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.