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Out to Lunch

 Out to Lunch


Born "Ben Watson" in 1956, Out To Lunch adopted his punk moniker in the wake of Eric Dolphy (Out To Lunch, Blue Note, 1964), the Mothers of Invention ("Oh No", Weasels Ripped My Flesh, Reprise, 1970) and the Sex Pistols ("Pretty Vacant", Virgin, 1977). Enquiry into the objective coincidence of these three mass-produced artefacts will shed more light on his anti-semiotic verbalese than any amount of gossipacious sleaze or biographical trivia. Having read Finnegans Wake daily since the age of twelve, his brain was tweezed by a glimpse of J.H. Prynne's Brass (Ferry Press, 1971) in the Gonville & Caius College late night bar in 1975. "Cambridge Poetry" promised a zone where anticapitalist liberties might be taken with the English language. After two decades as a music critic, Watson's visibility in print was finally extinguished by the cretinous avatars and parasites of faux avant, so he gave up, and instead devoted his energies to a weekly radio broadcast: "Late Lunch With Out To Lunch" ( Wednesdays 2pm UK time), where OTL's critico-poetic impulses can be immediate, unedited by aforementioned cretins (though always improvised to page beforehand rather than to microphone live). To make ends meet, OTL composes the occasional index for books whose post-structuralist tenets frequently make him grind his teeth. He is currently laying down the blueprints for a cultural organ called Gruntwork Or Dogfood with Bush-refugee Michael H. Tencer. He resides in Somers Town, London, with Professor Esther Leslie and their daughter Iris Rosemarine.


Late Lunch With Out To Lunch - Resonance FM, 2005

On 25 May 2005, Andrea Brady was invited to the Resonance studios on Denmark Street as a guest on "Late Lunch With Out To Lunch". She read two of her own poems, listened to Eugene Chadbourne and heard OTL make his archival deposit of "1. Quantity versus Quality," "2. Arranging Archive Items in the Limit Box" and "3. Unravel Shirts with No Remorse". On air, Brady described OTL's reading as "pretty red in tooth and claw", which chuffed him no end.



  • 1-2-3-4 (Leeds: Leeds SWP Roneo, 1980)
  • 28 Sliverfish Macronix (Cambridge: Equipage, 1992)
  • Turnpike Ruler (Cambridge: Equipage, 1994)
  • Benison Fence-Off (Cambridge: Barque, 1999)


  • "Opera Proposal 1990" Equofinality edited by Rod Mengham, John Wilkinson no 4 Spring/Summer 1991
  • "from STACK-LOG" Parataxis edited by Drew Milne no 6 Spring/Summer 1994
  • "Gimmee Gimmee" Punk At The Opera (Cambridge: Ankle, 1994)
  • "Nine To Zero" CCCP Programme 1992 edited by Peter Riley
  • "Sliverfish Macronic 14" In Homage To The Canadian Small Change Association (Toronto: Room 302 Books, 1994) edited by jwcurry
  • "Sun Ra in Zurich" CCCP Programme 1994 edited by Peter Riley
  • "La Boucle est Bouclée", "Guttery Stalemate" Involution edited by A.M. Horne, Matt Thorne, Rebecca Duffy no 2 April 1994
  • "Redited by Book Again (Page One)", "Descension in Walthamstow" Involution edited by A.M. Horne, Rebecca Duffy no 3 April 1995
  • "A Bit Poor", "A Bit Rich" Involution edited by A.M. Horne, Rory Drummond no 4 April 1996
  • "Nine To Zero" Conductors of Chaos: The Picador Anthology of Contemporary Poetry (London: Picador, 1996) edited by Iain Sinclair
  • "Pop Poems for 1993" Parataxis edited by Drew Milne no 9 1996
  • "Roast", "Frost" Loose Watch: Lost And Found Times Anthology (Invisible Books: London, 1998) edited by John M Bennett
  • "Rodefer in Cambridge, or, the Ring of Confidence" Accomplices (Equipage: Cambridge, 2001) edited by Rod Mengham
  • "US Notions" Quic-Lude #2 edited by Sean Bonney April 2003
  • "Fatherhood" Verfassungspatriotisthmus #1 edited by Jow Lindsay, Marianne Morris, Jonathan Stevenson June 2005

Unpublished Masterpieces

  • Blue Book (1980, 180pp continuous text)
  • Green To Grey: A Book Of The Past (1986) (85pp page-poems plus computer-scrap)
  • Pop Poems For 1987 (1987) (32pp poems)
  • STACK-LOG (1988, 80pp poems plus hieroglyphs) [11 appeared in Parataxis 6 [11,13,14,15,16,17,21,26,32,37]; 8 in And 8 [71,72,73,74,78,75,76,77] and 8 in And 10 [63,64,65,66,67,68,69,70]
  • Gimmee Gimmee (1988-1993, 80pp drawings and poems)
  • Vooky Aim A (1989, 119pp continuous text) [Acid House video 1989]
  • Infernel: The Sex/Work Papers (1989, 68pp continuous pornographic text)
  • Ideolaxl: Your Fresh Lunch On The Move (1991, 70pp continuous text)
  • Alan (1991, 80pp page-poems with illustrations)
  • Nine To Zero (1992, 110pp `accordian' linage) [26pp printed in Conductors Of Chaos, performed at Institution of Rot 1996]
  • That Doesn't Lifestyle (1992) (338pp minipages of continuous text)
  • LA (1993, 43pp)
  • SBD: Silent But Deadly (more hoarse hairs from the reductive asshole) (1993, 80pp continuous text)
  • Pop Poems For 1993 (1993, 76pp plus illustrations) [ten printed in Parataxis 9]
  • Unpush Whatsit (1994-1996, 80pp drawings and poems)
  • Thong Rind Songs (2001, 100pp blank verse)
  • Kryatl (2004, 7pp)

Audio Wonderment

  • Simon Fell/Out To Lunch Music For 10(0) (Leo Records, 1995, CD)
  • Derek Bailey 2/28 Sliverfish Macronix (Rectangle Records, 1999, 7" single)
  • Ian Stonehouse Le Tombeau d'Esemplasm (Benison Fence-Off read by Gamma, CD, 2001)
  • Frankfurter Ahnung (Sonic Arts Network, 2005, CD and booklet)

Sample Text

    Toop Wollen


    In brown stain peppermint, my close crush. The knobbly
    chew bar with searing indictment loaded evensong brain script
    famous excessive rebel-without-a-paw soda siphon. Watch tonic
    timeout parabola pinstripe gee-gaw crestfallen. Pry bootcamp.
    Rubbish rubbish pile-up with birdsong cloud fizz, blue feather
    flash hopping up acacia branches. Magpie. Opus face. Crying.
    With seize mould echo in troutbeck it burrows furze on phrases
    pharasee homemaker nontoxic marker cone. Paper-copy-fax
    refillable, breath snort irradium penshift. Loving the knot-knot.
    Heave shine sorry father like crisis ideology and upped water bill
    loaded now in capital upshift try-me delta pick shoe-shine.
    A spin-off band named Defecate with anger aestheticised, bro.
    Hip replacement story story wigwam insouciant snoot emergency.

    Bridgenorth paper weevil woollen at Pentecost nose alone. If this.
    With cupcake beach surrender lassitudes, like Arnold. Prints ether in
    the bar-extension windlass cuckold which doesn't shine. Privy indig.
    Shame mount. Little Garth. Patrick Cockburn on Abu Ghraib, it's
    unworth a mention. Tiny imp obscenities drowned in a woosh of violence
    with tongue-loll of craven wish for tug struggle by the pale loiterer.
    Sunrise saturate beanstalk blender, the starry vault in petard pot call
    black interim knock-out, poetry of truth in voyeur erotics actuality
    hambone joint crack. Admit con, festive frame, clear conch call
    really cut into tiny bits. Which bite and tick you off by the ping clip.
    Fat lash, reaming in the divided cream & Leninist aftertaste shock stick
    pockmarked into counter foil trim trim salmon oil woe-begrease hallowed
    by rhyme-time pining. Wept. Sniffed. Choked on the joke, rapeseed.

    OTL 29-viii-2006


Pretty much under the radar, though Andrew Duncan said some perceptive things in Angel Exhaust #12 and Ian Patterson was flattering in Radical Philosophy #124.

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