All posts by Alexandra Pereira

• Nothing of the Birth of my Son •

Andrew Mears is a writer residing in Bristol.
A former member of 
his debut poetry collection:
was published in 2011 by Blessing Force.


I find myself
35 years old, some fucking
Some filled still with regret
Damocles sack weights of nut                                   straining
Some, arcs of mingling sweat
Biting lips in the concentrate
Palpitation of romantic love
35, some friends ghastly
With distance living
Hot young lives in London
And Berlin. 35

And unqualified for anything much
More than painting
The fine houses
Of orderly people
    Brilliant white
With a worksite chicken-head
    Monophthong of banter
Or being total on how-about-we-abort
Holy electric guitar from the mix
And writing, I’d say
The occasional exquisite line

Should I eat my words
They would not get me

past breakfast.
Oh but!

I’m doing    a book, I’m writing
I       a book, I’m writing (it’s true)
      a book, I’m writing
      book, I’m
It’s a    what-kind-of-a-book
A congrats on the book book
On the promise of a book                      (so congrats all round I guess)
It’s an in-the-cloud book, sleeping
Like a frozen bean
With all my unfinished song
      bok bok bok

Congratulations after all is

A very serious biz,
but classified lists
They seek interns for free! Or
Hand-stamps of dogma to utter
Experience which
I thought, is what I’d massed
How stupid. All along
Bad maths. Oh but!

My music’s near about done
Though as it’s been long
On earth to astir, to leaven
It has to be
The               absolute                 best
But I struggle to remember at 35
The sort of pack in which ought to come
Looking around
I think hermetic, but
I don’t have the equipment

For that kind of vacuum
So stay put bean
Be an

I find myself
35 years old
And a year on having written
Nothing of the birth of my son

I first encountered Andrew Mears’ words when we were fangirling over his Oxford-years band Youthmovies on tour around 2008 in Manchester. His lyrics were sometimes hyper-dramatic and gothic; at other times more rhythmic or like a stream-of-thought. They could usually be heard quite clearly over all the thrashing guitars of the quintet.

“It’s not going well and it’s not going badly it’s just going along. Now the threat of these texts bursting in on the sex of me not at my best in flirtations disgracing my need for TV sets yes.”
Excerpted from, If You’d Seen A Battlefield.

His new musical project Modern Ache is very different. “Youthmovies feels like a very long time ago now. Modern Ache which is more about the lyric than things I’ve done in the past.” A decade on, Mears is also working on a collection of poetry and collages following his 2011 book, Kettledrum. And, his debut novel, a story about simple domestic relationships. He says, “At its core, it’s about the internal freedom of bad thinking versus the consequence of its physical constraints.” Sirens Of The Vacuum is about being very small and all the while very big, a theme traversed in Nothing of the Birth of my Son. The subject matter is self explanatory but, in light of the recent acquisition of a son for the first time and thoughts of what might now become of the father-author, I asked him to tell me a little bit about his own boyhood and the reading that may have brought him to this kind of writing and thinking.

 “I was an arty drama kid, but most of it was fluff and confidence with nothing really substantial in my thinking. I was smart enough, but a clown and very much in need of constant validation so solitary pursuits didn’t really cut it, which to some extent is still true. I remember making a conscious decision to go to my school library and take some books to keep – some would say steal. My memory’s not clear, but I assume this was just to elevate my facade to that of the erudite drama kid, maybe I thought I needed something with intent on my shelf for my friends or for girls to see. Out of the few I put in my bag, were an anthology of Philip Larkin poems and Equus, by Peter Schaeffer. I started Equus that night and stayed up until it was done. Reading that play changed me, I couldn’t say how exactly, but I was lit, not with just a urge to read, but to write. I still have that same copy and to this day Larkin is the only poet I can recite by rote. Of course what followed was an awful adolescent mush of poems about whatever girl I was heartbroken about at the time, but I carried on all the same, ran out of those kind of heartbreaks… carried on. At university I was still undisciplined in the sense that I read none of the required reading, instead reading what I was drawn to. Samuel Beckett, in particular his poems in English and the poetry of John Giorno, Joyce and Burgess and Burroughs are the standouts from that time. Somehow, I got through my exams and did quite well – which was that fluff and confidence in reserve.”

© Alexandra Pereira, 2018