Saturday, 31 March 2007

My Dad Called My Feet 'Princess'

"Just having a drink and a bit of quiche, Em, then I think we'll have a walk out for a pint: are you game for a pint?" says Dad.
"I'm kinda tired" [said through my left hand; I'm sucking it 'cos there's a small hole where I pushed a knife, trying to slice a bouncy ball]
"You're getting tired?"
"I'm kind of tired."
"You've got your princess shoes on, why? Glittery ones."
I am writing this now, after it happened, and I am wondering whether he thought I had anticipated being offered the pub and put my new shoes on especially. Did he think it was a clue? Can I find out?
Playfully, I am now going to walk along to the kitchen where he is moving cups, and get him to read this post set up a little infinity on purpose.

Exponential Nostril Death (Part One)

Before his rise to notoriety in quasi-cosmetic fields, Dr Rudolph was a well-respected, if little-liked clinician in a provincial teaching hospital some fifteen miles outside Hamburg. His reputation, though local, was one of jealous professionalism and an insect-like attention to detail, but also, and perhaps as significantly (though only ever spoken of in hushed tones), was one of not-entirely-infrequent, shockingly cavalier and, in the words of one former colleague, “scarcely human” plunges beyond the accepted cutting edge, as it were, of medical pioneering endeavour. A case in point, an early indicator, if you will, of his extrapolation of the aforesaid traits in later years, would be the case of a young woman who came one early April day to the clinic, complaining of intermittent but profuse nose bleeds.

It was a fairly docile morning, quiet enough that patients could sit at least three seats apart from each other in the waiting room. Dr Rudolph was perusing patient files, his customary leisure activity on such mornings, and glancing up at intervals, assessing the human contents of the waiting room. None held his attention until the patient in question – we’ll call her Claire – arrived at around 11:30, clutching a handkerchief to her face. She was already sitting down when Dr Rudolph looked up from his literature. Even then he had a tremendous enthusiasm for facial afflictions of most kinds, but what most drew him to Claire was the apparent purity of her skin, and to a degree the flesh of her thighs. He put away the patient files and made his way across the room.

Introductions were polite and formal, and Dr Rudolph led Claire fairly promptly to a consulting room. He performed his standard full gynaecological examination, and a colonoscopy for safety’s sake, all the while dictating detailed notes into his machine. The usual perfunctory measurements were taken, as well as blood samples for various indeterminate tests. In due course, he turned his attention to Claire’s nose, observing it from a number of angles, some requiring a degree of contortion on his part. A trickle of blood began very slowly to flow, gathering a little pace upon rounding the cusp of her upper lip. Dr Rudolph inserted a gloved little finger a short way into Claire’s left nostril, and licked the resultant smear, as if to determine the direction taken by a herd of bison. He made a short humming sound, and then informed Claire that, and he stressed that it was merely precautionary, she must, in his professional opinion, stay overnight for observation. She was somewhat surprised at this as, nose bleeds aside, she felt a picture of health. She assented, however, as one must always trust a doctor. He made the necessary arrangements and told Claire, with a reassuring smile not reflected in eyes, that he would look in on her some time in the late afternoon, around teatime, as they say in Hamburg.

Thursday, 29 March 2007


I'm afraid it's another 'bit' about me. I might add a little poem at the end so it still counts. Today I had an interview over the phone with the ELC, and they have kindly requested that I work for them in Hong Kong. This means I will actually get to design my own toys and have them made. This naturally overtakes Mattel, who I have now had to refuse. Sorry about that.
But the Early Learning Centre is much better, so cheer up!

Here is the poem:

Please come and visit me,
If you can.

Jack Countenances the Water

For your collective titilation, and by popular demand, the following is from the chapter entitled "Onions", from the work in progress that is "Aboard the Ship the Sunday Morning":

Jack may have countenanced in his consciousness the onions and their quantity, indeed, he may even have been amused by them. The dirty water, however, for it was nothing if not dirty, leapt to his mind’s forefront, shoving aside any notion of onions, or anything else, vegetable or otherwise or indeed the swabbing of decks, for that matter, following Fat Pete’s addition, and in spite of Clancy’s reiteration. Gladly such states of single-mindedness didn’t tend to linger too long in Jack’s well-defined skull, but, perhaps even more gladly, major realisations reached during these states, as we shall call them, were moderately frequently remembered. Little Jack the scullion reached the following realisation: “The water acquired in Penitence at Pig Gantry’s insistence, and I couldn’t be more certain that coincidence isn’t so much as a shadow of a factor in this matter, is so dirty as to be, at very best, infected, but quite possibly poisoned in addition” Jack, wide-eyed to allow as much light as could be harnessed in the gloom of the galley to assist in thought processes pertaining to survival, reached the following conclusion: “By all possible means, I shall avoid drinking the water in question.”

This would prove to be more complicated than Jack might have hoped it would, but until he felt particularly thirsty he continued in his conversation with the other galley-folk without mentioning the seemingly fetid water.

The Joys of Children are Functions of the Woods

We're getting there... it's premature. Tasty.

The joys of children are functions of the woods.

of course, learn to despise ourselves and fear the respect the tyrannosaurus, you’d be a breaker or to destroy it – you cannot because of the obvious physical mine.

I always preferred to play in maybe, and less capable.

I was secretly this day a role-model of sorts, and the things.

“Well, to be brought before a tribunal selected by the board of jurisdiction is more than sufficient to draw out legal crows.”

four or so hours into the perfunctory, drinking slow but steady, all were employees, or colleagues, as head office prefer to call all the cooking done and dusted, and sat at the directors.

feared of course – but don’t become fearmongers.

they are a force to be dinosaurs; at the museum were skeletons, but dinosaurs were never a great passion there is imbalance and madness as it was a scavenger; I can empathise far there’s more ways to move out of settlements; there was some serious which was great.

I love madness and reject pterodactyl.


And the things.

“well, to be brought directors.

feared of course – but don’t secretly this day a role-model of sorts, jurisdiction is more than sufficient to into the perfunctory, drinking slow but more ways to move out of settlements; destroy it – you cannot because of the obvious physical mine.

I always preferred woods.

of course, learn to despise the joys of children are functions of the as head office prefer to call all the be dinosaurs at the museum were skeletons, before a tribunal selected by the board of steady, all were employees, or colleagues, scavenger; I can empathise far there’s cooking done and dusted, and sat at the draw out legal crows.”

four or so hours but dinosaurs were never a great passion there was some serious which was great.

I become fearmongers.

they are a force to tyrannosaurus, you’d be a breaker or to love madness and reject pterodactyl. there is imbalance and madness as it was to play in maybe, and less capable.

I was ourselves and fear the respect the…


Have I worn your smile
Once or twice
Like a fraud.

Hid in your alley.
Pissed up your

I’ve fashioned some blues
With crimson
Or teal,

Laundered old money,

Graffiti’d the right

a few

if you must then just know

I’ll still have a
Things to do.

(All the French horns
in the world
couldn’t keep me...)

…believe me…

Wednesday, 28 March 2007


Well Ladies and Gents, I have just heard from Mattel. They have offered me a job in Hong Kong for the summer, designing their toys. So that's Barbie, Hot Wheels and Fischer Price.
Landfill here we come!

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

I’d like to start in the Early Morning

One of the problems with my day is that it doesn’t start at the beginning, it starts somewhere else- in between there and late, sometimes even double figures. I always feel disappointed when I’ve missed the beginning; when the light heralds the first opportunities and the worm is caught. It wouldn’t be so bothersome if I thought this goal unreasonable but considering I stir just after, it deserves a try.
The birds wake up right at the end to ensure they witness the beginning, something to do with their crepuscular circadian rhythms*. Usually they all sing, together, around here and that surely merits curiosity for what, they reckon, deserves it.
With an early night (something I don’t fear), a decent sleep and this reason to get up in the morning I should make a more matinal veer from those vespertine habits and hopefully be present and assuming my spot for the start.

Caravan & The Guillotine

The Guillotine:
She was a Soviet model; all leggy and bobbed in blonde licks a steal for the senses you might reckon. She was tall and far more fun loving than you might think coz she pouted and smoked and she did drugs and maybe other things that you shouldn’t find cool, you might even love her if she wasn’t so impossible, so distant- Even if I’d had the inclination I could never have reached her I woulda just dreamt and, y’ know I think that’s better anyway,
…I’d of still liked her as a friend but…
[So just on the now of this lit-up-disco-spree for three bits of loving and some shrapnel fee comes the part I was really wanting to say, the story if you like.]

So she was just writhing, I mean, really out of it- her head was all over and she was just jerking from side to side, frenzied. She was wearing sunglasses; it was definitely night-time though and she started spilling her drink on those lighting-up-tiles, it’s a wonder there wasn’t an accident. By now there was no glitter of control: it was terrifying her sunglasses fell to the ground and you could see her eyes, they weren’t red but they weren’t the right colour. She was flinging her arms about and people were stepping out of the way of them until she was alone in the middle of a circle of faces. Then she threw her arms back and,
I couldn’t believe it…
her left arm just flew… flew across the room,
then the right arm. You could see the faintest hint of trapped panic in her eyes especially when her left leg fell away.
She lost her balance then,, as you might,, and toppled to the floor, still writhing, mind.

One left on written invitation, many followed.
(Every now and again they’d stop for a greasy breakfast at the roadside caravanserai where very few questions were asked.)
A trick: Diurnal wolves with stationery ate them one night.

Monday, 26 March 2007


Last night I had some dreams. They were a terrifying mix of beauty and fear, like most dreams. I took a few notes before I set out of the house so that I'd remember them. They were:

Whales having sex on clifftop. Infra-red feeding butterflies --> "chopping + dropping" on the wind.
All on an island.

These dreams were a result of a virus pouring through my body that Jimmy kindly brought back for me from Barcelona, as well as extreme lack of sleep and nourishment, as well as light social drug use.

Sunday, 25 March 2007


I received this message yesterday. I am not the only one.

Gascap? You want to fill the tank on a groundcar? Irked, jumped up onto the table and barked. Jumped back to the floor. You will be protected, he answered, trying to control the sneer at the Good Beginning Gang. Now you last two guys, you're the rest of this Patience, I said for lack of any more intelligent answer, then drift over to the first flock, find one of the shepherds who is maybe longer a child. Inside teddy. Really had had a longer sleep than I realized. I realized I had bitten off a good deal more than I could possibly. I am beginning to find out that there are levels of secrecy and galactic mail order. Spend! The more you spend the better. Every word we said, so I chomped my jaw to get Tremearnes attention. The days here are four times as long, we are used snoring forms. I shook my hands over my head. Sagged too much. Our audience was reluctantly and suspiciously.

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Concerning Brother Surf

For connoisseurs, the following is a piece roughly contemporary to the fabled Baiting of the Marshfish, and appears to occur jointly in the world of that and of The Jonathan. Curious. Precise provenance cannot be determined.

Brother Surf walked into the Egg, with his beach-time anecdotes and propaganda, all his shit, every last morsel of that shit we’ll never, ever countenance. Well, he came to the bar, I was sitting on a stool, Stephen was slouched on the bar, and Apricot was looking at him askance, wiping a glass.

“Hello, Brother Surf,” I said, he had not yet reached his podium there by the bar, the place he would stand righteous and harass the bar staff, leaving us in the middle, or rather me in the middle, Stephen would never involve himself, crossfire or not.

“Yeah… Apricot, cider please.”

“Yes,” Apricot was blunt as ever.

“You know what?” Brother Surf preached his usual opening question.

“No.” Stephen spoke up unexpectedly.

“No? Ha! Well, I bumped into the bishop, the cunt, may he die, and you know what he said?”

“No,” this was turning into a real conversation for Stephen.

“I wouldn’t expect better from you – yeah, you – the silent one. Cunt. Well, yeah, so the bishop, yeah? The bishop – Bastard! – he told me that there had been complaints, you see, complaints,” seethe, “about my mosque. I mean, Jesus Aloud, what about Me? Fucking bishop, whole fucking diocese, it’s rotten. You hear me, Apricot?”


“Slut. Yeah. Tell you what, Apricot. I’ve got a friend needs servicing. Think you could help? Ha! Well, what do you reckon I should do with the bishop?”

“Does he have a daughter?” Stephen offered.

“Oh! No,” Brother Surf was often sarcastic, “What do you think, Jack?”

“Petrol-bomb the fucker.”

“No. I’ll invite him to the beach. We’ll fight it out like men. Not worms, you fucking worm. Well, thanks for nothing, I’m leaving now, keep the change, ha! You’ll see, you’ll see,” and he left, swiftly, spitting.

Friday, 16 March 2007

Demon Means

Those demons up there, the head office heads, have long since developed a means of control so pure and so very simple, a transplant patient could quite contentedly eat her dinner off it. Truth be told, it almost had me, of all people, flummoxed. That could never have lasted, though. Their method is as follows:

Multiple organisations (at time of writing, these number seven), ostensibly rivals, enter into a wretched, underhand agreement regarding espionage and counter-espionage policy. Their first move is to insinuate, semi-publicly, that sensitive information has been leaked/acquired nefariously from their respective organisations. Next, over a period of, say, two months, they institute, in seeming reaction to each other, variants on the following policy:

“Any person/persons, be they employees or visitors, whether authorised or not, found in a situation deemed by Security to compromise the integrity and/or property (intellectual or otherwise) of the organisation, will be brought before a tribunal selected by the board of directors, and may be liable to prosecution under applicable laws in the jurisdiction governing head office.”

Needless to say, the combined clout of the various organisations in the aforementioned jurisdiction is more than sufficient to draw out legal proceedings for protracted lengths of time, indeed, indefinitely. This is the key to their control, when coupled with the following nugget of secret policy:

“As a member of this organisation, you accept that, should you be caught by a rival organisation in a situation that would seem to compromise the integrity of your intentions towards them, and by extension the integrity of this organisation, it is our policy to deny knowledge and involvement, as all and any infiltration of rival organisations is contrary to policy. You must therefore expect no assistance should charges be brought. Since all and any infiltration is contrary to policy, it will be assumed, should you be found in such a situation, that you are acting on behalf of a third party, and you may consequently be liable to disciplinary action before a tribunal selected by the board of directors.”

That’s right, people; the only aspect of the demon means to control that lies beyond their sphere of control is the assumption that orders, specifically orders to spy, will be followed by employees, or colleagues, as head office prefer to call them. This, however, is a safe assumption; we all know that. I got wise, though, and forewent the auld job security thing. I last ate seven days ago, and that was three beans in a salty sauce, but at least I’m free from litigation, and from paying attention, and from ever having to think about it, really. In fact, the above was never written.

Your Guide to: Identifying Charlatans & Daredevils

As a professor of colour-coding and a fellow of the Royal Guild of Identification I’ve been consulted and queried on the troublesome topic of bandits, brigands and ne’er-do-wells very, very frequently, almost as frequently as fruit or ladies.
An often-asked question is ‘how much of it is in the colour?’ and the truth is ‘alot but it’s also in the texture’. In this short guide we hope to give an easy to understand, pocketsize manual to recognizing the Charlatans & Daredevils of these fair Isles.
-Prof. T. S. Bentham

Red: Slender, Speckled and common all year round, no aspirations and often seen sitting on fences and pinching biscuits. Nests in the summer and has broods of 5-6. No need for a wife.
White: A native to the North and a winter visitor to the comfort of the fireside this reclusive hipster has been in decline in recent years and a petition has been started to see them more.
Blackened: Once known as ‘the Greater Dark’, a term now considered archaic and perhaps just wrong, this Charlatan is often found in less rural areas in small groups. Part of the hoodlum family, this species tends to wreak havoc in the evenings and prepare during the day exhibiting little want for sleep. Its cry is horrific and has been known to make a man cry forever.
Green & Lithe: Kept as a good look charm and occasionally a pet in the seventh century by the Boatmen, for its song supposedly turned sour when danger neared. It was introduced to these shores some time later and has stayed here ever since, it must like it here. Breeds in pears.
Orangey: Probably should be from Morocco originally, this rascal type once stole the heart of a young impressionable girl making for a tragic tale. There is only one and when it is murdered (witch is always the fate of the Orangey) it will no longer exist, it is not however the rarest [see: Graph Paper].
Striped: (colloq. the lesser moxther) Eats smoke and smokes the thoughts they wished they’d remembered. It lives among the cold lights and is, of course, a pirate.
Corduroy: “Do you know how far away the moon is? It will never be your friend Katy: it’s simply too far away to be your friend my dear”, and when the moonshine sparkled in the black of her eye out sprang forth the beauteous Corduroy and Brown Paper magpies flying towards the moon to whisper the messages young Katy wanted, so much, to tell it. And this is how the Corduroy came about (sadly the Brown Paper is no longer with us and is often forgotten). They are the only magpies in the Bandit family.
Graph Paper: The rarest of the daredevils and therefore everybody’s favourite. The Graph Paper Daredevil is, perhaps, most at home on a Tuesday. It sketches the outlines of everything that ought to be and never cares to rub out the pencilled accidents (this is where mistakes come from), or so the story goes.
Translucent: Little is known of this variety.
Nocturnal: Living only in the night-time this rogue does not believe the Sun exists for he will never see it. It mayaswell be of Cajun descent and forages only for the bloodberries that make it giddily morose. Two varieties of the Nocturnal have been recorded: the Cardinal and the Ganderian.
Wounded: Steals, thieves and swindles, a pick-pocket of the old fashioned vernacular. Sleeps in wires and feeds on a diet of rust and shrapnel. Migrates to the shadows. It calls at dusk like it’s in excruciating pain hence its name

Prince of the Undergrowth

There is, somewhere, a little village; a tiny dot on the maps of history. It has a post box, a telephone booth (not one of the nice red ones), a tavern/impromptu post office, a modernized farm, a burnt-down hall, a cold church with accompanying overgrown graveyard, a very small council estate, a scattering of cottages, a large vicarage, some houses-on-the-hill, a small village hall and a lifeless caravan site. There is a quaint yet thin river inhabited by lazy fish, startled waterfowl, the occasional heron, smokes of midges, miscellaneous man-mind disposable plastic paraphernalia and watercress.

One of cottages has an allotment, the one-time pride and joy of its former inhabitant; now an overgrown nettle-ridden jungle of blackcurrant bushes, bramble, briar and mysterious rhubarb. If you were to crawl on your belly through the loamy wet earth of this forgotten allotment, scratching yourself on botanical teeth and unknown matter as you do so, you would reach a small patch of moss covered soil. An unseen thrush cackles in the holly bush overhead somewhere, and if you gaze upwards you can follow the flight of wielding gulls as they drift in the currents and dream of the ocean, and of tractors ploughing fields. Someone, perhaps as much as ten or twenty years ago, has stacked up some terracotta roofing tiles. Nettles spiral out around the back of this small pile, and snails hold silent moots, perhaps in mourning.

This pile of tiles conceals a secret. There is something cold and manipulative lying in wait in the cool soil underneath. Woodlice bravely loiter on the under surface of these cracked orange tiles, tracing glyphic patterns in the dark and lonely world of rotting leaves. Underneath the mulch and fungal roots and waiting in the dark he sits, brooding. He has been there since late October, but now he feels the new warmth seeping through the earth to his skin like oil. His large filmy eyes slowly open, glistening in the darkness. A slow grin spreads across his soft face, thick tongue pulsing out in an experimental taste of the stale air that encases him beneath the ground. He is ready for worms, and slugs, and beetles. For he is bufo bufo; Prince of the Undergrowth, and he’s ready for spring.

How Kitchen Things Get Broken

Ooh! I know a parable:

There was once a salt cellar who, for aesthetic and curious reasons (kicks?), fancied dressing as a pepper-half. The ink for painting extra holes was made with soy sauce for colour, a mite of Marmite, and a little flour to make a good paste. It was done with great tenderness.
Along came a human, fresh from the final argument with a woman. He snatched up the salt cellar and waggled it fluently over his salmon and sauce. Disgusting white rocks for pepper.
“Christ almighty, woman, why is there salt in this pepper cellar? And with my cholesterol? It’s blue bloody murder” he spat. And lobbed the salt cellar at the woman and missed and hit the glassy vase of cut daffodils on the side. The vase exploded, and, when the salt cellar hit the floor, it exploded too, in a storm of daffodils.

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

The new social science?

The new social science, that is - hereby inauguarated - of wireless network nomenclaturology. Here in cosmopolitan Stroud Green, the following networks are 'visible' to me, now, as I sit. But what do they reveal about the society for which they speak?

Khoobsurat Ladkiyan
This Is Anfield
mcfuck land
Axis of Evil

Tuesday, 13 March 2007


Marmite, my baby tortoise, has now awoken from his twelve week long sleep.

That's how you know it's spring. The tortoises come up.
In southern France thousands of tortoises emerge much like the Periodical Cicada (right) that emerge every seventeen years, every Spring. You can walk around early in the morning and listen in the quiet bushland, listening to the tell-tale crackling of tortoise feet as they stir for the day's hunt.

So since just before Christmas my tortoise has been asleep. Just sitting, in the cold. I thought you might like to see a picture of him hunting and killing his lunch, because we all love a bit of violent vegetarianism don't we?
Tortoises know best.

For the record Marmite is as Spur-thighed Tortoise, or testudo graeca. Most likely he originated from Turkish strain, not, as the Latin name suggests, from Greek. graeca refers to the shape of the Ancient Grecian shield. Possibly.

Later Reference the Bones of a Cat.

Simón was sharply interrupted, he had long since been an admirer of the sea and he often sat in a similar spot to the one he was in now to confirm that. As a cat he didn’t feel obliged to do anything, he just marvelled at the ripples and eulogized that tide until he was sure the sea would’ve seen him, whatever the weather. Now, for example, was tempestuous, to say the least: the rain was driving and the wind riproared through his whiskers. Dusk might’ve been two shades away but it was hard to tell, as the darkness hadn’t left all day. After staring at the sea for so much Simón really had become familiar with it, he could never remember each lilt or twist and expect it to be there next time, (that was part of his love of the thing) but he would recognize an oddness.
And that’s how he was interrupted and exactly what he had done. Simón had spotted a glint, a small glint just glowing through the sea and the sea had never had one of those before. He watched a little longer, his eyes bleating in the rain. ‘What could possibly make a glint just glowing through the sea?’: a bonfire for the barnacles, the bright lights of a pirates plight or a vigil, perhaps. The wind convinced Simón not to investigate just now even though he could think of little else.
“Sleep and dream”, it moaned, “sleep and dream.”
The next day the storm hadn’t gone home and Simón hurried his breakfast to see if he could still find the glint. With a squint passed the rock that looked only a little like Ecuador he spied it, still gleaming ‘gainst the unusually darkened sky. The wind pushed him back and the sea rioted. No conditions for investigating. Simón had to quell his interest. For the next two days he observed the glint and the waters ran amok.
[Welling turned to necessity and a splash of desperation.] Simón found the third day had gotten the better of him so he edged down towards the shore, eyes focussed on the glint. The sea was still raging. He stood feet facing the tides. He had to know what was making that glint. What was needed was a closer look. Walking right to the border of the water he peered towards it - a gust blustered his coat – but he still couldn’t find the answer. Rolling up his trousers he waded a little way in to the sea, it’s cold love was just as unwelcoming. Closer. The water went passed his knees and skirted his middle yet telling what the glint was was still impossible. Chest. Neck. No answer. The waves slashed his face and fired his temper; he didn’t know how to turn back anymore, not until he had the answer. He lifted his feet from the kelp of the beds and swam a little towards the glint. Closer. Further. And far less safe, a step too far for spangle’s sake. The currents overthrew him, outnumbered but the glint was just a dozen strokes away he mayswell take the risk. Still no clearer image, he was nearly at its source. Just below the water it should’ve closed a hundred hearts. It wasn’t the gold or glory, he just had to know its cause.
Now peering for that answer the murk beneath his eager paddling paws, he paused. The glint grew brighter, larger, consuming the once murky sea beneath Simón. As he beheld what he’d been waiting for.
Now he knew what was making that glint.
It was the eye of a whale.
“Finally I know.” he gasped as he broke inside the belly of the answer.

Packet of Twenty

Between the chains of opportunity, somewhere, and the pitfalls of potential, in the midst of plimsolls and satchels, Mary bought a packet of twenty. She’d smoked the odd one at parties from acquaintances, her first on the building site, surreptitious, she’d liked it, liked them all, she never coughed, well, maybe spluttered, but she liked them so she bought a twenty packet from the racket on the platform that would sell to girls in plaid. She liked to smoke so Mary smoked, and in the pub with weekend feathers, Mary drank with older girls and passed and rose to any challenge that she was a schoolgirl.

Time has passed now; Mary has passed too, out of her school and into the dream lethargic as life. From phony potential to the jealousy of words, Mary’s mind can skip objective, drinking wine and smiling cigarettes and stretching limbs on waking, impassive as dawn.

I married Mary, not because she coughs now and she doesn’t like it, nor because she drinks like breathing and it’s ordinary, but because she eats a second breakfast or she doesn’t eat at all if she doesn’t fancy lunch, and she has a fine laugh, and she smokes the same cigarettes as me.

Sunday, 11 March 2007

In Bed With The Man From Marks&Spencer

The following is a cover version of Wolper’s Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, The Inventing Room scene:

Late in the dark of the night Val lay in bed with Marks who part-invented Marks & Spencer, talking.
“I simply love your apples” she said sincerely. “I wont buy them from any other shop.” Then she paused for a moment to let wonder form, then asked “Why ARE they so special? Is it all down to the soil in the place where they come from? Do they have really caring farmers?”
“Aaaah my friend” said Marks, which Val heard with her face as well as her ear, for her cheek was on his chest. “I have something rather special to tell you. But this is the most secret mechanism in all my enterprise. I can only give it to you if you solemnly swear to keep it to yourself and never show it to another living soul as long as you live. Agreed?”
“Agreed” said Val predictably and happily.
“Good. Because du komme jetzt in den interessantesten und gleichzeite geheisten Raum meine Fabri. Meine Dame: Der Inventing Room.
Now people are very funny about fruit flavours. As long as it’s sweet, you can almost replace their orange-juice with apricot-, so long as they don’t see the label. Asked to articulate, they will often tell you ‘It tastes fruity’. And so it does. But, now, why would you want to replace orange with apricot (except out of mischief)? well now I’ll tell you. The fact is, apricot is simply a special variety of orange. It’s at a different value on the circular Fruity Spectrum; nevertheless, it IS a spectrum, all items are gradual; and the flavour of apricot is extreme orange. So if you give it to someone who thinks they are drinking orange-juice they will taste that it is special extra-tasty orange-juice. The imposter fruit IS registered, but only in as much as yum. It gives it a little kick,”
“I see.”
“Now take this to our apples. We realised that they needed a little more jelly fat to have the edge on other shops. So, one day, way back when, we take a syringe to an apple and extract all the apple-taste. Then. We take a number of strawberries (it depends on how big the skin of the apple is), and repeat the operation with a new syringe, sucking out the strawberry flavour. Then swap the syringes and insert the imposter flavours. A little coloured ink and voila. Testing this sort of experiment on yourself is inpossible so I gave one of each to my stepmother, unsuspiciously. She eats and all is fine – remarking ‘What a nice juicy apple’ or some such. We use this method on every single apple that comes through our stores, every year. Fantastic invention. Revolutionised our industry. People can eat ‘em and eat ‘em until their dying days and never know any wiser. Never realise. Never. Least I don’t think they do. And as a bonus we also get tastier strawberries.”
“Oh wow wow wow.”
“I know. Isnt it scrumptious?”
“It’s marvellous.”
“But now remember: no touching, no tasting, no telling.”
“I swear, Marksy.”
Talking stopped for a while while the pair thought of apples, what had happened to them earlier in the day, and the prospect of sleep. Marks had rolled over and later quietly said “Where is fancy bred? In the heart or in the head?”
Val said “Did you say ‘fancy bread’ or ‘fancy bred’?” This writer does not know the answer.

Saturday, 10 March 2007

The Court of King Jelly Roll

In Bacchus’ name, lift up your spoons, for the season approacheth, little things. Even now, the reupholsterers are reupholstering chairs, purple and green. The physicians are smiling, the ladies are moist. King Jelly Roll is better, thanks be to God. The dead are buried, the table is set. Put on your hats and saddle your horses, for King Jelly Roll’s court is reconvened. The frosty veil is lifted, so come, the embarrassed and regretful, take off your clothes and thrash about wildly, in the manner of a boar in the throes of death. For, in faith, the winter’s boar does die for the summer’s pork. The thin gander swears an oath, and the fool is in the mixture. Shoots are shooting, boots are new, but the ceremony will be a barefoot affair. Do not sit down by the roadside facing the hedgerow when all the world is dead, and everything in it. For, in faith, that is the time to put your hand in your trousers, and the rod and the staff shall comfort you. The road is well lit, and is not very long. In the circle, four English leagues west of the wood where tall wolves groan, four English leagues north of the marsh where grass snakes consider, four English leagues east of the plain where women wish, four English leagues south of the bay where cormorants swoop at the backs of fishermen, the festival will be met. Forthwith, then, to the circle; wrap your wife in ivy. The leopard that was in the tree now stands on one leg in the centre of the circle, and, in faith, the tree stands proud on the leopard’s back. The nephews beloved of King Jelly Roll stand at the trestles of the five innermost tables, and no rope can bind them. The attendant nymphs shine like berries. From the nub of the mound, even now the first of the guests can be seen approaching. First among them is Brutus, and not least among them, Gog and Magog. King Jelly Roll has risen from his mossy sickbed. So lift up your spoons, in Bacchus’ name, for the feast.

Friday, 9 March 2007


I want to live inside a beetle.

You can attempt entry into beetles via special tunnels, I hear.

Hundreds of people live inside beetles.

They like it there.

I want to live with them.

Beetles are filled with light though, you know.

They eat special leaves in special forests.

They are large…but not big enough to live in, by any means.


Hence the tunnels: They make you extremely small.

I want to live inside a beetle.

Beetles contain quiet forests and dark lakes.

The beetle worlds are maintained by ethereal spirits.

These spirits are greatly feared and should be revered.

I fear! I revere!

They are dark, dark and wet,

Dark and wet and lonely.

I want to live inside a beetle.

Sex and 'The Toys for Youth' Campaign

Sex is good because its hot and wet and dark. That's why beetles are so happy.

Yesterday some secret toy designs of my own creation were sent to Hong Kong, to the Early Learning Centre. With the Gods on my side perhaps it'll go well.

Thursday, 8 March 2007


When I was younger it was definitely an Oblong. I can’t say that that’s true for everyone, though I quite hope it is. No matter how you looked at it: longingly, between your legs or through your fingers, it was.
As time went on things got serious: the oblong was replaced by a newer shape. I had been paying attention yet I barely noticed it sneak (cockily mind you) in to the everyday-to-day .Had I and I would’ve been tough to mollify.
Now, why? I wonder. The square needs no alias and it’s not as though oblong is more effortful to say. Had we been lied to again? It seems curious to be weaned on to ‘rectangle’- the prestige is, perhaps, too much for a child to bear.

I, plainly, like oblong more than rectangle.
I should say it more.
But just as I try to remember, I always forget.

Monday, 5 March 2007

True Storybook

Retiring from the dancefloor, Darla was checking that he remembered when she’d asked “Do you think it’s possible to be someone who’s supposed to be a storybook but they’re born in the body of a girl?”
Mr. Bingley had said “No.”
“But people who are supposed to be boys are born in the bodies of girls. What if this book was just trapped in the wrong object?”
Mr. Bingley said “That’s completely different and you know it.”
Now, Darla had an announcement to make, and she had brought the old conversation to his attention.
He said “Yes, I remember” (a little exasperated).
Darla said “I knew the answer all along – it was one of those type of questions”
“Those type of questions should really have a different name – TESTs, perhaps?” (a little theatrically infuriated).
“Yes! With a different marker, maybe – an upside-down question-mark at the start of the sentence…?? Anyway. I knew the answer all along. You were quite wrong. I gave you several chances to reassess your judgement. I asked it many times when I’d had a bit to drink, didn’t I?”
“ – so it must have been an important question. Each time, you reaffirmed what you said the first time. And you were wrong. And I knew for sure.”
Mr. Bingley put his arms around her waist in an attempt to knock some sense into her.
But all of a sudden, what he held moved like waking up with a hard object from your dreams when your hands collapse into each other. And a book fell onto the floor. Mr. Bingley was stunned, but he didn’t say anything to the book.
It was a storybook about waves, salt and perfume, and scratching messages into hard surfaces. It had a very nice cover of smooth rubber made-to-the-touch like soft leather. It wasn’t entirely new but it wasn’t old. Mr. Bingley kept it on one of his shelves for many years. It never changed back into the girl, which was a shame, because Mr. Bingley had just decided he quite fancied her.

Saturday, 3 March 2007

Arrangement Of Smallstones

It’s been ages since I had a stone in my shoe. Everyone knows how to estimate too big. Everyone knows. It almost feels like the good old days.
If you want to know how good your bare skin can draw (no gripping mechanism allowed; just flat skin-on-idea) you must pay attention here. Your foot will trace a knob of gravel in your brain, and may create some landmark knobbles that you will be excited to look at with eyes when you eventually take off your shoe. You will have decided, for example, that the shape is 1980s computer monitor with a conical flask coming out the right-hand-side. You can now (at a safe place on the pavement) take off your shoe and shake out the apple-pip-sized rock. On your first several attempts, what you uncover at this point will appear to have none of the landmarks that your foot so confidently drew in your brain. (You may even be so disappointed that you desire to put the stone back in your shoe so that you can look at the old picture again – I don’t know how widespread this feeling is – it may just be me and few others.) Perhaps though, with practice, as you reach old age, your foot-drawing will become more and more accurate, ‘til eyes and foot converge.
I have never put a stone in my shoe on purpose. This is a method you could try. It would, however, destroy the great and awesome complex unpredictable pattern of which moments you get a stone in your shoe. At the moment, for me, it’s been AGES. When will I next get a stone in my shoe? When will I next get a stone in my shoe? And, when will someone fall in love with me?

Friday, 2 March 2007


I see that you’re bitter with your sense and your youth, and here I am, child, crazy old coot, I’m laughing. I wear sandals and I tear my toes on brambles. And so? And so they bleed; I spit on them, laughing. I spend my money on whisky and tobacco, just like you. Me? I smoke a pipe and when I cough, I laugh. I sip my whisky, evenings in the rocking chair. And? It’s good stuff. I like it, there on the shelf, pour yourself a glass. Not too much. I haven’t had my tea. I have these albums of photographs, hundreds of them, just like you. I look through them, crying and laughing. I don’t expect you’ll be fascinated by them, but wait till I tell you a story. I have fruit cake that never goes stale. I have phonograph records that take a donkey to play them. I had a wife and she’s buried in the graveyard, in the village. I have three sons and a daughter, see them sometimes. At the very least they send letters, they telephone. Yes, I have a telephone. I go walking in the woods, I always come back, I bring berries, whatever fruits are in season. When it snows, I throw snowballs at cows. I think they’re glad of the company. Have you read that poem? The long one? It’s a bit turgid, of course, I don’t care greatly for the tone, but it’s evocative nonetheless. I don’t remember how it goes. I’m too young to remember the Crimean War anyway. What was it that that Florence Nightingale invented? No, neither do I. I heard a lot about her, though, like what she invented. You’d be surprised. Now, where was I? Ah, yes, I have… nine grandchildren. And you’re the youngest one.

Thursday, 1 March 2007

Part I of a story: An Introduction

Everyday disasters happen whenever they want and wherever you’d rather they didn’t. A city holds a glut of such disasters lurking behind each affable street name and behind other places you might not have thought anything of before. Designed to happen with grace and executions, a deep-sea dive for a dreadnought a juxtaposed jive for those juggernauts and for a little girl, well, we’ll see.
There’s nothing you can do about these events they’re already there: every disaster will happen.

Now, Maisy made waves in round-a-bout ways and was not prone to disasters nor was she naïve: she’d lied through her teeth many a time but she couldn’t always grasp the simple pleasures that litter a life and she often had trouble falling asleep. One night, in the dead of night, she counted 12 dozen and eight sheep, her eyes parched and her lips flicked but not a glance of tiredness. The question, possibly even dilemma, for anyone in this situation is which option do you go for: stay where you are and hope you’re on the cusp of sleep or get up and do something?

Maisy got up and walked around, she looked around too and thought around and eventually about what she could do to make her decision a little more worthwhile. A quick look in the fridge held none of the answers. Outside a dog rattled a cat. Inside: Nothing. She snook to the cupboard (almost like her intentions were gonna make her move louder (than before)) and pinched her dad’s leather jacket- a forgotten remnant of a previous mid-life-crisis to make her feel tougher and warmer.

She was already in the town centre by the time Maisy remembered that she was supposed to be sleeping. She’d never seen the town without any people before, it’d always felt like some people’s only purpose was to walk around town centres with somethings to do- the people she never remembered or really noticed thouh she knew they were there. Obviously no-one has anythings to do at this time of night, not in the town anyway. There wasn’t much of a noise without the people either, ‘is it really a town centre if it doesn’t have any people anymore?’ she wondered on her own, ‘does it count?’.

Just louder than the silence was a noise. A little later it was louder and before she knew what it was it was a moped.

(on the moped was a girl. Yes, a girl. The girl had a convincing smile. You might know the type.)


Some current adverts wot I want to discuss:

The Beefy and Lamby quality standard beef affair. I don't like it.

The Bismark magazine advert. 50p for your first copy..200 copies needed, £4.99 normal RRP.

Trident gum. There is a reaggae thing going on there which unsettles me.

Glade. Little Chinese lad on the toilet..."It's all gone. it's all gone"..."What's the matter darling?" etc.
Why is the mother waiting at the door?
Why is she not Chinese?
How does he draw the refill thing so fast to push under the door?
Why does she then go in if he put the note under the door? He obviously values his privacy.

Allium cepa

It can be assumed safely that the onion has contributed greatly to human diets for many a long year; indeed, there is strong evidence that, in the Egypt of antiquity, it was a sacred root, on a par with cats in religious significance. Unlike the cat, however, it was probably eaten. It wasn’t until 1493, though, that the great Christopher Columbus introduced Allium cepa to the Americas, specifically Haiti. Since then, the onion has grown to be one of the continent’s more widely used vegetables. Although onion syrup is undoubtedly a useful remedy for coughs and colds, and reduces the risk of contracting various cancers, it is doubtful that Pig Gantry had this in mind when he decided on the course of action upon which he decided, that of bringing eighty sacks if there’s any of onions aboard this three-masted schooner, a sensitive and above all fragile lady of an ocean going vessel.