remember me, and it says I miss you, and it says If you won’t touch me where it hurts anymore won’t you at least acknowledge that I’m alive…

Even the worst internet troll displays the heartbreak of unrequited love if you look hard enough.

On the internet we are all exiled lovers in a death pact, forever bound together in the electric eternity of our yearning.

If you are an artist, then the internet is a heart and spleen-shaped clay-oven that you put your organs inside – where they’ll either melt and become malleable or harden like a stone, and that’s how you find out which kind of person you are.

So, the internet is a personality test.

And, let me tell you… we all failed.

But, there’s still time.


There is still time.


Miggy’s poetry collection Grime Kerbstone Psalms is available digitally here . Paperback copies are a little rare, best to contact Celandor for options.

Miggy organises and comperes Nottingham’s monthly poetry event Speech Therapy and facilitates writer’s workshops.

Part 2 of interview series with Miggy, view Part 1 here


Interview Miggy Angel Poetry

Miggy Angel

“Street, rattle your skulls, shake
Your pouch of owl’s claws, baste
My charred heart in your asphalt kiln,
Street, spit the steel bit from your mouth…”

(Litany For The) Street – Miggy Angel
Grime Kerbstone Psalms


It’s taken the whole of this year to get here. My review and interview with Miggy Angel. His poetry collection Grime Kerbstone Psalms I read inside a sombre day in December last year. It changed me profoundly. Through him I discovered writers, artists, photographers and film makers that fired my imagination. His poems gave me the push to delve into myself and see what I could find. Mostly, it’s his writing and images with that unnerving reality that hits the spot for me. The honesty inside the dark, he unknowingly mentors.

My questions felt stilted. We did our best to have a bash and banter, but life got in the way. Whenever Miggy and I ever got time to connect, bit by bit, it started to make sense. Like ephemeral intercontinental pen friends.  A lot of the questions were fueled by my own inquisitiveness and when reading them over, they just paled into a wall. They at least became triggers for Miggy to answer. Concentrating more on the visual this year, he uncovers society, his images are fast and messed up, all you can do is be still and take it all in.  It is the most exquisite grit to view and says so much more than words, something I thought could not be possible in comparison to his poetry. I asked Miggy if I could just take his answers that he has sent me and connect them to some of the images he has taken this year. The result is a series of posts to discover for yourselves the unique insight that lives inside the poet.




Words & Image by Miggy Angel

My mum is English, a South London girl. My father was Spanish, from Cordoba in (Moorish) Spain. Angel is my middle name. I grew up in South London in the 70’s and 80’s as a Miguel (Miggy) with a Spanish surname full of what John Fante called ‘soft vowels’, and an absent father allowing me no root-path back to the origins of my name. So, culturally, you could say I have always felt like an outsider. Talking of Fante, I read Ask The Dust in one sitting, a solitary afternoon sat in a library. When I read these lines of his, which articulated something I related to so absolutely, I was again resolved to writing as the only way for a mongrel-hound like me.

“Smith and Parker and Jones, I had never been one of them. Ah Camilla! When I was a kid back home in Colorado it was Smith and Parker and Jones who hurt me with their hideous names, called me Wop and Dago and Greaser, and their children hurt me, just as I hurt you tonight. They hurt me so much I could never become one of them, drove me to books, drove me within myself, drove me to run away from that Colorado town,” … “But I am poor, and my name ends with a soft vowel, and they hate me and my father, and my father’s father, and they would have my blood and put me down.”

– John Fante from Ask The Dust

Miggy Angel is a poet. His poetry collection Grime Kerbstone Psalms is available here . He organises and comperes Nottingham’s monthly poetry event Speech Therapy and facilitates writer’s workshops.




Interview Miggy Angel Poetry