Ian Barker Poetry and Prose



For many years Ian Barker wrote under the pen name of “Alex Sykie” believing that no-one would ever want to listen to any poetry written by someone with such as pedestrian name as “Ian Barker”.  It turned out that quite a lot of people wanted to see and hear poetry by Ian even with the name so he stopped using his pseudonym and began publishing under his true identity.  The text below is the original biography page for the persona “Alex Sykie”.  It is based mostly on the truth of Ian’s biographical details.


Alex Sykie was born in desperate times during the 1970s as a product of the breakdown of the marriage between his grand-parents.

His mother and father, although both male and physically sharing the same body are intellectually very different and have rarely been on speaking terms since the year before they both left school.

Alex has an unusual family pedigree which contributes somewhat to a romanticism which in the past has been found to be very useful to him albeit in a rather unhealthy manner. He is, genetically, an Englishman with Welsh, Irish, Gypsy, Jewish roots but his heart belongs to America. His great-grandfather was a hawker (trans: an itinerant who went from door to door selling goods also known in England, perhaps unkindly, as a “rag and bone man”) who spent virtually all of his life as a bare knuckle boxer and would win what were in his day considerable amounts of money fighting in travelling events like the Appleby Horse Fair. He squandered the only shred of respectability by chance when he lost a modest greengrocer’s shop he owned in a game of cards forcing him to return to his horse and cart plying his trade from street to street.

With this kind of family folklore to prop up the early part of your childhood it’s surprising that, so far, Alex has managed to remain out of prison and away from mental hospital although on some occasions it has been a quite narrow escape.

Intellectually Alex is a pastiche of many cultures and disclaims religious beliefs in favour of a whole world view which is most closely aligned to Buddhism whilst being nothing at all like Buddhism. Put simply; live and let live, do at least one good thing every day – just because you can. Tell no-one you did it.

Worryingly, all of the above autobiography is almost entirely true.

Ian Barker.