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)



Events Diary

Demo CD of

The Melly-Belly Songs / Five Sea Songs
by Jakub Zahradnik

to poems by Katrina Porteous and Keith Armstrong. 
Produced by Pagat Ultimo Musical Productions, s.r.o in Prague.

A few years ago, Dr Keith Armstrong, a well-known poet from Newcastle, travelled through Europe and met Czech composer and poet Jakub Zahradnik in Prague. Keith introduced Katrina to Jakub, and they performed together at Poetic Cafe Obratnik, where Jakub worked as a programme manager. The encounter resulted in a friendship, further reciprocal visits, and joint performances in Prague and Newcastle. 
Jakub was inspired to make a setting of Katrina's 'Five Sea Songs' written in the Northumbrian Dialect – five duets dealing with the lives of men and women, connected by the sea and the uneasy lot of fishermen. He has also worked with Keith Armstrong's poems to create 'The Melly-Belly Songs', characterized by the typical span of Keith's style – tender lyricism and nostalgia, blended with blistering humour and provocative satire. 

For more information about Jakub Zahradnik and his music, please see:
 For copies of the demo CD please contact:



Watch me go leaping in my youth
down Dog Leap Stairs
down firescapes.
The Jingling Geordie
born in a brewery,
drinking the money
I dug out of the ground.

Cloth cap in hand I go
marching in the jangling morning
to London gates.
Jingling Geordie
living in a hop haze,
cadging from the Coppers
I went to the school with.

Older I get in my cage,
singling out a girl half my years
to hitch with.
Oh yes! I’m the Jingling Geordie,
the one who pisses on himself,
wrenching out the telephone
his father left off the hook.

Listen to my canny old folk songs;
they lilt and tilt into the dank alley,
into the howls of strays.
Oops! the Jingling Geordie
goes out on his town,
rocking and rolling a night away,
stacking it with the weary rest.

See my ghost in the discotheque,
in the dusty lights,
in the baccy rows.
Jingling Geordie,
dancing gambler,
betting he’ll slip
back to the year when the Lads won the Cup.

Well I walk my kids to the Better Life,
reckoning up the rude words dripping
like gravy off me granda’s chin.
Whee! goes the Jingling Geordie;
figment of the gutter brain,
fool of the stumbling system,
emptying my veins into a rich men’s palace.




Martin, my son,
stop drinking.
Your wife is drifting away.
You frighten her.
She swims in tears in the kitchen,
hoovers the darkness.

When she left you for the first time,
you slashed your manly wrists,
trying to grab her back
from all those deserted streets.
Bandaged now, you’re on the pool table again,
gambling your love for another pint.

Martin, my son,
you’re a helpless fool;
a boy apeing a man,
a man apeing a boy.
You have your jobs to do,
she has hers.
And so the barriers grow between the sheets.

Martin, I pity you.
You were just brought up that way;
without much chance,
dreamless and without love.
You took your tattoos down the pit.
On your first day at work you were sick,
cried on your mother’s pinny,
soaking her with fear and affection.

Martin, my darling boy,
you grew from an angel into a brute.
Your eyes narrowed into hate
when you beat your first woman
and fell asleep on her.

Give it up, Martin,
show the world that you care.
You’re young enough yet.
Because you failed to kill yourself,
you’re lucky.
You’ve got a life to live.
Give that life ot her.

Martin, you’re supposed to be a man,
but you could still
be beautiful.


(From 'Dreaming North', 1986 - written in Peterlee, County Durham)



Cobbled webs of my thoughts
hang around your lanes.
A brass band nestles in my head,
cosy as a bed bug.
I’m reading from a balcony
poems of Revolution.
It’s Gala Day and the words are lost
in the coal dust of your lungs.

Your dark satanic brooding Gaol
throws a blanket over blankness:
a grim era of second hand visions
aches like a scab in a cell.
And rowing a punt up your Bishop’s arse
a shaft of sunlight on the river
strikes me only as true,
shining into the eyes of all the prisoners
swinging from Cathedral bells.

Old Durham Town, you imprison me
like a scream in a Salvation Army song,
release me soon:

get ready to hug me.


the jingling geordie

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