I went to New Brighton's new and only Wetherspoon pub for the first time recently.
It was a late doors visit, following a long shift at work then having to go home, make dinner and have a shower. Got into the Spoons at 10.45pm.
Good cheap wine. Spoons are very good for wine-drinkers, compared to the crap selection most pubs stock.
I am currently ashamed to be British. The continuing determination of quite large numbers of people to 'celebrate' the death of Margaret Thatcher has made me feel this way.
I was NEVER a supporter of Mrs Thatcher, by the way. But the widespread willingness to celebrate her death indicates that a big loss of compassion and humanity has occurred, and a weakening of moral discernment, among people of the Left in politics.
Vast amounts of mediocrity and bullcrap come our way in this age of digitally-powered drivel.
So, I've been trying to reconnect with real people a bit more in recent days. It's worked. Nuggets of magic still exist, I've discovered.
My fightback started after I walked out of a pretentious art gallery in Liverpool where a woman was caterwauling while a man played what appeared to be a glass jar. Every member of the audience stroked their goatee bears (real and metaphorical) while this racket went on.
By 5.45pm on a bitter January day 2013, following a call to the car mechanic, I'd had enough.
New furry hat on (thanks, Oonagh) then up the hill I went to the MASSIVE Ss Peter and Paul Church, New Brighton, Wirral (well, if you're gonna do the Church Triumphant you might as well do it New Brighton-style).
Six o'clock and I'm on my knees at the shrine of St Philomena the Wonder Worker - in there saying the special words provided and inserting my 'special intentions' at the relevant points. She was an early martyr of the Church, and my mum in Wigan carries her name. Powerful stuff indeed, whichever way you cut it.
Had a long dark night of the soul last night in New Brighton as I worked to extend my epic poem 'Thirteen weeks of gut-wrenching misery in Goole'.
The poem in its original form and length (259 lines) was published last year in the internationally acclaimed literary mag The Scunny Onion - run by Scunthorpe Council.
But last night I added sequences based on my time in Hull, and a most poignant prologue about the horrid experience of growing up in Wigan. I was a foundling, discovered on the steps of the Tudor Hotel on a bleak midwinter morn in 1957.
Had a most excellent evening last Friday listening to a Norwegian singer performing live at a grand house overlooking the River Mersey.
I was one of about 40 people gathered at the house of my friend Lulu's mum and dad to hear a concert by Ragnhild Zeigler - a fine women singer also known as 'The Bee's Niece' (Norwegians like to pun in English, apparently).
Ragnhild has an angelic voice and her songs are touching, funny, wry and - in some cases - bittersweet.
A week is a long time in the borderline mentallist world of Merseyside poetry.
After a rather grumpy Bards in New Brighton just over a week ago came last night's pleasingly mellow session of The Liver Bards at the Ship & Mitre in Liverpool.
Now, in recent times I've stepped back from MC-ing these evenings.
After being the regular compère for years, I fancy a rest; I want to sit back and relax, and really enjoy listening to others poets, and also to concentrate on my own poetry and performance.
What a grumpy atmosphere at the Bards poetry session I went to in New Brighton on Monday night!
And in truth that left me feeling pretty depressed. I set up the Bards seven years ago, you see, and I've always thought of it as a life-enhancing event.
So it took me the whole of yesterday to shake off my despondency over the somewhat sour and untypical atmosphere I experienced.
My blues eventually lifted in Hell's Waiting Room, my local pub in New Brighton. More about that later!
I do hope Julie Goodyear isn't voted off Celebrity Big Brother. Without her the show would not be worth watching.
I fear she may be voted off, however, not least because most of the people who ring the Channel 5 phonelines are ... well ... a bit thick.
Sorry if that seems cruel, but the type of people who regard the rapper MC Harvey and the US actor 'The Situation' as celebrities - or even remotely interesting - must be dim.
Was up in Edinburgh last weekend to see old journo chums from my days as reporter on the Press & Journal newspaper.
While there, I went to see a few events on the Free Fringe - comedy shows mainly, and wasn't disappointed by any of 'em - though much of the language used was filthy.
While up there I thought, come on Stevie Lad, you are a performer (of the poetic sort), so why not blag yourself a performance spot in a live poetry show....
So that's exactly what I did ... with the feminist poetry group Other Voices - at their showcase venue in the Banshee Labyrinth.