Google+ A Tangled Rope: 11/01/2010 - 12/01/2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Lamppost of Mornings

Here is the time and here is the solar-powered hedgehog. Paint it purple, Natalie; we have no more of the protractors that eat the pineapple chunks on Tuesdays.

Don't laugh, it is a stoat.

Here, and over there, just past the bus stop, are the remains of our sandwiches. We like the look of the Marmalade Indifference Detector. So, now we go on towards the Lamppost of Mornings and turn to see all our car parks become golden.

Who is she, and why does she walk like that? Look at the way she removes her clothes and sits astride the tractor. It is not all that often you see nude ploughing, especially in the middle of winter. It should be encouraged.

Have you noticed there are a lot of nude clothes wearers about these days?

Everywhere you look, you see people wearing clothes who would otherwise be naked. It is food for thought, even if you don't like thinking that much.

Still, as they say….

Now, as it happens, this is the place where the place is that is the place of happening places. Reserve your place at this place now. It is the place to be.

Wonderful Cleavages

String is not made of hamsters, and goats do not wear string vests. I have seen the underpants of your nightmares and - of course - worn the ladies underwear of all your deepest desires.

I know how these things turn brown, brittle and crinkly at the edges… well; I think no more needs to be said about that, not now.

However, all those boats that went out, and then came back with their crews feeling rather lucky because the sea was in the same place as they'd left it the day before.

Now we can use all those lessons learnt by the lesson-learners to unstitch the seams of your favourite dressing gown.

None of this matters.

None of this is real.

When you stepped up to this and adopted your reading stance, you stepped over the edge into this new-found-land. It is another land, another world, another universe. A place where all your pickled onions are worthless. This can never be the place you think it is, especially whilst you insist on wearing those carpet slippers on your elbows.

Ah, all those magical days we spent looking down at those wonderful cleavages, and then up at those marvellously too-tight jeans. Oh, those were the days and we will never forget.

"Forget what?"

"Er… Oh, I dunno."

Monday, November 29, 2010

Bulbous Contentions

This is the new season for our underpants. This is how the underwire of history will support our bulbous contentions. Eat this roast goat knee and sit as we tell tales. Tales of great heroes and fearless accountants brave against all odds in the checkout queues of countless lost supermarkets.

Is this your tin of peas? Should I pour its contents over your already-eager genitalia? I see now why they call you Doris. Never before have I seen a woman who could do that with a whole set of Tupperware containers.

Go now and it will be time for country dancing and easy laughs once again. What does it matter what we laugh at? We will all soon be dead while the world continues to go round and round in its never-ending circle game. Is this how you want to be remembered, naked and covered in lukewarm chocolate sauce?

My tongue grows weary of licking and there is so much undiscovered country lost in the folds of your flesh, where there are entire Eldorados and New Found Lands just waiting to be discovered.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Wielding a Dibber


‘Well, shuffle my lupins and call me Tarquin, never in all my life have I seen a woman who could wield a dibber like the young Azalea Flowerbed!’ Such were the words of veteran TV gardening programme presenter Stan Expansiveswamp, when Flowerbed was first introduced to the TV screens of a jaded nation. Of course, when she arrived on the scene, naked TV gardening was becoming a bit old hat, especially for Stan Expansiveswamp himself, who frequented our early evening TV sets going about his mulching in nothing but a pair of wellies and an old hat.

Although, Azalea Flowerbed has the kind of body that makes many a man have to go for a long contemplative sit-down in his potting shed, it is not just her body that makes Azalea so popular with the viewing public. For, not only does she know the difference between which ones are weeds and which ones are flowers, she can explain the difference to her loyal viewers in a way even they can understand.

In addition, when she bent over to thin out her seedlings in the third programme of her first series there was a significant rise in the number of heart attacks recoded amongst the viewers of that particular programme. As for the occasion when she ‘accidentally’ slipped and fell into the mud at the end of her vegetable patch, several accident and emergency wards in the nation’s hospitals had to close their doors to new admissions. For such were the number of TV viewers reporting to them with severally strained wrists and badly pulled muscles in the arm and/or groin area, they simply could not cope.

Consequently, all the Accident and Emergency wards in every hospital in the UK have cancelled all staff leave and cleared their decks in readiness on the proposed transmission date for the forthcoming episode in Azalea Flowerbed’s new series of Naked Gardening with Azalea Flowerbed where she has promised to explore, in depth, the full implications of ‘Forced Rhubarb’.

Wedding Photographers of Doom


But then, that is what will happen, even if all your penguins are called Norman and your Fridays taste of begonias. Still, as they say, all of this is all of that. No-one else can get so close to the traffic warden without staining the underside of their personal elderberry collection.

But, if you look out across the wide-open expanses of my bucket, you will see the Wedding Photographers gathering together on street corners as they prepare and gird themselves to march towards their collective doom. For we have seen the hordes of distant relatives as they too gather. We know only too well of their awesome powers of destruction as they rampage unhindered and unstoppable across the buffet tables of all our lives.

We know Only too well. We first met Only when she was but a mere slip of a girl. We have seen her grow both buxom and proud.

Now, then. Now and then. Then and now. What is this and how does it change your cabbage into something both edible and satisfyingly tasty?

I have seen all those dark secrets of yours and coloured them all in with my felt pens.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Toenail Inspector


So, anyway…. I thought of how I could become a small doughnut-shaped inspector of toenail clippings. I thought I heard the apple crumble of your need falling through the letterboxes of so many helicopter polishers.

We sat on the border between this land and the land over there where the structural engineers rule. That land where they party until dawn, singing songs about sexually-precocious woodlice and telling tall tales of their adventures in the far distant land of lost tax returns.

I could have been a hero. I could have turned on your television, using a long thin stick especially fashioned for that very purpose by cave-dwelling social workers.

I carry a drawing of your left nipple. I carry it with me always, to guide me back home should I get lost out in the lands beyond the ring-road.

Home - that place I know so well. The place where I will always find your underwear filed away in alphabetical order in the filing cabinet we bought together on our honeymoon in Droitwich.

I should have been the marmalade you spread on the toast of our love.

Thursday Poem: Fingerprints



We stand and then we will see how this world
Begins to form the shape of a new day
Against the far horizon of our lives.

We’ve seen the sun come rising from the dawn
Beyond those distant trees on the far hillside
And climb on up into the morning sky.

The sky will move the day around our lives
While walking all these paths and twisting lanes
Of our long lives together and alone.

We take the routes back to the comfort of home.
Away from storms, the wind and rain that falls
Out there, there is a world of shapes and forms.

Where we expect to touch its surfaces.
And we expect it to be cold and hard,
Indifferent to reaching fingertips.

Our touch will leave no traces here of us,
Except our fingerprints, like secret maps
That trace our routes on through this world by touch.

These fingerprints we leave behind, each one
Our own. A shape of shapes to trace our lives
As though they could tell all our secret stories,

But they are silent, still about too much
To be of use. And yes, I held the glass,
But they do not record your words at all,

Or how I placed the glass down carefully
Before I walked away from your small room
And without looking back while thinking only

About your lipstick, A trace left behind
On the rim of your empty glass you placed
So carelessly so very close to mine

Before you followed me all down along
Your shadowed hallway to your door and out.
I wanted to go back and steal that glass,

To have some small reminder and some proof,
Of your lips, while I wondered if you smiled
When you wiped my fingerprints from that glass.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Official Toad Misinformation Hour

The Electrical Spaniel Society are holding their biannual orgy in the bushes behind the Leisure Centre this morning. So don't let your donkey run amok among the azaleas until well after the Official Toad Misinformation Hour, unless you want to see her traumatized yet again. Remember, those Jungian Donkey Analysts are not cheap, and they do have the unfortunate tendency to smell too strongly of pickled onions.

Now, I have a tin of corned beef in my rucksack. So, are you ready to explore right to the very limits of its erotic possibilities with me? I do have an almost full jar of sweet pickle too, I hasten to add. So, therefore, you can never accuse me of not taking the issue of safe sex seriously.

Let us go then, you and I, now the banjos are spread out against the sky, and go down to watch the delightful antics of the small furry woodland creatures as they skip daintily about their joyful daily business of attempting to slaughter and then devour one another.

It is time, Daphne. It is time. Oil the walrus and I will mount the exercise bike.

Dreams Of Flying and Fear of Falling

We have these dreams of flying and a fear of falling. It probably goes back to some far distant monkey-like ancestor who lived in the trees and leapt from branch to branch, flying between them, but always keenly aware of that long fall into oblivion that lay below. Then there is the struggling through limbs, branches and the over-arching canopy to reach the light above and the sun-ripened fruit that is a taste of heaven.

Of course, there are snakes too that live in trees, winding their sinuous forms around those self-same branches that long distant ancestor reached out for to pluck that tempting fruit. Humans have an instinctive fear of snakes and spiders, the dangerous ones that live in trees.

There are also all those dangerous creatures that lurk on the forest floor, far below, vague creeping forms that can reach up and grab the careless or leap on those that fall and savage and torture all those that do – indeed – fall into their sharp-clawed grasp.

Then there is the ever-present danger of the forest fire. A fear of fire is also another of those primal fears that haunt our nightmares.

Then we hear those ancient myths that talk of the heavens above and of the damnation of hells below and realise why they can still reach out and touch some deeper part of ourselves we barely even acknowledge. It is then we know why there are some - who have never stepped out of that unthinking unawareness - who still feel such places are real.

As She Walks On By

She walks through shadows and out into the bright sunlight as though this is her world and she knows it. It is as though the day opens its petals to her as she walks past it, turning to follow her every step until she is out of sight and then the day turns its head to the ground, drooping as though the warmth has gone from its world with her passing on by.

Heads turn too as she walks on by, as though she has some kind of magnetic force that captures the glance and leads it to watch her as she walks on past. She does not turn to see if others are watching her, but if someone does catch her eye with her smile – and everyone always smiles when they see her – then she will smile too. Then the person who gets that smile feels as though their day has been made special, as though the gods have parted the clouds to plant a blessing upon their heads. Then they too turn and smile at everyone else they see that day as though her smile has made them overflow with good feeling towards their fellow man, and they can no longer contain the joy she has brought to their lives and so they must spread it all around too.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pork Pies And The Secrets Of The Universe

The sad weasels of ineptitude are once more gathering out on the wide-open plains of our once-proud car parks and our chips grow cold and stale as we ponder our dissolute kneecaps once more. There was a time, then there was another time and one after that, but that is the way it is with time, never standing still never hanging around looking for something to do, time is always on the move going somewhere.

We used to go somewhere too, even if it was only down the end of the road to admire the sun setting over the systems analysts as they played hopscotch. Each hopping over the discarded marshmallows scattered in panic as the undertakers were made to flee before the insidiously cheerful pamphlets of the religion-peddlers as they made their stiff be-suited way down a suddenly deserted street.

Back then we knew all the answers and would play Ludo until dawn, whilst our nasal-hair removal devices danced a solitary tango down along the banks of the canal. We knew then that the pork pies held all the secrets of the universe, if only we could get the top off the jar of mustard, back then though we were young, young and free, and we had all that time still to come.

The King Of The Spanners

But hold!


Now relax… and put the Brussels sprouts down approximately seventeen and fourteen sixty-sevenths of an inch to the left of the ice-cream salesman.

Good, now let us go play hopscotch on the ring road my little slide rule and I will tell you the story of the protractors that danced until Dawn. Although what Dawn did to stop them, she never did say, although all of us in the post office queue were of the opinion it had a lot to do with Rosie’s fingers.

Across the seas and long ago, there lived a spanner, not just an ordinary spanner this spanner was the king of the Spanners, known to all and sundry as King Nigel the Imperial, however, some of his subjects were metric and so they revolted against the Imperialist tyranny. King Nigel and all his fellow imperial spanners were put to death, smelted down, and turned into metric nuts for the metric spanners to sport with in a manner too crude and explicit for a forum such as this.

So, let that be a lesson for you. Now, hold my adjustable wrench while I rub Swarfega into the naked thighs of this leather-clad teaching assistant.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Travel Agent of Desire

I thought I saw you standing naked, next to the travel agent's of my desire. I wanted to take you then to romantic far-off locations. Where we would walk together across golden sun-kissed beaches, eat in small harbour-side cafes and then go back to our luxury hotel for night after night of weirdly perverted and disgusting sexual acts utilizing exotic unguents, power tools and small furry mammals.

Perhaps you could be the one I'm looking for; perhaps it could so easily be you. But I do not know, not until I have put my tongue deep inside all your scotch eggs, and tasted the saltiness of your anchovies.

You mean so much to me, and I do not have the words to say how the mere sight of you is enough to give me a stonking great hard-on that I have to hit with a hammer if I want to have any kind of comfort in my underpants.

Oh, if it were only you wielding that hammer.

I have dreams of you dressed up as the ordinary lady of my desire. Dressed in the ordinary daily clothes of an office worker, instead of that skin-tight leather cat suit you habitually wear.

Carpentry Set

    * Chin
    * Goat string
    * Headache
    * Norwegian Carpentry Set
    * Ready-Toasted Hamster Knees

There endeth today's Holy Shopping List.

Once upon a time, there was a time that was the time of the time of the time of the things.

Once we were young, beautiful and free. But now we have knees attached to the legs of our bodies.

We dare to use the paper handkerchiefs as though we understand the significance of the thing that is different.

We have a thing. We know the size of batteries it needs. We turn it slowly clockwise and then touch the touching thing that protrudes so proudly from its case.

Now I know how to rearrange the underwear of the reluctant traffic warden who sits outside the shopping precinct every Friday afternoon. But still she will not consent to remove her helicopter from my fridge, even though it makes it very difficult to reach the butter.

Now then.

Then now.

Now now.

Then then.

I saw how the goat stared as the intergalactic hamster landed the spacecraft. But this is not a planet for those species that do not truly understand the many uses of string.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Yellow Bits

Sometimes it gets like this and you wonder if the ferret can take it. But the yellow bits are turning blue, Ethel, so what will become of the elastic? We had such dreams for it. We thought that one day, one day..., perhaps not for a long time.... But, one day the world would recognise the power of our pork pies.

Don't do that Doreen, the helicopter is not built for it. Doreen..., Doreen? Doreen, put that young man down, we may need him.

Down here you can feel the rain falling, always falling down. This world gets so bloody tedious, sometimes, in its predictability. Where is the mystery, where did it go?

Let's play hopscotch out in the minefield, let us throw rainbows at the television and laugh at those who would wear unusual trousers. Such a dull, dull world.

Who turned the light off?

Once I knew the shape of it. I knew it far too well, even the strange sticky bit near the Northern end. I can see it now in my mind's eye. All the jelly babies in the universe could not take arms against me and wrench it from my grasp.

Volatile Vegetable Readiness

Ah, yes, well. As you all know by now, we do not keep any of the Spanish onions on the premises. In case of accident, or any other unfortunate incident, the storage facility for such volatile vegetables in only a swift six-hour pursuit tandem ride away. Very convenient indeed, I'm sure you will agree.

So, if anyone is - say - bleeding to death through a lack of radishes, help will be on hand before they have a chance to completely read Book One of War and Peace - no matter how fast a reader they are, or even how much blood they spill on the pages.
Of course, for serious emergencies: for example, a severe lettuce shortage causing heart arrhythmia, or even cucumber-related itchy-knee, we do have the medi-vac helicopter.

Unfortunately, we do not have anyone qualified to pilot it. Although Natalie, our erstwhile Vegetable-Awareness Officer herself has kindly volunteered to - at least - give it a go, but only as long as she is sober enough to read at least the larger print in the instruction manual.

Despite her kind offer - which we have, of course, accepted - we find we are too short of funds to purchase any helicopter fuel. So, for the time being until funds are made available, we can only therefore offer the stricken patient the - no-doubt comforting and reassuring - experience of being able to look at the helicopter, sitting proudly pristine on its pad, as their life-force slowly ebbs away. No doubt, a great comfort for them, I'm sure you will agree.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

These Things Happen


And so these things happen as though the world is stuck inside some kind of loop, not one where the same day happens day after day, each day is different. However, each day is the same in too many ways for it to be entirely coincidental. From the moment you wake up in confusion at the sound of the alarm, convinced it should be a weekend and wondering where your Sunday lie-in went. Then, standing in the kitchen waiting for the kettle to start your day and noticing the calendar has slipped through spring and summer without you even noticing….

And just when did all those other years happen?

Now those kids, who you had to bend down to take their hands, are almost as big as you are are, and have lives that run at tangents to yours – just when did they do all this growing up?

Your hair is grey and there is less of it to comb, as you stare into a mirror that seems haunted by the faces of your parents, while each day starts with a sigh.

It was not supposed to be like this. In the days when you dreamed of what you wanted your life to be, instead of looking back wondering what happened to it all, you used to never see yourself growing old. You used to be living on some Gauguin island with dusky tropical beauties sitting in awe at your feet on bright warm sand as you enthralled them with your tales of bravery and the wisdom learnt from a full life. A life where you kept all your hair and a sexy charm that followed you into the wisdom of dignified old age and not this one, where you can’t ever remember why you came into the kitchen in the first place, or even why you are still holding that spoon.

Thursday Poem: Some Sort Of Smile


Some Sort of Smile
[Terza Rima]

Some sort of twisting smile, almost a sneer
Is flickering across the tight hard lips
Of your stone-fleshed new lover standing here

As though a thought beyond your naked hips
Has broke through the shallow surface he skims
Across while taking all his frequent trips

Towards now whatever pleases his whims
To places where confusion will come to greet
His shallow understanding as it dims

From dull to duller, then admits defeat
And turns away to find a simpler theme
To follow, something shiny and so neat

That fits inside his straightforward bright dream
Of life all filled with things so new they gleam.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Time Will Always Trick Us and Trap Us


Time will always trick us and trap us. Places will haunt our memories long after we leave. Time will fill those places we return to with ghosts and memories that haunt our every step. We will go back and find a world filled with things we thought we had left behind, things we thought we had forgotten and things we thought had forgotten us.

Each step down that old path takes us back to moments we did not ever think we would see again, every turn in the pathway brings memories back that have lain lost and forgotten, buried under dustsheets in rooms we no longer visit.

The past haunts us, sneaks up upon us and grabs at our memories, dragging them out into these familiar places and populating these scenes with people we long thought lost to us.

We come back here and we realise just how much time we have lost since we turned our backs on all this.

Public Unveilings


Even when the time is seemingly opportune, it is never a good idea to unveil it in public, even though you may very well be inordinately proud of it. Sometimes these things are best left uncovered; take it from one who understands about these things from a very knowledgeable point of view. Paying the fine later is no laughing matter either, even though – at the time – it does, as I’ve said, seem like a rather spiffing wheeze to get it out in public, not everyone in the library will be as easily enamoured of it as you.

Anyway, later, when you come to take a more dispassionate view of the matter as you sit quietly in the police cell, you will – eventually – come to the conclusion that no matter how personally attached to it you are, no mater how proud of it you are – to everyone else it is nothing special, nothing out of the ordinary. Well, the only thing out of the ordinary is the way you whipped it out in the reading room like that. Certainly not the act of a gentleman, that is for sure, even though these days the very idea of there even being such a person in existence who could begin to embody such an outworn concept is treated with the utmost derision.

Still, no doubt you will think again, the next time such a course of action pops up in your mind for consideration, and - we can only hope – that this next time, when it does arise – you will decide against a similar course of action. For which you will no doubt have the gratitude of the whole nation.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

When There Is Time


When there is time, what then? Now she had time, the kids had their own separate lives, her husband had his own world too and she… well… she had been defined by the shape she gave to their lives as wife and mother. She’d had jobs, of course, but that’s all they ever were, just jobs, not a career. She’d always been grateful for that, seeing a career more of an absence than a thing to be longed for. It was if people who did not have enough of themselves needed something external to define them:

‘I may be the most boring person you will meet at this drinks party, but at least I am a bank manager. There may be no-one reflected back when I look in the mirror, but when I walk into the bank later, everyone there will see the manager pass by on his way into his office. I may be a non-entity, but at least my absence of shape has a name.’

She did not want that, did not want, after 25 years of service, the carriage clock engraved with the title of some position she’d occupied, some void she’d filled, some role she’d played on the corporate stage.

Thing is though, she didn’t know what she did want, and now with her kids gone and her husband living his own life, she had no choice but to find out.

Never Mind


Don’t think about it, that is the one way to make sure that it never happens, at least until it is too late. It is always the case that the ideal retort comes long after the argument is over and it is about as much use to you as a pair of flippers in a desert.

Still, though, as they say…. Well, I presume they – whoever they are – do say something rather apt at this point, the thing is, though, right at this moment I can’t quite put my finger on it, as the actress said to the bishop. Although, that one seems to be a trifle inaccurate as it seems that actresses are not usually the preferred illicit partners of members of the clergy at all. Although, back in the early days of theatre, the roles of women used to be taken by young boys, so maybe that is where the origin of the phrase lies.

Anyway, where was I?

Oh, it seems I wasn’t actually quite anywhere really.

Never mind, I’m sure there will be something more interesting to say some other day, that is – of course, if I can find some good way of expressing that particular thought on that particular day that is.

Otherwise, we could end up with some inconsequential waffle that ends up not really saying very much… er… a bit like this one today, actually.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Times That Hold Themselves Out Of Reach


If the days that fall here, around our feet, like the petals of that dying flower you left behind in the vase, ever give us moments to remember, then it is times like this.

Times when the world seems poised on the verge of something, times when possibilities seem to hang there, suspended on the air like the scents of flowers on warm evening breezes. Times that hold themselves out of reach; around corners and just too high to touch, or buried under the dust we walk through to reach these waiting days. Each day seems to be waiting for us to take it in our hands and make it belong to us.

Each morning feels early as though it is too soon to begin anything and each night seems too late, as though the day has slipped away before we have been able to hold on to it.

In between those mornings and those nights, we have sat here in these chairs, occasionally glancing up to watch each other, and – just maybe – to catch a glimpse of one of those possibilities for the day lingering on the still air that lies between us. Just like so many of those other days we never got around to using, before they too fell like the petals of those dying flowers left behind in that vase.

Monday Poem: All the Secret Moments


All the Secret Moments

She walked through all the days
I set out just for her.
She opened all the doors
I’d closed, turning the key
On each new morning’s world
To step out into all
Those days just made for her.

Exploring, finding out
All I had ever hidden
Between the secret times
And moments of each day.

She knew just where to find
Those special times and those
Particular small moments
Which stop and turn a day
Into a sudden rainbow
Of memorable times,

That takes the shape of a day
And turns it into precious
Bright jewels of memory

Safe in that special place
We keep all those certain
So carefully amassed
Moments of a lifetime.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Tools of the Secret Services: A Brief History

It is a little known fact that the teasmade was first used by British secret agents working undercover in hostile foreign countries. Obviously enough, as they were working undercover, the secret service teasmade had no alarm clock, but the timed device they used to deliver secret cups of essential tea to British agents was a basic part of their kit, along with the suitcase radio and toasting fork disguised as a fountain pen.

These vital items of kit enabled a British spy to have the essential nice cup of tea and hot buttered crumpets they needed to survive deep in enemy territory, while the radio was vital for keeping in touch with the latest football and cricket scores. The football results were – of course - often sent in code so that the enemy forces had no chance of using the signal to check their pools coupons.

Other, now common, household devices first invented by the secret service boffins were of course initially kept secret. Such things as the carpet slipper, invented as a way of sneaking around well-guarded areas such as secret military bases, ports, missile facilities and so forth, were classified military secrets well into the days of the cold war. That it until they were rendered useless by a Soviet counter-measure based on designs they had stolen from a western factory that produced Lego bricks.

The cardigan too, was first developed by the Secret Intelligence Service both to keep its spies warm while they were out observing enemy troop movements and so forth, and as a rudimentary form of stab vest. The wool of the undercover cardigan had a steel mesh woven into it that could stop a small bladed weapon from penetrating it and even low-calibre bullets, providing they were not fired from point blank range.

Most notorious however was – of course – the tobacco pipe. Not only could this – in a moment – be converted into an extremely accurate blowpipe, firing poison darts (providing the operator remembered to blow and not to suck), the highly trained operative could also kill using the pipe stem to poke at an enemy in the precise spot that would stop the heart in an instant. The pipe could also be used to provide a smoke screen to aid in evasion and escape as well as leave enemy guards confused if the spy asked them if they had a light, enabling the spy to overcome the guard as he searched his greatcoat pockets for an elusive match.

All in all then, all these secret weapons provided the British spies of the period from the outbreak of WWII right up to near the end of the Cold War with a formidable array of tools with which to help defeat the enemy and should be regarded as a credit to this country’s great tradition of undercover intelligence gathering.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Unauthorised Use of a Banjo

Okay, so we know why we are here, and – I see – you have brought the banjo, just in case. That is despite the fact that we have warned you about the new EU-wide Health and Safety directive that outlaws the unauthorised use of a banjo (or other similar resonating stringed instrument) within a 12-mile radius of any gathering of two or more people, or more than seven mute swans.

Now, to many people, especially the French (for obvious historical reasons), such banjo-related precautions are seen as necessary, if not vital. However, there seems to be little in the way of parity in this law, as – for example – both the Germans and the French have blocked similar laws outlawing the unauthorised use of an accordion in a built up area. This is despite those countries, including the UK, who feel that such legislation is vital, especially with the number of accordion-wielding gangs now roaming our inner-city streets.

Now, although it is possible to get a banjo permit in most places within the EU, many people – especially in the UK – feel it is a direct infringement of their historical liberties to have to do so when going about what they regard as their historical right to annoy the shit out of people with a ‘musical’ instrument. Some are also concerned that the legislation could be extended, say in Scotland to outlaw the unauthorised use of the bagpipes during the hours of darkness. This does seem to be a more than valid concern and one that many of us feel we should be vigilant against. However, such is the nature of the EU that in cases like this such concerns end up being ignored, and the legislation introduced anyway, regardless of he feelings of sometimes even the majority of EU residents.

Thursday Poem: Seasons Of Time

Seasons Of Time

Anyway the world moves,
But it’s only the one way.
There is no past here
To cling to as the world turns
Its old face to face
Into the unknown future.

While we are stuck here
Only in the still moment,
Waiting for something
To happen. Something always
Will happen around
Each turn of this turning world

While every turning
Is a blind turning towards.
While we stand and wait
Only stillness remains here
At the still centre
As life moves on around us.

We used to be there,
Out where the changes are made,
But here we remain
Where there is nothing and where
There is everything.
That keeps us rooted and still.

Our times are past times.
Now all our seasons are gone,
Lost seasons of time.
How can we shape these moments
We hold and turn slow
To catch the light and keep it?

Here, it can be seen.
It can be taken from here
And it can move on.
All these days and all these times.
We move on from now
Out into the day and on.

Out beyond the night.
It grows, turns and fills the sky.
But here you stand now,
With ripped paper all around
Your bare feet, naked,
Naked and holding a bright
Flower to your nose
As you remember those times

Long ago, back when
It seemed it could all be yours.
When it just seemed you
Only had to lift your hand
To find it brimming
All over with happiness,
And now your hand is empty.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I Too Have Held a Cabbage and Looked to Windward

This is not the way that we like to arrange our artichokes, not here at the beginning of the day. We have seen how all those small rotund welsh canteen manageresses gather in the dawn’s early morning gloom to point at the radishes with something approaching scorn and derision in their eyes. I too have held a cabbage and looked to windward, so I understand how you can look at those poor wizened organic carrots with what is little more than disdain.

I remember when we used to talk of cucumbers and of tomatoes, but we were young then and in love, so we thought we knew all there ever was to know about fruit and vegetables… or so we thought.

Then I caught you with that courgette and I recognised that look in your eye. I remember how the bananas I had bought for you fell from my grasp and it seemed I could almost actually feel my plums shrivelling as I stood there watching you, courgette in one hand and recipe book in the other…. I knew it was over then.

Somehow, though, despite the odds, we found ourselves still together when that cauliflower came into our lives, and it was never the same again for either of us. We began to talk, tentatively at first, of leeks and cabbage and other more exotic vegetables we had fantasised about like asparagus, artichokes, aubergines and squash, but had never dared to try. You spoke of your love of sprouts and I told you my deepest pineapple fantasies, and somehow we found ourselves hand in hand next to the vegetable aisle in Tesco, and we knew our lives together would never be the same again.

A Small Indulgence

She was there in her seat, her usual seat. It had begun as a small indulgence – the occasional visit to the Town Hall, but as the years had passed her concert going had begun to take on a greater significance in her life until it became her only indulgence. Until she saw buying the season ticket and perusing the programme for the upcoming concerts as her greatest, often her only, joy in life.

She could smile now at the time when some of the younger office jokers had started calling her Inspector Morse behind her back. It had hurt slightly at the time, but what she had found sadder in a way was the way it demonstrated what little contact those around her seemed to have with the music that was so important in her life. But now, almost at retiring age, she just got looks of bewildered incomprehension from most of the newcomers at the office when she mentioned her taste in music, but, then, she was quite often just as bewildered by the names of groups, singers and… and… well, whatever else they mentioned too.

She often – now, these days – found herself wondering how she had managed to lose contact wit the rest of the world, or whether it was it – the rest of the world – that had lost contact with her.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Electric Turbo-Weasels


Of course, these days, electric turbo-weasels are all the rage in the trendy nightspots around town. No celebrity (from the A-list to the Z-list*) or member of the Metropolitan-trendy elite would - these days - consider themselves properly dressed without their custom-built electric turbo-weasel prominently displayed somewhere about their person (or, if their person is unavailable, about the body of some flunkey or hanger-on, often just employed for that specific reason).

Indeed, it is just a passing fashion, for urban folk anyway. But few - if any - of those who so avidly follow the fashion and constantly exchange and faithfully update their electric turbo-weasels whenever a new model is released seem to have any idea - or even interest - in where their high fashion weasels come from.

This is – of course – not surprising as the sourcing of electric turbo-weasels is a deeply tedious affair that makes even trainee-accountant spotting or arranging your cheese-spanners in alphabetical order sound excessively over-stimulating. It is for that reason that this article ends here**.


*Except – of course - a T-list celebrity for the obvious reasons.

**Except for this rather pointless and unnecessary footnote, of course.

Like Some Butterfly


Sometimes it takes too long to deicide, and then the moment is gone, taking off like some butterfly fluttering away from you over the summer garden to land on some distant flower far out of your reach.

The moment when that butterfly could have been taken gently in your cupped hands so you could feel it fluttering against your palms is over, gone, just like that moment when she looked through the crowded room and seemed to notice only you. You should have gone to her then; but now the room seems bare without her, like the flower after the brightly coloured slowly flickering butterfly has taken to the air and just become a rapidly fading blur in the distance.

She walked away, out of your life, probably thinking that you were just another one of those butterfly collectors that reach out to capture, only to pin them to another empty space in your collection.

You, though, were looking for something more than just another specimen to add to your collection of memories, another bright moment that you could pore over when you were alone. You wanted to take something of her summer into your hands and feel the living heartbeat of her pressing against your skin for as long as she would be content to stay with you, before flying away back into her own summer of freedom.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Look At Me!


There is not much these days that is not over-hyped to the point of annoyance. Even a straightforward thing like the presents, food and drink extravaganza that is Christmas has become one long advertising period where various supermarkets compete with each other over who has the most luxurious mince pies and bombard us with adverts of increasing lavishness, but – seemingly by some unwritten law - each must end with the money shot of a turkey the size of a heavily pregnant zeppelin emerging from its hanger cooker. There adverts start as soon as they have got the Halloween/bonfire night stuff out of the way around the second week in November. So by the time of Christmas almost two months later everyone is heartily sick of the whole thing and just glad it is all over…. Then the January sales adverts begin… then the holiday adverts.

Everything, and now with social media and… yes, blogs everyone, it seems is always scrabbling for our attention, look at me, look at me. I exist only when you pay attention to me.

The problem is that everything is so over-hyped that nothing can live up to its billing, the claims that are made for it. Each Christmas will be just like – more or less – the ones that precede it and the ones that follow it. If you aren’t heartily sick of watching turkeys emerging orgasmically from hot advert ovens by then, there will still be that perennial post-Christmas question, why do people have turkey and sprouts if no-one really likes them, why spend so long in a kitchen cooking something no-one really enjoys, and the kids never even touch because they are filled up on the chocolate from a multitude of selection boxes, and the adults have spent so long waiting for it they are already beginning the hangover from far too much early morning sherry?

Well, don’t ask me, because I quite like* Christmas, that is as long as we can keep the irrelevance that is religion out of it.


*Well, the way that we have organised ours free from religion, relatives, turkey, excessive extravagance and all else we dislike.

Monday Poem: The Night Has Secrets


The Night Has Secrets

The night has secrets and the night has rituals.
We learn its motions and its dark dances.
We learn of all the flickering shadows cast
By its eager fires wanting to taste the dark
With their bright quick tongues.

We learn the sudden sounds that scream out
From the dark echoing silences of the night.
We learn what creeps and we learn what crawls
Hidden behind the shadows in the deep dark.

We know not to step from the path, or to get lost.
We know the names of those who never came home
No matter how long their mothers cried out to the moon.
We know how the stars follow our every step
And all the stories they can tell us.

And we know we will have to wait here
For the slow dawn to come and rescue us.

Friday, November 05, 2010

From the Shadows of Possibility


These things grow from the morning, held in darkness through the night they begin to stir as dawn’s tentative fingers creep in through the curtained windows. Everything turns from black, from darker shadows lost in shadows, into a dull grey of possibility. The familiar begins to take shape all around as real life slowly edges its way back into the places now being slowly abandoned by the world of dreams. She lingers in the mind as though she waits for me to take the plunge and follow her back into that dream world, to go wherever it is that dreams go to when we leave them on our cooling pillows and turn back to this slow waking world, leaving them behind forever.

The day, though, is insistent and will – eventually – drag me out of that bed to face whatever it is that the morning has waiting for me behind those closed curtains and that door that lies just slightly ajar waiting for me to step out into another morning.

Now there is no night time left, and she has gone walking out of my dream and closed the door upon it. I wonder if I will ever see her again as I struggle out of sleep and realise she is already fading away. I can no longer remember the colour of her eyes, her hair, or remember her name, or just what it was that she promised me that made me want to dive back into that dream and chase all through those corridors of the imaginary until I had her back in my arms again.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Who Was That?

She moved. She could feel the air on her skin. She could walk and her body could take her there. This was her world and she could move through it. She owned this air and it was right that she could feel it on every inch of her skin.

He was a man who thought women loved him. He was wrong.

She was old now, and she felt superfluous. The world had moved on and left her behind and she knew she would no longer be missed by any part of it. She felt half-invisible already, as though she was easing out of this world and into another one. Already, her memories felt more real than the reality she ghosted through. She often found herself deep in conversation with long dead relatives and friends who seemed far more real, more solid than all the strangers she muttered past on the streets.

He was a dog, but he didn't know that. He knew the shape of dogs; how they were more like him, smelt like him. But he lived in a human family pack, and so he was both dog and human. He was both, and he was neither.

Thursday Poem: The Taste of Silence

The Taste of Silence
I know the taste of silence,
It is here, soft and metallic.
You know the taste of disappointment
Its bitter sharp sourness.
We have tasted life
And both turned away
To face each other
Amid these haunted lonely lives
Of those who cannot shape
The shape of the world around them.

We are here, only standing,
But there are places
We will return to.
We will search for the traces
Of what once were our lives.
There is nothing here
To hold us together,
Except this lack of any reason
For it all to fall apart around us.
Now, here is all we have,
We need someone to hold onto.
All we have are each other,
So we will hold on together.
It is not such a bad thing.
We are the fortunate ones
To have found someone to hold
And to hold us in return.
There is nothing so simple,
Nothing quite so vital.
Alone, we are incomplete
Without edges to define us.
To let go is to let go of the world
And fall on down alone forever.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Theory of Car Parks

‘If only there were enough car parks in the world, then there would be space enough for everyone’. Such were the idealistic utopian ideals of Heinrich Von Rectangle, the leading post war car-parking theorist in Europe. Von Rectangle was a visionary, way ahead of his time. In a Europe still recovering from the ravages of WWII, Von Rectangle was already envisaging a car-filled future and whilst others dreamt of cars speeding down the autobahns and autoroutes of a re-built Europe, Von Rectangle was dreaming of the car parks of the future.

For the high-density inner cities of course, Von Rectangle envisaged multi-story car parks towering high above the ring roads and pedestrian precincts, where people would find easily-accessible ample car parking spaces amongst the concrete pillars and supports that would bring a bright new futuristic sheen to their car parking experience under the florescent lights of a throbbing metropolis. A place where the air would always be fresh and the high-speed lifts would whisk people from the parking decks down to the pedestrian shopping paradises at ground level. Or, if people preferred, they could take a leisurely stroll down the bright well-lit stairwells and delight in meeting and passing the time of day with all manner of interesting people as they passed each other on those stairs.

For other, yet to be even theorised about, out of town retails experience areas, Von Rectangle – inspired by the great plains of the African Serengeti with its massive migrating herds - dreamt of massive car parks that stretched as far as the eye could see. Car parks so big that they would need some sort of transport system of their own to take patrons to and from their cars and their ultimate destination, be it retail experience, airport or even – in his wilder fantasies – a huge DIY emporium that sold everything from little packets of washers right up to entire fitted kitchens.

Sadly, however, Von Rectangle never lived to see his theories come close to fruition. The typical post war car park was little more than a small piece of undeveloped waste ground, or un-reclaimed bombsite. A place where an ancient withered old man, in a flat cap with a ¾” rollup seemingly glued to his lower lip, sat in a little shed at the entrance hading out tickets before gesturing vaguely towards the back of the area while muttering something about ‘plenty of spaces up the back, me ol’ cock’ in a vaguely sexually-predator-esque manner. This was far from the modern utopia than Von Rectangle envisaged, leaving him distraught and suicidal.

Eventually, after years of depression, Von Rectangle drove his car into a parking space too tight for him even to open his door to get out of the car. Locking the car doors and throwing the ignition key away, Von Rectangle there committed suicide by gluing his seat belt in place around himself and tuning his car radio to Radio 1.

Alerted by his screams of agony, passers by called the fire brigade, but any rescue attempt was deemed far too dangerous until at least after the end of the Tony Blackburn Breakfast show. Tragically, however, by then it was too late, Von Rectangle – unable to take any more, had torn his own head off rather than listen to any more Tony Blackburn.

The Theory of Car Parks: the book - available here (UK) or here (US) for the Kindle.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Waiting At The Crossroads

Anyway, it seems now I do not know which way to go. There are advantages and disadvantages with both roads I can see, as I stand here at the crossroads.

The one that leads off into the town has the possibility of contact with others in the small town on the horizon, if I can get there, there is a chance of finding a comfortable home with neighbours who I can – at least – get along with. There are small streets leading to other parts of the town I can walk along and get to know the neighbourhood quite well. It is a small town though, where I can only glimpser what lies beyond only in the gaps between the houses.

The other road though leads off into the forest of unknown. I have no idea what will be waiting there for me. Maybe, I think, that is a path for a younger man. Maybe if I was younger I could set off down that path knowing I have very little to lose, knowing I could still have the strength and the time to turn back.

However, I still do not know which path to take, which would be the best for me. So I stand here at the crossroads… waiting.

Always Waiting

It is almost as if life has stopped. Everything seems on hold as if it is waiting for something. It is a bit like waiting for a webpage to load and suddenly there is some kind of glitch that stops the page loading partway through, usually the text, the picture, the video or whatever that you clicked on the link to see. It always seems to be the case in such situations that all else loads fine, except the bit that you are waiting for. This is, of course, not true, because if the bit that you want to see loads you get on with what you wanted to do, while the rest of the page fails to load, not really noticing that the bits of page that do not interest you are still waiting to load, unless you happen to glance away from what you are looking at to see there is still some kind of activity going on.

It seems like that when you now look at your life, there is activity going on all around you, some of it even seeming purposeful and busy, but the central part here, the space where you live seems to be stuck in some loop that goes round and round while it waits for that vital missing piece that it needs for you to make sense of it all.

Monday, November 01, 2010

The Sensual Arts Of The Secret Accountancy Sect Exposed

Well, here we are at the very desk where Keypad Balancesheet first began to codify the secret sexual arts of the mysterious accountancy sect. Of course, everyone these days, thanks to the countless exposes in print and on film knows that the accountancy sect developed secret awesome sexual powers that made them not only irresistible to their chosen partners but enabled those selfsame sexual partners to achieve levels of sexual ecstasy not seen outside some of the more far-fetched porn video scenarios.

Of course, it was Balancesheet himself who first managed to penetrate the deepest secrets of double-entry, while developing the dexterous fingering techniques that could rifle through a whole heap of invoices into the sexual techniques that now make the world of accountancy so exotic and vibrant.

To those of us who can only ever dream of the sensual pleasures that can be found in stroking the keys of an eager calculator, or spend our days daydreaming of what it would be like to be entangled in the deepest recesses of a spreadsheet, laid out naked and waiting for our first entry, the world of erotic accountancy can seem more like a fantasy. However, for those, though, who penetrate deep into the sensual word of profit and loss and expenses incurred it must be like living the dream, even if there is a chance of your balance sheets ending up all sticky and smudged.