words not for music


Other writings by John Fallas







I’m slowly adding some occasional writings on the other arts to this site. Please bear with me while I populate this page ... and please get in touch if you’d like me to write about something other than music! It’s too easy to get pigeonholed, and I’d welcome more opportunities to reflect my other interests in my professional writing.


I’m particularly keen (when time and existing commitments allow) to put together a portfolio of writing on film: in the first instance this will probably cover some favourite directors (Pedro Almodóvar, Wong Kar-Wai, Theo Angelopoulos ...). In the meantime here are a couple of pieces on theatre, and my blurb for Simon Howard’s long poem Numbers; I’m delighted that composers as varied as Philip Venables and Richard Barrett have responded in music to this extraordinary book.









“The tradition of the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the minds of the living” (Marx). Simon Howard’s Numbers, available here or here, is both love poem and political tract, both Dada exercise and Romantic fragment. A hundred stanzas – allusive, tightly interwoven, eloquently aphasic, precisely imprecise – perform a not-quite-endless series of translations without original: one era into another city, this city into that ocean, Marquis de Sade into black noise, and back again to where they never began. Numbers is a poem of random(ised) echoes, of voices and of voicelessness: des pas dans la neige, the nothingness that is in the snow … A poem of the State of Exception, of Terror and its wars.