Coco The Wonderboy’s House Of Hashtags – Janet Lees – Isle of Man

This poem was inspired by the hashtags used by an Instagram friend, ‘Coco the Wonderboy’, aka Ciaran Cunningham, each of which encapsulates a little story. I chose several of the hashtags and wove them together to make a hashtag poem, which I then turned into a poetry film. I took the central image in the back alleys of Douglas in the Isle of Man where I live. There was a strong sense of longing and poignancy in the hashtag poem, which was complemented in the image of the backs of houses; an overall sense of people being shut in and unable to communicate. At the same time, in the imagination we are able to make anything happen, which is reflected in the three suns that appear one by one, and the wall plant with lightning coming out of its roots. I made the film in May 2020 when Britain was in lockdown. The music is by Jesse Gallagher, ‘The Annunaki Return’, via YouTube Audio Library.

Janet Lees is an artist, poet and poetry filmmaker. Her film-based works have been selected for many festivals and screenings, including the Zebra Poetry Film Festival, the International Videopoetry Festival and the Aesthetica Art Prize. Her art photography has been exhibited around the world, and she represented the Isle of Man at the Festival Interceltique in France, with an exhibition comprising art photography, film and poetry. Janet’s poetry is widely published and anthologised. She has had two books published: ‘House of water’, a collection of her poems and art photographs, and ‘A bag of sky’, the winning collection in the Frosted Fire Firsts prize hosted by the UK’s Cheltenham Poetry Festival. 

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