Sunday, 11 December 2011

Mundane mornings

It's Sunday again, my traditional day of browsing and commenting on the profiles of a social pen-pal site I use. I call this process, "blitzing", as like lightning, I strike at random, here, there, and everywhere, usually attempting to make pithy, humourous comments, with a view to getting a favourable response, otherwise known as, "boosting my ego".

Today though, I'm not so full of what is known in the trade as - at least if you're French - J'oie de vivre. The old bonhomie is rather lacking; and in it's place is a less friendly (though falling short of abusive) pedantry. In short nit-picking.

The subject of this post is this gem of "wisdom" proudly sported at the head of a profile: "“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.” Well... here's the brief transcript...

Me: I would be most interested to know how we go about this "living as if everything was a miracle". Logically, we have to know "commonplace things" if we are to recognise miracles? So surely, not everything can be seen as a miracle? If everything is a miracle, then miracles become commonplace, and therefore everyday, and ordinary.

Other person: Every day a lot of flowers appear , you can pass and not notice the flower on your window or you can sstop and enjoy the miracle of a beauty.

Me: That doesn't explain anything to me. I've been seeing flowers all of my life. For something to be a miracle, by definition, it has, at the very least, to be EXTRAordinary.

The recipient at this point disappeared. Whether she fled from the disturbing logic, or went to put the spuds on the boil for the family lunch, I don't know. But the question for me is, "Am I being a complete arse here?". After all, this is a social epal site, so is such discussion out of place? Or is constructive debate part and parcel of being "social"? More importantly, am I missing something, is there something about living I fail to "get"? Oh well...

I guess this time around, I wont be told the "trick", of perceiving the whole of the Universe as a miracle. I guess I'll just have to make do, and like most of us, accept the dull, the depressing, and the mundane, in order to recognise the moments of contentment, the instances of happiness, the rare moments of joy, and the most infrequent of all, the "ecstasies".

I'm off to "pick" on someone else...

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Dear Diary (first published circa 2007)


A bit cloudy. Might rain.


Milk delivery late. Mom phoned. Might go for walk later.


Milk late again. I'm going to complain. Not a lot worth writing about.

Got a creative writing course tonight. Hope it's okay.


With little prompting the bedroom curtains glided apart. Squinting into the bright morning light I was struck by the marked absence of an inter-galactic invading force. The sky, a pristine blue, was significantly uncluttered by a hovering menace. Closer inspection of the horizon revealed a lack of tell-tale dark and eerily-lit smudges heralding the approach of a twisting ferment of dark tumbling clouds. There was to be no near-apocalyptic storm this morning.

Sitting quietly on the telephone line, a lone sparrow twitched and flapped its wings, as if shaking-free the accumulations of yesterday's dust and grit. Its smallness and insignificance emphasised its non-display of cold menace. No Hitchcockian show of feathered malevolence today.

And along the tranquil street, each entry, alleyway and parked car, devoid of life, shouted loudly the non-presence of a crazed stalker, obsessed and devoted to the documenting of my life, manifest in a shrine of pictures and words.

Then, in my peripheral vision, I caught a movement. Striding purposefully up the street, a lady. Encased in a full-length, shapeless, gabardine coat, and sombre, ex-GI combat boots, she strode impassively, looking neither left nor right. Her isolation and aloofness spoke meaningfully of its antithesis: a pouting, full-breasted siren beckoning me; provocative, with hips thrusting outwards to give emphasis to the idea of her soft-haired mound...

Breakfst beckons.

Ah well, not much doing again today.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Birthdays? Smurfdays!

I don't understand Birthday celebrations. Throughout history, billions upon billions of people have also had them. So what possesses us think our own is so distinctive?

It was too long ago for me to remember, but it's a safe bet my mother screamed, or at least uttered a stifled moan, as with one final push, she painfully ejected me from between her bloodied thighs into the early morning air of post-war Britain. The year was 1949 on the 27th day of March. For the rest of the country, rationing and re-building were the order of the day, but for me, as with every newborn child, I was unconcerned, I would guess, by anything other than my immediate problems.

The first priority of any newborn child is to protest loudly at such an undignified introduction. And who can blame it? Anyone familiar with the aftermath of a particularly violent and bloody brawl in a vat of jellied eels will understand this - to be smeared in this vile, slimy, gunk, and be naked to boot, is... well... I ask you! And then of course, there's the process of acclimatisation; getting to grips with this strange, new, and potentially dangerous environment you will come to know as The World.

Birth is a violent and rude introduction to this planet. What it isn't is a seismic shock reverberating around the Universe, foretold by angels, and feted by allegedly wise geezers bearing gifts. We come into it as we go out: insignificant and usually gasping for breath. If you're lucky enough to survive the first day, each and every day thereafter is special. These are the ones that concern me. As I write, today is the most important day of my life.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Growing up...

You know you're "grown up" when...

... you realise just how ordinary other people are, despite their 'labels'. Now the politicians, doctors, lawyers, teachers, directors, writers, managers, etc. cannot chastise, humiliate, or cow me. Only I can do that to myself.

You ever heard of that saying from the Bible, "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things? What a load of bollocks! For the remainder of my life it's my sole mission to regain what I had when I was a child. Apart from measles, mumps and chicken-pox, that is...

Monday, 7 November 2011

Foul Monday

I sometimes feel possessed. Maybe I'm schizoid? I'm aware of at least two selves residing inside this 62 year old, sometimes svelte, sometimes decrepit (It depends on who "I" am at the time) shell. At the moment, it's the latter. I'm a curmudgeonly, cantankerous old cunt.

Today, I'll be mostly fantasising about flamethrowers. My flamethrower. I've decided to indulge my extreme irritation by striking out, as least in my my mind, at the world. I'm cultivating reveries of slaughter.

As an aperitif, prior to my first dose of caffeine, I'll be engaged with mental burning of fellow passengers on the cross-city line - carnage on the quarter to eight! Well... they're so invasive... a chap needs a little room in the morning, especially on Mondays.

That's how it is. I'm changeable. And tomorrow... who knows? Maybe I'll blog about the autumnal and wintry changes taking place in my back garden. We're so privileged in witnessing the sad, but beautiful, decomposition of life. Or instead, I might take time to tell you of my dog, gentle Ruby. I could cry with joy just thinking of her. But until then...

I'd like to give one or two work colleagues a squirt. Just a couple of quick bursts... in their faces... It's what I want.

I still feel irritable though. It's not like having sex, which culminates in glorious release. Indulging one's ill-feelings, even in fantasy, is ultimately futile. I know that. Yet I still want to squirt the fuckers.

Don Swift. Keeping it real.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Shopping - for males (first posted 28/09/2006)

The speediest way for a man to become virtually unconscious, is not, as you may have thought, to take opiates, consume large amounts of alcohol, or even listen to a David Cameron speech. Even watching the most tedious of reality shows, Big Brother, surprisingly, doesn't cut the mustard either; not when it comes to inducing bodily paralysis. This mantle belongs to that expedition much loved by the ladies - the "shopping trip".

Any male committed to the preservation of his relationship will find himself compelled periodically to accompany his partner on shopping safari. The usual excuses, headaches, general nausea, or early signs of testicular cancer are best shelved at this time. This particular stinging leaf has to be grasped. Although, for what it's worth, in an attempt to ameliorate the situation, it is allowed to express one's firm intention to "not enjoy it". Not that this has any impact, as the response is a blinking stare, and the faintest of smiles. Women can be so cruel.

Because these forays into the high streets and malls are so infrequent, men tend to forget the essential purgatoriness of the "shoe, skirt, handbag and hosiery" environment. So into the bright, heavily scented emporiums they go, humming and happy in their ignorance; until that is, a nanosecond after crossing the threshold, the sickening memory returns - knowledge of "the male mind's essential incompatibility with female goods".

Colourful fabrics, delicate finery, and leather, fashioned into bags and pointy footwear, are to a large extent non-computable for the masculine brain. When confronted by them, it instinctively looks to "lock on" to a thing of substance, something meaningful; but having nowhere else to go it looks within itself; in doing so, it effectively shuts down all but the essential bodily functions. This is experienced by the victim as a sudden breakneck plunge into a deep trance-like state. Accompanied by a yawn, the beleaguered male staggers, seeking support for his quickly sagging frame.

It's not all gloom though. Once in the sitting position the victim can recover. If he has a mind to look past the lady-fare, and focus instead on mental images of shiny, metallic gadgets, or great sporting events of bygone years, he can at least regain muscle tone and a measure of consciousness. He's identified as, the seated guy with the stupified grin.

Alas, this period of recovery is invariably short-lived, as the poor wretch has to move again in response to the call, "come have a look at this and tell me what you think?". Hauling his drained body into a standing position, again he runs the gauntlet of non-computables.

"It looks fine" is the stock reply.

"You're just saying that so you can get out of here"

"No, it's nice. I really like it". This said, despite not seeing anything, apart from a shadowy, materially something, identical to every item in this and every other shop. The only priority is getting out of there. Lying is a small price to pay.

A desperate glance over your shoulder finds your former seat occupied by another convalescing, semi-offline chap; panicking, you look towards the small space at the edge of the window display - damn, it's occupied too!

And so, on it goes; the relentless cycle of shut-down and savage re-awakening. Who'd be a man?

Next time you're in Monsoon, Dorothy Perkins, or similar, notice how many seats, platforms and steps are occupied by males bearing a marked resemblance to extras from a George A.Romero horror film.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Thespianism [they can't arrest you for it!] (first published 05/10/2006)

I could have been an actor. A proper one... you know... an "aktaw"... not one of those "wannabees", those deluded talentless persons who frequent the TV reality shows. I'm talking "boney fidey" aspiration here.

So? What's all this about I hear you ask. An actor... Donald? Surely not.

Yeah, okay you're right. It's not strictly true. It's more a muse, a fantasy. But I have good reason for this reverie, apart that is, from desperation to post.

Last week, during my creative writing class I was asked to read aloud a poem I'd written for an assignment. A daunting task for sure, as nowadays I do little public speaking of any description, so I was more than a little nervous; but still I managed... and two readings at that. And guess what? To my surprise, someone complimented me on my reading. Blimey... thought I.

It's always nice to be given positive feedback, so I naturally I was delighted. And on reflection (a thing I do a lot of) it struck me, it must have been the deliberation I showed when reciting. At some point over the years, I must have picked up advice on how best to project myself publicly. This amounted to resisting the natural urge to self-consciously rush through proceedings, to dash, in order to get the reading over with quickly. Instead, I took my time, paying careful attention to punctuation, and where needed, the appropriate tone of voice; for instance, when the line was a question, I read it as a question. Simple, eh? So, my good friends (said in loud, 'hammy' tones) by any yardstick, it has to be said... I performed.

Okay, so let's not get excited, I know this doesn't qualify me for RADA or even an Equity card, but there's more. There's a precedent.

When I was a young boy, around 11 years old, I took part in a school play. It was based on a 1950's popular TV soap opera , entitled, "The Grove Family", and I played Bob, the father (sounds a bit religious, don't you think? Bob the father, Bob the son.. see?). Anyway, my only memory is of hair 'greyed' with talcum powder and a matching stuck on moustache. And as to my performance, and more importantly, how I felt about performing, I'm afraid I have no recollection. But fast-forward to my mid-thirties, and I'm attending college auditions for a role in Tom Stoppard's, "Albert's Bridge". And what's more, I'm eager. So it's obvious, innit? I'm compelled to assume my earlier acting experience didn't leave any negative, invisible, wounds. On the contrary, I was following some subconscious imperative. And of course, I got the part - the lead role of Albert, no less!

It was suggested at the time, by unkind persons - otherwise known as, "those who only managed the lesser parts" - my success was due to the director's fondness for me (a female of course). It's a damn lie I tell you, a lie! Okay, she liked me, it was obvious, but getting the part, I can assure you, was due to my efforts in the dramatic arts. I remember distinctly - as with my poetry reading - paying great attention to pace and appropriate voice modulation. I did the business man, and performed. I have no doubt, with my deep (or deepish) voice booming, it was the most sponditious of auditions.

So what am I saying? Well, I've often joked about "being a contender", someone of significance rather than a non-entity, so perhaps this is a pointer. Maybe I could have been an actor. After all, over a period of 40 years or so, there's a connection, a performing strand.

In reply to those who would accuse me of spinning tenuous arguments, let me tell you, if billions of people, with little, or no reason, can believe in the existence of a divine power who intervenes here on earth (and often by request) then I'm sure I can squeeze a little meaning out of these three instances in my life! I insist therefore, you luvvies indulge me in my moment of illogical, irrationalism.

The art of thespianism, I tell you, could have been mine!

Monday, 12 September 2011


I took Thursday and Friday off last week and was due back at work today, but late on yesterday, I decided I needed more time, so via text message I let the boss know my intentions. Time for what though, isn't quite clear, for even as I write, I'm thinking it hasn't turned out as fruitful as expected, so maybe I'd have been better off going to the office?

Prior to, I envisaged a scenario of each day infinitely long, infinitely productive, infinitely fascinating, and profoundly satisfying. Ha! You'd think at my age I'd know better? Not so, Pedro! I guess it's the triumph of optimism over reality, or, to coin it poetically, "mugging by imagination".

I'm not alone though, I'm sure. Although I like to think I'm an atypical person, I know this isn't true. Isn't the most common cry of all in the form of, "Well.... it was okay but...", or, "He was a little disappointing..."? People, places, scenarios, all imagined or hoped for, as pristine, polished, or nigh on perfect, prior that is, to the acid-test of reality. You know, I can think of only one place, along with one person, that exceeded my imaginings. But that's a story for another time.

To finish, going off at a tangent, applying a hand-brake turn to a sharp left, and taking the scenic "around the edges of the Universe" route, it occurred to me that... it occurred to me... it.... sorry, I'm mistaken, that's it folks. The End.

* The photo is of the clutter, the "stuff", amassing on the left-side of the sofa.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Housework & I

It's 8.50pm as I start writing this first sentence. That's late for me. I don't think I've ever attempted a post at this time. I'm "difficult". Okay, I know most of you know this about me, but I mean I'm difficult too when it comes to writing, insisting on the muse, the buzz of caffeine, or some kind of "inspiration" to fuel me. This insistence rules out this hour, as typically I tend to wind down, become sleepy, or maybe take a beer or two; coffee too is most certainly out of the question. So what's different tonight? I don't really know. I can guess, and say it's my third consecutive day off work and I've finally shed all the knots of tension that the working days create, so now I'm finally relaxed; but I've had time off before, and for longer periods too, and still I've not written at this hour. It's a mystery.

So what have I to say? Nothing much, just a repeat, or an edited version of what I've already written on Facebook. You know, it's occurred to me, instead of commenting on social networks, or putting out status statements, I might do best to save them up as they occur, and then work them into blog posts. Maybe that's the answer. Perhaps I've been guilty of writing myself out! Who knows? Anyway, here's my statement..

It's great being on my own. Especially as the sofa, normally a simple seating device for two persons, has now been transformed. The right side, where I sit to eat, compute, and watch tv, is clear but the other half is now acquiring stuff! There's my ipad, various handsets, a spectacle case, an off-the-shelf pair of reading glasses, sunglasses, an unused webcam, the post from the past three days, used and semi-used tissues (no, not in that way!) and, tonight's acquisition, a half-finished bag of grapes. The cat, who likes to get close, is not here as yet, but I'm sure she'll be settled in soon, amongst these bits and bobs, this veritable gallimaufry of 'stuff'. I'll keep you posted, maybe.

I've about a week left before the situation changes. Then, the other person, the other 'force' returns, so considerations have to be made. I've no doubt I'll remedy the situation, and tidy up, prior to her arrival, as I've done so in the past in similar circumstances. I'll probably give the vacuum a quick work-out too... yes, I know, you're surprised, but I do have the know-how, the experience. I shall leave the washing machine alone though. That's just too technical for me. I might work in the IT industry, but come on... do me a favour...

[as I'm writing the cat's arrived and is sitting on my mouse lead making it awkward for me to edit as I go... fucking animal!]

I'm wondering how it would be if I were alone permanently. Would I amass, for want of a better word, debris? Would the "paraphernalia" spread beyond the confines of the sofa, and spill out over the floor, into other rooms? I doubt it. I've lived alone before, though it was in the dim and distant past, and lasted no more than a few months. But even so, I was surprisingly tidy. I think now though, I'd play a game, a kind of brinkmanship, deliberately leaving dirty dishes and the remnants of foodstuffs, to the point where they're on the verge of cultivating new forms of life. I'd do this simply as a reaction to having been nagged for so many years, sniped at, having been a victim of attempted manipulation. I can't help it, I'm just not good, generally speaking, at "dancing to someone else's tune"

[I'll fucking kill that cat if it doesn't move its arse]

I'm clean, and I'm tidy, but I do like to do things at my leisure, in MY time.

Continuing the theme, though they go far beyond me, I urge you to read this, from the Script of Withnail & I. Go see the film too, if you haven't already.

Have you got soup? Why didn't I get any soup?
Why don't you use a cup like any other human being?
Why don't you wash up occasionally like any other human being?
How dare you!? How dare you!? How dare you call me inhumane!?
I didn't call you inhumane, you merely imagined it. Calm down.
Right you fucker - I'm going to do the washing up!

[He strides towards the kitchen. I jumps over the arm of the settee and
stops him.]

No no you can't. It's impossible I swear it. I've looked into it.
Listen to me listen to me. There are things in there, there's a
tea-bag growing. You haven't slept in sixty hours you're in no state
to tackle it. Wait till the morning we'll go in together.
This is the morning. Stand aside!
You don't understand. I think there may be something alive.
What do you mean? a rat?
It's possible, it's possible.
Withnail [brandishing his comb]:
Then the fucker will rue the day!

[He rushes up the the sink.]

Oh Christ Almighty. Synous nicotine based. Keep back, keep back. The
entire sink's gone rotten. I don't know what's in here.

[He picks up the kettle from the stove then throws it suddenly into the

I told you. you've been bitten!
Burnt, burnt, the fucking kettle's on fire.
There's something floating up.
Withnail [with a fork in his hand]:
Fork it!
No no no, I don't want to touch it.
You must you must. The poop will boil through the glaze. We'll never
be able to use the dinner service again.

[He rumages about in a drawer.]

Here, get it with the pliers!
No, no, no, no, no, no. Give me the gloves.
That's right, put on the gloves. Don't attempt anything without the

Friday, 9 September 2011

Arsebook & the Antichrist

Facebook. What can I say? I have an account. Mostly, it's de-activated. But on occasion, like now, I muster courage enough to place myself inside. It's essentially, a cyber goldfish bowl.

It doesn't change. Always feels the same. I feel under intense scrutiny, and if that's not bad enough, I'm beset with requests, alerts, and worst of all, "People you may know". What can I say, except, NO I DON'T! And even if I did, it's hardly likely I'd want to include them. So fuck off, you intrusive twat! I'll take charge of my own acquaintances if you don't mind; and besides, it's my aim to reduce the number of people on my list, not pile them up in a show of, "look how popular I am!". I have around 22 persons on my list, the majority of them family, but in terms of online communication, I'm engaged with a small, very small, subset of them. And that's how I like it. Just like reality!

Flying off on a tangent, and apropos of nothing, I know a guy who doesn't give a shit. In fact, he doesn't give two shits. It's a fact. How do I know this? Well, he tells us so - that's all those who know him. And frequently too. Every day in fact, constantly. Week in, week out. Hey, you know something? I just had insight - this guy does give a shit!

Last night I watched a film, Antichrist. It was "recommended" by a friend. I had to go lie down afterwards in a lightened room and watch Disney films.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

But then again...

Having said all that in my previous post, here I am having the 'odd day off' (well two to be precise). I couldn't wait. The thought of so much free (and alone) time was too tempting. In my mind's eye having each day spread before me, in which to do as I please, was equivalent to anticipating the company of a wild and willing woman. So here I am. And you know something? There's no chemistry between myself and this day. Sigh.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

By popular demand...

I was tempted to post yet another pic of myself sitting at my computer, but I thought, enough is enough. Just how much of my fine features can the public stand? So I spared you…

Have you noticed how the seasons are shifting? It would seem so. Here, autumn began in mid August, with golden leaves strewn all over the central reservation of the local dual-carriageway. It's turned chilly too, as evidenced first thing in the morning, with condensation on the car window. At this rate we'll be having Spring at Christmas and winter in high-summer. Maybe the earth is turning over slowly, till eventually we'll be in the Southern Hemisphere. I wonder if that will affect a change in our spoken English too? Oh well, no worries, mate!

I've got 12 days holidays left. Those are work days, so effectively, I could have one vacation 16 days long (12 days plus two weekends) or, two 8 day holidays(6 days plus a weekend). I realise I could have several odd days off here and there, in the run up to Christmas, but that's not me. I guess I'm a, "let's experience life in big chunks" kind of man. Give me big chunks every time, something to grab hold of, you know what I mean? Hands up all those who agree!

The big question is, where to go? For a while now I've toyed with the idea of a local visit, somewhere in the UK, and in particular, the Yorkshire Dales or the Moors. I quite fancy the idea of renting a cottage in splendid isolation (the isolation that comes with free wi-fi internet of course). But then, I've the opportunity of staying at my mate's house in Brussels (that's the Brussels of Belgium fame, of strong beer, and senseless nights of over-indulgence - if you're a Brit!). I'm not sure though. He has a family, and as lovely as they are, I fear I'll have a nervous breakdown after a week of playing punch-bag and climbing frame for the kids.

I could do a "biggie", a journey to the far-east for instance, maybe taking in a series of exotic places on a fortnight cruise, but for the moment, I'm all cruised-out. I've done three big-ship cruises in two years, and now I've decided, as plush and luxuriant as they are, it's all too regimented. I'm in need of something less planned. Of course, there is the cliched, "Back-packing in Thailand", but then I'd prefer that with a companion, and at such short-notice, there are non-available. So what to do? Methinks I'll leave it percolating on the back-burner of my mind for a while.

Final word. I was saddened to hear the other week, the word "goloptious" meaning, "delightful", has been eliminated from the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, due to lack of use. I'm urging you all - yes, every damn one of you - to keep it alive. I'll expect to see it thriving soon.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

My posts are like buses...

... you don't get them for ages, then they come all at once!

This is me a few days ago, au-naturale (no pony-tail), complete with cheap, non-stylish, reading glasses. Please excuse the world-weary look, but sometimes Life does that to one, does it not?

Not much else to say, but I'll be back... oh yes, I'll be back, and soon.

Return of the wossname...

Yes, it is I, returned from the void, from beyond the fringe, from beyond the event-horizon, or whatever you want to call it. Note the hair? Messy, yes, much longer than it was, but cunningly hidden by means of a small pony-tail. Kinda cute, and you know what? I don't feel a bit like a woman... well, in one sense I feel very much like a woman (groan), but we won't go into that. Anyway, it's good to be back, in every sense as I'm drinking again, both coffee and alcohol, since I discovered they played no part in the migraines. For those I'm taking cider-vinegar tablets, a veritable panacea it seems, curing everything from foot-odour to world wars... or have I got that wrong? Well, so far I haven't had a migraine in two months. G'day all!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Demonic Ronald

Okay, who messed up this room?

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Back, and with a... erm... little noise...

I'm back. Feeling a bit sheepish. By my standards anyhow. Well, there's a point at which writer's block seems ridiculous, don't you think? I mean, for how long can one hold ones hand to ones brow and utter, "oh cruel muse, wherefore art thou... why hast thou forsaken me?". Come on, for God's sake, I'm a hairy-arsed fellow from the Industrial Midlands of England, could anything be more inappropriate? No, I thought not; so, I've concluded it's a position which can be held for limited periods only, before one gets the feeling one is being, may I say, a little pompous? Nay, more like pompous, posturing, and prick-like.You agree? After all, I'm not a writer. In fact, I'm not anything much at all (though I'll concede being called a dabbler) So, what if my written efforts fall short of perfection? What if I'm completely misunderstood? What if I bore the tits off the few who bother to come my way? One takes ones chances. So here I am, on this sparkling, fresh May day, ostensibly beavering away at my desk on the office, but in truth, doing what I do best: nothing in particular, staring into space, and occasionally striking the keyboard of my computer. The fruit it bears is this post. It's a start.

So what's new with me? Well, I can't compete with this ever-changing world, with it's earthquakes, Royal weddings, and assassinations; but on a minor narcissistic note (such a surprise for a personal blogger) I do have what may be considered "breaking news" [roll of drums followed by a fanfare] Are you ready for this? Can you feel the tension? Wait for it... okay, you asked for it... here it comes... wooo hooo... don't know about you but I'm excited... chuckle... ahem... big news coming this way folks...

... my hair, dare I say it, is now officially deemed, long!

How do I know this? Well, a colleague asked the other day,

"Are you growing your hair Don?".

This is absolute and incontrovertible proof of its non-shortness. I replied in the affirmative, to which he said,


Like erm, duh...

"Because I can?".

Sunday, 20 March 2011

How to meditate successfully and clear writer's block in one easy lesson.

To still the mind, or so it's said,
It's best to sit oneself cross-legged,
And duly count on inspiration,
One... then two, on exhalation.

Proceed until you get to ten
And then? Why, simply start again.
Continue till mind's ceaseless chatter
Is no issue, is no matter.

But having tried this tested path
I have to say, is this a laugh?
I barely get to four all told
Before the thoughts stream, manifold.

In contrast when I sit to write
I'm blocked, an hour, sometimes a night.
To lay my eyes on screen or paper,
It seems converts my mind to vapour.

And in this reverie I stay
Until the muse moseys my way
And says, "let's set this poor wretch free"
Allowing inspiration. Woop-de-dee!

The answer then is written here,
To write - we squat cross-legged, it's clear?
And quell our minds? Well, as we've seen,
We sit and stare at a blank screen.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

In praise of Idleness (first published circa 2005)

I have long held that sleeping and lying abed are the principal foundations for the good life. And contrary to being a waste of life, as is often asserted, idle time is precious indeed. Without it, we are unable to reflect on what we are and what we do; instead, we slavishly follow prescriptions devised by those most likely to profit from their execution. We become, as a result, automatons, blindly pursuing someone else's agenda. From the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution when men began, for the first time, to work by the clock, an insidious philosophy was impregnated into their souls; a belief so deeply ingrained, many believe it to be a self-evident fact of the Universe. The three central tenets of this doctrine being: time is precious; time is money; work is good for the soul. Thus was created The Work Ethic.

Since time immemorial artists have known the necessity of idling time. Without this freedom to meditate and dream, creativity perishes, leaving in its wake a formulaic existence, a mechanical procedure devoid of novelty. But this too applies to all of us, for though we desire compassion and empathy from our fellow men, these things are best learned through meditation, introspection, and importantly, rest; but if this soil in which they grow is not present, can we expect anything other than what we have? Never has there been a time more crucial than now for raising awareness of idling time's theft. Let's regain what we once had and take to our beds and sofas. To sleep, perchance to dream...

Monday, 7 February 2011

In the interim perid, you get this...

When sitting at my computer to perform my daily ritual tasks of emailing, post writing, and blog surfing, I sit in silence. And though high-speed Internet allows me to stream music and video, I choose not to. Sometimes this fact misleads people into thinking I am not a music lover; but they are wrong. The reason for doing so is simple.

For me, music is primarily for listening to, and not  a background "commentary", a stream to dip into when I shift focus away from the particular task in hand. It's a totality, a complete work. Indeed, I've yet to hear a piece of music or a song that's been deliberately punctuated with pauses long enough to accommodate conversations, tea-making, or the taking of a crap; which for me, hints at the composers or Artistes intentions and expectations - they want their music to be taken seriously! So if I decide to listen, I make special time for it, and do not take kindly to interruptions. Music-while-I-work is out.

Interrupt me at your peril if I'm listening to Ella.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

National, write a post with a lisp, day

It'th been awhile thince I pothted of my caffeine-abthtinence, the 21tht Augutht 2010, to be precithe, tho I thought it about time I gave a quickie update.

Thince Augutht I've given up alcohol too which, along with thothe other viceth and pleathureth that theemingly have given me up, it leaveth bithcuitth (without chocolate of courthe) ath one of my few remaining indulgenceth. Tho...

You'd be excuthed for thinking I've become a twitching wreck, thporting the haunted look of a man bereft of thenthual delightth, but think again. I'm actually all the better for it (thee photo above - really jutht an excuthe to thhow off my new jacket).

Ath promithed by the "thcientithtth", laying off caffeine hath made me calmer, leth prone, ath they thay, "to exaggerating my emotional rethpontheth", but the betht outcome hath to be from thlinging the booze into touch.

Counter-intuitively (how many people claim drink helpth them thleep?), teetotalithm hath enabled me to thleep all night through, inthtead of the uthual 3 to 4 tholid hourth followed by an abrupt awakening and fitful thleep thereafter. Strangely though, I dream a lot more than I uthed to (or ith it that I remember them thethe dayth?). Ith there'th a Jungian in the houthe?

It'th an improvement, though I'm far from claiming to be a different perthon. I like to think I'm the thame perthon but with thome of the rough edgeth removed.

Hmm... what elthe can I give up? Swearing perhapth? Nah, fuck that for a game of tholdiers!


Coming soon: National, writing a post while one's testicles are slowly but progressively squeezed tighter and tighter in a vice, day


Along with my dislike of nice as a... eeeurrgh... description of myself, I'm equally... aaahhh... perturbed to hear the phrase applied, "he's as good as... OH MY FUCKING GOD.. gold!". Take my word, men described thus are... jesus christ.. put upon sad victims of the belief (inculcated during childhood) that women... NO, NO, NO, NO... are not only the fairer, gentler sex, but... eeeeeeeek! are by sole virtue of their gender, to be... NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!... pedestalised (my word) too. Of course... nyeeeeeeeegh!... the truth... aaarrrggghhh!... is, they're not fairer or gentler, so to be set upon a plinth... PLEASE GOD, I SWEAR, I'LL BE GOOD... oooooooaaaaahhh!... they ought to at least merit the position, but of course... OH NO... the damage... SHIIIIIIIIIIIT... is done, and the hapless wretches are preyed upon... (to be continued)

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Light banter

Annus Horribilis. Sounds awful, doesn't it? Like some festering blight of the back-passage? Well it's not. For the benefit of those not clued-up on Latin, it means, "Horrible Year"; a phrase intended to be the title of my magnum opus (for last year anyway), a summation of the 12 or so months recently passed. A horrid time. A time of unspeakable, barely bloggable events. A living horror. Apart, of course, from the four holidays: three cruises and sojourn into the Emerald Isle. But still, a veritable nightmare. Though in fairness, those moments of joy, of pure escapism - when watching films and reading books for instance - should be excluded, along with the jollity and hilarity of the office-banter, and those brief, but meditative moments spent on the daily train journey into work (oh how I love travelling). But apart from these, it's been hell, it really has... I mean... well... sorry, but I just can't talk about it.

Fiat Lux
. Or, as they say around these parts, "Let there be light". I say this apropos of nothing, other than to operate on the age-old writer's maxim, "when you've nothing to say, bung in a few foreign phrases for effect!". So, wihout further ado, I shall carpe diem and move forth... and talking of light, I've navigated this winter so far without the usual woe-is-me I'm depressed grumblings; though, in my defence, I beleive I'm a victim of that pernicious affliction, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD); which is why I've purchased a SAD light. I wont bore you with the technical details (mainly because I don't know them) but I'll guess and say, it provides a light of the requisite brightness, akin to that of bright daylight, thus increasing serotonin levels in the nervous system. Result: a measure of well-being. So it's not unusual to see me tapping away at me laptop in the glare of this white light, at something around regulo 7(180C), and basting myself with thoughts of... well never you mind.. seems to work. And besides, it could be worse, I could live in Finland, land of the sunless days, polar bears, wolverines, and kangaroos... no, that can't be right... aren't polar bears from the Antarctic?

We've had an unusual amount of snow recently. I've always thought, "there's nothing like a bit of snow to make you think!". And it's true. It snowed, and would you believe... I actually thought! No sooner had it laid itself in pristine crystalline form only to begin thawing, when an idea came into my mind, it said... nay... it shouted, "Entropy!" Referring to that Universal movement of all things from order to disorder. This snow, thought I, represents the whole of the cosmos in microcosm, the inexorable move towards chaos (for an alternative metaphor, think of the annual Office Party, how it begins as opposed to its end). S'true. Though there might be an exception. Looking at mother confirms the hypothesis. In extreme old-age she's been entropolized real good: from a glowing, poised youth, she's now shrivelled, stooped and enfeebled, but...despite this fact, it's important to her to ensure the rubbish is put out in time for the bin-men. The idea itself, though seeded an age ago, remains intact. It's impervious to the degradation of her body and Universal laws, and I'm sure, even on her death-bed she'll hoarsely whisper, "have you put the bag out?". I like this idea. I like to think for a brief period at least, we're able to cock a snook at the Universe, to waggle our willies at it, metaphorically speaking, and cry, "FUCK YOU ENTROPY!"

Bwanas knockers*

* Buenas noches (Spanish) meaning, good night.