is the most famous and most expensive tattoo in Bremen, and you’ll find it on the lower arm of the city’s currently most famous and most expensive son. So when the number of the issue you are holding began etching itself with growing profile into the brain cells of the editors, it became increasingly difficult for two of them not to mention Torsten Frings. Under threat of reprisals, namely the huffily stumping off back to Scotland in kilt, umbrella and psychedelic Wellington boots, a compromise was reached with the third editor that Torst…, that Bremen’s most precious employee should only be mentioned once. And anyway, went the argumentation, we’d already done Marco Bode on the cover of newleaf Seventeen. Added to that is the ephemeral nature of football, so that you may well be reading this at a time when Tor–, when he who shall not be named might either be getting his tattoo dirty at Inter Milan or ending his career back in Aachen. (What’s more, by the time we get to newleaf Thirty-Two, will anyone even remember who Ailton was?)

newleaf has, in the past, plundered English departments at Liverpool, Luton, St Andrews and elsewhere in Britain for its poems and prose, and this time we have spread our net over the Scottish capital, from where we have trawled three beautiful texts from Brian McCabe’s Kreativ Riting group. We look forward to further co-operation and maybe some mutual headhunting.

It’s a pity we exhausted the maritime tropes in last issue’s editorial, for not only Tatjana Pfennig’s seafaring poems but other XXII contributions could well have benefited from allusions to brine, travels and troubled waters. Starting out on the tube in Brixton, readers will have a choice of various genres of public transport, finally only to dip their feet ‘into the sea and/never think of/going home’. Terry McDonagh – back in the newleaf fold after nineteen issues – records a rite of passage from Mayo to the divided Berlin of over twenty years ago; locally headhunted newcomer Steffen Streller will fly us to the moon; and stalwart Silke Hartmann takes us on a bus trip to nowhere. On top of that, you can sniff a tiger, taste salt in the air and clams in garlic, kiss a mouth like a mussel shell, deflower Leonardo da Vinci, find the way in – and the way out.

Finally, we’d like to thank Stefanie Höwel of höwel werbung, Bremen, for letting us use the agency’s hardware, software and coffee to complete the layout.

Wherever you are and wherever you want to go, reach out and

Catch Twenty-Two

Julia Boll, Simon Makhali & Ian Watson, January 2007