2023 Tour: Some Questions and Answers


As many of you know, I will be embarking on a tour over the coming months, on which I shall be reading some of my poems in front of mildly perplexed and bewildered audiences around the UK. I thought I would take this opportunity to answer some of the most common questions I get asked in response to this news.

1. Will books be on sale – and will I be signing them?

Yes, the plan is to partner with a local bookshop wherever possible and have them on sale at the event. I have made a note to bring a pen with me should anyone want their copy signed.

2. Will I actually be visible at the event or do I plan to read the poems behind a curtain / wear some elaborate disguise such as a giant papier-mache head?

Unfortunately, I will be present and visible at all events. Tickets have been discounted on this basis.

3. Are you intending to be two and a half hours late for all your events, like you were for that one in Glasgow the other week?

No, it is my intention to be on time for all future events, despite travelling by network rail to most of them. I am factoring in a cushion of 72 hours into my journey times to offset any rail delays.

4. Will I be accompanied by my cat?

Sadly not. Buttons, the beautiful cat who appears on many of my author pics passed away 18 months ago. While I now have two new cats, both seem keen to distance themselves from my work, preferring the poetry of Simon Armitage and Carol Ann Duffy.

5. Will I read that poem about the Daily Mail?

Almost certainly.

6. Cornwall?

This is not really a question as such, more just a place-name followed by a question mark. The same goes for ‘Scotland?’, ‘The North-East?’ and ‘Melbourne?‘. If the question is “Will I be doing any shows in Cornwall (Scotland, the North-East, Melbourne etc)?” then the answer is that I would love to, but I’m all booked up for 2023. Over time, I’d like to read my poems in all sorts of places. Even the Isle of Wight.

7. Are there tickets still available?

About half the shows are now sold out – and some are close to selling out – but there are currently tickets still on sale for the following (in chronological order): Swindon; Portsmouth; Worcester; Morecambe; Buxton; Lytham St Anne’s; Kendal; Sheffield; Sale; Banbury; Caerphilly; Crickhowell; Clevedon; Bellaghy; Cheltenham; Frome; Chippenham; Bridport; Southampton.

Information on all the shows are available through the link below:

8. I am a policeman. How likely is it that I will find myself bitten if I attend one of your events?

That incident is behind me. I have learnt my lesson the hard way. Please be assured that precautions are now in place to prevent any recurrence.

Thanks very much and hope to see some of you in the course of the year.

Job Interview with a Cat

Some poems

Tell me, what is it about this position that interests you?
The warmth, perhaps? The security?
Or the power you must feel by rendering me useless?
Feel free to expand if you wish. 

I see you have had experience of similar positions.
Can you talk about a time when you got someone’s tongue?
Or were set amongst the pigeons?
Have you ever found yourself in a bag only then to be let out of it?  

Tell me, how would you feel if you had to walk on hot bricks?
What about a tin roof of similar temperature?
With reference to any of your past lives,
has curiosity ever killed you? 

Finally, where do you see yourself in five years?
In the same position? Or higher up to catch the sunlight?
Or would you like to be where I am now?
Oh, it appears you already are.

Autumn tour


I’m very excited to announce details of a series of new shows (aka ‘a tour’) taking place this autumn, in which I’ll be reading poems and making shrewd observations about the human condition and/or bin day.

There are around 30 dates and tickets are on sale now. Details & links are here …

Tickets are now available for:
Banbury; Belfast; Bellaghy; Bridport; Brighton; Buxton; Cheltenham; Chippenham; Chorley; Clevedon; Colchester; Crickhowell; Frome; Kendal; Liverpool; Lytham St Annes; Milton Keynes; Norwich; Otley; Painswick; Pocklington; Sale; Selby; Sheffield; Stamford; Sudbury; Swindon; Worcester.

Caerphilly and Deal will be on sale soon.

I’ll also be at various festivals from the late Spring onwards. More on that, when I have all the details.

Finally, this month I’ll be at the Laugharne Weekend in Carmarthenshire, (24-26th March) and then in Newcastle on 28th. Tickets are still available for both.

Today’s Climate Forecast

Some poems

And onto today’s climate forecast,
where we can expect to see a prolonged spell of inaction,
interspersed with patches of hazy promises
across many areas. 

Over Westminster and other centres of government,
a build-up of hot air will cause inactivity
to soar to record levels over the coming days,
in spite of the high pressure.

Elsewhere, a front of chronic misinformation
will sweep in from the east,
bringing with it a band of climate change deniers
and the chance of scattered falsehoods,

while powerful gusts of idiocy and ignorance
look set to blow across social media.
Outbreaks of ‘We just got on with it in 1976’
and ‘It’s called the British summer, mate’ are likely.

In summary: unsettling.

Alexa, what is there to know about when the paperback is coming out?

Assorted Poems, News

I’m delighted to receive some advance paperback copies of my book ‘Alexa, what is there to know about love?’. It publishes on 3rd Feb and is available to pre-order.

I’ve taken a photo of it next to a plant because that’s what book bloggers sometimes do if a cup of cappuccino is unavailable.

Photo of a book next to a plant

It’s available through all the bookshops, particularly the independent ones. The book may or may not be appropriate for Valentine’s Day or be put to a variety of other sundry uses.

I’ve also attached a few poems from it, what always used to refer to as ‘bonus promotional content’.

Assorted Poems, News
Some books

It’s December so I suppose I should mention these books in case you might want to incorporate any of them into your Christmas shopping.

50 Ways to Score a Goal’ is a collection of poems, perfect for the football obsessive in your life, whether they’re aged eight or eighty (but not thirty-four for some reason).

Alexa, what is there to know about love?’ published earlier this year in a splendid-looking hardcover edition. It’s a collection of poems about love (plus a few other things like Brexit and pasta), making it the ideal gift for Sagittarians, vegetarians and Presbyterians.

Diary of a Somebody’ is a novel, in the form of a diary, about a complete loser called Brian Bilston (no relation). It also contains over 100 poems and for shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award. Goes well with a tomato and basil sauce.

You Took the Last Bus Home’ is, at heart, a book with some words in it. Many of these have been arranged into poems along with punctuation marks and the occasional line break. Appropriate for mums, uncles, nephews and sister-in-laws.

And ‘Refugees’ is my forwardy-backwardy poem in picture book format for children. The poem is accompanied by the beautiful artwork of José Sanabria.

They’re available from a bookshop near you. Unless you’re in North America, where generally you can only get hold of You Took the Last Bus Home and Refugees.

Also, you can find all the titles here, alongside some of my favourite books: https://uk.bookshop.org/shop/brianbilston

I hope to bring news quite soon of a new book on the way but more on that anon (and on and on).

New books!

Assorted Poems, News

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on here. Sorry about that. Or maybe it’s a good thing. Opinions may vary.

Anyhow, I have managed to publish a couple of new books since my last post. Quite how this happened, I don’t know.

In January, my new collection ‘Alexa, what is there to know about love? published. It’s my first proper collection since ‘You Took the Last Bus Home’. It contains a sequence of poems about love in its different varieties, as well as other, more mundane preoccupations. It looks like this …

And then a few weeks ago, I had a book of football poems for children published. It’s called ‘50 Ways to Score a Goal’. It’s bright green and looks like this …

Both are available through a bookshop near you – or indeed any of those online bookshops that you get nowadays.

That’s it for now. Stay safe and well!

Today I shall listen to the news

Some poems

Today I shall listen to the news and the football scores
and the tally of the dead. Intermittently, I shall pick
at the crossword and the biscuit tin, and stare out
of my back window at a squirrel as he scurries along
my fence. Later, there may be a film to watch. But for now
I shall listen to the prospects for a Liverpool team

looking to bounce back from a disappointing midweek defeat,
the rising unemployment figures, and the tally of the dead,
while attempting to make inroads with the north-west quadrant.
It is thought likely for there to be some changes made
to the side which started on Wednesday evening. I shall
be brought team news from all the featured grounds today

amid continued concerns over travel this Christmas, and
the failings of Test and Trace. It is regretted that in the present
circumstances, my newspaper is unable to process
crossword prize entries. Tomorrow, I shall buy some
more biscuits and possibly a pint of milk, and listen
to the news and the football scores and the tally of the dead.

On Hearing the News that You’re a Great Big Loser

Some poems

Schadenfreude is an ugly trait,
to enjoy another’s ill-starred fate.
In the sea of life, we’re all storm-tossed,
and yet … ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, you lost!

I don’t quite know what happened there:
to laugh at losers isn’t fair.
To win with grace, that’s best by far,
but … ha, ha, tee-hee! Ha, ha, ha!

I apologise for that outburst
but it just slipped out, unrehearsed.
I need to show more dignity.
However … ha, ha, ha! Tee-hee-hee!

Ha! Laughter is a wondrous thing!
What a gift – tee-hee! – of joy you bring!
You’ve brightened up – ha ha! – my day.
Ha ha, tee-hee! … now go away.