Monday, 30 April 2007

Insect Haiku

This is a website (click the title) I have found that attempts to make insect based haiku.
Post your own results.... here was my first one:

green and black
a crane-fly climbs
far from a specimen jar

In and Around a(n angry) Shout

There we were, the picture of blithe respectability. We ambled out of ScotMid carrying a total of eighteen bedding plants, (three assorted varieties: Petunias, Busy Lizzies & Marigolds). A surprising threat. I was dressed in yellow for fuck’ssake. We crossed the road, the sun bouncing around our smiling faces. As we were reaching the other side we both noticed a small creature in a flannel shirt gape eagerly fixed on us. His bright vacuous eyes unnerving to say the least, stunned us into a somewhat guarded silence. I’ve never seen such a wide & empty gaze, it was impossible not to meet his eyes. Thankfully the man was heading in the opposite direction to us and although I always feel a certain amount of guilt when you decide on little evidence that a person is a screw (and I did have little evidence- a gaze, that’s all I had remeber). Still, I was relieved he was being unhinged in a different direction.
Shit.
He was actually changing course, worryingly quickly and, yes, he was matching it with ours- typical. I went to get the keys out of my pocket to open the front door. He was right behind us. Now as the 'man', I wasn’t scared but certainly apprehensive and perhaps curious. We stopped at my front door, the man continued. Until he realised and he duly reversed. I glanced at him, now comfortably close to safety: he was pacing around anxiously, pretending not to be looking at me & Rosie & the bedding plants. Perhaps he wanted to try and get into the block. I opened the door and both of us went inside, one eye very firmly on the psycho. He looked very nervous. The door slowly started to squeeze him out of view.

“Keep yer meuwth shu’ next time ye walk past me. Ye Fuckin Cunt!”

That was unexpected. I’m sure I’d expected something, but it wasn’t that. A quick stab would have been less of a surprise.
You might say an angry shout was a far better outcome. And in most ways you’d be right. In some ways, though, a stab has its advantages. For one, almost the instant it was too late, I wished I’d gone out and said something. This always happens, the ‘man-hindsight’: you didn’t do anything at the time then after playing it over in your head relentlessly you tell everyone what you would’ve done (even though you didn’t and everyone has seen so) or what you’ll do next time it happens (which it won’t). On top of that you justify why the ‘opponent’ was less dignified and therefore not worth the effort as well as why you wouldn’t really have done anything about it at that particular moment, often with a lame excuse about how you ‘hadn’t really heard what he’d said’ or ‘before you knew it he’d gone’. This might eat away at your dignity in a way, a very, very small way, but nonetheless.
This really doesn’t apply to me however: He was mad, the door was practically shut already and if it hadn’t I really would’ve given him hell.
I hadn't said a fuckin thing to him anyway.

Saturday, 28 April 2007

Your Guide To: Timepieces (unfinished)

Your Guide to: Timepieces


With the recent popular Interest, and a creative revival the humble timepiece has really made a surprise return to the spotlight in an age of convenience. With the recent media attention and a few high profile roles on both the small and even the big screen the most blatant puzzle is just where has the clock been for the past while? Once over there was one on everyone’s mantelpiece and now seldom are people sure whether they still have one or not. In this respect, it is a very welcome return to the once crucial and now understated tsars of timekeeping.
It seems only fitting then that this guide should chart the career of the clock and its various incarnations as a reminder for the most of us and a lesson to the new generation who are, perhaps, less familiar of a once perennial asset.
In my practice as both the Horologist Royal (1979-95) and more recently the maker of some of the counties most celebrated documentaries on the subject () I have explored the histories and historiographies of the relations between man and time, especially his desire to harness it.
-Professor R. Jim Tindall

Chronicling the humble beginnings of the timepiece has proven difficult for historians and horologists alike. This is due, in part, to the lack of written evidence on the subject prior to the second century and as a result led to the very popular belief, held in the thirties, that nothing happened at all until time’s invention. Revisionist scholars have dismissed those works of such great thinkers like Pierre Distanne and Carlos Verdana in the light of current researches suggesting that time existed long before its invention by a young gentleman




Grandfather Clock…;
Grandmother clock
time's
Cuckoos live in the belly of some clocks- distressing?

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Tungsten & Zoetrope.

Tungsten

One: *, two: ten minutes to spare, three: Jenny McIntyre. And that’s ultimately how I got the scar, the one just beneath my left eye. It was just an accident. Most people don’t even notice- this one guy from down St. Wolfgang‘s street, I’d known him for years, fucking ages, and he only noticed then. When he asked he said, ‘Is that a scar?’. It was. For you see I have a scar running along a crease just below my left eye.
Sometimes you feel obliged to tell a more interesting story than the truth and scars are a good example of something people feel really ought to have a good story to tell. So it can’t really count as bad lying, it’s too utilitarian, I reckon. I had no intention of lying but I lied regardless. Even as I started lying I thought I’d lie pretty small lies, the prettier the better though. And before I knew it I’d gone and told the biggest fabrication I could’ve with a limited amount of raw materials- Jenny McIntyre was still present (all lies have a grain of truth in them, it makes them more believable) but this time round it was set in peril or a forest or somewhere (I was slightly ambiguous so that he helped make the lie with me- a rearrangement of responsibility if you will). At that point the scene was set for the climactic unravelling, the reason the scar was worth having. Only I couldn’t think, a huge scaffold of yarn flimsily resting on the real foundation of…

[panthers, villains, rapists, lasers. No. pistols, scalpels, shards of glass. No. and this is taking too long. splinters of wood, sheets of iron, frames of tungsten…]

‘Tungsten’ I said.
What a lie. It was the biggest lie I’ve ever told. Though not the one with the most consequences.
But it serves him right for not noticing after all these years.


Zoetrope.

He didn’t have a zoetrope.
He had the something that had been invented a few years earlier.
It did him fine.
He drew a series of pictures (in a circle):
Of a man watching a zoetrope.
Then, when he span the circle and watched just one part of it the pictures appeared to come to life.
(He continued, perhaps it improved the quality of life.)

Your Electric Light

When we need it, your electric light is there to find feet in the tangled night-time woods, traipsed recklessly. Whisky vision is good enough to reason with a small cliff-face, to spot a foothold, best yet to be delighted by it. The woods feel wilder than the ones I grew up with, and there’s no doubting I know them not a bit. Whisky only makes the heart grow unremittant, more fevered, lots of other things, more forgetful without losing reaction to it all. I forgot to navigate. A trickled stream makes itself known visually, almost catches your ankle, and a vague notion is swigged by my far too wandering mind delightful; streams run down, to the river, to the path, but we smiled relentless away from it, losing little. It feels like what it looks like, any time, from setting out to long before the dawn and there is no timepiece comes to eye, and it pleases me. I could die out here; I could live out here; brambles tear at legs and you, like me, keep walking. It is a universal truth, particularly applicable in the midst of flowing whisky, that there are no wrong turns when travelling blind. Very easy, and surprising to tree-trained eyes, a clearing strolls for seven yards ahead and the moon is visible only just. We sit or collapse, though not exhausted, and the still-flowered very early autumn stretch of woodland grass is not big enough to be a destination. We decide anyway, with almost nominal scepticism from some quarters, that the next leg of the journey is return. And that’s much quicker.

Your electric light proved as useful on the way back as it did on the outward clamber, maybe more so. We made it, as you know, to the safety of our harbour. The night’s sleep, though grizzled by whisky, was restful from adventure; morning, just lately, feels longer ago.

Next time, or the same time because the past has not kept grip sufficient, if I have my way, there will be no return journey, no thought of batteries. Your electric light will come from eyes and, converging with my eyes, and her eyes, and his eyes, will be light enough to grow the universe, make a clearing home; the roof dangling from clouds, the trees already walls, the sea nearer this time, and that patch in sunlight there looks to be a field of corn to me. Guitar alright with the smoke from fire come night-time, significant soon to birds, there is moonshine aplenty, but really we’re drunk from that and from actual shining of the moon, from crispest air, from your electric light, but mostly we’re drunk from that moonshine whisky and it tastes so very good.

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Japanese Hornets Battle Honeybees

"This film about Japanese giant hornets is nightmarish but strangely beautiful. It charts the clashing fortunes of hornets and honeybees in a mountain valley. If you like your wildlife cute and cuddly, or you're phobic about stripey things that sting, steer clear; but you'll be missing something extraordinary. The narrative has the odd slow patch, but every few minutes there's an action scene to make your jaw drop: a fight to the death between a hornet and a mantis, a massacre of 30,000 honeybees by hornet warriors, bees mobbing an orchid that smells like their enemy's pheromones. The photography is so good that at times it's like watching excerpts from a sci-fi horror flick called something like War of the Wasps. The end result is hauntingly, memorably weird. Not least the scene where we see some local beekeepers tucking into a favourite snack: deep-fried hornets."

So if you don't fancy Grand Designs or the Apprentice at 9pm this evening, watch this on channel two. Natural World baby x x

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Untitled

Girls strip their clothes and part their thighs with feathered sticks they’re checked for lies by pierced men sweat-covered in lust with heads of swine who drop from trees and laugh and scream as little boys with legs of ants eat fireworks and start to dance as bones from the ground begin to rise helped by starving children crying and laughing and begging to get beaten by women who tug their udders raw and hoarsely squat amongst the timber as mice and rats jump up to bite and tug their genitalia and draw blood from which their daughters sup to make the men groan and scratch themselves new limbs from old because all they see is flesh and breasts yet taller now the bones have grown to catch them all between the shadows so that they dance in a cage or perhaps a stately pleasure dome of rare delight but this one has ensnared the night.

Sunday, 22 April 2007

'Modern' Trains

I feel a touch or two sick. Dizzy, and just ever-so-slightly wrong. Modernity at first glance - as ever - is the cause.

Perhaps three or four years ago, a new high speed train entered service in the UK. Initially, it was a Virgin West Coast phenomenon, since extended to that company's Cross Country routes, but this particular specimen was a Midland Mainline beast [that is to say, train]. They look sleek; they look shiny; more than anything, they look modern. Their predecessors were solid looking, but worn. Features that were cumbersome on the old trains are now given over to the gadget. Automatic doors; light-responsive taps; thin, curved handrests with headphone sockets; coffee machines rather than hot water and satchets. That sort of thing.

Now, aesthetically, they're not my bag. I'll make no secret of my occasionally luddite tendencies. Skeptic of myself that I can be, I grudgingly accepted them and thought little more of it. After all, they were a bit faster, and when stuck in the old vestibule, I did often fear that the by-necessity opening windows would tempt me into decapitation by curiosity. Then I started to notice that my head - though very much in situ - would be swirling come the end of a journey. I'd never quite be able to read the book I'd taken with me. I'd finish the journeys a touch nauseous, and with my eyes stinging. The lighting of the carriages, you see, is unnaturally garish, even if, given the aesthetic it's pursuing, its encasement and positioning cannot be faulted.

But here's the thing: it's not an isolated irritation, not a one-off case of overexuberance on the designers' part. Scratch the surface, and the whole veneer starts to give way. The new seats look modern, but they're slimmer than the ones they replaced - in spite of occupying the same proportion of the track - less comfortable, and don't recline. There's a modern, digital screen for recording reservations, but you can no longer see at a glance whether a carriage is fully reserved, and the aisles are continually congested with people straining to read lurid green pixels. The bathrooms have modern all-in-one soap dispensers, hand driers and taps, all controlled by light-sensitive LED. But the floors still run with piss, and the LEDs are arranged such that only fingers shrivelled by anorexia and the masochistic employment of a nail-file could operate any one function in isolation. The hot drinks machines are shiny, with a picture button for every kind of drink, but the coffee is an acrid parody, and the hot chocolate is surely tepid Nesquik. And all this encased in a coated plastic edifice that luminates under those hypernatural lights.

The coffee should have been a clue. We've seen all this before. For something to be modern in Britain, it must above all focus on adornment, and through its form a hyperactive rebuttal of all that is 'old' British design. Shiny buttons, flashing lights, electric machines, as little as possible done by the hand of a human. All encased in plastic, of course.

The contrast may be with continental Europe - a German train with barely concealed metal grating but natural lighting, comfortable seating, a cheap and serviceable restaurant car; a French espresso machine made of plain metal and which needs refilling for every fresh shot - but the parallel is more illuminating. America's fun, and the fact it's all so pretend and plastic and stylelessly consumeristic has a great deal to do with that. But really, it's all branding in lieu of substance. Tesco Finest or Sainsbury's Taste the Difference aren't good food; they're moderate food using stylish packaging and the right words to create a superficial approximation of quality.

It may be luddite, but give me decent and brutish rather than stylishly shit. There was always something nagging me that little bit extra about those trains, and now I think I understand why. And even the most cursory extension of the thought troubles me, because I fear the phenomenon pervades rather more than just trains, coffee and groceries.

The Stag

Seven days before the laughter of the horns of the Bacchae crossed the cusp of the hill and into the broad valley on the green road to the Court of King Jelly Roll, six witnessed the scene to be described. The six were; Mad Sweeney from treetops; Yuxa, winking from the undergrowth; Gilfaethwy as boar, upon whom was Freya with feathers; Hong-yu, a vixen; Badessy from the sky.

In a glade by a pool, a shallow pool of rained water stretched barely rippling like a reflection of the sun, a stag stood grooming. No other deer awake or near, the stag looked placid up to trees like antlers. In grazing brambles stark against the last of withered leaves before the breeze, he found a thirst and came as many days before to where the water gathered for its travels. With the quivering splendid soft bronze of his flanks in clear view now of the sky, it was no wonder that the starlings and the blackbirds fought their choruses through the waves. The stag approached the water, crisp blue under noon day Sun, and bent his neck and lapped it cool and clear, still holding the green scent of dew from dark before the dawn.

As the chorus continued, many tones, the stag drank deep, and, as the day maintained her thrilling promise of the blossom, the water, never moving, appeared suddenly as a tapestry, became a gauze of liquid gold, but fresh. The whole world might have gasped but for the stag who, with brown eyes above dignity, continued to drink, and the air felt pregnant with the loosing muscles of a real beast taking in what water he required. That gold, never a necklace, shone then in his eyes.

In seven days, with the antlered branches stretching in their buds, the first faint echoes came of the coming congregation. Wine in every pocket of the broad grins on their faces, they rounded the hill wreathed in vines with no alarm to the various animals watching. At first they stared near silent, wide-eyed into the sky between two hills, and then they flung their bare flesh into brambles, laughing, bleeding, and they called with pipes and laughter to the animals and they brought them, always dancing, to the fold and carried on with singing down the green road home.

Friday, 20 April 2007

Mr. Gristle - Tales for the Nursery

Mr. Gristle had a problem.
He did not much like the sound of people eating.
Whenever he heard the sound of somebody munching on crunchy packets of crisps, or slurping on a soft and moist banana he felt absolutely sick and outraged. He was so completely and utterly disgusted by the sounds of people eating that he couldn’t sit for more than five minutes in a restaurant before having to politely but swiftly excuse himself and hurry to the exit.
“Jowls!” he’d mutter.
“Mandibles!” he’d sigh.
“Mastication!” he’d exclaim.
It was on just such an occasion when Mr. Gristle decided that he should really get something done about the problem.
“I simply must get something done about this problem of mine.” he thought, as he stormed away from his surprised uncle-in-law, with whom he was meant to have been eating sandwiches with in a particularly expensive café in London but just could not bear for one second more the sound of brie and grapes squelching into whole-wheat bread between the offenders teeth and tongue.
“But what,” he mused, “but what exactly can one do? Everybody eats! Perhaps I should become a hermit, and live in complete and utter isolation. On an island!” he smirked to himself at his clever idea.
But a frown creased across his brow, “Not good enough” he thought aloud, much to the surprise of some nearby pigeons, “Not nearly good enough. For I cannot even stomach my own ingestion!”
Mr. Gristle thought and thought about what to do. He walked through busy streets, glaring at Americans pushing chocolates into their gaping mouths, he scowled at little girls chewing on dolly mixtures outside sweet shops, he put his fingers in his ears whilst pacing though Harrods Food Hall.
“Harrods” he said.
“Americans!” he said a little louder.
“Dolly mixture!” he shouted, which made a nearby baby start to cry.
As Mr. Gristle paced and thought, and glared and stalked, and shouted and screamed, it seemed to him that everything was food being eaten, that every smile and set of teeth were mocking him, biting and chewing and ruminating at him. Even in London Zoo, where he seemed to have arrived, everything was eating. Monkeys thundering though great piles of peanuts. Zebras snorting into hay! The whole world had become one big mouth to Mr. Gristle, one big mouth full of saliva and chewed up sweets and pieces of pastry and crumbs, and teeth, and tongues.
“Go away!” he shouted, as he started to run.
“I can’t see you!” he shouted as he shut his eyes and ran past a startled keeper on his lunch-break. He heard the sounds of tigers growling into some meaty carcass.
“I can’t hear you!” he bellowed and he stuffed his fingers into his ears.
But because he ran with his eyes tightly shut, and with his fingers in his ears, because he ran like that he was completely unaware of the shouts around him, of the warning cries.
He was aware of the wall he tripped on. He was aware of the hard landing. He was then aware of the incredibly sharp and painful teeth as they bit down extremely hard upon his belly.
As his eyes shot open, Mr. Gristle suddenly saw that all his problems were over, and as his fingers fell from his ears, Mr. Gristle heard, with some relief, the snap and crack of his bones as he was loudly eaten by a lion.

Saddled


It has been noted by a few astute-but-hard-of-hearing listeners that the song "Temporary Evil", from the St. Cuthbert's Burials E.P. of the same name, is a mite frustrating for those who like to make out words. The chattering in the background must, for the time being, remain enigmatic, but I can provide you here with the main body, as it were, of the text:

Saddled like a growing undertaker. Mislaid in the undergrowth that tried but couldn’t twine the poplar trees while they were there. Evidenced by cooling of the ground from sunset, culminating in the coldest earth before the dawn. Distracted by the finches, didn’t know what kind of finches. Bolstered by a breeze that hardly shook the hay from loose forgotten bails. Hidden by the height of hedges, honeysuckle melting with the branches of the lesser bushes. Exited stage right before the sun was coming up.

Thanks for listening! Ho ho.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

I filled in a quiz

FOODOLOGY

Q. What is your salad dressing of choice?
A. I like to watch it undressing. There's nothing quite like the heart-thumping jubilation you get whilst watching a radish strip.

Q. What is your favorite fast food restaurant?
A. Caruscants - It's a secret underground fast food restaurant, there's at least one in every city and if you don't know what/where it is then you probably never will.

Q. What is your favorite sit-down restaurant?
A. Euro Town House. If you don't know what/where it is then you probably never will.

Q. On average, what size tip do you leave at a restaurant?
A. My tip swells after eating, so normally the size of a small pile of a gravid toad.

Q. What food could you eat every day for two weeks and not get sick off of?
A. Papier Maché

Q. What are your pizza toppings of choice?
A. Once i tried to eat just the base of a pizza by undercutting the toppings very carefully with my precision utensils. I actually discovered how to make mushroom slices hover that day. Caruscants bought the blueprints of course.

Q. What do you like to put on your toast?
A. Hot slices of vulva.

Q. What is your favorite type of gum?
A. Arabic.


TECHNOLOGY

Q. Number of contacts in your cell phone?
A. WOAH there pleasure overload!

Q. Number of contacts in your email address book?
A. These are exciting questions arn't they! I'm dribbling from three orifices!

Q. What is your wallpaper on your computer?
A. Oh stop it!

Q. How many televisions are in your house or apartment?
A. You've ruined my favourite frilly knickers now. Thanks Quiz.


BIOLOGY

Q. Are you right-handed or left-handed?
A. I have a cousin who has two of each.

Q. Do you like your smile?
A. Yes, I really do. Sometimes I feel it's unrequited though... if i catch a glimpse in a mirror and she's not expecting it I see it glaring at me with loathing/remorse.

Q. What's your best feature?
A. Easy, my feathers.

Q. Have you ever had anything removed from your body?
A. Sense of Worth - taken by ravens
Sense of Humour - killed by the internet
Humanity - doctor

Q. Which of your five senses do you think is keenest?
A. Foresight

Q. When was the last time you had a cavity?
A. Erm, did anybody else think of dark wet red body interiors here? I wonder if tiny bats fly out of your anus at night to feed on fruit and nectar and return before sunrise?

Q. What is the heaviest item you lifted last?
A. Technically you can only have lifted one item last, so that will have been both the heaviest and the lightest. It was a bucket with four dried and well dead guppies in it.

Q. Have you ever been knocked unconscious?
A. There was this game we used to play at school when you breath out all the air from your lungs and somebody pushes under your ribcage so that you can't breathe, and then you black out. It was called Playing God I think...oh how we laughed!


CRAPOLOGY

Q. If it were possible, would you want to know the day you were going to die?
A. It isn't possible. So yes. If it were, then no. Maybe yes.

Q. Is love for real?
A. For men certainly not...ejaculation is the way baby.
Women are welcome to harbour such thoughts though, we can accommodate it.

Q. If you could change your first name, what would you change it to?
A. Elegance

Q. What color do you think looks best on you?
A. Once I sprayed various extremities of my body chrome with spray from Halfords. It stung.

Q. Have you ever swallowed a non-food item by mistake?
A. McDonalds.

CURRENTOLOGY

Q: Are you a friendly person?
A: Yeah, but not if you are unpleasant or foul or ugly.

Q: Now that the surveys done what are you going to do?
A: I have to go look for duck eggs.

Q: What is in your left pocket?
A: String or nothing

Q: Do you have hardwood or carpet in your house?
A: Ho ho ho.

Q: Do you sit or stand in the shower?
A: I start as high as I can be and over time decrease my height until my testicles are dangling over my forehead.

Q: Could you live with roommates?
A: No. They'd love it though.

Q: Where were you born?
A: Durham City

Q: Last time you had a run-in with the cops?
A: ha it was the 60's. We were all young guys with a point to prove. Jazza has heard from his normal sources that a huge blow was a-coming our way via the Variable Beat Boys. So I said to Healave, "If we're gonna do this thing we're sure as hell gonna need some feathers."
Well, naked and sticky we ran through the streets of Byker screaming

"I am the lizard king, and I can do anything",

luring the Beat Boys back to our our heartlands in the Ouseburn Valley.
Well if old man Gumbar wasn't waiting for us!
"Well well boys, looks like you're all knotted up!"
And we were, in our haste Juxx was entwined like a squirrels intestine with Healave. An that's how the cops found us, orgasming in fear and vomiting in rage as the Beat Boys hopped around us mock-boxing and giggling like school girls.

The Fear

I was just having a little hunt on Youtube, looking up David Mitchell when I actually found a video if nyself talking to him. The world really isn't safe you know. I can't even ask for Nazi Love without becoming famous. Christ.

Monday, 16 April 2007

Exponential Nostril Death (Part Three)

Claire’s day had been a tedious one, littered with notions of how she might better have spent it. Truth be told, though, she would most likely be doing little more than she currently was, lying in her hospital bed, and she had come that day to the clinic not so much through any sense of urgency regarding her nose bleeds (though certainly she’d long intended to have something done about them), but rather because she was at a loss as to how to spend her day off, a luxury she was seldom afforded, and had thus grown unaccustomed to. Of course it’s the case, and has presumably always been the case, that one prefers to have control over the precise nature of one’s inactivity, and for this reason Claire was somewhat frustrated, for the first few hours at least. A change in her outlook was induced, in time, by Nurse Gertrude, at the behest of Dr Rudolph, by means of a mild sedative, as was common practice (by Dr Rudolph) in those days.

As a side note, while we’re here, and because no one will stop us, I shall tell you a little about the nature of Dr Rudolph’s relationship with the aforementioned Nurse Gertrude. This will be of particular significance to those with an interest in the dynamics of Dr Rudolph’s later relationships with assistants and apprentices; although his brand of influence, bordering on control, did not emerge fully formed, it is interesting to note the more primitive form of it at work, and it may shed some light on the often seemingly opaque reasons, in later years, for the compliance of assistants, usually safely below the genius threshold, in procedures that to the average human would almost certainly, for all their apparent cruelty and depravity, demand consecutive life sentences on general principle. Circumstances are seldom so clear cut, however, and very little of this is elucidated by the nature of Dr Rudolph’s relationship with Nurse Gertrude.

The sedative, though mild enough to permit worry, was strong enough that, try as she might, Claire could no longer string together indignant thoughts of the restrictions of hospitalisation sufficiently to distract her from her growing concern over the potential seriousness of a condition that she had hitherto found a nuisance at worst. Death rattles from a little beyond her curtain helped matters not at all. Claire’s scant consolation was that, for the duration of the afternoon, after her initial examination, she didn’t once bleed from her nose. That was something. The ceiling, though, was riddled with shadows; most consolation is mitigated by hospital conditions. Something in the lighting, or in the air quality, or the incidental sound, made Claire’s dirty-blonde hair feel like a plague of miscellaneous, unremittant snakes; a hospital fulfils only a fraction of its purpose if it does not inspire in its patients the very real sensation of illness, and its attendant dread, and by extension the hapless, exhausted belief that one is being treated by people who know what they’re doing and that, hopefully, through the sheer force of their benevolent professionalism, one will be cured.

Claire almost slept for it’s hard to say how long, but not very long, until, in what might otherwise have been a momentary lapse into full consciousness, Dr Rudolph eased open the curtain that had, for the course of her stay thus far, been, one might ill-advisedly choose to say, a veritable wall between Claire and the ugliness that might be borne by the near future. And it was ugly, what Dr Rudolph had to say;

“We can’t be sure until we perform a couple more tests,” he said, reassuringly, “But we suspect, quite strongly, that what you’re suffering from is Exponential Nostril Death.”

Claire was startled, “Wh… what does that mean?”

That was the extent of her initial articulation. Dr Rudolph was quick in response,

“It’s a… fairly rare syndrome. Essentially, if not treated properly, it results in the death of your nostrils. It’s an exponential process. Quite lethal, sometimes.”

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Rag Villa

First they take your shoes and what’s left is a sandal consciousness but you don’t have any sandals. New wine but old glass and everything is gravy in the inch-by-inch liquid atlas. What bird caged? Coloured feathers, the joy of the exotic, caged. The bird has human skin, red, yellow, brown and green. Feet rock on sheep and the bass; I’m lulled into drunk. Lion-drenched by worry for the leopards and they’re shaky in their trees, many greens. It really takes it out of me. I was carded then I fouled. The stars had to wink to catch the past. The second part is always slow. Something happened while I was away. Police tape and the ground froze. No one loves you like I do, right or wrong.

What stabs at style, a deep breath, you daren’t wear stripes today, you breathe. Inconspicuousness is a must for any private investigator or timid soul. What’s the sphere of your existence? Can you cross a ring-road more than three lanes wide? You’re in the middle.

From "Tell It To A Hound Dog, Pedro"

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Part II of a story: a Conversation.

Characters:

Maisy: The protagonist
Sukie: The girl with the moped, who may or may not be, ultimately, regarded as the antagonist.
Brute Special: A very large beast of a man with much hair and a quiet voice. It is said that he once ate a kitten which is untrue.
Russell: A talking Kittiwake, very very wise.
Duke: A dwarf. Busy with day-to-day life in attempts to forget his difficult to reach aspirations
Juan: A little taller than Dukesy. Speaks in Spanish, which I find difficult to translate.
Tender: Ex-fortune teller, saturnine man with very little to say.


[a moped ride later and they’re in a grotty flat- it does not belong to Sukie]
Sukie: A little late to be out, girl. You do this often?
Maisy: No, I think this is my first attempt and I can’t say I’d care for it.
Not frequently anyway.
Sometimes I just can’t sleep you see and before I knew it there I was;
adventure had gotten the better of me.
[aaaaaaaah- sigh]
Sukie: And Mother & Father, what will they be doing…?
Maisy: Fast asleep I’d imagine, they’re people of habit- very fond of behaviour.
[Sukie holds out a packet of fags to Maisy, Maisy politely declines the offer while smiling. Sukie lights up two and gives the second to the man at the table]
Sukie: So your not…
[drag]
…just runnin away…
or anything like that?
Maisy: No. Sorry.
[Silence: neither of them had expected an apology here]
Sukie: Quite alright
Maisy: What about you? I can’t see a reason for anyone to’ve been in the town at that time other than irregular sleeping patterns, of course.
Sukie: Oh the devil says the night’s a ripe time for finding trouble.
Maisy: Oh but trouble’s a filthy thing, I can’t see why anyone would seek any more than they’re given. Mother has always said, ‘stay away from trouble’, and I shall. I keep myself clean as. Spotless. And anytime I see a pirate or a peddler I simply turn away.
[turning to the man at the table]
I’m Maisy you know, I don’t believe we’ve been introduced.
Sukie: This is Tender…
[Tender looks over but forgets to smile, Maisy beams.]
Maisy: [in Tender’s direction] I knew someone called Tender, a real catch he was, the prize of the playground. And every lunchtime us girls would stand in a ring around him and tell him we liked him, you know. And I could’ve sworn that he liked me back the most, it was just something about his demeanour that gave it away. So one day I went to take him a little cupcake, baked myself you can imagine, and I waited until I simply couldn’t wait anymore. So I didn’t: a lady should never be left to get angry. I haven’t seen him since, too embarrassed I should think.
[Tender glanced up from what could be a newspaper. He was very much uninterested]
Enter remaining characters.
[Duke leads the way, he is cooking this evening’s feast, Juan is behind I don’t know what he’s doing as he’s Spanish and I find it hard to translate, then marches Brute with Russell perched atop his crown, Maisy’s face lights up- more friends.]

Maisy: More friends! Delightful, my my and how lovely it is to meet you all. I’m Maisy…
[curtsey]
And your names?
Brute: Brute.
Juan: Juan [I think this means ‘Sorry’ in Spanish but I can’t be sure]
Russell: Russell the Kittiwake at your service.
Duke: Duke. And I take it you’ll be staying for tea?
Maisy: With an invitation it would be plain rude to decline.
Duke: very well, we’re havin wild mushroom soup with fennel dumplins and We’ll be eatin in an hour.
Maisy: Marvellous. There really are quite a few of you, just where did you all come from?
Russell: The circus my dear. Where else?
Maisy: Well I certainly can’t think of many alternatives now but at the time you could have been from different places or anywhere for that matter.
Russell: Well there aren’t many places for talking birds, don’t you know.
Maisy: I can imagine. Well, what were you all doing at the circus?
Russell: Working, girl. We’re all very appropriate for work in a circus: dwarves, a giant, a talking bird, a fortune teller and a trapezist.
Maisy: Well I suppose. How, then, are you not still there? Surely you’d found the right place.
Russell: We didn’t feel we had, you see, that’s the whole reason we left. That circus is barely a life at all for anyone with self-respect and aspiration, girl.
Brute: We just weren’t treated right enough. We were odd and that made us less. But We couldn’t help it. We had just a pittance to our names,
[Russell listened to brute intently and then looked at Maisy and nodded as if to suggest Brute had summed it up far more eloquently than Russell ever could.]
Maisy: but at least you had a pittance and a regular one I imagine, surely you haven’t a pittance at all without the circus.
Sukie: No, you see, we do other things to make a penny or two: we steal, we rob, we plunder and pillage and take what we need when we need it. Like I said the night’s a ripe time for finding trouble. Wouldn't you agree?

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

3 Billion

I wondered, when I was smaller, whether everything just had the same number of heartbeats, one finite number, let’s say 3 billion and when they reach that 3 billionth beat, that’s it. They just die. Unless something bad happens before like a bus hits them or they drown. And so a mouse whose little heart just beats so fast, well he gets there quicker, to the end I mean. And someone who’s stressed, their heart goes a little faster too and pulls their 3 billionth beat a little closer so they sound their last more early. And smokers.
There are no doubt scientific examples that prove this not to be the case, though I can’t say I’m desperate to know them, anyway I was young when I thought this. Though I still wonder and am wondering whether it could be true, at least for most humans. No-one has really proven it wrong…
I’m just firing up a cigarette and listening to reggae instrumentals again, I guess I could wonder what number I’m on.

Monday, 9 April 2007

Below & Mayhem

Below
The tabbying off tears tattooing the same street spot all peeling from paste is such an overlooked geology. A lot like a slice through the same scenes: the sediments of billboards & posters. It’s when someone rips a one off or doesn’t remove it properly and all of a sudden you can see a pattern of what used to be there, you might remember one or two more recent fragments but you can’t possibly recognize them all. If you scratched a little further just how far would you go?
1973?
How long’s the tradition of just plastering over (it) when it’s freshly irrelevant?
All chronologically cozing around town and just waiting to reveal the year the building [it’s on] was built.

On Excavation:
On the surface-Few scars and a map to the latest place to avoid
Just disguising the organic smiles on
7 anti bombed war rallies because
If you hadn’t had this Grey & Neon Pink you were late
For three gigs ending in
Maybe Stereolab
Missing…
&Wanted (baby, where’s that reward now?)
just ahead of a ‘brand new comedy classic’
less CFC’s
and a copy of Auto Trader
Last Chance
Must Buy
’90,
’89
give blood
eat white bread

1st Face
Talking Heads
1976
.


Mayhem
Inspired by the original and criminal meaning of the word.

It was beautiful & when it stopped
I wondered whether someone’d stolen its voice?
(Its limbs?)

Extra, Extra


That's right, as well as winning the 14th Philadelphia Film Festival Lump'o'Glass, our hero Malcolm McDowell can FINALLY be seen on If... on DVD format. I've been waiting for this for a long time...June the 17th is the release date! Hurray!

I Never Knew the Village Green: A Brief Ramble

I’m not a patriot. England’s the back of some Constable forgery in the bottom right-hand corner as you look at it of a drawer of odds and ends as far as I’m concerned. Any connection I feel is to the land, that’s my land, Northumbria we’ll call it, moors and the sea, and to the better part of humanity, special emphasis on the people I know, short a’s by and large. English is a language, and a fine one at that. People are excellent when they’re excellent, and it’s a global thing, it’s a feel, and I’ve noticed plenty of it up here. Internationalism’s my bag, and I want to fill it with the soul that made Gazza cry and the righteous passion that drove Mosley and his fascists into the Tyne, pissing their bitter little selves. I digress. England’s not a concept (if it’s that) that I can really relate to, frankly. But cricket’s what I really want to talk about.

Why is it I want to see England and Wales’s cricket team perform well while I find a certain bent appeal in seeing England’s football team stutter their way through the upper echelons of mediocrity? It’s not like I take great exception to the personnel involved, with the possible exception of Frank Lampard, whose face I can’t abide. Again, it comes down to feel. It’s the ugliness. I felt very unpleasant scratchings at my synapses having to witness the opportunistic patriotic fervour following the 2005 Ashes win. But that isn’t par for the course, as it were, in the cricketing world. It felt to me like a spillage from the headless-hen bowel of the scattershot, desperate, misplaced and distasteful nationalism that so often accompanies football, into the bloodstream of what the collective consciousness could be if we could get over knee-jerk tribalism. It simply wasn’t cricket. Cricket for me is always about the game itself, and although allegiance is not such an unconscionable thing in itself, if it were blind I would never have seen the look on Kevin Pietersen’s face when England lost to Sri Lanka by two runs. That’s the thing. They’re all top blokes – Freddie, Monty, Paul Nixon, our very own Paul Collingwood – and ultimately, now and when I’m sober, it’s all about people and not three amorphous lions and a crown (don’t get me started on the crown). Lasith Malinga is king of my heart. But Iran's what I really meant to talk about.

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Plans

SCENERY: balloons in the pub Doctors

‘I hope those balloons are for Easter. No other pubs celebrate Easter.’
No-one celebrates Easter.’
I widen my eyes at him.
‘Except…’
He widens his eyes at me.
‘They might take Easter away, you know. It said on a newspaper in Debenhams. Forbid it.’
‘How can they take it away?’ ..
‘Imagine if they banned ALL eggs.’
‘It would make it difficult to cook them.’
‘Pretty near impossible to cook them, actually. It’s, like, the definition of impossible. Trying to cook eggs that are forbidden.’

#THREE WEEKS#

‘Do you remember my middle name?’
‘Of course. I don’t forget the things you tell me. I’ve been writing them down.’
‘I don’t believe you. Why would anyone write down the stupid things that I make up?’
‘It’s true. Go and look up ‘impossible’ in the dictionary. I’ll prove it.’
‘Should I really?’
‘Yes. Go on, whack the dictionary over; it’s over there on the desk.’
There follows the estimation interlude where a person goes back and forth over the top of the word in question, each time narrowing in on the letters they want. Closer. Close. Found.
At the end of the entry for ‘impossible’ it says ‘cooking eggs when you are not allowed them’ in my wriggly handwriting.
‘Awww. Brilliant. Thanks.’
‘I’ve started slowly editing my dictionary. It’s so, in many years’ time, I can say “Over the last years I’ve been slowly editing the dictionary”.’

#60 YEARS#

One day when I am dead one of my friends with whom I have shared egg proverbs will look up ‘impossible’ in my copy of the dictionary. That’s how I’d like to be remembered.

Hapless Girth and His Pilchard Mane

Pour it yourself, Tonsils. That’s a potato in his hand. Take this as fair warning. Beyond that, take it as far as you can. But remember what was said about Book Sound:

‘I’ve never heard a book make that sound,' he said, grazing an eye.

Took him by surprise. You shouldn’t shoot up without me. He didn’t say that. Later the poor boy came by without the change, but it was arranged he’d pay back something but unkind.

‘Say a little anthem for me, I’ll slit your belly. Twist your neck, poor boy, and I can of beans you grotty urchin. Where’s the change?’

‘No change, master.’

It was wordless what he did with needle and thread. The poor boy never drank Tokay like it through the straw in his little throat. Twine and wood glue through his lips, sewed up nice and bloody red. No better than a pickpocket.

‘No change? Scream if you want to.’

The poor boy cried a bit.

‘I’ve never heard a book make that sound before,’ he said, grazing an eye, ‘Now piss off.'

But the poor boy wasn’t a book.

Take him anyway you like, back front front back, and leave a little something with the registrar.

Hapless Girth, you fickle fool, settle on a buzz cut fish gut; without pilchard mane you’ll mind far less and won’t keep spinning.

Sunday, 1 April 2007

How to make: Rosewater.

How to make: Rosewater.
(an excerpt from My First Book)

You will need:

A Damask Rose
A Conical Flask
½ tbsp of Time
A Mean Streak

  1. Eye the rose (in it’s secured position- make sure it’s in one), make it feel uncomfortable.
  2. Tell the rose how worthless it truly is, how little anyone cares for its scent, its overexaggerated beauty. Tell it people prefer the aquilegia and the lily.
  3. Smile. Suggest to it you may be its friend again, you have reconsidered the cruel words you just dealt it.
  4. walk towards it [friendlily]. Pause. Lacerate it’s stem! Quickly, sharply!
  5. Slowly and exactly tear each thorn from its damaged skin. Apologise. Continue.
  6. When the rose’s exhaustion starts to make itself known place the conical flask beneath its petals and collect its tears.
  7. Cork.


Exponential Nostril Death (Part Two)

Dr Rudolph in those days, lest we forget, was young; not a child by any means, late twenties, early thirties, perhaps, it’s hard to say, but young enough to be considered precocious still, and as a consequence almost beyond reproach, in a sickly sort of way. His seemingly more than twice half its length string of ultimately correct corrections and contradictions of fellow clinicians, whose seniority should in theory have kept him cowed and incontinent, might have proved a source of envy were it not for the overriding, almost unwitting reverence induced in those positioned to envy by the cold near-nonchalance of Dr Rudolph’s response to often grudging, always sincere acknowledgement of his success. Dr Rudolph was very good at his job. He took the lunch break he was entitled by law to take.

He sat on a bench out towards the south-west corner of the hospital garden with a steak and kidney pie and a healthy dose of sauerkraut, and he partook of it heartily, a hint of a breeze assisting; variation in location for the eating of meals has always been important to Dr Rudolph (the previous day he had eaten by the lake in the park, some ten miles walk from the hospital), but nothing was so important as fresh air; he was a firm believer in the virtues of fresh air, but more pertinently, he felt them. As he finished the crust that more people than don’t leave till last, Dr Rudolph began to mull over the case at hand, that of Claire of the nose bleeds. He had with him a veritable tome concerned with every aspect of epistaxis, but more as a talisman for the process of thought than as an actual practical aid. He didn’t need it for that anyway, or rather he wouldn’t have had epistaxis been his principal focus. As it was, its primary function was inevitably to keep Dr Rudolph’s bag from flapping should the wind pick up. The wind didn’t pick up, and his short walk back to the hospital building was accompanied by an unseasonable flowering of the sun.

Business thickened significantly for the afternoon, and Dr Rudolph spent an uninterrupted four hours in his band of active meditation, healing the tedious sick. He was never oblivious however; he never succumbed to the lure of the motor function that is the dead-eyed application of the textbook and the manifestation of the boredom reflex. There were instances that afternoon of the common cold, of glandular fever, a broken finger, hepatitis A, hives and a semi-regular patient with intermittent urinary tract difficulties. She wasn’t pretty. Dr Rudolph kept his mind active on a number of levels, as was his wont, and it was just after six when the clinic closed its doors for the day. It was then time for freshening up, for taking a few deep breaths should they be necessary, which they needn’t be to be taken anyway. Dr Rudolph took none, but he did take a shower, and it was pushing seven when he began to make his leisurely way through the corridors, and up to see Claire. His mind was clear; he knew precisely his course of action. He didn’t have to wait for the lift, and was soon ascending.