There was a great feature on J.Brookes' Selected Poems: Hymns Ancient & Modern in the Western Mail on Saturday. Here are some of his answers for the piece: Tell me a bit about how and why you became a poet? 'In the 50s my father had an EP record called Red Bird, the poems of Christopher Logue, read by the poet to the jazz of the Tony Kinsey Quintet, and these, titles like "Drunk as drunk on Turpentine" and "Blue Shoes" seemed very exciting and beautiful. Then, later, when I was a teen, "The Mersey Sound", a collection by Adrien...
I think it was about 9.30am when we arrived at The Football Factory, the venue where we’d be meeting up with fellow members of the NY Bluebirds, to watch the match, and then for me to do a little launch afterwards.
Bar manager Jack was a friendly guy and insisted on the first drinks being on him. I ordered some pancakes, and these arrived in time for the kick off of the Liverpool v Cardiff match and were quite tasty. Other members of the NY Bluebirds started arriving and Lloyd introduced me to them all. They were all much younger than I’d imagined. Don’t know why, but I think when Lloyd had told me in advance that most of them were married with kids, I’d pictured them being older.
We were also joined by a couple of Middlesbrough fans who’d watched the match that had been on before ours (God knows what time they’d have had to get up for their game). It wasn’t looking very likely that we were going to get much out of this game, especially after Mo Salah got the early opening goal. However, people mostly remained in good spirits, and at half time, I was introduced to a NY Bluebird ritual.
They have a copy of Craig Bellamy’s autobiography, which is signed by all kinds of people who have ever visited the bar, Cardiff fans, and I think, also some fans of other clubs. The ritual involves somebody, in this case, first of all, Luke, who was due to be moving back to the UK shortly, reading a paragraph from the book, while fellow fans kneel before the reader. The next thing, everyone launches into the following chant: “Bellamy! Bellamy! He plays for Cardiff City and he’s back in time for tea!” A bit bizarre, but enjoyable enough, and I was also encouraged to read a paragraph as a fledgling member of the group, to the same reception.
‘Morais is right; if we have lived in a place long enough, we all know a Kung Fu or two. We probably know a Pavement Poet as well – highly educated immigrants who have gone through hell to get here […], only to find themselves treated with contempt by the likes of the obnoxious Jolyon […] Less familiar to some, perhaps may be the other characters that people Morais’ acutely observed stories: drug-dealers, users, people who are in- or just out-of or just-about-to-go-into-jail, rogue families, scary hardmen and vile, predatory males who present themselves as Nice Guys. […]' 'This turning-around...
'A large part of this derives from how well crafted the characters are; Morais seems to understand that people are at their funniest when they least realise it...' Bethan James takes a look at Joao Morais' 'accomplished, poignant and entertaining' debut short story collection, Things That Make the Heart Beat Faster for Wales Arts Review. Join us for the launch at the Roath Park pub on 11 October.