Sadly, you don't see Topher on the Cardiff poetry circuit so much these days, but at one time, he was very much part of the scene. Recognisable for his bright red shoes that he wore whenever performing, and his pronounced Cardiff twang, this is a man for whom the phrase "half a dark and a Clarke's pie" was invented. A burly, jovial character, he livened up many an evening, and would usually be the first to encourage a post-event trip to the pub.
Topher ran a really good writers' group, which I think stemmed from at least one other writers group, in what was then Cafe Europa, opposite Cardiff Castle. Other members included Vikki Holmes, Matt Dalby and Sasha Karaulov. Ah those were the days. I remember one of the meetings being on the same day as the 9/11 event, which is nine years ago now (as I write). How time flies?
It was the humour in Topher's poetry which definitely had an influence on me. His amusing mix of satire, real life, and self deprecation with surreal twists was very much in keeping with the style of other Cardiff poets of the time, such as Ifor Thomas, Lloyd Robson and Peter Finch. Topher also ran his own press, The Red Sharks press, and I suppose this would also have been a small source of inspiration for me to self-publish.
In more recent years, in his rare public appearances, he has often been heard to talk of jetting to and from America. However, he does still live here in Cardiff, and family concerns mean he is currently not able to get out all that much.
Well anyway, here's to one of Cardiff's best poets!
A selection of Topher's poetryThe Guest Book Or let Topher know himself!
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