“Recent changes to your circumstance…”

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Life’s been a bit mental lately so haven’t had time to give anyone any news or updates so will try and get everything out of the way on here. As such, this will be an ‘update’ sort of post so may not be of interest to many of you. So, buckle up:

Moved –

Due to continued unemployment and lack of funds I have been living off the kindness of strangers (good friends actually) of late by sleeping on their floors, sofas and sparerooms. Naturally then, due to my constant Catholic guilt I could no longer impinge on the goodwill of my friends so instead of running around and living out of a rucksack it came time to depart my beloved Manchester if only for a brief time. I hope. As such, I have returned to the bosom of my family in Kent and am living back in my old room at my Mother’s which is not ideal for either of us but I think we are all hoping this will only be temporary. This does however take the pressure off things somewhat and gives me the time I’d like to get more writing done and other stuff that is generally steps toward my fledgling “career”.

Maladies –

Predictably, due to me being such a runty little dweeb, just when I didn’t need any other additional setbacks I got some sort of horrible infection that is going around giving me a sky high fever and causing me to faint in my friend’s kitchen, this was further compounded by my own idiocy in breaking two of my ribs. All this was not ideal when having to move from house to house and sleeping on sofas. Ouch.

Mingling –

My good friend David Hartley invited me to support him for his launch of his collection Threshold at Fyg in a sort of tit-for-tat repayment for having him support me for my own launch. It was quite a stellar night and the place was packed with a very receptive audience. Sadly this fell at the same time as the ribs, the infection, a debacle regarding finances and being unable to get there on time and other personal issues that meant it was, only for me I reiterate, something of a shambles sadly. Everyone else seemed to have a great time and it was indeed a success but as always seems to be the case with me at times of great importance, things go quite specatcularly wrong. David and Ian did great readings though and it was great night. Fyg is such a lovely place too, go if you’re in Manchester.

Manchester Poets –

After my splatter gun effort of applying to every magazine and competition towards the end of last year one has actually stuck and I am being featured in Puppywolf Press’ “Best of Manchester Poets, Vol.3”. Its not that big a deal but its a small bit of recognition and I can officially say I am a published poet now, which looks good on the CV. The poem selected is ‘Anaesthetic’ which some of you may have heard and was noted by my pal Luke Kennard (a proper poet) as being of a good quality. The collection is due for release toward the end of March so I’ll keep you updated but you can check out their website here.

More Poetry –

I wrote a sequence of some eighty sonnets over Christmas (I was bored) and after initial interest from a publisher who in the end didn’t have room to publish it, I have decided to YET AGAIN self-publish it as a pamphlet. However, this one is slightly different… I will be publishing this collection digitally on a website I have set up with my friend Amelia. It is still being developed at the moment and not having my computer with me hinders its progress considerably but I am hoping to have it up in the next few months. It will be completely free and open to all and will have no other posts or pages purely the poems themselves. I will keep everyone updated however, so watch this space.

Media (Social) –

Due to being all over the place at the moment I am trying to stick all my media together so everyone can keep an eye on me. I have a variety of online presences and would like everyone to have a look at each one as all of the refer to something different. So if you want to stay abreast of my doings, comings and goings day to day check my twitter here. I have an iPhone so am always on it and check it regularly. I am on Instagram and Vine, of which I am also a “heavy user”. I have a music site over at leocookman.tumblr.com if you want info of that nature (there will be updates on there soon). I have a facebook page too that could do with a few more ‘Likes’ to be honest so head on over here. I’m also over at youtube with some silliness you can watch here. I also have another ‘comedy’ blog over at tumblr that you can have a giggle at here. Generally I am all over the internet so just google me and I’ll appear in some form or other.

Music –

I have two albums essentially written that I would like to record at somepoint in the near future and being back in the Bubble in Kent means I am back amongst the regular gigging fraternity so keep an eye on the mentioned social media for updates and ‘ting. If you can’t get enough I have two albums on iTunes and have my very own soundcloud which has B-Sides and demos galore if that’s your bag.

My True Love –

So I’ve had a crush on Jennifer Lawrence since Winter’s Bone came out and have weathered the storms of the fickle public through X-Men and Hunger Games hoping her fame would disappate and our non-existant love could blossom. Anyway, she just won an Oscar so that’s that crush ended because now everyone’s all like, “oh she’s so great”, “I totally have a crush on her”, blah blah blah. Yes I KNOW she’s dating Nicholas Hoult but that would mean nothing were we to meet. Obviously. Anyway, I’ll stick with Christina Hendricks then… WHADDAYA MEAN SHE’S MARRIED?!

That should keep you for the time being and I seem to be a busy bunny at the moment so must fly. Please do comment, subscribe and all that crap as I have big plans for 2013 and would love to be able to share it all with you lot. I will hopefully at least be visiting Manchester soon as my friends recently got engaged, some other friends have babies on the way and generally all my stuff and life is up there but if you live in the south please get in touch. I’m actually quite bored.

 

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Back in Manc

Alright people! Enough with the demand for updates on my life! Cheez…

With that piercing display of sarcasm – as no one has really asked – I’m going to tell you anyway;

So, after the gut wrenching, soul-destroying disappointment at the beginning of the year I finally dusted myself off and got back up again (it only took 3 months). And when I say back up, I mean back up to Manchester and returned to my old job courtesy of my very nice boss. (Incidentally, get all your photos printed here.) So my lovely coupled-up Friends James & Nicola, Josh & Victoria and James & Toby all put me up for the month of May while I got back on my feet, i.e. A Flat. My flat is now at least above ground which is an improvement on the last and it is cheaper. It is also in trendy West Didsbury where wannabe footballers and wannabe WAGs go to get drunk, fornicate and fight but luckily they do it quietly and my road is very leafy and green. So that’s a step up.

In addition to this, I got a letter from one of my musical Heroes, Ed Harcourt. And here it is;

Let me just reiterate that. A popular, touring musician who has been in the charts and been nominated for the Mercury Music Prize in the past who was signed to EMI, sent little old me a personal letter. What. a. fucking. Legend! He’s done it before too. I sent him the one and only fan letter I have ever sent and the guy replied then too. So that cheered me up. Then it turned out he was playing the Deaf Institute in the city later that month as he is promoting his new album ‘Lustre’ (which I trust you all have bought already and, if not, are opening a new window to order it off Play.com as you read) so I got me some tickets and off I went. I stuck around after the show and sure enough he appeared to sign a few things and chat. I waited till last as I had nothing to sign and had a personal signature anyway and went up to thank him for his kind words and taking the trouble to write in what must be a busy schedule. “Leo!” He shouted. “How’s it all going now? Picking up?” We had a brief chat where I thanked him and told him what an impact his albums had made on me and hoped it didn’t sound stupid to thank him for that and hoped he would continue to make music. To which his response was to give me a big hug and a handshake. What a lovely fella. If nothing else buy his albums ’cause he is just that nice.

Then there was the DEBACLE of an election where I went to an election night party and played the constituency Drinking game but because I don’t drink it was the ‘strip’ constituency game. For anyone expecting a long rant on our current political landscape, it’s coming. I am storing that particular vat of bile for its own post. In short I, like pretty much the whole country, am not happy with the result and am merely waiting for Stormtroopers to come goose-stepping down the high street any day now. Vive le Resistance!

Beyond that I’ve done a few open mic nights and jam nights to get my face back in the frame, which backfired somewhat when the guys from Matt&Phreds took my number and gave me a call for a paid gig which I had to turn down because I don’t have my piano with me and (thanks to my own idiocy and hubris) no longer own a drum kit. Woe. I did a few ‘Jams’ with a friend in his garden on some balmy summer evenings with a Mandolin player, tuba player, saxophonist, Accordion player and me playing upside down acoustic guitar. It was Klezmer-tastic. I have also absorbed the high culture of Manchester (It does exist!) by attending various exhibits including Dorothy Bohm and Goya, as well as the MOSI which is AWESOME!

I also had a lovely afternoon out the other week with Josh and Vic to Tatton Hall which looks like a set from a period film and it has a petting zoo too which was the best thing in my life so far as it had a Chuck. Which is a Chicken/Duck cross, and looks so freakin’ cool I could have stared at it for an hour. There were also, Goats, Donkeys, Cows and most importantly PIGS! And as we all know Pigs shall inherit the earth one day because they are friggin’ sweet and George Orwell said so.

There was also the small matter of me taking photos for that band in the charts, Lucky Soul, while they did their BBC Radio 2 appearance on the Marconie and Radcliffe show. It was great to catch up with Rusky and take some photos of people I’m not related to for a change. The photos were also featured on the BBC website.

It hasn’t all been sunshine and roses. I have had a nightmarish time at work of late, getting a phone line and broadband was a truly hellish experience and, as before, coming back to the empty flat can be depressing and lonely. Living alone does have its advantages as well but I do miss the company.

Aside from all that I’ve been out clubbing (yes, clubbing), to parties, many more gigs and generally acting the Wanton Man of Leisure, so I’ve been far to busy to get depressed really and, in an effort to mollycoddle, I have received some truly wonderful support, understanding and tolerance of my whiny bullshit from my friends up here too. James & Nic were especially kind insisting I stay at theirs longer than planned and generally keeping me on and even keel. Because they are lovely. But Josh & Vic (who got me up here the first time round) have also cooked me many a meal and put me up, again. The lovely couple that are James and Toby have also kept me occupied by dragging me to various club nights and house parties. In short, while everything may have gone tits-up this year I have gained many more things like good friends and other poncey, wet things like that and I love you all a big, huggy bunch. Etc.

So that’s about all the news that’s fit to print. If I’ve missed anything out you already know what it is otherwise you wouldn’t know it was missing. Anyway, it is my birthday at the beginning of next month with which clangorous knell, signals a year since all the shit started and me turning 26. Obviously. I have a few things in the pipeline I will update you all on soon enough but in the meantime, keep it real y’all and send you MP a letter telling him you do not recognise his authority as he wasn’t technically elected then stop paying council tax. Dare you.

Laters yo.