I reluctantly left my mum’s womb on a cold winter’s evening in 1966 in Harrogate, a small town in North Yorkshire in England. I attended prep school where I excelled at Latin and was a promising cricketer. From a young age I began to spend a lot of time imagining I was someone else. In 1978 I went to the local all-boys public school, which was to play a crucial part in my lack of emotional development I fell in love with the ‘Do-It-Yourself’ ethos of punk rock, and began to make art and music without any semblance of ability. I found my spiritual home in The Ramones’ world of cretins, geeks, weirdos and pinheads. I borrowed my dad’s bass guitar and formed a band, appropriately called 'No Reality'. I got an admirable 0% in my art exam for ignoring the set questions and tracing the sleeve of the first Ruts album instead. Left school at 16 and practiced being socially inept. Moved to London. Made a valiant attempt at normality, wearing a tie and working for the Civil Service. In 1990 I returned to Harrogate just in time to suffer a breakdown. Whilst convalescing I wrote songs and made collages. I sent my bank manager some of my poetry, e.g.'Free' (Free to live/Free to choose/Free to love/Pus-filled anus). He took me to court. The early part of the 90's was taken up listening to Steely Dan, sleeping, skinning up, playing gigs, eating, and talking to Schmen, my cat. In 1994 I somehow ended up joining Francis Dunnery on tour, playing acoustic guitar and performing my surreal poetry to bemused audiences across the world, culminating in a live album 'One Night in Sauchiehall Street'. Spurred on by a short-lived belief in my abilities I formed dark-pop band YY28's, signed a major record deal and thought I could be the new Elvis. One year and one album later we lost the record deal. I returned to Yorkshire to hibernate, get severely depressed, listen to dub and Steve Reich and mutate into The Chief Mollusc'. There then followed a frenzy of creativity. I produced over 100 collages, which I subsequently dumped at the tip for no apparent reason, I recorded and toured a collection of dark poetry, comic songs and primal noises, ominously called 'Itchy Circus Odour', described by one gig as 'A Northern English nightmare of masks, explosions, football results, The Grumbleweeds, The Royle Family, senility and childhood'. I can still often be found on various stages in the UK wearing a sheeps mask and making moaning noises. In an attempt to re-capture the innocence of childhood I got together with some old musician friends in 2003 to record 'Children Rule!', an album of melodic and melancholy pop songs. Presently I'm exhibiting my raw and childlike art in the UK and abroad. In 2007 i released a new CD of dark poetry and comedy called 'A Conglomeration Of Jockstraps', followed in 2008 by an experimental music/spoken word CD 'Melancholia'. For more please see www.ashleyreaks.com
Ilie Nastase Last night I had a dream. I was kissing and cuddling with Ilie Nastase, the Rumanian tennis player from the 70’s. Ilie was the leader in the close race to climax, humping and grinding like a loved-up foal. His hips were shaking to the ‘Best of Techno’ album I’d borrowed from my cousin Roderick. His arse looked firm yet soft to touch as I imagined him draped in the Turin Shroud. “Oh Ilie”, I moaned as he pulled off my socks. His breath was like a donkey in the electric chair. “Take me to the seaside and show me how to swim!” “Of course love”, he answered in his Eastern Block drone. Later, I made a candlestick holder out of fish heads, whilst Ilie washed the dishes and strangled a mollusc. --------------------------------------------------------------- Elastic swirl She stroked his glistening hand in the awkward silence. Customers stared so openly that the couple had to part. A curious man stumbled into the back door of the hotel, leaving the other guests to open out onto the sea. Brilliant stars crouched immobile behind him; his strange American hair swinging as his belt popped open. She traced the affection of strangers inside her waist. A man wearing a tall witch's panties, wrinkled with grimaced lips and buried himself in a nearby suitcase. Darkness spat out the world as I pumped the meat and bones old mother. She wept like she had an octopus inside her body With bold curiosity, she let her face hang down to my bulge, regardless of the fact that it was my toe. Her legs were like ski slopes casting spells on the men who stroked her. She bent one of the waiters over nervously whilst potential witnesses looked away. I abruptly lost interest, as other things needed satisfying. A fat man nodded knowingly as I lurked by the full moon.
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