Google+ A Tangled Rope: 01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009

Friday, January 30, 2009

When Cheese Attacks

But there is no reason whatsoever why one should not start a sentence with the word 'but'. However, it is advisable never to attempt to start a sentence with a hammer, as words are fragile and easily dented.

You may say; 'this is all very well, but what has it to do with cheese?'

Very little, actually.

I'm sorry, I know the article is entitled When Cheese Attacks, but there is a… slight problem. Cheese is, by its very nature, a pacifist. Very few chesses are naturally aggressive - with the obvious exception of Feta, of course - and tend very much to mind their own business, unless severely provoked.

So, despite the title of this article there are very few accounts of out and out cheese aggression in the literature, except - of course - the great Manchester Sage Derby riot of 1847. It is a tale often told, and taking its familiarity to all who even profess the slightest interest in cheese for granted, we can move on to some of the less well documented cases - few that there are - of rampant cheese aggression.

Let us begin with a case recorded back in 1899 when a Stilton ran amok, poisoning seven people in the now infamous Shrewsbury Stilton Slaughtering. The Stilton, which had murdered the people because 'they smelt a bit funny', was caught by the first ever recorded use of a Carrier Hamster to deliver a warrant for the Stilton's arrest while the cheese was still at the port of Dover, attempting to flee the country.

In the late 1950s, gangs of Dutch Edam wandered the streets of London's East end, ostensibly for their own protection from traditional British cheeses upset about the 'waves of Immigrants'. The Conservative politician, Kneejerk Bilefoaming, specifically mentioned them in the now-infamous contemporary speech where he claimed the rivers of Britain will be running with curds and whey if the waves of immigrant cheeses were not curtailed. The resulting tension exploded into in the Edam riots of 1957 when six Edams attack and savagely sliced some Cheshire cheese on its way home from a party.

In 1978 a man, Excrescence Dobbindong, out taking his dog for a walk was savagely beaten by a round of Double Gloucester in need of a fix of 'herbs'.

In 2003 'Red' Leicester was expelled from the Labour party for openly admitting he was a socialist. Three days later at the Labour Party's annual Conference, he attacked Tony Blair with a packet of Cheese Crackers, severely bruising the then Prime Minister's grin.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Lake

The water looked deep and cold, inviting, on such a hot day. She wanted to step out of her dress and wade into the water. She wanted to walk out into the lake until the waters covered her and her hair fanned out on the surface of the lake like some dark-red lily pad. Only when she could hold her breath no longer would she burst out from under the water and start swimming.

She wondered, briefly, what her white body would look like through the distorting refraction of the water as she swam slowly out from the shore. She found that the thought that the edges of her body would become indistinct, wavy, fuzzy and distorted was a kind of comfort to her. She no longer wished to be sharply-defined against the background of the world. She wanted to blend, to merge - not invisible - but to become one with the world she walked through, and not to feel she was joined in battle, in conflict, with it all the time. She was tired of the constant struggle.

She looked down once more at the surface of the lake, sighed and picked up the package - damp from the dew-soaked grass - and turned back to the path without looking back. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Face Of A Morning

The slow beginning of a day and the birdsong grows out of the twilight to bring the sun up to the face of morning. We are here, waiting for the day to begin whilst the rest of the world is sleeping, missing this – the best part of any day.

Maybe that best part is the lack of anything human, though, so maybe if everyone woke up at the crack of dawn then it would, like everything else touch by the heavy human hand, be made bland by overuse. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

That Place

I go back down to that place. It remains the same: the same trees, the same bushes, the same grass and the same old twisting brambles. Of course, over the years - even though it has remained the same – it has changed. The trees, the bushes… everything has grown. That is, except for a small part of it that must have burnt somehow – where the grass is shorter, greener, as though recently shaved for an operation.

Yes, it remains the same place, but it has grown smaller as I have grown taller. What once seemed immense, large enough for all the possibilities of a child’s imagination, now seems far too small to have held within itself so much of my early years.

I hated school. I never seemed to learn the knack of being a sociable person, friends and family were there, but always distant. This tree, at the centre, and all that surrounds it, enclosed in this small piece of waste ground, saw the best times of my childhood. 

Monday, January 26, 2009

Monday Poem: Summoning

[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.]

These poems are also posted to ABCTales.


There's a time for gentle carving,
perhaps in front of the fire
during the long winters,
when the possibility of spring
seems as hollow as a promise
no-one is expected to keep.

A time for more than ritual.

A time that calls for something
far more permanent, more solid
than just a ceremony of words.

Words can conjure demons,
words can draw out ghosts.

But it will take much more than words,
more than gestures and formal arrangements
for spring to listen,
for the ancient mother to hear.

These are stones, carved
by ancient, old fingers.
These are stones of calm purpose.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Shopping Trolleys

Those days are long gone now when the mighty herds of shopping trolleys would sweep majestically across the wipe open plains of the unspoilt car parks of this land. Of course, that was before mankind hunted them almost to extinction, and those few that are left keep huddled together in their special trolley reserves dotted about what mankind has left of those once mighty car parks that legend has it used to stretch as far as the eye could see without a single supermarket or DIY Megasupastore in sight.

Of course, there is occasionally one stray trolley left alone sometimes near the edge of the car park, maybe it is old and its wheels no longer all move in independent and mutually opposing directions any more, maybe it has lost its breeding chain that enables it to mate with the other trolleys. But, for whatever reason, now it is alone and is therefore easy prey to those troglodytes, or even small bands of Studenti - who like to prey on lone shopping trolleys - often subjecting them to several hours of trolley abuse before sacrificing them in mystical midnight ceremonies to the God of the canals.

Of course, mankind has cruelly abused the shopping trolley, using it as a beast of burden, forcing it to spend hours at a time being pushed down endless-seemingly aisles overloaded with shopping. Then - at the check-out - it is cruelly unloaded and re-loaded before heading back out into the car park where it is unloaded yet again before the now severely traumatised trolley is allowed to rejoin the rest of the herd in the trolley sanctuary.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Time And The Sky Revolve Around Us

There are stars beyond the distance of everything we can see. There is nothing out there close to the touch, even though a single hand can blot out the night sky and take all eternity away.

The dawning light can take the worries of the night away too. We can feel the coldness of distance in those dark hours so we make up stories to give us comfort and put ourselves back at the centre of everything.

Time and the sky revolve around us, we can tell ourselves tales to make the sun appear and the winter run away. We can ascribe and see patterns where there is no cause except the push of life to keep on keeping on.

A day begins and later it ends and we remain alone in the darkness once again. It is no wonder we do not want to be alone, that we draw curtains against it. We are frightened of the dark – what it hides and what it reveals.

We create the monsters that haunt our dreams and all the creatures that hide in dark places and in shadows; we bring them out into the night to warn ourselves that the darkness holds all our secrets too. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Think Journal

Two of my poems: In The Name Of Blood and Broken Wing have been published in the Winter 2008 Debut Issue (Volume One Number One) of Think Journal (A Quarterly Review of Fine Literature).

Available from: THINK JOURNAL, P.O. Box 454, Downingtown, PA 19335 (ISSN 1943-1473). $7.00 for a single issue or $20.00 a year (four issues).

I don’t seem to have had much published recently, mainly because I’ve been busy working on other things, but I do expect that to change later this year. So, I hope there will be many more of these posts (under the label Publications) in the future. I will, of course, provide links for anything published that is available on-line.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Monday Poem: Condemned

[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.]

These poems are also posted to ABCTales.


Something moves and something turns
and you will learn the shape of it.
It grows out of the near darkness
and out from the sounds of fear
crawling through these dead streets.

You turn to see, but all there is
are concrete black shadows looming,
and the ringing echo of footsteps.

In your mind, your blood flows
like rain down gutters into drains
and you are left, bare and empty
as one of these gutted buildings
that wait, indifferent and condemned.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Dai Vinci Cold

This weekend sees the worldwide theatrical premiere of this year's most eagerly awaited film - the brand new feature film from Hollywood Historical Pictures, starring Mammary Preponderance and Gravelly Chinstubble, based on the bestselling The Dai Vinci Cold by Don Greene.

The book is a modern publishing phenomenon, selling nearly 12 copies in Droitwich alone.

The Dai Vinci Cold, for those many who couldn't be arsed to read it, concerns the famous painting by the Welsh/Italian Old Master, Dai Vinci - The Last Kebab - depicting the famous incident where The Holy Prophet Nhigel (May his plums dangle mightily) and His Mates are eating the fabled Last Kebabs.

According to the Uttabollux Holy Book, The Ladhifeah, after eating this kebab Nhigel rushed into the toilet and disappeared. Although, sceptics say he disappeared from the (very sketchy) historical record completely after that, the Uttabolluxers claim that Nhigel reappeared to His Mates three days later, looking pale, weak and gaunt, and - after showing his sceptical Mate, Stan, the vomit stains from the dodgy kebab - ascended to heaven in the company of a host of angels.

However, according to Greene's book, Nhigel didn't die at all; instead, he disappeared to avoid paying his outstanding slate down at his local pub. Then - according to Greene - Nhigel married a local girl, known only to historians as Doris the Slapper, eventually moving to somewhere near Pwllheli in Wales, where they raised several children, while Nhigel lived out the rest of his life, eking out a living by hiring out deckchairs to the pre-medieval holidaymakers.

The novel The Dai Vinci Cold therefore claims that the famous blurred patch on Dai Vinci's painting is not - as the Uttabollux theological scholars and historians have always maintained - where the artist sneezed over his painting when he had a bad cold after catching a chill from painting outdoors in the heavy rain of a typical Welsh summer. In fact, Greene maintains - the smudge is an area deliberately obscured on the orders of the then Hibossmahn Dhaftghit (High priest) of the Uttabollux religion - in order to completely obscure Dai Vinci's portrayal of Doris The Slapper sitting on Nhigel's lap, sharing his kebab.

Such a scene would be heretical to any true Uttabollux believer, for not only is Doris not in her cardboard box, but it is also taboo for any Uttabollux woman to watch men, not of her immediate family, masticating.

The Dai Vinci Cold novel - and now, film - shows our hero, Professor Hans Alloverher and his improbably sexy librarian assistant, Mindy Mellowthighs, rushing around such glamorous locations as Tipton, Hull and Carlisle. At each location, they unravel the clues left by the intervening generations of the secret society - The Blokes Down The Pub - who keep the descendents of Nhigel and Doris safe from the fundamentalist Uttabolluxers (The very secretive Opless Diks sect) who have sworn to eradicate all traces of the Nhigel and Doris heresy.

The book, and now the film, have both been roundly condemned by leading Uttabollux scholars as being a travesty of the facts and a complete distortion of their religion that comes close to blasphemy - punishable by death according to the holy tenets laid down in the Uttabollux holy law - The Maidupstuff.

Nohbrahin Re-Actshunahri, the current Hibossmahn Dhaftghit, says that all the claims made in The Dai Vinci Cold are heinous blasphemous lies that deliberately make the Uttabollux religion look bad. He also said, "And consequently the author, Don Greene, as well as all those in his publishing company, the film director, actors and everyone else involved in the making of the film and/or the book should beg and plead for mercy in the name of a kind holy and compassionate Skhighhibhoss (May his plums dangle mightily). Then they should volunteer themselves to be stoned to death in order for them all to see the error of their ways."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

As Though Distance Itself

It is one of those long barren periods where nothing of any real interest happens. It is as if something is happening, but it is happening elsewhere. As though life is lived through rumours and speculation, while what really matters takes place beyond the horizon. You turn to look into the distance as though distance itself will speak to you of what goes on out there, but the horizon is mute, bare. It is a long way away and your life seems even further away, beyond reach, almost beyond understanding.

Mystery is all you have to hang onto, as the world dissolves and reforms around you. Mystery hints at some meaning amongst all these shifting shapes. Mystery gives the illusion of purposefulness, of activity towards some sort of goal, something that will one day untangle before you.

But, now, in the end it is only the mystery that will remain. 

Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday Poem: Empty Hands

[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.]

These poems are also posted to ABCTales.

Empty Hands

What silences can take their shape
through this dull mist of morning rain?

The slow black figures easing past
on through the frosted grass to stand
in stillness, verging on a pit
that leads forever back to now.

The only goods you take with you
on such a journey: threadbare words
and meagre handfuls of dry dust.

No longboat burning out at sea
for challenging the sunset skies.
No use-worn tools or weapons placed.
No swathing or golden sarcophagus.
Just cold brass handles and smooth wood
you never once did get to touch.

Friday, January 09, 2009

The Wombat Tapes Vol. 1

Pretty Wombat - Roy Orbison

Strange Kind of Wombat - Deep Purple

Black Magic Wombat - Fleetwood Mac

Black Country Wombat - Led Zeppelin

Witchy Wombat - The Eagles

I Am a Wombat - Helen Reddy

Wombat - John Lennon

Long Cool Wombat - The Hollies

LA Wombat - The Doors

When a Man Loves a Wombat - Percy Sledge

(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Wombat - Aretha Franklin

Parachute Wombat - Rolling Stones

Hard Headed Wombat - Elvis Presley

I Got A Wombat - Ray Charles

Honky Tonk Wombat - Rolling Stones

Have You Ever Loved a Wombat - Derek and the Dominos

Just Like a Wombat - Bob Dylan

Thursday, January 08, 2009

The shapes Of Things

It comes out of distances. Time and space stretch outwards from the moment in which we stand here and now. Everything always lies just out of reach of outstretched arms.

The fingers can only touch, envision the shape of that one moment that could make us whole, feel complete, feel as though this world has a time and a place where our shapes would fit easily. A place where we could – for once – feel we belong, instead of this awkward world whose corners are always sharp against us, whose corridors are long and dark. The place where we spend endless night times searching for that one open door that will lead us out of this maze of corridors and rooms, out into a world where spring awaits us with its promises. 

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Dark Shadowed Corners

To come out here and say these things is not easy. To speak of things that are usually kept silent is difficult. We speak only of those things that pass easily through our days. We do not speak of those things that lurk in the shadows, over in the corners of the room where we never look.

There are so many things we can say and do to keep our eyes averted from those darker corners. Away from those shadows that shift uneasily whenever we happen to catch them out of the corners of our eyes.

But here is a thing we cannot avoid. Here is something that creeps up, out of the shadows whenever we close our eyes. It sits there in front of us breathing heavily and licking its lips while it flexes its claws. It is waiting there, we know. But whenever we dare open our eyes it is gone, back to its hiding place in the shadows.

We know that one day we will open our eyes and it will be there in front of us. We will no longer be able to pretend it is not there. We will have to face it. We will have to speak of it. 

Monday, January 05, 2009

Monday Poem: Hesitancies of Reason

[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.]

These poems are also posted to ABCTales.

Hesitancies of Reason

A pause between the now, and then.
like these ancient rivers forming slowly.
All the centuries of reaching
desire. A need to hold.

Formations carved by so many seasons
into these shapes
for hands climbing up.
Finding the source
is going beyond a climb.
Even the stars are closer
than the nearest open hand.

Does it make sense?
Or does it all fall, like rain,
flowing water,
weathering these rivers into the stone
to shape these rocks, falls and rapids
we manoeuvre our lives between?

But unquestioning arrogance is hubris.
No god enjoys being taunted
by the proud disdain of his creators
stepping far beyond the bounds
of meek devotion, or fearful love.

But the gods must always die.
The prince becomes the golden king
as the old king fades into death.
Onward, onward.
That is all.
And this,
which you hold in your hand.

A small block of melting ice
running water between fingers.
Just like those hesitancies of reason,
and how we know it all
only far too well
amongst all this talk
of rivers and of seas.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Science And Democracy

It hardly seems fair in this day and age, here at the beginning of the 21st century, that science should be under the control of the self-proclaimed 'scientists'. Did you or I vote for them? Do they allow us any say in what they call 'scientific fact'? Quite simply, it is now obvious that science is not democratic enough.

In an age where not only politicians can be voted in or out of office, and, in the even far more important, and far more real, world of celebrity reality shows, we - the general public - get to vote out those people we find unacceptable. Why shouldn't we do the same with so-called scientific 'theories'?

For example, if there are people who want astrology to be true - and let's face it, we all need help with sorting out our lives and futures - then let's vote on it, rather than letting unelected 'scientists' decide that astrology is moronic nonsense. It may very well be nonsense to rational people, but why should that matter? If it is what the majority of people want, then that is what people should have.

If people prefer to be cured by alternative medicine, such as faith healers, rather than going through the pain and trouble of invasive 'scientific' medical procedures - then we should vote on that too. Whatever gets the most votes should be what the NHS provides for us. After all, we are constantly told that it is our health service, so it should provide the kind of treatments that we want, not what the self-selected 'doctors' proclaim is best for us.

A more democratic science would also help in the case of the conspiracy against so-called 'maverick' scientists. Just because these visionaries come up with ideas not supported by 'evidence', but just because it seems like a good idea at the time, then mainstream 'science' condemns them out of hand.

Not only that, it seems that scientists are trying to create a sort of cartel, heavily prejudiced against those who come up with novel ideas and products. No sooner has some enterprising individual developed a new product or service, than some loud-mouthed scientist scathingly dismisses the idea, claiming there is no 'evidence' to support its efficacy, blithely ignoring the profits that can be made, and the incredible mark-ups that most of these goods and services are able to get away with. Again, proof that scientists are too busy chasing their own agenda, rather than working for the democratic good of us all.

It is surely time that we took scientists down off their self-erected pedestals and made them realise that their so-called expertise doesn't mean that they know any better than the rest of us. Surely, the whole point of a democracy is that no one person's opinion - no matter how well-informed - is better than anyone else's.