Wordshuffle cafe – the book extracts

So the Wordshuffle Cafe residency at the Albany is over but there’s loads of extracts from the Wordshuffle Cafe books to read….

I came across this last entry in the Book of Wishes:

My first wish is for whoever reads this that you trust in yourself and believe in you own sense of things. The second wish is for those who need kindness and understanding to give it to themselves because only then can they truly give it to others. My third wish is for any person suffering or worried or anxious to be still and find peace and strength within themselves.  – Anon

And a couple of favourites from The Book of Invented Words from children

tearimish: When tears come out of your eyes and you claim you aren’t crying then you start laughing 🙂  -Jordan

forroo: someone’s name and a type of cangaroo – Alicia  (about 4 years old)

Plenty more to read here on the books tab: https://wordshufflecafe.wordpress.com/the-books

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wordshuffle Cafe Celebration photos

I’ve been re-reading the Wordshuffle Cafe books and finding new gems in them – almost 300 entries! And the big thanks to Patrick Rosalba who has sent over these fantastic photos of the celebration event on 22 September hosted by me with the wonderful John Hegley, Dzifa Benson, Malika Booker and Baden Prince.

Pics are copyright Patrick Rosalba

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thank you… Wordshuffle cafe!

Wonderful to be a part of a menu of poetry from Dzifa, Malika, Baden, and John Hegley who really got us moving with his songs and fun on Saturday – including an improvised song about… um the here and now I suppose! … and the reading of the Wordshuffle cafe books was treat! Thanks to all for coming, to all who wrote in the books and participated in other ways, and to everyone at the Albany including the cafe staff and reception and to Arts Council England. It’s been an enriching and rewarding residency. I’ll be posting more thoughts, book writings and pics in the next few weeks. Please do send me any comments and thoughts….

a few pics of prepping and chatting afterwards… more soon

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A rich hub of writing in the Wordshuffle café

What a great day to end my scheduled sessions in the café  before the big celebrations on 22nd  Sept…a  huge thank you to Chill Pill’s Ray Antrobus who came down to help inspire and even read one of his poems to a group of writers. And also thank you to other writers who came down especially to join us. We had a little hub of writers at one table passing round the books with many stories travelling further afield. Some wonderful long pieces in The Book of Memories and The Book of Time Travel in particular. After the first group left a group of young people took up the table and wrote in the books too. Great to see the young people who were very excited about seeing  their picture writing in the books in the South London Press newspaper recently – if anyone has a copy please send it to me!
Some highlights in the books included a wonderful childhood memory about making things out of mud/clay  in Nigeria, and a chap who had come in from a long cycle and had never been to the café before who took on the books with a cycling theme.  One writer wrote a complete A-Z list in the Book of Favourite Things (it kept a group of us guessing about the x and z ones!). A lovely group where grandma said she had already been reading and writing in the books on previous days and her sweet little grand daughter was now writing the cutest things in them… very touching (see the Invented words book about a type of kangaroo).  A lad let me read his piece to the group of writers at the table which made us swoon it was so moving.
 I had some great discussions with people, especially after writing in Your Book where you have to list all the things that matter to you… from world peace, to passing exams, to quietly sitting in the sun and relishing when people say thank you to you…. you have to read them, the lists are varied and inspiring. You’ll be amazed what you find in the books … pop down to the Albany before the 22nd Sept and have a read (and a write) before they finish their residency in the café.
Thanks to Eva who is now bringing me much needed tea as I am typing up these notes and feeling tired but happy! I’m getting to know people in the café, some regulars, some people come back to do more.  Charlotte has installed a book swap in one corner of the cafe – so get swapping! – it looks great too, gives the cafe a homey feel.
There’s quite a few bookings for the gig in the Café to celebrate the books and the end of the residency on Saturday 22 September at 1pm,  so please book through the Albany website if you can to make sure you get a place – see info here http://www.thealbany.org.uk/event_detail/849/Spoken-Word/Wordshuffle-Cafe-
We’ll be reading extracts from the books and a selection of delectable poets who have been sharing their wares with Albany café  folk over the last few weeks with me will read some of the cream of their work, and we have the wonderful and fabulously talented and funny John Hegley too –not to be missed… celebrate creativity with us

This slideshow requires JavaScript.



Why do foxes chase rabbits?

Once apon a time foxes had bobtails and floppy ears and rabbits have neither. Foxes got too much in their lottery winnings an rabbits got nothing at all. On day a revolutionary rabbit decided to correct th balance and took the foxes’ bobtails and floppy ears and gave them to the rest of the rabbits. Since then rabbits have bobtails and floppy ears, and foxes now have to chase them to try and get the back!

– Anon

Why don’t fish ride bikes?

Fish don’t ride bikes because a helmet totally doesn’t go with their fins.


They prefer to drive a car, usually a porche, rainbow coloured and chauffeur-driven with the top down

– Megan, Pam and Liz


I want to go to… my own country, UK, and my own city, London in the 60s. I don’t want to meet any famous people, just feel what life was like when London was at the centre of the cultural revolution. I’d to like have seen things like the contraceptive pill introduced and go shopping in (Biba? and ) Mary Quant etc! I’d bring back vintage fashions.


I would go way way back in time, before religion, and reset man’s stupid rules on women, mother nature, no wars, one god, one world, love and beloved, by any, all races, colours, women and men…all equal. Look up at the night skies, stars, planets, galaxies… the universe astronomy is past, present and future.

– Chris

Captured and raptured

The crescent moon above

Star polarities glistening

Upon galaxies to

Astral realms

– Amanda (extract)

We learn of dinosaurs, jetpacks, Muddy Waters and worlds held on the back of reptiles carried by four elephants (see picture in the book!)

-annon (extract)

THE BOOK OF ENDINGS – Cinderella forgot to drop the slipper so what happens next!??

The prince runs after Cinderella and is unable to find her after searching the grounds of the palace. He sits on the steps of the palace, head in his hands and asks himself: what shall I do now? The prince was an awful procrastinator. He thought about whys and wherefores… should he pursue the woman of his dreams? Or perhaps is it meant to be that he would never find true happiness… he was also an awful pessimist. He sat there for hours deciding whether this was fate or just a minor hiccup. Eventually he went back inside the palace and got drunk; in his drunken haze he found a large woman with a hairy mole…. mmm quite attractive!!!

– Catherine

She thought that with all his means and resources he would find her. So he tried, he emailed her twice but unfortunately it went into her spam folder. Cinderella checks her spam folder monthly [guessing, can;t quite read word here] so she found the email from the prince just the day before gmail would have wiped the spam folder clean. She was about to click on it when her eyes were drawn by the email below offering multiple solutions as to how she could kick start her career. So during her house cleaning for the evil stepsisters she found the time to trade on the stock market. After only 6 months she became fabulously wealthy and moved into a palace estate of her own

– Jellyfish man

Cinderella leaves the building… she realises that life is not only about housework and marriage and she decides to leave the house of the evil stepsisters and mother and goes travelling around the world. On her way she meets Snow White and they go on a journey together to Europe – they see places, meet people, and have the time of their life for a few years, until they settle in the countryside and set up a sustainable farm. As for the prince, yes he met someone else, and they lived a long and happy life together

– Asha (did I read the name right?)


I would be Midas but everything I touch would turn to money – I would make the world happier by offering it about

– Francis

My superpower would be to be Richard! 😉


My superpower would be to make us stop wishing for superpowers and realise how powerful we really are in our ordinary day to day lives

– Liz

I would have the superpower of controlling the weather – I’d say the word for the weather I want and it would appear wherever in the world I want it. It would be for me to enjoy but I could also go to places where there is drought and also stop floods. I’d catch sunrays when I want to and help others do the same – I like to tink I bring a little sunshine into other people’s lives! I like to think that my company does that.

– John

If I was a superhero I could save my world and save people and I would defeat the bad guys! And I wish I could make myself invisible so that people would think I’m cool! I would turn other things invisible!

– Michelle

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wordshuffle cafe at the Albany Outdoors festival

Poets Niall, Malika and I wandered around festival area offering poems and then as the music stage took over in the main area, we set up a cafe table at the beginning of the promenade offering poems to passers-by and inspiring a few to write in some of the Wordshuffle Cafe books.  Highlights included a cute two and half year old responding to Niall’s fabulous tomato poem in both English and Japanese, families gathering around Malika’s spontaneous storytelling, some wonderful responses like a guy who said a poem was totally transporting, a group of ladies (see the pic in the slideshow) making sad George the tortoise faces after Niall’s poem about said tortoise, and Malika connecting with a fellow Grenadian with an emotional poem. Niall’s animal poem suite went down a treat with the animal lovers and his series of comments from Venus in The Book of Translations are errr… quite unsympathetic to earthlings let’s say, and worth catching up on. Malika shared her wishes in The Book of Wishes. Have a read of the books, and write in them too – they are on the tables in the Albany cafe for another two weeks until 22 Sept when we have the big celebration gig!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Delicious poetry menu with Dzifa Benson

There’s was lots of activity and amazing sunshine as Dzifa and I wondered around the Albany cafe, the garden and down toward the Deptford lounge. There were lots of people out to enjoy some sun rays, punch and judy, the fruit machine with real fruit, artwork from young people and pop up theatre. We found some wonderful poetry moments including Dzifa performing a Star Trek poem to a man and his dog Ruby outside Iceland, some lads who listened to poems with us under the trees and then went to write in the Wordshuffle Cafe books under a name inspired by a poem of mine, and a shopper enjoying the lilting waterlillies poem with eyes closed in the middle of the market. Photos including two pics of listeners with Dzifa taking on the animal characters in her jungle poem and a couple putting on their shocked look in response my poem about a very strange teacher (my shocked face didn’t work really!)…. lots of sharing of experiences too.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Memorable moments from today’s book writing

Today…. some luscious writing from poet Jocelyn Page whose cowboy character was crossing the terrain of the Wordshuffle Café books – I’ll post some of these pieces separately soon. Those who wrote in the books included a visitor with his London guidebook in hand, a group of ladies writing together over tea, Albany staff having a laugh especially with the Book of Invented Words, lots of passers by including poet Nick Makoha and people from Deptford Market… there was a long story linking together the pieces in the Book of Time Travel (it’s starting to read like a novel this one), some touching pages of memories, poetry and favourite things and some wonderful left field messages from Venus!

Lots of roving poetry on the weekend (see the ‘What’s on?’ tab on this blog) for the Albany Outdoors Festival: http://www.thealbany.org.uk/event_detail/838/Events/Albany-Outdoors. And Charlotte is coordinating a book swap for inspiration starting Monday in the cafe to help inspire! Apples and Snakes and Spread the Word have donated some books. Pop into the Albany Café for some wordshuffle!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Jocelyn’s cowboy’s thoughts in the Wordshuffle Cafe books, and an extract in situ in the Book of Beautiful Lies – read the books to see more… (you can feel the dry country he is riding through, the huge open spaces even with so few words….)


Nothing so ridiculous as a wish out here
A word that pretends to ride the air
like a feather
But when placed in my hands
It fills pockets like ballast
and leads me
to the nearest river


The sky is a jealous mother
Reverent and watchful
She waits till I open my mouth
And then speaks for me


Further and further my thirst grows down to my gut
past my looming soul


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Highlights from poetry menu offerings with Baden Prince

We had some special moments of people being surprised and delighted by spontaneous poetry. Some I think  had never heard poetry before. And Baden was able to choose a football poem for a man who only liked football, and slice of Jamaica and Ethiopia for those from those countries. We also entertained some people in the Deptford Market including a shoe stall and Funky Waffles!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Creative young people

More young people from the Albany Summer Arts Festival (the theatre programme) help warm up the Wordshuffle cafe books. I was inspired by how quickly they thought of original ideas and thoughts and also how they can make those creative leaps that sometimes we forget to do or censor when we get older.

Thanks also to staff from Spread the Word and Apples and Snakes who also contributed to warming up the books. Oh and the Green Drinks group (a bunch of people who meet in a pub to chat every month organised by Paul Scott)  – come and see your creative contributions in the books lodged in the Cafe 1-22nd Sept…. Right so next Saturday Baden and I also go a roving with ‘Poetry Menu’ in and around the cafe and the books hit the tables for almost a month! Come join us…

Some writings in the books…


I’m going back to a time beyond time, before it was invented. I don’t even know if it exists, but I believe I will have to change buses at the crossroads. – Anon


Why is the sky blue? The sky is blue because long ago the sky and the grass were exactly the same colour. The grass would copy the sky’s colour and every time the sky tried to change the grass would follow: pink, purple, red, it never stopped. Once the sky found out how to make colours and decided to use it to trick the grass. So quickly the sky turned yellow and when the grass copied its colour the sky quickly turned blue. The grass became confused and ended up a mixture of the two colours: blue and yellow makes green. The sky then chose blue as its colour to symbolise defeat over the grass. – Naimah


If I could have any superpower it would be teleporting so that I would never have to use public transport again! I hate buses and trains and tubes, so if I could teleport I wouldn’t have to use them! – Lulu


Halima’s wishes: 1. I wish for unlimited wishes  2. For the exact food to appear when I want it  3. Everything to go right


What matters is… family, believing in what ever you want to do, compassion, persistence in your life in whatever you are doing. – Olimpia


Maindisurt: A Person who disturbs you so much, he/she is the main annoying attention seeker   – Anon

THE BOOK OF ENDINGS… Cinderella forgot to drop a slipper…

So… Prince Charming writes an ad in the Metro newspaper which she reads on the way to work and she gets in contact with him and they make babies. – Pierre

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Albany’s youth arts festival warm up the Wordshuffle café books

Creative young people taking part in The Albany’s Summer Arts festival found the Wordshuffle Café books fun, awesome, epic! 

Some book extracts:


Virginia’s Wishes : 1. Worldwide gospel singer   2. God to bless my family abundantly  3. A voice that touches people

Daniel’s Wishes: 1. Peace   2. Love   3. Everyone has a home   4. No suffering countries   5. Loads of cash


I’m going to the Tudor period (16th Century) . I will take Usain Bolt so we could run away from King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth’s guards. – Bart Simpson


 Trom booosk oop vroomroonson?   3 versions of translations of this message from Venus:

Help we are stuck in a hole, help us? – Tobi

Have you got any room? – Anon

Yo dude take a chill pill – Pip


Where does rain come from? Rain comes from the ground, but the human eye deceives us, the rain comes from corpses who cry because they miss their loved ones – Sam M


I would easily pick immortality! It would also allow me to go back in time and view world events – see how the pyramids were built, the origins of man etc. Immortality will allow me to stay at 30 years of age and be fully fit forever! – Ben

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment