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You must be finished; you’ve been here so long,
But what’s the story, where did it go wrong?
A successful buffer to our city’s bus station,
But you hardly fill folk with joy or elation.

A bare concrete slab dividing the garden,
An ugly monstrosity, not so much as a pardon,
Someone designed you and someone felt good,
That you were being built in our neighbourhood.

But bare slabs unfinished? a blank canvass maybe,
But what was the thinking,it really perturbs me,
You’re screaming out for some decorative attention.
Our own Berlin Wall in Piccadilly bus station.

I know you’re there to keep the bus noise at bay,
But you’re deffo not finished, not on my life, no way,
Some bushes or foliage would look quite good,
A wall of greenery to lessen the thud,

Of buses braking and dropping folk off,
A memorial surely would finish you off,
Street art would work or a scene from our city,
You look such a mess and that’s such a pity.

Coz you must fill tourists with abject shock,
To see something so ugly or maybe they mock,
Maybe they think you’re not finished yet,
Or just run off screaming full of regret.

Put something up there; give us something to see,
Cover it in our fine Manc history,
I really couldn’t care if it’s discrete or loud
Finish off that wall, go on do us proud,

Coz even graffiti would look miles better,
Than those grey blank slabs, I might write a letter,
To the council to beg them to make you look nice,
And make Piccadilly Gardens a more prettier of sights.


Copyright©2011 by Phil Martin

All rights reserved.




Whatever the weather, he’s there every day,
Refusing to budge but with nothing to say,
He sits in his park with a space either side,
On his bench nothing moves him, wind, rain or shine.

He holds out his lunch with an outstretched arm,
Maybe not even knowing the harm,
As he looks at his apple, should he take his first bite?
Pondering daily and all through the night.

Cast out of bronze in Sackville Park,
Frozen forever from dusk until dark,
In solitary silence and out on a limb,
Stuck in the moment just before-it took him.

Did they not care that you were one of our geniuses?
An expert in maths and cryptanalysis,
You invented the bombe and couldn’t do more,
To crack The Engima and help end the war.

But that didn’t matter; they’d still make you pay,
They came to arrest you just because you were gay,
Why did they do it, were their minds so small?
To punish a war hero who helped end it all.

Your inventions didn’t count, and this is the sickener,
They punished a man who helped bring down Hitler,
Who was it that decided to treat you that way?
Imprisonment or hormones, just because you were gay.

Today it sounds crazy, so stupid and wrong,
That you weren’t worshipped all your life long,
Just forty one on the day that you died
But who coated your apple in cyanide?

You laid the foundations for our computer world,
And still your fingers round that apple are curled,
Is it a tribute to you, I wonder then grapple,
That MACs became known round the world just as ‘apple.’

One wonders what inventions were still to be born,
From your genius mind, if they hadn’t poured scorn,
On a life choice that is- quite normal today,
You’re an adopted Manc hero, yep, that’s fair to say.

So sit next to Alan on his Sackville Park bench,
And imagine your granddad in a war time trench,
Imagine his joy when the news broke through,
That because of our Alan they knew what to do.

Next time you’re in Sackville passing your day,
Glance over to Turing and silently say,
We’re sorry that back then, folk had it so wrong,
But nice one Alan, your memory lives strong.




Doorway Under The Arches


Frozen forever in stone for their sins,
With contorted features with teeth and with wings,
Oversized faces with an upturned nose,
Unable to run free, they ferociously pose.

From way up high they sit and they stare,
As you make your way through Albert Square,
They mock you below, pulling faces in jest,
A terrifying creature, a city-scape pest.

They hang off the town hall and cling to its spire,
There’s rumours that once they used to breathe fire,
Like dragons, they’re evil; they’re bad to the bone,
So thank Albert himself that they’re cast out of stone.

They’re there all night and they’re there all day,
But few people notice as they go on their way,
Clinging to fountains, they spit torrents of water,
If you’ve never noticed them, then really you ought to.

Because watch them close as you pass them daily,
Their skin may be coated in stone and not scaly,
But notice their stance and their place on the square,
Cause the gargoyles move, I’ve noticed, I swear.

For five minutes only at just gone three,
When the moon casts its shadow against the square’s tallest tree,
When the city is tucked up in bed with its wife,
The moonlight beckons the gargoyles to life.

As that ray of moonlight shines down on the fountain,
The gargoyles stop spitting the water that they’re spouting,
And as they spread their tiny wings, the stone cracks off their scales,
And life filters through the gargoyles from their snout right to their tails.

They run and they jump and they fight with each other,
Breathing fire, not water, you’d have to take cover,
If passing through at this time beware,
For it’s no longer Albert’s but the Gargoyles’ Square.

They’ll chase you down in twos and in threes,
Then nibble your fingers and bite at your knees,
With a well known palate for late night revellers,
Those making the most noise, the lock-in regulars.

Walk through in silence; they’re alerted by sound,
If singing and shouting, they’ll soon track you down,
Their eyes don’t work well so creep through the city,
If you’re bellowing loud, they’ll show you no pity.

Many a drunkard has frozen with fear,
As the gargoyles stalk them, it must be the beer,
Don’t walk through singing and not on your own,
The gargoyles are known to shred skin to the bone.

Run through next time don’t give them the chance.
To eat whatever you hide in your pants,
For nothing is wasted or left on the street,
They devour it all from your head to your feet.

If the gargoyles clock you, you’ve no chance in hell,
They’ll jump from the walls; you’re under their spell,
Running is pointless; you won’t make it home,
They’ll singe you with fire then crunch through your bone.

You might see its eyes move; you might see it blink,
But run for your life, there’s more than you think,
They come from all angles, they fly and they swoop,
They attack on the floor and the air as they loop.

Only one thing will help to stave off your fright,
As they move in the shadows and hate the moonlight,
If another ray hits them, it forces them home,
As their scales are slowly turned back to stone.

They race to their places and stand statuette,
Regardless of who or what they’ve just ate,
So next time you’re passing, see if it flinches,
Have the gargoyles moved just a matter of inches?

Copyright©2011 by Phil Martin

All rights reserved.



For twenty seconds as we pass you by,
We’re the best of friends, we always say hi,
Standing proud outside Kendalls or,
sheltering from rain by the Music store.

Whatever the weather you’re always there,
An icon of the Mancunian night air,
Your soulful notes catch on the breeze,
As soon as we hear them we remember with ease.

That you’re always there come rain or shine,
And your pockets we should remember to line,
For the music you play always gives us a treat,
The Simpsons, Corrie and Baker Street.

We’ve seen you before but what the heck,
We giggle and laugh and dance for a sec,
Like a long lost friend from a time gone by,
We ask for our favourites, then say goodbye.

Off into our evenings, your notes float away,
And once again we’ve forgotten to pay,
All we did… was ask for our songs,
You obliged, we danced and then we were gone.

I glance back, more folk are twisting your wrist,
But I wonder who are you Mister Saxophonist?
Where do you live and where do you go?
When you pack up your stuff at the end of your show?

Does someone come for you, do you walk home alone?
Does anyone interrupt with a call on your phone?
All I see… is you there each week,
Playing your saxophone, puffing your cheeks.

But what do you do with the rest of your life?
Do you play in a band? Do you have a wife?
Do you buy her some flowers on your way home?
When you’ve finished playing your saxophone.

You always look happy, I hope that you are,
I hope your music pays for your car,
And a house somewhere nice with a beautiful view,
But I need to know…what do you do!!

My girls drag me back as I stop and stare,
At your happy face and your afro hair,
Friday and Saturday you stand on the street,
But what do you do with the rest of your week?

I feel ignorant now coz I’ve known you so long,
But all I’ve done is danced to your song,
Another drunkard to dance in the rain,
Does anyone even ask you your name?

Next week I’ll ask you of that I am sure,
The questions build up; you’ll think I’m a bore,
Please turn up saxy because I need to know,
Is there a Mrs Saxophonist who loves you so?

Copyright©2011 by Phil Martin

Doorway Under The Arches

“You’re not coming in, you’ve not reserved space,
We don’t like your jeans; we don’t like your face,
Read my lips sunshine, it’s guest list only,
Your names not down, shall I say it more slowly?”

All over town the script is the same,
The swanky bars want a celebrity name,
But us normal folk just ain’t willing or able,
To pay a thousand quid bar tab just for a table.

The posher the place the worst the banter,
As z-lists and wannabes go in at a canter,
We stand outside with rain on our face,
Knowing we ain’t getting into this place.

But it’s busy tonight and the guest list must wait,
And this is something that wannabes hate,
They think they can waltz up and go straight down,
All thinking that they’re the main face in this town.

We stand in the queue and we watch for while,
And see for the first time the bullet proof smile,
Of the bouncer that’s nice, even when he says no,
Even when he’s sworn at, it still doesn’t show.

I stand and wait for him to turn me away,
As dozens of people rack up to say,
I’m mates with the owner; it’s always the same,
Do you know who I am? Do you not know my name?

They push and they surge to force themselves in,
But not one of them can steal the bouncer’s broad grin,
They shout and they swear, but he still doesn’t frown,
As the crowd shouts as one; I’m the most famous in town.

But it’s full downstairs, its’ one in one out,
Not even that stems their arrogant shout,
The guest list is fuming, they’re starting to bitch
You’d best let me in, I’m famous, I’m rich.

We stand in the queue, all mild and meek,
Is this what it’s like for the bouncer all week?
Smiling politely as folk scream and swear,
All saying things they wouldn’t normally dare.

The insults like bullets fly through the air,
But don’t lessen his smile or ruffle his hair,
They bounce off his teeth but don’t shatter his grin,
Shout all you like, you’re not getting in.

He smiles politely as the girls start to hiss,
Standing quite happy but not taking the piss,
Then with no warning and to my great surprise,
The smiling bouncer looks straight in my eyes.

It’s my turn for rejection but there’s nothing to fear,
You’re in- he says -with his smile ear to ear,
The guest list gasps – in horror, I’m in,
His bullet proof smile, my Cheshire cat grin.

Copyright©2011 by Phil Martin


Chargrilled, burnt out buildings spewing up their insides,
Carcasses, stripped of all their meat, spilled guts, missing their sides,
Contorted concrete confetti, showered in shards of glass,
Roofs ripped away like cardboard by the power of the blast.

The streets all strewn in debris; the end of the world has come,
Battered, tattered, shopping mall, society undone,
Girders bent in agony, the bridge to Marks and Sparks,
Is hanging from the rafters which are nearly blown in half.

Exploded and imploded, sirens pierce the city air,
The streets are scorched and scolded; rescuers stand and stare,
For as the smoke has cleared and the dangers gone away,
A symbol of Manc stubbornness comes firmly into play.

Standing proud, still bold and loud, puffing out its chest,
Is an unscathed red pillar box, Manc defiance at its best,
Devastation on all sides, destroyed and torn apart,
But like that bright red letter box they’d never take our heart.

The fabric of our safety lay unravelled in destruction,
But rising from the ashes came Manchester’s reconstruction,
And just like that little post box protected every letter,
They’d do their job, rebuild our town and make Manc even better.



We’ve never been a city to stand back, give up or groan,
We’ve never needed vigils or a soapbox on which to moan,

If things ain’t right we’ll fix it, no matter what they say,
Job’s a good un, sorted, safe, is the Mancunian Way,

Maybe you don’t believe me, and think that I am blagger,
But throughout our Manc history we’ve demonstrated this swagger,

I don’t just mean the attitude, I woun’t form it on that basis,
I don’t just mean the walk ‘n’ talk of Stone Roses or Oasis,

I don’t just mean this feeling that Greater Manc is the best,
Coz everybody loves their town if you put that to the test,

But there’s certain times in history that really do define,
The people of this fine city that I class as mine,

It’s written in the history books, way back two centuries when,
Our cotton trade was suffering until we made ‘em think again,

We’d blossomed as producers but could never be a port,
The seaside was too far away was the common thought,

Until one Manc said hang on lads, I’m nobody’s fool,
We’ll bring the coast to Manchester and cut out Liverpool,

You can’t do that, it’s not allowed, derision from Scouse lips,
But Manc defiance found a way and built a canal for those ships,

With a little innovation they got what they had planned,
Little land-locked Manchester; third busiest port in the land,

So yeah there’s still an attitude and our young ‘uns might walk daft,
But behind our swagger is creation and honest, hard, Manc graft,

Coz through the annals of history, Manc’s just wouldn’t be thwarted,
And that’s the real Mancunian way, top one, nice one, get sorted.

Copyright©2011 by Phil Martin

All rights reserved.

Doorway Under The Arches


Standing tall; way up high,
Mingling with the Mancunian sky,
Proudly striped in green and in white,
I like to dominate all in my sight.

Halfway up I’m shrouded in cloud,
I feel top heavy; I want to bend down,
My pregnant belly juts out from my bar,
And my flashing red lights are seen from afar,

My front is made higher with my proud metal crown,
But the breeze that blew through me made residents frown,
The buzzing, they said, was like aliens had come,
But it was only me singing; my whistle, my hum.

I can see for miles when the day is clear,
But it’s lonely for me as nothing comes near,
To matching my height, to look in my eye,
My only companion is day and night sky.

My friend City Tower lives a few streets away,
But he’s half my size and refuses to sway,
When gale force winds force me to dance,
And move with the breeze like I’ve ants in my pants.

Tall friends were promised but money was late,
The recession bit hard, skyscrapers must wait,
But one day I know I’ll be joined by some more,
Some buildings my height to lessen my bore.

I don’t care what they’re like in fittings and fixtures,
I just long for some friends to join me in pictures,
Hotels, apartments or offices too,
Just match me in height, stand tall like I do.

Even if one day I’m knocked off my throne,
I long for the day when I won’t stand alone,
Build me some friends to look in my eye,
And join me so proudly in Manchester’s sky.

Copyright©2011 by Phil Martin

All rights reserved.

Copyright©2011 by Phil Martin


All rights reserved.



Manchester’s got everything; just two things let it down,
We haven’t got a beach a point made by Ian Brown,
But even if we did have one, few cities are wetter,
So here’s what I would propose to make Manchester better.

Firstly dig The Pennines up; they’re blamed for our bad weather,
Chop them down, they pop our clouds, and then it won’t rain ever,
Next let’s pop to Liverpool and I say this with a wink,
Because legend says the Liverbirds can make their city sink.

So set them free and watch them fly and watch the waters reach,
Warrington and Saint Helen’s giving Manchester a beach,
We could build ourselves a promenade and a Golden mile to boast,
And new nightlife would soon spring up on our manufactured coast.

But if we had a beach to bathe and it rarely ever rained,
It wouldn’t just be our life styles but our attitudes that changed.
We’d all wag work so we could take advantage of our beach,
We’d lose the swagger from our walks and greatness from our reach.

We’d lose the creativity that makes our city great,
And the talented amongst us all would all just go to waste,
We’d be too busy basking in the utopia we’d made,
We’d be too lazy sunbathing to bother getting paid,

Just like a Spanish stereotype we’d always put things off,
Tomorrow’s good, today I’m spent, at hard work we would scoff,
And if we lost our downpour too, our parks would lose their green,
The price of water would go up, as the reservoirs fall lean.

So even though we moan and curse and begrudge our city’s weather,
I’m still not sure whether beaches would be better altogether,
So I’m not sure that we should change dynamics near and far,
Let’s leave The Pool and hills alone; we’re better like we are.

Copyright©2011 by Phil Martin

All rights reserved.

Doorway Under The Arches