Google+ A Tangled Rope: 09/01/2010 - 10/01/2010

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Uses and Abuses of Argument

Sometimes it is just paranoia, other times it is a well-justified fear of the intrusive state and its power-hungry minions, but we do not laugh too loudly at their egregious doings just in case they are, indeed, listening devices in the wainscoting.

You never know who may be listening. Although, you do have to wonder why they bother, after all – if I remember correctly, despite your frequent protestations to the contrary – the last time either of us said anything of great interest was the long discussion about whether or not broccoli could be classed as a brassica sometime back in around 1988.

However, despite your pinpoint accuracy with sharply-hurled items of cookware, I am sure my more reasoned argument by use of the logical system first put forth by Aristotle in his Poetics, of pouring the ice-cold contents of the breakfast milk jug over your head, I think, carried the argument in my favour. Broadly speaking that is.

Although, to be fair, your subsequent well-aimed kick to my testicles did remind me of something along the lines of Gilbert Ryle’s infamous category mistake argument by way of refuting my thesis, and the subtle almost Nietzschean way you set about my head and neck with your baseball bat, did finally persuade me that you position was not as logically untenable as I’d originally argued.

Thus we were spared the somewhat undignified spectacle of having to resolve our dispute once again through the use of Hegalian dialectics and an exchange of small arms fire and hand grenades across the living room, as was the case when we tried to resolve our dispute over whether or not it was Jack Lemmon who stared in The Apartment back in the early summer of 1987.

As I said, just run-of-the-mill domestic trivia and of little or no interest at all to those ever-intrusive powers that be.

Thursday Poem: Summer Butterflies


Summer Butterflies

“But words,” she said. “They
Don’t mean anything at all.
They flutter around
And weave patterns through our days,
Like the too brief lives
Of bright summer butterflies.
There, and then they’re gone
As autumn wraps us up tight
Against harsh winter.”

Then, one day, she too was gone,
Like last summer, like
Those brilliant butterflies,
Without a single good-bye.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Rampaging Caravan Site Managers


So, anyway, there she was, using the Cheese and Onion crisps to keep the rampaging Caravan Site Managers at bay.

As Field-Marshall Doddering-Oldpillock said later that afternoon, 'Johnny Caravan-Site-Manager cannot abide having cold crisps thrust at him. They don't like it up 'em!'

I suppose he should know. The mess is rife with rumours and tales as to just what things, living and non-living, animate and inanimate, that Doddering-Oldpillock has himself been up at one time or another during his long and rather undistinguished military career. However, he wouldn't rank as high as he does in this country's armed services if he didn't almost embody that self-confident incompetence and deluded belief in his own superior abilities that denotes the officer class.

Anyway, so there she was, Sergeant Delores Polestraddler, fighting the Caravan Site Managers off with her single packet of Cheese and Onion crisps. Contrary to popular belief, and some rather dubious propaganda perpetrated by the MOD, the Caravan Site Manager is not a naïve unsophisticated fighter. They do have rather good tactical awareness, even during the heat of battle. Consequently, they soon began to outflank Sergeant Polestraddler, and despite the heavy casualties she inflicted in her brave rearguard action, soon overwhelmed her.

Rather than doing the honourable thing and saving her last Cheese and Onion crisp for herself, sergeant Polestraddler instead bravely chose to use it to take down two of the leading Caravan Site Managers in the revolt. Moments after that she was captured alive by a horde of Caravan Site Managers hungry for revenge, if not for any more Cheese and Onion crisps.

Word from the International Red Cross is not good. They have confirmed that the Caravan Site Managers have imprisoned the brave Sergeant Polestraddler in a caravan site near Bridlington, where they have vowed to cruelly and vindictively incarcerate her for a FULL out of season two-week break.

All we - who also serve - can do is salute her bravery and hope she somehow comes though this trauma alive and well.

King and Queen


This is how it happens, this is where it begins. You take a moment out of all those around you and you say this is where it began. A look across a room that seems to negate every person in-between, as though you two are already alone together, as though there is already some great secret you share.

You both begin to move towards each other, playing the elaborate chess game of movement through the crowd, the king and queen fighting their way through the ranks of pawns to reach those squares where you will begin to manoeuvre around each other, drawing closer and closer until she has you captured by the look in her eyes.

You have been here before; you have played this game many times before. Each time though, it always feels so new as though those are the first eyes that have set he game in motion, as though those hands have moved you across the board to meet her.

She too, you know, has played this same game before and has made the moves that countered your moves to bring you both together at this point on the board and this endgame that takes you both off the board away from the other pieces to some new place where a different game is about to be played.

Friday, September 24, 2010


Sometimes it seems so straightforward, as the days fall down one after another like a line of slow dominoes, each toppled by the one before as it falls. It is easy to look back and be surprised by how much of the year has already gone, when it seems like it was only yesterday that it was cold and dark as the old year fell away and you turned your hopes towards what this new summer would bring. Now that summer is fading too, another part of the line of dominoes that has fallen while you look around trying to find any trace of what you promised yourself and what you hoped for.

Soon you know that, before you even realise it, it will be the cold dark days of winter once again and you will go back to sit by the flickering fire to stand up all your dominoes of days for the coming year once again. This time though, you know it will be the year when they fall in a new way. A new pattern that will open up this world to you in a way it never has before, as though the falling dominoes are some sort of key that will open the door of your year into a new life that you can step into with the realisation that this was what you have been longing for, for so long.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thursday Poem: Naked Under Foreign Skies


Naked Under Foreign Skies


She sat there, naked under foreign skies
On that high balcony and looking down
To see the beach so far below her feet
As naked and as empty as she felt
Beyond the reach of human contact here
With just the slightest breezes touching her.

The world out there now seemed so far from her
And out where endless seas met endless skies
It still seemed far away, now she was here
Beyond her normal life, and looking down
She saw herself still naked, but she felt
So free now with the world beneath her feet.

She wants to keep the world under those feet
So tired of all this world had done to her
Always in turns that turn away, she felt
The days escape her under duller skies
Always a turn away, the sun comes down
On every day to leave her standing here.

Today begins her life again, right here
In this new place she feels under her feet.
Her skin is warm as sunlight pours on down
She feels its power now recharging her
Becoming new beneath these foreign skies
A warming fresh feeling she’s never felt

It is the barest nakedness she’s felt
As though she’s shrugged off a too tight life here
To live again now, under freedom’s skies
To run on down the beach with bare free feet
And let the sea pour clean all over her
To wash her old life gone as she kneels down

The thought of sea so soon washing her down
Is close to heaven as she’s ever felt
It feels now close and very real to her
She had so many dreams of being here
It seems unreal to find it at her feet
And being here now under dreaming skies

No longer feels down, as now she is here
So long since she’s felt waves around her feet
All renewing her under foreign skies.

The Delicacy Of Holding


I never learnt the delicacy of holding, or the secret of the gentle touch. I always had hands that seemed too big or too clumsy for this delicate world; a world that can so easily fall apart in such careless hands as mine.

Over time I learnt how to keep my distance from beauty, how to keep my fingers away from the flimsy delicacy that blooms under this warming sun. I learnt to look and not to touch and to turn away before the beauty faded and fell to the ground.

Those bare green shoots were always too frail, too tentative, for me to take into a protective gentle hold. I knew that I should step back, away; leave them to their fate, even if it was to be killed by the sudden sharp frosts that this world can spread across the unwary.

I thought she would know from the way I looked across at her from a distance that she was the one, and I think she did. From the way she looked back I thought she knew. I also thought she knew from the way I looked that I did not dare reach out a hand towards her, that the risk would be too great that these big rough hands would end up destroying the very reason they reached out to her. Not, of course, through malice or cruelty, but by being unlearnt in the art of the gentle, of not really knowing how to be tender.

Then, though, when I dared to look again, she had gone and her space in the room was empty: from then was the time I began to learn the art of the gentle as I tended my own delicate sorrow.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

When The Day Starts In Darkness


When the day starts in darkness, it is as though something has been left unresolved. It feels more as though something has been left unfinished, rather than being the start of some new day. It is though the darkness that chases your dreams across the pillow still sits there, waiting for its chance to take you in its paws and drag you down to the places where those dark fears conspire against all you hope and dream.

Down there the dark creatures and thick shadows crawl over each other in a turmoil of twisting things that can reach out a claw or a talon to drag your struggling dreams into their writhing mass to suffocate and choke and throttle every bright colour you long for out of all your desires, leaving only the darkest shadows of your dreams lying limp and defeated on the floor of your night.

To wake in the darkness and to leave those broken dreams lying there, consumed by the shadows seems a betrayal of them, as though you have retreated from that lurking darkness itself and run for the comfort of the cold electric light that can never keep the darkness away like only the dawning day can.

Into The Sunset


Then what?

We expect things to follow. There will always be consequences, like the way you turned away after I said what I said and those long lonely days that followed. Each of those sad days haunted by a mere handful of words and the way we walked away from each other. All our lives since have followed from that moment and the way we walked away from each other down separate roads.

For years I was haunted by that look in her dark eyes, and the knowledge of what a mistake I had made, walking away from that life she held out to me in her open palms. Instead I chose to carry on being young and foolish like all the songs I liked to sing.

I used to sing songs of freedom, about turning away to face the world alone and what lay down that road and over the next hill. I thought it was freedom, but it was just cowardice. The cowardice of the lonesome hero who never stays around to deal with the dull consequences and the mundane of the day to day, but rides off alone into the sunset, looking for a new story to play the central role in… but only for a while.

All those stories end up the same way, with the hero alone and the woman turning away. Turning away just like you did, to hide those dark eyes and the tears that were all my fault.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Leaves Of Our Summer Fall


Even now as we sit watching the leaves of our summer fall from our trees, we cannot quite believe how our time grew so old. We were there in the early spring with the whole year stretching out eternal before us. We had all the time in the world.

We had an endless summer where those seeds we planted grew up and away from us. Now they go about their own years, while we watch how our sun weakens and fades, our days growing shorter, with the darkness creeping ever closer. We can feel the chill of winter on the winds that blow towards us. There is the sense of ice growing in our blood.

Our world is turning away from the sun, our race almost run; even our clichés are wearing out as our winter draws ever closer. We have each other, though, to turn to as the light fades, even though neither of us ever thought it would come to this.

This wasn’t the year we thought our lives would live through. We didn’t expect it to turn out like this, but the touch of skin on skin as we wait for winter keeps us warm enough to carry on wanting to greet each new dawn together.

All Those Simple Things


There are times when the silence grows heavy. There are times when the choice to turn away from it all seems too difficult to hold on to. Times when the world seems to just pass by out of reach, too far to touch.

Sometimes it feels as though you are leading only half a life, going through the motions of existence. It is as if somehow you missed some of the lessons on what it is to be human, you were absent that day when everyone else learnt the knack of how to just get along with everyone else.

All those simple things you never seemed to get a grasp of; those little tricks of living those others seem to know, as if by instinct. All that stuff about how to have conversations about nothing at all: about each other’s families, last night’s TV, the state of the world, the match last night, what does she think she is wearing and – most importantly – this unusual weather.

It all seems so trivial and yet so vital, some kind of essential social grooming… and yet all you seem to manage is to sit alone here for most of the time, only picking out your own fleas.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday Poem: Room


A slow movement and thoughtful gestures
Towards making some sort of difference.
Possibilities arise, but are left unstated
As silence grows up all around us
Like ivy over these ancient walls.

Outside time moves on, indifferent
While, within these walls, each clock tick
Is no more than a memory, lingering
On the very edge of consciousness.

We move through ourselves like ghosts
Each still sitting in these same chairs
As our thoughts shift around, dancing
Like dust caught in summer sunbeams.

But we always return to these same seats
And take up these postures once again.

[First published in To Paint A Picture – Michelle Arfford (ed) Poetry Now 2006 ISBN 1-84602-043-3]

Days That Come And Go

Days are like that; they happen and then are gone. There are days you long to be over: days of tragedy and disaster, days of embarrassment and shame, days of seemingly endless toil or tedium. Then there are the days you never want to end: days when it seems you will never grow so close again, days when her skin seems to flow endless under your reaching fingertips as though you are tracing her contours on maps that will lead you to that island of paradise and perfection, days when the sun seems to shine on all that you do, days when everything you see and do shines with a crystal clarity and days when everything seems close to making some kind of sense.

The days themselves, though, are just days whatever you do, or whatever happens to you inside of them but they pass and soon they are long gone, far out of reach. You cannot bring them back no matter how long you sit and stare back into the past. While at the same time you cannot really ever escape from the bad days; they will come out of nowhere and drag you back, haunting your memory like ghosts and grabbing you with long bony fingers of memory that will never let you go.

Friday, September 17, 2010

An Actor’s Life


Spendapenny Pissedup is probably the 20th century’s most well-known heavy-drinking actor, famous for his 274 day drinking spree in Las Vegas back in 1978 when he drank three casinos dry, left Oliver Reed and Keith Richards both unconscious under a table in the Grand Hotel, won a 15 round boxing match with a John Deere farm tractor, threw up over the president’s wife and married a cabbage.

Other infamous drunken Pissedup incidents include the time he appeared on the Parkinson Show completely and utterly pissed where he asked – and got an on-screen partial blow job from Pumpkin Dropincentre, farted constantly throughout all of Parkinson’s questions and fell asleep, snoring loudly, all through Parkinson’s attempted interview with a famous theatre director, and then – after suddenly waking up - audibly pissed over the main camera (off screen) and beat up the floor manager, Dropincentre’s agent and a lighting rig before hailing a taxi and heading off into the London night ‘for a night cap’.

However, despite all this heroic drinking, Pissedup was always very popular with the women – as his 35 marriages somewhat attest (even though one of them was to the cabbage mentioned above, one to a goat during a Mexican drinking binge and another to a bedside light in a Hanover hotel). For despite drinking numberless bars, pubs, hotels, post codes and, on one occasion, an entire continent dry, Pissedup never lost his good looks or mellifluous deep and resonant voice with its subtle Welsh lilt that – notoriously – drove women wild, as well, as his 17th wife put it, as ‘being hung like a telegraph pole, and – more importantly – knowing exactly what to do with it’.

Unfortunately, tragedy struck Pissedup at the relatively young age of 45. Whilst on a cruise ship in the North Atlantic, he stepped off the ship hoping to chip a block of ice off a nearby iceberg to ‘freshen up’ his 93rd whiskey bucket of the evening. Sadly, being slightly inebriated meant that Pissedup lost his footing on the North face of the iceberg and slipped down straight into the waiting jaws of a polar bear which was posing for a wildlife camera crew on an already detached fragment of the iceberg.

The crowds for the funeral of Pissedup were the largest ever seen in London for an actor, bringing the whole of the city to a standstill and, later, seemingly, the whole of the country’s citizenry into a drunken maudlin heap outside every pub in the land as the UK population mourned Pissedup in the way he would have wanted.

When The Words Fall


Now there is nothing to say. There was a time when the words flowed easily, when it all seemed so easy and the world was waiting there ready for you to hang all your words upon it.

Now, though, you look around it all and see it all as so glib, so easy, almost childlike in its innocence of how the world can effortlessly shrug off every word you try to hang on it, how it can twist, turn and distort everything you try to say about it for its own ends.

You are slowly coming to realise that this world is indifferent to you and all the words you try to hang on it. It exists out there, beyond your reach now and all your words fall, useless, in a heap at your feet, until all you have is silence and the wisdom that comes from seeing how you have failed to leave any trace of yourself here.

You also, though, have learned the wisdom that it doesn’t really matter. You are not alone. Very few people manage to leave a trace of themselves upon this world, and even fewer learnt how to live easily within the silence.

You wish too that you could learn to live in silence, but you still have this great big heap of words lying useless at your feet and still a little more time left to try once more. So, shrugging, you take up the pile of words once again and head out into the world.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Great Cheese Conspiracies

Sometimes it seems that even the cheese is stacked against us. Someone, somewhere out there must know the truth, but knows it is far too dangerous to speak of it, especially when too close to even the smallest wedge of Wensleydale. Of course, there is always the notably traitorous Double Gloucester to watch out for too, especially when it is working undercover, disguised with chives and onion.

Back in the militant 1970s, of course we all knew where Red Leicester’s sympathies lay, especially when those blackmail photographs were published showing a hunk of Red Leicester sharing a cheese board with a sultry Edam and a rather wanton Jarlsburg all cavorting next to a full spoonful of Branston Pickle.

It goes without saying that, as with most things in the UK, it all goes back to our long hostility towards the French. As befits two enemies of such long standing, it didn’t take much for suspicions to be aroused. Consequently, when, during the Napoleonic wars a woman in the strategically important navel dock area of Portsmouth was discovered with  a suspicious quantity of surreptitious Brie on the premises it was not long before she was hanged as a traitor.

The First World War saw the Germans trying hard to infiltrate undercover Tilsit and Gouda into the UK, but – as later in WWII – the British Secret Cheese service was well aware of what was going on. There was one lucky escape, however, during WWII, when in 1944 some supposedly neutral Swiss Emmentaler, was later found to actually be German, luckily though it was discovered just before the cheeseboard was delivered to the D-Day planning rooms.

During the Cold War advances in refrigeration meant there was a danger of long-range intercontinental cheeses being launched against the West by the USSR. However, during the presidency of Ronald Reagan western defensive technology advanced at such a pace there was soon an Anti-Intercontinental Cheese Shield at the prototype stage, which consisted of a rocket containing several warheads, each containing enough defensive cheese biscuits to completely neutralise the Soviet Cheese offensive.

Eventually, during the arms reduction talks, a treaty later known as the Water Biscuit 2 Treaty was signed by both the USA and the USSR, which resulted in a massive reduction in both tactical and intercontinental cheeses by both sides.

The threat from the use of offensive cheeses is far from over, though,with many governments expressing deep concern that terrorists, especially, Islamic fundamentalists may be working on a very powerful offensive goat cheese capability that could cause massive devastation and casualties should it ever be unleashed on, say, some defenceless American or European city.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Salad Cream

I smeared the salad cream all over her breasts. Which was - I admit now - a bit of a mistake. After all, at the time, we had not been properly introduced, and it was rather a cold morning as we stood there, in the queue at the bus stop.

I must admit, though, they were - as the arresting officer said at the time – an absolutely smashing pair.

But, time passes, and - if we are lucky - we grow a little bit wiser as we grow older. These days - and it is often appreciated in the bus stop queues I currently frequent - I make a point of bringing the salad cream up to room temperature before I leave the house.

It is - I hasten to add - not a practice I indulge in too frequently. I think it is - almost by necessity - a practice that is best kept for - shall I say - special occasions.

However, having said that, it does seem that the other regulars in the bus queue do themselves seem to be getting rather blasé about the practice too. One morning, when she saw me striding purposefully down the road towards the bus stop, clutching a jar of my favourite salad cream - Mrs Toadwrencher (who lives in the flat above the bread shop) had already begun to unfasten her coat and blouse, despite it still being only February.

Sometimes you can't help being proud to be British.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The UK’s Leading Celebrity Celebrity


Prefab Doppelganger is probably the UK’s leading celebrity celebrity. She first became famous for no discernable reason in 1998 when she started featuring in several of the top dentist waiting room magazines, artfully falling out of her dress seemingly everywhere the cameramen who take pictures of celebrities to fill such magazines gathered.

Media Studies academics have now confirmed that she is the first celebrity for which it is actually true that she is famous for no other reason than that she is famous. She has never appeared in a ‘Reality’ show, never – as far as an extensive web search has revealed – appeared in a ‘stolen’ sex tape, never released a single – yet, never appeared in a soap opera, film or even appeared as a naked corpse in a TV detective series.

In fact, the only known appearances of Prefab Doppelganger are of her appearing in celebrity photo-spreads in cheap magazines, and because the only people who do appear in such photo-spreads are celebrities it therefore follows that Doppelganger must be a celebrity.

However, now that those photo-spreads have confirmed her celebrity status, Doppelganger is now being inundated with offers to appear in ‘Reality’ shows, to release a single – quite soon, to appear as a special guest star in a soap opera, as well as being inundated with film offers and several chances to appear as a naked corpse in several long-running TV detective series. Not only that several young men, film and rock stars as well as a few high-profile female stars have all – we are lead to believe - been in negotiations with Doppelganger’s people to negotiate a flagging-career-boosting appearance in a ‘stolen’ sex tape with Doppelganger.

So, therefore, it now seems it is possible for someone like Doppelganger to become famous before they are actually famous for anything, with some Theoretical Media Studies academics saying that such situations could result in celebrity status going critical, leading to an uncontrollable chain-reaction of fame spreading unchecked throughout the world with people becoming suddenly famous at random for no discernable reason.

However, many other Media Studies Theorists believe that this has already happened and are now planning for a Large experimental Celebrity Collider in downtown LA where they will accelerate celebrities up to near the speed of insider gossip before crashing them together in order to see if they can isolate the so-called Fame particle in order to discover just why it is so many otherwise unremarkable people become celebrities for no discernable reason.

Monday Poem: Petulant Goddess


Petulant Goddess

[Shakespearean sonnet]

I should have used the silence held between
Each sleeping breath to take these scattered blocks
All spread across your bedroom floor. A scene
From a disaster film, or TV news shocks.
This petulant young goddess missed her nap
Destroying, newly built, her created world,
A single gesture of disdain, a slap
Across the face of all she had unfurled.
I could restore some order in your realm,
Rebuild it all to save you from the hassle
And construct something huge to overwhelm.
Maybe a palace or a fairy castle.
All just to see the look in your wide eyes
When you awake with wonder and surprise.

TUCTubbies Come Out to Play

Over the hills and far away is the land were the TUCtubbies play. It is a magic land where the money custard never stops flowing so that the TUCtubbies can wallow in their lovely happy public sector jobs dreaming of their lavish pension schemes and playing Diversity Outreach Coordinators all the long sunny day.

Tinkywinky, the leader of the TUCtubbies said yesterday that the stories put out by the Evil Nasty Tories were all wrong and it was naughty of the government to suggest in anyway that the TUCtubbies were using up far too much of the moneycustard and that some of them would have to go and find somewhere else to play at Five-a-Day Compliance Officers.

Tinkywinky said:

Eh-oh. The Naughty Tories want to stop everyone having any moneycustard at all, and we in the TUCtubbies all work very hard at making sure the poor and the disadvantaged do get some moneycustard so that they can buy themselves essential giant TVs and make sure they have enough takeaways to eat while they are busy surfing for videos of rude ladies on the internet, which makes them all far too busy to have time for a job, even nice cushy ones like ours where we play in the sun all day and dance around our handbags in a nice culturally-aware, gender-equitable and diversity-rich way.

Also we know for a fact that those in the private sector who work at the moneycustard mines really want to work longer hours and pay much, much more in moneycustard tax to keep all us in the TUCtubbies playing all day.

The TUCtubbies have warned that if the Naughty Tories do take all their moneycustard away then the TUCtubbies will have no choice but to go into a big sulk until the Fairy Godmother waves her magic wand and makes everything all right again in TUCtubbyland, so that the TUCtubbies can go back to playing all day long and the moneycustard never, ever, stops flowing.

Friday, September 10, 2010

These Convoluted Corridors

So this is what happens here. The things that are said and done will leave traces on these moments and hang them up there in history with these stains we have left on them blowing in the breezes that twist and turn down these convoluted corridors of our intertwined histories.

It would seem so simple to take just one act that involves just the two of us, two out of billions living and dying on this planet all around us. This should mean that anything we did together, these moments stolen from our lives in some anonymous room in the heart of nowhere should seem to exist out of time, beyond anyone else’ touch or even knowledge.

Things are never simple though. All our lives twist and turn together like the strands in some thick rope of living. We can no more be alone than one thread can bear the weight of these days we live through. Our lives tangle with others and they know and feel that something somewhere is attempting to untangle a couple of thread out from what binds us all together.

So we both sit, far away from each other. Each watching almost uncomprehending as lives unravel around us and the threads get weakened broken and torn, as those few stolen moments taken from our lives cut through everything holding us together and we fall forever like some nightmare that isn’t ever going to end.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Just Waiting Around


The world acts like it just doesn’t care. The day is busy going about its own business. You sit there waiting. You are good at waiting. Sometimes it seems as though your whole life has been spent waiting around for something to happen. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you have not been out there trying to track down a life, capture it and drag it back home in triumph for everyone to see and admire. But, even that, though, seemed to boil down – in the end – to just quite a lot of sitting around… just waiting.

You went out too, found yourself the woman… well, if not exactly of your dreams, of some of your more… interesting imaginings. It seemed you spent a lot of time waiting around for her too: waiting for her to get ready, waiting for her to make up her mind, waiting for her to respond, waiting for her to get undressed and… eventually, waiting around for her to finally get the message and piss off, out of your life. Then there was a long time of waiting for the next one to come along.

Then there was the job, but the less said about that the better. Like most jobs it involved a lot of waiting, especially waiting for colleagues, customers, clients, associates and everyone else in that long frustrating chain to get up off their lazy arses and get on with it, so you could sod off home.

Nowadays though, you just hope there is no afterlife, and this life is not just a period of waiting before that begins, which consists – as far as you can see – of just waiting around – in paradise or eternal torment – for the rest of eternity.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The Very Lupins Of Our Ineptitude


The very lupins of our ineptitude haunt the highways and byways of our stumbling through this rather damper than expected world as we make our way to the Great Discount Sales of all our hopes dreams and sudden sharp desires for hot-buttered toast and the ever-elusive Nice Cup Of Tea that always seems to lie just beyond our outstretched fingers.

Still, though, there are always our dreams of those more than willing to entertain the possibility of our own nudity without too much undignified giggling or the hasty reach for the sick bag, that we deep down feel is our real lot in life. The fear that we do not so much have a date with destiny as a rather tedious meeting with some disinterested Human Resources manager of the soul who will merely drag us through yet another futile box-ticking exercise of failed dreams and thwarted hopes, while we stare forlornly at a plastic cup of machine vended Tea-style tepid watery drinking liquid (with a subtle hint of powdered oxtail soup) and a semi-stale rich tea biscuit.

Still, though, no matter how much this life seems to take savage glee in diverting us away from the life we once dared to dream of, there is still the vague chance that tonight – for once – there may be something good on TV.

Newspaper Columnists Attack Blogs… Again


Newspaper columnists are once more up in arms about the blog phenomenon, blaming the blogs for a massive increase in material that could put the columnists out of a job.

Dross Hackwork, the UK's leading newspaper columnist said yesterday:

These blogs are producing far too much material - what we in the business call Old Rope - for which they expect little, or even no, payment. Frankly, we are terrified of losing our cushy jobs. For years and years, we columnists have been able to make an easy living wibbling on about our domestic arrangements, our holidays, our cats and endlessly rehashing scenes from our student days. But, with people doing that kind of thing for free in blogs, it seems the bottom will soon drop out of the market. Once the newspaper owners and editors see that these 'bloggers' will produce plenty of Old Rope without even wanting payment for it, then we will all be out of a job.

She added with a shudder:

I have heard that some of these bloggers don't even live in London! Apparently, there are even some as far north as Watford, and maybe even beyond there… that is if there is anything actually north of Watford apart from the North Pole. Anyway, not the sort of people we journalists would want to associate with under any circumstances.

The future doesn't look too bright for the more specialist columnists either. It seems that not only are the bloggers better than the mainstream media (MSM) at producing the Old Rope columns, they also include in their number several people who do seem to know what they are talking about, an ability that most journalists regard as the badge of the amateur, feeling that a true journalist should automatically become an expert on any subject as soon as they begin to write about it.

However, there are expert bloggers in many fields from politics through economics and the arts to computers and modern technology who often expose the limited expertise and knowledge of journalists, even - in some cases - those journalists that are regarded as specialists in their particular subject.

Political Columnist Prole Guiltiliberal, said:

For several years now I've been able to pontificate about politics safe in the knowledge that no-one would be able to pick up my mistakes, errors or evasions. All the little tricks professional journalists have traditionally used to bend the facts into the required shape that satisfies the prejudices of not only our faithful readers, but - more importantly - the owners of our newspapers, are now being unmercifully exposed by these bloggers. These (spit) bloggers pounce on my articles before the ink is even dry and rip them to shreds in their pathetic little blogs. I'm just glad that the proprietor of my newspaper doesn't know how to work his web browser or I'd be sacked. Then my kids would have to go to the sort of local comprehensive I champion in my columns, and we would actually have to use the NHS instead of just writing about what a wonderful idea it is. Frankly, it is terrifying me that people who just happen to know what they are talking about are putting our cosy urban middle-class life in peril. It does seem that the golden age of newspaper pontification could really soon be over.

A political blogger, Stan Pyjamaranter, said, in response:

For too long now, these journalists have been saying that other workers must not stand in the way of technological progress by hanging on to jobs in outmoded industries. But, now that their industry is about to be rendered obsolete, and they are staring redundancy in the face, suddenly they are up in arms about it.

However, the famous newspaper proprietor Lord Ronald Avarice, however, in a recent speech to the Very Rich Buggers Indeed Society, stated:

The journalists think we don't know what is going on. But, surely, even they must have noticed how many newspaper - and other media - websites have blogs, or blog-like pages. These journalists are going to be in for a bit of a shock when contract-renewal time comes around, I can tell you that.

Hawking and M-Theory

It has been thirty years since Stephen Hawking declared that there could soon be a Theory of Everything. Now, in his latest book, Hawking, has emerged as a strong supporter of the so-called M-theory of how the universe began.

M-Theory (or Mouse Theory) was first postulated by the legendary Douglas Adams in his seminal paper The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy where he put forward the theory that the Earth was in fact built for some mice as a scientific experiment.

However, in is new book Hawking goes much further than Adams’ initial tentative hypothesis and says that in fact the entire universe was built by these mice out of some 11 pieces of string they had let over from making a nice cosy nest.

Hawking’s Mouse-Theory universe is fully accepted by most cosmologists, astronomers and physicists as a further development of the Big Laugh Theory of the universe’s origin, which states that the universe is – in fact – one big joke.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Old Men

There is not much to say really, is there? I mean; we come here each day, sit in these same chairs and say the same things - more or less - to each other each day. So what are we going to say to each other today, and tomorrow, and what are we going to say to each other the next day… and the day after that? Eventually, it seems your life ends up like the telly, just endless repeats of the same thing that wasn’t much good the first time around.

It is knackering to think that this is how we are going to spend our remaining days. Two old men sitting in chairs on opposite sides of this small table, a conversation - moves passed back and forth. It is like a game, a parody of conversation. We could be actors in a play; Vladimir and..., what's the other one...? The one that sounds like a hormone..., Oestrogen or something.... You know who I mean, you always know what I mean. We are too alike, after all these years, we never argue, there’s fuck all to argue about really. It’s not as if two old tossers bickering with each other will ever change anything.

Maybe it would be better if we found other people, people not like us, people who do not see things the way we see them - through old, tired eyes that no longer know how to be surprised. Perhaps it would bring back some life to us, and them. Perhaps we could even discover some new things, even at this late stage.

But, when you get old you get tired and you don't want to bother that much, not any more… so, bollocks to it all. Get another bottle out and we’ll get pissed and shout abuse at random passing strangers instead.

Different People

Sometimes it seems as though the person you thought you were is not the person that usually inhabits your life. It is as though who you think you are and who everybody else that your life intersects with sees when they see you are two different people.

This is so obviously true when you are the sort of person who, for whatever reason, who feels that you need to project an image towards other people. Perhaps there are times when you need to be, or seem to be, the ideal lover, the ideal parent, the ideal boss, the perfect wife, the essential employee, a true friend.

Often it is not that – at the time – you do not feel that the person you are projecting, the role that you are playing, is not you in some way. It is just that you are like an iceberg, the visible part, the role you are playing, is only a fraction of the whole. There is so much more of you that is hidden, below the surface you show to the world.

There are times though when you want to break out of these roles, when the hot sun of your days wants to melt, crumble and shatter that part of your iceberg that has – up to now seemed top float around on the tides of life so serenely; times when you want to ice to melt and reveal what you see as the true shape of you.

Monday, September 06, 2010

The Quest


They came out of the mists and swamps, spatulas at the ready.

"What the hell is that!" Stoatevent Feeblegasket gasped. He pointed to the strange shape pulsating slowly in the distance, just slightly to the left of the post office.

"I… I… don't know." Underwire Ladybumps whispered, stepping closer to Feeblegasket and wrapping her arms around him. He smelt, faintly, of the social worker they had dined on the previous evening. But she felt safer being close to him.

Hospice Bewilderment - the old wise man of the tribe, stumbled up behind them, gasping for breath. "That's the last time I leave my bloody bus pass back at the camp, I'll tell you… why at my age… Of course, I remember when all this was fields…."

"Old man! Old man! " Ladybumps let go of Feeblegasket and turned to tug at the garment of the old man. He smelt of… well, she didn't know quite what he smelt of, but whatever it was it has died a long time ago – at least, she hoped it had died anyway.

"What? What." Bewilderment was still looking around distractedly, probably at the fields of his youth. He turned to face Ladybumps, or, rather he would have faced he, had she not been so much taller than him. He stared into her cleavage, and started to drool.

"Old man!" Feeblegasket grabbed the old man and pulled him away from Ladybumps, even so the old man's gaze remained on her chest and he still dribbled. "Of course, back in my day women had much bigge…."

"Old man." Feeblegasket yelled in to the old man's ear.

"I'm not deaf, you know." The old man said. "What?" He dragged his gaze away from Ladybumps and looked towards where Feeblegasket was pointing.

"Old man do you know what that is." Feeblegasket was pointing right at the strange apparition that lingered, floating in the air next to the Post Office.

"What, that?" Bewilderment said, dismissively. "Of course I know what that is."

"What is it?" Feeblegasket and Ladybumps said, almost in unison.

"Why that must be the… let me see… yes… that's the… er…." He turned back to stare at Ladybumps’ chest again.

"What is it?" the others cried again.

"Why, if I remember correctly, that's a smashing pair of….

“Not those,” Feeblegasket said as he turned the old man around again. “That!”

“Oh, that..? That’s a blog.”

"A blog?" There was awe in Ladybumps voice. "I've heard the legends of course, about them, but I never thought I'd get to see one." She turned to the old man. "Can I…. Can I touch it?"

"Of course." The old man eagerly began to fiddle with the front of his robe.

"No, not that!" Ladybumps turned away from the old man in disgust.

"Oh." Disappointedly he began to re-fasten his robe.

"I mean can I see… touch… that blog?." She said a moment later, only turning back to face the old man once she was sure his robes were fastened again.

"Oh, that. Of course you can, my dear." He sidled closer to her and began to fiddle about under his robes.

Feeblegasket clenched his fists, Ladybumps was his woman, after all. If the old man tried that again…. He relaxed in relief when he saw what the old man had taken from his robes.

"If you want to see the legendary Little Frigging in the Wold blog in all its glory," he said to Ladybumps, offering her his laptop. "Then you'll have to click here." The old man sighed. “Of course, these days, it isn’t as funny as it used to be.”

Prostitute: My Secret Shame


[The squalid den of iniquity where the alleged ‘MPs’ go about their sordid trade]

Yesterday, a tearful £70 an hour prostitute wept as she finally admitted – to her shame – that she was married to a politician, saying:

I really hope this doesn’t put the punters off, knowing that I’ve had first-hand experience of the sordid world of politics. However, as soon as I realised that my husband was about to become an MP, I did the decent thing and left him. I can prove it.

Last night the vice world was in shock as it came to terms with the fact that one of their own had willing been consorting with an MP, apparently without money changing hands.

As one working girl said:

It brings the whole profession into disgrace. I don’t know whether I’ll be able to hold my head up next time I’m out on the street corner touting for business.

According to the vice’ girls hastily acquired PR representative; the prostitute met the man in question whilst on holiday in Bognor Regis, where, as the prostitute herself said:

At no time at all did he express any interest at all in anything as kinky as politics. I mean I’ve had a few clients who were apparently MPS, but I always made it perfectly clear that they would have to pay extra if they wanted me to pretend to be interested in their manifesto, or if they wanted me to ready a policy document to them whilst wearing exotic underwear and fisherman’s waders.

It wasn’t until we got back home from the honeymoon, that he started talking openly to me about being an MP and ‘doing it for the expenses’. I was so shocked I forgot to ask him for some of the money.

The MP at the heart of the scandal was said to be in hiding in his constituency office and therefore unavailable for comment. Later, the prostitute confirmed that she would soon be commencing divorce proceedings and wished to ‘put the whole nightmare behind her’ as soon as she could, and ‘get back to a honest way of life’.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Never The Right Time


Sometimes, it seems that there is not much to say about anything, but she goes ahead and says something anyway, usually when you have just got everything lined up nicely and you are ready to start your run up towards the day’s first slice of toast.

It is always a time of ominous foreboding when mere reality intrudes itself between a man and his first slice of toast of the day. Deep down, the woman knows this, and she knows it well. It is down there almost at the level of instinct, a woman knows that she should always keep the man slightly off-balance, never quite sure if he is on solid ground, or about to tread off the path into one of those womanly traps that lie so cunningly hidden from the unwary and oblivious male.

Of course, what he should do is put the toast down and make one of those spontaneous romantic gestures - take her hand across the marmalade and kiss it – the hand, not the marmalade – that she always complains that he does not do, and then complains about it ‘being the wrong time’ when he does.

Although, when ‘The Right Time’ actually is, is one of the most closely guarded secrets in the womanly sect, and for any woman to actually give out any hint as to when ‘The Right Time’ may actually be, runs the risk of being thrown out of the sect and being shunned by the rest of the women for the remainder of her life.

Friday Poem: Sun Worship


Sun Worship

This sand churned by the mysterious
Precise rituals of the beach
By the rites of holy holiday.

The offerings of anointed flesh
Stretched out in eager sacrifice
Willing devotion to the sun god.

Wearing the scourge of his hot anger
On arms, backs, shoulders, burning pride,
Holy stigmata of the devout.

Perhaps The End Has Come


Perhaps the end has come. Who knows? These things do not come with signposts and labels that explain everything that can be known. These are not items set out neatly in a display cabinet, each with its own label describing it and setting out its context in relation to those around it.

These things are more like tracks out in the wild, odd marks that are ambiguous, that need expertise and understanding to interpret. The trail of fox footprints running parallel to those of a badger in the snow, do not mean that some event out of a children’s story took place, some meeting of all the animals in the woods as the snow fell all around them. Nothing more than a coincidence brought those footprints together to be seen as the dawn breaks along the path. A closer look shows the badge prints have snow in them while the fox’s do not, which shows they happened at different times.

This world is like that, what initially seems so simple, straightforward, what can be a story we tell with confidence and with certainty, later seems so implausible, so much in contradiction to what we later know that we wonder how anyone could ever have believed it, or thought it could ever be true.

Thursday, September 02, 2010



We are all familiar from our gardens of the well-known tits, great tits, marsh tits, yellow breasted tits, etc and not forgetting those famous blue tits, a common sight in our gardens when the weather turns chilly. Those that go out into the countryside may also have – on occasion – glimpsed a booby or too, roaming free out in the wild.

Of course, leaving tits and boobies to one side for the moment*, those of you who like scrabbling about in the bush may have witnesses a sweaty twat or two lurking in the undergrowth, or even seen a large purple-crested willy poking its head up in your direction as you rambled past on your peregrinations.

Of course, no true countryphile will even consider sallying-forth (providing Sally is still in the mood after the third) without a pair of binoculars, a camera and a notebook to record all his and/or her sightings of British wildlife seen on that particular day. For as the record numbers taking up such outdoor pursuits as dogging, naked orienteering and other such open-air diversions of a naughty, and – quite often – stimulating, nature, it is now not only shepherds and other such rural folk that are enjoying frequent intercourse with the natural world. Therefore there is plenty for countryphiles to witness and enjoy as they secrete themselves into some nearby bush.

*Unless – of course - the lady in question is lying on her back at the time, in which case they will tend towards both sides.

That Crowd Of Extras


When it comes, it comes slowly as though emerging out of the unformed and taking shape in front of you. It is something you can take into the hand, mould and shape into something new that has the power of its own existence.

The world exists in these mists and shadows and we all step forward into that unknown to try to make these shapes into something tangible, into something real. We build our worlds around ourselves like a stage set and populate them with the actors in our lives.

We are on the stage and in the audience at the same time, each of us, each playing the lead role in our lives, or if we are not the lead role in our own lives we end up becoming the bit players in other people’s plays, sometimes nothing more than a walk on part, even just a face in the crowd, somewhere at the back where the scenery almost hides us.

We need to step forward out of that crowd of extras and become the lead actor in the play of our own lives, no-one else can do it for us and this is the only chance we will ever get to land such a role.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The Impact

She stood there knowing there was no point, not any more. She knew that, she felt that. There could be no doubt at all. She had to go, get away. Get away from it all.

She looked down. It was a long way down, It looked like - well, it looked like looking down from the top of a very high building. The people, the cars, the vans, the lorries and the buses - they didn't look like ants at all. They looked like a scene in a film, or TV programme showing the view from a high building, looking straight down.

It is true, she thought. Film and television do destroy our ability to imagine, for every event in our lives, every moment; we can remember scenes seen before, on the screen. We know what to do, what to say, what to think. We know how to act. That very scene rehearsed for all of us so many times before.

She glanced down again. She saw a white van parking in the place she would probably land. She recalled the scene from a recent TV detective series, a sprawled spread body with its shape outlined in relief on the whit roof of the van and the blood pooling around it. She shivered, imagining the impact.

Carefully, she turned back, moving slowly away from the roof edge. After a few deep breaths, she began to walk back across the roof to the safety of the staircase.

She laughed in relief as the tension ebbed away, imagining the headline:

Television Saved Her Life!

Something That Lies Beyond

Then it begins. It is as though your whole life has lacked some sort of defining shape, as though you have stumbled through this forest from one clearing to the next always in search of something that eludes; something that lies beyond and always out of reach.

Just up above through the next stand of trees there has been something; something you’ve sensed rather than felt: a presence a darker shadow amongst all the other shadows; something that seems to be waiting for you, but yet unwilling for you to catch up with. It always seems to be standing so close, but always just out of reach.

Sometimes you have the feeling that it expects something of you, that if only you took the right path you would find it there in a clearing waiting for you, taking the shape of that lover you have always longed for; a Lover who will take you by the hand and lead you to that spot beneath an old oak tree where the grass is soft and the sun is warm. There you will lie down together and then you will know that your long search through these thick, dark dense woods is over.

Now, though, you sense movement off just beyond where you can see clearly, and you see the shape of the one you’re searching for, hidden in the shadows. So, taking one more deep breath, you plunge on once again, deeper into these dark woods.