The Villainess

A villainess, earlier today
A villanelle whose subject was simply inspired by the similarity between the words "villanelle" and "villainess".

Here I'm affectionately mocking the clichés of those genres that like their villainesses clad in skin-tight leather catsuits...

The villanelle is my second favourite poetry form, after the sonnet.  Those two constitute most of the formal poems I write, although when I'm in the mood I will do pantoums.

The Villainess

She always wears her leather suit
when breaking in to steal the jewels.
She's focussed only on the loot.

To hide the fact she's more astute
than all the weak and lustful fools
she postures in her leather suit

and curls her hair to make it cute.
She takes deep breaths to keep her cool,
maintains her focus on the loot

and doubles-back to lose pursuit,
then checks her face, takes certain tools
from pockets in her special suit

and justifies her great repute
for mocking all the normal rules
by swiftly getting to the loot.

She throws the guard a flip salute,
then saunters past. He starts to drool.
She knows he'll see the skin-tight suit,
for years after she's fenced the loot.


First public sighting -- early signs of success!

Hallam came second in the preliminary round of Emergenza that he was in last night, so they go through to the semi-finals!

I'd better start writing some more songs.  Maybe something about sexual chemistry... what rhymes with amphoteric zwitterion?

First public sighting...

Hallam London performed three of our new songs for the first time in public just now here.  I watched the whole thing via live streaming, very exciting to hear the songs performed with a band and live audience!

You can see a recording of the performance here although our new songs do not begin until around 9:25.

These songs are:
  • Bright Girl
  • DanceCrime
  • The Rain in Certain Car Parks
 I may say more about them in future posts.  For the moment it has just been a exciting evening, even if it is slightly strange to be watching from a sofa several hundred miles away...


Lister D [writing as Mr Three Eighths]

An engine, earlier today...
I apologise in advance, the diagram to the right is for a far more modern petrol engine.

Before New Year I ran a competition over on Poets' Graves where the idea was to "Adopt a false persona for Christmas" — all the competitors entered anonymously and submitted one or more poems under a pseudonym.  We then had everybody vote for the best poems and best personae; and also a side-competition for people to try and unmask the perpetrators. 

Some of us had two false identities, just to be on the safe side; but I don't think this was really necessary as identifying anonymous poets, even people you know quite well, turns out to be surprisingly difficult... 

So...  this was one of my entries, written under the persona of "Mr Three Eighths," who is a vintage machinery enthusiast and only slightly modelled on a guy I knew at school.

This is a sonnet.  Sonnets seem to be my favourite form when I write a formal poem.  No idea why this is; except they are the most wonderfully compact, deep and rounded form.  I far more often start to write a free verse poem and subsequently discover it is a sonnet, compared to the other way around.

In case you are interested, I came third in the competition.  You can check out all the entries here, at least until we clear that forum out ready for another competition.

Lister D [writing as Mr Three Eights]

One and one half horse power and stationary
but for the necessary gentle rock
from side to side. Traditional, the case
is painted Brunswick green. Unshockingly
the magneto is the Lucas SR1
found in a sale and lovingly rewound
in three nights and the shed. A later model
fed from its fuel tank that's top mounted;
it also has chain drive. Bring it alive!
Fill the fuel, and top the water to two inches
from the rim. The governor wick and oil holes need
attention... sump, float, greaser and then drive
the flywheel back to reach 'compress'. Clench
the handle-- Ho! Who'd want a Fowler P?

Image attribution: "Single-cylinder T-head engine (Autocar Handbook, 13th ed, 1935)" by Andy Dingley (scanner) - Scan from The Autocar (Thirteenth edition, circa 1935) Autocar Handbook, London: Iliffe & Sons.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.


Collaboration with Hallam London

Hallam London is a German singer/composer with whom I have been collaborating to create some new original songs.  We've been making progress quite quickly but obviously it is quite time consuming work.  We have three songs nearing completion, a few more just beginning the process and quite a lot more sitting in "Ian's ideas bucket."

We do not yet have an ETA for any releases but we have started to trickle a little publicity into the public ear...

Hallam is a great singer and we are both very excited by the project.  I will keep you posted as it develops.

I may also post things like teasers of the song titles, extracts of the lyrics and recordings of me reading themas poems, you'll be pleased to know I won't be singing.  I leave that to Hallam as he is infinitely better than I could ever be.

Another perfect day in the paradise of spies

A spy, earlier to today...

An old one to kick us off.  I've always had quite fond memories of this one, plus I was watching James Bond last night.

This is quite a common approach to a poem for me, where I have taken a particular genre and am playing with its characters, tropes and clichés—in this case I'm not straying too far from the canon, but then it doesn't do to mock the people with access to sniper rifles...

Returning to this to add a SoundCloud recording.  My contact would only agree to this if we recorded him through a voice distorter...

Another perfect day in the paradise of spies

We are now in situation burgundy.

It can only be the opposition. A sweep crew,
specifically trained to keep me out in the cold rain
as I peer in some confusion through a telephoto lens.
Now he's left the room. I could never stand the boredom
if I did not have you ghosting later into town.

I am implementing "Brunswick."

In this emergency I break glass, clamber through
and make a pass across his desk. Nothing. The subject
too careful to be truebut his friends assist security,
sustain obscurity, grease eminences and slit throats
in the shadows of his back story.

The sparrows have all flown.

The documents are gone. I check-out from the roof. There's less
burden of proof in a case like this compared to any court
of law. I can afford no indecision, the industrialist
whom you'd think above suspicionis the only one
who knew. Check gun. Night-sight's loose. Tighten screw.

The package is lost.

I should have recognised the car parked, jet-black and evil,
in a shadow opposite the hotel. It was there when we stumbled in.
The lobby bright, our cover of drunken love, not entirely feigned.
There are no flies as yet; the sweat has not even cooled
upon your perfect body.