Culture: a poem about modern culture in a post-industrial town.

The small towns in the North of England were once the centre of the cotton manufacturing industry, using cotton imported from India during the time of the British Empire, because the damp climate was ideal for working with the cotton fibres, enabling efficient cotton spinning and weaving. These ‘cotton towns’ were heavily industrial, their skylines dominated by mill chimneys and smog. In 1931 Gandhi visited Darwen in Lancashire. The cotton industry here began to decline during India’s fight for independence. The mill workers wanted Gandhi to see the poverty caused by the decline of the industry, but poverty is relative-it was nothing in comparison to the poverty in India. I wrote this poem about life in a Northern town in this post-industrial era. The smog is gone, but the grim conditions of the mill industry have been replaced by something far more insidious: neoliberalism and the throwaway consumer culture. The factories are out of sight, out of mind, out of the country, and churning out endless mass-produced plastic goods, designed to keep us spending and consuming, with short-lived use and eternal life as trash.

The relative poverty is still here. The damp is still here. Welcome to the North.

 

Culture

Pound shops and takeaways,

salons for grooming of

dogs and their owners

sit side by side.

Rancid fat acrid

in back alley junk piles,

settees and Christmas trees

slowly decay.

Damp homes

in damp climate

for cotton mill workers

no longer needed.

The forest of chimneys

now superseded

by new build in miniature,

room sizes shrinking,

like chocolates and crisps,

the packets get smaller

while the prices go

through the roof.

©️Janey Colbourne 2017

Here’s a link to my spoken word/ambient recording of the poem on SoundCloud

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Stupid Girl: #metoo poem now as spoken word with music

Preview of my new song to be released hard techno track with spoken word poem intro about sexual harassment.

This is a poem I recently shared here in a blog post. I’ve been working on putting it to music. Trigger warning: sexual abuse and swearing.

Here’s a link to the original blog post with the poem in written format:

https://heartseer.wordpress.com/2018/01/28/stupid-girl-a-poem/

©️Janey Colbourne 2018

Ladylike: a poem inspired by Doritos ‘lady crisps’ controversy

To Crunch or Not To Crunch?

Recently Doritos has been in the news for apparently planning to bring out ‘lady crisps’ with less crunch. They claim this is not true, but have not denied that Indra Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo, who own Doritos, said they are preparing a range of snacks for women and that women “…don’t like to crunch too loudly in public. And they don’t lick their fingers generously and they don’t like to pour the little broken pieces and the flavor into their mouth.” (Source: @doritos Twitter account)

I was inspired to write a short poem in response:

Ladylike

Lady shave,
just the same,
but in pink,
lady’s glass,
so dainty
to hold,
lady parts
too shameful
to name,
lady’s crisps
with the crunch
taken out,

cos that’s not
ladylike.

Any colour,
shape or size,
make a noise
if you like.

If a lady likes
to do it,
then it’s ladylike.

©️Janey Colbourne 2018

I’m not going to share a picture of Doritos and give them free advertising, so here’s a photo of my facial expression right now.

‘Stupid Girl’ (a poem)

Here’s a new poem I’ve just written for my spoken word collection. I’ve not done a recording of it yet.

(Trigger warning: on the subject of sexual assault.)

Stupid Girl

He saw I was drunk in the nightclub.
I was kinda passed out.
Vaguely heard him say, ‘I’ll take you home.’
and he threw me in a taxi,
but it wasn’t my home
we went to.

Too tired and drunk to argue,
I fell asleep on his settee.

He laid on me.

I said, ‘No way, get off me.’
He wouldn’t stop.

So I went and got in his bed,
and tried to sleep.
All night long:
‘No get off me.’
‘No get off me.’
‘No get off me.’

I guess it was my own fault,
stupid girl,
for being young, naive and drunk,
and thinking he was
a friend,
not the fault of
an older, stronger man,
who saw me helpless and asleep,

and tried to fuck me,
the fucking creep.

©️ Janey Colbourne 2018

‘Trapped In Wealth’ my single now available on Bandcamp

BUY THIS TRACK HERE

I wrote and recorded this piece last year and published it on YouTube in response to journalist Charles Moore’s comment that David Cameron was “trapped in wealth”. I have now released it as a single track on Bandcamp and it is available to buy as a high quality digital download from my bandcamp site here.

Trapped In Wealth (The Poor Rich)

I am beyond enraged
I am in the cold steely frost on the other side
Trapped in wealth?
Unfortunate fate has bestowed a burden so great
The super rich.

The poor, poor rich engineer destiny
For the poor poor, so undeserving.

A burden so great
The super rich
engineer destiny.
The poor, poor rich.

I am beyond enraged
I am in the cold steely frost on the other side
Trapped in wealth?

The poor, poor rich engineer destiny
For the poor poor, so undeserving.

I am beyond enraged.
The super rich.
Trapped in wealth.
A burden so great.

I am beyond enraged
I am in the cold steely frost on the other side.

©️Janey Colbourne 2017

My Bandcamp site here

Follow me on SoundCloud

My New Album ‘Take Your Power Back’

At last I have finished my album ‘Take Your Power Back’, which I have been working on over the past year. It is an album of electronic music with spoken word and song, of various genres and tempos, from dance to ambient. My intention is to create music that’s enjoyable to listen and dance to, whilst also having something worthwhile, outspoken and inspiring to say. The lyrics are an important part of the music and have a pretty strong message, challenging the dominant neoliberal cultural narrative and creating a new narrative of hope, personal empowerment, freedom, community and re-connection with the earth.

It is available to buy as a digital download from my bandcamp site here, either as the full album for £5 or as individual tracks, priced at either 80p or 60p each. Prices are plus VAT. You can listen to all the tracks before purchasing, and if you purchase you can choose unlimited streaming or high quality download. Enjoy!

Listen to my album here