Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Why do people insist on enunciating?

You don't enunciate poetry, you read it. Why oh why is nobody aware of this fact? If I come across another fuckwit YouTube interpretation I will throw myself off the Clifton Suspension Bridge and float downstream merrily.

This idiot is all over YouTube enunciating in a ridiculous fashion. It wouldn't be so bad if his intentions were comedic, unfortunately this is not the case. He is deadly serious and sometimes declaims while starring dolefully into his web cam. Will somebody Stateside please shoot him.

Then there are the twats who animate famous poets mouths. Dylan Thomas on Botox anybody? Not bleedin' likely.

And then they add music, which is just plain wrong:

No, no, no , no. You must die.

It's official, I give up.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Paragon of Animals

Good presents; a Longines watch courtesy of Madame (provenance uncertain but probably Hong Kong not Zurich), and also the Bluray release of Withnail and I

I am a happy Arctic bunny with my tail in the air.

My liver is expanding and will probably explode come New Year, as will my lover's.

So what? It can't be helped.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Fairytale of New York

I love Billy Bragg. A man of the people with a big hooter and a penchant for the poetic:

I saw two shooting stars last night
I wished on them but they were only satellites
Is it wrong to wish on space hardware
I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care

Unfortunately he's gone and done a collaboration with Florence and the Machine on the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl classic 'Fairytale of New York'. No Billy, no. It's a manful effort but you aint North London Irish and you still have a full complement of teeth.

I have buried the turkey in the snow, have wrapped the presents in my usual shambolic fashion, and have hidden the malt whisky where Uncle Samuel won't find it. The only remaining worry is whether I'll make it home from the Pub tomorrow night without falling in a ditch and dying from hypothermia. It was -10 C last night. If this continues for much longer defrosted corpses will be discovered next Spring.

Happy Christmas.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Cat on a Cold Tin Roof

I hate shopping: which is why when Christmas rears it's Bethlehem head I head for the hills, or thereabouts. Ostensibly this is a major shopping trip, the multifarious wishes of various relatives and potential wives to be to be catered for in a sensitive and caring fashion over a 5 day period.

Of course this is not the case; it's merely an opportunity to idle in the public house for slightly longer than is strictly healthy . I've always found that gifting requires long contemplation; especially when a beer pump and a cheery barmaid are on tap.

Snow is a bonus. Why should I be expected to trudge through the white stuff in my immaculate suede Hush Puppies? "When the cars are wearing white hats it is time to repair to the Public House". That's what my Great Uncle Cecil said, and he wasn't far wrong.

Unfortunately I hit the 4th day today and had to trudge through the slush. Four trips to the car and back it took me, fortified only by a sausage and egg Macmuffin and several roll ups.

I was clean bushed by lunchtime and had to repair to the public house for several large sherries.

Tonight, surrounded by carrier bags full of stuff that nobody wants, I happened to look out of the hotel room window. A cat had been prancing about dotting it's prints about the chimney pots and producing an accurate outline of the Indian Sub Continent.

This got me thinking.

Why didn't I bring my air rifle? I'd have nailed the varmint in an instant.

I'm not as bad as my Great Uncle George. When he stayed in hotels he always kept a rope in his suitcase so he could abseil in the event of a fire

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Everywhere I look there are retrospectives on what is alternatively the decade from hell or a bright shiny interregnum before the inevitable collapse of the West in the face of the burgeoning might of the dragon and tiger.

Then there's climate change; the soothsayers, the deniers, and the zealots.

I'm afraid that the decade that is about to expire is a bit of a blur for me. What I do remember, and still sometimes think about, is the response to 9/11 in this country. I was in Perth, ensconced in a pub (blurred), when a plane hit a tower. Nobody could deal with it, it was as if a video game had suddenly usurped the rolling news. Then the second plane hit and there was a dumbfounded silence. That's us I thought, they're us.

The rest of it? The net, the pods, the vacuous celebrity, the music, the films, the wars. I couldn't really give a toss. A low dishonest decade, and we're living with the consequences.

I can't believe I'll be living in the 10's. I'm a 50's man, and would me much more at home cruising around in a Jaguar XK150 roadster with a boot full of malt whisky and a floosie in a silk headscarf elegantly tipping cigarette ash into the slipstream.

One can but dream.

Facebook (Facetwat) and Twitter (Twatter) have no appeal whatsoever. Txting destroyed literacy, Gawd know what the latter will do. I'm not Linkedin and I am not a 123 Person. If anyone accuses me of being either I will come round to their house and force them to read poetry at gunpoint.

I might even force them to have sex with Carol Ann Duffy. That should be enough to put anybody off their porridge, unless they fancy a 3 way with Andrew Motion, Carol, and Ted Hughes (deceased).

Perhaps this will be the next big thing for the 10's. Group sex with poets. It'll be less 'Oh baby yes!' and more 'If I should meet you after long years, how should I greet thee, with silence or tears'. Let's face it, the latter is long enough for a multiple.

Multiplication was never my strong point, and I was useless at long division.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Craft Work

I hate craft workers. Rubbish hand thrown pots, stupid macramé, and crap water colours.

At least it's Christmas and nobody will be foisting painted eggs on me.

I had to plumb recently. It destroyed my belief in a benevolent and loving God.

Plumbing drives me round the U bend.

Which is why I'm writing in sentences

Paragraphs give me indigestion.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Glasgow Academy

Privilege starts early, and it seduces.

Clean architecture, a prep school, and a matron. Not much else to ask for, apart from a Union Flag above the History classroom blackboard (quaint huh?) and compulsory enrolment in the Cadets. The offer of a sure-fire Officer post in the British Army (Black Watch: second cousins of the royal regiment of scotland , twice removed) was inevitable.

I would have, but I hate being told what to do. Why? Let's eradicate their poppy fields so they can't feed themselves, let's ignore a farce of an election, let's imagine we haven't been there before.

I'm giving up being a Quaker; I've decided to become a Pashtun and impose the code of the Pashtunwillie. It's an unforgiving code that consigns those who err, (and their children's children's children) to generations of righteous retribution.

Surges worry me;, having ejaculated in various senses over the years I fear that the jinns are coming home to annoy me.

And who can blame them?

Bastard jinns, annoying my happiness.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


Frank, my banker, is in a state of high dudgeon. My brother in law, while discussing his overdraft arrangements, was shocked to be told that "I suppose you think I'm the big bad wolf now?". Bruv replied, quite reasonably, "No, I think you're a big fat idiot".

I feel for Frank. All those large lunches paid for on the Bank credit card have settled on his infeasibly large number of chins and huge posterior.

It's tough enough when you're trying to do your bit for clean living in difficult circumstances, it's even worse when my proxy relatives start abusing you in public. The worrying thing is, I think he enjoys it. Frank that is, not Bruv.

Shout at the fat fuckers; sometimes you get results.

We've all been screwed and we can't borrow at reasonable rates. Mr Darling, he of the white hair and improbably black eyebrows, is about to announce a windfall tax on the bonuses of the leeches that caused this mess. It's for one year only.

If they don't like it they can fuck off to Zurich and wank over their Toblerone.

Sunday, December 06, 2009


National treasure.

OK, he happens to English, but he can't help it.

He never seems to change; he's our Mount Rushmore ,in a way.

I think a Cumbrian mount should be fashioned with a a large ear.

The Atlee Government allowed us.

Saturday, December 05, 2009


Three syllables: a good name, and one worthy to be christened with. It's the sort of name you could become Godfather to. If it was Tracey, Sharon, or Hilda, I'd run a mile or four in record time.

Women's names are important. I like single syllables, unless they're too common. What I really need is a Jane, Rose, or Liz , to rub soothing unguents into my elderly arthritic hips.

My maternal grandmother was called Pearl. I think she was rather embarrassed by this as she spent the next twelve years squeezing out obnoxious little tykes called Norman, Knox, and Gerald. I won't mention the girls, as there were more of them and they were cleverer. Some of them died from eating raw rhubarb, as you do; one of them fell off back of a tractor and is permanently 11, and the other met a pipsqueak called Gerald and prooduced a further nine with stupid names.

At least we have something over the Yanks. Nobody in these Islands is, to my knowledge, called Franklin Jefferson Truman III. Who in the name of God wants to be third? It suggests inbreeding.

Aye, and here's the rub. I'm paying for a child who may or may not be mine.

Do you know what, I don't care if she is.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009



Middle class.

Dreams of fair to middling women.

Ireland has made me: I'm a weird melange of Ulster Presbyterian and Anglo Irish. My father read Darwin's 'Evolution of the Species' in Edinburgh and promptly ceased to wear his collar the wrong way round. He met my mother; a result of a schism in the mid 19th Century when half of the family eschewed the big house for the Quakers, plainness, and philanthropy.

So I'm a Quaker in spirit, if not always in application. I like them because they will allow no idea, creed, or King to interfere. It's always worth calling at a Friends Meeting House, if only to start a fight.

Neither one thing or the other; open. There are worse things to be.

Saturday, November 28, 2009



It's that dull gleaming glint in the corner of her eyes that worries me; the desire for opiate oblivion and it's cotton wool enveloping charms have been quelled, but not extinguished. They never will be, which is the point. Wake early and rise, if your bones permit, and allow cold, hard reality to exist. A bowl of porridge, some poached eggs on toast, and a view to die for. Carpe Diem.

New York: probably the worst place to take her for a month; into the heart of the dragon and the garbled voices of a voracious Mammon. Still, it's no worse than London, and there are fewer stabbings.

Manhattan is odd; I feel at home when I step on it's pavements (side walks); it feels like the place I belong thanks to Desmond's. Hearty fare and not a recumbent smack head in sight.

London next, which is the same thing really.

That's January and February sorted. What happens next, who knows?

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.

The force that drives the water through the rocks
Drives my red blood; that dries the mouthing streams
Turns mine to wax.
And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins
How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks.

The hand that whirls the water in the pool
Stirs the quicksand; that ropes the blowing wind
Hauls my shroud sail.
And I am dumb to tell the hanging man
How of my clay is made the hangman's lime.

The lips of time leech to the fountain head;
Love drips and gathers, but the fallen blood
Shall calm her sores.
And I am dumb to tell a weather's wind
How time has ticked a heaven round the stars.

And I am dumb to tell the lover's tomb
How at my sheet goes the same crooked worm.

Dylan Thomas

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Oh No

Glastonbury, that mudfest or sunburn venue, has finally nailed it's coffin by inviting the ghastly flashy Oirish show band U2 to headline. Admittedly the short arse Bonio, being a world peace and love envoy with a unique UN role in representing men who should under no circumstances wear leather trousers, has been playing hard to get for years. Oh Gawd, the crowd will be wowed with: "Dis is not a rebel song!".

I am a stumpiest, and hold a firm conviction that small men with big heads should be deposited in the nearest volcano. Then there's 'the Edge', a bobble hat wearing twat who needs to be whacked on the head with Pete Townshend's Telecaster.

How do I loathe thee, let me count the WAYS:

I would, but they're innumerable.

Surely someone will have wit enough to awake Shane Magowan from his state of toothless cryogenic suspension and reanimate the Pogues for a blistering 'Sally Maclennane' on the Pyramid stage.

The police would be pleased as nothing stronger than Guinness and whiskey would be consumed by the flag waving hoi. As for the rest of us, at least we wouldn't be throwing up outside the macrobiotic lentil burger stall.

Michael Eavis is 110, and he does good cheese.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Erectile Dysfunction

The perfect pop song lasts for 2 minutes, no longer. It should inject a swift dose of adrenaline up your spinal column which swiftly subsides leaving you with a WTF feeling. It's not art, and nobody is going to write a dissertation about it. That's the whole point; it's ephemeral, but at the same time leaves a deeply embedded memory of connected synapses and the electric energy produced.

Let's face it, the best songs are about erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation, which is why they only last 2 minutes.

Johnny Rotten claimed that sex is "15 seconds of squelching", which probably explains why the Sex Pistols songs were brief and to the point.

Sting likes Tantric Sex, and he has a goatee beard. Don't have sex with Sting, he'll only prolong the agony. And he's from Sunderland

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Lost and the Damned

The Dowager Duchess Daimler having being reupholstered at considerable expense I ventured south to view 'A Christmas Carol' with my sister and my flame haired (and capable of throwing up in any vehicle, however magic carpet the ride quality) nephew Connor at the Glasgow Imax in splendifirous 3D.

Driving home I encountered the coach decamping jaywalking hell that is Govan on a Saturday when the Gers are playing at home. Sectarian chants, bottles of buckie, and the great redbrick edifice that is Ibrox looming like a cross between a place of incarceration and a temple of worship. Deja vu.

The strange thing is that I wanted to be one with them. Not healthy I know, but there is something undeniably attractive about being in a group with one mind. At one time I would have been on one of those coaches, but today I prepare to observe rather than commune.

You can't help but notice the incongruity: the echoes of a proud shipbuilding community laid low obvious in the boarded up pubs and the shabby shop fronts, but also the shiny newness of new build flats ('Buy to Let'- Ho Ho Ho), and the shiny temples of modernity and leisure.

The roads signs where fucking rubbish; Connor was touching cloth so we had to detour to Asda, and there was a monsoon on Loch Lomond. The latter, believe me, is not a pleasurable experience when you have a pimple nosed twat in a baseball cap tail gating you in his dodgem car.

All in all, it was a good day.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Painting the Garden Fence

This post was going to be about Hamlet's Third Soliloquy, but then I changed my mind.

It was going to be about creosote (pertaining to garden fences), but now it's not.

What it's going to be about I have no idea.

Hang on, I've just had one.

Just imagine that you're a 3 star Michelin Japanese chef and you've just carved a lotus flower from a fillet of Bluefin Tuna (It's difficult I know, but bear with me) when your Yakusa minder pops his head round the door and informs you that your S Class Mercedes has been confiscated due to tax evasion.

It's possible, although not very probable. Stuff happens.

Keith has upped and died. Forty eight years old when a vulgar cerebral haemorrhage flattened him in the kitchen and his knives clattered to the floor. No more tomato bowls (trickier than it sounds), no more cucumber darts.

He was an easily bored chef who was inventive with vegetables in both the culinary and sporting spheres. You can't ask for much more than that.

And he was a ferret fancier, and he had a pet rabbit called Horace who hops about the bar.

I could go on.

Monday, November 16, 2009


I'm coming over all retro; replaying the Legend of Zelda 'The Ocarina of Time', and eating Crunchy Nut Cornflakes. Things have come to such a pass that I'm thinking of buying a water bed and a mirror for the ceiling.

I won't be buying a kilt though. They haven't got a tartan in my size.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Dundee Donkey

Probably the greatest voice to come out of these islands since, well, St Patrick who was apparently an adept at the comb harp. Hats off to Billy Whizz:

Poor Billy was dropped by his record company, who by way of compensation offered to pay for his cab ride 'home'. Billy's home wasn't round the corner in Soho, it was Dundee. Consequently he hailed a cab and said "Dundee driver please".

Sheer class

He was a whippet loving depressive who unfortunately chose to hang himself in his fathers garden shed. What a loss.

I mentioned a Dundee Donkey in this post because I play Sunday football with a Dundonian called Ronnie. He's a Long Shlong Silver with varicose veins who refreshes himself with a couple of Regals at half time.

Jam, Jute, and D C Thompson: some things never change.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fat Bastards

My banker is called Frank and he is as obese as a Sumo wrestler. He exudes bonhomie and "hail fellow well met" pleasantries while twiddling his pen and suggesting that a rate of 4% above base would be more appropriate if I wish to extend my overdraft facility.

How do fat bankers get fat? They get fat by sucking on the marrow of every normal person who is trying with every sinew of their being to sustain or expand their business. I'm convinced that banks recruit normal (if boring, anal, uncultured, and tedious can be described as such) people and train them in the arts of borderline psychopathy.

I have yet to meet a normal banker. They're either weasel eyed acne scarred time servers in badly fitting suits, or born again Christian types who will happily chuck anybody out of the temple who fails to conform to their exacting standards of financial rectitude.

Frank says, "We're living in a different world now", as his several chins wobble in a self satisfied fashion. Aye it is mate, but I'm not fucking paying 4% above when I'm currently paying 2%.

I think it's time to deploy the suitcase.

Friday, November 13, 2009


My Great Uncle Johnny served with the Kyhber Rifles on the North Western frontier of what was then the British Raj.

He had great respect for the Pashtun tribesmen, and also a profound understanding that tribal societies are impossible to deal with. Your friend today is your enemy tomorrow, and the hand of generosity so willingly extended can be retracted and turned on you. Very like the the Scottish Highland Clans in fact. Integrity is all, and every slight will invite retribution.

Johnny served with the 36th Ulster Division at the Somme. He was was one of the lucky ones who had half his shoulder blown off, after which he returned to Britain and trained others to walk into machine guns.

Of course he didn't tell me this. He died two years after I was born, but there is a photograph of the mewling me with him, my Father, and my Grandfather.

God I'm old, but glad to have sat under sunshine and rain and grateful too for the sunlight on the garden.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Whiskey and Wimmin Almost Ruined my Life

I've just been watching one of those deferential BBC programmes about the Blues. Grizzled auld blokes from Surbiton or Crouch End kept blethering on about the authenticity of Blind Willie Shunting Truck's 'Tangerine Song'.

Gawd it was boring. Thankfully the plug ugly little ginger Ulster sex dwarf Van Morrison popped up and declaimed that: "Them like Jelly Roll Fungus Minge Morton when wus are eatin' are Ulster frays".

I luvs de Blues baby, but whenever I see John McVie I immediately think Derek Smalls:

I'm off to twiddle ma harp sugar mama.

Friday, November 06, 2009

A Scatter of Drams

I think I was designed for drizzle.

Not ubiquitous urban drizzle mind, more the fine mist that descends and lifts on the North West coast of Scotland to allows shafts of sunlight and rainbows to interest the landscape.

The West is different in light, culture, and attitude. Generosity of spirit seems to be ingrained into the regions character, which probably explains the brawls and huffs which dissolve with the dawn.

Drams may have something to do with it; sometimes they are scattered about like confetti.

Scotland has a collective drink problem, but the North West Highlands has it in a good way.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Confusions and Contusions

The Thought-Fox

I imagine this midnight moment's forest:
Something else is alive
Beside the clock's loneliness
And this blank page where my fingers move.

Through the window I see no star:
Something more near
Though deeper within darkness
Is entering the loneliness:

Cold, delicately as the dark snow
A fox's nose touches twig, leaf;
Two eyes serve a movement, that now
And again now, and now, and now

Sets neat prints into the snow
Between trees, and warily a lame
Shadow lags by stump and in hollow
Of a body that is bold to come

Across clearings, an eye,
A widening deepening greenness,
Brilliantly, concentratedly,
Coming about its own business

Till, with a sudden sharp hot stink of fox
It enters the dark hole of the head.
The window is starless still; the clock ticks,
The page is printed.

Ted Hughes

Ted may have looked like one of the statues on Easter Island, but he could spin a cracking ditty off of the top of his frontal lobe.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Cheap Threads

It's a simple life. Eat well, drink well, dress well, and watch your P,s and Q,s.

And don't vote for the Conservative Party. They want to slash public expenditure and consign us all to a new age of austerity. Mr Keynes is the man of the moment, and we should be listening.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Take Yer Pick

Is this:

better than this?

William Shakespeare - Sonnet #29

When, in disgrace with Fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least,
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate

For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings,
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

It's hard to tell, and it really isn't that important.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Christ on a Bike

I'm marrying a mad Welsh bint who couldn't even be bothered to have breast enlargements.

What can you do? It's 20 years too late, but we've been making up for lost time. There is no pre nuptial agreement in place: instead we have agreed to add a codicil to our respective wills to ensure that if either of are run over by a bus this shall be played at our funeral:

It's a tough life, unless you weaken.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Peurility Unbound

I would be churlish of me not to note the 30th anniversary of the juvenile and excessively poo oriented VIZ.

Therefore this:

and this:

I don't know why I'm glory holing this pathetic Beano inspired twaddle as it's not as funny as it used to be and Pa Broon has nipped off a brown trout and landed us all in the urinal.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hanoi Rocks

When madame is not present I find myself an irresistible target for lovely young scooter riding Vietnamese ladies offering "boom, boom". I decline, they smile politely and trundle off in pursuit of more lucrative prospects. Unfortunately none of them have, as yet , offered to "love you long time five dollar". I imagine the phrase would have been commonplace in Saigon in 1966, which is ample illustration of the effects of inflation and the inevitability of a debauched currency.

I'm liking this flaneur business. It beats working and I have developed an addiction to pho. You have to give it to the Frenchies, they may have been colonialist bastards enforcing their rule with the guillotine but they did bequeath a certain elegance in architecture and cuisine. Eating freshly baked baguettes in Indo China seems somewhat incongruous, but I'm not complaining.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Arrivals and Departures

Long distance relationships are simultaneously a good and bad idea. The good lies in the anticipation and the joy of meeting; that intensity of union that you just can't find after sitting on the sofa of an evening inhaling Pringles, vin rouge, and watching crap on TV.

The bad is the drift that comes from being apart, and it's dangers. I can't trust Jane and she can't trust me. We are equals in our wariness having been in this place before but are, for the time being at least, airline junkies meeting and parting everywhere from London to Toulouse to Saigon.

It makes a change from the railway terminals of yesteryear and the views are better. We are circling each other, sure and yet unsure that so much undone can be remade.

I think Plato had it right with his Theory of Forms. I'm not sure if I have, but it is possible to be bamboozled twice by a girl with a Philosophy Degree and a keen appreciation of the absurdity of the human condition.

Believe me, they don't come much more absurd than us. We're stepping in the same river twice, which is impossible. Except it's not the same river, and the water's lovely.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Cindy Incidentally

Off the peg or some decent tailoring?

It's a quandary when funds are adequate and unexpected possibilities disport themselves and demand to be satisfied. Being of an age were I've worn every God awful fashion from 1980 to 1999 I have no desire to be dragged screaming and kicking into the fag end of the Noughties. No, I'm not wearing that.

I'm a Tens man myself. Ten packs of Embassy Regal and not a hint of a six pack. Which makes me Seventies. Except I'm not.

I'm sick to death of decades, and the desire to define ourselves by them. I think we should be thinking more in terms of epochs and eras. Not that that will make much difference as we'll still divide them by ten.

I was at Woodstock by the way. Not only that, I saw the Sex Pistols at the 100 Club (or was it the Marquee?), witnessed the Smiths at Moles Club Bath before they were famous, and punched John Squire at the Stone Roses Spike Island shambles.

Then I retired Rip Van Winkle style to pursue my muse. Fat lot of good it did me; I'm still stuck in 1936 and 1968:

I am a singleton when it comes to decades. Give me years and I'm a serial monogamist.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Blogging Purdah

French Exchange

Tracey emigrates:

Carla immigrates:

This may be the perfect heterosexual male fantasy, the one where you wake up to Carla Bruni serenading you with the Gallic version of 'Sweet Home Alabama' played on your trombone.

Personally I'm not convinced. Maybe it's the face like a melted welly, the bosomy Turkish Cypriot chest, or the obsession with Margate (or seaside resorts generally) that appeals.

Tracey doesn't want to pay 50% tax on her earnings that exceed £150,000 per annum (since she got successful and stopped stealing toilet rolls). Nothing wrong with that, neither would I. It could be a rash decision though. As my mate Alex marooned in Toulouse says, and I quote: "French women all have fucking rods up their arses; to look at them you'd think that smiling was undignified".

She teaches English as a Foreign Language.

Someone has to.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Closing Down Sale

The era of the Teacake has ended, for the time being, and the spouting of bollocks must halt for an interregnum while pesky stuff is dealt with.

The following items are consequently for sale:

* Wee Jimmy Krankie's shorts - slightly soiled.
* A dog eared copy of Shoot Magazine circa 1978.
* An ancient Daimler which requires work on it's wheel arches.
* The first Undertones LP - severely scratched.
* A Bombay Bad Boy Pot Noodle - sell by date 07/04/2004.
* P J Harvey's knickers - slightly soiled.
* A Nintendo N64 with the Legend of Zelda 'The Ocarina of Time'.
* A signed photo of Joanna Lumley - slightly soiled.
* A half eaten kebab with chilli sauce discovered down the back
of the sofa - age and provenance uncertain.
* An empty bottle of Old Bushmills Whiskey.
* Samuel Beckett's shower cap.
* The 'Canadian Guide to Being Interesting, Having a Crap
National Anthem, and Saying Eh? all the Time" 1987 (First Edition).
* The tumble dryer from Betty's Utility Room - slightly soiled.
* A years subscription to 'Guns and Ammo' magazine.
* Arabella's Celebratory Flying Winged Cockroach - plinth mounted.
* My relatives.
* The right to tramp all over the allotment where I grow my prize marrow.

I'm afraid that there is a reserve on all items. And no, I don't accept Paypal. It's cash in hand. Take yer pick and make me an offer.

I may be back tomorrow, in 6 months time, or never. It's hard to tell.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I'm a gadget, gadgety, gadgetman, and I've had enough of it.

I belong to that remarkably intelligent and preternaturally good looking late Sixties not quite 1970 generation that, despite the odd wonky tooth and a liking for nicotine based tubes of delight, has more or less scooped the Pools.

We had the early gadgets (I'm thinking Shenmue on the Dreamcast here, not the Apple Newton) and got first dibs on the new stuff before the KIDZ could afford it. Them were the days when education was free and complimentary booze and fag vouchers were afforded by local Government.

We arsed about the late 80's and 90's before waking up in the late Noughties despising ourselves and everything that we created. Except we didn't, because we've still got most of our teeth and we don't walk about txting like twathead Twitterers.

The legions of the damned are upon us; illiteracy stalks the corridors of the imagination as the demise of Christendom expresses itself in the furrowed brows of the outcast generation raised by Beelzebub that will rise up and smite its elders.

Not that I'm worrying. I'm looking forward to pornographic holographic Skype.

Either that or a good book.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Leather Trousers

I've never worn them, and never intend to. It's odd that leather jackets look good on everyone (apart from bondage sex dwarves) but leather trousers exclaim DICKHEAD in stentorian tones. The only people who wear them are beardy motorcycling homosexualists who like to congregate outside country pubs and drink pints of orange juice.

Only two people have, to my knowledge, worn leather keks successfully.

Here's one:

And here's the other:

I think I'll stick to my lederhosen shorts. They go down a treat with the ladies.

It's oom pah pah all round with Eva Braun every night I can tell you.

Night Geometry and the Garscadden Trains

It's all about titles and first sentences you see, that's why A L Kennedy does it for me.

Intelligent Scots are a pain in the arse because they mine that deep seam of Calvinist Caledonian bottle related bleakness and combine it with stand up comedy.

I wouldn't take A L on in a fight. She's not good looking enough for a start, and strikes me as bit of a complainer:

Apparently she has a bad back. So what, Marty Feldman had sticky out eyes and it didn't stop him.

I don't do stand up because I keep falling down.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Nights are Drawing In

Perpetual rural drizzle. Almost as bad as ubiquitous urban drizzle, but not quite.

A big fat high pressure system has stalled just above Cheltenham and is allowing a weak front to deposit dampness on my cranium. I would be less annoyed about this if I was bald, but being reasonably hirsute regard it as conclusive proof of the non existence of God. Having said that, the magic mushrooms are coming along splendidly so perhaps there's something to be said for the Great Spaghetti Monster in the Sky.

Norwegian shamans used to swear by these:

They didn't eat them raw though. Much nicer to drink the urine of a Reindeer that had partaken and then dance around the camp fire summoning the ancestors.

I wouldn't want to summon my ancestors, they'd just complain that it was too cold and damp and insist that I listen to Jim Reeves while they devoured my precious.

You can't choose your relatives, and there's always the chance that mad Anglo Irish Great Aunt Maggie might turn up and start entertaining us with her harpsichord.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Driving South

Off to Toulouse to sample some cassoulet with Alex. No doubt there will be recollections of the virtues of hallucinogenic rough scrumpy imbibed in a sticky carpeted Bristol pub full of old men with one remaining stump of a yellow tooth. Either that or I'll be on the receiving end of a monologue about how "French women walk about with rods up their arses and British expats are only interested in booze and wife swapping".

After that it's three weeks in Soho trying to persuade a stuffed suit banker to lend me some dosh at a marginally less usurious rate than 5% above base. I'm thinking of resorting to the Bank of Cyprus or such like as British bankers, who were chucking money about like confetti not so long ago, don't appear to want to lend on anything.

Anyhoo, here's something for Kaz. She knows about ye olden dayes:

Dig them funky white afros baby. Jimi was having a bad hair day.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Samuel Beckett Smokes

Nothing to be done.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Paul Weller Swears

Me barnet is looking well tasty and some cunt calls me a musical reactionary! I've been paying attention to me threads and have sussed out a pair of strides with a tasty little flare when this cunt questions me East End credentials. I come from fucking Woking mate, which is the next best fucking thing.

See this fucking credit crunch, it's all fucking Thatcher's fault. Bitch should be shot for doing in the honest hard working British working class which I did me fucking best to represent at the grindstone that was the Style Council.

Anyway, I'm a Changing Man so I'm off to listen to some Ocean Colour Scene with Noel Gallagher. Top fookin' Northern bloke. Likes his fags and likes discussing the mod culture which is me:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Nigella Speaks

Deftly and slowly peeling a courgette recently I was reminded of the late Elizabeth David and her predilections. Elizabeth had a way with a courgette; a slow ceremonial unveiling of a ripe and unctuous inner flesh concealed beneath a a seemingly resilient but easily removed skin.

As a domestic goddess I simply must have a huge fridge where I can store the residual comestibles which I have failed to scoff. There is no greater delight of an evening than to wander into one's fridge and discover a chicken carcase. The carnalities involved in picking off the last shreds of flesh with one's painted fingernails is beyond my powers of description.

Oscar Wilde could have. Oscar was, I have been told my good friend Carla Bruni, a great fan of cold roast poulet. I'm not sure if I believe her though, as she had Eric Clapton before settling for that repulsive little French sex dwarf and consequently cannot be trusted on matters of substance.

Nicky is so stack heeled and petit bourgeois he makes me honk on my ortalan.

Seamus Heaney Speaks


Bog watered Myrtle seeps into
the limpid pool of conciousness
as Mammy sweeps the hearth and
griddles my memories,

On that old kerneled stone carved
from Cúchulainn's inner thigh and
ossified where rushes breed
and barley falls to wasted seed,

I see a crop of hatreds, bred
amongst adopted convivialities,
where weeds and rushes are whacked,
and I'm damned if I look back.

Seamus Famous

Will that do?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ronnie Wood Speaks

Gor Blimey these Russian bints can be a bit of a 'andful. There was me being me usual amiable jackdaw self as I swigged back the port and brandy wiv me breakfast cornflakes when Ekaterina comes over all hysterical and that. It was almost as bad as that time Keef whacked Mick wiv his telecaster and the pouty lipped big girls blouse took umbrage and chucked Keef's stash of smack out of the hotel room window.

I'm gonna 'ave to 'ave a word with Rod, he knows how to deal with uppity bints. Probably recommend a good slapping followed by a full on shag I shouldn't wonder. These young Ruskie birds need taking in 'and, and I'm the geezer to do it. I was brung up by Gypo Thames bargemen and schooled wiv 'ard knocks so I'll sort that Ruskie bint good and proper.

Anyway, gotta get me old hair tint on and drink a bottle of rum before painting another masterpiece of Charlie on the smack.

It's only rock 'n' roll, but I like it:

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Chelsea Pensioner Speaks

Nothing beats drink, poetry, and younger women. Not necessarily in that order you understand, it's just a question of correctly mixing the cocktail.

My Dublin mate Finbar thought he had it sussed with Jimmy Bond fantasies, BMW's, and Paddy Power whisky. As a mere naif it was understandable that Special Branch should arrest him under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act (1974) and severely question him for 24 hours under a bare 150 watt bulb. I believe there was also a controlled explosion involving underpants, but it's best not to elaborate.

You've got to get the formula right. Poetry is good with younger women of a sensitive and dreamy disposition, and if that doesn't work you can always ply them with the drink. I draw the line at alchopops, but something sophisticated like Southern Comfort and Ketamine usually does the trick. Cars don't help, unless you can lay your hands on a Citreon Traction Avant or a Mini still fragrant from Cilla Black's knickers.

It takes an old campaigner to teach the young fellers the tricks. It's the subtle variations on the formula see, that's what gets you the gusset.

I can provide a number of tricks and permutations if a couple of packets of digestive biscuits and a half bottle of Bells are left off at the Barracks. It'll have to be incognito mind, otherwise that Ernie from the Crimea will snaffle the lot, the thieving bastard.

I'm off to polish my button.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Plonky Plonky Plonk Plonk

Talking with Alex, my dear friend exiled to Toulouse where her husband fiddles with Airbuses, I was delighted to discover a fellow refugee from the sheer hideousness of the modern world. Like me she is afflicted with pointless accoutrements: I pod, Blackberry, mobiles, laptops times 2, a stash of back issues of Country Life. Apart from the latter we are trapped in a nonsensical world of txting and twat head twittering.

It's not exactly Armageddon material I admit, but the production of a generation of illiterates does not bode well for the future of Western Civilization. Alex and I agree that it was much more invigorating standing in a Phone Box that smelt of vagrant wee while requesting a reverse the charges (collect in Americanese) call to ones loved one. At least it took some effort, and there was obviously commitment on someone's part (although not mine).

I'm seriously considering retiring to a cave with a years worth of tinned sardines and an annual subscription to Peoples Friend. I can grow a Charles Manson beard and chuck rocks at bicycling Guardian readers foolish enough to venture close to my inviolable domain.

If I can find a big enough cave I'll have a resident pub rock band who can play convincingly plonky plonky plonk plonk bass guitar while I rustle up some potato hooch and a brace of nymphomaniacs.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Mascara Tracks

Exeter is the tears of mascara tracks,
trains shunting and sudden stops
as your tears start and stop, the sense
that you being or me being is just a
concussion of halts and interruptions.

Waking to a candlewick bedspread and a
stained and scorched 2 star carpet while
the wind settles and bacon wafts we think
of nothing much as eggs is eggs.

Shaving foam flicks a nipple and there
are intimations of Gillette, some of them spoken
as the condensation gathers; there are
chips in the tooth mug, hairs in the shower.

It's not tracks of your tears my dear,
it's tracks of ours, and rattled distances
from flat to flat or room to room where
single beds or sofas do, and mostly we prefer
to linger.

Or thereabouts.

E G Jarfer

Friday, September 04, 2009

Bin Men

I give the oiks a £50 tip every Christmas and what do I get in return? Big fuck off bins emptied with a shrug and left in the middle of the road at just an angle where the next Ford Ka speeding the corner will collide with them.

This means I have to get off my arse and replace the bins in their original position in the interests of the safety of the road user (apart from Ford Ka drivers).

Bin Men are not green.

Now the Council has foisted some new bins on me, which I have to pay for. One of them is for Newspapers and plastic Irn Bru bottles, the other is for empty Glen's Vodka bottles.

It's not as though I have a problem with recycling, it's just that every Tinker in a 100 mile radius will see this as an extra old mattress disposal facility and Malchy the Alchie will discover additional sleeping options.

I wish alcoholics wouldn't sleep in my bins. They lower the tone.

Work, who needs it?

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


I tried it for a bit, and then I gave up.

Imagine having to get up every day and feel invigorated. Personally I have no desire to be vigorated by an in when I can quite happily go about my ennui laden existence. It's not as though I haven't worked in the past (briefly and unenthusiastically), it's just that I'm not cut out for it.

I fear that the collapse of the Protestant work ethic should be laid at my door. And who can you find to hang a door competently these days, apart from a Pole?

Not me.

I could cockle pick while quoting Sammy Beckett, or liberate rain drenched blackberrys in the company of Doddy, but to be honest I'd prefer to have a bit of a lie down and contemplate the transience of all affections and the dying fall.

Perhaps I'll become a Fitzrovian again. It could be a Passport to Pimlico.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Speaking of Librarians

Libraries are hotbeds of sexual tension. Urgencies are repressed next to the photocopier, there are muffled fumblings in the archives, the Shelf Stacker has dreams about shagging Tracy the Tesco checkout girl.

And that's just the Large Print section, next to the Gujarati Shelf and the revolving ancient CD's which used to be slightly popular whirligig thingumabob (or is it a tumbrel?)

I wish my local library didn't insist on employing auld bints in polyester slacks. Bad perms strolling around vagrants smelling of pee while leafing through Gardener's Weekly is not my idea of sexual Nirvana.

I think I'll go for the Late Returns harridan who winks at me with her one good eye, which isn't glass:

She's gagging for it.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Monochrome Dreams

I think I must be the only person alive who finds the late Philip Larkin hilarious. Let's move to Hull shall we? We can revel in smelly docks and sweary fish wives while bemoaning chain stores and Welfare State urchins playing on the swings. He was a reprehensible little Englander who redeemed his right wing pornography loving self with a romanticism and underlying humour that had, and has, no peer.

Laurel and Hardy this is not, although John Betjeman is straight off the end of the pier:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hey Hey What Can you Do?

The JAMC have remarkable match making powers. Modern music is rubbish anyway, as the woeful Kasabian and the intellectually challenged Gallaghers (Mancunian Micks having a tiff) will testify.

We could have reconnected with a little Val Doonican night music, or some hardcore Smurfs, but we settled for this:

Why do I always end up crashing in the same car?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Teh Uses of Illiteracy

'Apparently countless numbers of iliterete and inumerete skool levers are having dificulty obteining Uniniversity places this year,

I think this is a tragidy what with the riccison and that. Enybody with an gramme of since can see that this is nuncence. We us more than capible for working for BT. We has wurked hard in getting A's in flour arranging and surfing studys so I see no reason why us showdnt be given a chance on at least a £50K starting saliry with free txts'.

Britney Jordan

I blame Bebo, although having said that I did score a cracking bird from Kilmarnock the other night.

Edukation, edukation, edukation.

Thanks Tony.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Mutual Antagonisms

I live on a small, rainy (typical August) windswept island marooned off the north west coast of Europe. It looks like a pig with a witch on it's back, preparing to devour its poor supplicant neighbouring island.

It's inhabitants call each other names constantly. The Jocks (ANCIENT NATION that they are, and insist on telling everybody within earshot) hate everybody else on the island with a refreshing constancy. The Welsh, being rather short, aren't so vociferous. They just hate anyone who hasn't heard of Aneurin Bevan and Dylan Thomas.

The Angles and whatnots, who constitute the English, are just content to get on with hating each other. Soft Southern bastards, inbred Devonians, gormless Brummies, thieving Scousers, London types, Northern muck 'n' brassers, Somerset Levellers: they're all constantly at each other's throats.

It's a great place to live if you think it's nice to be nice while secretly fancying a scrap.

It's no wonder that this little inebriated scrapper had such an influence on the world, while annoying Ireland.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Social Networking

I refuse.

Do I want to Twitter like an incontinent thrush? Do I want to reacquaint myself (via Facetwat) with Nigel from the Upper 6th who went into banking because "it's a nice safe job with a decent pension"?. Do I want to hear about how many sprogs Emily (14) has dropped on Bebo?


To be honest I'd prefer to stuff my head up Barack Obama's wife and discuss health care, gun control, and how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

This is why I stick with Blogger. I can spout shite anonymously and intermittently, while posting a youtube vid which nobody will watch:

It's a hard life on the croft.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Coming Down With Something

No, it's not Swine Flu. Well, it might be; but then again it may just be an inevitable consequence of over exuberance.

The hoards have descended to shower me with ill deserved cash and I am as delighted as a sand boy who has just constructed a sand castle and bombarded all foreign speakers with beer cans, discarded toiletries, and the pile of the Manchester Guardian that a Southern English Type decided to cram into one of my bin liners.

They're shifty, these tourists. They like to avoid you unless they've got something really serious to complain about: like condensation drips under the toilet cistern, midges getting in their hairnets, or the lack of a decent pint from Burton on Trent (which is 400,000 miles away).

I am a living saint. I am the living personification of equanimity. I will be living somewhere else soon.

I fear that toilet seat complications will follow me there. There will be no escape from the wobbling toilet lid, microwave complications, and too many wifi signals or none at all.

I think I'll retire to a cave and take up macrame.

I would do, if I didn't love what I do. I make a living watching people enjoying themselves.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

The Black Velvet Band

So I wake up in the Lochmaddy Hotel, North Uist, with no idea where I am, what day it is, or where I left my lighter. I shamble down to the bar where I am presented with a ham sandwich and am informed that "the lads will be back for you tomorrow, and there's £50 behind the bar for you. You'll be going to South Uist next. I wouldn't if I were you, they're all Catholics and they don't wash".

It was all Miller's fault. He chose a yacht with no iPod connectivity and forgot to bring the CD's. All we had was a cassette tape compilation of Sean Murphy's greatest hits. A week spent cruising around the Hebrides listening to a ghastly Oirish crooner belting out 'The Black Velvet Band' is enough to drive even the most well adjusted individual demented.

Then the wind dropped and we discovered that Miller, the useless tool, had forgotten to fill the tank with diesel. We were becalmed until some friendly fish farmers brought us some jerry cans and some 'liberated' 100% proof rough mash Talisker whisky. I blame the latter for my out of body experience in the Lochmaddy Hotel.

The Jocks invented the adhesive stamp, the Australian National Anthem, the Encyclopaedia, hypnosis, the United States Navy, insulin, the hypodermic syringe, Bovril, and the Bank of England. Brilliant, but not much consolation when you find yourself back on terra firma swaying on a bar stool with 'The Black Velvet Band' firmly embedded in your frontal lobe.

Heaven or Hell? You decide:

Friday, August 07, 2009


Sometimes the true significance of things is hidden; a concatenation of events and misunderstandings obscures what is real and conceals what subsequently becomes tangible. It doesn't happen in increments, there is no slow accretion of memory and its interpretation; rather a sudden and blinding realization that temporarily cripples as the tears scold and start.

My reflection is the same, but the mirror is no longer clouded. Things left unsaid have been said.

The heart is a lonely hunter (thanks Carson).

Monday, August 03, 2009

Bright Bright New Shiny Hole in my Heart

Little black dresses and gin and tonic.

It is me you want my darling, or is it my money?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

All Change

I am pissed off. Too much drinking, too much amiable bed hopping, too much of the same daily round. Scotland has a collective drink problem: from the rough boozers of Govan to the Highland howfs it's just constant imbibing, cars abandoned in ditches, and folk in drying out clinics.

I'm selling up, fucking off to London. Four flats in Fitzrovia: cost exorbitant, rental income tasty, the Fitzroy Tavern a short stroll.

She's back in my life. I'm not sure that's a good thing, but what can you do?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Favourite Mid Life Crisis Cars

Porsche 911

Fat arse, big gut, Thai wife.

Ferrari 308 GTB

Likes big moustaches. Avoid.

Lotus Elise

Likes darting about like an annoying bluebottle. Squish.

VW Beetle

Is obsessed with arses and talks like one. Avoid.

Ford Mustang

Takes onanism to a new level. Hence the the drop top.

E Type Jaguar

Penile erectile disfunction.

Lancia Fulvia

Tasteful. Sounds just like ladybits and is a bit slow
on the uptake.

Jensen Interceptor

Just plain stupid.

Audi RS6

Oh, just fuck off and have a wank.

I'm getting the bus.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Trilogy for X

And love hung still as crystal over the bed
And filled the corners of the enormous room;
the boom of dawn that left her sleeping, showing
The flowers mirrored in the mahogany table.

O my love, if only I were able
To protect this hour of quiet after passion,
Not ration happiness but keep this door for ever
Closed on the world, its own world closed within it.

But dawn's waves trouble with the bubbling minute,
the names of books come clear upon their shelves,
the reason delves for duty and you will wake
With a start and go on living on your own.

The first train passes and the windows groan,
Voices will hector and your voice become
A drum in tune with theirs, which all last night
Like sap that fingered through a hungry tree
Asserted our one night's identity.

Louis Macneice

Why marry?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Walking Cure

It's a boon being bipedal; it wouldn't be much fun having to hop everywhere, and I imagine being three legged would (although efficient in an ungainly way) produce much derision from the fag smokers outside pubs.

The walking cure's the thing. Speech and walking are similar in their cadences. Many's the happy drunken hour I've spent stomping the streets to Hamlet's Greatest Hits or Yeats coming over all grandiloquent. Some people call it pub crawling, but I see a more elevating aspect to this pursuit of the kebab shop.

If I hadn't hiked so far and sat on so many park benches contemplating beds of geraniums while staring at the moon the world would be a poorer place.

This is one of my favourites:

As I Walked Out One Evening

As I walked out one evening,
Walking down Bristol Street,
The crowds upon the pavement
Were fields of harvest wheat.

And down by the brimming river
I heard a lover sing
Under an arch of the railway:
"Love has no ending.

"I'll love you, dear, I'll love you
Till China and Africa meet,
And the river jumps over the mountain
And the salmon sing in the street,

"I'll love you till the ocean
Is folded and hung up to dry
And the seven stars go squawking
Like geese about the sky.

"The years shall run like rabbits,
For in my arms I hold
The Flower of the Ages,
And the first love of the world."

But all the clocks in the city
Began to whirr and chime:
"O let not Time deceive you,
You cannot conquer Time.

"In the burrows of the Nightmare
Where Justice naked is,
Time watches from the shadow
And coughs when you would kiss.

"In headaches and in worry
Vaguely life leaks away,
And Time will have his fancy
To-morrow or to-day.

"Into many a green valley
Drifts the appalling snow;
Time breaks the threaded dances
And the diver's brilliant bow.

"O plunge your hands in water,
Plunge them in up to the wrist;
Stare, stare in the basin
And wonder what you've missed.

"The glacier knocks in the cupboard,
The desert sighs in the bed,
And the crack in the tea-cup opens
A lane to the land of the dead.

"Where the beggars raffle the banknotes
And the Giant is enchanting to Jack,
And the Lily-white Boy is a Roarer,
And Jill goes down on her back.

"O look, look in the mirror?
O look in your distress:
Life remains a blessing
Although you cannot bless.

"O stand, stand at the window
As the tears scald and start;
You shall love your crooked neighbour
With your crooked heart."

It was late, late in the evening,
The lovers they were gone;
The clocks had ceased their chiming,
And the deep river ran on.

W.H. Auden

Try it next time you've been on the piss and crave carbohydrate sustenance. It might get you arrested or punched, but it might just get you the girl.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Holy Stump

Everything is coming over all Father Ted. I believe that Craggy Island was home to several Holy Relics, although whether this included the crazy golf course on which Ted and Dougal liked to play in the pouring rain is debatable.

I've got nothing against Roman Catholics, but sometimes they fall prey to a strain of deluded credulity that is far from healthy. I'm sure there's money to made out of it. I'm thinking of announcing that I have seen a vision of the Virgin Mary in my Crunchy Nut Cornflakes and an image of Christ on a burnt piece of toast. The admission fees to view these Holy artefacts should be sufficient to keep me in beer and pork scratchings for life.

I mean, come on.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Other Voices, Other Rooms

Why Brownlee Left

Why Brownlee left, and where he went,
Is a mystery even now.
For if a man should have been content
It was him; two acres of barley,
One of potatoes, four bullocks,
A milker, a slated farmhouse.
He was last seen going out to plough
On a March morning, bright and early.

By noon Brownlee was famous;
They had found all abandoned, with
The last rig unbroken, his pair of black
Horses, like man and wife,
Shifting their weight from foot to
Foot, and gazing into the future.

Paul Muldooon.

I'm sure that most people have thought of walking out on things at one time or another. A malignant surf of red bills on the doormat or an abusive and unhappy relationship can make even the most seemingly stable individual contemplate walking.

In some ways it can seem an attractive option; the prospect of reinventing ones personality and starting afresh having cut all ties and commitments preferable to a real and present turmoil. Of course it's an illusion. You can't reinvent yourself, and in abandoning the nexus of relationships that make you who you are you become void.

There are thousands of missing people in this country, their families left in anguish by the unexplained disappearance of a loved one. I'm sure the people who disappear don't intend their absence to be permanent, it just becomes impossible for them to reconnect.

I walked out once. The agony of a failed relationship had pushed me to the verge of suicide, the palette of my colours reduced to grey and black. One afternoon I walked to the Clifton Suspension bridge in Bristol intending to jump, but chickened out as I gazed down at the river below me. Instead I went to the pub and drank six pints of beer, and then visited the off licence where I purchased a bottle of whisky. The next day I packed my bags and got the bus to Heathrow. I flew never to return

I left some very dear friends but it was necessary for me to do so to excise that period of my life from memory. Nineteen years have passed and the agony has evaporated, or so I thought.

I reconnected with those friends from so long ago, and the well of memory began to gush. I don't regret doing it, and I will never lose touch with those dear people again, but I have discovered that a deeply repressed emotion can emerge with as much vigour as it had in the distant past.

Thankfully I am a stronger man today, and can deal with this resurrected pain. Sometimes things in the past have to be confronted. There can be no true closure otherwise.

Only connect.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


I am melancholic by disposition, although I prefer to repress that aspect of my personality because there is a fine line between wistful contemplation and an unhealthy obsession with an unsatisfactory past that leads inexorably to depression. It can also develop into an unhealthy mawkishness that is laughable.

Maybe its a Celtic* thing; the sense that there is an underlying sadness to things, that the bright timbre of a voice or a swirl of laughing faces is a chimera. Old photographs, abandoned ways of being, the evaporation of faith, certainties debunked: they're all there, concealed behind the Ikea sofa.

The dying fall, a limp and pills, a scatter of cigarette butts. The wind blows the wrong way across the salient, the antimacassars are yellowing, there is dust in the china cabinet.

See what I mean? Melancholia sucks big time.

I'm off for a pint.

* not the football team.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Bubble Wrap


Thanks for a most wonderful holiday in "Stronsay" a week ago. The weather smiled and we had a fantastic time.
I wonder if you found our boy Rory's toy tiger "Kitty" in the single room? He has done a disappearing act and Rory is asking for him. Would be grateful if you could let us know.

Very best regards


Dear Jane

I have a shed full of cuddly toys, colostomy bags, crutches, hiking boots, mobile phones, laptop chargers, odd socks, and digital cameras. Sometimes I like to sit in the shed and look at them. They're mine you see; I've worked for them and I like to commune with them and luxuriate in their freeness.

I will happily return "Kitty" to you if appropriate legal documentation proving ownership is afforded within the next 7 days. Failing this I am afraid that that this furry creature (presumed stuffed feline) shall be stored next to the watch that the previous guest left under the sofa.

And no, they won't be getting that back either.

Very best regards


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ageing Disgracefully

Gasping for some nicotine sustenance today I was exasperated to find myself behind a queue of wobbling crumblies at the supermarket tobacco counter. Each of the Crimean War veterans spent at least five minutes fumbling in their purses and wallets as they shuffled their way towards the cancer emporium.

Were they queuing for a half ounce of Ogden's Nut Gone Flake or a packet of el cheapo obscure brand fags? No they were not; they were queuing for Lottery tickets and scratch cards.

Tenners were lobbed across the counter with gay abandon by the Ernies and Hildas, no doubt in expectation of huge payouts to fund their hip replacements and mobility scooters. I don't for one moment imagine that they were gambling in order to shower their children and grandchildren with new cars and trust funds. Oh no, they just want to deposit lucre in their Post Office accounts and gloat.

To think that grafters like myself are toiling to pay these peoples pensions. It's enough to make even the most fair minded individual advocate euthanasia.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Why Abroad is Rubbish

Let's get this straight, travel does not broaden the mind. Sitting on a cruise ship while your midriff slowly expands and you develop an alcohol problem does not make you Marco Polo. Briefly sitting on an Elephant before devoting the next three weeks to serious dope bum activities on a Thai beach does not make you Paul Theroux. Driving a car (or sitting on a Greyhound bus - which just gives you piles) from Manhattan to Los Angeles does not make you Jack Keroauc.

Experiencing foreign cultures is generally just an exercise in suffering diarrhoea and having nasty little insects burrow into your skin and lay their eggs. And that's just in the more salubrious equatorial regions. When you decide to have a wazz over the side of your canoe while exploring the Amazon a small barbed fish will inevitably swim up your willy and hang on for dear life.

Europe is no better, what with its funny languages and Mediterranean blokes prancing about in too tight trousers. As for Japan, that's just compulsory karaoke, 'Love Hotels', and Pachinko.

You would think that the USA, being vaguely civilized, would be worth the trip. Unfortunately no; the delights afforded by Latino housemaids are far outweighed by the sheer nastiness of the giant American cockroach and this wholly revolting foetus of Satan.

Best stay at home and tend the petunias I say. You can't be too careful.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Bald Nobrained Pricks

Apparently you can't join the BNP unless you are a white Caucasian. I suppose this is intellectually consistent given that their membership consists of no necked *Neanderthals who like nothing better than to tuck into a nice curry while berating Pakistanis and assorted other non whitey scum.

I'm rather puzzled how a political party which denies membership to people on the basis of the colour of their skin can call itself democratic. As for splashing pictures of Spitfires all over their campaign literature, this suggests they aren't aware that a lot of these were piloted by Poles - a nationality that they regard as Polack scum nicking our jobs.

These people like to congregate and sing SS Marching songs, which would be utterly risible if there weren't people in this country stupid enough to vote for them.

* This is unfair to Neanderthals who, despite their deficiencies in the neck department, probably loved their old mums and didn't support Millwall.

Saturday, June 06, 2009


Have you found yours yet? I appear to have lost mine.

Still Life

Blinded by the headlights you paused,
Gaze pitiless and feral,
Poised before muscular flight,
Then off, twisting from peril.

Perplexed, I saw you through a lens,
Spoor print in a dark room tray,
Lithe torso intense,
Caught in a web of memory.

Still life: your arrested posture held
For what seemed an age,
Then an abrupt sensuous shuffle,
Moving from shoreline onto the page.

E J Garfer (17 and a half)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Rave on John Donne


Well congratulations, you got here first and reconnoitred the upsides and the downsides before bagging a trawl of fish and considering further horizons.

I am a frustrated imperialist: desirous of new regions of potential conquest and the prospect of a fine cockaded hat and a retinue of obsequious servants and willing stable wenches.

It's not too much to ask; a mere small domain like Sarawak, or French Polynesia with a lifetimes supply of free dancing girls and sundown cocktails would do. Unfortunately they've all been taken and I'm faced with the prospect of negotiating the rings of Saturn if I'm to have any chance of inculcating the rubric of British truth and justice in the breasts of the unruly heathen natives.

It's a tough piece of gristle to chew on, but what can I do?

I am, potentially, undone.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Made from Girders

The head honcho (or 'big heid yin' in Glasgae parlance) of Barr is to hand over the closely guarded Irn Bru recipe to which only he and an unnamed other are privy. The recipe is apparently stashed in a secret bank vault, where it is presumably guarded by various Indiana Jones type booby traps and a contingent of mean and moody Gurkhas, and has not seen the light of day for 50 odd years.

Irn bru is exceedingly popular in Scotland, rivalling even the mighty Coca Cola in sales. Its most successful export market is Russia, which may seem odd until you consider that the main ingredient of the orange elixir is sugar. Sugar rich drinks are, as we all know, rather a good hangover cure. It is unsurprising that whisky debilitated Jocks and vodka purblind Ivans should both turn to the Bru the morning after a night on the brew.

Personally I think the stuff is utterly ghastly, but I suppose it has its merits when the pains of indulgence make the sight of a full fry up a nausea inducing experience.

All power to the Bru. It might give us diabetes but we'll always be fit for a bevvy before noon. I think it's what the marketing bods call a USP, whatever that is.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Suffer the Little Children

I am compelled to devote another post to poetry given that the last one, despite my hymn of praise to Miss Dolly Parton, produced a non-existent response from all but the most ardent poetastic adepts.

It can't be helped I suppose: most of us are brought up reading the back of the Kellogg Cornflakes packet as the clock hurries us and the egg timer clicks away our tomorrows. I could draw attention to Byron's proto rock star tendencies or Burns' shag 'n' tell propensities, but it wouldn't make any difference.

I quite like: this

I can't quite bring myself to post the video (embedding disabled by request) as nobody would watch it. And quite right too.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Trawling the Depths

When in my cups I turn to poetry. At the perfect point of mild intoxication I am inclined to seek out a soupçon of iambic pentameter and a perfectly formed sonnet. When this point of perfection has passed I am prone (literally) to recite a soliloquy from Hamlet.

Perhaps this is why I get punched so much.

Trawling youtube in the one handed inebriated prone position the other night I was delighted to discover the putting a poem to music nadir. Talk about missing the point on purpose. Miss Dolly Parton (may her name be blessed) would be dead chuffed.

There's something to be said for serendipity:

I think the Kings of Leon should do 'The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock' by T S Eliot. That would be serious rawk.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Celebrity Tits

Worra Tosspot

Celebrity chefs are almost always total titheads. The likes of Anthony Worra Tosspot, Heston Bloominghell, and Hugh Fairly Windscreen Wiper make me gag on my creme caramel.

Anthony can't cook, he just does his "I'm a big cuddly bear me" routine on TV while flashing his enormous Rolex at the cameras. Thankfully he's had to shut a couple of his rip off steak restaurants due to the recession.

Heston used to be a bailiff, a profession normally reserved for psychopaths who enjoy breaking down debtors doors and scaring the hell out of them so that they pay up. It's no surprise that the bullet headed bully now charges enormous sums of money for snail porridge and engine oil tirimasu. I shall not be gracing his restaurant, The Fat Tit, with my presence.

Hugh is just too posh. I'm convinced that he doesn't like broiler chickens because they provide cheap protein for the proles. All Eton educated toffs know that it's best to keep the working classes stunted in case they get ideas above their station and start demanding foie gras pasties.

Only the saintly and extravagantly thighed Nigella is worthy of the accolade 'Celebrity Chef'. She can't cook, but that is an irrelevance. Her wholesome wobblesomeness is the reason we watch.

If Nigella is feeling a bit peckish I think she should eat Jamie Oliver and his annoying wife Jools. They would make nice carpaccio, and would also be tasty deep fried. It's important that Nigella keeps her strength up and obtains the requisite wobbling nutrients.