Google+ A Tangled Rope: 06/01/2010 - 07/01/2010

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

One Of The Founders Of The Uttabollux Religion


Patriarch Pointee El-Bow was not only one of the founders of the Uttabollux religion, he was one of the first to put the Stories of the Prophet Nhigel (MHPDM) and His Mates into the codified form we know them today, where they make up the majority of the second section of the Uttabollux Holy book, The Ladhifeah, the parts now known as The GhoodBhits.

The GhoodBhits are a collection of five accounts of the birth, life and death of the Prophet Nhigel (MHPDM) and they are – as all religious holy books should be – completely contradictory and bear absolutely no resemblance to any of the actual historical records of the period.

For example, only the GhoodBhits of Pointee El-bow and Tripemonger Lowe Al-Cohol feature the story of Nhigel’s (MHPDM) birth that has come to be known as the Uttabollux nativity, and even they contradict each other in many of the details, especially in the rather knowing tone adopted by Lowe Al-Cohol when he discusses Nhigel’s mother, Paula, and her alleged ‘virginity’ at the time of Nhigel’s birth, as well as her claims about just who the father actually was. This is especially problematic when Pointee El-bow points out that what the ‘virgin’ Paula described as the host of angels that she allegedly met in the alley behind a nightclub, who told her she was to give birth to the Holy prophet Nhigel, seemed to bear an uncanny resemblance to the first eleven of the local Premier League football team.

Despite this, and many other discrepancies strict Uttabolluxers are convinced that the Ladhifeah, and – especially – The GhoodBhits are without a doubt the actual creation of the Skhighhibhoss himself and thus anyone questioning their veracity should be shown the infinite mercy of the Skhighhibhoss himself by being immediately stones to death.

This has – of course – made theological debate around the Uttabollux religion rather limited, brief, and often quite bloody. Even, in some cases, leading to all-out war between various Uttabollux sects that last until one or other – and sometimes both – of the competing sects are completely wiped out and theological orthodoxy is thus re-established.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Creation Myths Of The Modern Tribes – Part One


Of course, the familiar story of the creation given in the Bible is not the only creation myth in existence. Most, if not all, human societies, civilisations and tribes have their own creation myths. Here, by way of example, are a few creation myths from some of the more modern human tribes still in existence.

Firstly, there is the creation myth of the Office Worker tribe where the Great Cosmic Canteen Manageress pushes her Sky Tea-Trolley (the Moon) across the sky each night, while the Earth secretary is impregnated by the Office Sundries Sales Rep of the daytime (The Sun) in the back seat of his company Ford Mondeo in order to bring about the tea-break of the Gods.

Whereas, in the creation myth of the Estate Agents, the sun and moon perform a loft conversion in the heavens which gives birth to the first tribe of Estate Agents who wander the earth in search of desirable properties, putting a sign in the front garden of each one as an offering to the angry gods who manipulate property prices, seemingly at a whim, thus causing much consternation in the tribes of the Estate Agents when they meet each evening to worship their bank balances in their Holy Wine Bars.

In the creation myth of the Builders tribe, the goddess Moon was walking down the street just as the Sun God was making good his newly created world, clearing up a damp patch where the Atlantic Ocean had leaked all over what is now modern-day Portugal, when he noticed the Moon Goddess passing below, clearly impressed by the virility of the arse crack he had on display and responding eagerly in the affirmative when he cried out a request for her to let him ‘Give You one, darling’. Thus was the tribe of builders created into being.

There are many other such creation myths, such as the creation myth of the Hairstylists tribe where the universe was created when a client god of the great universal hairstylist needed somewhere unspoilt for the holiday of a lifetime, there is also the creation myth of the great Accountancy tribe where the universe comes into being as a legitimate claim for expenses, which will be covered in Part Two of this article, sometime in the near future.

Monday, June 28, 2010

A 1960s Love Affair


Poodlebrain Hippy-Hippyshake was one of the darlings of the swinging sixties. She was most famous for hanging around on Mediterranean beaches with her top off whilst in the company of various members of some of the hippest bands of the 60s, such as the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Nigel and the Rockin’ Cost Accountants, Brian’s Cheese Event Collective, but most famous of all, the legendary Orange Nipple.

Poodlebrain first met the genius behind Orange Nipple, Strum Outtolunch whilst sharing a lilo with Keith Richards on the beach at Juan-le-pins. Outtolunch was building a sandcastle just yards down the beach, but such was his drug-addled state at the time, he was trying to build it out of a round of Brie Paul McCartney had bought down to the beach to nibble on whilst writing songs that would latter appear on the Sergeant Pepper album.

It was lust at first sight for Poodlebrain. Outtolunch had the then highly-wasted look that suited the young back in those days, and there was – as Poodlebrain later said – about the way he started off towards the horizon drooling slightly and humming to himself that made her incredibly horny.

Unfortunately just a mere 3 weeks after they became an item, Outtolunch, after an overdose of acid-spike fruit pastilles began to believe he was a guillemot and tragically fell to his death from a cliff where he was trying to build a nest for himself and Poodlebrain to raise their young.

After a brief fling with Gram Parsons at a desert motel just off the M6, Poodlebrain became involved with a sect of accountants and began to experiment with double-entry bookkeeping, despite being warned of its dangers by Mick Jagger himself.

Despite the warnings from Jagger and the attempts by Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce to get her to become a groupie for Cream, Poodlebrain became infatuated with accountancy and even began to dabble in the seedy underground world of Business Studies.

Little was heard of Poodlebrain during the whole of the 1970s. Many just assumed that she had overdosed on invoice reconciliation, or had audited one too many dodgy expense claim, like so many of the beautiful people who have turned their backs on drugs, sex, peace and love to become respectable business people.

Then, in the late 1980s Poodlebrain Hippy-Hippyshake reappeared on the scene as head of the largest record company in America, just in time to make sure that the company earned itself record profits just as the CR boom took off. Unfortunately, though, in an attempt to recapture that heady thrill and excitement that accountancy first brought her, Hippy-Hippyshake became a massive user of cheeseburgers, until one tragic night in 1992 when – after a double-triple Whopper with extra extra cheese and Cardiac-Attack™ Sauce – she exploded, showering a significant portion of Manhattan in semi-digested cheese and fragments of aging business-suited former hippy.

Scientists Warn: Blair Portal Closing


Scientists, earlier today, confirmed that the wormhole in space that allowed Tony Blair to appear in this dimension of reality is beginning to close. Tony Blair’s once supposedly unassailable reputation as a pretty straight kind of guy’, did somewhat begin to falter when it was revealed that he was, in fact, an intergalactic con-man from an alternate dimension of the universe, and that he had set up the New Laborg Collective, from the remains of the moribund Labour Party, as a way of becoming first ruler of the Earth, and then - if he could get the backing of the UN, Emperor of the Universe and Lord of all Space and Time, ably assisted by his faithful henchman, the Dark Lord of Foy.

There was a time when it seemed Blair and his mighty Laborg Collective would rule forever, especially after his easy defeats of the Mekon, the Silent One and the Creature of the Night.

However, Flash Gordon from within the Laborg Collective eventually, after years of subterfuge and traitorous undermining of the Blair leadership, assumed control of the Laborg Collective just as the whole thing began to unravel when its internal socialistic underpinnings once more came into conflict with the laws of the universe.

As once scientist said:

If you take on the laws of the universe like that, then only one of you will be going home in an ambulance, and it won’t be the universe. That is a genuine scientific fact.

As far as scientist can tell, the wormhole that allowed the Blair entity to enter our universe links to an alternative dimension where the principles and philosophy of the political Left are not in direct contradiction with the laws of reality, as they are in this universe.

As a leading theoretical physicist explained:

In an infinite universe everything must be possible, even something as seemingly self-contradictory as left-wing ideology must – somewhere in the universe – be able to work, unlikely as that sounds. The Blair entity, as we came to know this being, must be from there.

Scientists believe that once the wormhole closes, the Blair entity will be sucked back into his own dimension – whether or not all his money and the alien being he calls his ‘wife’ will follow him back is – at the moment – causing some controversy amongst theoretical physicists, with some saying that if Cherie Blair does not go with him, then some way must be found of forcing her hack to her own dimension, possibly using an adaptation of the Large Hadron Collider to make it so.

However, scientists are confident that once the Blair entity returns to its own dimension, the perversion of reality that became known as the New Laborg Collective should fade quickly out of existence too, even in the far North where it grew strong and powerful ‘more powerful than you could possibly imagine’ as the Dark Lord of Foy once said, back in the heyday of the New Laborg Collective.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Paper Boats


What can be made from these moments? We have held each of these moments in our hands before gently placing each one down on the slowly flowing river of time and watched each one sail off down the river of memory; leaving us on the shore of now, watching as each one fades from sight as it makes its way down towards the sea of forgetfulness, to be swept away by the tides of history.

There are times when it is possible to believe that you could be the one who places some rock of importance in the river of time that the river will have to flow around; something caught in the river of time that everyone will know, see and have to acknowledge. The more you walk these riverbanks though, the more you realise how few of those rocks and stones there are, and how the river flows on, no matter who or what tries to divert it from its course.

There comes a time when you realise that you are not one of those whose achievements will break the surface of the river of time like those rocks placed there by people of genius, wisdom, or understanding, or those that attempted to dam or divert the river to bring about some new time of their own.

No, you are just here on the bank placing one small paper boat after another into the streaming time, watching as each one disappears around the bend of the river never to be seen again.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thursday Poem: The Cost Of Forgetting


The Cost Of Forgetting

(8-Line Ballade)

Until these moments break and fall
We can never allow the day
To turn around to face and call
Us out to speak, or then to say
A word or more against the way
The time is found and then it’s lost
Unless we can recall, we may
Forget and then we pay the cost.

The cost of not knowing at all,
Remembering, not the decay,
The loss of all we can recall
Of days we spent across the bay
To watch the sun descend and fall
Into the darkness, night, and lost.
Reminder of our own downfall
Forget and then we pay the cost.

Each day will bring a new pitfall
On every road you make your way
Towards a knowledge of it all
And how each moment makes a day
Around itself, and grows to stay,
A memory of times you crossed
From living here, to break away.
Forget and then we pay the cost.

Just forget all these games we play,
But then remember what is lost
Always, when you and I will say:
‘Forget and then we pay the cost.’

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Fastest Jelly Baby Diversity Co-Ordinator In The West (Midlands)


Plectrum Bivalve once seemed destined for no great things until one day when she found herself working part-time as a jelly baby diversity co-ordinator in the darkest depths of the Tipton urban jungle where the jelly babies were sold loose, running wild and free with little concern as to whether there were equal numbers of the different colours adequately represented in each individual weighing, unlike the more regulated pre-packed jelly babies that were a familiar – and no doubt reassuring – feature of everyone else’s retail experience.

But such was the anarchic nature of Tipton, home of the pork scratching and all the lawlessness that that entailed, as a frontier boom town where the men were men and the women were sometimes men too, especially in the darker and more secluded canal-side regions.

Others had come before Bivalve to try to bring law and order to the Tipton jelly baby racket, but they had all come to a very sticky end – which is often the case with jelly babies – but Bivalve knew she was different…

The leader of the gang that controlled the unregulated jelly baby racket was one Isosceles Hypotenuse, a notoriously villainous sweet shop magnate with the fastest sweet-weighing scales in the West Midlands, and – it was rumoured - an ability to twist the top of those little paper sweetie bags shut with either his left or right hand, and often both together. It was said he could guess which sweets – and, uncannily, in what amounts - a person would request from just the way they walked into his sweet shop.

Everyone said Bivalve was a fool to go up against Hypotenuse, especially when it was rumoured that Jelly Baby Diversity Co-ordinators would be amongst the first to go under the new government’s cost cutting measures, but Bivalve believed in justice and the equitable distribution of colours and flavours in everyone’s jelly baby-eating experience, regardless of social status or educational attainment.

It was high noon when Bivalve set off down the street towards Hypotenuse’s sweet shop. The street was deserted (well, it was Tipton and the pubs were open) as she walked down along the pavement, her jelly baby co-ordinating spurs chinking with each step.

She paused at the door to the Sweet Shop, hearing the doors and windows of the nearby buildings slamming shut all around her. Bivalve swallowed and pushed the door open, flinching as the bell rang.

‘Yes? Can I help you?’ Hypotenuse said warily, his hands hovering over his weighting scales.

Bivalve looked him in the eye, unblinking. ‘I’d like a quarter of jelly babies please.’

The other customers in the shop all took a rapid intake of breath and began to back away from the counter, their eyes nervously flicking from Bivalve to Hypotenuse and back again.

Slowly, carefully, while never taking his eyes from Bivalve’s, Hypotenuse reached for the jar of jelly babies from the counter. Slowly he shook out the required amount into the pan on his scales.

Before Hypotenuse could reach for his paper sweetie bags, in a move faster than the eye could see, Bivalve whipped out her clipboard.

‘Hold it right there,’ she said. ‘This pen is full of ink and I’m quite prepared to fill out the Any Other Comments box on this form if you make any sudden movements. Back away from the scales… and remember I’m quite prepared to write something down.’

With the sweat pouring down his face, Hypotenuse looked around at the other customers in his shop, but they were all suddenly very interested in the jars of sweet he kept on the top shelf for his special customers, and none of them would meet his eye. He gulped, raised his hands and backed away from the scales until his back was pressed up against a box of liquorice laces.

Watching Hypotenuse for any sudden movements, Bivalve stepped up to the scales, and began to check the jelly babies slowly and carefully, one by one.

The whole shop was silent, no one dared move or even breathe too much as Bivalve checked the jelly babies.

Eventually she stopped, made several entries on her clipboard and looked up at Hypotenuse, who seemed to wilt under her steely gaze.

‘You do realise that – contrary to the legislation passed by the previous Labour Government – you have attempted to sell me a quarter of jelly babies that do not meet the equality guidelines set out in that legislation? For example, there are seven yellow jelly babies, four green ones, twelve black ones, but only three red ones.’ She sighed and poured the jelly babies from the scales into an evidence bag along with the sheet from her clipboard. ‘I’m going to have to ask you to accompany me to the re-education facility.’

‘It’s a fair cop,’ Hypotenuse said, holding out his hands for Bivalve to cuff him. ‘But I blame the recession, which started in America.’

Bivalve smiled for the first time since entering the shop. ‘Nice try, Hypotenuse, but that sort of excuse won’t work, not with this new government. You’re nicked, sonny.’

Call For Trans-Fats Ban

NICE the NHS watchdog has called for so-called trans-fats to be outlawed, which has caused outrage in the trans-fat community.

Trans-fats are a group of people who - like transsexuals – feel like they have been born into the wrong body. In the case of trans-fats however, it is not the case that they feel they are the wrong sex, instead they feel they are not fat enough for the ideal body shape they would be most comfortable with, despite all the pies they eat.
As one trans-fat suffer, Vicky, from Bradford said:
I eat 20 pies for breakfast, for my mid-morning snack, my lunch, my afternoon snack, my tea, my dinner and my supper and I’m still only 32 stones. I should have a body of a much fatter person. I’m still as thin as Twiggy, despite the fact that last time I went to the seaside I was harpooned by a Japanese whaling ship.
Another trans-fat suffer, Wayne, interviewed while gnawing through a cow in his doctor’s waiting room said:
It is not easy trying to live in the wrong body for your size. Do you know how hard it is to get full-cream cakes on the NHS? I tried getting a job at Greggs, you know, but they threw me out after I eat half the stock in seven minutes. I have to hire a crane every time I want to take my shirt off, but do the Social offer to help pay for that…? Do they buggery.
I don’t know how long I can carry on living this lie, living in a body like Peter Crouch’s. I would go home and kill myself, end it all, but every time I try I get wedged in the door and the fire brigade have refused to come and pry me free ever again. They say they used up their entire year’s budget buying lard to grease me up last time I wanted to go down the chip shop and got wedged in the doorway.

Government Announce Shock Pre-Budget Cut


In a sudden shock pre-budget announcement the coalition government of the UK has announced a public service cut that has outraged the Labour opposition. The Chancellor of the Exchequer this morning announced that the coalition is to close down the Labour government’s flagship Walls database in order to save the several billion pounds it costs to run each year.

The Walls database was set up by the then chancellor Gordon Brown at an estimated cost of £17 billion, with running costs expected to be in the region of £8 billion a year, in order to catalogue every wall in the UK. The database was to contain the exact dimensions of every wall throughout the UK from the smallest dry wall around the smallest field in Yorkshire right up to the tallest buildings in London, with the position of each wall precisely located using satellite tracking. Then, using a complex formula invented by Gordon Brown himself, the database was meant to calculate from these details about the wall, precisely how much of the tax payer’s money the Labour government could then piss up it.

In a reaction to the coalition chancellor’s shock announcement, a stunned Labour Treasury spokesman said:

This is just typical of the Evil Tories and their yellow running dog Lib-Dem stooges. It is the duty of every government to take as much money as it can off the population in order to make sure that it pisses it away up as many walls as it can. I suppose destroying the database will enable the Evil Tories to piss it all up their rich city friend’s walls instead.

However, a spokeswoman for the coalition government’s Treasury Department said:

Just why the last government need this expensive, pointless and intrusive database we have absolutely no idea. Not only was it a massive waste of tax-payer’s money, it was just bureaucracy gone mad. Just why they felt the need to have a database of every wall in the country we have no idea, unless it was to further intrude into the day-to-day lives of ordinary citizens in a way we haven’t thought of yet.

Anyway, why they should want such a database when every previous Labour government in history has always managed to find more than enough walls to piss tax payer’s money up without a database like this we just don’t understand.

However, one leftwing Labour MP said:

This is a sad day, a very sad day. A massive disaster for this country that is bound to prolong this recession bought about by the failures of capitalism to make enough money for the Labour government to keep taking most of it off them. Without this database we will no longer be able to achieve social justice in this country.

For while there are some people who have big walls, and some people who have small walls, and even some people who have no walls at all true equality will never be achieved. We need a single standard official government-approved and authorised wall for every citizen in the UK, no matter how rich or poor and the government of the day should piss an equal amount of tax payer’s money away up each one. Only then will we be able to say we live in an equal, socially-just country.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Socio-Historical Importance Of Celery

Sometimes there is all the celery a man and/or woman could desire, stretching out across the great open plains of the kitchen, other times there is none. It is therefore a somewhat profound metaphor for the human condition. Sometimes our lives have too much celery, other times not enough or even none at all.

Now, in a funny way, that would remind someone on R4’s Thought for the Day about something Jesus said when he and the disciples were out shopping in their local supermarket, perhaps something like the Parable of the Two for the Price of One Offers, or the Parable of the Checkout Queue.

However, that is religion and we are grown-ups here, having no need for such fairy tales. Instead we will speak of the social forces that create the demand for celery and the political systems that have brought bout the time of plentiful celery we now live in, and what causes the great Welsh Celery Famine of the early 1800s and so on and so forth. Those on the left will call for greater redistribution of celery on a more equitable basis, and we of the more considered views will smile indulgently at their somewhat endearing naivety.

Then we will talk of the great role celery has played thought the history of mankind in science, art and culture, and how Newton, Shakespeare, Mozart and Einstein would not have been the towering figures in our civilisation without their almost instinctive understanding of celery.

Then, maybe, just maybe, you will look up, look me in the eye and say – with profound sincerity: ‘Just shut the fuck up about the celery, ok?’

Monday Poem: Heatwave



(Terza Rima)

She pours the coldest waters over heat,
Her head of summer, heavy, languid thought,
A cooling of all desire, bittersweet.

The weight of summer’s long and hot onslaught
Is taken by water, bringing dreams of snow
And winter white, the mountains, afterthought

Of breezes, fresher air and falling snow
Through dreaming into night and peace at last.
A certain place there, only she can know.

She walks those streets of dreaming. Nights so vast
That distance falls across the night before
She feels the heat despite the shadows cast

Across her path, towards the house and door
Still locked to bar that life she lived before.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Days Of Exploration


Instance Banjoweasel became an official government experimental parachute testing operative at the age of 27, after failing in her attempt to be the first person to circumnavigate the globe on a steam-powered sofa, using the very tricky north-west Tipton route that so many previous explorers, especially those utilising furnishings as their preferred mode of transport, had thus far failed to do.

Banjoweasel had hoped to be the first great Victorian female explorer to using items of furniture to travel the globe. Even in those early days of exploration the general public were getting tired of trying to summon up any great interest in people who felt an urgent need to go around the world, or deep into some unexplored country, for no adequately defined reason. Consequently the sponsors of such trips became keen that the putative explorers – very much like today – had some sort of gimmick that would lure the punters in.

So, instead of going down in the history books as a great Victorian female explorer Banjoweasel went down – rather more rapidly than is usually recommended – and ended her days as a rather flat, and somewhat bloody, stain next to an unopened experimental parachute on one of the more pointier bits of Snowdonia.

However, not all Victorian furniture-utilising explorers were so universally forgotten. For example, it was only after Wainscoting & Sons, Cabinet Makers to the Gentry experienced massive increases in sales when Canoe Trailblazer became the first person to travel up the Amazon using a teak writing desk that furniture-based exploration really took off with scores of other furniture makers keen to get their particular furniture associated with some feat of exploration.

Also, everyone remembers, somewhat vaguely it is true, the attempt by Wales of the Arctic to attempt to sail the Northwest Passage on a wardrobe, which tragically sank when he opened both its doors in the middle of a storm in order to change his wave-moistened trousers. Every school-age learning unit can also recall Dr Deadrock the African explorer, who went off in search of the source of the Nile using only a dining room table, and his subsequent infamous meeting with a man called Steve who had set off to find Dr Deadrock and deliver vital supplies of furniture polish deep into unexplored Africa.

It was, however, a short-lived fad, especially when it became apparent that English domestic furniture could not stand up to the extremes of temperature, climate and rough usage of an expedition into uncharted areas. This was especially true when Hamstrung Poodlechin lost both drawer handles from his exploration sideboard deep in the Congo and survived only by hand carving cutlery out of tree branches to refill his dangerously depleted cutlery drawer until he was able to reach the relative civilisation of a Norwegian Missionary hospital where he was generously provided with just enough furniture polish to give his sideboard the gleaming finish it so desperately needed before he returned home a defeated man, thus helping to bring about the end of the domestic furniture-based days of exploration.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thursday Poem: I Am Not The Sun


I Am Not The Sun

I am not the sun
Even if you are the moon.
My meagre light is not enough
To illuminate the face
You show to the world.

I am not the sun
So, this one simple flame
That stutters, that flickers,
As I try to hold it all together
Could never be enough
To illuminate all of you.

Even if you are the moon
You dance out of reach
Of all the arms stretching out
To take you, pull you down
To crush you against mountains
Or drown you in their seas.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Celebrity Kneecap Index


Nigel 'Stoathoarder' Sequinhammock was - as we all know - the instigator of the Celebrity Kneecap obsession that is currently transfixing the whole nation. It is, undoubtedly, the first big nationwide craze since people thought that tediously arranging numbers in a grid made you look a bit clever, or that sending drunken out of focus phone pics of your own genitalia was a sure-fire way of impressing members of the opposite sex.

Sequinhammock's Celebrity Kneecap Index first began as a website created when Sequinhammock had, in a spare moment away from his hectic career teaching garden snails how to hang-glide (as a major part of a Inner-City Regeneration scheme set up by the former Labour Government), created a complex formula to rank celebrities according to how interesting their kneecaps seem to ordinary members of the public.

There is nothing the general public enjoys more - apart from the more unlikely sexual shenanigans of otherwise seemingly terminally-dull politicians - than arguing over otherwise pointless lists and rankings. So, consequently, Sequinhammock's catchily-entitled Celebrity Kneecap Index shot to the top of every web popularity chart as people flocked to see which celebrities have the most interesting kneecaps.

The website became so popular that even newspaper opinion columnists began to notice it and hurried to leap on the bandwagon. Some wrote articles in support of the concept, wondering why this vital subject of how interesting celebrity kneecaps were had been kept from the public for so long (maybe, some columnists hinted darkly, there was the whiff of scandal or conspiracy about the secrecy that once surrounded the whole issue of celebrity leg joints.)

Other columnists wasted no time in condemning it as yet another manifestation of the trivia-obsessions that debase our popular culture. The more experienced columnists took pains to be even handed about the whole phenomenon, as they bided their time - of course - in order to see if celebrity kneecap ranking would become just fashionable enough for them, but not too fashionable, and therefore much too vulgar, to associate themselves with.

Sequinhammock himself, however, last week sold his last remaining stake in the Celebrity Kneecap Index for a reported £30,000,000.37p to a major media conglomerate. He has refused to say what his next venture will be, and only time will tell if celebrity kneecap ranking will be, as many commentators have predicted, the Top of the Pops for the 21st Century, or just another short-lived fad like 'New Labour' or freestyle goat-pondering.

Scars On Her Life

Sometimes there are moments that seem to last forever. She had memories that seemed to follow her everywhere. Some of them were like scars on her life, reminders of foolish things she had done in her past. She did her best to forget them, leave behind the follies of her youth, just as we all must do.

Occasionally though one of those memories would catch her by surprise, like catching sight of an old childhood scar on the arm or the leg. Mostly it passes without really registering, but occasionally the mind is pulled sharply back to the time of the incident that caused the scar. There was one – on her knee – that often took her back to finding herself bewildered and bleeding at the foot of the garden steps, her leg somehow entangled in her tricycle and bright with dripping blood, and strangely – always the bright blood-red roses on her mother’s summer skirt as she knelt in front of her to lift her away from the hard concrete.

She has other memories that have left their scars on her memory, rather than her body. She recalls that time, standing on a railway platform holding her cases as he walked away from her, never looking back. Sometimes, she wished she had learnt from him about how never to look back and how to just walk away.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Life Story


Those stories we told we – of course – all lies, or – at least – they were not the truth. Maybe lies is the wrong word, we all embellish the stories of our lives, turning ourselves into the main character in the stories that happen around us. We may not always be the hero, sometimes we are the victim, sometimes even the fool, but – in the end – they do become stories about us.

After all, though, we ought to be the central character in our own stories, not the bit players, the minor characters, in someone else’s tale. We should all aim to be more than the attendant lord, or the flunky, or the maid in the story of someone else’s life. We should wrest control of that story from them, they have their own tale to tell and we have ours.

It is too easy to play the role of victim, letting your story happen to you as though you are not the author, the creator of your own tale. Those heroes and celebrities and everyone like them who appears larger than life, they have taken control of the story of their life. They have embellished it, polished it, turning the mundane into the faux-significant, making edifying maxims out of the ordinary to impress those who have never dreamed of taking their own life story into their hands and making something out of it.

After all, it is your story; you can make of it what you will.

World Cup Crowd Panic


There were chaotic scenes when the crowd at yesterday afternoon’s World Cup fixture in South Africa were assaulted by an immense swarm of very angry giant wasps, which descended on the crowd and began attacking everyone in sight, seemingly for no reason whatsoever.

The whole crowd fled from the stadium in panic, chased by the immense swarm, which at times blocked out the sun and plunged the whole area around the stadium into a state of semi-twilight for nearly half an hour until the crowd dispersed.

One member of the crowd, after being treated for several stings at the local hospital, said later:

They just came out of nowhere. One minute we were watching the match and then suddenly there were these massive, very pissed off looking, wasps attacking us from everywhere. We didn’t stand a chance, we just panicked and ran!

One of them flew right up my girlfriend’s vuvuzela, and stung her quite badly. The doctors reckon she won’t be blowing my horn for several weeks at least….

Everyone in South Africa was at a lost to explain why the wasps suddenly attacked the crowd for seemingly no reason at all.

However, an expert in Insect Linguistics at the University of Chipping Sodbury later ran the loud humming and buzzing sound made by the many, many hundreds of vuvuzelas being played in the crowd at the match through his Wasp Translator.

He said:

As you know, wasps are psychotic bastards at the best of times, but after I ran the sounds of all those vuvuzelas through my Insect Language Translation Device, that loud humming came out translated as:

‘Come on you stripy bastards, if you think you’re hard enough!’, ‘Who’s the bastard in the yellow and black?’ and ‘You’re going home in a jam jar!’

So, no wonder the wasps kicked off like that.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday Poem: The Wind is a Child


[Snowstorm – J.M.W Turner]

The Wind is a Child

The wind is a child
Wanting to play with all it finds;
Leaves, rubbish, hats and umbrellas.

The wind is a child
With a child's tantrums destroying easily,
Knocking down for the patient parent to rebuild.

The wind is a child
Knowing a child's joy in creating storms in water
Just to see the sea's raging torment.

The wind is a child
Bringing cool laughter on a stilled summer day.
Playing softly over the parched grass.

The wind is a child
Teasing flowers, laughing with the butterflies
And bringing fresh promise of what could be.



[First published in Interpoetry issue 15 (website no longer available)]

Friday, June 11, 2010

Are You Sitting Comfortably?

Now where shall we begin?

Are you sitting comfortably?

I know I don’t usually ask, after all, I’m sure that by now you have worked out some way of making yourself comfortable, and – in the end – is it really any of my business?

After all, you may – for no doubt valid reasons of your own – prefer to not be comfortable whilst reading the stuff that flows over your computer screen. Perhaps you are the sort of person who likes being uncomfortable for some reason, maybe it helps you stay awake, pay more attention or something of that ilk. If – after all – I and those other people like me who fill your screen with these streams of words day after day after day have gone to the trouble of writing them, then it behoves you somewhat – you may feel – to make sure that you giver them the attention they deserve.

Anyway, if you are still here and you have not wandered off to some other page that make no such bold, impertinent - even, inquiries about your state of comfort, not – indeed - engages in rather peculiar speculation as to why you would seek comfort, or otherwise, whilst scrutinizing these words, in what seems like some subtle, or not quite so subtle attempt to discern whether or not you have a predilection to - shall we say - explore beyond the shorelines of what is regarded as normal sexuality, insomuch as it pertains to webpage perusal.

Anyway, if you feel that this has been too much of an intrusion into what you regard as both private and personal, and beyond what ought to be considered proper behaviour in such a situation as we find ourselves in, all I can say – in my own defence is:

Remember, I still have the negatives, and sworn statements from both of the penguins, and it will soon be time for another payment – in a plain brown envelope, of course, and left in the same hollow tree stump as last time, please.

Friday Poem: Mother Land


Mother Land

She grew eternal, like the sky,
Out of horizons and mists

Enclosing me like some blue
Cotton sheet of childhood,
Letting the sun shine through,

While I invented new cities
Beneath her sheltering cover.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thursday Poem: Times Beyond Recall


Times Beyond Recall

(Ten-Line Ballade)

If seasons grow from seeds we plant out here
To grow and bloom to make another day
From barren earth and life lived so austere
That shoots seem bright and green against the grey
That dulls the eye and mind, unable to say
Just why the featureless expanse outside
Reminds us still of days we sat and cried
For all we lost and left behind, to fall
Into forgetfulness, and then reside
Here within days of times beyond recall.

These delicate and tender shoots, so near
To touch and closer to life, and decay,
Than anything we know, or touch, or fear.
These shoots will grow beyond this single day
Into a life that shows us this new way
Will grow around us all and all we tried
To make from what we found before it died,
And turn around discover what befalls
Those who can only ever speak with pride
Here within days of times beyond recall.

Each tender growth we nurture, save and rear
All growing up beyond this heavy clay
That pulls us down so deeper past this year
Of waiting, wanting, needing no delay
Preventing time from taking us away
From failure, loss and that slow suicide
Away from all that grows on this hillside
Towards a life half-lived that will appal
All who can know and touch this countryside
Here within days of times beyond recall.

What grows up here will show we never lied
About what can become, and only tried
To grow some small garden, behind this wall
To turn towards with some small quiet pride
Here within days of times beyond recall.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Days We Will Never Know


What will become of these days when we are no longer here to watch them fall around us? Our children will go on to see days and times that we will never know. There will be a time when we are no longer there and they will go on into the distances beyond us. Sometimes they will look back, as we’ve glanced back to see the figures waiting there, watching us go on without them, until they too were lost beyond the horizon and all we had were those memories of how they let us go.

Now, as we stand here at the crossroad of our children’s lives, we know what that look was in our parent’s eyes; when they knew we would be going off about our own lives without them. They could already see how the roads in the distance diverged and would never really meet at some distant crossroads ever again.

If only we’d known then what we feel now, perhaps we would have turned and waved a bit more often, looked back to see them searching the distance for our familiar faces, before our roads curved off into our own lives, and our worlds are their worlds became separate places.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Nothing New


Sometimes, just sometimes it can seem as though the world can make sense, as though these shapes and colours that flow around us could be placed in some kind of order. Sometimes it seems that the way we touch each other, tentatively, almost reluctantly, could bring with it a whole new world of significance, as if those first hesitant buds of possibility could burst into a new flower of meaning and take us on through this uncertain spring of our knowing each other into the full summer of our lives.

Other times though, we catch ourselves glancing across at each other as though we have become strangers once again, as though some kind of alien B-movie has infiltrated our lives and we must play out this script of misunderstanding and suspicion even though we know it is only a film, and a very bad one at that. We catch ourselves wondering why we ever signed up for such a unlikely scenario and hackneyed plot as this. So many people, times before have played out these scenes before us. It is nothing new, or that strange.

After all, so many people before us have fallen in love; it is not as though it is anything new.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Monday Poem: This is How


This is How

These are our hands,
And this is how we use them
To make shapes of our lives.
We carve meaning into moments
That shape us and give us names
To take through into the distance.

These are our hands,
And this is how we use them
To cling to times just passing by.
Clutching them tight to our hearts
And calling them memories.

These are our hands,
And this is how we use them.
Holding out empty palms,
Reaching with imploring spread fingers
Far out into unknowable futures.


[First published 04/2007 Iota 77 (ISSN 0266-2922)]

Times Online Announce Paywall Exclusives

In an attempt to make its new paywall system work, Times Online has announced that, in future, the site will feature exclusive content available nowhere else on the web.
A spokeswoman said:
As News International has successfully proved with its Sky pay-per-view channels, particularly for sports and films, it seems that mugs… punters… our customers are prepared to pay for exclusive content. With that in mind, today Times Online is pleased to announce that we have signed several exclusive deals with certain news-providers for us to use the news they produce exclusively for Times Online Subscribers only.
In the international section we have signed deals with both the Taliban and al-Qaeda for exclusive reporting of their latest terrorists outrages and attacks upon targets both in the Middle-East and in Europe, including any al-Qaeda terrorist outrages in the UK itself.

In the UK we have singed up several Premier League villains, for exclusive play-by play coverage of their latest bank raids, warehouse blags, turf wars and shoot-outs with rival gangs and covert drug-smuggling activities.

We are also in dialogue with the UK government and hope to announce exclusive access for Times Online to any governmental cock-ups, egregious behaviour by MPs and advance warning of any stitch-up of legislation well before it is discovered by any other news source.
We were offered exclusive coverage of the forthcoming Labour Party leadership election, but we turned it down as we are certain no-one in the UK gives a stuff about who is contesting it, or about whichever one of the useless gawps is going to win it.
These deals mean that only Times Online will be allowed to officially report any news events caused by our partners.
Consequently, if anyone wishes to read the news about, or learn anything from, these incidents then they will have to subscribe to our site in order to receive this Exclusive content.
There have also been – so far unconfirmed reports – that in preparing for both The Sun and The News of the World to move behind paywalls too, that News International has signed exclusive deals with several top celebrities. It seems that once  behind their respective paywalls both newspapers will receive advance warning when any famous female pop singer, soap star or film actress is about to venture out to some nightspot after ‘accidentally’ forgetting to put her knickers on under her rather short dress.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Over the Border


How can we forget that smell? How could we ever go on to become fully-qualified professional Hamster Disconcerters knowing what we knew? Would we ever truly understand the chin of Jimmy Hill? But we were young and in love and we thought it would last forever, so such questions we left unanswered as we played the rude version of dominoes late into those seemingly endless summer nights….

But, we were wrong…

I asked her for the marmalade and she slapped my face. How was I to know that in the wild untamed lands east of Doncaster such intimacy between the un-betrothed was - at the very least - frowned upon?

I knew that if I did not leave town then her brothers would make sure I either married her, or that I never ever asked a nubile woman to pass the marmalade again.

Feeling attached to my testicles, and wanting to remain that way, I headed for the hills. I went south, towards the wild frontier towns of the North Midlands. I thought I could move south for the winter. Maybe as far south as Wolverhampton, Walsall - possibly - if I had the courage - even Wednesbury. I thought then I would move on, in the following spring, and, maybe, just maybe - if my nerve held - cross the border into Wales.

I knew that, if my luck held, I would find sheep in Wales. It had been a long time and it had been hard, very hard.

I also knew, once it grew long and hard, that I would have no alternative but to take myself in hand again until that day arrived.

Porn Industry Welcomes Harman Proposal


[Phwooaaah! – possibly….]

The British porn industry last night broadly welcomed ‘Dirty Harry’ Harman’s latest bit of fruit-looperyproposal that half of the shadow cabinet posts for the Labour party should be filled by women.

As a spokeswoman for the porn industry simpered breathlessly:

Obviously with such a significant number of the Labour party’s top women away from home attending shadow cabinet meetings, the House of Commons and so on, it means that their husbands are going to have to spend a lot of time on their own at home.

Obviously, you know what that means, don’t you? Although, we would strongly suggest that this time they learn to keep it off the wife’s expenses claims, if only for the sake of domestic harmony

The porn industry is also hoping that with the increased number of women getting these tops jobs. albeit only in the Labour party, that it could lead to other women going out to get high-flying , high status jobs, or even just going into politics, leaving many, many more British husbands and boyfriends to spend even more time alone with their – already extensive - porn collections.

As the spokeswoman breathed orgasmically:

This could be a boom time for us, if Harman’s proposal takes off like we expect it to. After all, it is exactly why the people who think kind of unreal tokenistic lunacy is a good idea join the Labour party in the first place.

In other news, the London Stock Exchange reported a strong increase in the price of Kleenex shares immediately after Harman’s initiative was announced.

Scientists Explain Lack Of Water On Mars


Scientists have now confirmed that there used to be substantial amounts of water on the planet Mars. The scientists, from a university in the USA, have also confirmed just how and why Mars became the dry dead barren planet that it is now, without a single drop of water left on it.

Studying the video footage from NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit, the scientists were astounded to discover that what they assumed was just another one of Mar’s huge mountain ranges was nothing of the sort.

As one of the scientists explained:

What the Mars Rover discovered that day took us all by surprise when it discovered overwhelming evidence that there had once been life on Mars. Furthermore, this discovery goes to show that it did once acquire a large degree of civilisation and sophistication.

However, something did go terribly, terribly wrong; destroying not only that Martian civilisation, but it also destroyed the planet’s entire climate and used up every single drop of water on the planet.

It seems that what the Mars Rover discovered that day was a huge mountain, higher than any mountain on the Earth, made entirely from discarded plastic water bottles.

As the scientist explained further:

It seems that - for some yet unexplained reason - every Martian living on Mars took it into their head to start carrying around a plastic bottle half-filled with water – for no apparent reason – everywhere they went.

Soon the entire economy of the planet was devoted to producing plastic bottles and then half-filling them with water for the Martians to carry around with them all the time.

Quite simply within a few years there were no more resources left, the civilisation collapsed and every single drop of water on the planet was used to half-fill those plastic bottles, with the result that everything on the planet died, leaving the planet as we know it today.

I’m just glad that we on this planet are not quite that stu…. Ah….

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Thursday Poem: The Day Is Slow


The Day Is Slow
[Terza Rima]

The day is slow and waiting for the time
When stillness falls away, and motion turns
This life towards a newer paradigm.

To take up all that only waits and yearns,
For moments that can glow and dance again,
To take us onward through this night that burns

With such cold fire for times that bear the stain
Of far too many wasted moments, gone
To memory and left beyond regain.

To turn and walk away from times that shone
Too bright for only songs to now recall
And never can again be halcyon.

Because these times are lost and only fall
Away so fast, and then can only pall.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Desert Storms


What grows and what comes from these first tentative moments no-one ever knows. Sometimes it seems a whole world could grow from the gentle touch of someone’s fingertips on the skin of your face, tracing the shape of your cheek as though creating a significant memory out of a single moment. Other times it seems whole days, weeks even, can pass that leave nothing behind them, blowing like desert storms through our lives with only the shifting sands of time left behind to mark their passing.

We have no way of knowing what will matter as we stumble on through those desert storms, blindly groping our tentative way forward. There is no real choice but to go on, no route out we can follow. We have to carry on as day after day blows around us, stinging the eyes with the sharp moments they hurl into our faces.

We trudge on, hoping that soon, this storm, like every other storm, will one day blow itself out. Then we will be left here as the sky clears and the wind drops and – it seems – life begins again, comes out from where it sheltered against the worst ravages of the storm and shows us something just there on the distant horizon that could just be the vague shimmering outline of hope.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Not A Thing Out There


If each little moment falls away without us noticing, we are left with empty hands, holding only this moment, here and now. Everything else falls away and is forgotten. Memory is what holds us together, all those moments down the years we have shared have moulded and shaped us into the two people standing here side by side, watching the tide recede out away from us.

All those times we walked this same beach along the very edge of the sea, at high tide and at low tide, morning and afternoon, shaped our days, as we shaped ourselves to fit around each other as we slept. We never really thought about the future, or analysed things too much, both knowing that things taken apart and probed and poked never really fit back together correctly.

We learnt too, that happiness is not a thing out there that can be brought back home and unwrapped, but it is a process that grows, like a seed planted and tended as it shoots and then blossoms.

We can go back to the home we have made and see how that garden we planted has grown us around us, sending down deep roots that tangle deep below the surface, knowing we have made something that will endure the storms of winter.