Special Delivery

A wonderful envelope made its way to my desk today – a much anticipated delivery.

Mid-summer, through the power of social media, I discovered that Jonny ‘Itch’ Fox the front man of one of my favourite bands, The King Blues, was launching a side project. Setting up a page on Kickstarter, he was looking to raise funds to help him publish a book of his haiku. Being a fan of the band, I’d had the best time seeing them live a while ago out in Southend, as well as being a person rather interested in words I wanted to contribute.

As seen in February 2016
I have been a fan of Itch’s lyrics since being introduced to the band; sometimes political, often times angry, many times poignant but always memorable. Learning that he was embarking on this project having spent the last year conquering personal demons I had to support it.

He had set a modest target of less than £1000 which was literally smashed within an hour of the page going live. At the end of the month long fundraising window he managed to achieve an incredible total of over £10,000 from 351 backers. Impressive. Evidently haiku have crowd appeal.

As part of the fundraising various reward packages were offered at different prices to suit any budget. Top end of the rewards included a personal ukulele lesson, trickling down to a song over Facetime, framed artwork, personal haiku and signed books. Opting for a copy of the book (obviously) and a personalised poem I’d been eagerly awaiting the result.

When the fundraising period closed at the end of July I was sent an email asking for five words to describe the recipient of the haiku. Deciding to keep this tasty reward for myself I tried to pick five things/words that would sum me up and I am delighted with Itch’s effort. Casually slipped inside the front cover of the book was this piece of card. Not only does he pick the best attribute I mentioned, he hand wrote my haiku which feels so special.

He’s not wrong there…
The book itself is, without exaggeration, a work of art with each poem setting its own stage. Haiku are a Japanese form of poetry, following a specific structure. Each poem is seventeen syllables long, exactly, over three lines of five, seven and then five syllables. My own attempts years ago yielded just one that I was proud of: 
Sitting on a large
mountain boulder wondering 
what it’s like to fly

An astounding debut

This book is so brave and an absolute triumph. While not pocket sized like my other favourite poetry books (mentioned in Bearded Guy is Funny and then Sad) I shall be keeping this close to me regardless. 

The work feels like an introduction to emotion from someone learning to live in the quiet moments, someone who is painfully relatable in his observations and experiences. The concise format of each work distills the sentiment, thought, reflection or feeling into a concentrated few seconds of truth that no one with a heart could ignore or deny. I read through the book twice at the speed of light and I cannot wait to page through it again and again. I am so delighted, saddened, challenged and moved by this work, far more than I ever expected. 

Further good news is The King Blues are touring their latest album, The Gospel Truth, in the UK and also Germany this year so I’m looking forward to checking them out in London this December. Mixed among the tour dates are readings as well and the book is exclusively available on this tour – check out the official band page for details and tickets.

It was hard not to take a picture of every page and just post them, but firstly that would be bad for sales, and secondly this book deserves to be discovered by the reader in their own way. I will however leave you with some sage words from the author. I look forward to many more volumes.

Haiku number 1