Fake Floor – Waves of Words

I had the privilege recently to be involved in a workshop and performance night called ‘Waves of Words’, which was about writing inspired by and responding to the Poppies:Wave sculpture that is currently on Plymouth Hoe.

My contribution to this project was ‘Fake Floor’. I wanted to write something that was based in reportage of what I saw and heard when I visited the project. I saw lots of people taking photos in front of the sculpture, including wedding photos. I heard a guide explain to everyone passing that the floor the poppies were installed on was fake.

And that seemed to me to be an interesting metaphor which captured something of what was going on. Something that looked simple was more complicated. People were weaving the artwork into their own timelines, as well as remembering.

Here’s the poem. It was first performed on 10th November at the Plymouth Athanaeum in a sequence with works by Laura Quigley, Gabi Marcellus-Temple, Thom Boulton, and Laura Reinbach.


She assures everybody,
‘It’s built on a fake floor.’

Silver heels and blusher
for the bride framed by
the pretty red poppies.
Flash! The camera fires.
Gather up the petticoats
and back to the car.

‘There’s 6000 poppies.
It’s a fake floor.’

A dad gets a close up of
a 3 year old pushing
his pedalless bike.
A boy bumps a knee
dismounting his scooter
for a family portrait.

‘It’s a fake floor.
There’s 6000 poppies’

and sixty thousand selfies;
keepsakes we carry home.
If we capture our best side
memorializing, overlay filters
of all we would want said
and done, if we promise,

if we really promise;
it couldn’t happen here.

No brides without husbands,
no fathers without sons,
no missing generation
from the family portraits,
no one to remember at the
going down of the sun,

just the slow Plymouth rain
drumming on a fake floor.

Simon Travers, November 2017

Vanity Project Track by Track – Embrace the Glut

As a part of the launch for Vanity Project, I am writing a series of blog entries that give a bit more background detail and making of for each track. All these blogs will be collected together in the Vanity Project area of the site.


When I was about 13, I got a second hand skateboard. I thought skating was cool until the first time I properly fell off it and left myself with a scar and my mum told me I had to wear knee pads and arm pads if I wanted to skate and I knew deep down that was not cool.

When I had more TV channels, I used to love watching the X Games. I got a thrill out of seeing Pierre Luc Gagnon and Bob Burnquist riding the halfpipes, brave and intense and balletic.

As I watched these competitions, somehow, I became aware of the idea of street skaters. That there were people out there who were as good, perhaps better than the professionals, but who stayed home, and did it for the love. These were underground, unsponsored figures. No names who might pop up on a video or a magazine, before disappearing again into the melee of the local skate park or some parking lot where they could practice a technical trick.

This feels like something to embrace.

First Review – Vanity Project

A friend of mine called David, who is a Plymouth musician, is the first person to have written a review of ‘Vanity Project’. He posted it to the Stackhouse Jones facebook page.

He very kindly writes:

Vanity Project is forty minutes of exhilarating, hypnotic and unremitting genius that engaged my full attention and kept me somewhere between meditation and insanity throughout. All the elements of low-res video, high quality audio and unexpected vocals hung together, taking me to places I never knew existed, providing me with moments of genuine inspiration. I’ll be taking that trip again and would willingly become addicted.

Vanity Project Outtake – City In His Veins

This is one of the poems that got lost along the way of Vanity Project. ‘Home 2’ is in part a postcard to Torquay and Totnes, but I wanted to write a little love letter to my adopted hometown, Plymouth. I got put off when I heard the phrase ‘city in his veins’ in a different poem a few weeks after writing it. I could never find anything better to work in its place. But it has some fun lines, so here it is.


track thirteen on the car stereo
electric windows winding down
200 miles and 30 years on
an echo blown from the underground
methodists with a glowing cross
moths around the burger van
the greenest of all go’s
the loudest of all gold’s
the city in his veins

the carpet of the wildflower streetlights
the mirrorball inside his eyes
this new kaliedoscope of neon
the world at 30 miles per hour
an aluminium shell and seatbelt
his lawyer’s coming home tonight
dream a hometown dream
leave on the hallway light
he’s got the city in his veins

Simon Travers, 2017

Vanity Project Track by Track – Cold Calling

As a part of the launch for Vanity Project, I am writing a series of blog entries that give a bit more background detail and making of for each track. All these blogs will be collected together in the Vanity Project area of the site.


One of the foundations of Vanity Project is the idea that nobody needs this project but me, but I needed a lot. I showed my son The Muppet Movie recently and I’d forgotten about this scene.

Vanity Project is in many ways a promise I made to me.

So why publish? Because publicity is a core discipline of writing for me. Public/ity, as in the act of acting in public, regardless of how many people pay attention.

By choice, I don’t slam, I self-publish. I don’t do poetry competitions, I do open-mics. I’m conscious that this is a way that I hope to flow with, rather than stand out from, the oncoming tide of writers and performers. Cold Calling works on a metaphor that open-mic poetry is a little like telesales. You break in on someone’s life for a few minutes, call out of the blue, and try to pitch something precious. You dial and you hope they’ll be polite but the audience is in charge. They can hang up at any time.

And that’s just the way…

Watch Vanity Project here.