Nov. 8, 2021

S1 Ep29: Poetic Judgement (with the right honourable Kate Fox presiding)

We invite poet Kate Fox back on the podcast to critique our work and help us improve our poetry. Which Failing Writer will come out on top? Find out in this week's exiting episode. (That's not a typo. After listening to our poems, you'll be pretty keen to leave). Enjoy dearest listener, enjoy!
If you're joining in with NANOWRIMO (or doing any writing at all) here's that handy little tool to stop you wasting time selecting character names.

Music by Dano Songs 

thank you for listening to the failing writers podcast please set your seats to a recline position extinguish all hope and prepare your ears for turbulence

so fellas it's a good time to ask uh what have we been writing this week because obviously we are actually have meant to have been uh writing for the ramo um we kind of we kind of already know because we have talks about this so um dave you may as well go first all right i'm not sure me and john i've got that much too often did you notice did you notice that i'd gone silent is that is that why you asked dave i think yeah i think we know where me and you are at all right well let's start with something uh i've written quite a bit i've just done a double check and i've done about five bully things about five thousand words what did i what did i say tom what did he say dave's an [ __ ] and i know she was never on the path

um but yeah so i'm like a tenth actually if you think about it i'm 5000 words into thousand and we're three days into thirty days of november hang on hang on you're five thousand words like a tenth of the way through both in days and words yeah that's right so that's maths that is that's actual maths that's amazing it's not actually as impressive as it sounds john it's only impressive when you compare it to ara and it seems like a lot he's actually on target i think it's pretty impressive either way yeah yeah but dave you've come in you've you've got a bit of a problem with your story haven't you in that you've uh fallen madly in love with your main character i have never neglected to put anything else onto all the other kids yeah cardboard cutouts yeah i forgot to give them names or basic character traits and it's just a one-person book at the minute it's just about the main character who i absolutely love but to the rest of it just yeah they're just sacks of me these two-dimensional yeah yeah what do you love about the character what is it about oh i don't i don't know i just think she she's sort of um her main sort of character trait her main sort of character flaw really is that she can't stop herself if she thinks of something funny that she thinks is funny she has to say it um i hear you i hear that that character's resonated yeah and i kind of like i sometimes wish i could be a bit more like that rather than sort of you know self-censoring she just sort of comes out and says it and regrets it quite a lot later on um yeah but yeah she's just she's become a sort of 3d character and and this hasn't really happened before i'm quite excited by it so i'm trying to get as much down as we can whilst it's well coming brilliant yeah what about you john

john um

have you even said any words um i've i've said quite a lot of words yeah good yeah i've said loads of words but i haven't written any of them down oh um but uh but yeah anyway less about me what about you tom less about me also no i've yeah i've had a very busy couple of days that have just kind of sprung out of nowhere and i kind of had planned and the other thing is i think i might have dave's fallen in love with his character in his book i think i might have fallen out of love with my storyline in my book and the book as a whole i think i thought because it had been the book as a whole yeah i think because it had been kind of percolating away for 15 years or whatever that i thought oh finally i get it done whereas i think maybe the reason i never actually have got it done is because i no longer really fully believe yeah i think i think i might need to give it a full rework which isn't which is bad timing isn't it for that so i'm half thinking well isn't it a great job that you had one as a backup yeah so i'm half thinking i'm going to swap i'm going to blue peterborough

well here's here's another one i did earlier yes it's another novel i haven't written earlier but you've planned what you planned like half of that yeah i mean half would be generous but there's there's there's something there's enough there to kind of go right i'll crack on with this and and we'll actually get some words down so i think that's the way do you feel a bit more excited now you're doing now you're doing that yeah yeah i think yeah because the other one i just felt i feel a bit stuck with it i think i think i probably need to really start the other one from scratch so i can kind of go with the floor like dave was saying you know when he kind of you need to be you need to be doing it every day don't you need to be you can leave massive gaps between which i think i've always known but i've never been willing to admit to myself yeah you know they're kind of see well i think i've been quite lucky and unlucky in the sense that i haven't got anything else to do at the minute suddenly got no other work so i've just been that's a good use of time yeah tight yeah yeah it does make a difference absolutely yeah it doesn't make a difference well that's brilliant buddy yeah well done dave well done well hopefully next week hopefully we'll ask the same question and we'll have at least me and john will have different answers i might i might have to shift uh nanowrimo raimo wholesale to december uh because i don't think i'm i'm gonna write much more than about a thousand words in the entire year there's always loads of time in december isn't it

just to be different yeah yeah hey why don't you start your own website john and com constantly bombard people with spam emails oh my god why won't they shut up i don't know they do send a lot of emails like two a day i'm sure and i'm yeah i'm not entirely sure what i didn't i was gonna say i didn't i didn't sign up for this but i literally did sign up for it didn't i i feel like i've been caught in the middle of an email based comic relief telephone or something well they kept hitting targets and stuff didn't they saying oh we've raised more than we thought we were going to oh well done nanowrimo rhyme or i've written 67 words hey dave i've just remembered something you you sent us a link to um a name generator or something yes tell us about that well so right so first of november i went to start nano nemo raimo and uh it turned out to be an inset day so uh kids at home couldn't do anything so on the second day i thought right i need to do twice as much and that was when i realized i hadn't fleshed out any of the characters i had a whole story there but no characters just they were like policeman one policewoman obviously yeah so they were there there were other people in the story but they didn't have any names yeah just cardboard cutouts you just had an entire cast of the people that get mentioned right at the end of the film exactly yeah yeah small boy number one putting on hat yeah i love that i always loved it i i actually had the role of policemen uh taking off hat in an episode of fat friends oh really once oh that's nice yeah um i didn't get much money for it and it didn't really need anywhere in the acting world but uh you know it was a start but anyway so i didn't have any names for anyone and i so i thought i need a name i can't just keep calling my main character police woman did you just make up a name i tried but i kept getting i kept thinking oh that's not right no that's not right and then what kind what kind of names are you just like you know mary susan so i i was just taking me forever and i thought this is ridiculous i've spent an hour just trying to come up with a name and then i found this random name generator thing on the on the internet um which i've linked to on twitter i think and it's brilliant it just it just takes all that stress away just you put some details in put some variables in like uh age and gender and sort of job role and uh other little things and it pops out a load of names for you to choose from so i just did that i did that for all of the characters that i've got they've all got names now i've written them on a board so i don't have to spend anything what sort of names have they got then what what name has policeman two got whatever then so um badger forecourt

and justin webb two of the detectives you're calling one of them bobby brown

there is some bloke on the end of that in there on the internet somewhere just quickly and giggling to himself

oh david's going to change bobby brown are you sure so there's the detective bobby brown um wpc jazzy jeff

oh dear oh that hurts a bit but the thing was it sort of popped out a load of names and i thought i'd run i'd make it even more random i know i'll pick the worst one let's give me a good one but one on the rubbish right i sort of took the front of one suggestion so i don't think it actually said bobby brown it said like bobby pierce and someone brown i thought oh bobby brown that'll do because one of them is called uh colin colin chubb which is one of my favorites so he's not called that though is he's called the policeman formerly known as college yeah yeah he's just got like a weird symbol for his name some people call him chubby brown

i think that sounds good though definitely get on the random name you know it takes the stress out of it so yeah uh ruby miller is the name of my uh

fahrenheit making flower

um so yeah that's uh look it was useful it stops me from procrastinating yeah and you can always change them at the end anyway exactly that exactly that was there you go the point is it's no not set in stone no um no but it's just stopped me this is where you're writing dave and one of the comedy things is someone taking the mick out then bobby brown and then you forget that and then you change it to something else in that joke it just becomes really weird well i did i was didn't think of a whitney houston joke earlier on today and then i had that exact thought i might not stick with bobby brown so that's not going to work is it yeah it's good i'm going to try it i'm intrigued wow so yeah look on name dot uk giving that a go there are lots of different options name anyway should we move on yes yes and uh let's should we do this episode yes yeah okay what's happening what's happening what are we doing well we've written some poetry and our resident poet we've decided now kate fox it's uh is going to tell us tell us how it is yes she's going to judge us and judge our poetry and just tell us about ourselves in no uncertain terms like lloyd grossman used to do on the old master chef she's gonna yeah what was it he said cogitate ruminate ruminate cogitate and digest yeah something like that yeah that's what she'll be doing and then she's gonna invent her own range of pastors of course lloyd grossman that's not his real name um he got it from name generator

do you know what lads though i'm actually i'm feeling quietly confident about my poem oh you know yeah i think i think it's actually quite a powerful little piece and i think uh i think you're gonna like it well so is it full of fancy language and flowery no it's not really isn't that what that's what a poem is isn't it well debs is full of flowery language and fancy bits well let's see shall we let's find out what kate thought of them absolutely bring it on

so kate um it's time for you to help destroy our fragile eagles excellent i've been greatly looking forward to this wow there is actually a real undertone of murphy and anticipation in your voice slightly even disturbing well i am i'm torn though because so often i do work with writers in workshops and the whole thing is very much not about destroying their writing ego as it's about nurturing them bolstering them making them feel good even if some of what they've written is not very good trying to point out the good and where it could be better she's talking about you dave yeah do you do do you do any work with children kate because i feel like yeah yeah there we go all right

has anyone ever cried at your feedback do you know actually now not poetry feedback because i'm so lovely to them generally but i once did a project where i was getting kids in a school in bishop auckland to write for radio actually and to write radio news bulletins and radio adverts and because at the time i was still not that long out of being a radio journalist i am it turned out something about hearing really badly written radio made me give feedback that i would have been given when i worked in radio if you know what i mean and yes yeah and some of the kids honestly those three-year-olds really weren't ready for it they learned a life lesson that day they did of the teachers did say after looking a bit shell-shocked he was like wow we we are just never that honest with them

and i i kind of i don't think i was ever as honest again actually to children in school that's because you never got asked back isn't it exactly good i'm on a banned list radical honesty for students but no but generally i am lovely but i feel you have given me a little bit of leeway to be a little bit more honest than i normally would be however i am aware you have all expressed varying degrees i'm hearing it of fear and trepidation so i'm probably going to respond to that with kindness you just need to be honest okay that's all we are yeah yes oh yeah we're prepared for tears and i think john should go first well we should first remind everyone that we wrote these in our writer's hour zoom call thing didn't we and we for a competition where we had to write a trivision which is basically six sentences and each sentence is a three-line stanza and that's what we had to do that was where we started from was that's it exactly um yeah mine's uh mine's not very funny i'm sorry guys uh there's nothing funny about poetry john a lot of serious business exactly uh yeah it was uh yeah on the back of kate saying something that something that matters to you and at the time uh i'd i'd lost a couple of people i know to cancer quite recently after that uh or just before we did that and i i couldn't stop thinking about the effect it must have had on that family or those families and i think because it was a trivision as well and i was thinking particularly about a family of three that went from a family of three to a family of two and i was thinking about the three did you say the start this is not very funny but i'm just trying to give a sort of vague explanation for for yeah why i went so dark so quickly i'm going to say just not funny no it's not funny at all yeah that's better it was it was quite heartfelt anyway so this is what came out it's called dark spots there were three toast warm souls that filled that house with ringing gingham laughter honey light spreading over the butter dish the breakfast things abandoned there will be time for clearing up the cat sits sniffs by the back door unsettled fur ruffled by the arrival of a new cold front now two voices hushed and cotton soft tremble in the hallway though the quiet can stop the clock or prevent the appearance of the dark spots that have begun to blot the patio slabs and the scans of her body the all-pervading sense of time playing tricks of an ending that is much too sudden oh thank you john you're very welcome so i should probably say the last stanza probably doesn't work quite as well in audio but i wanted to get a sense of something missing at the end so there's only two lines at the end instead of three

indeed subverted the farm and i want to say because i i noticed the two lines and i thought that was really good and what i wish you had done at the end is make the ending more sudden because what you say to us is an ending that is much too sudden and because you've put much to you've slowed the whole line down yeah true it should have just been too sudden yeah or even something even more sudden than sudden because that's still two syllables um something like an ending that is a full stop or something see what i mean so yeah yeah so it's kind of like you nearly did um a cutoff to it but you didn't quite yeah it leads up to it too much for it to be sudden yeah you're right yeah yeah that's good suddens it's suddenness i loved the language in this so i really liked things like the toast warm souls and the honey light and the cotton soft tremble and that whole thing that you're building up of a sense of um comfortableness and safety and comfort just works really well and i think so i'm i'm glad that you explained what it was about because what i had actually taken it to be was when you said about dark spots and patio slabs and scans of her body so a patio of slabs just made me think of murder and someone being buried under the pattern the brook side effect exactly exactly patio equals murder and i don't think i would have been alone in that as a reader or an audience i honestly don't think that would have been just me but i can now see that it's actually you see that sense of you know when the patio is kind of not cleaned and it's rained and there's a general sense of neglect sort of yeah yeah i i suspect you could just slightly tighten that up so we definitely have that actually but yeah oh i haven't been very brutal after all have i really i've probably just given some constructive criticism but i did um yeah i really liked this and i think with a couple of those rethinkings it could have been maybe moved from quite good to really good yeah thanks kate that's good no they're really good that's really good that was good that john damn i should have caught you should have called you after before we yeah we should have got the we should have got the feedback before we submitted them to the competition shouldn't we be a good idea oh well next time thank you kate welcome that was that was very lovely over here enjoyed it it was good right who's next i could be but i think there's less cancer and death in these other ones so we might be able to yeah a bit harsher yeah well i i tell you what i'll go next because mine's kind of the opposite of that because i also tried to follow your advice of of writing about something to which i had a real sort of passionate connection and i felt strongly about but i think i've mentioned before i can't i can't think of anything that i actually feel passionate about in any way i'm kind of sort of dead inside so i i tried to think of something that like at some point has made me angry um and i just sort of started thinking about sort of fake news and conspiracy theories so that's where this came from and it's called the anatomy of opinion our anatomy contains an interesting feature analogous to an opinion but those features whether bleached mephitic or pursuit are not matthew mark and luke absolute truth is not made flesh through cardiac desire yes question the value of the visage seek full disclosure but a thumb-swiped algorithm is not primary research perhaps therefore we should put more trust in the holes that we have too of now i reckon most most listeners or readers of that would probably need to hear it twice or read it twice but i think we'll maybe not give them that chance that's what we wind up with yeah press rewind now if you want to hear that again okay so dave right for me this is definitely the most interesting piece i think of the fart i read and does yeah let's just stop there there we go no i think we should go on dave for there is so much more to say um it does kind of do the most as in you know there's a lot going on but i think it does it slightly more confusingly than it needs to although i did enjoy how there was a lot going on under the surface yeah and i think i mean i know poetry is often seen as obscure and we often kind of read it and go oh what was that now we have to read it again and that's maybe good because it slows our attention process down and it makes us really focus but i think you got into a bit of a almost giving us some crossword clues when we talked about this before i did say didn't i that i disappeared up my own ass for a while wasn't it i think that's exactly what yeah but again i mean that made it interesting so okay so i'm gonna go through it and let's see if some of the things that i thought were right um okay so when at first you say our anatomy contains an interesting feature analogous to an opinion so are we are we talking about face and face value and presuming that no oh that's a reworking of the line opinions are like ourselves that's all that we see oh that's really important i in ah hence why bleached methitic her suits i see this okay well i'm gonna say do you even know anything about poetry i mean come on it's a classic it's a classic [ __ ] opening stanza isn't it i mean it's if anything it's overused unbelievable unbelievable i i can't believe i i missed it you know um staring you right in the eye

i think i think we needed a bigger clue dave because i'm a really good reader we needed a bigger and actually we could have had a little a little um maybe the title could have given us more of a clue but of course a little drawing

but now it does make sense of and so i i loved that i had to look up a word mephitic i'm guessing that most people don't know what mephitic means tom john unless you've already heard or known my physique it's stinky i think it's been stinky yeah basically stinky it did and technically apparently if you put bleach in the morning together um you get mephitic gas so i've learned something so i'm happy that i've learned it um i i i had to look that up as well did you in order to find the word um but you've given us first stanza an interesting feature second stanza refers to multiple features those features i don't know if that was on purpose and then we get matthew mark and luke i like that they're so gospel and not gospel is that right are we yes yes very distracting however that you've missed out what are the gospels so unless there's a reason did you miss out john on purpose i did uh yeah i didn't he's always missing me out i can fit it in yeah that's because i suppose as a reader you just like going maybe there's a reason he's left sean out it's john important and then we're distracted because we just need to move on to the to the next bit but still we've had nice words and it's been interesting um but we've gone down diversions and to be honest we've only got 18 lines so we need not diverting too much immediately yeah get to the point dave exactly um but i like absolute truth is not made flesh through cardiac desire nice cardiac desire is just a great phrase um and then yes question the value of the visage seek full disclosure lovely thumb swipes algorithm is not primary research which could also have been about tinder i thought this was about um people maybe swiping left on tinder and ignoring people just on the basis of what they look like see what i mean could work as both things now the last stanza it kind of like it kind of hit it i just don't know where i come down on it and perhaps therefore we should put more trust in the halls that we have two of yeah in one way in the halls that we have two of he's a horrible line it's clumsy it's it's and it could refer to so many things on the other hand it's still quite clever in the spirit of the whole thing so yeah i'm i'm left interested

the thing i most was about the anatomy of opinion which is maybe ironic given that it's about opinions i was left ambivalent which is exactly what dave was trying to do yes well done dave very clever very clever oh thanks kate that's uh that's very informative okay tom are you ready i don't really want to read my name you mentioned four poems before okay does that mean oh you did two time i remember now and i tried to do yeah cause back to the thing about writing something you care about i don't really care about anything like dave so i tried to write um just something that was kind of lighter and a bit more fun just around a i quite like in poet like just taking a little concept and just expanding it out it's just kind of a throwaway concept so i did one like that and then tried one that was maybe a bit deeper about sort of a midlife crisis kind of thing so so yeah i don't know where to start give us things read the first line i don't care to tell me because that might give me a clue is terrible let's start with a start with a frivolous one first yeah which is called your superpower so you understand how this is going to work with your new superpower you get a magic that defies anything science can throw its way at your fingertips but of course there's always a bit of a catch or a little bump in the road it's rather awkward actually but you don't get to choose the superpower you get and i'm afraid yours has already been allocated there's no turning back sorry but i do hope you enjoy being able to turn swimming pool water into custard

see do you know what i enjoyed that lord small because you read it right um and not that he didn't enjoy reading it i did but um yeah it works even better in performance i think because we get more of the ridiculousness it often does yeah i think i think he wrote i think a lot of poetry works yeah especially probably especially funny poetry yeah no yeah i think delivery is a large part of comedy full stop anyway isn't it so i think yeah it's inevitable yeah and you you managed to do that to sublime to the ridiculous thing and in the in the reading of it in the sort of building it's actually quite intense yeah and that's a good point john because maybe that was the only thing lacking in the poem itself we could have had a bit more of that build up because tom gave us it in his torn in the reading but we didn't get quite as much as much of it so we're taking it to a more a more higher pitch more formality just delivering this yeah flatness to bring us down yeah yeah because it's so often comedy as you all well know where the greater the contrast yeah that you've got really and the greater the level of exaggeration and actually because in that so we for example in the second stanza so you had probably a surplus line that you could have done something else with so you get a magic that defies anything science can throw its way fine and then at your fingertips and at your fingertips doesn't really give us anything more whereas if you could have chosen that yeah um bit of the sentence to take his or principles and you know anything science can throw its way defying all laws of being or whatever to surround us up and then the same with the next stanza because you had but of course there's always a bit of a catch or a little bump in the board so you just used a different way of saying a bit of a catch to say a little bump in the road but again you could have used that bit to take us up because in poetry you've got so few words you need to make the best use of all of them to underlie each one basically so um i might end up having to change my rankings and ratings can i just say that i'd love that superpower it is the greatest edible substance on earth why would you not want to be able to do i think it would be hilarious as well just going to the swimming pool wouldn't it there'd be a lot of drowning there'd be a lot of dead people at the bottom of the costume that'd be the only problem no but you do it you do it like you go like to maybe you get tickets imagine how happy you'd be when you got tickets to the olympic diving final

check this out guys here we go on the other hand though you've got kids to say mum there's there's a there's a plaster in my trifle and that is yeah but i did think i like the concept of you know when there's like the x-men and stuff where they all have this power of like being able to control whatever it is and bend round and that was all based around like genetic quirks that give people these superpowers and i always thought there must be other people that had genetic quirks and superpowers whose superpowers were just really naturally useless yeah yeah that feels that's like a children's book in the making isn't it actually but yeah that's superpowers yeah definitely but yeah would you be able to technically still dive into custard would it be more dangerous what would happen to tom daley if he dived into custard actually depends if it had a skin on it or not wouldn't it ah good point yeah or how thick it was i mean you can custard can be just i mean yeah is it a creme on glaze yeah is it uh too much corn flour in it i mean if you do it in a french swimming pool does it end up being a creme brulee and you've got like a sugary hard top on it that you need to crack through maybe maybe you could scare it i don't know it could it could go anywhere really yeah this this is opening up a lot of possibilities isn't it this poem it is but i mean just to clarify it is make believe people don't have custody superpowers so it's probably not gonna it's probably not something we need to worry about on a on a daily basis in terms of okay poem two then poem two midlife slump i've lost a hairbrush somewhere my keys have walked away again and that favorite jumper has gone for good but as my thoughts roll i don't really care if these things never turn up again i've lost much more like my love of waking up and facing the day head on i've lost the joy that is running full speed when you really don't need to just to the shop on the corner i've lost some of the best bits of me because i threw them away thinking adults need to grow up but now i know that growing up is growing down sad and tired of the world and it's the child inside that keeps us alive

i it's in a way it's like the opposite of dave's poem in the teacher did you say dave was good or rubbish i can't remember that well it was deeply ambivalent if you remember him how can you be the opposite of ambivalence you really care about this what is the opposite of ambivalence that's very good so i like i really like the start of it cool anyway so next week

thanks for coming on kate once i realized there was no custard in it with the custard nothing could top down maybe some thousands yeah exactly and it's the last stanza i have a problem with um and it's because it it it's to be fair it's something that i will sometimes do in my poems it turns into instead of a poem a hallmark greetings card um yeah and it's it's the cliche and it's like a really good point yes we in midlife we slump and and we lose our life and i i love that specific detail actually this is my favorite stanza i've lost a joy that is running full speed when you really don't need to just to the shop on the corner that's lovely and then your next stanza is fairly pointless because you just repeat that but without any detail i've lost some of the best bits of me because i threw them away thinking adults need to grow up again and that probably needed another really good example of something else you used to do as a kid that you don't do now you know give us the images and the pictures it gives us the sensory stuff and then somehow i don't know how you do it because i i cause actually like you will find in the rankings despite the fact i'm being really harsh on this poem i kind of overall liked it actually but it's just yeah that last stanza i wonder if there's a non-cliched way of saying but now i know that growing up is growing down which actually that's nice isn't it actually now i say that that's a nice line sad and tired of the world and it's a child inside that keeps us alive through a way of d cliche yeah i think it's that last line really isn't it because you you shouldn't really that's what the poem's about you shouldn't really have to spell it out like that that should just be what you take away from the poem it's

that might as well have just been the first stanza and last standard in itself do you mean like if you yeah yeah five word poem oh that could have even been the the title rather than midlife slump which again sort of tells us what you're already telling us it could have been the child inside could be your title and then you could give us something a bit a bit more surprising in the end because the subject matter of it yeah yeah yeah nice maybe he's bringing around full circle that as well maybe you know i don't know i'm just freestyling here but um be nice if you said and yesterday i ran to the shop or something she's like going full belt back into the childhood yeah yeah get to that point yeah yeah definitely

that's the miracle of poetry actually i think and i quite i so i hadn't i don't think you've introduced me to the trivision thank you because i knew i know um some of the work of the poet who apparently invented this form william carlos williams and but i've never heard of the trivision and the idea that really it's just so it's one sentence chopped into three isn't it across six separate stanzas i think it's such a great form because it lends itself to being conversational and probably tom you were the most conversational in your use of it yeah and i'm definitely going to use that in workshops in future it was quite an easy format i don't know what you boys felt but it was quite an easy format to write to in terms of whatever i wrote seemed to fit the right length yeah that's right and actually because because the lines can be any length i don't quite know how that works as well doesn't it yeah yeah a good thing and a bad thing because it at a certain level it is just six sentences that you can chop up into three powers in any way that you want yeah um yeah yeah there's there's something about that that made me think oh no i've got to do something a bit more than that which is probably however when i went over the top um yeah good good and bad yeah but you know honestly actually i really i really enjoyed getting to bb so thank you very much and you're very welcome thank you ever so much and thank you for your honesty as well it's uh it's nice as it's shredded spread into writing yourself um yeah i i i don't know if i could do the rankings now though i've honestly changed my mind i reckon like four joint fourths let's be a bit more positive four joint seconds

i think that's fair if you had to pick one of them now honestly it's it because it has changed after we've talked to them if i had to pick one now as long as it was going to be read out as well and so this means it has actually moved from fourth in the rankings to first it would this is exciting a minute this seems like it's going to be picked up

the book of prizes was like oh to be honest uh this book wasn't even in my long list but then i heard the audio book yeah now it's won for the last like nine months i thought this was [ __ ] but now do you know what you get the prize turn around but my winner at the moment is your super power by trump oh i guess i don't argue with custard i'm really curious it was a moment dave where the anatomy of opinion was winning was that before i mentioned exactly before i didn't get arseholes and felt you know i guess i should have um this is a poem about nice pretty faces that's yeah that's my favorite only dave could talk himself at a top spot bye what about no no no no it's about arseholes you've won no no no it's about arseholes i just want to confirm with you kate there was no point at all in any of uh your sort of debating where i was top there was no point

although on the plus side john yours was actually in fifth until mine moved out so you have moved up a place there that's good okay that's i'm not just saying it's i won and i'm the winner and i'm victorious but um that was that was brilliant that was uh yeah it was actually quite nerve-wracking i mean we know that you are lovely but apart from when you make three-year-olds cry about the word but um there was a little element of nerves it is you know it's always putting something out there is is it doesn't matter where you're doing it does it there is there is a a vulnerability and an exposure to it which is kind of exciting nervy at the same time yeah especially with especially with a form that you're uh not entirely comfortable with yeah yeah that's the other thing oh well honestly it was a pleasure well kate thank you so much for taking the time to ruin us very welcome lovely

so how are you feeling now john now that's been done you you went and you went in there quite confident yeah knocked out it was a good point i i did i got a strong impression that kate was already a little bit ambivalent about my poem but once she found out it wasn't about murder then any remaining interest did seem to wane didn't yeah i have to say i was a big big fan of your last stanza using two lines rather than oh thanks

a bit arrogant to be honest in the first time you've ever written in this book to rip up the rule book well you know yeah where are you going that's fine but it was just a solid performance there john i like the you know you you were consistently not winning all the way through yes uh yeah yeah yeah consider whereas i i'd experience the highs of of being told i was you know in first place and then having it taken away at the last year um i've got a bit of a confession actually kate um what has asked me so uh so other blots on the patio are they like like the moss and the dirt on the patio because no one's like cleaned it for a while yeah and i heard myself just say yeah but that wasn't true really that wasn't true at all yeah no it wasn't it was it didn't mean that i just i just said that because i didn't wanted to think that my writing was so obscure that i'd sent her down a completely wrong path and that that wasn't what the blocks on the patio were at all right no i was were they then i was hi god i was referring back to the cold front approaching that life you see was going from like sunshine and warmth to this horrible you know i thought it was red oh thank god for that anyways i thought it was you know when you get those big when you get big yeah that's it big it was big rain when it's yeah exactly like the beginning of a proper storm blotches of rain exactly and i wanted to sort of give this impression of this cold front coming and these big blots of rain and everything's about to change tears of the world exactly but then i was suddenly afraid that the analogy was like really horribly trite and cliched so i just went yeah that's that's right kate whatever you thought kate that's right yeah i was with kate i had an image of a of a jet washer gathering cobwebs in a shed anyway i'm a little bit embarrassed about that can we get her back on yeah i lied i lied to you i said yeah it wasn't true that's that's the point isn't it can mean different it doesn't have to mean what the writer meant it to me well i mean different things on a sliding scale to different people yeah i think there's some truth in that despite what our english teachers always told us at school no that's what the author was thinking yeah i think the moral of the story is is uh to never don't like probably never no a don't write poetry but b if you do don't don't show it to anyone we don't have to lying about it keep it under your bed that's what i should have learned from our early episodes do you think we do you think we should take kate's excellent feedback and rewrite them is that have i gone mental could you get a little bit should i do that i think it's more about taking that for the future isn't it next time because i think there was there was simple things where we should have known from our writing history really of just kind of chopping down a bit yeah i know it's true as she was saying some of it i was thinking oh god you know i was thinking that when i actually read it out it's yeah and i think maybe some of it we got a little bit lazy in place is because of we we did it in that hour didn't we yeah yeah we kind of did it in a very tight that's true yeah yeah so we should probably disagree there was that was the time to go back and just kind of no it's true and kind of edit properly yeah because that has been very fresh as they came out there's been an element of uh of that'll do in most of the things that we've done on this podcast isn't there a little bit maybe yeah maybe that's that's what's holding us back here well maybe maybe we don't rewrite them i was going to say we stick them on the blog we rewrite them sticking on stick them on the blog but maybe maybe if you lovely listeners fancy having a go is actually it's a really nice form to write in the trivision the trivison yes yeah if you fancy having a a go at a trivision we would love to hear your trivisons it's not too restricting is it because it's quite you know it feels quite comfortable before they come out really they seem to fit the format yeah and they're not too fancy pantsy then they're not it's not like you've got to get your iambic pentameter or anything like that is it's just it is simply six stanzas of three lines so send us your efforts and we'll post them up on the blog maybe read them out yeah we can horribly misinterpret them and then read them out and then you can get in touch and tell us what they really mean that would be quite good but also there's something else that we want people to send us isn't that good oh yes yes uh this is a possible brand new feature that we're planning uh but it only works if our listeners are willing to put themselves out a little bit yeah so we haven't quite decided on a name for it yet but it's kind of it's a way of giving back a bit of love to you our listeners and the creative community at large and uh basically we want you to tell us about your book okay so uh we want you to pitch your book to us and give us a reason why we should go out and buy it and uh that's it really but there's a little twister roo there's always a twist there's always a little twist with the failing writers you've only got 30 seconds exactly exactly 30 seconds so if you record a voice memo and send it to failingwriterspodcast uh your book could feature on the very next episode of the show so give it a go give it a go i think it'll be quite fun it'll be nice to be nice to hear from you as well maybe it would be good if we gave like an example of how that would work john maybe you could maybe you could do a pitch for your book okay that you haven't written any of yet that might actually help spur you on to get

uh in fact do it right now uh okay uh here we go if you wanna advertise your book for free we've got a cheeky little feature that you need to see just send a piffy pitch of your book to me a voice memo of 30 seconds exactly but we couldn't agree on what his name should be so now we're gonna call it something different every week and this week we're gonna call it what the book is that hello my name is john rand and my book is called the order is about a detective with socialist leanings who investigates a really sick making the horrific murder at an exclusive private school as his suspicions begin to collide with some bizarre online conspiracy theorists the closer he seems to get to finding the killer the more dangerous his job becomes until he appears to uncover a secret plot with consequences so far reaching for society and the safety of his colleagues that he must unravel the mystery in time to save his partner or will his ideology cloud his judgment right well brilliant that sounds rubbish sometimes yeah i mean i wouldn't buy that one so if you think you'll be able to bother right now

and you know you can you can get in touch with us for any reason you can just send us a nice review or say hello or say you know whatever uh and you can leave us a review as well can you just say that you can send us a review write us a review i mean don't don't make it sound like we're too desperate for reviews dude we've got we've got some good reviews reviews if you want to leave review leave a review if you don't find whatever but please still leave a review just trying to be professional a little bit like that

to you totally up to you yeah but do leave us a review yep or leave a review of the review leaving process if you find the process of leaving as a review good why not leave us a review so chaps what have we got coming up coming up in the following weeks um next week is an interview with tim glister first time debut offer or mr glister because either

yeah and uh making a obscure reference to a previous episode that most people wouldn't have heard we find out whether he's got an ostrich feather umbrella or not sure you see what i mean because he's a spy spy writer um so it's all kind of like 1960s cold war spy era um stuff is exciting stuff yeah so we have a nice interesting espionage and then coming up after that we got we got um andy stanton uh john's children's writer hero yeah that john stalked and managed to force manchester scare him onto coming onto the podcast dave can we have the klaxon for that one please

there you go there's a collection we've got um oh we've got all kinds of stuff oh and i mean we've got that uh bafta award winning screenwriter don't want to go on about it do it a bastard there she's got baftas everywhere shaw's all over the bbc in itv and i think she's doing something for disney channel is it disney channel i've heard of that i think it's a little tv yeah no we've got a nice little interview with sally wainwright uh coming lots of other bits and bobs as well yeah yeah so you better get subscribed haven't you otherwise you might miss unless all that sounds like rubbish not your sort of thing then don't i would um don't find something else give the next few weeks like that do you remember that kids program why don't you yeah oh yeah why did you offer your television tv and go do something better instead or something like that yeah it was that was just like whoa you're telling me to switch like before darren brown wasn't it what mind games and then it was for my memory it was always like some kids in the youth club in northern ireland making things out of that's it exactly yeah so here you go now that's just how you do this get a shoe why don't yay what's weird about that though is that if you did actually turn off your tv you would of course preclude yourself from watching the program that told you to turn off the tv in the first place so you'd never know to turn off your tv yeah you didn't have your tv on in the first place so you have to turn it off turn it back turn it off back on again you know what to do next yeah yeah what else we've got coming up is further updates on our nanowrimo books and hopefully by this time next week you lot will have got some words we'll be flying mate we'll be absolutely flying i'll be coming on you know what you've been writing this week i can't speak my fingers hurt too much the end of my fingers are really hurt but if you if you're doing nanowrimo as well uh get in touch with us let us know how it's going and why not leave a review oh god if no one leaves review for dave now please somebody leave a review otherwise it's just yeah every single week it's gonna be like this just keep asking yeah yeah right we should probably probably shut up and leave these people together why don't you turn off this podcast you should do something more interesting instead which kind of leaves it open because that's quite a lot of stuff yeah i mean some of them might have already done that but yeah i think most of them could have done yeah do you know what we could do we could just do it like a really slow fade like a sort of 70s prog uh song but just uh just slowly fade out this yeah this conversation one of those really long tracks one of the experimental albums yeah yeah be like oh hey jude yeah that's it yeah i was thinking more like you know some of the pink floyd stuff that kind of real like yeah it just kind of goes around in little circles and there's all kind of yeah would you think do you think we've faded out by now do you think no i think we're probably still going to just very quietly be able to hear us if you just if you really turn us up people yeah but people might be having to turn the volume up now it's a dangerous game yeah yeah and then when they go to switch the next program on it'll be ridiculously loud with my earphones i can't get them that loud though yours like that they've got like a cut off so you can't get loud enough do you always do that my iphone is an iphone thing he's turning my volume down all the time yeah and it's not fair because i i use it and have like a speaker under my pillow to listen to the radio sometimes so he thinks i'm blaring it out i'm not i'm just trying to hear it through a pillow so obviously it's quieter but there's no way to turn it off yes the world has got my safety gone bad really it's ridiculous it's really ridiculous it really is are we coming back up with the volume now do you think i think i think people need to hear this yeah yeah yeah this is important i've got a good question for you i was thinking about this if the day was on the run and i've told dave before and assuming right i'll tell you how good this idea is as soon as i say it dave will go oh yeah i remember you saying that 15 years ago tom that's still a brilliant idea right i think i know he's remembered it already dave share my idea and everyone go why doesn't that happen it should start a petition is it to to make uh some sort of distinguishing difference between an indicator light and a hazard warning light yes so that you know if people if you put your indicator on it flashes at the same interval as if you put your hazard warning lights on yeah good point yeah if you're driving down a busy street and there's a truck with its hazard warning lights on yeah but you can't see the inside light on the pavement side is it pulling out it just looks like he wants to pull out yeah it's true what if it blinked faster it's very slower why has that not happened no money in it that's why no money and it would be so easy to do as well wouldn't it yeah that's that could probably save a cyclist's life or something that will save something going wrong hunt literally hundreds of people sitting there going come on pull out then oh for christ bloody hell that's that's a bit of your life you'll never get back it's a great line to end on much like much like this much like this i think we end on that line

where's everybody gone

when i was uh when i was a kid i only had one imaginary friend

and he only lasted for a few days but his name was sick of you yeah he ran away um

he was called charles it was called bobby brown he was called charles charlie charles because he was charles charlie mchale's face charles charles charlie charles yeah that's my friend i took on holiday and then just left him there didn't really get on trust me to trust me to imagine a friend that i didn't really like

Kate Fox Profile Photo

Kate Fox

Kate Fox works mainly as a stand-up poet and as a broadcaster and speaker. As she points out on stage, if you say you’re a comedian who does poems, not many people will come and see you; whereas if you say you’re a poet who does comedy…still not many people will come and see you but at least you get Arts Council funding… She enjoys being a variety of things but has found it can make you hard to categorise. Basically she’s a writer and performer and due to her extensive work on the radio in the past few years, quite a few people do come and see her work after all.

That includes two comedy series called The Price of Happiness for Radio 4 about things she’s supposed to want but doesn’t and her current touring show “Where There’s Muck There’s Bras” about notable Northern women. She is a familiar radio voice, having presented Pick of the Week on Radio 4 and been a regular contributor to Radio 3’s The Verb, among many other broadcasts.

She has been Poet in Residence for the Great North Run, Glastonbury Festival and Radio 4’s Saturday Live. She has also performed her poetry on BBC1 and BBC2. She has supported acts including Linton Kwesi Johnson, Hollie McNish, John Cooper Clarke and John Hegley and is a headline act in her own right.

She’s also a gentle activist and campaigner for the voices of Northerners, the working class, women and the neurodiverse to be heard; mainly by teaching and running workshops in schools and community groups -and by speaking, writing, raising awareness and tutting at injustice and inequality.