A new book is on its way! Published by Beatnpress, an experimental book culled from many hand written notes that consist of extracts from short stories, poems and film scripts. This non linea novella tells the tale of Diz – a young trumpet player who leaves his mundane life in Manchester, England, to spontaneously fly to New York and find himself. Roll forward 5 years. He is still in America. He is beginning to make a name for himself as a musician. Commissioned to write a Jazzy score for a movie – he takes on challenges he did not expect. Memories are evoked, and his past seems to be looming ever larger in his present day life. Vignettes crafted together build up the tale of his recent past, his mental health and the truth he is trying to escape from. Can those around him help him when it matters most?
In other news UB40 (A Legal Drug) by Tanya Kennedy recently published by Beatnpress
Has continued to be a success and is so far the bestselling book at Beatnpress. It sold out of its first print run, and should sell out of its second print run soon, as half of the second print run is already accounted for – and this is before the new run has been delivered from the printers! The books should be arriving tomorrow or Thursday and will begin being shipped out to customers as soon as they arrive. So, if you want a copy go to http://www.beatnpress.co.uk today and get your order in quick.
So I have published my latest collection of poetry.
It is a great feeling producing a book and seeing it in the flesh. Published through my own imprint Beatnpress. This book is a really honest collection. I am proud of it, because it has been created during what has been a tumultuous year for so many people.
As poet and artist Becky Nuttall writes:
Jason covers all the current major themes in ‘Pop Versus Subterranean’ – everything we have lived through and our thoughts in the last months ; the Pandemic, Black Lives Matter, the Government, reflections on love, youth, the Jazz Age, suburban life , the influence of Pop Art, the Cosmos – understanding how we need to recreate our own space – virtual, fantasy or reality.
From the Foreword of Pop Versus Subterranean by Jason Disley (2021)
The intention is a collection that is relevant and up to date, but also explores the nature of what is popular, and what is considered Subterranean or Underground. Its about being innovative and striving for success, but not necessarily selling out.
As with most of my work there is a musicality and use of rhythms often likened to Jazz. I am a self styled Beat Poet, and I wear my influences on my sleeve.
Of all my poetry collections, this one is perhaps one that reflects the way I think the most. I have also been very creative with the design of the cover. Using Pop Art style motifs similar to Peter Blake and colours I have tried to link the interior with the cover in an artistic way. The arrows and the red circle are a nod to the influence Paul Weller has had on my work.
The image of Paul Weller wearing on the cover of This Is The Modern World shows Paul wearing a jumper with two arrows and a badge on the front.
I chose a reinterpreted simplified version for the main image. When creating this cover. It’s not an exact copy. The arrows differ in size on the book cover because the meanings inferred by the image in relation to the books title are different than the Pop Art/Punk ethos Paul Weller is implying. It is also reversed as I did not want to be seen as copying an idea, but taking it as an artistic influence.
If you are interested in Pop Versus Subterranean you can either use the contact form on the menu of this page and make a request for signed copies or go to lulu.com where the book is printed and dispatched on demand.
There is a new collection of what I term “Modernist Beat Poetry” coming out on March 26th. It is available via Beatnpress.
It is a collection that delves into various topics and thoughts during the last twelve months. The world is very much changed, as society has had to come to grips with the Covid 19 Pandemic. So, in this book some of the events and my personal perceptions are revealed. Such as, the Pandemic, Black Lives Matter, the Government, reflections on love, youth, the Jazz Age, suburban life , the influence of Pop Art, the Cosmos – understanding how we need to recreate our own space – virtual, fantasy or reality.
It is not unlike other books I have written, as there are elements of musicality in my poetry. I am fascinated by society, culture and art, and write honestly, sharing things as I perceive them. During lockdown, we all have moments of fear, horror, hope and yearning. Thereabout comes senses of rebellion and at times even confrontation. But, there are also moments of optimism and hope. Life is complicated, and as a writer I search for understanding. There are also moments where I drift into surrealism.
However the main focus in the book is the relationship between Popular culture, and underground culture. What is underground today, could be the popular culture of tomorrow. There are nods to Pop Art, and some quite Avant-garde ideas, as well as the fickleness of Pop. More niche ways of thinking are looked at by society with suspicion yet are equally valid. Underground movents or subcultures can express amazing wisdom and foresight. Some will disappear, but others will grow in popularity.
This book is like a collection of verbal photographs, it is a series of moments and thoughts made during 2020 – 2021, that I have recorded and chosen to share.
I hope though, that the work serves to inspire, and in a small way educate. Like my literary heroes, I believe in the art of expression. I self styled myself as a modern day Beat Poet because I have similar tastes to those that went before me. I live to live, and wholeheartedly take on board experience – no matter whether it is good or bad. I live in the moment, and take each day as it is. During the Pandemic, as with many of you out there, there have been difficult days, and days that seem easier. Creativity has helped me. As I am sure many of you out there have also been productive. This is the fruit of my labour. I hope you like it and whether it stays underground or becomes popular is not up to me. I just want it to be read, and hopefully appreciated.
The collection has a wonderful foreword written by poet and artist Becky Nuttall, who is also a curator of exhibitions and helps run Stanza Extravaganza, a (before Covid) regular spoken word event in Torbay. She has her own collection called Nick’s Gift – which I highly recommend. It is available from Amazon.
Pop Versus Subterranean will officially be available from Lulu.com as of 26th of March. It is also available via myself and in a few weeks time from various other online retailers.
The book retails at £10.99 +pp
Please send me a message if you would like a copy.
Those of you who have read my previous posts, know that I am inspired by the Beat Generation. I have mentioned the likes of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg et al in more than one article over the years. I don’t know why I always come back to the Beats. But, I often do. I suppose it’s that identification, with lonesome travellers, mavericks and people who want to dig everything. Get their kicks and be totally themselves.
My first introduction to The Beats, like many was the novel On The Road,
It opened my eyes to many things. I was a teenager, I was discovering my own taste in things. Because of this book I really began to appreciate Jazz, I also understood the need for kicks. I had yearnings, and wanted to live a life that was exciting, where I could appreciate everything that I experienced. Now, the point of this blog post today, is that since last Monday, whilst staying at home thanks to the Covid 19 Pandemic, I have been sorting many things out at home. Getting rid of junk, and whatnot. I found in in a shoebox a stack of papers. Some of which were half finished stories, others were original poems – all written twenty or more years ago.
One was the start of a short story or novella. I haven’t yet decided what it will be just yet. But, upon reading what I had, I found that I had a desire to rewrite it. The project I have subsequently called: Stateside Dreaming
It is the tale of a young man living in the North of England, who wants to experience America. He has a mundane, low paid job, he is an avid reader and more importantly a dreamer. He is also obsessed with the novel On The Road. (Sounds familiar?) Anyway, the tale opens with him quitting his job, and spontaneously heading off on his journey of discovery. The story then descends into a number of dreamlike episodes, some are disjointed like dreams can be, some are nightmarish, others are clear and focused reinforcing his ideas and decisions.
Whether the project will have legs. I don’t know. But, for the moment I am inspired to work on it, whilst also working on other things.
The main thing when you are staying at home, is finding other ways to travel, and, this is mine. Stay safe, and look out for a new article next Monday.
It is now available! The spoken word album that began as a concept back in 2016.
When I was approached after sharing a poem on a popular social network, and asked if I would like to record something. I jumped at the opportunity. It was something that had never really crossed my mind. But, as soon as it was proposed, I thought – yes! So then Rick Blackman – the musician and producer who had proposed the idea – and I got to work on teaming up original compositions with my poetry. So it began – a fulfilling and exciting period of creativity. It was a project that was done over long distance. Rick lived up in the north west of the UK and I lived in the South West. But with the use of today’s technology we were soon able to work well together, swapping ideas and doing our best to create an interesting body of work. Both Rick and I love music and have an affinity with various styles of music. Both of us are interested in the history of British subcultures, especially the mid twentieth century. This is reflected in some of the music on the album. There are many nods to those periods. There is also a very European feel to it, and with one track – Breathless there is a real sense of French cinema in the music. In fact Breathless is read in French by Gabriela Giacoman – the lead singer of the French band French Boutik. Serge Hoffman, also of French Boutik also adds his voice at the start of the album, supplying and setting the scene with an introduction that allows the listener to imagine the album has been recorded live in a club in Paris.
To add to this, fellow writer Jason Brummell has kindly written a fictional scene as a foreword to the twelve page booklet that is included with the CD.
When Adam Cooper, the head honcho at Heavy Soul Records heard the demos and agreed to releasing the album. You can imagine how thrilled I was. This was an incredible moment. I was at the beach with my family when I received the call. You can imagine how I was when I heard the news. I was jumping up and down in my swim shorts on the beach. Onlookers probably thought I was trying to invent a new dance! I was that elated. Even with the yes, due to the schedule and the album taking its place in the run of things, it took another year for this release date to arrive. In the meantime I have worked hard at improving my craft. Becoming more comfortable with performance, (I even host a regular spoken word evening called Speaky Blinders) and have written quite prolifically. Returning to these poems will be a joy as I endeavour to share what is on the album in the coming months.
Here is just one of the tunes off the album for you
It’s a long time coming – but the debut album by yours truly will be worth the wait, trust me.
Mixing Modernist Beat Poetry with music provides a Spoken Word album that is different, and full of diverse poetry that will resonate with some of you out there. It’s a concept album – its a performance in a club in Paris, somewhere by the left bank and starts with an introduction by Serge Hoffman from French Boutik, and then goes into a series of poems all accompanied by original music written and performed by Rick Blackman. The slick music enhances my poetry and elevates it. There is a mixture of the serious, the not so serious, and the surreal, all served with that outlook of the Mod scene. It’s about looking to the past, wearing your influences on your well tailored sleeves before moving things forward along a path of your own choosing. It’s speaking easy about what you believe. It’s living in the now and having ambition. Even if that ambition is literally only a moment away.
It’s a project that came about by chance and is a body of work that I am proud of. I am really looking forward to sharing it, and hope listeners and readers alike will dig this album as much as Rick and I do.
One of the poems included on the album is
It’s about wanting to have a good time. To experience those moments that are an escape from the mundane. It is a look at existence and how we need to fill our week with memories that are fulfilling. The poem first appeared in my book Runaway Soul!
Desirous of the escapism
Of mad deeds
That sow the seeds
Of new adventures.
Neon nights filled with
Hearts and the haunts
Of great troubadours.
Into the city
But only in those
That are not cloaked by
For those pockets hold
The wonder of life
That reaffirms an existence
Through the mediums of
Music, dance and style.
The stage is set
Kick in and
The weeks end
Flows to the
The mediocrity of
The existential life
New dawn breaks
And the light
Shines on the harsh
Showing us the cracks
In the decaying
That is why they say
“Life is what you make it”
For now I will
Be the architect of
My own ontology
Bringing about a happiness
That I hope can be shared.
(Jason Disley 2016)
The album Speakeasy will be available sometime in 2019. There will be a single released prior to the album and they will both be released by
So, we have been experiencing the best prolonged spell of decent weather since 1976 here in the UK. It has inspired many a writer I am sure. I know I have been writing quite a bit lately. So maybe it’s the happy place good weather can put you in, or in typical British style it gives us another topic to moan about. – “it’s too hot”, “I can’t stand the heat” etc are common gripes. One thing for sure in my life music always puts me in a better place, and Jazz is something that always brings a smile. It moves me. It really does. Some people are indifferent to Jazz, or can’t be bothered to listen properly to the nuances of jazz. To be able to focus on a part of a tune that takes the listener into different places before returning comfortably to its original melody.
For me it is cool jazz and modern jazz that I tip my hat to. I also enjoy bebop. Why? I am not sure. But, I think that after reading books like The Horn by John Clellon Holmes
The Horn by John Clellon Holmes
I have found myself transported into the coolness that Jazz brings. I so enjoy listening to the likes of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Lee Morgan, Eric Dolphy et al that the whole coolness of Jazz has become just a little obsessive. The original Beat writers loved jazz too. So just like Kerouac and Neal Cassady I like to really dig the music, click my fingers in time to the rhythm nod my head or even just dance. It is something that just gets those endorphins going.
A book that is a collection of Jazz influenced poems that includes a Spotify play list. It is a poem I wish to share.
I am Jazz
I mean I am
Of a syncopated rhythm
Like acorns on the breeze
I freeze and drop
Like beads of sweat
I dig beneath the skin
Raising hairs from within
I tremor with surprise
And melodic lies
In note form
Always trying to escape
What is perceived as the norm.
I comfort when the need arrises
Casting out nets to the wisest.
Capturing senses of promise and wonder
Taking listeners out and yonder.
For it is the beauty of
It is understood.
Whether it be through the mediums of brass, hide and wood.
That makes its presence feel good.
Messages subliminal or not
I am the music that can make you cool
When you are hot.
That climbs from the underground.
Whilst you are digging for that
August 21st sees the return of Speaky Blinders at Peaky Blinders Bar in Paignton.
It really is going to be a blinder! There are, already an amazing group of talented wordsmiths lined up and we have our first female headliner the wonderfully witty Samantha Boarer whose poetry is personal, graphic and often about sex or social inabilities and is guaranteed to raise an eyebrow and a smile. She has recently had her debut collection published by Burning Eye Books Real Grown-Up Womenand is a highly recommended read.
There will be more news about events and other projects I am involved in over the coming month. But for now enjoy the weather and all that jazz! Plus Speaky Blinders is an open mic night. So if you are in the area and like to perform spoken word or tell a few jokes please pop down and join us! JD.
I was thrilled to see that Thom Boulton’s new podcast closes with Breathless a poem I have written and gets its first online performance. The poem is accompanied by original music written and performed by Rick Blackman. The poem itself is performed by the lead singer of Parisien Mod band French Boutik, Gabriela Giacoman. Imagine the Jean Luc Godard film of the same name
Then imagine a Serge Gainsbourg style tune and you have a pretty good idea at what we have recorded.
Gabriela Giacoman has done a wonderful job with this poem which is available to read in English in my book
In the not too distant future an album that fuses fantastic original music, that has nods at soul, jazz and Hammond grooves, with my poetry will be complete.
The music has been written and arranged by Rick Blackman. He also plays all the instruments! His wizardry has managed to elevate my spoken words. These are poems that have perhaps been read before in books I have written. It incudes The New Beat Generation, which was originally published in a collection that was published all the way back in 1996! It also includes a poem that has been written more recently, Breathless, which was first published in my most recent book Songs of Benevolence and Rage, (2018)Available here
This particular poem has been beautifully transformed with a fantastic cinematic sounding tune that brings alive the sound of French films of the 1960s. To embrace this wonderful sound. Rick and I took it upon ourselves to approach Gabriela Giacoman, the lead singer of French Boutik,
a Paris based band whose music is very popular amongst those who enjoy the current Mod scene on literally an international scale. Gabriela, is actually the person who encouraged me to perform my poetry to live audiences a couple of years ago. Something I am very grateful for. I was thrilled, when she very graciously agreed to not only translate my poem from English to French, but also to record it. The result is a fantastic recording that transports you to France in an era that has been immortalised on the silver screen by films directed by Jean Luc Godard.
The album also includes a poem called The Weekend, which embraces that “Friday feeling” and the need for escapism from the everyday grind.
Other poems/tracks deal with many different subjects and emotions. There is the call for change in Words of Wisdom and another poem The Rebel’s Call, there is the conflict of every day life in Hobos and Tramps, then there is the almost dreamlike surrealistic snapshot that is revealed in A Lazy Sumner Afternoon. There is the quirky and funky track Firecracker In My Mind and there is the a collection of three poems brought together by one piece of music which has simply been titled The Trilogy. Naturally I won’t reveal all the tracks just yet.
The recording of this album has been a very rewarding experience and quite honestly I am really looking forward to sharing it. Hopefully in the next few weeks I will be able to share more news about the album.
The artwork for the album has been created by the very talented Mark Hynds who is behind the excellent Subbaculture Magazine
There is also the added extra of a short scene written by Mod Fiction author and publisher Jason Brummell
– who sets the tone of the album and gives it a concept album feel. He introduces the idea of the album being performed in a Parisien club and when the introduction is heard that sense is added to by the distinctly French accented voice of Serge Hoffman, another member of French Boutik.
The album has in part been engineered by John Mathew. mixed by Ean Currie and mastered by Moody Boy at Redcurrent, Brighton.
I will post more updates soon and look forward to announcing Speakeasy’s release.
The album will also be supporting Love Music Hate Racism.
Last Saturday I had the pleasure of performing at the Torbay March Of The Mods where I performed five poems all accompanied by music. March Of The Mods is a wonderful charity event that takes place all around the country throughout March. It raises money for The Teenage Cancer Trust. So naturally it is an honour to be involved.
Billed as “The Beat Poet” I read five original poems:
Firecracker On My Mind
Hobo’s and Tramps
Down At The Flamingo.
This last poem is a firm favourite of mine.
It’s about those who used to venture to the famous Flamingo Jazz Club
In the 1960s. Which was situated on Wardour Street in Soho, London. One of the resident performers at this time was the incredibly cool and popular Georgie Fame
who like the Mods and American GI’s that used to frequently go there – was a huge fan of jazz, r& b and ska. Consequently it was a melting pot of all that was exciting in a post war Britain. Multiracial, happy and free to enjoy all that was great. This was the “Modernist” time. And that is what my poem conveys.
Here is my poem Down At The Flamingo
This poem is in my book Jazz Poetry – Improvisations in Language.