Happy Belated Birthday Babble Gum

Babble Gum, the night I helped set up in Newcastle with Marie Lightman and Alix Bromwich, turned 2 in September – right after I moved back to Nottingham.

It was an important thing to be involved in for me, as it gave me some sense of roots in a place I often felt fairly rootless.

I’ve just been looking back through old notebooks, and found a poem I wrote for Babble Gum’s birthday that I didn’t end up getting to share on the night.

So I thought I’d post it here:


Dear Babble Gum,

It feels like a long time since edition 1,

nestled under the arches just along

from that rollerskating horse

at the very, very bottom of Westgate Road.


Babble Gum,

you taught me a new way to talk

to strangers and friends.


Two years in this city,

lonely under the pink clouds and sandstone cornices,

you were a community to wrap words

and grinning teeth around,

a growing gathering clustered to listen

to offered thoughts from the mezzanine floor

where the bowling alley usually was.


Then across town to Settle Down,

no mic, back room, pub up the road, then here –


The Cumberland Arms,

a building which breathes history

and sweats poetry


History of fiddles and folk

crammed in rooms filled with chatter and smoke,

history of piss ups, festivals, music,

and a history of spoken word.


You’ve grown up, Babble Gum.


You had shoes to fill and you’ve filled em.

And you gave me a place in this city.


Happy 2nd Birthday.




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