Website Goes Live!

Click on :

This is my new website. The blog archive will remain up here on WordPress, but all new blog posts will be included within the website above (in the NEWS tab).

The website has poetry, prose, collages and cards. Just click on the headers on the home page and follow the dropdown menus.

Please share the link to the website on social media and with friends and contacts.

Big big thanks to Jack Eames and Rosaleigh Harvey-Otway for making this transition possible.



“Ch-ch-ch-ch changes…”.

So sang David Bowie out of the Konrads, the Mannish Boys and the Lower Third.

Maintenantman emerged from the wilderness beyond the volcanic ridge on the horizon, strode out onto the glowing sands and slipped out of his costume (and his walking shoes).


Where he went next will remain a mystery until November 1st.

But one thing is for sure: “A Change Is Gonna Come”. So sang Sam Cooke out of the Soul Stirrers. Souls will be stirred.

Ted x

Sing a Song of Cinderloo

By scrolling back to the post on here dated 2nd April 2018 you will see a brief summary of the Cinderloo Riots that took place in what is now Telford in 1821.

The text of my ballad Farewell Tom (Sam Hayward’s Blues) is in that post, along with a link to a recording of it by Mary Keith.

I have since smoothed out the syllable count at one or two places in the ballad, and Mary has kindly done a second recording at a slightly slower tempo.

So here are the links to both versions. Let me know which you prefer, via email, Facebook message or the comment / message box on this post!

Mary Keith has a band called Mary and the Mudlarks, they do a great live show and Mary has a rich background in music, including direction at the New Vic in Stoke and at Birmingham Rep.

Mary and the Mudlarks

Mary (with the accordion) and the Mudlarks

The Cinderloo project featured a well attended walk on August 11th, along part of the original marchers’ route in Dawley. Sainsbury’s car park now covers the site of the old Cinder Hill slag heaps, so I declaimed the ballad just before a jobsworth security man threw us off the site…not quite Colonel Cludde and the Shropshire Yeomanry but it was a nicely timed reminder that when it comes to power relations the more things change the more they stay the same…

Ted x

Off the Beaten Track

This new collage is called Off the Beaten Track and is a response to a short poem by Sarah Davies on the subject of her dyslexia. The work will appear in an exhibition highlighting the subject of dyslexia, via poetry and visual art, to be held at Crewe Lifestyle Centre (CW1 2BB) from 4th August to 10th August.

The standard of artwork is very high and I’m grateful for the chance to be part of this project (tip of the hat to Helen Kay).


Off the Beaten Track (mixed media collage 90cms x 60 cms)

I have incorporated the two verses in Sarah’s untitled poem. Verse one is repeated twice in the top half and verse two is repeated twice in the lower half. I was struck by her rope climbing metaphor and by her athletics track metaphor.


I couldn’t climb the snaky rope / I couldn’t monkey up the tree / I spent years tripping over myself / Every motion made me dizzy

I am fascinated by the processing of images that went into the making of sports and film annuals in the 1950s. The crude airbrushing over photographs gives a unique presence to the images. I have tweaked and subverted some of the cut-outs. The reclining speakers of the second and last verse are culled from an old Russian expressionist painting.


There wasn’t a chance that I could catch / Slept cross-legged at the edge of the track / Never ran in the sports day race / Never took the risk that I’d come last

Ted x

Comicollage Cards Are Here!

This is the current set Comicollage Cards. Only ‘found’ text and images, blood, sweat and tears are used in the making of these cards.

They are blank for your own message, each one in its own cellophane wrapper with envelope. Most are 22 cms x 16 cms.

Each card has a title and contact details on the back.

The cards are £2.50 each, or 5 for £10. Please add £3 per order for postage and packing (UK and Europe) or £4.50 per order USA, Canada, Australia.

There are 36 different designs. Sets are £70 each.

They are on various websites but please order direct from me via my email ( or Facebook personal message or the comments icon on this blog site.

TEC 37 Crampons Over the Prairie

37. Crampons Over the Prairie

TEC 35 Cliff and God Were Made For Each Other

35. Cliff and God Were Made For Each Other

TEC 05 Imperial Mince

05. Imperial Mince

TEC 33 True Grit

33. True Grit

TEC 10 Heterosexual Theme Park

10. Heterosexual Theme Park

TEC 01 Crisis Management

01. Crisis Management

TEC 25 The Look of Lunch

25. The Look of Lunch

TEC 26 Waves of Apathy

26. Waves of Apathy

TEC 15 Cold Call Warm Welcome

15. Cold Call Warm Welcome

TEC 17 Just Eat the Pious Prat

17. Just Eat the Pious Prat

TEC 14 Challenging Authority

14. Challenging Authority

TEC 06 Happens Everyday

06. Happens Every Day

TEC 12 Another Empire Bites the Dust

12. Another Empire Bites the Dust

TEC 08 Esperanto At Work

08. Esperanto At Work

TEC 07 Serious Stuff

07. Serious Stuff

TEC 36 Hope Springs Eternal

36. Hope Springs Eternal

TEC 22 Life Is a Maelstrom

22. Life Is a Maelstrom

TEC 21 Hang On To Your Dreams

21. Hang On To Your Dreams

TEC 18 Power Relations

18. Power Relations

TEC 02 Just Say No

02. Just Say No

TEC 13 Classroom Teaching Assistant

13. Classroom Teaching Assistant

TEC 30 Stable Relationship

30. Stable Relationship

TEC 31 He Will Do Anything To Please

31. He Will Do Anything To Please

TEC 32 What a Cad Indeed

32. What a Cad Indeed

TEC 34 Dixon of Dock Spleen

34. Dixon of Dock Spleen

TEC 20 Truncated

20. Truncated

TEC 19 Bedside Manners

19. Bedside Manners

TEC 24 Officer Material

24. Officer Material

TEC 27 Hole In One Plus Four

27. Hole In One Plus Four

TEC 28 No Kings No Queens

28. No Kings No Queens

TEC 38 The Playing Fields Are Eaten

38. The Playing Fields Are Eaten

TEC 23 Travelling Companions

23. Travelling Companions

TEC 11 Everything Put Together Falls Apart

11. Everything Put Together Falls Apart

Hope you have found some to enjoy. The Christmas Comicollages can be found by scrolling back on here to December. Order details as above.

Ted x




A Guest Writes…

“Hello. My name is Freddy and I’d like to thank Maintenantman for giving me this space. At just 17 days old my keyboard skills do not quite match the sheer volume of things I’d like to say, so I have communicated this via my eyes in the accompanying photograph. I’m already an expert in the non-verbals and my body language is…errr…very fluent.”


I am here and now. Hope you are too.

“Basically, I have a list of questions and a list of needs. Here goes.

My questions:

  • What happened to all that nice warm water I was swimming around in?
  • And linked to that, where’s the lifeline that was plugged into my belly button?
  • What is all this alternating darkness and light all about?
  • What happened to the Bo Diddley beat on the amniotic radio?
  • Who are you? Who are you?
  • Who am I? I already have a pretty good idea, but some loving, warm guidance to sources of extra knowledge would be welcome.

My needs:

  • This stuff called ‘air’ seems to be very important…I need it to be as clean as possible (and go steady on all those waves and signals pulsing around too).
  • I know that milk seems to be my priority right now, but the root of it all is apparently ‘water’. I really need that to be pure and clean too. And available.
  • Warmth when I’m cold. Coolness when I’m hot.
  • Laughter lifelong. And for now, when I crack a smile don’t tell me it’s f****** wind pains.
  • Friends<>Family<>Freddy: I need that triangle. Relationship…community, all those dimensions.
  • Sorry to have to bring this one up (projectile fashion) but I need a world full of compassion, tolerance and equality. I don’t need violence, abuse of power, greed, capitalism or superstition (a.k.a. religion). By the way, you can let me know how the world is doing on all this stuff whenever you feel ready.
  • I’ve already got a very vivid inner life…I just need the means and the wherewithal to be creative with it.
  • Music, art, poetry, dance…and stories: stories on paper, on screens, in songs, and in spoken words.
  • I’ve already shat on my father’s jeans: I need to be able to make mistakes, to have lapses…to learn how to learn.
  • I need love that is infinitely renewable and that has no conditions attached.

Hopefully you’ll all have some answers to my questions, and if you can meet my needs I will always strive to meet yours.

It’s not one-way traffic: I GIVE, THEREFORE I AM.

Thank you for the time and the space. Those are two other things I will always need.”

Ted x

Where Will You Meet Your Cinderloo?


Press play!

The Peterloo Massacre of 1819 was one of the landmark events on the path to gradual social reform in Britain. Fifteen people were killed, and some seven hundred injured, when troops were ordered to attack a large public demonstration in Manchester.

In the wake of the costly Napoleonic Wars, and in the midst of rapid industrialisation, poverty and inequality were rampant in Britain. The authorities were genuinely fearful of public unrest and radical movements were stamped on with brutal efficiency.

In what is now Telford, just eighteen months after Peterloo, a smaller but very significant protest march was held by miners and ironworkers, supported by their families and neighbours. In the event, two men were shot dead by the Shropshire Yeomanry with many more injured. Nine men were arrested and two were sentenced to death.

This took place on slag heaps known as Cinder Hill or the Cinder Hills. Hence the name ‘Cinderloo’, after Peterloo (which in turn was an ironic play on ‘Waterloo’).

This is the area where I was born and raised, but we knew nothing of it. Until recently it has been a sadly neglected episode. History is indeed written by the winners.

Now, however, a group of local historians, artists and community activists is working towards a major commemoration on the 200th anniversary of Cinderloo in 2021. There will be various events along the way, all with the aim of establishing Cinderloo as a cornerstone of local and national pride.

Below I have placed a couple of useful links for further awareness of the story (though there is a shameful lack of detail in what was recorded at the time).

My role so far has been to write a ballad: Farewell Tom (Sam Hayward’s Blues).

Tom Palin was the man eventually hanged. Sam Hayward was initially sentenced to death as well, but his sentence was commuted to prison with hard labour. The ballad is written as if in Sam’s voice.

I am indebted to the brilliant singer and performer Mary Keith (of Mary and the Mudlarks amongst other musical fineries) for putting a tune to the poem and recording it. At the start of this post is the link to the song, with the ballad itself below. Listen and follow the words (there have been a few slight changes since Mary’s recording but nothing major)!

Farewell Tom (Sam Hayward’s Blues)

 In hard labour I sweated on the day that they hanged him,

the morning dawned dark with skies grey and coal-grim:

so different it was on the day that we marched

and stood strong together while the yeomanry watched.

Mr Eyton was there, with his magistrates’ crew,

but we held our heads high, for our cause it was true.


Now they’ve dandled Tom Palin from the end of a rope,

to teach us our place and abandon all hope.


Times had never been harder, our tables were bare,

but the ironworks owners just didn’t care;

the colliery lords too had tried every way

to warm their fine houses by cutting our pay.

Enough was enough and the word went around:

“in Dawley we’ll gather, then we’ll stand our ground

on the Cinder Hills of Old Park. We’ll make a good show,

our voice must be heard before coal and iron flow!”


Now they’ve dandled Tom Palin from the end of a rope,

to teach us our place and abandon all hope.


From all over we walked, from each yard and pit,

five hundred set out, the flame it was lit

and scores more joined in as we strode along,

with wives, grandparents, children all in the throng.

When the slag heaps by Botfield’s were ours to command

there were three thousand souls with one clear demand:

“you cannot slash our wages, we are poor but we’re proud!”

So when Eyton read the Riot Act it left us unbowed.


Now they’ve dandled Tom Palin from the end of a rope,

to teach us our place and abandon all hope.


Determined we were to have bread or blood,

we gave not a fig for old Colonel Cludde.

So he ordered his yeomen to grab Hassall and me,

but Tom Palin and pals soon set us both free.

You’ve not seen piles of clinker shifted so quick

as the stones rained on yeomen so fast and so thick!

But instead of retreating, Cludde’s voice could be heard:

“Open fire!” and the first shots killed young Billy Bird.


Now they’ve dandled Tom Palin from the end of a rope,

to teach us our place and abandon all hope.


Tom Gittins, mortally wounded, the next was to die,

with many more gunshot ‘midst wild hue and cry:

we scattered and ran from their horses and guns,

those cruel gamekeepers and fat farmers’ sons.

They rounded up nine of us, we were soon in the dock

with all pronounced guilty – now there was a shock!

“Felonious riot” hung round Tom’s neck and mine,

with a swing on the gallows at the end of the line.


Now they’ve dandled Tom Palin from the end of a rope,

to teach us our place and abandon all hope.


Some worthies came forward and pleaded compassion,

so the powers-that-be said: “this is our ration –

Hayward can labour ‘longside the other seven,

whilst Palin is bound for Hell or for Heaven”.

Word came to us soon of how Tom met his death,

jolting for minutes whilst the crowd held their breath.

“Farewell Tom!” had echoed as he waited to drop,

the bravest among us, the cream of our crop.


Now they’ve dandled Tom Palin from the end of a rope,

to teach us our place and abandon all hope.


Like Peterloo’s field, eighteen short months before,

our Cinder Hill battle was just part of a war,

a justified struggle against all that is rotten,

and Tom Palin’s name will not be forgotten:

in hope we’ll stand together to banish all fears

whether it takes two hundred or two thousand years!


Links to the Cinderloo story:

A big thank you to Pete Jackson and to Andrew Howe for welcoming my input to the Cinderloo project.


Ted x

April 2nd 2018