A doughty champion of his local culture.(Poet Tom Hubbard)Your performance at the city hall was soooooooooo good! Christoph thought it was excellent! (Carolyn)


gibraltarstraat, amsterdam


grand hotel, molle, sweden


The Ostrich Inn was built around 1745. It is one of the pubs on the Bristol Harbourside that was used by the sailors, shipyard and dockside workers and merchants who worked in the Port of Bristol during the time of the slave trade. One of its walls has been partly knocked down so that you can see part of the caves under Redcliffe. Inside the pub, on the wall there is a copy of a trade card for the Ostrich Inn from 1775, which has a picture of a young black man (probably a slave) on it.






Arcueil, the'House with Four Chimneys'. Now no. 34 on rue Cauchy, in Erik Satie's day it was no. 22. From 1898 until his death in 1925 he lived in a single room here – his window is third from the left on the second floor (next to the drainpipe). He ate and drank in nearby cafés, especially one (now demolished) that was just around the corner, opposite the church. His room had no running water, so he had to carry water a few hundred metres from a well in the 'Place des Écoles' (School Square – the name no longer exists).


(inspired by Kurt Schwitters’ & Theo Van Doesberg’s ‘Little Dada Soiree’, 1925)

At the Black Cat Cabaret,
you raved the night away:
Eric Alfred Leslie Satie,
Pride of Honfleur,
Rider of Montmartre.

And Suzanne Valadon was your one real flame
burning under your seven velvet corduroy suits.
In Arcueil, at 22 Rue Cauchy,
you had them stashed away;
parading twenty kilometres each day
to and from the bars of Paris.

This ‘Velvet Gentleman’ changed
to bowler, black suit and umbrella;
a troubadour of magic songs,
Cubist of poverty and despair:
Burlesque Bolshevik,
Parisienne Poser,
Pleuratric Palatic,
Cirrhotic Symphonist,
Wishful Winker,
Fisticuffed Fantasist,
Sloshed Sailor
of glorious dreams
on this earthly, earthy Earth.

Erik Satie’s Ragtime Dada
dancing with a swaggering Wit:
‘Monsieur le Pauvre’,
lazy, mystical, prole,
rich with the slaver
of musical clouds,
the starstruck nights of the Middle Ages,
notes flying out
of cages.




(for Margit and the owls)

The laughter of Uli Keuler

scatters the mangy pigeons,

gives the swifts a current to fly on,

bawls out in The Boulanger,

howls in Hades.

The laughter of Uli Keuler.

The laughter of Uli Keuler

screeches along Lange Gasse,

creeps into Heckenhauer’s,

floats on The Neckar,

catches a train.

The laughter of Uli Keuler.

The laughter of Uli Keuler

climbs over the rooftops,

dreams over Swabia,

booms along Wilhelmstrasse,

scales castle walls.

The laughter of Uli Keuler.

The laughter of Uli Keuler

tickles fraus’ fancies,

ripples new leaves,

bursts open fresh fuchsias,

makes Neptune chuckle.

The laughter of Uli Keuler.

The laughter of Uli Keuler

glows red in the moonlight,

carries off Hoelderlin,

drowns the old sorrows,

lights up the odd glass.

The laughter of Uli Keuler.

The laughter of Uli Keuler

drifts a long stream

and the Tuebingen summer

is golden.


*Uli Keuler - Tuebingen comedian




In blood I am

an apprentice boy of Newcastle.

Falling foul

of hacks and parkies,

I tipple and prance

and strum my poems at night.

I sing in the Blackie Boy

and tap-dance on tables.

I wear my shoes on my head

like some medieval surrealist,

a Geordie Bosch.

I go fleeing about

down Pudding Chare

with the company of fools.

Pissing music in the dark,

like a ruffian

I wear curls around my ears,

The City Fathers will rail

at all my gay ribbons and lace,

my gold and silver threads

and shoes of Spanish leather

but give me the pudding-basin treatment if you will,

see if I fucking care you bastard Puritans,

you killjoys.

I’m a Jingling Geordie

and freedom flies nightly

in my flowing hair.



The apprentice boys of Newcastle kept falling foul of the Puritan tendency. An Act of the Merchant Adventurers of 1554 thunders against their gay dress and 'tippling and dancing... what use of gitternes [guitars] by night!' In 1603, the youths are again enjoined 'not to dance or use music in the streets at night': nor are they to deck themselves in velvet and lace - or to wear their 'locks at their ears like ruffians'. All to no avail: in 1649, Newcastle's Puritan elders were still railing against ribbon and lace, gold and silver thread, and coloured shoes of Spanish leather. Nine recalcitrant youths received the pudding-basin treatment for their hair.

Despite this killjoy attitude it is nevertheless the case that the Newcastle corporation was unique among towns in maintaining a 'company of fools' from 1561-1635. Fools were otherwise confined to courts or noble families.


back in amsterdam!



bred in a market arch

a struggle

in a city's armpit

that flower

in your time-rough hands

a beautiful girl in a slum alley

all that kindness in your face

and you're right

the times are not what they were

this England's not what it was

flowers shrink in that crumbling vase

dusk creeps in on a cart

and Maud the sun is choking

Maud this island's sinking

and all that swollen sea is

the silent majority


Keith Armstrong


Dr Keith Armstrong`s
New "Geordie" version
Available for Christmas
Create loads of poems and lyrics about Tyneside
from the host of poetic ideas in this New Version

sing of my home city
sing of a true geordie heart
sing of a river swell in me
sing of a sea of the canny
sing of the newcastle day

sing of a history of poetry
sing of the pudding chare rain
sing of the puddles and clarts
sing of the bodies of sailors
sing of the golden sea

sing of our childrens’ laughter
sing of the boats in our eyes
sing of the bridges in sunshine
sing of the fish in the tyne
sing of the lost yards and the pits

sing of the high level railway
sing of the love in my face
sing of the garths and the castle
sing of the screaming lasses
sing of the sad on the side

sing of the battles’ remains
sing of the walls round our dreams
sing of the scribblers and dribblers
sing of the scratchers of livings
sing of the quayside night

sing of the kicks and the kisses
sing of the strays and the chancers
sing of the swiggers of ale
sing of the hammer of memory
sing of the welders’ revenge

sing of a battered townscape
sing of a song underground
sing of a powerless wasteland
sing of a buried bard
sing of the bones of tom spence

sing of the cocky bastards
sing of a black and white tide
sing of the ferry boat leaving
sing of cathedral bells crying
sing of the tyneside skies

sing of my mother and father
sing of my sister’s kindness
sing of the hope in my stride
sing of a people’s passion
sing of the strength of the wind


As featured on BBC Radio 4 documentary on the Tyne Bridge with sound
recordist Chris Watson


happy xmas groningen! see you in 2011!


excellence at the barnacle!

The Barnacle Cafe :: Bistro Excellent night ! thanks to Sean, Dave, Rosie, Cathy, Ginny & Viv :: Excellent food & wine - ♫ ♪ and many thanks to Keith Armstrong our extremely talented poet who really entertained us and was especially evoking for some - was an honour to have him there !

Jo says, "I hear it was a fab night ! Wish I could have been there ! Next time ;) I understand some of the poems were very evoking.
Everybody so enjoyed the evening - thank you! Hope you enjoyed the evening too."


snowy amsterdam!


The Freedom Come All Ye

Roch the wind in the clear days dawin'
Blaws the cloods heelster gowdy ow'r the bay
But there's mair nor a roch wind blawin'
Through the great glen o' the warld the day.
It's a thocht that will gar oor rottans
A' they rogues that gang gallus fresh and gay
Tak the road an' seek ither loanins
For their ill ploys tae sport an' play

Nae mair will the bonnie callants
Mairch tae war when oor braggarts crousely craw,
Nor wee weans frae pit-heid an' clachan
Mourn the ships sailing doon the Broomielaw.
Broken families in lands we've herriet
Will curse Scotland the Brave nae mair, nae mair.
Black and white, ane til ither mairriet
Mak' the vile barracks o' their masters bare.

So come all ye at hame wi' freedom
Never heed whit the hoodies croak for doom
In your hoose a' the bairns o' Adam
Can find breid, barley bree an' painted room.
When MacLean meets wi's freens in Springburn
A' the roses an' geans will turn tae bloom
And a black boy frae yont Nyanga
Dings the fell gallows o' the burghers doon.


from: the centurian bar - a celebration - photos by tony whittle

the jingling geordie

My photo
whitley bay, tyne and wear, United Kingdom
poet and raconteur