The Blonde is a collection of my short stories available to download from Amazon for Kindle.  Click on the link bar below for more information and to download.  




The title story, 'The Blonde' is based on a true story my grandfather, legendary local bandleader and music teacher, Billy told me when I was about nine or ten and it's always stayed with me.  He had lots of amazing stories from his big band days in the 30s and 40s where he played, in the main, saxophone and trombone.  


The Blonde is also available in spoken word - COMING SOON!



A selection of original short stories and poetry.



Bathtub gin: illegal homemade gin

Broad: Woman

Canary: Woman singer

Dame: Woman

Dance: To be hanged

Dizzy with a dame: To be madly in love with a woman

Doll: Woman

Dope: Drugs

Dope peddler: Drug dealer

Dough: Money

Duck soup: Very easy, a piece of cake

Dutch Act: committing suicide

Eggs in the coffee: Very easy, a piece of cake,

Gat: Gun

Gee: Man

Gin mill: Bar

Gobble pipe: Saxophone

Gum-shoe: Detective

Hack: Reporter

Hatchetmen: gunmen

Hinky: Suspicious

Hitting the pipe: Smoking opium

Hooch: Liquor

Joint: Place, club or bar

Jujus: Marijuana cigarettes

Kale: Money

Keyster: Buttocks

Lead, carrying: carrying a gun

Liquorice Stick: Clarinet

Mazuma: Money

Patsy: Person who is set up; a fool or a chump

Pro-Skirt: Prostitute

Put the screws on: Question in a tough manner

Roscoe: Gun

Skin Tickler: Drummer

Skirt: Woman

Squeeze Box: Accordian

Tubs: Drums

Wrong gee: Not a good fellow

The Blonde The Blonde ebook




Sleek, black, baby grand,

Housed in its own room,

Scented with deep heat,

Orange rind and cloves.

And the grounding scent

Of aged naked wood, exposed

When a key is pressed.

The metallic tang

Of the steel strings

That sing,

When the felted hammers


The window’s fancy, patterned glass,

Like treble clefs.





Waiting for my lesson,

Manuscript in hand.

Staves, heavy with

Crotchets and quavers,

Semibreves and minims,

Flats and sharps,

Rests and clefs,

And Italian words

I am trying to learn.

To coda,

I go.


And so,

I wait…


Read the graffiti

On the school wall


‘Say no’ it says

‘To privave landlords’

Whatever that means.

It’s Wednesday,

Piano lesson day.

I’m dreaming

Of German pancakes

But I’m looking

At Grieg.




And then,

The child before me

Finishes his lesson

And I’m up.

Perched on the piano stool,

On the spot,

I haven’t practised enough.

I know,

I try to bluff,

But she knows.

She always knows.

Next week I’ll practise hard

I promise myself.

Festivals and grades approach.


My piano

Is brown and worn

And upright.

And I kick it

Out of frustration

When I’m uptight,

And it won’t play right.

Missing ivories, replaced

With Elastoplast

For some reason.



Last week,

I saw people

Moving into her house,

A young family.

I wondered

What happened

To that beautiful piano,

That black beauty?

Treble clefs

Still adorn the window.

I wonder if

It still smells

Of deep heat.



And now,

Billy’s white piano,

Gracing my living room.

Miss Trotter’s translucent hands

Still gently covering mine.



A selection of my original poems



I am a healer,

I am a harmer,

I am duly respectful of karma.


I am narcissistic,

I am self-loathing,

I am a wolf in black sheep’s clothing.


I am naïve,

I am wise,

I am the bad moon on the rise.


I am crazy,

I am sane,

I am the full moon on the wane.


I am eccentric,

I am the norm,

I am the calm before the storm.


I am diaphanous,

I am opaque,

I am the swell that did not break.


I am a deep ocean,

I am a shallow stream,

I am a complex human being.


I am honest,

I am underhand,

I am free, uncharted land.


I am worthless,

I am rich,

I am a circuit without a switch.


I am on the defence,

I am on the attack,

I am the straw that broke the camel’s back.


I am tranquil,

I am wild,

I am the forgotten child.


I am not your son,

I am your daughter,

I am the lamb you took to the slaughter.


I am articulate,

I am dumb,

I am.  Cogito, ergo sum.



I had set sail,

Carried by the winds

Of change.

But change

Was not ready

For me.


I checked my watch,

I was being watched,

Timed. Tick, tock,

Tick, tock.

Where was I?

Did I even know?


Now I do,

Don’t I?


I caught my renaissance wave,

Hung ten upon the crest,

But pearled,

Once or twice.

Paddled back out,

Caught the next one,

Caught the sun.


I looked up at the sky,

Wasn’t that there

All the time?

And the sand too?

Rocks eroding


All the time,

I, growing



Then why didn’t I see it?


Why did I not see it?



Today I saw Shakespeare.

I passed him in Newcastle

On a street corner, pinned against the wall.

I don’t know how long he’d been there.

But this ‘New’ castle was old,

Even when Will was a lad.

Maybe even he prayed

In Amen Corner.


In Gateshead I saw

The Duke of Gloucester, Richard III,

Looking pensive, his back hunched,

His arm, withered.

But this was all a myth,

A Shakespearean meme,

An artist’s interpretation,

So they say.


When I reached Felling,

I was surprised to see Wordsworth

Atop the bank, looking down

Over the urban landscape.

But he liked hills, didn’t he.

And streams and mists and foreboding skies.

And daffodils.


When I reached Middlesbrough,

There was Lord Byron

At the corner-house, drinking tavern.

I must say, he was looking old,

Not the handsome devil he once was.

Mr Gordon is in need of a facelift.


But I did not pass Woolf,

Or Austen, Bronte or Angela Carter.

And where was Emily Dickinson?

     I imagine she, a great coffee shop proprietess,

     Freshly baked breads and her famed black cake,

     Posies of flora and herb, staff dressed all in white,

     Poetry readings at the open mic…

Shelley Crescent in Normanby

Was not named after Mary.


Roads and pubs and V.I.Bs*

Are named after the great men of the pen,

The female canon has not fired.


And then, there was Shakespeare, again,

Looking down on me

From the first floor

Of an amusement arcade.




* Very Important Buildings



Misted mountains mourn

The passing of the sun,

And over in the cottaged dale,

Clouds hang, like teased cotton wool.

And all the trees are browning now,

The leaves conspiring to fall

The robin’s breast, crimson hued,

Winter creeping forth.


This charming watercolour scene,

Handpainted, almost I think

By some ethereal being,

This vista, serene - I search for answers,

How can such beauty just be?

Uncrafted by human hand,

Nature at its most beauteous,

Unfettered and free.


The harboured crafts clank gently,

Like hollow bamboo wind chimes,

Their sleek white lines, shining,

As though moored in more exotic climes.

People come and go, passing through,

Starting their day, taking in the view.

The eerie calm of autumnal dawn,

Speaks to me, silently.


Lake, you simmers gently

‘Neath the broody, greying sky

I wonder what faces you’ve reflected

Upon your mirrored plane,

Poets, artists, actors, laymen?

Did you send back an image

Of their selves, distorted, perhaps?

Or did you show them what they wanted to see?


A lake will never settle, it always will move on,

And will never see the same face twice,

Nor reflect it back to its keeper unchanged,

As is the way - we see what we want to see,

Something different every time.

What I see today, I can’t decide,

A woman, a girl - a person cocooned,

About to break free, spread her wings and fly.


I feel the kiss of raindrops upon my face,

They pucker my paper and dilute my ink,

Words spill into words, bleeding letters,

Inspiration drying up as the cold takes hold,

And I pull my coat around me tight,

And turn to face the lodgings house,

Where heroes of mine have rested their bones,

Maybe even sat here and wrote as I have today.


But my working day is about to begin,

And I have to leave this beautiful scene,

So I put my daydreams on hold for now,

But life’s dreams are taking flight,

My life has changed and so have I,

My future is bright and free,

Flowing, changing, expanding,

Like the lake at Low Wood.