The Light Programme by Brian Johnstone

The wireless on, that gap
as valves began to warm,
and all that met our ears
was doubled up. Innuendo
in itself said so much more
to all our fevered thoughts.

Days were stuffed with
Mr Horne, what bishops
said to actresses. ITMA’s
Can I do you now? led on
to Formby’s stick of rock,
Howard’s please yourself.

Of course we did, but not
as he implied lest Whacko!
was on hand. No! Enough
that air waves throbbed
on any frequency of filth
slipped in below the bar.

All in the mind, but we
were so inclined. There
like static, what you got
with the reception every
time you listened in or
twiddled idly at a knob.

Brian Johnstone’s work has appeared throughout Scotland, elsewhere in the UK, in North America and in Europe. He has published six collections, most recently ‘Dry Stone Work’ (Arc, 2014), and his work appears on The Poetry Archive website. His memoir ‘Double Exposure’ will be published by Saraband in 2017.



Eleven, plus by Keith Hutson

for Freddie ‘Parrot-Face’ Davies

In retrospect, to wear a bowler hat
so low his ears bent double, then displace
each S by blowing raspberries, was not
Oscar material but, in the days
when train-impersonators hadn’t yet
been shunted off, nor musclemen in trunks
with organ music, Freddie’s speech defect
could fill a seaside theatre’s summer months.

I loved that man, unaware my laughter
led my best friend’s gifted younger sister,
who read Brontë, to believe I was backward,
until I asked her to go out with me
years afterwards, and she didn’t say no,
just looked appalled before responding You?

(previously published in Prole Magazine)

Keith Hutson has written for Coronation Street and household-name comedians. Since 2014, he has had over 40 poems published, mostly funny ones, in journals including The Rialto, Stand, Magma, The North, Prole, Poetry Salzburg, The Interpreter’s House. He’s also won a Poetry Business Yorkshire Prize.