Wednesday, 26 December 2007

fallling asleep in a bathtub

When I wake up a well known friend is standing beside me, I have known him for many years; the fellow is utterly untrustworthy at the best of times. I stare at him with masked suspicion; but it is difficult enough to concentrate on his face, which is one of loathsome brambleberries, to remain aware of any danger that I may be in. He reminds me to keep my hand on my wallet, and I do so.
“‘“Have you tried the hors‘doeuvres,” asks the waiter,’ I might write, at times like these,” he says.
I don’t turn towards any possible waiter waiting in the wings, I keep my eyes fixed on my friend, to whom I say, “No, how are they?”
“Food poisoning last week.”
“The times I mean, please.”
“Please, talk about the food.”
“So you’ve been here before?”
“I beg pardon?”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“You neither, sounds like.”
“Me neither?”
“Been here before.”
I give a pause, “and supposing that is true?”
“Which it is.”
“Supposing it is,” I pause again, “what does that signify?”
“A mess, a mess for you.”
The feeling of depression and disquiet has overtaken me, and I feel I have to admit that yes, after all these years and all those hooverings, I am in a mess. He has my attention, and now he has my wallet. He’s using it to pay a bar tab. His favourite phrase always was, and I have to assume is and always will be, “better in than out.”

Friday, 14 December 2007

Junk Email

I like reading my junk email folder because you occasionally get messages like this one:

Virus found in this message, please delete it without futher reading

Skill can inform me where she is now. I think let them talk
on till the alguazil peremptorily queen looked like,a tall,
stout woman, with such."

Let's dissect it.

Bonjour - this person wants to assume the persona of a Frenchman, or a tiresome dandy.

Virus found... etc - Interesting. Why write that? It implies that by using your eyes you are aiding the virus in its attempt. I find that quite cute.

Skill can inform me where she is now - Riddles...I like riddles!

I think let them talk on - Should there be speech marks here? It would help the flow a bit.

Alguazil - Alguazil is a Spanish title often to be met in stories and plays, derived from the Arabic "visir" and the article "al" The alguazil among the early Spaniards was a judge, and sometimes the governor of a town or fortress. In later times he has gradually sunk down to the rank of an officer of the court, who is trusted with the service of writs and certain police duties, but he is still of higher rank than the mere corchete or catch-poll. The title has also been given to inspectors of weights and measures in market-places, and similar officials.

peremptorily queen - I think in this usage it must mean dictator-like?

a tall, stout woman, with such. - this is my favourite bit. At least we know that she hangs around with oxymorons.

Anyway, just some idle musings.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

I Couldn’t Possibly Know, Joe

Fetch the pail, pale, I’m thirsty. Here, you drink some too, you could use it, wash this down, this supplement, friend, get some iron in what you call blood, readers digest it with your pride and pasty, wipe your chin on your record sleeve, the dirtiest, friend, old friend, since records began. You hit the road, Tom Joad, and it hit you back, Jack, and we’re all the same to kingdom come and kingdom came and went, friend, where you were buried roadside and we’ll be buried or burned, come what may, that’ll come. Take any precaution with plentiful water against being overwhelmed by the world, and don’t be overwhelmed, friend, by the world, and don’t dribble your overdose on my pristine sedan chair if you’d be so kind; I mustn’t be miscarried, I must be delivered intact from a restless womb. We’re on the same side here, the same side of the moon, the same side of the canal. And while we’re giving orders here, tie your tie and fetch the pail, pale, I’m thirsty. If you recall, Paul, a week ago last any day now, you were drinking from a glass half empty and you drank the wrong half, Lord have mercy, and died. Well, I didn’t blame you, and I still don’t blame you, even after the resurrection that was a statement of intent post-dated, but still I’d sleep easier in a scenario wherein I’d sleep at all if I could understand why you went and did it all, all over again, painful as it must have been. Human frailty? I couldn’t possibly know. Write me a memorandum. Propose a toast; toast; anchovies on your toast, Tony? I can’t provide them, nor abide them, nor condone them, cousins as they are to the carp and cat, horse and bat; carping on, you call carp fish, but I call him Finn, and I couldn’t eat Finn, not when we’re sitting at the table, finishing starters, soup and salad, raising glasses, the first champagne, preparing for the New Year, the last flat sparkling wine of this old year; I couldn’t do that to him, not with his friends around him, not with the pervading air there already is of finality in all things present, all of us married and solemnly at that. I’ve an errand for you in the here and now, cow, I’d like you to run now with this satchel of mine, contents undisclosed, to some friends of mine, some dear sweet friends of mine, and colleagues moreover, identities undisclosed, I’d like you to deliver this and no I won’t give you this, and if you wish to take issue, Klaus, you can tell it to a hound dog, Pedro, you can flatten on the wheels of the National Express. Lick this ground that myths have walked on, lick the ordinary ground you’re going to walk on while walking, and pass the remote control, and before you put your boots on, and before you take your next breath, fetch the pail, pale, I’m thirsty, getting thirstier.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

26a Falconar Street

My wet brick wall could contain a house.
It’s furtive man slips into his spouse,
Crying softly as he fucks his wife;
That swelling growth of a new life.
My wet brick wall, wet from the rain.
I like to make up stories like that,
Poor attempts at writing prose, or at worst a poem.
Usually when leaning against the door,
Looking up at the blocks of flats.
Tiny bursts of unimportant creativity which
Ray Mears would probably use to make a fire.
It’s the rain coursing down the bricks,
It’s the dead rosebay willow herb.
I sometimes want to write about things like that.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Two Come Along

Close up of a right foot poking out from the duvet. The toes begin to twitch to rhythm of Break on Through by The Doors. The song kicks in.


(You know the day
destroys the night
Night divides the day
Tried to runTried to hide)

The camera weaves it way through to the bathroom. In passing we see a kitchen and a boiling kettle. The camera enters the bathroom. Standing in front of an open cabinet is a man. The camera advances to look over his shoulder to show shelves of bottles with brightly coloured labels. Close up of the label of one bottle which is a bright yellow smiley face, fingers wrap around the label. Cut to profile view of the man’s mouth tilted back his tongue extended with a sizeable pill on the tip, the tongue retracts. Close up of his throat swallowing. The camera cuts to the man’s midriff which is covered by a well worn tee-shirt featuring Jim Morrison’s face and numerous uncertain stains. The camera pans upward threatening to reveal his face, then glides down his shoulder to his hand clasping a toothbrush.

(We chased our pleasures here
Dug our treasures there
But can you still recall
The time we cried
Break on through to the other side
Break on through to the other side)

The mirror slams closed and we are finally allowed to see his face reflected, well meaning but tired. Close up of his teeth being brushed in time to the music.

Cut to the man going up the escalator at monument metro. Profile view of the escalator the camera keeping in time with the escalator. The posters behind the man all display the words break on through pick out in purple words on a grey background. Throughout the man is tapping his hand in time to the music.

Cut to an extreme close up shot of the top of the escalator face on. The man slowly appears over the horizon of the escalator. The camera is an extreme close up so only a small part of him is in view at a time. He is still wearing the Jim Morrison t shirt and he is wearing jeans, but he is barefoot. The camera cuts off at the ankles.

(Made the scene
Week to week
Day to day
Hour to hour
The gate is straight
Deep and wide
Break on through to the other side
Break on through to the other side
Break on throughBreak on through
Break on throughBreak on through
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)

Cut to a shot of a bus pulling round the corner and pulling up to the bus stop.


The camera is positioned so that as the bus pulls up there is a close up of the base of the doors. They open. His bare feet greet us. Then proceed step slowly down and shuffle. They point left, they point right. They face the camera, take a step over it and take themselves and their owner out of the film.


Your looks
Your eyes
Your components various
To surmise
A being nefarious.

Your hand
That holds
A tight grip clenched
Your fleshy
Skin folds
Your cheeks trenched

Your thighs
All clad
In my own secret joys
My lips
Are glad
Clasped at their toys

Your best
And the pain caused
With tensions
And love well forced

Oh for the
Rhyme and
Rhythm of our words
To fall
On open
Ears and open minds.

Oh for the
Right words
Those ones that I felt
Those words
The have no
Sounds except in between

Those carefully
Placed blows
Of well placed words
Those feelings
I never said
But that you heard.


The last things and the first things
They all amount to the same
Weather beating on your skull
And a slap to make you cry

You’ll not find much meat on my bones
And my soul is ready to fly.

Howl howl oh mother
For life has come to play
The jester
The joker
And you’ve nothing left to say.

Howl and moan like the wind in winter
Come to take the leaves
And no one quite believes
That summer can come again.

With the crunch of gold and brown
Crushed beneath your feet
Your coat brought tight
And your brow in a frown
You bring your foot down
With extra zest and extra vigour
And beneath the leaf
That life has laid
Before your foot
A snail lies unawares.

And you never noticed that the crunch was more solid
Your never noticed the blood on your boot
But life tends to play with us some days
And your will becomes mute.

Mirror Man

The great upward crotch that was his torso. That stretched old long-sleeved T-shirt that was or were a pair of really quite functional long johns for the arms and upward crotch. The hairy old head that was a pair of grizzled boots for his upward feet, that scrawny spectacular of neck, and arms were upper knees or somesuch, legs without feet, an articulated pair of erect schlongs.

(And what he sees)

Kidneys have a smiling countenance, oozing anticipation’s drool. Liver’s wearing gloves, liver’s poised to catch whatever balls are cast his way. Lungs are sleeping, dreaming of their potential, complacently. Sphincter’s winking. Stomach’s swilling after brushing his teeth. The heart is all beef and oiled to perfection. Throat has slicked back his hair. Arteries are doing their rounds. Bollocks put on too much cologne and it burns. Brain bought a ticket in advance.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

'Neath the Sands of Druridge Bay

Here's a traditional Northumbrian folk song to wish farewell to the November.

I buried my troubles
‘neath the sands of Druridge bay;
Many a Lover has been forgot
‘neath the sands of Druridge bay.

I sunk my tears
To the bottom of Leazes Lake;
There’s many a Love that has been sunk
To the bottom of Leazes Lake.

I forgot what ails ‘z
As I walked down old Kells Lane;
Many a lost soul’s telt the tale
From the top of old Kells Lane.

I drowned my sorrows
Down in Bar 36;
Many a poor man had been drowned
Down in Bar 36.

I’m gonna hide my face
Underneath the Elvet Bridge
Plenty of shame’s been stowed away
Underneath that Elvet Bridge.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Aren’t you going to read my palm?

From moonrise to moonset
The fallen leaves follow me both inside
And I forget where I
First thought I ought to like
Perhaps it was September
I do remember
The last time I heard
words slip off your
And I liked them,

I threaded those
tiny bells
on bright
green string,
you stole them from your
big brother's Christmas tree.
You said,
"They give the
Illusion of ringing",
and I laughed
far too loudly.
So now I've got this
that's green,
a green bracelet,
with plastic silent
I'm feeling
self conscious,
I pretend I'm a cat,
and you've given me a collar
that warns people
I'm hunting.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Boundary Street, Kowloon

HERO is sitting on the front steps of the hotel. He is obviously a western tourist. The four lane-street is crammed with market stalls, and left-hand drive three-wheeled motorcycle trucks skit past. The streets' names are signposted in both English and Chinese symbols. On the market stalls are well-organised selections of second-hand electronic goods, badly-packaged DVDs and mis-spelt T-shirts of Hollywood films. SMALL CHINESE BOY wanders up and sits down beside HERO, he is about ten years old.

BOY: American?
HERO: No, English.
Boy: From England?
Hero: Yes, England.
Boy: Can I speak with you?
Hero: Of course.
Boy: Sorry?
Hero: If you would like to. You can talk to me.
Boy: I have a question for you.
Hero: Okay.
Boy: I have a question for you, my teacher says in England you have a Queen.
Hero: Yes, she’s called Elizabeth.
Boy: And she tells people what to do?
Hero: No, never.
Boy: She is not allowed to?
Hero: No, she is allowed to, she’s the Queen.
Boy: But she does not?
Hero: No.
Boy: Why?
Hero: Because no-one would do what she says.
Boy: The law says they do not have to?
Hero: No, the law says they do have to.
Boy: Would they not be punished?
Hero: Probably not.
Boy: But they broke the law, the law says they should be punished. No?
Hero: No-one would punish them.
Boy: The police?
Hero: No.
Boy: Do you smoke?
Hero: Yes.
Boy: Good.
Hero: Do you?
Boy: No.
Hero: Good.
Boy: Good?
Hero: It is good that you do not smoke.
Boy: Why?
Hero: Because it is not good for your health.
Boy: My teacher has a joke. He says, “Who is the president of China?”
Hero: Who is your teacher?
Boy: No, who is the President of China.
Hero: Where is your teacher from?
Boy: Canadian. He says, “Who is the President of China?”
Hero: Who is the President of China?
Boy: Hu!
Hero: Who?
Boy: The President’s name is “Hu!” President Hu! Aitch-Yoo. (Laughs)
Hero: (Laughs, Pause) Your English is very good.
Boy: You have a president in England.
Hero: He is called the Prime Minister in England.
Boy: He is called Prime Minister?
Hero: Well, yes, no, he is called Tony Blair.
Boy: He is called Tony Blair.
Hero: Well actually, it must be Gordon Brown now.
Boy: Gordon Brown now. You have elections.
Hero: No, it just changed.
Boy: Is that normal?
Hero: No.
Boy: Normally you have elections?
Hero: Normally, yes.
Boy: Elizabeth tells the President what to do?
Hero: Who?
Boy: Your Queen, is she changed as well?
Hero: Oh. No. No, she doesn’t tell anyone what to do.
Boy: What does she do?
Hero: She, advises.
Boy: The president listens to her?
Hero: Not really.
Boy: Then why?
Hero: She is like a grandmother. Maybe they will feel guilty, and not do the things they might have done.
Boy: Do they feel guilty?
Hero: I don’t know.
Boy: Do you think they feel guilty?
Hero: Probably not.
Boy: When I was born Hong Kong was England.
Hero: Britain, you mean Britain.
Boy: ‘United Kingdom’.
Hero: Yes. ‘United Kingdom’
Boy: They are changing the names of the roads.
Hero: Do you think that is good?
Boy: Maybe not. Can I have some money?
Hero: No.
Boy: Cigarettes?
Hero: Sure. (Hands him a pack of Marlboro)
Boy: Thank you. (Runs off.)

HERO stands up, shoulders his bag, and walks down the street.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing

“I do it by feel, really. I bumble around, it’s inconsistent. Inconsistency, things resonating chaotically, organically – free! That’s the only way; that’s the way I feel it.”

“Yeah, but if you don’t tie it right, the parachute’s just gonna fly away.”

The dogsbody flipped and told us all to buy gloves for him; he got a lot of gloves that Christmas. He flipped back and the turkey got a stuffing. Blood, guts, everything hung on the barbed wire like the sun dying. Crystals formed on the flesh and winter ate eyes. We all hung ribbons on the tree too. We hung the gloves from the ribbons. The parachute’s just gonna fly away.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Chapter 12

We go back here to 2003, possibly early 2004, for the latest installment in the Gander Archive box set project. It is the last known piece of Baiting of the Marshfish to have been written. It is included for the poignancy that accompanies that knowledge, and the knowledge that said work seldom rose above this standard.

Chapter 12

“Stephen,” said George, the next day, “We’ve been fucking about these past few months, have we not?”

“We have?”

“That’s correct, Stephen, we have. I can see now that you’re fit for the job. And so we begin.”

“What?” Stephen didn’t understand.

“And so we begin.

“What?” George had not clarified.

“AND SO WE BEGIN! What the fuck’s the matter with you?”

“What do we begin precisely?”

“Have I taught you nothing? Never, ever, under any circumstances answer a question with a question when questioned by me, for I am Salamander George.”


George was of portentous mind that morning. He had business on it.

“And so we begin.”

“What precisely do we begin?”

“The Baiting of the Marshfish.”

“Ah. Yes. That”

“So I shall send you off immediately.”


“No. Not immediately. But soon, my lamb, soon.”

Thursday, 22 November 2007

The Sparkler Boy

The Sparkler Boy

You're the sparkler,
did you know?
You're personal,

glittering, starlight, boy!
I've been carrying your
Lips in a cupped puddle
filling my steady palm.
If some one makes me spill you
then I just might cry.
Your teeth taste like cords
and I watch the dolly
strum you
and that dolly, boy,
will strum you till your dry, but
you're swilling
yourself in a tin bucket,
in protest, because
you think
you've been diluted.
But I've tasted more cordials
than you know it, boy!
And I swear, you're too
You got a punch,
a kick, and a walloped
right down my gullet,
trust me, you are mean
and potent.

Sunday, 18 November 2007


(This is an older poem that I was going to put in Allison.)

The Bus at the Stop of a Tokyo moonlight
& solemnly shop from your top to the floor
with A crisp crumpled moan muffles out as she draws on
the last of the fags that she steals when she stole.

And if she should sleep like a pearl in an Oyster
And if she should keep all the coins on the ground
The glint in Her eyes ought to be like October
The Coffee she stares at; the civilest sound

But how can she colour the dull words of home-time,
Remember the blind spot, the ball-point ideas.
Redundant and under her thrift-risking, thunders
A cinderous sunder of nothing sincere.

So diverted traffics shine shards from their head lamps
that bound across ebony strides of her hair
Declared with the vandals the Tape-loops have strangled.
the Cross-hatching matching chewed pen lid affairs

And now She can see what she wanted to hear
as The breeze beats her breath to the will of the wind.
And shelving her smiles for Dawn’s clock-worked exposure
Allowed now, arrested, she slips through the seems.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Shri, Lakshmi or Chanchala,

(One who is fickle and does not stay at one place.)

A Daughter of the Sea, a Sister of the Moon,
a Cousin of Aphrodite, a Consort of Vishnu;
with a smile and my pierced ears, my beads,
my beads, my battle axe, my maze of fine cuts.
A quiver of a single arrow: and the arrow is loos'd,
A quiver of thunderbolts: and the bolts are hurl’d.
Lotos-eater, daughter of Aquitane,
cudgel-scalpel, lance of a saint,
sword of a martyr, shield of luck,
conch-flesh, from egg to fork, tsar bell, sour wine-cup,
eight-bladed trident, in a noose of fallow hope.
Without me you have not this,
without you I have nothing.

I was at the court of Eleanor, a Meninas,
I saw Jumbo crushed by a train in Ontario,
his ashes are kept in a 14-ounce Jar of
Pyotr-Pan Crunchy Peanut Butter.
They paid 10,000 dollars,
they paid to see me, my kin,
he entertained the troops, you can meet him
in Normandie. Always identical
and of the same sex. Really? They open their eyes?
They return home? When the heart is one,
what of kidneys? When the blood is bloodier than blood,
being not my blood but the blood of all of us?
Without me you have not this,
without you I have nothing.

And all at once they sang, and all at once
someone said "will we not strive? Resting,
Resting weary limbs at last on some incinerator gas-bed?
Not a God, but not a parasite? Surely,
surely, slumber is more sweet than useless toil?”
My sisters, you cannot stay inviolate,
we may make it past adolescence,
but the names for ourselves will ever change.
We are worshipped for life, but of life
we have little. I must die in my garden,
so you may make your own:
without me you have not this.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

The Fire Prance

Step by Step: The Fire Prance
(A dance for swabhands, arrangement: circular)

1. Light a large fire on shore, when the flames have died down rake the embers into a large circular formation.
2. Share a flagon with the swab next to ya and wipe away the dribble with the back of yer sleeve.
3. Now, pace around the fire making rhythmic hauling noises. Thrust a cutlass to the click-cracking of the embers.
4. Now all point at the first man in the circle (he is easy to spot as he is at the front of the circle).
5. The first man must walk directly across the glowing embers towards the back of the circle. During this the remaining swabs should use palm or banana leaves to scoop up some of the embers and hoist them into the air, hollering in celebration, ‘We’re not at sea, we have no need to break our backs!’ (for example) while the hot embers rain upon them.
6. Every swab who has walked across the fire no longer partakes in the hoisting of the embers. Now they should think about how much they miss the waves and spray of the seas.
7. Repeat for each swab in the circle.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Story, Plot

Before; then the stone age, then the bronze age, then the iron age, then the ancients, then the greeks, then the romans, then the dark ages, then the middle ages, then the renaissance, then discovery, then machinery, then now.

- An insect man sits with his many eyes looking through rituals of decomposition. Through slits of carven writing, through thumb-nubbed tool handles and the faded devices of dynasties.
- The insect Man is a factory, a pick-axe handle, a razor of flint, a plank, an ankh, a camera shutter, a tail-fin. Insect man don’t know no love don’t know no hurt; knows blood and guts and fucks though, squeezed into words and sediment, and long rows of figures under headings in a thousand hands.
- Insect Man doesn’t know taste. His room is a cave of threads, his bed is of reeds, the uppers of his shoes are london, soled athens, a tongue of rome, it’s straps are flayed donatello and stippled with arcadia.
- Then Insect Man is made of emulsion, his carapace is celluloid glazed with moving pictures and a dark cave wall. His mouth is empty, his teeth are stretched out on a rope many nights long.
- Insect Man never woke up to it, he has stared for all your lives with his milky insect eyes that don’t know, that don’t know and he is tired, and he was tired, and he tires of tiring when he is born again. Was tired in the first Fire, the first Gun Shot, the first Sling Shot to The Moon and Back, to the first Dull Edge, the first Sharp One too.
- An insect man sits with his many eyes, and he cannot see, he hasn‘t got the right, he ain’t got the hang, no manual, no remit, no certificate, no proof of ownership. They’re not his eyes.


sifting through the creaks of wet wood
the creases of my face
in my safe hands.
an aspirin in the face of sundries
plundered and blood-sullied
to the warehouses of exotic lands.

the chorus of the foams fill my lungs:
‘and is this Henry Leech?’, they say
this spray-ridden mutiny
dutifully wrapped in a black mizzen mast’s
the last of the Trail’s four captains
casketed and seeped in kelp and gilt,
the keep of the seas
with shale and silt
to credit our valued dog.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Good Night (or A Pirate with A Broken Sword)

Defunct and quite
Just Sunked,
From almost two years of sunkissed never happeneds.
It took me that time
To try
And hide
My eyes.
To need
To stop
Now that I’m defunct and no longer needed
Superseded by something you didn’t need you said and
Read such reddened eyes I read.
I believed you (just like I always do).

How can I feel embarrassed?

And no you need no explanation.
I needn’t use their mild sedation unless my smile begins to smudge
I have no qualms;
I’m bound and gagged
Around the facts,
Another man will love you just as much as me.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

A Fit of Propaganda

"Jesus eats babies," said the Devil, in a fit of propaganda.

Monday, 22 October 2007

x = y, and Meal Time is universal

x: Everyone, all the pets, the domesticated animals, the human ones, other ones, trees, liars, daffodils and festivals, all eat their own flesh and have a handful of really very basic functions, the natures of which are entirely irrelevant to my calculations

y: (eating own flesh, functioning irrelevantly and basically, feeling no need and no will to respond to x, x that’s under the windowsill, snapping toes, gardening, and filling his cup)

Thursday, 18 October 2007


The twenties will receive my middle age
got married and woke up
all Capone and art deco; brightin
love it was three days almost.Young
things blowing policemenkisses since I'd
got my coat and licked
throwing off the robes of
mascara from an upper lip and
the great wear. I am thirteen, I am sweat
from your back. We'd donesitting, I am allowed,
I chucktalking about plastic and the why
-in my flat-cap - and finding tipsit
feels against skin. There,a travel kettle.
Cruises arereally much to say so we fun bledmass
fashion and pretend theankles instead and sat in
thoughtswhen real is fake from chinaand the other left.

Sunday, 7 October 2007


What more could you ask for? it's a good life you know, and one to be appreciated beacause soon it's all banks and factories and boredom and drear and lack of heather, and lack of heath. That;s if you even think we have heath now; the p[lain turth of it is is that we don't, and we want it. I do, I do;.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Brick Wall Sentiments Prevail

Another one from the St. Cuthbert's Burials archive. This one can also be found in Tell It To A Hound Dog, Pedro. It's pretty well a doublerehash. And to coin a phrase, it's probably good advice if you've got shit for brains;

Brick by brick and trickle of mortar, come who may, the progress is never slow, for imperceptible. It’s not that you’re connected, but the scratching with nails at dusty but solid joinings of wall shows that that at least is not disconnected. Railway dreams are sleepers, the rail is the real goal but is iron not mist. Liner? There’s a thought on board, that’s why it’s swift; no real weight. Say mass. Say a lot of things. Steam speeds you through but what matters is not the journey, but the destination. Drink rum. That’s a journey and a destination in the one happy passage. I may be right, I may be wrong, I’m scared to discover, so I proffer nothing but the odd pithy pith. Learn something from that, dusty child with wrinkles. There are means of protection. If you want to ride, just pretend you have, and wherever you wind up, well, that was your destination all along. Don’t fret about it. Spin a wheel. Roulette/Steering. It matters not, babe. Eat shit, eat chocolate. It fucks your teeth either way, and what do you remember? Delicious sweetness? Bitter filth? No. You remember that you have no viable teeth in their sockets in the skull. Spend everything on a cocaine bath, dissolved in a woman’s utterances and seep. Thrift through baked bean bonanza of your mind’s easiest dream, the ordinary sense of the survival instinct. What do you regret? You spent it all, fucked up? You didn’t take enough time for your pleasure and now it’s too late? No. What you regret is that you wasted your time. Never your money. Money rolls and flows. If you’ve got it, you don’t give a shit. If you don’t got it, you’re resigned to that come reckoning time. In the end, you regret the things you haven’t done. I was a platinum selling hip-hop phenomenon, but I never climbed K2. Fuck it. Like I say… Drink Rum, The Rest Will Come… and then drink rum. You may as well. Thanks.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

A vulgar story, big and clever.

Jesus was sitting on a small lump of cheese rind, occasionally wiping his hands on it. He was a big shiny bastard of a cockroach.
They eye blinked behind him and looked suggestive.
Jesus glared at it. “Just what the fuck do you think you’re looking at you big retinated anus?”
The eye continued to cry and was nailed to the wall.
Its mouth ripped open under its iris and it began to reply “Well I must say...”, it vomited up some glutinous wallpaper-paste like paste, then continued, “you are an extremely rude young man.”
Jesus jumped off his cheese and ran at the eye and slashed at it with his mandibles.
“I’ll fucking show you, you cocky little shit-cake!”
He dropped his wing cases to reveal a comparatively large organ of some sort, which pulsed and vibrated all along its length.
“Have at ya! HAGH! HAGH!”
Jesus ejaculated his invertebrate seed all over the eye, and then licked it as it dripped off. The eye blinked to clear its lens of the sticky concoction, then slowly retreated into a dark tunnel it used as means of passage.
“Good fucking riddance” Jesus screamed after it.
Jesus crept back onto his cheese with his back to the eye’s tunnel.
After about five minutes he glanced over his shoulder to see whether the eye was there; but it wasn't.

Friday, 31 August 2007

As The Moon Glimmered over Worswick

- a fragment from the short story: 'Worswick St. #1'

“Undefined Undefined Undefined Underfined.”

Undefined never liked them anyway. She stubbed out her unlit cigarette- she across the way like an epileptic fit. The near-by Punjabi illuminated sporadically the redbrick Street and the flickering window display of ‘As the moon glimmered over Worsick’. She had etc. as it traipsed off into faint traces. Her countenance had suddenly shifted, till She strolled passed the flickering Take-away, smiling at the cocktail of cumin.
The indigestion was gone and she made a beeline for the Bridge. She had already picked out one of the pale white Lampposts to stand under and not smoke another cigarette.

Only Fifty minutes ago she had stared (That Guinea at the Bissau jazz &) at the man she loved in the disused Worsick St. Bus Station, not even an hour ago. He told her he didn't love her anymore but maintained the eyes of a saint.
She was a little proud that she didn’t cry.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

x and y Do Brunch

x: Yes, it was good. I liked it. But it did taste rather a lot… quite a lot like… coffee.

y: Oh, yes. We like our salmon with coffee. And Poison too. Did you not taste the Poison? Mmm! Poison!

x: Poison? (slightly alarmed)

y: Yes.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Cisterns, Part 1

This piece will be posted in 2 parts.
Any comment/critique would be helpful, as this is destined for the man.

Scene 1

A long, thin, white bathroom with yellow net curtains which dim the already pale light coming through a tall narrow window. A bathtub runs lengthways along the room, the toilet is below the window on the right of the bath, there is a sink to the left beside the door. A young man and a young woman are present, he in the bath, smoking, she sitting on the toilet in a dressing gown, also smoking. The bath-tap is running. She has a expensive bottle of Vodka, he has a cheap bottle of Whiskey. They are both dead.

Alexander. Shit day.
Pause. The sink gurgles. He stares at it.
Alex. Here’s to that!

He drinks deeply, lays the cigarette carefully on the rim of the bath, holds his nose theatrically and submerges himself, splashing water around. Lilja walks to the far end of the bath, turns off the tap, and returns to sit on the toilet before he finally surfaces with a gasp, reaches for the tap, then stops and looks angry when he notices it is already turned off.

Al. Ahhhh…
Lilja. Why must I be such a… (she smokes)
A. (He lies back) Makes life worth living.
Lil. …a pessimist about everything.
Alexander. (mocking voice) Dearest, could you pass me the towel?

He laughs to himself, and reaches over the bathtub to finish the Whiskey, braces himself on the bath and pushes himself out, he gets his towel himself, you pour him another drink, he carries it to the sink. Lilja goes over to the bath, checks the temperature, then gets in.

Alex. (Squeezing blackheads) There’s this computer program
where you load in all your pictures, everyone does,
and it somehow compares them, analyses them,
works out which ones are of the same person, or
a building or whatever. It links them all together and
builds like, an average, what it looks like from all
those different perspectives. It didn’t matter if it was
a massive digital photo from yesterday, a scan of a
third-hand photocopied newspaper story or a
Renaissance sketch. In the example, they did the
Sagrada Familia, remember, I went there? And even
used movie footage. Then they stuck them all
together and it was weird, all these webs of lines
where, like where all the repeated memories of this
church had ¾ somehow the bones of it coalesced from repetition
¾ and, punctured reality. (a worldwise laugh, Lilja turns on
the hot tap.
) I wonder what Gaudi would’ve thought’ve it…
Li. … no hot, again, they cover the whole bathroom in
hair and soap and rotting towels, use all the water, all
the fucking butter, ask me to proof-read, can‘t even
string a sentence together. (She thumps herself on the
thigh, you light a cigarette for her, she takes it without
making eye contact.)
A. Got hit by a bus, remember? doubt he could care less?
L. Couldn’t, you shits. Could-n’t care less. COULDN’T - CARE - LESS.

But she was gone, and like a tidied table the room had relinquished all its charm --- it was too subservient. The was no other will, no human to crash knees, elbows and temples with in the dark. The baguette was dry, the consistency of breeze-bloc, and had broke his skin when he’d attempted to catch it. He was hyperventilating. Sucking down the last half of a warm can of flat diet coke he spluttered into calmness.
- - -
Later, downstairs, in the stairwell, the optician from downstairs was sitting on the stairs, holding an unopened packet of Players cigarettes.
Alex says nothing. "Hi," was the reply.
"Worried they might bite?" said Alex. Alex is a mess, he thinks he is dying of tuberculosis, though you’d tried to tell him it was all in his head. He didn’t sit down.
"Nah," replied the optician smiling pleasantly, "my girlfriend ‘s made this deal. ‘No sin un-shared.’ I named it. I want a cigarette, someone else opens the packet, want a drink, someone else pours it."
"Sounds nice," says Alex.
"She’s plucking out all my vices. Refining them. Wouldn’t have got engaged if I’d known this would happen. Your’s," he flicks his eyes to the ceiling, "your Zoe, she not got you off the fags?"
- - -
Alex walks away to the sound of crackling cellophane.

Monday, 6 August 2007


My ongoing obsession with internet culture has reached it's peak.

The fact that a considerable amount of people's time and effort have gone into perpetuating such pranks and genuinely disgusting memes helps build my love of humanity.

You have been rickrolled.

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Two Thoughts

Digital Piracy

I had no qualms present as I thieved Sunset Blvd. and The Maltese Falcon from under the dead-eyes of it's starving creators via a loose swarm of like-minded buccaneers. There was not an inch of conscience involved. My eyes continued their involuntary act of descending a steep slope of snow, with a barely controlled flourish. Either for the sheer thrill of the ride and/or to bypass tedious scree, I enjoyed the hell out of it.

I was a new modern man with his fingers on the keys not giving a damn or a penny to/for the third generation black-suiters who wanted my ill-earned hard cash for what is, undeniably, old Bogart. Of course I had a dog by the name which was put down for mauling toddlers, or so I assumed from the euphemism my mother used. Whatever happened to collective culture anyway, it is as guarded as a dictator's tomb?

Hysterical Paroxysm

On a related note there I was treating her for the nervous ailment that had troubled her all these dark months since her husband put to sea, and suddenly I found the equipment all covered in a tepid sort of semolina. 'Aha! by Jehova and all The Saints' I thought out loud, stowing the vibratode in it's hygienic red leather lined beech box, I've heard of this but never seen the like; 'too right' said the wife. Nowadays you can get them in the Argos catalogue.

- "Tyranno" 1918

Friday, 3 August 2007

Smoked Fish

So there I was, surrounded by stiff tissues and trying to get to grips with the similarities between 'Scarborough Fair' and 'Girl From the North Country' when my head was flung around by the sound of a long reverberating squeak at the window. Dressed in only a white towel at the waist I gripped it tighter and faced the window cleaner who was 3/4 profiling his face and now focusing on only the dirty pane his length of rubber was strigiling. Had he turned as I did? Which of the two lyrics below is the most pleasing? I decided to leave the room for a glass of orange from concentrate and smoked mackerel, perhaps with some of the fruit loaf I knew I had left. I closed the window on the west-facing wall to help the cleaner, to give him a bit of resistance, and to hide from his ears the lines:

Remember me to one who lives there.
She once was a true love of mine.

Remember me from one who lives there,
For she/he once was a true love of mine.

A'wonder how many stories window cleaners; and gas men, telephone-line installationists, paper-boys, septic tank-diviners - what sort of stories they tell each other. A'wonder how many variations on the teenager wanking, the au-pair fucking, the cleaner sucking, the dog shitting, the husband throttling they come across and tell their friends in the work. A'wonder if they decide that the stories are boring and start to discuss the changing tastes in wallpaper and dado rails. A'wonder if they have physician-style tradesmen's oathes, or a butler's discretion, never to see and certainly never to tell of.

I'd finished the mackerel and washed down the oil with orange juice when the window cleaners knocked, they wanted paying. What I really needed was an audio recording of 'Scarborough Fair' and 'Girl From the North Country' and a working-class upbringing.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

As a Nation said,

They feed young branch of tree,
bark of a free,

Breakfast and Pedro Thinks

In conscience, and for a thousand practical if barely discernible reasons, Pedro felt he could put off taking up his role as protagonist no longer, and so resolved, as so many times before, though earlier in the day, to make a real constructive start. Scratching at the outer recesses of his mind, he pondered a good ten minutes on any specifics there might have been as flesh to his previous resolutions. Pedro drew blanks, it being so early in the day. How does one begin? He thought about Mother Hen, how she left it too late, didn’t seize her chances; limbo’s where she’s lying, half-sleeping. But no, that was all too long ago, and Pedro is young. He hasn’t time for the eyes to look forward, and has nothing to look back on. Where does one begin? At breakfast, perhaps, that can be pinned down, it’s solid enough sometimes. Pedro looked around; what about it? What about breakfast? It’s finished now, and besides it was only toast. And all so early in the day! Best to think afresh, he thought, or not to think at all. Perhaps he could go out walking, not to clear his mind, for no good could come of that, not today, but to meet dog-walkers, shop girls, milkmen, children and tramps, and hold discourse. Things happen when you go out walking, and Pedro had to start somewhere. That’s what he’d do, he’d go out walking. What did Pedro have to say? He had to say something. He’d wait a while, have lunch; he could go out after lunch alright, but not so very early in the day. Have a glass of wine for Christ’s sake!

Friday, 27 July 2007

The Modern History of Myself and Hats

February 1997:
When I was ten years old I had this green, felt one with tassels at certain corners. It had cost my parents £20, which I still think is a decent chunk of money. I took it away with me to Italy, on a school trip to the Alps, because that’s why my parents had spent a decent chunk of money on it.
For my parents this trip symbolised a success, in a way, they had worked hard and managed to achieve a better standard of living, for their children, than they had had.
They were certain that ‘I was going to really enjoy it’.
And I did
Until I lost the hat.
I felt like I’d bulldozed my parents’ efforts and that if they too saw the symbol of the hat they might want to cry. From now on I was to appreciate home and its affiliates.
Thanks to that and the fact that Stuart Yorston told me my parents had died in a car crash that night I became homesick.

October 2002:
The next hat I owned cost £2.50 more. It was an old bowler with a red lining. You’d like it- it was very likable, I should know – I liked it. (In hindsight) It represented a time, a place and a nascent frame of mind. The vine of a frame of mind I wind today. There are a couple of photographs of me wearing the hat, there were a couple of photographs and then it had served its purpose. The hat had come to be a confidence for my creative conviction. I had a mop of hair.
But soon I wasn’t so sure,
Since then the hat has had various retirement homes and display cases, though rarely on my head. These days it usually rests; crucified on a novelty, foam raspberry in the living room.

Summer 2005:
The third had been Jo’s hat: a black, corduroy, railway flat cap (cool as fuck). I pinched it off her because it suited me, especially when I wore my maroon polo shirt and an accompanying black tie and when college ended and university began it came with me to Edinburgh. (Jo said I should take it to remind me of her & when our relationship stumbled to a halt she reiterated this. And so it did.).
One night I wore it to work. That night where me & Senior were hosting the quiz and Kristoff gave us a whole bottle of Apple Sourz to drink. Sometime later I couldn’t find the hat.
I was rather disappointed: It suited me.
It was sometime after that, in the same place, I saw the hat once more. This time it was on the head of an Australian lesbian. After thinking about it for a bit I asked her:
‘Excuse me’, I said, ‘where did you find that hat?’
‘Under my bed’, she said. And perhaps she had.

June 2007:
It was the last day with my sweet for a while and after much deliberation in front of a mirror I bought the hat. A straw, slightly panama job from C & A’s in Budapest. It was almost small but suited my mane/mood and ‘too small’’s better than ‘too big’, surely? Anyway Rosie said she found me attractive in it and that helped my decision. After leaving her in that subway I had almost already decided that the hat had to return home on my head so’s Rosie could find me attractive, in the hat once more. By the time I arrived in Kyiv the hat had developed into a symbol, a symbol of my love and my faith in said love, a comfort should homesickness return.
I preserved it from the Ukraine and Moscow to the Trans-Siberian express. Here it perched above my bunk, over the bedside light, placed there, most likely, by The Trader. I remember well, Thom’s hayfever had been playing up and on The Traders’ suggestion we swapped beds, in order to let Thom sleep out of the pollenful breeze. On the third night, (the second on the others’ bed) I awoke to find the hat was missing.
The Hat!
I hunted around, frantically, with my eyes for any sign of straw and there it was peeking out from behind Thom’s arse- crumpled, beaten and no longer an attractive accessory. The Trader attempted to straighten it out and look proud at his hopeless attempts, Thom laughed.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Keyboa: a dilemma

(Originally published at Counter Hive in April of 1786)

To whom it may concern,

I have been asked on numerous occasions in recent weeks, months, years, etc. about the ethics of music making by keyboa, specifically by electric keyboa. The commonly accepted definition, I feel I should make clear, of the keyboa is, as concluded at the 19** Seminar, "a metally snake that lives in keyholes" and "can be Manipulated to make melodious sounds". The two principal schools of thought on the harnessing of the electric keyboa are as follows;

i) The very nature of the keyboa ("a metally snake that lives in keyholes"), when coupled with the notion of "[Manipulation] to make melodious sounds", leads the mainstream of counter-Advance scholars to call for unambiguous prohibition of music making by keyboa, in particular by electric keyboa, for reasons of a perceived correlation between the required method (see "Metasynthesis and You: A Beginner's Guide [19**]) and certain principles of the proto-Advance, especially in the field of Control.

ii) A more maverick, but steadily growing school of thought would have it that, rather than being merely neutral in active terms of the Cause, music making by keyboa can actually be beneficial to counter-Advance. There is evidence, albeit broadly disputed (by the aforementioned mainstream) evidence, that points to the electric keyboa being in the region of 30% more organic than, for instance, the violin, and the acoustic, or "bare" keyboa being as much as 40% more organic, purportedly on account of their reptilian roots. There is seldom any suggestion in counter-Advance circles that music is anything less than an invaluable weapon against Human Advance, and, if the statistics cited above are even vaguely accurate, the central argument proffered by this second lobby, that the pros significantly outweigh the cons in any responsibly practiced music making endeavour by keyboa, electric or otherwise, might carry sufficient weight to make, at very least, a full enquiry by the relevant authorities into the potential efficacy of an official keyboa music making programme a viable route forward as regards this particular issue.

I hope that this humble memorandum has shed a little light on what perhaps needn’t be so divisive a topic as the keyboa question currently is. Please send all enquiries through the usual channels,

Yours in conscience,

Sir P----

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

He Emerged From The East

A repetition:

The word 'aslan' is a fine word. You may well associate said word with a popular lion, famed for being somewhat like Jesus, only fair-haired, of a name similar in all but capitalisation. (That lion is called 'Aslan'. Smashing fellow, by all accounts). Well, your association of 'aslan' with 'Aslan' is well-founded, though you don't yet know it. See, the word 'aslan', or so my sources inform me, translates from the Turkish to 'lion'.

To rephrase, my point of information is as follows;

"Aslan is Turkish for lion."

Happy Trails, and may your next point of information also be a translation from the Turkish Tongue (Tongue of Turkishes).

Regards and Peaches,


Tuesday, 3 July 2007

In An Automated Fashion


In a couple of million years (a pretty short time when you think about it), The New Dinosaurs will find some pretty excellent veins of aluminium ore on the sites of what The Middle Dinosaurs called “Landfill Sites”. Great towns will spring up around these most fruitful of veins, they’ll prosper, with all the New Dinosaur amenities, until the sources dry up and the towns begin to wither and die. There’ll be some real doldrums economically speaking before the service sector saves the day.

Aluminium will be shipped in while the residents write out receipts. It’s a pity there was no lightning back then, else they’d have had electric typewriters, Earth* willing.

*Steve, as they called her

“I wouldn’t… but I’m going to”

There’s none of what we (often quaintly) call rivalry among The New Dinosaurs; on the contrary, there’s a great communalism in their society, coupled inextricably with a pioneering spirit that would put our 18th and 19th Centuries to shame. It was quite by accident (with, of course, the requisite quotient of pure New Dinosaur Vigilance) that they (that’s they collectively) unlocked the secrets of Fusion. I shan’t bore you with detail, suffice it to say that it was most unfortunate, not to say ethically unwarranted, that the end came about; The New Dinosaurs cannot be blamed by any reasonable court of law. Natural curiosity can never be condemned, and it was and it was an unforeseeable happenstance that launched Steve into the Sun* while the rockets crept eventually into the orbit of the shoe factory where Mars used to be.

By this time aluminium could be synthesised quite easily and in an automated fashion.


Thursday, 28 June 2007

Henry and Sex

Henry the Bruiser, with muscles on his elbows, took to anal penetration like a kipper to water, grateful but late; he feared the social side and always felt a longing, whatever the dildo, a scarcely definable longing that led him dimensionally speaking through the gamut, the whole catalogue of mortally crafted penetrative devices, even the novelty items. No length nor girth nor knobble, no jazzy composition of vibrations could bring him any comfort, any certitude. With heavy heart but an almost admirable single-mindedness, Henry resolved to craft himself the ultimate phallic companion with diesel-powered vibrations; he used the finest, most rarefied latex, a mould scaled up from the finest from Shergar’s bloodline, and he spent some seven years building and perfecting this most glorious erection. When the scaffolding came down it stood, in all its meticulous detail, at ninety-seven feet in height to the inch and a good twelve feet in diameter at its thickest point. When he swallowed it whole he could never have said where it touched him, but it most certainly felt like Heaven.

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Dick Knockers, Sex Detective. Chapter 1.

Dick thoughtfully packed his trunk. Every assignment presented unique challenges and this case was no different. Predictably he would need clothes. But what sort he wondered. He checked the BBC five day forecast and packed some woolly sweaters. Glasgow was particularly cold this week.

Dick slammed his door and swooped his coat on his way out. He'd spent a good hour in the shop test driving coats to ensure the perfect swoop. Finally he had settled for an ex-navy great coat. He liked the epilettes.

The train journey gave him the opportunity to put his mind in order. He thought back to the can of lager, the sofa in his living room and the FA cup final and the phone call that made him miss the winner.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

The Chimneys of Orthodox Churches

The Chimneys of Orthodox Churches
March Larch & Birch over me
In production lines
its crooks with Salts of the Earth
& clogs its pews with incense or slate.

Dynamo spat out Virgins with Children with Halos
Make a stark, (old) contrast with me,
Especially when they're dimly lit.
Unfolding my arm at my elbow I could brush one.

But I wouldn't: I'm choking on inscence
At the part where the 2/4 thumps.
And you weren't round that corner I pictured
Only concrete. on grey. on ground.

I wonder which tomb they'll think suits me,
I wonder what song they'll all sing
As I'm coughed out of Orthodox Chimneys
With Beeswax cloying my wings?

Monday, 25 June 2007

I Hope My Darling's Phone's OK

I really miss that boy. I wish he loved me. There’s nothing I can do though, I’ve already sent him a message today. Maybe I can just call him and not say anything and hang up. But he’ll know it’s me, it comes up on the phone. Damn mobiles. It’s ok, I’ll just:
He picks up “Hello?”
I wait one and a half speech turns. I say “Hello?” I say “Hello?”
“Hi Nora? Hello?”
which I overlap with “Hello? Steven? Can you hear me?”
“Hello yes. Can you hear me?”
“Hello?” I say. I hang up and he looks at his phone as if it’s gone odd. His voice is beautiful.

Friday, 22 June 2007

Empire Burlesque

Writ drunk.

I’ve long admired at least some of the songs on Empire Burlesque in the same manner as I’ve admired anything else by Bob; “I’ll Remember You” and “Dark Eyes” have always struck me in particular. My trouble with the album as a whole was always the production; “Never Be the Same Again” was a major offender, having once driven me, while listening on headphones, into the very depths of The Fear, necessitating a two hour walk into The Field.

Time, and my switching of principal mind-altering substance to wine, have conspired to take the edge off my unwillingness to so much as countenance what my demons still call ‘80s production. Truth, though, as I see it, is that an awful lot of it’s awful shite, but that tends to be when coupled with poor musicianship and/or a lack of imagination, roots and, for want of a better word for there is no better word, soul.

Soul is the key word here; soul in the broad sense of the realness of intent and performance, and soul in the sense of the musical idiom that goes by that name. This is nothing wholly new to Dylan, his two albums with Jerry Wexler being cases in point, but it was Empire Burlesque where he immersed himself fully in secular soul waters, writing songs with the vocabulary of Smokey Robinson and Holland-Dozier-Holland. “Emotionally Yours”, covered memorably by The O’Jays is perhaps the best example of this, along with “I’ll Remember You”, but I urge you to listen to “Trust Yourself” and The Staple Singers’ “Respect Yourself” in the same sitting; the production on the former is perhaps not wholly sympathetic to the intended feel, but there can be no doubting the nod to the latter, albeit in a concoction that is one part empowerment to twenty-seven parts bitter cynicism.

There is on the album a bona fide stab at stadium rock in the form of “When the Night Comes Falling From the Sky” (a fine song a rendition of which with the E. Street Band I would more often than not prefer to hear), and a handful more fairly straight rockers (the best of which is “Seeing the Real You At Last”, a song that it didn’t take me too long to appreciate, and that I’ve dug fully since the Fleadh Festival of 2004), and then of course there’s the acoustic “Dark Eyes”. The overall feel, though, and not only in the overtly soul-inflected numbers, is of Soul Music, that finest of pop forms. A return to Muscle Shoals with Jerry Wexler and his people, and a shade or two of the glorious, dirty, dense, frantic sound of Street Legal (pop’s most underrated album if I’m the judge) might very well have improved Empire Burlesque; that said, it’s a solid album devoid of bad songs and with plenty of truly grand ones.

Further Notes writ immediately afterwards:

N.B. Revise to make reference to “Seeing the Real You At Last” [I did that]

Also the abhorrent album cover… It’s Ian McLagan’s shirt, but that doesn’t explain the jacket or the graphic design; God couldn’t explain the jacket or the graphic design.

Five minutes after completing this mini-essay, I feel compelled to refute the suggestion that Empire Burlesque was Bob’s first full immersion in soul, even secular soul – Street Legal surely trumps that – Changing of the Guards, Baby Stop Crying, True Love… I think the argument still carries water, but needs refining – clarification regarding song (specifically lyric) structure… E.Y. and I.R.Y less ‘wordy’, though still very much Bob… though even that’s spurious… I’m talking shite, frankly, though I stand by most of it – it’s a fine album, sure, but probably the main reason I wrote about Empire Burlesque rather than Street Legal is the complexity of my feelings regarding the latter, a truly great album the importance of which to myself I can’t currently express…

But listen to Empire… it’s tasty…

Please, fellow Bobcats, I know what I wanted to say here but tied myself up in knots – mercy! If you can fill in any gaps in my thoughts, don’t hesitate to do so – you may know my mind better than I do. In fact, I’m sure that you do.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Who KNOWS how to look at their own name objectively!?! (a boast)

Who knows how to look at their own name objectively!?!
Well I do. More than a couple of weeks ago Ian and I were in my bar quite drunk when somehow (I would have prompted it, you know what I’m like) Ian said “Emily Pear!” and I finally saw how ridiculous my surname really is and it sounded like the newest thing I had ever heard.

Jack said there's too much fiction on here and not enough..well....non-fiction

About a minute ago I was lying on my bed thinking about what to write down, with my face turned away from my cat, who had his front feet on my hip. I knew it was my cat there but suddenly he started to touch my right hand in a way that felt so much like a giant bumblebee that for a moment I was convinced and frightened like a nightmare.

Frank and Fish

Old Frank the fisherman was always brimming over with his tales of aquatic heroism. There was the time he wrestled an octopus that had hold of some damsel or another. Then there was the time he clobbered a hammer-head shark. Usually I’d just nod and smile, but there was one evening I felt a touch mischievous.

“Frank,” I said, “What I want to know is, have you ever been involved in a battle of any sort with a Great White?”

Frank looked startled, “Oh, Heavens!” he said, fingers twitching nervously at his pint, “Sure, I’d have more sense than that!”

“I see,” said I, “Well, I suppose it’s a different mettle of fish.”

Old Frank was crestfallen.

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Dead Grass

Fitz was to gardening what a pathologist is to the healthcare professions. Susan was unquaveringly enthusiastic, though fickle as to the object of her attentions. She was young. It was late spring and the last of the healthy young birds were fledging. Some eggs lay cold, useless and abandoned. The flowers near the house were flourishing to varying degrees, but the lawn was dead. Susan’s family made the necessary calls, and Fitz duly arrived. His reputation, an estimable one, preceded him, and not undeservedly so.

There was little he could do, he said, given how late it was in the season, but he instructed them well for the next year. He looked at Susan, a little wistfully. She was pretty. He accepted payment graciously and headed home, his working day being over.

Susan is old now, and Fitz is dead.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Bitter words

Johan sighed. "Remember Spain?"

"Ah yes," replied Matilda from his lap "the beach".

"I was drowning and you didn't even know I was in the water".

"I was looking at the sun loungers".

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

A Paragraph

And I tried to hide the cracks in our marriage; spraying air freshener to cover the lazy smell of marijuana that lingered in the air of our living room. It was clear to us both that our love had none of the complacency of our eager first love. We had 3 years of marriage behind us and we both knew they had been too hard.


Thunder rumbles gratefully
The deluge begins
A grey sky pours itself out
Hoping to be blue come morning.

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Thicket 39


Thicket 39

GRAVY 2003

Founded by Dr Herschel Rat in 1142, Rats has for generations crafted scintillating and award-winning gravies. The Thicket gravies “tick all the boxes”, if you will, when it comes to Dr Rat’s philosophy of selecting the very best grapes from premium gravy regions. Remember – if you can still see come dawn, it isn’t really gravy. Now is it?

Toadstools are used to guarantee freshness.

Gravy Style: a three-bodied, unbalanced gravy with crab and thistle aromas, and a tubercular aftertaste.

Enjoy With: raw meat dishes and great caution.

Serve at body temperature.

Friday, 1 June 2007

The Boatman: Part Three of Three

With a full mind to throwing herself body and soul into the river that would be her grave, the young woman flew into a bitter despair and flung her pouch, tearing its strap, at the silt of the shore. It burst open, spilling all that was in it; coins were hurled into the reeds, others hit dry ground and rolled; gems and jewels, gold and silver lay scattered all around. Her poems fluttered in the slightest of breezes and her sketches of Spain grew blotched with the damp. Her attention was nowhere, but Jones looked keenly at this conflagration of beads and personal effects. His gaze was drawn immediately to near the very centre of the spread.

Had she been looking in this instant, she would not perhaps have understood its meaning, but the crisp, clear, solar gleam of the apple could not have escaped her notice. Indeed, when she did turn in the midst of her pain, she froze, despite herself, in a scarcely witting wonder. She had picked that apple, or an apple from the usual tree, and placed it with her bread and cheese as had become habitual; it was lunch. She made no sound nor moved for long enough to find her mind empty of thought when next she knew where she was.

“I believe you asked for passage?” said the boatman.

She said nothing.

“If your hunger can resist that particular portion of your meal,” and there was no need for him to gesture towards the apple, nor did he, “Then I shall allay your… worries, and take you aboard.”

She still said nothing, but turned to look at him, eyes wide and open.

“It won’t be a direct trip,” he warned, “As that payment would be too great for a simple river-crossing. But the return journey will be assured, should you wish for it. And yes, you can reach the other side, though I can’t guarantee a precise timeframe; there’ll be plentiful wine where we’ll be going, and so you shall certainly have the means to pay. It’s a feast, see?” he intoned what was almost a request.

She assented wordlessly, moving towards the boat. She grasped the apple, the light of which made even the copper coins shine in constellations. Everything else she left, without a thought to picking it up.

“And please,” said the boatman, “Call me Jones.”



This is a heart…
It’s got this beat… as you can see it consists of four main compartments and this beat… to the left of it we can find an executed sprawl of vessels arriving and departing about it.
It moves frequently, periodically and when it doesn’t we’ll be atoned. (Otherwise, we’ll presume that it’s still got that beat.)
It doesn’t look anything like those hearts you see in shops, the shape cakes are made into, the ones Saint Valentine coos over. They parade as hearts though, ‘coz that’s what they are: Symbols of cardiac muscle in cardiac sac. But more importantly, for the card industry, symbols of Love.
When this age old association began, between one organ and our most analysed emotion, is unclear though I suspect it was the Romans. I’m sure many will disagree, but an organ in both appearance and function is far from romantic and, kinda, bereft of passion- imagine a bloody, bloody heart with a filthy beat being tied with a bow and given to you. Perhaps with a kiss and an apology or left secretly on your doorstep or in some cases backing up an impromptu proposal.
Maybe, pre anatomy the heart really did harbour love and hate, it probably did look like the ones fluffy bears hold but that isn’t what made me ask the question.
I feel Love in my Guts, some skin, these achin’ bones and, now and then, the back of my head. But in the heart? Not that I know of. Even if it were all in the heart, the consumer version lacks the only bit of the heart that could keep ardour & fervour. It doesn’t have that beat.

Thursday, 31 May 2007

The Boatman: Part Two of Three

This particular circumstance repeated itself on a number of occasions. The young woman tried carrying several flagons at a time, she tried transporting them in a basket, even once in a wheelbarrow, but always, in one way or another, the wine contrived to spill itself on the ground before she reached the boatman. Usually it was a simple case of the skin splitting (though there is nothing simple in the splitting of four or five seemingly well-made flagons in the course of one journey), but more than once the reason for the spillage was more surprising. For instance, one day a swan flew at her and she dropped her basket, another day she was knocked off her feet by a pack of handsome hounds as a bugle called someway behind, and the day she brought the wheelbarrow it was struck by lightning and escaped her grip, trundling into a fearsome ravine. She felt very unlucky, and exceedingly hard done by.

One constant, and it didn’t escape the young woman’s attention, was that the wine was always spilt nearer to her destination than to her point of departure. She assumed after a while that this was some mean, tantalising trick of fate, as sometimes she could hear the lapping of the river at the shore when the wine was spilt, so close was she to success. She never once made it to the edge of the woods, though, with a drop of wine left in her possession. She always, however, completed her journey and, with less optimism every time, tried to bargain with Jones. She offered many things; yet more money, more jewels, bread and meat, fur and feathers, even herself eventually, but the answer was always the same.

It was on the day that he spurned this last offer that she reached the very end of her tether and, weeping copiously, told Jones the following;

“You know my face well enough by now, and I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve asked you for passage. I’ll tell you now what I shouldn’t wonder you have long since guessed, and that is that my true love is on yonder bank, and that I mean to be reunited with him. Since he cannot know he would find me here, I daresay he’s given up hope, but a promise is a promise, and if you refuse to ferry me today, I shall swim, although that the water is wide and I shall certainly drown. I shall leave you my pouch with all of its riches, for better it remain with you, dear boatman, than that it drown with me. For while I lie clay-cold and eaten by fishes, it may yet bring me solace to think that perhaps you have made your way to town to buy wine with that money for the dry mouth that so afflicts you.”

Jones said nothing at first, but gave a wry chuckle. He looked for a moment or so at this young woman, miserably awaiting his response.

“My dear,” he said presently, “I hope you have a good lunch with you, as I would hate to think of you undertaking so arduous a task on an empty stomach.”

Track 2: Have I Been Rescued? (The Ballad of the Broke-Down Blue)

(Introduction: Strictly Bass and Mouth Organ
Then a gradual wave of Gospel- getting louder and louder, like a Mouthie. Then).

Oh Gospel, could you hear me
when the water lapped my waist?
Heard nothin’ to alarm me
Put that devil in his place
Now just a dice roll from delusion
I blinked every second frame
I counted angles in the alleys
Every one was just the same.
Now my baby’s out of earshot
And she better be as blue
The pavement full of fractures
For my wails to drip into

You let me bawl about my baby
When I shoulda been asleep?
How could you let my fingers tremble?
Yeah, Let me bawl about that girl.

Say Gospel, could ya hear me
As the water touched my chest?
Don’t set fire to the bar-side, they said
But it was just a test.
I just don’t have the guts for heaven
and hell don’t have the guts for me.
You wear your sins like jewellery
And Now Honey, you’re guilt free

You let me bawl about my baby
When I shoulda been asleep.
How could you let my stomach empty?
Well let me bawl about my girl.

But tell me…
Gospel could you hear me
As the water reached my neck?
I was overcast with moonshine
I just hadn’t thought to check.
All my jokes before the bar side
fell flat out on their designs
So I plot a graph from Britain
To the Jwaneng Diamond Mines.

You let me bawl about my baby
When I shoulda been asleep.
How could you let my gizzards tangle?
Well let me bawl about my girl.

For Godssake Gospel won’t you hear me
Now the water’s overhead?
I’m screaming can’t you hear me!?
It’s hopeless now to tread.

You let me bawl about my baby
When I shoulda been asleep!
How couldya let my lungs fill
Lord I coulda been asleep!
All of this is your fault
So let me

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

The Boatman: Part One of Three

Where Lethe forgets what it is and becomes Eridanos of no fixed designation, the water leaves the foggy gloom and is home to Nyami Nyami, merry snake with his basket of bread, and the banks are green; the Southern shore is the reflection of the fields of Aaru in earthier hues, still ripe with reeds; the Northern shore is Salley Gardens, where pleasant men weep silently to strains of The Waters of Tyne, strummed for coppers by Orpheus, on the lam with his lyre. Lethe remembers sometimes to dip her feet in the river that bore her name upstream, just to be sure it’s still moving. She’s on the Salley side. A jetty juts from either bank a little further downstream, where the meanders of Eridanos first mingle with the flowing of Ymir’s blood from the North Sea. For a flagon of wine, the boatman (Jones to his friends) will take you across from shore to shore. Throw in a golden apple, or even a simple apple crumble, and you might persuade him to take you out to sea, across chopping waves on his little wicker ferry, to the bay where cormorants swoop at the backs of fishermen unawares, the shore where the first of the Eastern guests, the Three Pure Ones and Rostam the champion, have already crossed the beach and are on the road that will take them to the Court of King Jelly Roll, for the feast.

A young woman came down to the jetty one morning where Jones sat smoking his pipe. They were on the south side.

“Boatman,” she said, and he looked up, smiling slightly, “Will you ferry me across the river?”

“Of course dear,” he said, “If you have the means to pay.”

“Certainly I do,” she said, reaching towards her pouch, “Should I pay you now or later?”

“Now, I should think,” said Jones, amusedly, “But what manner of vessel is that for transporting wine?”

Both were looking at the pouch, “It... isn’t,” said the young woman, “It’s full of money and such things.”

“Ah, yes. Hard currency. It’s wine I’ll be needing, though. That money stuff’s wasted on me, dear.”

“But I haven’t any wine,” she protested, “And I do have rather a lot of money, coins of all denominations, and traveller’s cheques too!”

It was no use, though, and Jones told her, kindly enough, to return again with wine, and passage would be assured. And so she headed off, somewhat frustrated.

The next day, or two days later, she arrived at the jetty just as Jones’s boat returned, unladen, from the other side. She walked down and crouched to repeat her previous request.

“Of course dear,” he said, “But I shall need a sip of that wine first, for it’s thirsty work being a boatman. More than you might realize. You do have the means to pay, yes?”

“I did…,” she began, hesitantly, raising the remnants of a flagon, “But it was spilt on the way…”

“Oh dear.”

“I was hoping, perhaps, to offer you this instead,” she said, holding out a diamond ring.

“Hmm,” pondered Jones, “I’m sure it’s pretty enough to look at, but I daresay it does very little for a dry mouth. It’ll have to be wine, I’m afraid.”

She sighed and headed off.

Sunday, 27 May 2007

Some Advice from a Centipede

Melody stood with her back to the wall with the stench of freshly cut durian spoiling the thick hot air, and knew that this then was Hong Kong.
Leering doorways called to her from across the street.
“We are dark. We are dirty and our humidity is high. Enter us, enter us.”
A dark blush started low on Melody’s chest…spreading upwards like ants to her neck and her cheeks. I have those fat cheeks that fat people have, she thought, those fat cheeks with little veins on the surface that swell when they blush so I look like a map.
In fact Melody was very thin but she was very unattractive. She was right to hate herself, she was right.
She pulled a giant pin from out of her belly and flopped off the wall where she had been for the last half hour. She saw with some relief a man on the corner, and she made her way towards him.
He was very carefully spitting into a cup. He was very old.
Is it spit or is it vomit? thought Melody.
The man coughed and spurted a thick yellow bubbly fluid from between his chaffed lips into the plastic cup, already three quarters full. He then looked up at her, eyes sly, and hissed.
Then he nodded at her smiling, only not with any part of his face. He carefully put the cup down, almost proudly, and reached into his grubby nylon tracksuit bottoms. His foul hand came back out with a little brown package, which he thrust at Melody.
“Take it, take this! It’s from in my foul! It’s from my not good!”
You can’t talk English! Melody thought, You can’t!
She ran away.
“Mmmhmm yes…trickly trickle down…we’re deep inside.”
The doorways were back…she was back on her wall. She felt the pin jump at her soft belly and penetrate her skin…forcing her rigid against the wall.
What is in my pocket?
Her tender fingers, shaking with shock burrowed into her cardigan pocket and touched crinkly brown paper. It was the package from the man.
Did I take this? She sobbed and her tears helped her slump down into a squatting position, the pin forgotten.
Her fingers were bone white now as they opened the small parcel. It looked like it could contain no more than a small packet of coins, or perhaps some dried rice. Carefully each corner was folder out, and she gently tore all down one side. She tipped the contents onto her hand so suddenly that she did not have time to scream as the large red centipede slid out and lay, curled up, on her palm.
The centipede moved.
His red shiny head pulsed out from the coils, and his mouth opened into a smile.
“One side will make you grow taller, and the other side will make you grow shorter” he seemed to say…but then, did I just think that? Melody was feeling dizzy…I’m not in Wonderland for christ’s sake…I’m in…Hong Kong…
The doorways seemed to be growing around her like huge black teeth…Melody glanced up in fear.
The sky is getting further away!
With horror she glanced down at her hand and saw only half a centipede…writhing and bleeding onto her skin.
She gagged and spluttered, falling onto all fours as she retched, coughing up a few red legs.
But no head.
Without any more control she felt herself crawling along the dirty pavement.
Her dress was ripping and now so were her knees.
Everything was getting dark she noted, everything is getting wet.
The doorways! She screamed inside her head, They’re eating me!

“IN! IN! IN! IN!”

And then silence. An almost empty street but for an old man with a cup, half a centipede, some brown paper and a pin.