Taking The Long Way Home (Stairwell Books, £7)

11:14am Saturday 20th April 2013

By Stephen Lewis

HE’S a former punk turned rock guitarist turned university lecturer, who has two pet guinea pigs he describes as looking ‘like angry toupés with teeth’ and an ‘electrical malfunction’ of the brain.

That causes migraines, but also makes Steve Nash want to write. Which, for fans of his poetry – by turns quirky and searingly intense – is probably a good thing.

Steve, a lecturer at York St John University who is completing a PhD in literature, is probably best known in York as lead singer and some-time guitarist for hard rock band Herbal T & Pornography.

The 30 year old – who was born in Ripon to an army father, and accordingly spent much of his childhood on the move – now lives in Sowerby Bridge with the aforementioned guinea pigs.

And next week his first collection of poetry will be published by Stairwell Books, with the title Taking The Long Way Home.

He describes his work as ranging from very formal, to conceptual, to outright silly – of which a good example is his popular poem Hutch. It’s about a lonely little boy whose parents finally buy him the bunny rabbit he’s always longed for. But somehow, the fluffy pet transforms into a man-eating monster, which devours both of the boy’s parents – before heading indoors in search of his four-year-old sister as a tasty dessert.

It’s pure black, surreal humour – quite a contrast with Eletriptan, which describes a surge of electricity in his brain, which leads to “a big bang, a new universe painted in my skull.”

The condition from which he suffers is not epilepsy, Steve says, but something similar. “I have too much electricity in my brain and when the build-up becomes too great it manifests in focal migraines which can lead to temporary blindness, numbness, aphasia, or seizures.”

And also to the urge to write: for which his fans at least can be grateful.


Steve Nash will launch his first collection, Taking The Long Way Home, at the Spurriergate Centre on Spurriergate, York at 7.30pm on Thursday. The book is published by Stairwell Books priced £7, but will be available at a discount price on launch day.

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