The cover illustration has a gruesome look. It is of a grotesque, yellow-toothed masked figure which would not be out of place at voodoo party on the streets of New Orleans.
Don’t be fooled. The poems and songs in this book are approachable and funny, capturing the joys and pains of everyday life with real warmth and poignancy. When there is justified anger and frustration at the world outside, it is of the ironic, low-key kind – and all the more effective for that.
The best poems here reflect the collision between this brutal, chilly outside world and our own pampered existence. With a wry self-awareness of the writer’s personal helplessness in the face of global disaster, ‘Climate Emergency’ opens with the words:
‘When the drought in Africa hit the news,
I made an ethical choice
Every time I cleaned my teeth
I turned the cold tap off.’
Simon Haines has an active musical life – with his wife Val he is the guiding light behind three much-loved folk groups Bof!, Rosewood and the Hosepipe Band – and there are some funny, plangent thoughts here about the joys and travails of being a professional musician throughout this collection.
From a review by Terence Blacker