Pinching Myself

On the drive back from Darlington, following my We Shall Overcome gig at The Quakerhouse, my mind latched on to a phenomena you’ll all be used to, how the sound of rain pauses as you pass under bridges.

There’s nothing much else to do to pass the long hours alone when you’re a jobbing singer-songwriter, other than then let your mind wander.

So I did.

By the time I got home I’d written a poem called ‘Motorways’.

“Morning Mr Arthur, I’ve come to fix the fridge.”

He said: “I’ve got a little magnet of the Brooklyn Bridge….

The ice cream went all mushy first

And nothing much survived…..

We brought it back from New York

When me wife were still alive…..

But where’s me manners, sunshine

Would you like a cup of tea?

What do you say you’re here to fix

The fridge, or the TV?”

I said: “I’m no good with tellies

I’m here to do the fridge.”

He said: “I’ve got a little magnet

Of the Brooklyn Bridge.


Take no notice of me, son

Me mind’s not what it was

I lose me way a lot these days

I know I do because

I hear me when I’m talking

But there’s gaps in what I say

Like when the rain stops under bridges

As you drive a motorway


I hope the rain stops soon, son

The fridge man comes at three

Forgive me manners won’t you?

Would you like a cup of tea?

You’ll have to drink it black, mind

I’ve no milk in cos of fridge

I’ve got a little magnet

Of the Brooklyn Bridge…..”


I typed it into Facebook in the small hours of the morning. Which is social media dead time as anyone will tell you. I pressed ‘Post’ and forgot all about it.


Next morning it had 50 ‘Likes’, which for an overnight on a weekend is pretty spectacular.


The first comment was from Phil ‘Swill’ Odgers of The Men They Couldn’t Hang asking if he could possibly set it to music. I just received a demo from him called ‘Brooklyn Bridge’ and it is fantastic. To put this into perspective, I have been a TMTCH fan for more than 30 years so this is real Boy’s Own stuff here, the sort of thing you dream about when you first pick up a guitar and try strumming along to your heroes.


It was also shared by my Facebook friend Paul Meehan and picked up by dementia campaigner Ian Donaghy. Ian messaged me requesting permission to have it performed at a national conference on the subject this week. I obviously agreed.


Well Ian moved mountains. Making a few phone calls he contacted ‘The Full Monty’ and ‘Game Of Thrones’ star Mark Addy to read my poem and made a short, poignant and very moving video you can see here:



Sometimes you really have to pinch yourself.


All from a drive home in the rain…..

One thought on “Pinching Myself

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