Google+ A Tangled Rope: 12/01/2010 - 01/01/2011

Friday, December 31, 2010

The Long Lost Cod Fillets Of Your Soul


The terpsichorean stoats of your seemingly-endless winter are dancing across the car parks of all our dreams once again. Even now, as the year comes to a close, the structural engineers of our souls are casting doubt upon the integrity of your hidden demon-haunted abodes that lie deep within the chest freezer of all your forgotten desires. Still we do know where the frozen peas are now, and those long lost cod fillets of your soul are once more within easy reach.

Nevertheless, we still do not fully understand all the buttons on your scientific calculator and you have not put all the tins of anchovies back on the shelf in alphabetical order with all the other tinned produce. However, our cardigans are once more resplendent and proud and we have rewired the auditor who lives in the cupboard under the stairs with his pet bag of coloured pasta. We call him Nigel, although everyone knows that is not his name.

All along the skirting board of your hopes and dreams, we have painted intricate patterns dictated to us by the mystical cardboard we have gathered from the excess packaging we once held so dear, as it had been so intimate with all our most prized consumer goods. But now the cardboard grows old and limp and we no longer even have the times that it once-so proudly ensconced within its very bosom.

Still, though, at least the tinned peaches have not deserted us in this, our hour of shortbread.

The Thighs of Adventuring


How stale, flat and unprofitable seem to me the uses of this banana, now that we no longer play strip Ludo out on the ring road traffic islands of this fair land. It seems to me there was a time, not too long ago, when you and I would ride our tandem out to the places where the wild young things cavort. There we would wantonly gambol with our Ordinance Survey maps blowing wild and free in the wind as we ran from place of special scientific interest to church without tower or steeple in pursuit of adventure and pre-packed sandwiches.

We were young then, though, and we had the thighs and, yes, the stamp collections for adventuring. I held the torch and you showed me the secrets of some of your carefully-chosen underwear and all that it could contain, while I tarried wantonly with the flask of warm tea and clutched your Rich Tea biscuits to my beating heart.

We could – if we had ever dared – gone together to go train-spotting in the dawn’s early mist-streaked light, but we knew then - even in our callow youthful folly – there are places that can never be returned from, once that initial fateful step has been taken. Therefore, we turned away to search for the cake shop of all our young dreams, instead.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Genital-Clutching Thursday


She was the sort of person who was that sort of person. If you ever needed to describe anyone who was that sort of person, then she was more than ideal for the purpose. Never, before or since, have I ever seen anyone more typical of that sort of person.

It seems almost magical the way you can do that using only your bare hands and a jar of mayonnaise. Isn't modern science wonderful?

I do not know what to say now. I put it down over there and now I've forgotten where I've put it. It seems strange the way it vibrates like that. I wish I had a hamster for every time it has happened to me.

There are strange goings-on in the Palace of Goings-On. The Lord High Minister of Goings-On has decreed seventeen new Holy Goings-On holidays. Each is to take place on the first Monday after Genital-Clutching Thursday.

People who wear yellow trousers should be taunted by specially-commissioned dwarves dressed up as Scandinavian Toad-Experts, wearing parsnips as identifying lapel badges. It is the only sensible way to go.

I shall not turn this off now, it is just getting warm.

Maybe the Banjo is Irrelevant


If, by adopting the stance of a supply geography teacher about to undertake a world-record attempt at the pole-vault over a fully-up-to-eating-temperature steak and kidney pie, then – obviously – the state of your socks could turn out to be of vital importance, especially when it comes to their aerodynamic qualities. However, should you be merely perusing the available selection of replacement bath taps at your local DIY emporium then the technological capabilities of whatever hosiery you are there residing in takes upon itself a lesser importance in the great scheme of things.

The banjo – though – is irrelevant in both cases, that is - of course - unless you find the idea of serenading DIY store employees and/or customers is something that sends a shiver of excitement down your spine. Having said that, singing a selection of Cliff Richard hits whilst accompanying yourself on the solo banjo – no mater how adept your fingerings – is not necessarily going to over-endear you to everyone within earshot. Therefore, it would be – perhaps – to – at least this time – leave the banjo at home. This is especially true if the banjo has sentimental value and you felt that this value would be somewhat diminished if – say – an irate DIY store patron was to take offence at your choice of Mr Richard’s recorded material. Especially if then he were then to forcibly apply the aforesaid banjo to a part of your body that would make retuning it more than a little inconvenient.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Dance of the Bewildered Taxidermist


We put it there. Now leave it alone! It may taste like anchovy-flavoured ice-cream, but that doesn't mean you have to spread it all over your inner-thighs, Matilda.

Now, I admit, I may have used your cheese-board in an unnatural act, but that doesn't mean that we can't still be friends, especially in that special way. I know you know that no-one can grate carrots for you the way I can. So, can we still go to Tewksbury together, dressed up as industrial chemists once again, next Tuesday?

I would ask you not to laugh at my tadpoles, Sylvia. I have put them on that shelf for a purpose. We do not expect just any VAT Inspector to enquire about the state of our ironing boards once we do get closer to Bridlington.

I saw her on an early spring morning. The world was coming back to life again. The green tips of living poked free of the dull ground. The leaves were, once more, enrobing the skeletal trees. She was dressed up as a shop assistant, so I did the Dance of the Bewildered Taxidermist around her handbag, which she had placed in the exact centre of my vestibule. Ah, but we would never be so happy ever again.

Woolly Mammoths on the High Street


Even if the very icicles of despondency are lined up in ranks upon the frozen guttering of our lives, there is still always the chance that a thaw is only hours away and that soon the ice will melt and once more we will be able to sally forth without the fear of stumbling into solidly frozen brass monkeys. However, should that this icy winter of our despondency continue beyond what could be regarded as normal - or even reasonable - then the woolly jumpers we huddle inside may no longer be enough and the thought of naked skin against skin becomes little more than a faded memory as a full be-mittening is considered essential for even indoor wear. All while we shiver as the central heating dial seems to run of out numbers before it even seems to dent the solidity of this coldness. It comes to a time where woolly mammoths on the High Street would hardly merit a second glance.

Even the children seem to have grown weary of sledges and the remains of all the novelty-genitalled snowmen hardly seem to merit even a wry smile as the cold and the snow seem to grow a permanence to themselves and the sight of everything buried under a heaping of whiteness has now become the norm.

Spring sees further off than ever and the idea of summer seems to have less substance to it than a politician’s promise as we trudge through lives that have become a battle against the elements to even live up to what we once considered normal.

In such weather even a trip to the supermarket becomes like a polar expedition where we know we will lose at least one of our party to the wild polar bears that we now expect to run wild across the great deserted snow-sheeted car parks that once seemed never to have a free space. Even the fresh food aisle seems as bare as those from soviet-era Russia, and – seemingly – colder and greyer too.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

All Our Aforesaid Trouserings


There is nothing – except the penguins, of course – that is happening at the moment that would make anyone look askance at his or her pontificating trousers and cause them to wonder that the augumenting braces may have slightly too much slack in them. Still, we can only really wonder at the necessity of the Jaffa cakes to all our endeavours and see that although today may not necessarily be Thursday, a trip to the supermarket will always beckon. There to gasp in rapt awe and wonder at their many-tiered displays of baked bean tins may be just the thing to cheer our jaded outlook upon this land and these small squalid times in which our aforesaid trouserings now take place.

However, should we wish to place our pilchards in the most prominent position we can, in order to impress those of the opposite sex for whom we do bear a certain more than fondness, and wish to impress with our supermarket trolley contents. On such occasions there is little more that we can do apart from adopt the pose of one for whom supermarket till queues are but a small inconvenience in our otherwise wonder-filled lives. Lives where we have all the cardboard necessary for a frank and full sex life with little or no necessity for a tea-break part way through the proceedings, or to have to make a brief note as to where we were up to when the tea-break became necessary.

These Delicate Creatures


Sometimes it will grow as if from nothing. One moment there is nothing there, just a blank page, empty as your mind. Then there is tentative movement out on the edge of things. If you are patient, careful, quiet, the words will come, edging out across the emptiness. Nervous at first they come alone, each cautiously sniffing at the bare white page, each unsure of just where to place their letters as they step carefully out into the open.

You wait, hardly daring to breathe. You know only too well how nervous, how skittish, these delicate creatures can be, how one sudden wrong thought can send them scattering for shelter, hiding out of your reach, out of your sight until you give up and turn away from the page in despair.

However, you also know that if you give them the space to themselves, if you let them al come out into the open, then they will wander across that page with increasing confidence. Then, if you are really lucky they will begin to dance and sing while you sit there in wonder; wondering just what it is that you did this time that made them come out like that and again you wonder, wonder if it will ever happen like this for you ever again.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Gods of Small Parts


It is not always easy to fully-recalibrate the electro-penguins of destiny for the prevailing weather conditions when wearing your bespoke cheese mittens. This, especially if your lovely assistant has not brought the callipers and the sealing wax, which is – admittedly – rather difficult to manage when all you are wearing is a heavily besequined stage costume that is rather on the skimpy side and a cape. It does tend to look somewhat incongruous when worn with the knee-length wellies that are essential wear whenever in the presence of an electro-penguin when it is undergoing extensive maintenance too.

However, none of this should detain us too long as it is now time to make sure that the sandwiches are prepared and the packets of cheese-flavoured snacks are placed upon the altar in a way that is deemed most pleasing to the Gods of Maintenance Engineering by the High Holy Spanner-Wielder himself. Then it is time for a reading of the nine lessons and carols from the Owner’s Manual, recounted in the original Owner’s Manual English. This is a rich version of the language that has done so much to add a depth and flavour – if little actual clarity or understanding – to this great language of ours. Then – finally – it is the time to offer up a prayer to the Gods of Small Parts in the way that provides the best of hope for the availability of the necessary spare parts that will be found to be wanted as soon as the electro-penguin is fully disassembled.

Then, finally, many hours later, when it is al over it will be time – once again – to sing The Song Of The Strange Unidentifiable Left-Over Part After Reassembly that neither you nor your lovely assistant can recall where it fits, what it is meant to do, or – even - ever having seen where it came from during the disassembly process.

Still, though, if all else fails you can always hit it with a hammer – that usually works.

Monday Poem: Reservoir



I can feel the seconds crowding up
Curling tight into the minutes.
Soon, the dam will burst open
Drowning me in a wave of hours.

A raging torrent of days
Will pour over my parched lands
To be lost under a flood
Several years deep, filling
This dry valley for decades wide.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Looking a Bit of a Tit


Even though the sellotape is prepared and we have wound up the clockwork badgers and placed them on the starting line, there is still some dirty work afoot… I told you to wear the wellies, didn’t I?

As you well know it is not easy to housetrain a political researcher, even at the best of times, so be careful where you are treading, especially if you have recourse to go as far as behind the sofa.

Now some of you may – indeed – be wondering why we are disporting the clockwork badgers – undoubtedly one of the UK’s greatest military secrets in an area where political researchers are allowed to roam wild and – relatively – free.

Now, to my mind, that is – indeed – a good and pertinent question. However, as with all things secret and especially – militarily secret – the asking of good and – indeed - pertinent - questions is the one area that is often frowned upon by the powers that be. Feeling, quite rightly to their minds – that anything beyond happenstance and blindingly groping-forward is not something that should be encouraged in the secret world. Mainly, this is just in case someone happens along who might have a better idea of how to go about things, and – consequently – makes everyone else look a bit of a tit.

Time and Space and Stuff


So, anyway, there is little in the way of the use of string that cannot be utilised for all manner of things, especially as it now seems that the universe is made out of the stuff. However, that need not detain us here, as other matters are afoot about which we are as much in the dark as a priest underneath a choirboy’s cassock.

Perhaps, for example, the universe is made out of string. It would explain a lot, perhaps it is also made up of tiny particles too, particles that are always getting lost down the back of the universal sofa. That would explain the (very) large gaps between the interesting bits in the universe, most of it – the alleged dark matter, for example - is quite simply lodged somewhere beneath the cushions of the universal sofa, just waiting for someone to find the time to dig them all out.

Time too is a tricky little cove, always running out when you need it most, and hanging around like some strange relation – quite probably inbred if the rest of your relations are anything to go by – when you wish it would bugger off so that you can get on with the rest of your life.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Aardvarks you are Looking For


These – very well – may not be the aardvarks you are looking for, but when they engage in celebrity-assisted terpsichorean endeavours of this ineptness how can you resist their beguilements? They have danced until Dawn, but just why the arrival of Dawn does cease their pleasing rhythmic endeavours is best left to those expert inn such matters, or at least those prepared to speculate wildly about why it is – indeed – just so, both in the mainstream media and - of course – the trusty old blogosphere. Places where we know the wildest shores of speculation are often hastened towards with very little preparation, or – indeed – understanding.

Still, humanity is not a race to allow its complete lack of knowledge or understating of the phenomena in question to in any way hamper its wildest speculations, ponderings and sheer guesswork when faced with something it knows not the wot of. So we will place the necessary sacrificial tin of sardines (in tomato sauce) here as an offering to the gods of pontification and hastily don our sturdiest pair of speculating trousers. This, undoubtedly, complemented - of course - by our most favoured pondering cardigan, before heading off to the garden shed of quiet perusal and contemplation in order to study some of the photos of underdressed young ladies in some of most holy – and well-thumbed – texts, in order to come towards some sort of understanding of the phenomena in question.

So, if you would excuse me for a while….

Thursday Poem: Pagan



A landscape grows around her
And she feels its necessities
Tingling in her fingertips,
All along her arms and down,
Deep into the darker ground.

She is earthed there, and feels it
As her arms rise up from her sides
Like wings. Then she is ready.

She will fly above this land
And it will all be there deep
Inside the words of her eyes
As she encloses it all within.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Blots on the Landscape


Ah, but, if you were to grasp the very banjo of destiny firmly around the neck and fully intend to inflict your musical ‘ability’ on all and sundry then – surely – it is not asking too much for you to be quickly and – hopefully – quite painfully out of our misery, is it not? After all, it is common for such attention-seekers without any discernable talent or natural ability as you, sir and/or madam, to end up infected with the dreary dread politics and therefore it would be an act of supreme kindness to the rest of humanity to remove you from the gene pool.

After all, it is just another pointless waste of a life and there are many goats out there that easily surpass both your academic ability and your sexual technique when confronted with a partially-disrobed supply geography teacher lying on a bed of Cornish pasties.

However, there are some – perhaps quite rightly, who feel that such casual disregard for the sacredness of life is rather pushing it a bit and even if – at this point in human history – a cull of those infected with politics would seem like a sensible precautionary measure, who knows where it will end? After all, there are many more out there with poor driving skills, questionable tastes in clothing, pop music and TV programmes who do - we all feel - nothing more than blot the landscape of what would otherwise be an almost perfect world.

Our Snow-Covered Lives

Sometimes it seems like so much, but then often it doesn’t seem like anything at all, and then we no longer know what to say. Even here, the days are so slow, failing around us like lazy snowflakes as we trudge on through these winters of our lives. I have seen you staring out into the blank whiteness of our snow-covered lives and I have wondered what you are seeing out there.

Are they the days of our spring? Our so long ago, when it was all green and sunshine and a sudden sharp shower, which would race us into cover of the trees where we would kiss the raindrops off each other’s faces before slowly tumbling to the still wet grass as our clothes fell all around us.

Then we had the summers as we sat watching children fall and run around us, finding all those places that had once been so secret and special to us, finding the shapes of their own lives being formed around them by these places that were once only our own.

Then came our autumn as our children fell into their own lives like the fruit heavy on the tree, and we turned back to face each other, to see each other for the first time in far too many years with both of us taking those first hesitant steps towards knowing each other again, and how to be alone together once again.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

With Troubled Eyes


Anything more than this is wasted, dropped on the ground, stepped over and then forgotten. Time walks on, leaving us behind, leaving us to face each other not knowing what to do next. I have seen your hesitation when you turn to face the future. I do not know what you see there, all I do know is that you do not like what you see. I wonder if you do not like that future you see because I am in it, or if you do not like it because I am not in it.

Sometimes I wonder if we know each other at all. Sometimes I look across this bare table at you and see some stranger I have never known. We sit like two people in a waiting room, who do not know or remember what it is they are waiting for.

I would ask you what troubles you, but I am not sure you know, or are even really aware of the way you look into the distance with troubled eyes. Then there is always the danger that if I do ask you what the problem is, you might tell me… and you might tell me it is me.

Perhaps it is Time to Re-Consider the Parsnips


Now that the aardvarks of our night-time jelly baby-inspired manoeuvrings across the car parks of our deepest desires have grown stale, flat and unprofitable, perhaps it is time to re-consider the parsnips. At least, in as far as making sure the diversity-outreach co-ordinators of our very souls have ticked at least 80% of the necessary boxes on their compliance forms.

After all, we would not want to be found out there, facing down a wild, untamed supermarket trolley without the solid re-assurance of correctly filled-in and filed paperwork, would we? Else, that way, anarchy lies, and our Cornish pasties themselves would have their very integrity brought into question in the investigations and official inquiries that are bound to follow such wanton disregard for the correct way of going about these things.

However, as I was applying fresh cream to the underside of my checkout assistant last night I was reminded of those oh-so-famous last words of Major Peregrine ‘Lemon’ Meringue at the battle of Teasmade, in the closing stages of Peninsular war. When told he was fatally wounded and would never return home to see again the family’s infamous collection of late Medieval bicycle clips, he called for his trusty Lieutenant and said, immediately before expiring there on the battlefield, these famous last words: ‘Oh, bollocks.’

Monday, December 20, 2010

Helicopter Goatperson


She was a Helicopter Goatperson, and her knees bore the scars of the Holiday Rep tribe. She had a chest like the tied first place in the marrow-growing contest at our village fete a few summers ago. It was the one where the vicar had to go for a lie-down after handing over the trophy. It took both the scoutmaster and three of the more zealous of his troop to bring the vicar back to his fully-erect self.

Anyway, this Helicopter Goatperson* was standing, legs apart directly across the narrow jungle track I was stumbling down. The first thing I noticed about her was that she was naked, except, of course, for a looped belt of machine gun ammunition over her left shoulder (no doubt intended for use in the large calibre machine gun she held nonchalantly in her right hand.

The second thing I noticed about her was that she was naked.

The third thing I noticed about her was that she was naked.

*So-called because of the dastardly tricks they got up to during the CIA-inspired counter-insurgency period. It is said, by way of example; that some of those once-brave revolutionaries still cannot bear to be in the same room as even a small slice of goat cheese.

The Cupboard of Destiny


Back in those days, I had toast aplenty and she was the one who licked all the butter off it. Back in those days though we thought we had knees for all eternity and we ate cheese like there was no tomorrow, no day after tomorrow and certainly not a week next Tuesday, all being well.

Back then, we knew all the secrets of the universe and the best place to keep them in the cupboard. So they do not get mislaid behind a tin of some purportedly Mexican concoction, involving odd-looking beans and other more mysterious substances, that you both thought would be fun to try, but have never actually got around to using for what must be several years now.

Still, as they say the time of the cardigans comes to us all, and sometimes I sit and wonder what became of that strange Mexican concoction, and just when did we clean out that cupboard and throw all the secrets of the universe in the bin?

So much time has gone and so many – sometimes even stranger – tinned goods have taken our cupboard space since then, but as we grow older and – possibly – wiser, we find that less and less often are we prepared to take a risk on something unusual on the supermarket shelves of our lives. It is not that our tastes have narrowed, it is just that experience has taught us that these things that look so beguiling or intriguing in the warm glow of the supermarket lighting, always look too forlorn, too untempting, and too often a great disappointment when they stare back at us from our cupboard of possibility.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunday Poem: Through Glass


Through Glass

She is walking through the door
Stepping over cracked floorboards
To her place near the window,
To watch a world through glass
Passing by, safe on the other side.

Her fingers can touch cold glass,
Obliterate the figures walking
About their own small lives
Along pavements far below.

She could wipe out a world,
One by one, by one.
The sound of their screams
Only silenced by distance and glass.
Leaving bare empty streets
For her to watch in safety.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Still On the Edge of the Dance Floor


Then there is the time and the way it slips past us without us really noticing, until we look up and the world has changed and we have all grown so much older. It is not as though we have changed though. Inside we still feel like the same confused teenager standing on the edge of the dance floor watching all those who move across it, wondering how they learnt those secrets of how to move in the world like that.

Everything felt awkward to us back then, how we didn’t seem to fit in the world as though we were the wrong shape, or had slipped through into some parallel universe where everything looked the same but the laws of physics and the laws of the way the girls looked at you were somehow different. It went far beyond mere awkwardness, if felt like something fundamental, as though if some girl did reach out across that cosmic distance that separated you from the rest of the universe and actually touched you then it would be like matter and anti-matter colliding, send you spinning off into a kind of oblivion.

Even now, after all these years that have disappeared like smoke into the evening sky, you see her glance across at you and still you feel as though just one simple touch from those long delicate fingers of hers would shatter your whole universe.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sub-Atomic Raspberries


I don't have that much time, the sub-atomic raspberries are mutating into Estate Agents as we speak. There are radishes all around me, and the iron board has left home, again.

You may think that it sounds like just another typical Friday, but this time it is different - because (and you had better sit down while I say this) today is not Friday!

Calm down!

Calm down!

Tearing your favourite social worker into shreds like that is not going to help anyone, let alone the friends and relatives of… well, of what remains of the social worker.

Hang on, I'll go and get a dustpan and brush.

I know it is not Friday! After all, it was me who told you. There is no need to get into a panic. Here hold this apricot and put a pair of recently-worn knickers taken from a notorious celebrity over your head and take deep breaths.

That's it.

Now, count up to 17.345 in Flemish…. Slowly.

See, that's better isn't it?

Oh. Now… er… hang on a minute.

Let me… er… just go and check the calendar.

Er… well, I've just checked and it turns out that it is a Friday after all.

I know. I know. I'm sorry. Very sorry. Yes, it does seem that the Social Worker did die in vain, but I've apologised, haven't I?

Yes. Yes. In future, I will check the calendar before I open my big stupid mouth again. Yes.

Is that it now? Are you going to shut up about it? It was a simple mistake, anyone could have made. I've apologised and, as far as I'm concerned, that is the end of the matter.

Good night.

Supermarkets and Conversations


So when the okapi enters the supermarket please do not attempt to engage in conversation, especially about its forthcoming holiday plans. Of course, it goes without saying that you should therefore avoid all mention of caravans. However, when approaching a great ape (but not a monkey) it is always advisable to ask about whether they are planning to take a villa in Tuscany as usual this summer. This is all right, as long as you are not in the frozen food aisle, especially in the near vicinity of the ice cream as it is a well-known fact that great apes, gorillas especially, do not like to be distracted when selecting frozen goods, and ice cream in particular. This fact was first discovered by the great naturalist and broadcaster David Attenborough when he attempted to engage in a discussion of the merits of the Ford Escort (as it then was) gearbox with a silverback gorilla in the Congo jungle back in the late 1970s, while the gorilla was trying to choose between vanilla and raspberry ripple. On that occasion, Attenborough was very lucky to escape with his life, when the enraged silverback repeatedly passed the naturalist through the checkout by the neck.

Anyway, I am sure that someone of your shopping experience has no doubt spent many a fascinating few minutes discussing the current state of the weather with a red squirrel near the household cleaning items, or even spent time weighing up the possibilities of England winning the Ashes with a moose in the tinned goods aisle. Therefore, we will leave the matter of the danger of discussing politics with a polar bear while shopping at a DIY superstore for another time.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Nipples of an Expert


There will come a time when all this begins to make sense. On that day, we will wear kippers in our hair and celebrate our freedom from the tyranny of underwear. I will - at last - see you as naked as nature intended. Apart from the handcuffs, obviously.

You may want to pretend that none of this happened. But it is all there - on video. We have all the evidence we need, especially those stains on the fridge door.

There was a time, not too long ago, when you could have worn the underpants of genius. Instead, you chose to spend your time making copious notes on the sexual behaviour of manila envelopes.

Who am I to say what is a waste of your time? I may have the nipples of an expert, but these are only the toenails of a run-of-the-mill anchovy wrestler.

Do you think?

No? Oh, well. I can’t say I really blame you. These things do tend to make all that effort superfluous.

Still. Can't be helped, eh? Eh? I mean, y'know, and all that.

The Very Pork Pies of Surprise


Now as the small wizened old accountants begin to chant their mantras of the mislaid tax returns to the star-filed skies, we look askance at the very pork pies of all our desires and wonder… wonder how it could have come to this. We ponder these strange times in which we reside, feeling as somewhat uncomfortable as a sheep who has wandered into a mint field and feel that our very elbows tremble with some unexplainable dread.

It feels as though we are on the cusp of some visit by the wife’s rather peculiar relations, or somesuch nightmarish scenario. Something that would – were all this otherwise – make up the plot of one of those weird films that gets a cult following and several people who you would no doubt do all in your power to avoid if met in some social situation to all come up with their theories as to ‘what it actually means’. It is something that sits rather at odds with your theory that all involved had partaken of too much of that particular season’s hallucinogenic drug of choice. Furthermore, you doubt that anyone involved in the ‘project’ would know anything about the concept of story structure even if you tried to beat it into their pretentious art-school skulls with a large mallet especially fashioned for the purpose out of the thighbone of a film critic.

Anyway, be that as it may, the pork pies were surprisingly nice.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It Makes You Wonder


So, take a look at this Matilda. There are no cheese and onion crisps left in my car park now the satsumas have run amok.

Do you know how many vests were worn at the battle of the place named after a battle?


Well, there you are then.

It only goes to show.

Now, as I was once one of those people who are one of those people, then I know you will be one of those other people who are not going to be one of those people who are one of those people, are you?

That is, unless you aren't, in which case you will be.

That is, unless you are, that is.

Not that I'm saying that there is anything wrong with people who aren't one of those people. Whether you are one of those people or not is not really any of my business, is it?

So, that is why I've never really asked if you are one of those people who are one of those people or if you are one of those people who aren't one of those people. Fair enough?

So, from all this I think it is safe to deduce that what is shown by all this is the thing that is shown in such cases.

Well, I must say, it certainly makes me wonder. I presume it must make you wonder too.

The Discount Warehouses of Our Souls


But then, back in those days there were Brussels sprouts aplenty and we did not have to mount our trusty pogo sticks and venture into the wild untamed jungles of Wolverhampton, just to find brassicas running wild and free. Of course, we had waterproof anoraks, so we were not scared of the fearsome banjo-playing wild men that haunted the pedestrian underpasses demanding fearsome tribute in order to discontinue their fearsome caterwauling and thereby allowing us to pass in peace and safety.

Now though we look out on the wide-open spaces of the ring road as we sit and remember all that we have lost as we haunt the discount warehouses of our souls and recall the bargain basements of yesteryear.

In those days the market stalls had vegetables as far as he eye could see and the chin could ponder. Nowadays though all we have is this one single Brussels sprout between us and we sit forlornly here, while we wait for the saucepan of doom to come to the boil.

We sing our songs of loss and count our small change of foreboding, wondering if there will be enough gravy of destiny for us all. On the other hand, whether one of us will – once again – have to venture out down to the supermarket of fading dreams to make that single desultory purchase that seems to freeze like ice around our once so-brave hearts.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Rites Of All-Nude Carpentry


If the tinned peach slices of indifference are once more arranged in a geometrical pattern on the plate of your life, let us go then you and I, towards a place that only you could ever call Wolverhampton. Down here the voices echo back from the very underpasses of the soul, cold dark and hollow, as we trudge through the discarded burger wrappers of your life, looking for that one litter bin that does not overflow with the detritus of too many late nights and not enough early mornings out where the dawn chorus awaits the rising sun.

Having said that, did you remember to bring the radishes?

We may once have performed the rites of all-nude carpentry together in the past, making table lamps of all our desires, but that does not mean I will want to look upon your eggcups once we get to Droitwich. I already have all the adjustable spanners one man (who occasionally feels the need to be a lady) could ever need, especially now that my slide-rule is little more than a curio.

Still, as they say, you can’t play Ludo without a Ludo board, dice and counters, so what else shall we do now that the badger has been prepared and you have oiled both the weasels?

Naked Glory


The problem of using your understairs cupboard, pantry or even cellar or any other such domestic storage space to keen one’s solar-powered electric reindeer in, is a problem no doubt familiar to all regular perusers of this organ. Therefore I will not need to reacquaint those of you still paying attention with the many rather clever ways that people have utilised to overcome this particular burden and to keep their electric reindeer storage facilities up to date with the - admittedly, rather burdensome – current EU regulations on the matter.

This of course means that we must now discuss pancakes, and the way you insist on wearing them as kneepads when in the near vicinity of any local council employees you consider not quite of the first water. Still I suppose it does no real harm, except to make the aforesaid local council employees rather suspicious of your whisk.

Now let us go you and I, now that we have both a splendid brace of kippers, out into the dawn’s early light to face the wide-open expanse of our early morning deserted car parks together. I will wear the flippers, as I promised, if you promise too, to show me your tax returns in all their naked glory.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Trainee Supermarket Manager


So, will you touch the touching thing with the sacred touching stick? Or will you be yet another who fears the unholy power of the touching thing?

We have seen the dawn, and it was already there right at the start of the day, just down a bit on the left hand side of the car park of all your dreams.

Once you knew the secret of the candyfloss, and the cheese and onion pasties held no fear for you. You held the power of all the takeaways of our secret longings in the palm of your one hand. But then you turned your back on it all, gave it all up to become a Trainee Supermarket Manager.

Still - as they say - still.

I suppose it only goes to show.

Although, I would rather like to show you mine, now.

It is over here now. It used to be over there, but we moved it.

You know what it is like. We'd heard all the rumours, of course. Even though we knew they were only rumours, we thought it would be best… on the safe side and all that, if you remained over there, just beyond the reach of our longest ceremonial touching stick.

The Advanced Protractor-Use Display Team


Ah, but as the small Northumberland based professional Advanced Protractor-Use Display team dismount from their display zebras and make their way towards the marquee for a well-deserved nice cup of tea, here we sit and ponder the meaning of loganberries. There was a time, my little dessert spoon when we would ponder life’s eternal verities sometimes up to as late as half past seven at night, providing - of course – such an undertaking would not interfere too greatly with that night’s proposed televisual entertainings.

Oh, but we were young then and had the supple capabilities in and around the knee area that made such erotic undertakings not only possible, but far less of a strain on the lower back and much more economical with the custard than has latterly become the case. Still, as they say, you can’t undertake the construction of a state of the art engineering project with out the availability of a decent lump hammer, as I’m sure – on reflection – you are bound to agree.

We stand here and gaze down as the great migratory herds of diversity outreach co-ordinators sweep majestically across the open plains before us. As we watch, we cannot help but wonder if there will ever come a time when their numbers dwindle to a point where they too become an endangered species. A time when we no longer hear their wild and savage cries splitting the peace of the night as they go – clipboard in hand – out into the dark of the night in search of their unfortunate prey.

Now, where did I leave the stirrup pump?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday Poem: Those Darker Nights

Those Darker Nights

We do not see such things as signs.
We do not look up to see the sky,
To choose foretellings of catastrophe
From the movements within the spheres.

In our heavens, we see only distances
Not the fates of lovers, or of nations.
We will not allow ourselves to be
So easily led to a saviour this time.

We will watch the star, noting where it falls
Knowing we do not need saving
Not by a fallen star, or a tired god
Long since outworn and out-lived.

That can offer nothing but past mistakes
For us to fail to learn from, and lies
Told as morality by self-serving fools
Who wish to keep the darkness

Of superstition and dread over our heads
Instead of the infinite wonders
Of a real universe of distant stars
Promising us far more than mere gods.

Friday, December 10, 2010



Now, as it happens, this is the time, but it is not the place. Last week, it was the place, but not the time.

We look all around and see all the things that smell like hamsters, but we do not see how we can exchange our small electronic consumer devices for other items of similar value and approximate utility.

This is what we know and this is what we remember. This is what we do not know and this is what we forget. But what is in the bucket remains a mystery.

How it goes, and what colour it is, will remain unknown. But now we have the spanners, so the camel has no alternative.

Even if it were possible, there is no-one here to use the moistened cloth to clean the underside leading edges of our unused Electronic Goat Bewilderment device. Not until next Thursday, anyway.

We forget so many things.

But we remember these things and you fondle the fishcakes.

I know so much, but I forget where it is kept and why the teaspoon is so necessary.

Look out! A goat! Bewilder it now!

The Gods of the Supermarket


However, while we hold our re-usable shopping bags of destiny at such angles as to demonstrate our devout yearnings, we will never again enter the most holy supermarket of our deepest desires, at least not whilst wearing such unfortunate trouserings as we now habitually don for our adventures into what the poets and the sages call ‘the outside world’. Out there, there are streets aplenty, some of which contain the shops that will sell us all we could ever desire, sometimes at the astounding rate of Two for the Price of One, whilst our very chins tremble with deep joy we have not afore known the wot of amongst such splendid profusion.

Unfortunately, though, the gods of the supermarket looked down with anger upon our attempt to do the traditional naked tango of thanks for such munificence on their part. Therefore, they send down their wrath in the form of the supermarket security guards to remove us from the premises, despite the fact that we have about our persons the store loyalty cards that should prove our devout holiness beyond all doubt.

Such is life though, and as we gather our scattered garments, including the unfortunate trouserings, from the car park where the security guards scattered them, we are left to ponder upon what a cruel religion this can sometimes be. Even as the posters advertising such splendid savings that we could not believe existed, even in this earthly paradise, taunt us with pictures of the goods we will never now possess, so, instead we wander forlornly away and search for somewhere where we can get a nice cup of tea.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

A Love Story


This is how it goes. This is how it stops. This is a piano and her name is Trudy. I feed her on tinned mackerel and pineapple chunks. We have been happily married for 32 seconds, and our wedding was consummated in the centre of a traffic island just outside Bromsgrove.

Back then, though, it could have - so easily - been just another love story. In those days I was young, slim, good-looking. She was everything a young man desires: young, blonde, large-breasted, slim-hipped, rich, a heiress to a brewery chain with a very relaxed attitude to nudity and an eager interest in exploring the wilder shores of sexual perversity. She spent money as if there were no tomorrow and drank as if she would never have a hangover.

After our wedding, I could have danced all night, but my wooden leg kept falling off. Then, when I was doing the can-can on the bar, my wooden leg - somehow - flew backward and smashed all the bottles behind the bar.

The barman was, fairly, relaxed about it. But, I now wish I'd refused when he insisted on re-attaching my leg. I think he had rather a hazy grasp of anatomy, as my wooden leg didn't fit where he forced it, especially not foot first. Still, on the bright side, afterwards I was never short of a seat.

On Wearing Flippers to a Charity Dinner-Dance


Make of this what you will, but those are not necessarily the bananas you came in with. Now I know a person of your perspicacity and sellotape-wielding skills is not one to pooh-pooh an offer of a short sequence of tango lessons on your nearest bowling green, but let me ask you just this: when was the last time you wore flippers to a charity dinner-dance in aid of Peruvian underarm deodorant fetishists?

See, only last Tuesday, as it happens. Therefore one does have to ask if you are making the fullest use of your library card as possible during these rather straightened times, especially when there is so much about the care and upkeep of gerbils that you have never known. This is despite all those summers you spent out on the great Luton prairies rounding up the huge herds of gerbils that roam wild and free just off the main road on the outskirts of that most romantic of cities.

Still, once upon a time you were young, slim and not too scary-looking to the less discerning of the opposite sex who did not find themselves suddenly confronting you down a solitary dark alley, so you danced until dawn, or at least nearly half-past nine, if there was nothing good on the telly that night.

Oh, how we all remember that night you danced along the cliff edge as the sun sank slowly into the sea, and how suddenly you realised there was no longer any cliff edge underneath you, and – moments later – how we all heard that one single splash from far below.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Un-Ecumenical Marmalading


And now as your dreams of double glazing salesmen dancing through the supermarket aisles of your most deepest desires seem almost on the cusp of coming to fruition, it is time for you and I to talk of other, slightly more breadcrumbed things. For was it not Eric the Nonexistent, the 21st Pope of Tewksbury - who first became notorious when he marmaladed a choirboy in a most un-ecumenical manner - who once said ‘Parsnips, eh?’ in a manner not too inconsistent with the earlier teachings of Aristotle?

I feel I must ask this, despite the way you stand there with that pencil sharper so artfully poised above your writing desk, and the dusky tropical maiden you employ to segment your pineapples in such a beguiling manner in rapt attendance upon our intercourse.

I did not want to mention it in such proximity to a pencil sharpener, but today is the very day when we have no choice but to recall that time when you danced a naked tango with the trainee supermarket manager of your most fevered longings around rather a bemused penguin. Then, a bare two hours later, caught the first train to Grimsby, and that is not something that can easily be forgotten, especially while I’m wearing these trousers.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Weightier Matters


So, anyway….

I thought that today we would discuss the strange case of the ordinary piece of string. But, then, I thought I really can't be arsed. So, we won't.

Instead, I thought it would be a good idea for you to take your clothes off for me.

Thank you.

Now, if you would just sit there. No… with your legs open.

Now, sit back and relax.

Right. Now, are you comfortable?


Now, let us get out the VAT returns. Remember, you are the businesswoman, and I'm the official from HM Customs and Excise who is investigating your VAT returns.

You're shivering, suddenly. It's not cold, is it?

No, I didn't think it was either….

However, after this, it all descends into the usual sordid mix of outrageous sexual perversions that is typical of modern tax accountancy. I'm sure that a reader of your erudition and sophistication will not be all that interested in the crude, and very explicit, detailing of the activities of an adventurous pair of young lovers eager to explore the darkest and secret arts of VAT Returns to the full limits of erotic possibility.

No, I'm sure your mind will be on far weightier matters than this.

North of the Cornish Pasty


Now, it is not unknown for someone who is not, shall we say, plucking a banjo with a full set of properly-tuned string to know little of non-Euclidian geometry, especially in its relationship to the true (not magnetic) North of the Cornish Pasty. Now, you as a person of the world, familiar with some of the more… er… specialist websites on the interwebtubesnet will no doubt pooh-pooh such a notion as being really – if it is not some modern urban myth-meme – down to the woefully inadequate teaching of both maths and the history of the Cornish pasty in our modern school system.

However, be that as it may, and it may – for why else would I – for one – be wearing these particular trousers on a day like today, but for no other reason than they are a specially-designed pair of pontificating trousers, with an optional reinforced-leather haranguing patch, but that need not detain us too long. That is, unless you would like to peruse the catalogue for a moment while I go and make us both a nice cup of tea.

Of course, you should bear in mind that such a drastic course of action will leave little choice but to enter into a full and frank discussion of what kind of biscuit we would – in an ideal world – like to have with our nice cup of tea, and I hope you are fully trouserly-prepared for that, at least.

Monday, December 06, 2010

What Is The Point Of Afternoons?



So, anyway. Your goat has a chin and we go to the shops. What is the point of afternoons?

We give away all of the parakeets and use all the string we have left over to make the makeable things that can be made by the thing makers.

Of course, it is not always that green.

Can I keep it?

No-one wears those these days, though, especially not with the spats and the suspender belt. I can't even remember where it is kept, but the purple one is always in the bottom drawer, right next to the inflatable vicar. It is now obvious that someone, at least, does understand how to put the socks next to the spaniel, but they do not seem to have learnt the rule about vests and iguanas.

I do not see how we can go down the road without having to laugh at the incoherent gibberings of the religious folk. I do remember that ritual so well, even though my inner thighs were sore for many days afterward.

At least, nowadays there is no longer a car park available for such practices.

As They Say


The jelly babies of our desire are all gone now, just the merest traces of icing sugar left in the empty bag. I cannot turn to face the glockenspiel any longer without thoughts of you in that Captain Scarlet fancy dress outfit, and holding the soldering iron, intruding upon my thoughts. We had that time in Llandudno, but since then our banjos have been left gathering dust next to the discarded penguin that sits forlornly in the corner of the living room playing endless games of Ludo with the diversity outreach co-ordinator of all our fading desires.

Still, as they say, you couldn’t make it up, which hardly seems relevant at the moment, but they do insist on saying it, even at the wrong - and most – inopportune moments.

This does tend to make all this seem, well, rather ordinary. A typical early 21st Century suburban lifestyle, with - perhaps - slightly more penguins than normally would be the case for people in our socio-economic grouping, admittedly, but still a fairly typical scene, especially when there is nothing any good on the telly… as usual.

Still, as they say… again, kind words butter no social worker. That is, unless, of course you have filled in the correct Social Worker Buttering-Application form, which is now – luckily – available on-line at you own local council website. Therefore, that, as they say, is progress for you.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Fully-Loaded Protractors

So, this is the way it goes. This is where you are and that is the smell of your socks. Our bananas are made of loincloths and we adamantly refuse to adopt the trousered stances of those who would pontificate to excess about the most mundane and trivial of matters. As if the doings of politicians and others of that ilk could be anything other than mendacious. We here laugh at such affectations and are quietly amused by such pomposities.

Therefore, you oil the badger and I will obtain a bicycle pump. We will become like the heroes of yore, standing proud in our resplendent underpants while those of less-stern stuff simper around at our slipper-clad feet.

You know - only-too-well - the awesome power we will be able to thenceforth command, and you must know too the fearsome responsibility that lies heavy on the shoulders of one who would dare wield such overwhelmingly powerful weapons as the pointed stick and fully-loaded protractor.

Together, then, let us spread marmalade over one-another's thighs in preparation for the battle to come.

Battle-Ready Surveys

‘Fix your sheets to your clipboards, boys, and don’t start asking the questions until you can see the whites of their eyes!’ Thus were the famous words of General Gideon ‘Soggy Biscuit’ Rupert-Rupertson, as he prepared his King’s Own Royal Questioneers for their first encounter with the enemy in WWI.

It was the first time the British had thought of using the survey as a weapon of war since Nelson had used it at the Battle of Trafalgar to taunt the French with several probing and intimate questions about their ideal summer holidays and whether Napoleon was too much of a shortarse to be a real world leader.

Rupert-Rupertson and his men gathered with their questionnaires in that muddy fetid trench hoped to surprise the Germans, as they invaded the British trench, with a number of questions about the quality of the German trenches, their artillery support and general defences in a way which would leave the advancing German infantry exposed to a flanking questionnaire. This flanking questionnaire, about what they though their wives and girlfriends were really up to back at home, the British high command hoped, would lead to a general collapse in the German moral. Thus bringing about the swift end to what had turned out to be a long and bloody war.

However, the German High Command had spent some time working out an effective counter-survey strategy based around their newly-designed anti-clipboard grenade, which they hoped would take out the clipboard-wielding British infantry before the Germans had got within earshot of the first question.

Unfortunately, though, the German anti-clipboard grenade had not been tested un the quagmire-like conditions of the Western Front, so most of the grenades lobbed by the advancing German infantry failed to explode, leaving the majority of the British soldiers with relatively undamaged clipboards and intact questionnaires. Thus was the German advance broken and thwarted, with the German infantry fleeing back to the relative safety of their own trenches, expressing widespread dissatisfaction with their whole experience of the war so far, and keen to get home to see exactly what their wives and girlfriends were really up to while the soldiers were away fighting for their country.

It was this successful use of the survey during both world wars and the amount of defence-based research into it in the inter-war years and, especially, during the post-WWII Cold War period that has turned the Customer Satisfaction Survey into the lethal and fearsome weapon it is today.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Budgerigar Husbandry


My jelly babies were all lost at sea on that infamous day when all the professional snooker players in the world descended on Clacton-on-Sea to compare the size and gaudiness of their respective waistcoats. Still, we did not mourn the loss of the jelly babies, despite having seven of them already enrolled in Media Studies courses at some of the new universities that were formerly polytechnics.

We laugh now at the educational aspirations of garden gnomes, but there was a time - not too long ago - when all of this was fields and budgerigar husbandry was a dark, secret and noble art.

I take an interest in your underwear and what you keep inside it. My cheese and sweet-pickle baguette has never tasted so warm, or so moist. "But," as Albert Einstein never said, "that is the joy of real butter."

Now we prepare ourselves on the very cusp of the edge of the commencement of the start of preparedness for the one day we know will soon come when bicycle clips will - once again - be the bondage item of choice for all true ukulele fetishists. As Albert Einstein also never said: "I have the spanners, do you have the nuts?"

Liquidation Of Our Assets


Once you have found the cheese of your dreams, my little stock cube we will go out dancing around the structural engineers once again. I have held your tadpole and you have filled in the tax returns of all those itinerant musical politicians who gather each evening under the orange glow of the streetlights to sing songs of legendary expense claims and the mellow thighs of research assistants in sun-dappled second homes.

Now we have our own pomegranates, though, and we no longer need to gather the dried apricots so close to our bosoms, well, so close to your bosom. Although, if ever a lady deserved to be buried up to her neck in dried apricots then you are – indeed – that lady. Never before have I seen such wanton lewdness in relation to dried fruit before, and I’ve been to Leominster several times.

Now, although, our wainscoting begins to show its age, we are only as young as the trainee nurse we feel during any fully-consensual game of strip Ludo in the field out beyond the ring road. There was a time my little paperclip when you and I would walk naked through the supermarkets of all our desires, never tarrying too long by the freezer cabinets of frozen promises, but instead gambolling down the aisle of possibility like two young lambs on some sharp-sunned spring morn.

Ah, but now the stockbroker awaits and our investments have all underperformed for too long now; perhaps, my little treasury tag, liquidation of our assets is all that awaits us.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Path Of The Way Of The Path

Elephant Thursday.

The goat beast of your desire explodes in the supermarket car park of all your dreams. We have worn the ladies underwear like all our heroes used to, and we have walked that long, lonely, walk to the place where all walking will come to a surprisingly moist end.

How can you wear things like that when what you wear is un-wearable?
But… but… if only and how and why and… what is that over there? And can I have a new one, please?

I do not go down that path because it is The Path Of The Way Of The Path, and I no longer have the ankles for adventure now that my pogo-stick has been smeared with strawberry jam by the urban terrorists from Welshpool who wish to set up a strict fundamentalist String-Worshiping state in Tewksbury. Besides that, the batteries in my torch need replacing.

As we now know, though, all of those long things are really much shorter than they seem. There is no goat here and the donkey will only laugh at your puny simultaneous-equation solving abilities.

Good Morning


She was like some secret word I spoke to make a doorway into a new world open in front of me. I woke one morning in that summer cottage to find her gone, only a warm absence on her side of the bed. I waited until that absence turned cold and she still did not come back. In the shadowed gloom of the curtained room, I saw her clothes lay where I had thrown them the night before as she stood watching me undress her, smiling down as my tongue trailed down her stomach and found her warm wet sweetness waiting.

Getting out of the bed, I stumbled across and pulled the curtains, blinking in the sudden strong summer morning light. I found myself blinking again, and then staring to see her sitting on the low branch of the tree at the bottom of the garden, naked and drinking coffee from a white mug, as she looked out towards the sea, visible over the field and cliff edge beyond the garden.

I was dressed and outside before I’d even realised I was doing it, slowly walking towards where she sat in the tree as though I was in a dream and any sudden movement would have tumbled me out of it and back to some ordinary mundane day.

She seemed to sense my footsteps in the dawn-wet grass and smiled with all the promise of that summer morning as she turned to see me and simply said ‘Good morning.’