Saturday, 16 March 2019

On my way into work at 5.45am I am engaged in conversation by a tall thin man with no teeth



On my way into work at 5.45am I am engaged in conversation by a tall thin man with no teeth. It’s 3°C and raining steadily. He’s wearing espadrilles, tracksuit pants and a torn and faded navy blue anorak. He says he hopes it’s going to be a hot day so that there’ll be loads of babes in bikinis wondering around town.

Twenty-past six, half light, and the ducks are arse up in the pond. The blackbirds that are flitting around in the park aren’t blackbirds at all, they are leaves blown by the swirling wind; I’m not wearing my specs because of the rain.

At the junction where the puddles turn from red to amber to green, I can smell cat piss.

10.30am, I deliver a parcel to a man of about sixty. He's wearing a beige zip-up raglan cardigan with suedette detailing around the shoulder and a pair of brown check pleat-front polyester trousers. I hand him my PDA and he tries to write on the wrong part of the screen. He peers at the tip of the stylus, turns it round, attempts to write with the other end, and then hands it back to me saying “You’re pen’s run out, lad. Have you got another?”

In the low sun the automatic gates of the big houses cast their long palisade shadows the full width of the road around the park.

There’s a discarded Wellington boot on the pavement at the junction with Westridge Drive.

A nuthatch climbs out from one of the nesting boxes that have been fastened to the trees on the perimeter of the park.

The skeleton of the pheasant on the steps of the stone bungalow looks as though it’s been there for some time.

It’s blustery and the caravan dealer’s Bailey and Sterling flags flutter in all directions at once. Inside, men in their 50s, 60s and 70s wear their anoraks and generous poly-cotton chinos to browse the portable barbecues, foldaway windbreaks and stacks of plastic crockery. They are accompanied by women in Ecco shoes and waterfall cardigans that flap wildly around their heads the moment they step back outside into the weather.

Doorstep diorama of the day: a statuette of three puppies holding up a sign saying ‘Welcome’ arranged next to a small potted shrub festooned with Christmas decorations, a small bag of dog shit, and a statuette of a meerkat wearing cricket whites

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Bobbing and Weaving to Focus my Specs on the Sign Warning me of the Aggressive Dog.



Bobbing and weaving to focus my specs on the sign warning me of the aggressive dog that will “definitely bite” I step backwards into a pile of shit.

It’s the kind of weather that would be frustrating if you were on holiday; on the rare occasions that the cold swirling wind dies down it’s quite warm. The cloud cover is not particularly thick, just thick enough to keep the sun from really getting through. For now the wind is whistling through the plastic topiary of the Burton bubble like it does the through the plastic bunting of a seaside bucket and spade shop. Bracing. The innards of the steel lampposts chime against their casings. “Good morning!” Shouts the man in the puffer jacket who is walking a small dog. “Good morning!” I shout back as the fine mist of rain slowly coalesces on the lenses of my glasses and the jackdaws hide away in the belfry.
The life-sized plastic gorilla at the school house now has a baby gorilla sitting on its knee.
I follow the dotted white line of bird-shit that shadows the phone wire and continue up the hill past the apple tree with the shadow of mouldy yellow windfalls.
Above the roof tops in the village, a pair of crows are giving a big red kite a hard time. Directly below them, a man wearing a black gilet and grey jogging pants climbs into a Daihatsu Terios and drives off.
The wind finally dies away and the weather brightens. The couple in gilets who are looking in the window of the sweet shop have been reading out the labels on the jars to each other for about five minutes.
Young whippets, John and Trevor have tied their owner’s legs together with their leads next to the Peugeot 308 with the flat tyres. The big woman who is eating from a polystyrene container with her fingers is laughing at them from the bus stop.
Consecutive windowsill dioramas: 1. Two 4” high models of Castle Hill tower either side of a model of an African elephant of a similar height. 2. A 3” high brass pig (Berkshire?) 3. 12” high ceramic Egyptian cat. 4. Two 4” high ducks wearing Edwardian costume and a slightly taller statuette of Tobermory from the Wombles.
Donna Summer’s Dinner With Gershwin is playing across the shop floor at the Co-op. A man in black combat pants is inspecting a jar of hoisin sauce. He looks very disapprovingly at it, scowling angrily before tossing it into his basket and wandering off up the aisle singing. “I wanna have dinner with Gershwin. I wanna watch Rembrandt sketch. I wanna talk theory with Curie. I wanna get next to you. Next to you, yeah yeah”.

Monday, 11 February 2019

Caught by the River Calder

I'll be reading from The Most difficult Thing Ever / Round About Town at this Caught by the River event at the Trades Club in Hebden Bridge, West Yorks on March 30th. 

"Caught by the River Calder, taking place at the Trades Club, Hebden Bridge on Saturday 30thMarch 2019, is split into two separate events – a daytime session centred around readings and conversations from some of our favourite writers, poets and long-time contributors – and an evening event focusing on music and field recordings, with performances by Hannah Peel & Will Burns and Erland Cooper. Heavenly Jukebox DJs will play between and after the musicians and into the night."





Sunday, 30 December 2018

Highlights 2018



Highlights 2018

Stepping over the urine marinated faeces of the bow legged terrier called Diesel
Jumping up and down in a wheelie bin
Losing the heads of both the donkey and the Buddha to the frost
Moaning like Hell about ‘em when they come over here
Polishing a hatchback 
Waiting for a Cairn terrier

What a lovely morning!

Pinning souvenir badges to a walking stick
Unloading bulk bought dog food systems 
Chasing an Impreza on a quad bike
Pecking at the portion control packaging underneath the bench
Looking flustered on a tiny motorcycle
Doing an online quiz

What’s the day after pancake day?

Luvvie-ing and matey-ing your way along a row of red brick inter-war semis
Replacing the display of geraniums with a rowing machine and a treadmill
Queueing next to the big upside-down pictures of sandwiches 
Wearing a Stetson hat
Stuffing your big fat white face with fucking pizza
Talking to the man with the precision beard

It says on the thing on the thing that you have to buy a minimum of 50p’s worth of air

Emerging from the bushes with a mouth full of feathers
Scraping past with a bit of tree wedged under your front end
Embedding a McDonalds cup in the ivy next to the chip shop
Inhaling the aroma of cheap scented candles and accreted dog piss
Badly applying decals of scorpions onto a Toyota
Watching the men in pool sliders and ankle tags argue loudly with the bald men in Adidas

Don’t call the police, I’m on remand!

Hosing down a Skoda Octavia 
Wiping your bald head on the hem of your t-shirt
Attending the festival of tribute bands
Calling a Yorkshire terrier a little shit-house
And punting it up the arse with the toe end of your Croc
Chamoising the roof of a five berth Crusader Storm

Gone to Blackpool for good. Andrew.

Cycling with your feet on the ground to enhance the brakes
Rummaging through the bins again
Jogging past the statue of the cartoon dog
Walking in the cigarette slipstream of the woman in the fur lined Parka
Squabbling over the louvers of the belfry
Mixing cement with your flies undone

Do you like political comedy like Ali G?

Friday, 23 November 2018

“The funniest book I read this year..."

In March this year Uniformbooks published Round About Town, a beautifully produced book based on this blog. Over the year, It has picked up some favourable reviews from some favourable places and this week it was included in the Times Literary Supplement’s Books of the Year.

“The funniest book I read this year was the one-man mass-observation of Round About Town (Uniformbooks) by Kevin Boniface, a Yorkshire postman with a poet’s eye: “choppy little puddles are breaching their potholes”.

Jeremy Noel-Tod
TLS Books of the Year, November 20th 2018

.................................


Reviews and articles


“Round About Town is a work that can conjure fury at poverty, contempt for the poverty of mainstream popular culture and joy at its moments of poetic collapse.”

“I find scratching beneath the surface of the ordinary endlessly fascinating.”

“There’s no story here, in this whole book, but there are glimpses of hundreds of stories.
It is funny, and unsettling, and comforting, often at the same time, and you don’t get to find out what happens next.”

“Absurdity lurks around every corner.”

...................................


Round About Town
Kevin Boniface

“I see the waxwings again. This time they are in the tree by the flats where the skinny Asian man with the grey jeans and studded belt is trying to gain access by shouting Raymond.”
—Sunday, 23 January 2011

ISBN 978 1 910010 18 1 
128pp, 234 x 142
paperback with flaps
2018, £12.00

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Text: 5 a.m.: It’s windy. Video: Hilltree Park v Westminster Bridge



5 a.m.: It’s windy. Dry leaves follow the man with the diamanté lettering on the back of his black hooded sweatshirt as he passes me on a pushbike with large rear mounted panniers. An empty Evian bottle follows me as I walk down Fitzwilliam Street in the cigarette slipstream of the woman in the fur lined parka.

Later, in the village, the wind has subsided and a light aircraft buzzes steadily overhead. The gale has left the gutters deep in blackspot leaves and beech nuts. Above, the Jackdaws are squabbling over the louvers of the belfry.

A fly flies into my ear.

Outside the old post office, an immaculate metallic orange and chrome Ford Ranger blows past the abandoned sun-bleached Mitsubishi Charisma with the gaffer tape brake lights and the load space crammed with Christmas decorations and bags of garden compost. Sparrows explode from a holly bush. “Max! No!” says the publican to the black and white cat who has just walked across his freshly mopped floor.

The man in the green hi-vis coat is delivering flyers to the estate of detached, stone built bungalows and neat hedges. He’s talking loudly into his phone: “I’ve done my back in” he says. “I’m on morphine,” and then, after several false starts, he explains how he came by his injury, “I picked an ‘ammer hup”. I see the hi-vis man again, twenty minutes later. He’s still delivering flyers but now he’s put his phone away and is singing loudly instead. His seemingly improvised song takes for its subject a bald man from Whitby who goes to preposterous lengths to polish and shine his head. The man breaks off from singing when he sees me and shouts across the street “I’ve done my back in!”

The weather turns again. Blustery wind, overcast skies, drizzle and springy rough tussock grass; the nights are drawing in says the builder in the black hooded top who is mixing cement with his flies undone.

Monday, 22 October 2018

Round About Town ll: autumn / winter



A second film (autumn/winter) based on the book of this blog, Round About Town, published by Uniformbooks.

For the last eight years Kevin Boniface has been writing succinct descriptions of events and incidents that have taken place whilst out and about on his postal round, his daily route taking him from the main sorting office to the streets and outlying neighbourhoods above the town.
In these commentaries and records nothing seems to be typical—engaged and disconnected conversations, the observed and the overheard—the everyday activity of life on the move.
With 58 black and white photographs.
“Round About Town is a work that can conjure fury at poverty, contempt for the poverty of mainstream popular culture and joy at its moments of poetic collapse.”
Mythogeography
“I find scratching beneath the surface of the ordinary endlessly fascinating.”
‘The way I work’, Big Issue North
“There’s no story here, in this whole book, but there are glimpses of hundreds of stories.
It is funny, and unsettling, and comforting, often at the same time, and you don’t get to find out what happens next.”
Anna Wood, Caught by the River
March 2018
128 pages, 234 x 142mm Paperback with flaps Price £12.00
ISBN 978 1 910010 18 1
Buy direct from Uniformbooks or from online booksellers and independent bookshops.

Saturday, 15 September 2018

The man walking a dog down the opposite side of the road pulls out his earphones and jogs across the road towards me...



The man walking a dog down the opposite side of the road pulls out his earphones and jogs across the road towards me. “Kevin?” he says. “Yes” I say. “I came to a reading of yours in Manchester a few years ago”. I remember the occasion and we have a brief chat about it. “How’s it going?” he asks. “I’m just off to work, hence the outfit” I say, looking down at my hi-vis waterproofs. “I’m just walking the dog, hence the dog”, says the man.

It’s raining for the first time in weeks and the man on the bicycle who passes me on the slope in the park has both feet on the ground to augment his brakes. 

The man with the pull-along shopping cart is rummaging through the bins again and a big buzzard is circling directly above the house of the old man who is watching the antique and collectables based quiz show For What It’s Worth.

In the village, where crisp brown leaves line the parts of the gutters that aren’t lined with Range Rovers and Audis, a Volvo edges out from the driveway of one of the big houses. It pulls away to the left while the Citroën Picasso that follows directly behind goes to the right. Both vehicles stop about ten metres apart and the driver of the Volvo signals to the man in the passenger seat of the Picasso. They both wind down their windows. “Has he got it on Google maps?” shouts the Volvo driver. The Picasso passenger shrugs. “Ask him if he’s got it on Google maps”. “Have you got it on Google maps?” says the Picasso passenger to the Picasso driver. “No” says the Picasso driver. “No, he hasn’t got it on Google maps!” shouts the Picasso passenger to the Volvo man. “It’s telling us to go this way on Google maps!” shouts the Volvo man, “Shall we just say we’ll see you there?” he asks. “He says, shall we just see him there?” the Picasso passenger tells the Picasso driver. “Yes” says the Picasso driver. “Yes, we’ll just see you there!” shouts the Picasso passenger to the Volvo man. “All right!” shouts the Volvo man, “It says it’ll take us about an hour!”

Nettles, brambles, berries, crows, muddy wellington boots by the back door, a metallic blue Range Rover with blacked out windows and a noisy modified exhaust.

The woman with the ponytail jogs up the lane in a vest top and cycling shorts. Past nine cars—six German, three Swedish. Past the statue of a cartoon dog and the ornamental bays in pots decorated with the words Beauty, Inspire, Nourish, Grow in quite a plain, slightly rounded sans-serif.

At the reception of the offices of the property developer, the skinny painter and decorator with paint on his trousers is talking to the big bald security man in the sweatshirt and lanyard. “I suppose I do quite like political comedy” he says. “What, like Ali G?” “Hmm, nah, hmm, well, n…, hmm, Ali G? well, not… hmmm. He’s all right.”

Friday, 17 August 2018

Round About Town, book trailer



For the last eight years Kevin Boniface has been writing succinct descriptions of events and incidents that have taken place whilst out and about on his postal round, his daily route taking him from the main sorting office to the streets and outlying neighbourhoods above the town.
In these commentaries and records nothing seems to be typical—engaged and disconnected conversations, the observed and the overheard—the everyday activity of life on the move.
With 58 black and white photographs.
“Round About Town is a work that can conjure fury at poverty, contempt for the poverty of mainstream popular culture and joy at its moments of poetic collapse.”
Mythogeography
“I find scratching beneath the surface of the ordinary endlessly fascinating.”
‘The way I work’, Big Issue North
“There’s no story here, in this whole book, but there are glimpses of hundreds of stories.
It is funny, and unsettling, and comforting, often at the same time, and you don’t get to find out what happens next.”
Anna Wood, Caught by the River
March 2018
128 pages, 234 x 142mm Paperback with flaps Price £12.00
ISBN 978 1 910010 18 1
Buy direct from Uniformbooks or from online booksellers and independent bookshops.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

6am: the overnight rain has resulted in a few small puddles



6am: the overnight rain has resulted in a few small puddles and the first beech nut fall of the year. The taxi driver is hosing down his Skoda Octavia and the jogger is wiping his bald head on the hem of his faded black t-shirt. In the park, there's not much left of the festival of tribute bands now, just a few straggler motorhomes remain. A large flock of black-headed gulls has colonised the arena that yesterday was full of grey-headed Duranies on collapsable chairs.

There's no scratch card win today for the elderly woman with the disobedient sheltie and the perhaps inadvisedly sheer leggings. “I’m low on cash so I really shouldn’t be doing this but you’ve got to have hope, haven’t you?”

Across the road from the new builds with the fake bricked up windows, the big man in the Eric Morecambe specs is calling his Yorkshire terrier a little shit-house and punting it up the arse with the toe end of his Croc because it knocked over the statue of a meerkat holding up a little sign saying ‘Welcomes’. A few doors down, A note scribbled in marker pen on lined paper from a ring bound notebook has been sellotaped to a window: "Gone to Blackpool for good. Andrew". Further along again, at the house with the statue of some pigs having sex on the doorstep, the man who looks a bit like Antony Worrall Thompson is up his step ladders chamoising the roof of his five berth Crusader Storm.

Later, back at home, I see an old fashioned seven-spot ladybird in the garden