I Forgot To Tell You I Really Enjoyed That Sandwich

I Forgot To Tell You I Really Enjoyed That Sandwich

by Martin Gayford

=> [concrete / shape poetics]



Martin Gayford’s “evocative, compelling and direct” collection of poems
I Forgot To Tell You, I Really Enjoyed That Sandwich
was published in July 2015 by Spiralbound / Susakpress.
Martin agreed to discuss the book with Alex Norris, a comedic artist
who has known Martin since 1984. The interview was conducted by text
over 2 days following the launch at Studio1.1 in London, July 2015.


Alex Norris: Did you use your logbooks (diaries of everyday events) when writing ‘I Forgot To Tell You, I

Really Enjoyed That Sandwich’?


Martin Gayford: No, I used various sources as starting points and expanded on some; others I kept more or

less as they were. Quite a few were written as mini stories, starting as one line and developing my own lines

of dialogue. Lots of references and dialogue are real, some lines taken from text messages or recordings.

How Was The Test consists mostly of texts between my mum and I (mostly mine). Things like the doughnut

and the dog dialogues are developed from things I overheard in public.


AN: Who is being thanked for the sandwich?


MG: That was a text from my mum.


AN: How much is about Bon (Martin’s mother)?


MG: I was almost compulsively recording memories after she died suddenly in 2012, in case I’d forget them.

I compiled them into a collection of ideas later and only began thinking of them as poems after John and

Daniel (of Spiralbound / Susakpress ) approached me about making the book. Initially, I wasn’t thinking about

writing anything publishable.


AN: Why aren’t there any images in the book?


MG: At one point we considered including a selection of the images I’ve collected for paintings. As time went

on though, the poems took centre stage. I’m making a book of the images with no text at some point soon.


AN: Are you quoting Ivor Cutler in Shortly Before Or After?


MG: Not consciously, but I’ve just checked and it is Ivor. It was written as reference to the version of I’m

Going In A Field  by the folksinger Nic Jones; I had forgotten Ivor wrote it.


AN: Who poured coffee on the dog?


MG: It was something I overheard at a Farmer’s Market. I made my own version of what might have



AN: Why ‘yurself’ in Look After Yurself?


MG: That’s how my mum texted it.


AN: Why are there at least two references to The Cure?


MG: That’s a coincidence. One is to do with writing a song for our band; the other is describing a trip we had

to Bath, where I bought ‘Standing By The Sea’. Is that the name? I think it had just come out.


AN: I think so. When did I collect the ketchup?


MG: I think you went to get it from my mum’s house because we didn’t have any, or it could have been when

she cooked lamb for us and you and Samuel asked for some. Sorry I can’t be more precise about that.


AN: Which comic annuals are being read in ‘A Pale Building On The Corner’?


MG: A Flemish series called Suske en Wiske , who I think were crime fighting kids.


AN: How much of the book relates to Lynn?


MG: I think she’s quietly present throughout, but there aren’t many direct references to her.


AN: Why David Lynch?


MG: I love his films and was reading a lot about him at the time.


AN: ‘Missing a Person’ obviously relates to the time we looked for the location of the adult cinema in ‘An

American Werewolf In London’, but is the first part of the poem connected to that?


MG: The ‘Werewolf’  part is related only in that I had started writing the first section of the poem earlier, on the

day we went looking for those locations.


AN: Were you tempted to slip in an Ed quote?


MG: I think Ed quotes would have broken the mood. They deserve a publication in their own right.


AN: Are there any poems you regret including?


MG: No.


AN: Is ‘Not Allowed Phones At Lunch’ about school?


MG: No, it’s about a hospital recovery unit.


AN: Which is the most personal poem?


MG: Probably ‘Sat And Held Shoulders’ , as it describes the morning I found my mum in the midst of a brain



AN: How does the writing relate to your painting?


MG: I often approach painting with similar ideas about memory, nostalgia and a simple, poignant mood.


AN: If you could only publish one, which would you choose?


MG: Maybe the first one, ‘I Can Come Over tonight’ .


AN: Thinking about ‘Sat And Held Shoulders’, ‘Death Disco’ by PIL deals with similar themes. John Lydon

has said he sometimes finds it hard to perform as he was so close to his mother.


MG: Can you send me the lyrics?


AN: Seeing in your eyes

Seeing in your eyes

Words can never say the way

Told me in your eyes

Final in a fade

Never no more hope away

Final in a fade

Seeing in your eyes

Seeing in your eyes

Never really know

Never realise

Silence in your eyes

Silence in your eyes

Never really know

Till it’s gone away

Never realise

The silence in your eyes

Seen it in your eyes

Seen it in your eyes

Never no more hope away

Final in a fade

Watch her slowly die

Saw it in her eyes

Choking on a bed

Flowers rotting dead

Seen it in her eyes

Ending in a day

Silence was a way

Seeing in your eyes

Seeing in your eyes

Seeing in your eyes

I’m seeing through my eyes

Words cannot express

Words cannot express

Words cannot exp…


MG: It makes a great poem. Some of those lines could have been in mine. Do you have the album?


AN: Yes. It’s not nearly as accessible as ‘Rise’; a lot of it is abstract, scratchy dub.


MG: Sound good. Do you have ‘Rise’?


AN: Yes, it’s one of my favourite albums. Should I ask more questions?


MG: Ask as many as you like. I think it’s going really well.


AN: Did you surprise yourself with the writing?


MG: No, but I don’t think I’ve written dialogue like this before. Maybe that’s a bit surprising.


AN: What do you want the audience to take away with them?


MG: To connect with certain pieces in a meaningful way; for the poems have a life outside of their

relationship with me.


AN: Why is communication through poetry important to you?


MG: I like reading other people’s poetry and that’s important to me. It seems to be a suitable medium for the



AN: What conditions help the writing process?


MG: Peace and quiet, being alone. No deadlines. Memory is a useful starting point; memories of

conversations, and I can focus on things like that when I’m by myself.


AN: Where do you write?


MG: Anywhere I have a pen, laptop, on my phone if I don’t have anything else. I’ve always written here and

there, in notebooks and journals.


AN: How important is humour in the work?


MG: It’s very important.


AN: What’s the relationship between your spoken and written voices?


MG: I tend to speak with pauses, or stops and starts. I seemed to be doing that in the writing to some extent,

so I made that element more explicit in some passages in the way I divided lines up.


AN: How important is ‘meaning’ in the work?


MG: I think I often rely on the response of readers to enlighten me.


AN: Are you into food?


MG: Very much so.


Alex Norris & Martin Gayford 2015

















Martin Gayford
I Forgot To Tell You, I Really Enjoyed That Sandwich


meeting in Nunhead

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *