Released September 11th 2020


The Prettyboys of Gangster Town by Martin Grey


The Prettyboys of Gangster Town is about the connections we attempt to form with others, from the hopeful to the helpless, and how these relationships change. Martin Grey explores growing up through time, circumstance and by growing out of 'masculinity'.


Author Biography


Martin is an experienced and active Nottingham based poet and event organiser who performs extensively across the Midlands, the Edinburgh Fringe and Berlin, winning the 2018 Southwell Folk Festival Slam.


He has supported several nationally renowned poets, including Jess Green and Dominic Berry.


"Martin makes the ordinary extraordinary, turns the mole hill into the mountain."

- Sophie Sparham, Performance Poet


Sample Poem:



It’s been a bruising time.
A sucker punch of circumstance
that put us way off line
and resigned you to nothing more
than little more to lose.
You paint my good intentions
on the discoloured bags
below our bloodshot eyes,
so when I tell you things get better,
you draw my line
in sand already moistened
by advancing tides.
It’s been a bruising time.
Your flailing fingers flounder
for what you think we need
to punch-drunk repair ourselves.
I tell you things get better,
but it makes you want to claw
at future plans
that ruptured capillaries
with our compassion.
It’s been a bruising time.
It bleeds you almost numb,
but we’re kindred haematomas
who’ll drag each other on.


"The Prettyboys of Gangster Town is an open-hearted, compassionate debut collection from Martin Grey. These poems are wistful, warm and highly emotionally-engaging, articulating the joys and pitfalls of modern life from a number of different perspectives, while always remaining true to Grey’s distinctive poetic style. There are some real gut-punches in this collection too - all life is laid bare with a beautiful eye for the details - but at its heart, this is a book all about empathy."

- Leanne Moden, Poet and Performance


"If there is one central force which pulses through the words of Martin's work, it is love. In spite of life's let downs and losses, love is discovered and cherished on a rite of passage from a grubby nightclub and teenage dreams to handling the daily bewilderments of attempting this thing called adulthood. Get ready for love as big as any astronaut's favourite planet. There is enough love between these pages to start a revolution. These stanzas brim with love for the melody of lyrical language, subtle internal rhyme and imaginative wordplay. This book also enthusiastically explores boy-meets-girl love, without saccharine or cliché, but with genuine openness at the awkwardness and potential highs of trying to navigate an optimistic heart. On top of all of this, you will be subjected to some very important questions, such as 'does anyone like their knee caps' and 'is it OK to dunk a custard cream?' (The answer to the latter is 'No').  A relatable, hope-raising read for both the realist and romantic."

Dominic Berry, winner of Saboteur 2020 Best Spoken Word Artist



The Prettyboys of Gangster Town by Martin Grey