Google+ A Tangled Rope: 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007

Monday, May 21, 2007

Monday Poem: Sheets

[Every Monday (until I run out of them), I’m posting a poem of mine that has fallen out from the submission process for some reason. In most cases, it will be one where I’ve received no response to my submission for at well over a year or more. Maybe the magazine I submitted them to has folded, the submission was lost in the post, or whatever. So, these poems can be seen as lost, orphans, of uncertain status, or something like that.]


Such easy days, and the time
drips by, like rain off a leaf.
We stand and laugh,
sit and smile, lie and kiss.
I feel the warm easy pressure
of your skin on my fingertips.

This is no time to worry
or to be concerned about how
the world is the way that it is.
No day to call for the downfall
of the enemies of peace and promise.
We have our own world
and we keep it safe
underneath these sheets.

To do anything otherwise would be
to step out on the cold floor.
We do not want to go naked
out into that darkness.
These sheets are our home
and we turn our backs
on the world, to face each other,
to draw close together.

So all we touch is each other.
All we think of is each other.
Our world becomes simple,
decisions can be made,
actions can be taken.
Shall I touch you there?
Shall I kiss you here?

Outside this bed, the room grows dark
and the rain sheets against the window
showering off the solid glass.
The clouds; ominous, thick and heavy
thundering their storm cannons
across our once clear blue skies.

Outside, the storm begins again.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Monday Poem: Snow Storm

[Every Monday (until I run out of them), I’m posting a poem of mine that has fallen out from the submission process for some reason. In most cases, it will be one where I’ve received no response to my submission for at well over a year or more. Maybe the magazine I submitted them to has folded, the submission was lost in the post, or whatever. So, these poems can be seen as lost, orphans, of uncertain status, or something like that.]

Snow Storm

Here is a moment I found
just for you.
A memory of winter days.
Tip it up and see slow snow falling.

Take this memory that can sit
fragile as a snowflake
in the open palm of one hand.

All the memories,
fading under falling snow
as the world is enclosed, limited.

It is like learning to grow older
taking a small fragment of the world
that can be our to keep,
and learning how to care for it,
to realise about edges, borders, limits.

We let it all fall around us
like slow snow falling,
like a scene held under glass.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

What I Did On My Holidays

Last week, Tory leader David Cameron spent two days in Birmingham with the Rehmans’, at The Grauniad’s Cif site, to which I appended this comment:

Three things need to be done in this situation:

1. Dump the completely misguided, meaningless, stupid and divisive notion of 'race'. Treat all people as they are - equal.

2. Stop the notion of 'multiculturalism' which is just as misguided, meaningless etc. as above. Culture is a process, not a 'thing'. We should be building on the post-Renaissance post-Enlightenment culture that has been so successful for the west, spreading it around the world, and taking on board what those other parts of the world can add to it, as - we well know, it is not perfect. But it is the best (don't be frightened of that word) there is.

3. Only in a truly secular society can people be free to practise whichever - or none - religion they like free from external pressure. That includes school which should be secular too, treating all religions (and none) equally and fairly. But - more importantly - refusing to bow to pressure from ANY religion as to what should be taught, how the pupils should dress and so forth.

‘Race’ as it is currently defined, along with ‘multiculturalism’ are concepts created and defined by the left – both of which concepts (as with most things created and defined by the left) are seriously flawed (by way of example: the ‘race’ notion struggles with the notion of the ‘mixed-race’ person, and multiculturalism cannot cope with a collision of cultures). Both concepts – along with many other concepts based ultimately on Marxist etc analysis – have proved unable to cope with modern complexity and should therefore be dumped, even if it means a massive loss of jobs in the race-relations industry and allied trades.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Hail Fellow!

Back when I was a smoker, I used to jump on - with delight and relief - any piece of news that suggested that smoking wasn’t so bad after all; such as the notion it may delay diseases like Alzheimer’s and so on. At the same time, I was also attempting to convince myself that all the negative evidence about the many dangers of smoking was being overstated for some reason.

I was reminded about this when reading about the ‘fellow travellers’ who made excuses and gave feeble explanations when communism failed to live up to its ideals as the worker’s paradise. It seems that people do have a propensity to want to continue believe, despite the contrary evidence that confronts them. This, I suppose, also explains why people turn to religion in the teeth of natural disasters and other misfortunes. At such times, logic would suggest that such things and events disprove the very religious force that these people are looking to for protection and so forth.

All of which, I think goes towards making some sense of the subject of this pretty good article by

Monday, May 07, 2007

Notes and Comments: 07/05/2007

Roy Hattersley on TV ads in The Guardian. To which I add this comment:
It is my firm belief that TV ads are the prime cause of obesity. This is because they are so bad, annoying, irritating or (usually car or perfume ads) incomprehensible they force you to flee the room for the duration of the break. This usually means a visit to the cupboard or the fridge with the - unless you are a sensible eater as I aspire to be - the inevitable consequences.

The Big White Lie, is a rather good examination of the doublethink that is necessary for the left mindset. I think that it may have something to do with the utopianism that underlies left thinking where it becomes necessary for you to convince yourself that what you desire is better than what is, even when the evidence suggests it isn’t.

Monday Poem: A Ghost Song

[Every Monday (until I run out of them), I’m posting a poem of mine that has fallen out from the submission process for some reason. In most cases, it will be one where I’ve received no response to my submission for at well over a year or more. Maybe the magazine I submitted them to has folded, the submission was lost in the post, or whatever. So, these poems can be seen as lost, orphans, of uncertain status, or something like that.]

A Ghost Song

Days are like wind chimes
floating on the breeze.
So much that is forgotten
is forgotten.
So much that is remembered
haunts this waking dream.

This is all that was ever offered
meagre and bare
a few small moments
made precious
by careful considered memory.

Go now and this will remain
as shapes
left to gather dust,
a room no-one enters.
A door always closed
curtains drawn.

Draped dust sheets turn
furniture into ghosts
what was once a living room.

So this becomes a tune
played in an empty room
only the dust ever dances
only air moves
sound fades like the memory
of fingers brushing keys
before the plain white sheet
shrouded the piano.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Hatful Of Hollow

What are your favourite songs by the Smiths?

Being in my mid-twenties when the Smiths came along I was beginning to think I was getting too old for rock music. But they did go some way towards restoring my faith in the business - for a while. Back then I would have happily spent most of the evening arguing with you about which tracks ought to be on this list.

But now, these days, I can't stand listening to them at all and the more the media go on about the various 'anniversaries' of punk and post punk, the less interesting it gets.

It's over and gone. You - and I - are too old and nostalgia is a terribly sad disease and wallowing in it just makes it far worse.

Anyway, one day you are just going to have to face it, John Travolta's white suit had far more influence than punk, 'new wave', 'indie' and all that put together.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Notes and Comments: 05/05/2007

Excellent analysis, using the published biographies, of what the phenomenon called Tony Blair actually might be. It seems that what defines him may very well be his religion, which is probably why I’ve found him deeply distasteful from the very beginning. Man without a shadow.

A rather disturbing tale of the way that film makers, toy makers, junk food companies and so on are all working together. Another disturbing thing I find in Toy Story in The Grauniad is this:

"It would have been a dream," a Hasbro spokesperson says, had it been possible to make a live-action Transformers movie years ago, when the original hardcore fanbase - now 25 to 35 years old - was the right age to flock to cinemas and toy shops. As it is, the nostalgia factor should bring some of those original fans into cinemas….

I find it more than disturbing to think that people (male, most likely) of the 25-35 age-group would still be interested in the toys of their childhood enough to get involved in all this. But these days, it seems, people just do not grow up and wallowing in nostalgia for a childhood they never seem to want to leave is seen as something… well… ordinary, not pathologically disturbing.

Back in the early Stone Age, I used to have a Walkman. I stopped using it because I didn’t like the way it insulated me from my surroundings, took me out of the world around me and made me oblivious. I now have a – quite new – MP3 player, but I only use it for listening to audiobooks and – my great love – Shakespeare plays, which don’t tend to cocoon me in the same way that the constant music did. Anyway, it has stopped me becoming quite this sad and desperate.

My comment on this:

Quite simply political parties should be solely financed by membership fees alone. No state funding, no 'donations', nothing else at all. Furthermore, those membership fees should be fixed at such a rate that all in the party pay the same from the lowliest envelope-stuffer right up to the party leader and the millionaire 'philanthropist' (This may have to be capped by law to prevent shenanigans).

So then the parties will - if they want to survive - have to concentrate on building up a solid mass-membership and being responsive to the demands of that membership in order to still receive the funding from those members.

Not only will this approach 'reconnect' the parties to the electorate and reinvigorate their moribund states, it will also reduce the influence of those who currently control the party purse strings and reduce the power of lobbyists.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Groovy Times

Yet another of my comments on yet another Grauniad CiF article. Basic civility is about social solidarity

To say that this… well… to put it simply ‘good manners’ thing is the natural preserve of the left is just plain silly. If anything, it must be a Conservative thing, it is – after all – a conservative thing. (Although, you can make a good argument that Thatcher was not Conservative in the same way that Blair is not Labour, but that is by the by.)

As someone (redsquare) has already mentioned in the comments, this current incivility can be traced back to the ‘generation gap’ of the 50s and 60s, where it was all cool and groovy to attack the squares (daddy-o) for their bourgeois attitudes. What is interesting is how quickly this contrarian stance was taken up by first the universities (cf. The History Man – Malcolm Bradbury) and then through their influence out into the media (first the BBC and The Guardian mainly) and then onward and outward into the wider society. The key indicator is how all this talk of – and belief in the overriding importance of - ‘my rights’ has spread right down to the very lowest sections of society.

Of course, there were some good things that came from this ‘revolution’; but even there, there are still problems that a more gradualist approach rather than this rabid iconoclasm would have possibly resolved more satisfactorily. For example, it would have been better to drop the outmoded notion of ‘race’ rather than institutionalising it and the conflict between women as mothers and women with careers is still a mess that satisfies no-one.

So, really if anything ‘the left’ as it were is really the one to blame for this state of affairs, especially that part of the left that used to like to see itself as ‘progressive’, challenging the bourgeois conventions, destroying outdated modes and concepts and all that.

So, unsurprisingly for a CiF article the truth seems to be almost the exact opposite of that claimed in the article. So it goes.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Notes and Comments: 01/05/2007

let us just be clear that if you are to lecture the British people on our shared history of freedom, you must at the same time support the principles of liberty in your programme of legislation.’

Henry Porter on his usual good form at the Guardian’s CiF.

Legacy Issues

Not made for these times is a Guardian CiF piece by John Harris on what I suppose we could laughingly call ‘The Blair Legacy’.

He says:

Blairism, it has always struck me, was an essentially iconoclastic creed, founded in the brief era of innocence that followed the fall of communism and chiefly defined by what it was not: Old Labour, leftwing, anti-American, pro-trade-union, you name it.

However, I think ‘The 'Winter of Discontent' is where it all started, if only we had realised. That showed - for sake of simplicity I'll call it – ‘the Left’ that their idea (for simplicity's sake) of a government-planned top-down economy did not work. This was further proved, and emphasised, by the collapse of communism and so on. I suppose the only credit that Blair and his cronies can fairly claim is that they saw and understood this.

However, they still believed in that other central plank of left idealism, the top-down government-planned (again, for simplicity's sake) engineering of the social system. This they tried to nail onto a more workable freer economic system than the left-inspired one that had failed before and which led to the break-up of the post-war consensus under Thatcher.

Now this 'social-justice' notion has failed just as spectacularly as the economic one. Despite all the promises, despite all the money, despite all the promised Brave New Worlds, everyone (except the New Laborg collective and their fellow-travellers) realises that it has all gone horribly wrong.

It is this total failure of the other (and only other remaining) main plank of left ideology that is the reason for the collapse of Labour support and - if you like - goodwill amongst the general population. They will not easily be forgiven for this, just as they were not forgiven at the end of the 70s.

The Iraq war too can also be seen – in one sense - as a failure of the scrag-end of the 'ethical foreign policy' (remember that?) that didn't even survive its first contact with the reality of realpolitik. The mess that has come after the great PR show of the ‘end of the war’ victory has – though – become a kind of metaphor for, a symbol of, Labour’s collapse. A collapse into a total inability to not only sort out the mess they have made in this country, but even to really comprehend the scale of what has gone, and what continues to go, wrong with all their policies.

So, whoever is Brown’s successor will have to find some social-policy equivalent of the economic ‘Clause 4’ moment in order to begin to lead Labour out of yet another period in the wilderness. That is if the party really will want to survive with its total economic and social philosophies gone, after all it did come very close to dying in the heyday of the SDP when its economic ideas turned out to be bankrupt.