Friday, 31 January 2014

Manana

Smash the buffers or go off the rails, it’s all the same when life’s break fails
Hit a mountain, or crash in the sea
Makes no difference as all can see
 
Skies of lead, grey with gloom, spinning eyes and spinning room
Drank too much and I’ve been chundering
Drank too much, head now thundering
 
Smash the buffers or go off the rails, it’s all the same when life’s break fails
Hit a mountain, or crash in the sea
Makes no difference as all can see
 
Knock it back to drown that pain, knowing it’ll just come back again
Heart plays a rhythm with lots of bass
Misery showing on a careworn face
 
Smash the buffers or go off the rails, it’s all the same when life’s break fails
Hit a mountain, or crash in the sea
Makes no difference as all can see
 
No more booze is what you’re thinking, but all the while you go on drinking
I’ll quit it soon, that’s what you say
And manana will be that magic day
 
Smash the buffers or go off the rails, it’s all the same when life’s break fails
Hit a mountain, or crash in the sea
Makes no difference as all can see

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Factoid

Just heard an interesting factoid. Q: What do turtles, bees and termites all have in common?
 
Have a guess…
 
No, they don’t all start with a “T”. Try again.
 
No, they don’t all make honey.

Give up?
 
A: They are all deaf.
 
Pardon?
 
I said, they are all… Oh you silly!

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Time for Rhyme

I think a poem is not a poem unless it’s done in rhyme,
Though many may say that shows me up as a shocking philistine!
 
And how I made my point above, I know you will see clearly,
A comment on rhyme made with a rhyme, or very, very nearly.
 
The stuff they scribble without a rhyme is merely flowery prose.
I wonder why such poets bother? Lack of talent, I suppose…

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Sword of Fire

Democracy lays bleeding
Freedom coughs out its life
On a planet torn by chaos
By hunger, pain and strife
 
Rights no longer given
Dignity ripped asunder
Fearful and divided
Into slavery we blunder
 
Dark the evil people
Darker still their plan
Genocide by the millions
Bringing Hell on earth to man
 
They barely even hide it
As they meet and greet and grin
Drunk on wealth and power
Made high with mortal sin
 
Is humanity finally waking
Or is it now all too late
Have the centuries of blindness
Placed the seal upon our fate
 
Should defeated eyes be cast down
At the end of our shared rope
Or turned up to God’s heaven
With courage, love and hope
 
Here there sits no prophet
Just one sheep gone astray
But I’ve read the story’s ending
Where the dark ones finally pay
 
A Son came bearing forgiveness
A gift from His Heavenly Sire
Soon, in wrath, He will return
With a cleansing sword of fire
 
 
 
 
 

Dumb Award

Question: what is the most stupid thing characters in movies say? My nomination for dumb award varies in actual dialogue, but always comes to pretty much the same thing. The words used are usually along the lines of “let’s split up”, or, “you search upstairs, I’ll take the basement”, or, “I think I heard something in the barn, let’s check it out”.
And the same thing it always come to is a grisly death for at least one of the parties concerned, usually the only sensible one who was actually pleading with the others to run far, far away. Let’s not split up. Let’s search the house together. And sod the barn, I’m locking the front door and calling the police. That’s what non morons would actually do, but no…
Close cousins to let’s split up syndrome are “stay there” – and they don’t – moments later being decapitated with a machete. Or the non verbal pushing through a fire door onto a flight of stairs and deciding it’s a good idea to run up towards the roof from where there is no escape, rather than down towards the exit. Do they think they are going to sprout wings along the way, or what? If they’re lucky, there’s a swimming pool ten stories below for them to jump into (in real life you'd die trying that anyhow), if not, the man with the gun, the brain eating zombie, the chainsaw maniac, the crazy mother-in-law, has them cornered and bang to rights.
As for hunting Dracula, he’s asleep all day from dawn to dusk, so why do they always reach his castle just as the sun is going down, instead of arriving with the milkman at first light? Are vampire hunters the kind of people who can’t get up or do anything useful before 4pm, like teenagers and students?
When having to hunt down a serial killer in an old creepy graveyard, great idea turning up at midnight instead of at lunchtime, I don’t think. Same applies for mummies and zombies and if you suspect there is a werewolf on the loose, avoid the woods until the night of the full moon and then decide to go for a stroll. What could possibly go wrong? I mean, you have a single silver bullet in a one shot flintlock, so safe as houses, clearly.
On the Enterprise wearing a yellow shirt, why not volunteer to beam down to the planet below with Kirk and Spock. You’ve seen any number of your colleagues do the same thing, only to get killed and never come back, but boldly go anyway you dumb schmuck. Honestly, if these people weren’t all fictional, they’d really get on my nerves.
I only posed the original question because these are the sort of things that occur to me when, bored rigid by the TV and the fifty-seventh showing of Fantastic Four, my eyes have gone glassy and my brain has zoned out to make up its own entertainment. That said, if you can think of more deserving cases to receive the dumb award, do please share them.
Wait a minute! I thought I heard a menacing growl coming from the unlit cellar. Just going to check it out. Armed with a vase and a faulty torch…

Monday, 27 January 2014

Sick of Winter

I’m sick of bloody winter, can’t wait for spring to come
I’m sick of being trapped in here, sitting on my bum
Can’t wait to see some blue skies, this leaden grey’s a pain
Sick of cold, the chilling winds and constant peeing rain

Done with clouds like slate-grey wool and afternoons so dark
I need a little sunshine and a stroll down to the park
I’m sick of damp and hail - sick of snow and storms and sleet
Please let me turn the heating off and still have nice warm feet

Cheesed off with wearing thermals, even when in my bed
Tired of scarves, the gloves and coats and hats upon my head
If I was a wealthy man, then the summer I would seek
Buy myself a ticket and bugger off somewhere less bleak

Just like my fellow Britons, I’m stuck here in the gloom
And not just in this country, but here in my front room
But soon the sun will come again, like a blooming rose
Best of all, the girls appear and shuck off all their clothes

I’m sick of bloody winter, can’t wait for it to pass
I’m sick of being stuck in here, sitting on my arse
Can’t wait for balmy breezes and fingers that aren’t numb
And as the world comes back to life, I’ll get up off my bum

Cradle to the Grave

Still in the race but tired of it
Running through the day
Pounding up employment hill
To keep respect, to earn your pay
 
Jogging down the long short street
No turning on this road
From A to Zee the structured path
Where so much life has flowed
 
Time flows too with remorseless ticking
Cruelly marking the ebb of strength
Doom’s winged chariot without a brake
Traversing route of unknown length
 
You leave your cradle for the yoke
Life’s strictures make you slave
Freedom lost at stroke of birth
Regained in closing grave

Sunday, 26 January 2014

All Things Must Pass

When the darkness comes down and the black dog bites
If the days seem hard, but much harder the nights
 
When hope is afar and despair all too near
If little is left barring worry and fear
 
If your friends turn away and leave you in pain
When heartbeats are thunder and tears fall like rain
 
If karma has dealt you yet one more dead hand
When plans go awry like a rocket unmanned
 
When nightmares are all that you get from your sleep
If you wake in the dawn and can’t help but weep
 
When your trust in people has crashed on a reef
If a loved one smiles but then kicks in your teeth
 
If you can’t see the point of each waking morn
When you try to be brave, though feeling forlorn
 
If fate cruelly removes that last friendly face
When even from God you are feeling no grace
 
Keep up that chin and your shoulders well back
Hold your head high as you walk down life’s track
 
All things must pass and your pain will too soon
So sing out defiance, or whistle its tune
 
The darkness of death should offer no fears
Before you were born passed billions of years
 
In this life or the next, some peace you will find
So take a deep breath and keep that in mind
 
 
 

Out of Body Experience

This happened back in the early nineties when I first started having the worst of my problems with depression. One winter afternoon, I decided to take a siesta. I lay on the bed and went to sleep almost immediately, but then started to have very scary and disturbing dreams (daymares). I don’t recall what they were about, but something was suffocating me and I remember telling myself I needed to wake up and I kind of swam up out of sleep like a drowning man struggles to the surface of a dark pool.
 
Finally, like a scene from a film, filled with panic, I sat bolt upright, covered in sweat and gasping for air. It had got dark while I’d been asleep and I felt like a terrified child, so I quickly jumped off the bed and went to switch the light on. As I walked past the end of the bed, though, I tripped and fell face down, only I didn’t hit the floor as you’d expect, instead landing floating a few inches above the carpet.
 
Even more panicked, I scrambled upright and made it to the light switch which I duly flicked on. Only the light didn’t come on and as I flipped the switch up and down in confusion, I looked around and saw myself still laying on the bed. For a second my hair stood on end with fright and then I was suddenly back on the bed and struggling to wake up again.
 
Heart thumping, still drenched in sweat and filled with panic, I sat bolt upright as before. Absolutely scared to death, but a little relieved at the thought that what had just happened had all been part of my nightmare, I rushed over to put the light on. As I got to the end of the bed, however, I tripped and fell face down as I had the first time and again landed floating inches above the carpet. The light wouldn’t switch on either and though not really wanting to, I looked at the bed and there I was, laying on my back, eyes closed, just like the first time, only now the silhouette of a woman was standing by the bed looking down at me and that also raised the hackles on my neck.
 
I couldn’t make out any features as she was completely black, like a deep shadow, but the outline looked like an old lady in a hooded cape. Well, by then, paralysed with fear would describe how I was feeling, but for a second time I was suddenly back on the bed and struggling to wake up. When I sat up again, everything seemed exactly the same as the first two times. I got up and went towards the light switch for a third time, fully expecting to trip over again, only this time I didn’t and when my shaking hand flicked the switch, the light finally came on and everything in the room was normal.
 
Now I’m not the most religious of people and I can’t say whether my soul or spirit had left my body, but I am 100% certain that my mind was over by the door looking back at me on the bed. There was nothing unclear about it, normal feelings, normal sight, normal shiver of fear running up my spine. My body was still on the bed, but my thoughts were definitely over by the switch. My fingers could feel the switch as I flicked it and I heard it clicking, just as one always would. It wasn’t like being ghostly, it was as if there were suddenly two of me (heaven forbid, one’s more than enough), a lifeless me unconscious on the bed and the real me standing in the corner of the room, confused and terrified.
 
The whole experience really shook me up and I didn’t want to sleep that night. In fact, I was so scared and troubled, I had to leave every light in the house on in case I woke up and needed the loo, like a frightened little boy. You may dismiss all this as just being a particularly vivid dream, but I know otherwise.
 
Nothing like that had ever happened to me before and hasn’t since, I’m very glad to say. The way things went that afternoon are burned into my mind and I can remember it as clearly as if it were yesterday. It was too bloody frightening not to remember it. I think I may have actually stopped breathing and that’s why it happened, though I can’t say for sure. Possible, because your mind can do some strange things to you when you’re in the grip of depression. Even people who snore often stop breathing, sleep apnea they call it, but who knows.
 
Several years later, while I was working on a switchboard, I had a very strange conversation with an old lady who claimed to be psychic. She told me that an elderly man had lived alone in my flat for many years and died there, which was absolutely true. She said one or two more things that she had no way of knowing and then she suddenly told me not to worry as my grandmother was close by and watching over me. Gave me the shivers and I immediately thought of the dark figure I’d seen by my bed and couldn’t help but wonder.
 
I never met either of my grandmothers, or any of my grandparents come to that. My parents were quite old when they had me, 50 and 42, so their parents were either dead, or like my mum’s dad, hated and shunned. My father was born in 1906 and my mum in 1914, so their folks would have been born somewhere around the mid to late 1800s. Would one of my grans have worn a hooded cloak, quite possibly and my mum once told me the night her mother died she woke up to see her standing at the foot of her bed, smiling down at her. Since then, I have always made the joke that if my grandmother really is watching over me, she isn’t making a very good job of it! Come on gran, where are those winning lottery numbers?
 
There concludes the tale of my out-of-body experience and now I must return to the more mundane stuff of life, like washing up and cleaning the sink.
 
Don’t have nightmares people…
 
 
 
 

Quorn - What's That All About?

A block of quorn, cut into cubes and fried to a golden brown, served with a nice plate of chips, makes for a tasty little meal. Well, it does if you leave out the quorn and replace it with some crisp streaky bacon and a sausage or two. And a fried egg and some beans. And several thick slices of black pudding. Plus a fried slice cooked in the bacon fat.
 
For anyone who has never tried quorn, in consistency it lays somewhere between a barbecue firelighter and a polystyrene ceiling tile. Taste wise, it, um, doesn’t have any to speak of, chewing the rubber on the tip of a pencil being a good deal more flavoursome. I tried it once and as I was munching away, all I could keep thinking was what is the point of this bloody stuff.
 
Years later, I saw a cookery show where the host made a quorn dish and he explained how to cook it in such a way that it soaked up the flavours of the rich sauce he prepared it in. It looked really appetising and convinced, I decided to give it another try. It’s healthier than meat and I figured swapping my usual pork chop or gammon steak for quorn once or twice a week would be no bad thing and also worked out cheaper. So I bought some quorn from the supermarket, coloured it in the pan as demonstrated on the show, then prepared a lovely sauce and stuck the whole thing into the oven in a casserole dish for a long, slow cook, thus allowing plenty of time for all the flavours to develop and be absorbed.
 
When I finally dished it up, it looked every bit as good as the TV chef’s version and I sat down to eat, licking my lips expectantly. The sauce was indeed delicious. However, once that left the palate and only the quorn remained in my gob, I was back to chomping on tasteless barbecue firelighter mixed with polystyrene ceiling tile and was also back to thinking, what is the bloody point of this stuff. It hadn’t absorbed any flavour whatsoever. Two hours bubbling away in the oven and I may as well have made the sauce, chucked in the quorn and served it immediately. What a waste of gas.
 
Maybe I just don’t have the quorn knack, but I won’t be giving it a third try unless I’m starving to death and quorn is the only available sustenance and even then I might just decide to choose death.
As for Soya mince, it looks sort of mince-ified, but that’s where the similarity ends. In fact, if you were to blitz a piece of cardboard box in a blender and then cook it up with a chopped onion and an Oxo cube, I reckon that would be at least as tasty and very likely more nutritious as well.
 
Pretend sausages and bacon made from quorn or Soya protein are nothing like the real thing, either. If the only way you can bear to become a veggie is by trying to kid yourself you are eating bangers and mash and bacon sandwiches, perhaps you should reconsider your meatless existence.
Besides, if Soya beans are so great, how come the only way they are never served is as beans? If they always have to be disguised as meat, I reckon they have something to hide. Personally, I don’t trust them. Sneaky little blighters.
 
I admit to having guilty twinges over eating animal flesh, but console myself with the fact that nature decided to make us humans omnivores. That’s why we have canine teeth for ripping and tearing. They aren’t designed for porridge or spuds, they are for taking lumps out of whatever unfortunate creature you have just managed to bash over the head.
 
Lions are carnivores, cows are herbivores and man and his best friend, the dog, are omnivores and eat whatever we can lay our hands on. Or paws. There’s no getting away from it and that’s why early humans were called hunter gatherers and not plain old gatherers. In fact, it’s quite possible the only reason man survived at all was because we could eat just about anything. Tubers, grasses like wheat and corn, nuts, berries and “look Og, I’ve knocked a monkey out of that tree with a big rock. Yum, yum.”
 
Dogs will also eat flesh or a nice boiled tatty with a plate of greens, so the only real difference between them and us is guilt. If your pet pit-bull, Sampson, rips a cute little fluffy bunny to shreds and chomps it down, they don’t beat themselves up about it afterwards. They just take a dump and then have a kip, completely untroubled. Dogs would be much the same after ripping out the throat of a small child, barring the fact that we tend to shoot them in the head for doing that. Must be confusing for them.
 
Anyway, upshot of all this, quorn is tasteless rubbery crap, don’t waste your time on it. Scoff a fat greasy burger instead, then take a dump and have a kip. That dog’s no fool.
 
 
 

Me and Mr Hide

When my mood turns dark, I’m hard to bear
Of that I’m all too well aware
Fighting it fails and quite fantastically
Really, you say, eyebrows raised sarcastically
 
Once a month they came to turn me bleak
But these days it’s more like twice a week
I hate that person, for he’s not me
Though I guess that must be hard to see
 
It was him in my bed throughout the night
I only returned with the morning light
He took my place and serve him right
Tossing and sweating through nightmare fright
 
Gone for now, but he will be back
Again to paint my spirit black
Like Mr Hide he will raise his head
No matter how I may wish him dead
 
Whether down to genes or in my glands
No wonder people wash their hands
When my mood turns dark, I’m hard to bear
Of that I’m all too well aware
 
 

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Black Dog

I have a black dog on my shoulder
It’s name sure isn’t Rover
Some days it whispers in my ear
“Jump off the cliffs at Dover”.
 
I have a cloud that follows me
Such leaden showers of gloom
Not so bad out on the street
But in my own front room?
 
There is a monkey on my back
He clings onto my jacket
If I only had a great big stick
I’d spin around and whack it.
 
Monkey, dog and darkling cloud
Their hatred so profound
T’would make their day to see me gone
That’s why I stick around.
 
Heavy the load they place on me
The pain they make me feel
But all three bastards cannot snap
This soul of tempered steel.
 
So do your worst, oh fickle fiends
Play tricks upon my life
You think you are the lords of hurt
But you ain’t met my ex-wife!
 
 

Jack of All Trades (1)

I guess the first work I ever did in return for payment was at the age of eight. My mum and dad had a florists in Clapham. Next to their small shop, which was more like a hut than a real building, were a set of wooden gates and when the weather wasn’t too sodden, they would open them and put a stall out – one of those old time market ones, made of wood and painted dark green, complete with wheels and a canopy. In the school holidays, I sometimes worked the stall and how grown up it made me feel selling the flowers with my trader’s cloth money belt tied around my waist. Dark blue it was, with three zipped pockets, one for copper, one for silver and one for notes.
 
I think I sold much more than my parents could have simply because people would come along and be charmed by my “cuteness“. I’d often hear the ladies remark to their blokes something along the lines of “ahh look, bless him, let’s buy some flowers“ or “look at him, proper little man“.
 
The other benefit of being cute, apart from increasing sales for my folks, was that usually they’d tip me a shilling or two on top of whatever they spent on flowers and like most kids, I was a mercenary little git and if flashing my baby blues brought a bit of extra cash for my own pocket, all to the good. Their admiring stares and pats on the head were also welcome, particularly as I had a mother who did little else but criticise me from dawn to dusk.
 
Luckily, I’ve always been pretty sharp at mental arithmetic and working the stall, I had to be. No decimalization then, no sir: roses two shillings a stem, marigolds one and nine, carnations one and six, bunch of daffs two and a tanner, potted geranium three bob, iris one and thru pence, small mixed bunch half a crown – large bunch five bob, six tulips one and ten. Most kids now wouldn’t have a clue, but in my day you either learned your times tables, or you got a whack with a wooden ruler over the back of your hand and calculators hadn‘t even been thought of then, let alone allowed to dull childrens’ use of their own grey matter.
 
The flowers seemed ridiculously expensive to me at the time, but at the age of eight, why anyone would waste two bob on a rose when you could buy a bar of Cadburys for the same price was a mystery. Adults, what were they thinking? They did get a spray of fern and a bunch of gyp thrown in for nothing, but even so, several dead plants, wrapped up in glorified chip paper, or a big chunk of chocolate, no contest surely?
 
Of course, I doubt a kid could do the same thing now (even if any of them could count properly). That money belt wouldn‘t stay around their waist for five minutes, not in lawless south London. Plus some busy body now would be bound to see such child labour as abuse and take them into care. Shame. I learned more working that stall than I ever did in maths class, ruler inflicted pain or not. It was work, but it was fun as well and made me feel important.
 
A year or two down the line, my folks took another shop on the other side of the road and opened a green grocer. I worked there as well and in no time at all, I could judge five pounds of spuds or a couple of pounds of carrots to the nearest ounce every time, more often than not getting it bang on the mark. I was also rather proud of the skilled way I could spin the brown paper bags, twisting the corners tight and securing their contents of grapes or plums with a flourish.
 
Sadly, no tips were forthcoming in the grocers, unlike on the flower stall, but my pocket money was always better on the days I worked – though all too soon gone on comics and sweets. My dad used to get exasperated with me. Money burns a hole in your pocket, he used to tell me sternly on discovering I was unfailingly broke an hour after being paid. He was right. It always has and explains why I’m still broke now, forty-odd years on. Never could save for rainy days and I’m afraid I always have been that fool soon parted from his money.
 
This was all in the mid sixties and I guess my folks were some of the first to see the opportunity of the black immigrant pound note, not only stocking their shop with the usual green grocery fare, but also yams, plantains, ochre, dried salt fish and what seemed strangest of all to our British sensibilities, pickled pig snouts and tails floating in barrels of brine.
 
Snouts, doesn’t really describe it, because basically, whole eyeless pig faces bobbed about in those barrels like something from a horror film, which us unworldly whiteys all found rather disconcerting. Just the same, if that’s what the local west indian people wanted and the till kept ringing, our squeamishness had to take a back seat.
 
Working that old-fashioned till with its many keys was another skill. When you have to ring up one pound, seven shillings and nine pence ha’penny, you start to run out of fingers. Those old clunkers were the origin of the word “KaChing”, because that is exactly the noise they made just before the drawer flew out – like Arkwright in a scene from Open All Hours, often catching the unwary a sharp blow to the mid or nether regions depending on how tall one was.
 
The old greengrocer shop is gone now, demolished to be replaced by a modern, soul-less, featureless, square block of smoked glass. Had to happen, though, the old place was falling to bits when we had it and forty years on it must have been held together with sticky tape and prayers.
 
Oddly, the little shack on the other side of the road is still there. No idea what’s still holding that place up. To call it ramshakle would be an understatement. I walk past it occasionally and the memories come flooding back, like when you smell fresh bread or cut grass and are transported once more to childhood when those aromas first hit your young senses.
 
The old green flower stall has somehow survived as well and now other people set it up on the corner in front of Clapham North tube station. One day I may go and talk to them and fill them in on a little of its history. I wonder who had it before we did. It was past its prime when we got it and has to be a century old at the very least. They built things to last in those days. No MDF and plastic fittings then, ready to fall apart at the first breath of wind or drop of rain.
 
Most of the old shops are gone from the street now. Taskers, the sweet shop on the corner, has been turned into a flat. The two Tasker children were my little friends and many a happy afternoon was spent upstairs eating toast, drinking old-fashioned Tizer (before they withdrew it from sale due to its alleged cocaine content) and squealing at episodes of Doctor Who and the Daleks with William Hartnell.
 
The old cafĂ© is gone, once owned and run by Les, a man so tight we used to joke he would show the bread the margarine, but not actually allow the two to meet. I used to go there with my dad most days. He always had a crusty cheese roll, which he would sqaush to make it easier to bite into and a mug of tea strong enough to stand the spoon up in. My favourite was egg and tomato in one of those soft torpedo-shaped rolls, washed down with coke. I remember one day asking for a Seven Up instead and being really disappointed to find it was just a type of lemonade and wishing I’d stuck with my dimpled bottle of Coke instead.
 
The pet shop went many years ago, once run by a man my dad described as “the Jew boy”. This was pre PC days, of course, and the terms used would curl your hair if you heard them now. Probably get you arrested and fined, in fact.
 
There was also a Polish guy who ran the local cobblers and key cutting shop, ever known as Polack, a mute everyone called dummy, all Welsh guys were designated Taffy, all Scotsmen were Jock, all Irish men Paddy, and black people were invariably described as darkies by just about everyone. I know how appalling that may sound now, but in general, it was just how people talked back then and I don’t actually remember there being any particular malice in it. Not for the most part, anyway, though I admit black people were viewed with considerable suspicion.
 
Before you condemn, however, you have to bear in mind, like my parents, these were people who had struggled through two world wars and only a relatively few years earlier, had been fighting tooth and nail to stop invaders taking over their country. Then they were suddenly expected to reverse the mindset instilled into them over many years and welcome with open arms people so different to anything they had ever known, it was akin to an invasion of aliens from outer space. Naturally enough, in my opinion, they were often wary at best.
 
The regularly trotted out complaint that people were brought over to do the jobs the English didn’t want or thought they were too good for (a distortion which persists to this day), didn’t much help to smooth relations. The truth of it was that the generation of young men who would have been driving buses, laying roads, or working as porters in the hospitals throughout the 1950s, had been decimated fighting Hitler. They brought in foreign labour because the labour we would have had were laying dead in fields across Europe and the world.
 
Anyway, the streets I spent so many good hours in, playing and laughing with my gang of mates, are very different now. When I pass by, however, I don’t see it how it is, but how it was. Taskers sweetshop is still there, selling colourful drinks from an early version of soda stream and charging a penny deposit on the bottle. The chip shop still serves up a free portion of fish batter with each fourpenny bag of vinegar-soaked chips. My dad is still in the backyard of the florists, sleeves rolled up and working hard as he always did. As for me and my little friends, I’m sure we’re still around somewhere, no doubt playing run outs or doctors and nurses and giggling fit to bust.
 
 
 
 

F W Woolworths - Gone But Not Forgotten

Woolworths I miss you badly
As I write my list today
Gone but not forgotten
Why couldn’t you make it pay
 
No more kitchen wall clocks
No more super mops
Gone the paint and rollers
You really were the tops
 
I need a plastic tea-tray
And lots of pick and mix
But gone your many treasures
Where will I get my fix
 
I miss the socks and cushions
The tea pots, pads and pencils
I miss the toys and frying pans
The dye, the mugs and stencils
 
I need some brown shoe polish
And own brand paint remover
I need a pair of earphones
And dust bags for my Hoover
 
I want some black boot laces
And brass numbers for my gate
I want a funny birthday card
To send to my good mate
 
Where will I find my baubles
And chocolates for my tree
The tins of Cadbury’s roses
On buy one get one free
 
Woolies I mourn your passing
You’ve been with me since youth
There’s no shop quite like you
And that’s the honest truth
 
As a kid I loved your wonder
And not bothered by your staff
My little gang would nick things
But only for a laugh
 
My sister used to work there
My mum would shop there too
Sis filled her bags with items
But only charged for two
 
Now only left with memories
Of your amazing range of stock
The day they said you’d gone bust
Came as quite a shock
 
The diverse things I needed
Piled up high all in one place
Your passing into history
Is simply a disgrace

Colours

Blue but grey the rain-filled sky
Blue the salty tear-filled eye
 
 
Red the slow and sluggish blood
Drowning in its trickling flood
 
 
White the snows that daily start
Like the frozen icy heart
 
 
Black the empty silent night
Black the dreams that give such fright
 
 
Orange the sun’s weak winter shine
Like life’s cheap and bitter wine
 
 
Silver the light we finally meet
The light I cannot wait to greet
 
 
Grey the leaden pencil gloom
Scribbling alone here in this room
 
 
No colour can describe the pain
Knowing tomorrow it starts again

I Climbed A Mountain

I climbed a mountain in my mind, to see what I would find up there
Not much, not really, nothing great, just blood and bone and greying hair

I tried to climb the tree of sleep, to nestle in its bowers
But the nightmares came, I woke again and wept for several hours…

I climbed into the morning and peered up at the skies
But the emptiness discovered there, filled up my heart with sighs

I climbed the stairs, went to the shop, the highlight of my life
I used to have big dreams, you know, a job, good friends, a wife

I climbed out of insanity, that dark and eerie land
But my mind soon slipped away again, like fingers clutching sand

I climbed into the next day, to escape from all the pain
But as I climbed, I realised, it would be just the same again

I climbed into a bottle and hid away down deep
I know that’s not a clever thing, but at least I got some sleep

Great Britain

Soft falls the rain upon the glen
Home to the canny Scottish men
Who wear the kilt for father’s sake
The past a chain they do not break
 
Soft falls the rain on peat-bog fen
Home to the dark-eyed Irish men
Who wear the shamrock on their chest
And treat like kings the lowest guest
 
Soft falls the rain on welcoming hill
Where throaty Welshmen boom and trill
Where rare on coal face the axe now rings
But still undaunted the miner sings
 
Soft falls the rain on country lane
Where in tolerance the English reign
Who bind emotions as they are taught
Ne’er to voice their inner thought
 
Soft falls the rain on this gentle land
Where split, but joined, four races stand
And though we have fallen to enemies pleasure
Let them pour scorn, then repent at their leisure.
 

Howl at the Moon

Apathy and anger, which one is winning
Heart keeps thumping, head keeps spinning
 
Try to be positive when everything’s wrong
Try to stay calm, but it doesn’t last long
 
Trapped in a place where nothing is right
Trapped in the dark and screaming for light
 
In a land of strangers with ways hard to know
Isolation, frustration, continually grow
 
Try to be nice, but keep filling with rage
Pouring out vitriol, page after page
 
Temper uncertain, thoughts tinged with madness
Once there was hope, now only sadness
 
Depression for meat, sorrow for drink
A spirit embittered, how low can it sink
 
Alone every day, alone every night
Life full of nothing, no friend in sight
 
A city once loved, now just a jail
Violence like lightning, bullets like hail
 
Gone all the people once held so dear
Gone cherished freedom, trampled by fear
 
Yesterday, tomorrow, all come the same
Nothing to lose, but still less to gain
 
Days only things to survive before bed
Trying and struggling and look where it led
 
Keep marching on and clinging to hope
Tighten that grip on the end of the rope
 
Paint on a smile and laugh like a loon
Hope no one hears as you howl at the moon
 
 

Coffee and Cigarettes

A filter tip and a bitter brew
That’s what I need to make me new
 
Brazilian blend so aromatic
Light that stogey, sit real static
 
Relish the jolt and the smoke of blue
That’s what I need to make me new
 
Strike that match and stir that java
Plenty of time for life’s palaver
 
Drinking caffeine, smoking too
That’s what I need to make me new
 
Grim, weary mornings, such woe create
Making coffee and cigarettes oh so great
 
So give me the black and give me the blue
That’s what I need to make me new

An Ode to Heartache

 
A snore like a sob, a cough, a yawn
I open my eyes to drizzling dawn
And I think of you
 
Cheerless cold breakfast, a shave, brush teeth
Look out the window, but find no relief
And I think of you
 
Pull on creased trousers, a shirt, tie lace
Mirror reflecting an unhappy face
And I think of you
 
Trudge down staircase, open door, depart
Wind moans a dirge like the pain in my heart
And I think of you
 
Back at the coal face, clock in, fake smile
Can’t stop these sad thoughts for even a while
And I think of you
 
Reach my bed late, no sleep, mind spins
Neither peace nor rest for all of my sins
And I think of you
 
A snore like a sob, a cough, a yawn
I open my eyes to drizzling dawn…

What Makes You Happy

What makes you happy, what makes you sad
What makes you angry, what makes you glad?
What churns your stomach, knotting rags into rugs
Bringing wry smiles and small resigned shrugs?

Do you twitter over roses of yellow and red
Strike sickly poses at the foot of their bed?
Or do you walk through a graveyard of sorrow and gloom
Pressed down by black granite, the weight of your doom!
 
Are you of good cheer, the light-footed kind
Or morose and downhearted, sunk deep in your mind?
Or are you a mixture, like most of our race,
For each slice of life a different face?
 
What makes you smile, what makes you grin
What makes you good, what makes you sin?
Is it beast or beauty down there where you think
Do you gambol and laugh, or gamble and drink?
 
Oh what makes you smile, what makes you grin?
What makes you good and what makes you sin?
Is it over music or art that you pause to think
Or a kebab with chips, twenty fags and a drink?

Bad News

The world’s so full of bad news, it’s twisting up my head
I think I’ll take two aspirins and retire to my bed

Conspiracies and crime and leaders oh so bad
All whirl around my brain box and it’s making me quite mad
 
Honesty is terminal, truth bleeds out its life
On a planet torn by violence and hunger, pain and strife

It makes me oh so angry to look upon this trash
And it’s given me a headache and a nasty little rash
 
Restful sleep eludes me, thoughts a boiling pot
Peace of mind, some gremlin has taken all I’ve got

Calm and cool two gentle moods I lost a long time back
My shrink don’t know just where they went, so I’ve given him the sack
 
I think I need a holiday, a break from rotten news
A stroll along the promenade to lengthen up my fuse

I’d love to leave this city, to go live by a wood
If I ever have the wherewithal, I think I really should
 
Where’s the point of fretting and grinding down your teeth
Go and fly a kite down on the common or the heath

But watch out for the bears, hiding in them there trees
They’re not the kind that eat you, but they’ll have you on your knees
 
 
 

The Invisible Woman

The invisible woman (unlike the man)
Was dismayed by her condition
She missed her looks in the looking-glass
Checking the tautness of her arse
The invisible girl (unlike the boy)
Was distraught at being so vague
She found no pleasure in lying
In the gentlemen’s toilets, spying
The invisible lady (unlike the gent)
Was upset by not being seen
She longed for the sound of flattery
For praise she would have done battery
The invisible bird (unlike the bloke)
Was angered by not being clear
She took no pleasure in sex on her own
Like the invisible man with his one-handed phone
The invisible woman (unlike the man)
Was not pleased by her new-found disguise
For she knows responsibility cannot be skipped
A subject on which the man stays tight-lipped

Macho Man

Head off home
Pub now closed
Macho man
 
Fags and lighter
In shirt pocket
Macho man
 
Back at home
Flick on TV
Macho man
 
Boots on table
Mud on boots
Macho man
 
Grip bottle by neck
Spin lid with thumb
Macho man
 
Swig it down
Grit your teeth
Macho man
 
Can’t face food
Light up instead
Macho man
 
Watch stand-up show
But see no joke
Macho man
 
Drink some more
Until you choke
Macho man
 
TV now off
Screen of black
Macho man
 
Like the demon
On your back
Macho man
 
Thoughts so mad
Clamour and crowd
Macho man
 
Not too sane
But plenty loud
Macho man
 
Drink some more
Heave a sigh
Macho man
 
Fall to knees
Begin to cry
Lonely man
 
 
 
 

Ghosts

Surely ghosts don’t ache in places
They don’t have places
Or hands or faces

The dead don’t walk upon the ground
They can’t be found
And make no sound

Spirits do not breath the air
Or comb their hair
Or sit and stare

Yet wandering, unheard, unseen
As in a dream
A daily theme

A ghost of living flesh and bone
Sat all alone
So all alone

Among six billion souls or more
Hear them roar
Outside my door

Surely ghosts don’t feel pain
Or go insane
Inside their brain

The dead no longer rage or weep
Way down deep
Deep in their sleep

The dead no longer howl or cry
Choke and sigh
Their eyes are dry

Surely ghosts don’t miss this life
Or emotion’s knife
Or all the strife

Surely ghosts don’t ache in places
They don’t have places
Or hands or faces



Friday, 24 January 2014

Pleasurable Pongs

I guess near the top of almost everyone’s list of favourite smells would be freshly mown grass, baked bread and brewed coffee and I’m no different. Obviously frying bacon would be right up there as well, but I wonder how many people would agree with the other pongs I find pleasurable.
 
For instance, I love the smell of diesel oil. Seems random, especially as I have never driven a car and have no call to visit garages, but I think this may be because my Mum once worked as a petrol pump attendant at Dagenham Motors. I could have been only three or four at the time and Mum would drop me off with a nearby lady and her small son, where I would happily play all day until she came to collect me when her shift was over. Diesel oil, therefore, seems to have linked itself in my mind with play and being carefree.
 
I don’t know who the lady was, friend, relative or paid child minder, and nor do I remember her son. My one abiding memory is of a toy record player the other boy owned. It was plastic and I seem to remember it was red and yellow. The records it played were also plastic and to activate them you pushed them into a slot. His music collection consisted of Nellie the Elephant, Whistle While You Work, Three Blind Mice, plus various other nursery rhymes, but the one that has stuck with me for all these long years was a ditty that went “Froggy went a wooing go, hey ho said Froggy”. I’m not certain if I even knew what “wooing” meant back then, so why that particular line stuck with me for over five decades, I have no idea.
 
Another smell that I adore, which also takes me back to childhood, is carbolic soap. Mum would stand me in a washing up bowl and give me a good all over scrub with a rough flannel and a big red bar of carbolic. I remember once complaining that the curtains were open and people could see in, to which Mum responded in her usual dismissive manner, “don’t be silly, who’d want to look at you?”. Having been raised by Irish Catholic nuns, Mother was an expert when it came to destroying any sign of self-esteem and ramping up guilt complexes.
 
These memories aren’t so pleasurable, but I still love the smell of that soap. I wasn’t even aware of it until reintroduced to it one day in a public convenience. I was just washing my hands (see some blokes actually do) when the smell of the soap suddenly took me all the way back to toddler-hood. I actually wrapped that sliver of soap in a bit of toilet paper and swiped it so I could sniff it at my leisure. I then went on a soap sniffing mission in the supermarket and discovering carbolic soap was the one, for the last thirty years, I have never used anything else. Sadly, it’s now orange instead of red, but the scent is the most important thing and to this day, I still occasionally pick up my soap just to give it a damned good sniff.
 
I also like the smell of bleach. Not lavender, lemon, or “spring fresh”, just plain old household bleach. In fact, I put a good glug of bleach into my bath water and it makes me feel ultra clean and fresh afterwards. Am I unusual in this? I don’t know, but if you have whiffy armpits or feet, forget all your sprays, deodorants and talc’s, a drop of bleach in your washing water works wonders. Body odour smells are caused by bacteria, after all, and as Domestos household bleach kills ninety-nine percent of all known germs… Actually, I use the watery 29p per two litres bleach, but it gets the job done and being weak avoids the risk of skin irritation and bleach burn of my delicate bits.
 
When you finish bathing, you actually smell as though you’ve just come back from the swimming baths. Maybe that’s why I like it. I use about a cup full of thin bleach in a full bath, but don’t over do it, folks, not unless you want to emerge from the water with your eyes on fire and looking like an albino!
 
There are other smells I like that I can’t pin down to any one time or memory, but I think they also relate to childhood in one way or another. Felt tip pens and magic markers, evo stick glue, the smell of tar boiling away on the back of a lorry; fresh paint, bonfire smoke, creosote, wood shavings and sawdust; Vic’s vapour rub, old books, a woman’s hair, burning toast, the scent of spring in the air, that pipe tobacco that smells like chocolate…
 
Don’t get me wrong, I also like the smell of lavender and flowers and good perfume, but in general, the smells I like the most tend to be a little more industrial and may be considered by some as more stink than pleasing aroma. Each to his own, I guess.
 
Well, I managed to get through all this talk of various whiffs without once mentioning the smell of your own farts.
 
If you disregard that last sentence, anyway.
 
In addition, memory jogged by the comment below about nail varnish remover, I used to own a Zippo lighter and I loved the smell of that as well. Every time I lit a cigarette, I would flip the Zippo shut to put out the flame and then open it again to inhale the remaining fumes. In fact, I would often light it, put it out and sniff it, whether I had a cigarette to light or not. I don’t think there was any resulting high of any kind, I simply loved the warm petrol smell of it. Cost me a fortune in lighter fluid, as I had to refill the thing almost every day.
 
Finally, a useful smell, rather than just a pleasant one, is the smoke from burning newspaper. If anybody let’s rip a foul-smelling trump, set fire to a piece of newspaper, blow it out and leave it to smoke in an ashtray and the bad smell will be instantly gone. I guess it works in a similar fashion to the way charcoal is used as a purifier. I learned this little tip while working nights on the London Underground. With a group of men on standby, all sitting around a table in a small, windowless mess room, playing cards for several hours, without the newspaper trick, the air in there would have been unbreathable. Talk about shades of blazing saddles!
 
 
 

Unnec-a-celery

I was just eating some celery and I remembered that old thing about it taking more calories to eat celery than are actually in it. Then I thought, imagine how many more calories it must take to pick the bloody stuff than are in it! You could eat it non stop while harvesting it and still die of starvation. That’s not right. Especially when getting the stringy bits out of your dentures uses up even more meagre energy resources.
 
Well, in these days, when energy is in such short supply and so expensive, I thought it’s high time to ban celery and only grow chocolate gateaux instead and maybe the odd field of custard doughnuts. Make good use of the available land, I say. Maybe we could also grow some lard in window boxes and have toffee plants instead of those useless rubber ones that don’t even bounce or erase anything. And if you’re waiting for a condom harvest from those things, don’t hold your breath. I had one for over a decade and not a single profylactic. Flipping waste of BabyBio that was…
 
I don’t mind helping out in the chocolate gateaux and doughnut fields. I’ll even do it for free for the good of the nation and if any of you volunteer lady pickers fancy a quick roll in the butter cream, I’m your man.
 
So I say, down with celery, the cause of all our energy problems!
 
Who’s with me?!?!

Locusts

Thoughts a plague of locusts
Chewing up your mind crop
A munching buzzing army
That will just never stop
 
The past returns to hound you
The future lays in wait
The present bound in shackles
Of past and future fate
 
Thoughts swarming with locusts
Chomping upon your brain
Destroying good emotions
With bleak and dreadful pain
 
A trap of your own making
As tough as any jail
Struggle to escape it
But once again you fail
 
Straighten up and battle on
You know you can’t give in
Grit your teeth and take a breath
Don’t let those locusts win

Oh For The Sound

Oh for the sound of a human voice
For a human touch
For eyes to see
Oh for the sound of a human voice
Speaking soft and low to me
 
Oh for the feel of a warm embrace
For a human hand
For eyes to see
Oh for the feel of a warm embrace
Giving of its strength to me
 
Oh to wake once not alone
To hear soft breath
For eyes to see
Oh to wake once not alone
In the darkness that now buries me
 
Oh for the sound of a human voice
For a bracing laugh
For eyes to see
Oh for the sound of a human voice
Whispering words of love to me

Parson's Nose

Cooked chicken, missing bits and big shops.
I went to a big shop tonight to buy food. I went because I knew I had no food in my dungeon of misery and pain (otherwise known as my home) and I was hungry.
The shop was one of those really big shops that’s so big it controls half the planet and many of our leaders as well. I bought a cooked chicken there because I had neither the time, nor the inclination to cook a chicken for myself from scratch – and I repeat, I was hungry.
With the high cost of gas these days, a cooked chicken works out cheaper in the long run anyway and leaves no greasy pan to wash up. Increased energy costs are also avoided not heating water for said plate and pan washing and less washing-up and sink cleaning chemicals are flushed away to poison our oceans and give already ugly fish two heads. Which is all good.
The cooked chicken tends to be better quality compared to the cheap uncooked chicken, because “they” don’t want “their” name associated with crappy cooked chicken. A raw one that you bought cheap that turns out as dry as dust, with lots of ligaments but no meat, now that one’s your own damn fault for cooking it wrong and you know it. And the fault of the half pint of water they pumped into it after death, of course, but we don’t mention that.
None of this is my point, however. I’m just coming to that. Despite all the obvious benefits I’ve outlined above for buying a pre-cooked chicken from a really big shop – you know, a shop so big they control your spending patterns and what you want to buy, before you knew you wanted to buy the thing they told you to buy and before you knew that thing existed and was buy-able in the first place – I still have a small complaint.
When I bought my “whole cooked chicken”, I assumed that it would indeed, be a whole chicken. They boast of their honest advertising, after all, these big shops I speak of. Those huge, monstrous, monoliths (if I had said: massive, monstrous, monoliths, that would have been great alliteration, but I missed my chance), but NO! The cooked chicken from the big shop was not whole. The parson’s nose was missing. Not damaged and hard to recognise. NO. Gone completely like it had never existed!
…What’s the big deal, I hear you ask? Well, as you insist on asking, when I was a child I was a total carnivore. Vegetables made me gag and cry and feel I was being tortured for no good reason. A boiled pig’s trotter to gnaw on, generously tossed in my direction, however, made me happy, content and occupied for quite some time getting into all the crevices between its toes where meat might still be hiding. Damn those stubbly hairs!
Well, according to mum and “all that is holy”, the parson’s nose of a chicken is unfit for human consumption and only fit for the cat. I thought then and still believe now, that the parson’s nose is frowned upon only because that’s what’s left behind when you cut out the poor bird’s botty-crevice with a sharp knife.
But I liked hot, dripping chicken fat, crunchy skin and chewable bones – near the a-hole or not. I envied that feckin' cat. I lusted after that oily triangle of flesh, imagining it bursting in my mouth like a succulent, savoury, chicken-arse strawberry. If you can eat a pig’s foot with the toenails still on it, what’s the problem with a juicy bottom nose?
Well, when I became an adult, I decided no more parson’s nose shame! I would eat the pointy, fatty bit myself, no longer the juicy province of the cat alone. So I have taken that part for myself ever since, but until now still never sharing my odd addiction to dripping greasy chicken bum-part for fear of ridicule and possibly having to split the luscious nose with some other creature who doesn’t care about the whole bum thing.
And then I buy this cooked chicken from a big shop, not thinking to watch them as they stuffed the incomplete corpse into the opaque stay-warm bag and, THANK YOU, no parson’s nose! The very bit I most look forward to. The bit of the chicken that affirms my self-determination and ability to think for myself and there it was … gone! Yes, gone!
And come to think of it, though not the main consideration, obviously I should have got some money back for having a bit of my cooked chicken missing. Shouldn’t I? Though similar in size, they’re not sold by individual weight, but only as “whole”, so the missing parson’s nose means I’ve been overcharged as well. Does their duplicity know no bounds? No parson’s nose (which is good eating, so bugger the cat) and short-changed as well.
They’re clever, though. Let’s face it, you will have eaten some of the chicken by the time you’ve noticed, so how do you prove that bits were missing? You must have swallowed the parson’s nose because it was there when we sold it to you. That’s what they would say if I took it back. I mean, I could keep all the bones and put little tags on them to show where they all went, but they would just claim I threw the parson’s nose bones away to get compensation and an extra roast parson’s nose out of them.
Without witnesses, how could I prove I didn’t scoff it and was just after a free fix? With my now well known love of parson’s noses, I would look guilty as hell. Once they know our weaknesses what can any of us do? They know this and so they get away with ripping us off for bits of our cooked chicken and we say nothing because we feel no one cares, or because we’re too ashamed of lusting after the bum part of the bird to stand up for our rights.
I should sue the swines for mental torment. That’s what I should do.
None of this would have ever happened years ago in a small shop. They didn’t lose you’re parson’s nose back then and accuse you of lying when you took your mutilated, half-eaten Sunday lunch back for a refund. Not in my day. Never sir. They had manners and wouldn’t have dreamed of laughing at you in front of everybody for taking your cooked chicken back because the parson’s nose was missing. It would have been taken seriously then. People would have acted like it mattered in the days of proper shopping lists, the local dairy and half crowns and thru’penny bits.
Which would have been alright, if the silly, can’t-eat-it-cause-it’s-from-near-the-bum brain-deads of the time hadn’t kept giving the succulent nose to that self-satisfied, smug-faced cat. It knew. That’s why the little git made so much noise chewing it up and grinning at me, while I was being beaten with sticks to force me to eat a pound of one-hour-boiled spinach, which looked and tasted like a steaming heap of some cactus eating lizard’s plop.
Mum couldn’t cook to save her life. She’d put a leg of lamb in the oven and a pan of carrots on the hob at the same time, letting them bubble away for two hours until they retained all the goodness of a damp draft through a rotten window frame. Us kids would have grown up healthier if we’d thrown all the vegetables out of said window and drank the cooking water like nutritious soup. Then the one tasty thing that came from the stove all week, the mouth watering parsons nose, gave it to bloody Ginger, while I got a plate of tasteless stew with no stock in it and whole onions simmered into giant tasteless sacks of warm water. The only time she ever made gravy we had to cut it up with a bread knife and her dumplings could have been used in a slingshot to bring down game.
Next time I go to the big shop for a whole chicken, I’m going to watch them like a hawk and make bloody sure my parson’s nose isn’t pilfered for re-sale on the black market. I can’t take the disappointment anymore and it brings back too many unhappy childhood culinary memories. Those sprouts. Dear God, those bloody sprouts!

Moon

Hardly noticed the moon’s silk light
Not seen by eyes nor senses
Until, full swollen, ringed and bright
Our race she recompenses
 
I see her face, an idle thing
Not changed by all the years
Ignorant of the wolves who sing
Untouched by poet’s tears
 
Tugging the sea that makes the man
A million years of power
Long before the beasts who ran
Our existence one bare hour
 
When all of life has left this coil
When our cities have turned to dust
If she still shines upon this soil
Will her beauty seem unjust?
 

Trees of the World

Trees of the World
 
The new magazine for tree enthusiasts everywhere!
 
Week by week you will learn about leaves, bark, roots, trunks, bowers, boles, bits of stick to stir paint with, where matches come from, why cats get stuck up them and many other fascinating arboreal facts from the mysterious world of trees.
 
You will learn why twigs are too small to use as decent weapons. How much damage a tree would do if it fell over unexpectedly and smashed a big hole in the roof while you were sleeping with your wife’s sister. How our ancestors used trees as primitive gallows (complete with 3D wall chart). Why you should never tie a yellow ribbon around an old oak tree. Why your dog likes to piss up them and why a usually friendly tree attacked Marc Bolan’s mini causing the fading gay pop star’s untimely death.
 
All this and more in Trees of the World!
 
How old they get, why they’re usually green and brown, except in winter when they’re just plain brown (apart from the ones that stay green and brown all year round for some reason) why birds choose to live, eat, raise their young and shit in them, how to cut one down and burn it, why trees have lots of rings when we only have one – this comprehensive collection covers all aspects of trees from the mighty John Wayne redwood to the weedy emo willow, from the tall elegant poplar to those other ones that are a bit more nondescript that look more or less the same as each other, it’s all in:
 
Trees of The World!
 
YES, for the very first time, this complete A to Z of trees is brought to life for you to own and treasure. In one fabulous collection, Trees of the World covers: Ash, Bonsai, Oak, Infant, Christmas, Dogwood, Elm, Family, Grape, Thingy, Lemon and Lime, Mug, Birch (and why Birch was favoured for beating thugs), Rubber, Maple, Conker, Cup, Elm, Yew, Shoe, Tea, Banana, Stinging Nettles – if it’s a tree it’s either covered in-depth or has been hacked down and turned into pulp to produce this mag.
 
If you love trees then Trees of the World will become your best bud! Don’t delay, leaf through a copy today!
 
Issue one (with free grow your own tree pitted olive and sachet of water) comes to you at the special introductory price of just 99p. Following issues build week by week into a beautifully illustrated library of tree info that will, after many months, eventually turn a book on trees that you could have bought from W H Smiths for £16.99 into a £300 scam of monumental proportions!
 
…That’s if you haven’t wised up, stopped buying them by issue four and left the binder to collect dust in that high cupboard, along with the yellowing recipe cards and the needlecraft mags that had seemed such a good idea when you were drunk and bored six Christmases ago and the TV advert caught you at a low ebb while you were trying to blank out your childish in laws arguing heatedly over a game of scrabble like they do every bloody year.
 
Trees of the World available now from all good branches!
 
You know your head’s made of wood - Trees of the World – buy it you plank!
 
*Issue two a bargain at just £7.99 including free ring binder worth nearly 37 pence!

Interviewing Katie

My next guest on Yawn at Dawn is a glamour model, author, singer, mother to a disabled child, media celebrity and now the subject of a planned Hollywood movie based around her own colourful life.
Born Katrina Amy Alexandria Alexis Infield, her career has been controversial, her private life a roller coaster of loves won and lost and the paparazzi have followed her every step of the way. Yes, formerly known to the British tabloids as Jordan, please give a big Yawn at Dawn welcome to Katie Price!

(Pause for canned applause and cheering)

Good morning Katie and thank you for join…

I’ve got a book out.

Ah, yes, we’ll get to that in…

It’s in book shops now. And Smiths.

I see and…

And Tesco and Sainsbury.

Right, so you…

I don’t think it’s in Ryman’s, though, they only sell blank paper, pens and stuff like that.

Straight in with the plugs, Katie, ha ha, you certainly don‘t waste any…

And paper clips and them ink things for printers. It probably would have been in bargain buckets in Woolworths next week, but they’ve gone bust and I’m still here. Who’s had the last laugh now? The Pricey, that’s who.

You have indeed. Now, you’ve already published a number of autobiographies, so what part of your life does your latest book cover?

2009.

2009?

Yeah, 2009, cause my other books done all the other years and stuff.

Right. Well, there have been accusations that you didn’t actually write any of your previous books yourself and no doubt the same claims will surface with this new one. What do you say to that?

That’s well out-of-order, that is. I writ all of them and the new one n‘all. I admit I had a bit of help with the first chapter and the last chapter, but apart from that and the twenty-two chapters in the middle, I done all of it myself.

I suppose this book will be covering your recent marriage and break up with Alex Reid?

It does talk about my marriage, but I’m saving my heartache divorce hell for the next book. I’ve already writ it actually and it should be in book shops next week.

The press and magazines had a field day with your wedding to…

And Tesco and Sainsbury.

…with your wedding to Alex. Did it bother you that people were saying it was over the top and tacky?

The Pricey makes tacky classy, mate. Classy!

So when did you start referring to yourself in the third person?

Eh?

Never mind.

What?

Just a little joke.

The Pricey don’t get it.

Well, um, moving on. Can you tell us a bit about why your marriage to Alex came to an end so soon?

The whole tale of my divorce heartache hell will be in the new book what I’ve just writ, but basically, he got too big for his boots. All the attention, winning celebrity Big Brother and the press coverage and everything went to his head. He started banging on like he was some big star or something, but I told him, you’d be nothing without me. Nothing! Alex would never have got famous in the first place if he hadn’t been with me.

So you’re saying he only got with you so he could steal some of your limelight?

Lime what?

Some of your fame…

Oh, yeah, he got all this attention because he was my man and started thinking he was like as famous as me and stuff. Went all billy big boots. Now we’ve split up, though, where is he now? Nowhere, that’s where. Nowhere! So who had the last laugh? The Pricey, that’s who.

So with one book on the shelves now and another due out any time, what’s next for Katie Price?

Well, I’ve just started writing my next book, which should be in the book shops in time for Christmas. And in Smiths.

Apart from your heartache break up with…

And Tesco and Sainsbury.

…with Alex Reid, what part of your life will this new epic be covering?

2010.

2010?

Yeah, and maybe a bit of 2011. And my Hollywood film will probably take up quite a bit of my time n‘all.

In relation to that, former super model Janice Dickinson once made some rather unkind remarks about you. She is quoted as saying that you look like a beached tuna, that you have no chance of making it in America, that you couldn’t act your way out of a paper bag and have no discernible talent whatever. What are your thoughts on that?

That washed up old hag, what does she know? Calls me a beached tuna, but have you seen the state of her? Stupid cow’s just jealous. Anyway, I never said I was going to be acting in my film. I want Megan Fox to play my part because she’s stunning like what I am. When the movie’s, like, in the can, the DVD will be on sale in Smiths. And Tesco and Sainsbury. Not in bookshops, though. They don’t sell DVDs. Just books.

Well, on that bombshell, that’s nearly all we have time for this morning. Thanks for coming in to talk to us today, Katie.

Yeah, cheers. Don’t forget, my book is in the shops now, folks, and my DVDs and CDs. Or you can buy them from my website.

Tomorrow my guest will be Tony Blair’s sister in law, Lauren Booth and we will be discussing her recent conversion to Islam. So from me and Katie it’s…

And Tesco and Sainsbury.

…a Yawn at Dawn very good morning to all our listeners. Goodbye!

A Tribute

A tribute to all the dead fighting men and women who have died in so many wars - all created by the old men at the back, for the young to die at the front – and for those dying still for the sickening schemes of cowardly, heartless people. May they all rest in peace.
 
 
_______________________________________________
 
They answered to the call boys
Yes they went off to fight
They did it for our freedom
They did it for what’s right
 
And they laughed and they sang boys
As they kept us all from harm
And they smiled through the bullets
As they marched off arm in arm
 
 
With pride in their duty boys
They stood and faced their fears
But they fell for their country
Yes they fell for their peers
 
They don’t choose their time boys
Or even for what cause
They just fight when they’re called on
And all for no applause
 
So beat the drum slowly boys
And raise that flag up high
For that lost unknown soldier
For he was quite a guy
 
So give them your respect boys
As they gave you of their best
And may God in his heaven
Take care of all the rest
 
So I raise my glass to them boys
And hope you’ll join with me
As I toast those fallen heroes
Who died to keep us free
 

Nightmare

Coal black dream like miner’s lung
Roof of mouth grips arid tongue
 
 
Images of bat that flitters
Washboard sounds of demon titters
 
 
Cotton sheet, so damp, so chill
Nameless dread a sour pill
 
 
Nail scrapes on window pane
Covers up then down again
 
 
Heat and cold take their turn
Flesh to freeze and then to burn
 
 
Skin a crawl with clammy beads
Revisited by shameful deeds
 
 
Sleep’s swift current sucks me under
Rationality to plunder
 
 
Up I bob for breath of air
Shadows give a waking scare
 
 
Down again for more unease
Morning, dawning, if you please…
 
 
...At last, a sweet dream fills my eyes!
Oh dear God, it’s time to rise
 
 

How to Make a Corn Cob Pipe

First, eat the sweet corn kernels and scrape off as much of the soft outside of the husk as possible. Then take an inadequate, really blunt bread-knife and spend twenty sweaty minutes trying to saw off the first three inches of your cob. It will end up crooked and take some trimming to straighten it out, but with perseverance (given the uselessness of the goal), you will get there eventually.
 
Once you have accomplished the “saw through”, you must now dig out the core to form the pipe’s bowl. This time, take a sharp, but somewhat flimsy knife and when it inevitably keeps slipping, cut yourself quite badly – twice – before admitting to yourself that the effort of finding a sturdier implement really is worth it.
 
After applying Band-aids to your unnecessary wounds, find a small chisel that’s perfect for the job and have the core removed in less than a minute – as you should have in the first place if you weren’t being a lazy bollock-brain. Now take a corkscrew and drill a hole about half an inch above the base of the bowl, ready for the mouthpiece or “stem” to be fitted. Take care as you carry out this part of the operation, because splitting the bowl will result in you having to start all over again, which is really annoying. I would imagine. If you were actually too impatient and ham-fisted to actually do something that daft...
 
Penny dropping, realise that you haven’t given any thought whatever as to what you might use for a mouthpiece, or “stem”, and hunt around forlornly for a short length of thin bamboo, knowing full well, even as you instigate the search, there is nothing in the house even approximating such a thing. Go on looking anyway in the hope that some will magically appear – in the pot with the dead plant for instance – and only give up after searching the cutlery drawer three times. In desperation, replace non-existent bamboo stick with an empty ball point pen. One of those cheap crappy ones you get with charity begging letters will do. Don’t need them to write out any cheques, after all.
 
Anyway, wedge pen into the hole as hard as you can, because you won’t be able to glue it in place having been too childishly impatient to wait for the cob to dry out. Glue might be poisonous anyway and while as dopey as George Bush, you do retain some vestigial remnant of a survival instinct. For your first run, break up a couple of ciggies, any brand will do, and then pack the tobacco into the bowl of your new pipe. While sucking hard on the end of the pen, apply a flame to the top of the pipe until the tobacco is properly ignited. Take a puff and smile at your own cleverness.
 
Now strike a pose like Sherlock Holmes and take a good, long toke on your ingenious contraption. Feel searing, choking sensation in your lungs and cough desperately to clear your throat until you are gagging and almost sick. Fill several glasses of water and swallow them between breathless gasps and then have a second, even more violent coughing fit. Struggle to breathe, wipe the tears from your eyes and the drool from your mouth and cotton on to the fact that the pipe had become too hot, thereby melting the plastic pen and sending God knows what carcinogenic compounds deep into your delicate lung membranes.
 
Go and lay on the bed trying to inhale as shallowly as possible, without suffocating yourself, so as not to further rip your already slashed breathing tubes. Have it dawn on you that you should have learned your lesson after a pretty much identical thing happened to you as a teenager when, for the reason of having no cigarettes, you thought that it would be a good idea to smoke a thick wax drinking straw instead. But no. It really wasn't.
 
Anyway, that’s how I did it. Yes, I’m well aware that makes me practically as stupid as you, but not quite. After all, you’re the one wasting your time reading this drivel…