Friday, 29 June 2007

Wednesday 27 June 2007

a can of tango.
out on the stockwell road like
a glowing tourist

‘God has released me,’ says Paris Hilton, on getting out of pokey, which is as good an argument as any for the fact of his non-existence.
In ‘Coronation Street’ the residents are still reeling from the revelation that Leanne Battersby sells her body on t’internet, well, actually, via an agency, but it amounts to the same thing. Eileen Grimshaw is being pursued, not only by Sinbad from Brookie, but by Sean Hughes, the Irish comedian.
She must be so torn.
Corry’s hit a low spot lately. David Platt, the teenage son of Gail and (mysteriously absent) Martin, has been behaving in a very spooky manner since his mother married a serial killer who tried to drown everyone in a family hatchback. The problem is that no one really cares. The producers have made young David so annoying that we’re beginning to wish he was still in the canal.
David set fire to his exam papers recently, which, in Corry terms, is tantamount to kicking a nun while throttling kittens during school assembly.
We don’t want this. We want more Norris and Rita, Jack and Vera, Ken and Diedre continuing their eternal Beckett-esque examination of their relationship, Blanche and her acidly nihilistic view of the North and Liz McDonald, squeezing into another improbable landlady’s frock.
No one cares about young people. They don’t. We wish they’d go away and come back when they’re twenty-eight and have something interesting to say.
Talking of which, in the Big Brother House, the odious Charley has once more escaped the public vote due to a very suspicious decision on the part of Big Brother to cancel her and Billi’s nominations following a public screamfest about who nominated whom.
Had their votes not been cancelled, Charley would be up for the public vote and almost certain to be evicted on Friday. Was this a ploy on the part of BB to keep her in the house?
You decide.
I’ve already decided, and I’ve decided I’m vexed.
I shall write Channel 4 a stiff letter of complaint.

Tuesday 26 June 2007

it’s a secret park
where schoolgirls exchange fresh memes
while the benches brood

The Celebrity Omen (see last post) portended ill, as I have just heard that the Spice Girls are reforming. What further horrors can the world throw at me?
Stunned and disoriented by this news, I headed out to the Edgware Road where I spent a nice afternoon checking out the library, looking round the market, ogling arab men and sitting in the park.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Monday 25 June 2007

our trains have evolved
engines are muted thunder
the roof speaks in tongues

I took the train from Paddington to Southall while thunder grumbled overhead. At the station, the rain was a little strong so I popped into an Indian bar called The Glassy Junction.
Decorated rather like an Indian Restaurant, with some fab brass Indian elephant heads holding the bar rail to the bar, I felt a little out of place, but as there was only me, the barman, and an elderly Sikh, I didn’t feel too intimidated.
At one point an Irish construction worker came in, who needed to do some work on the pavement outside near the cellar door and so needed to know what day their deliveries arrived so that he avoided his concrete being trampled by draymen.
Unfortunately, the Irish accent was so strong that the barman couldn’t understand him so I had to translate into Standard English, and after several minutes of tortuous repetition everyone was happy.
Later, some young Indian men from Manchester came in, and were videoing the pub, no doubt for the benefit of their Manc relatives, and even videoed me, waving and grinning like a special needs uncle, as I tend to do when confronted with cameras.
I do have to say, that of all the pubs I’ve visited in London this has to be the friendliest. Everyone is happy to chat, and no one seems to have an attitude. I will have to pop in here again.
On the way home I had a celebrity omen, as, when coming out of Paddington Station, I saw John Barnes (the footballer, not the Science Fiction author, sadly) sauntering in with a Hugo Boss suit over his shoulder.
What could this portend?

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Saturday 23 June 2007

small seas from the sky
forked fire and cloud explosions
sight/sound not in sync.

The plumber came round to put in a new toilet, which seems to be working ok and hopefully not drowning the neighbours.
I had a pleasant afternoon shopping and then staying home alone while the thunder crashed and the rain poured until later, when the Ugly One returned and we settled down to catch up with some TV and the movie ‘Silent Hill’.
I was a bit surprised to see Sean Bean suddenly popping up with an American accent, and no sign of his Sheffield via Middle Earth Northern drawl.
Bean’s young daughter is behaving increasingly erratically, drawing pictures of witches and crying out the words ‘Silent Hill’ in her sleep.
So, against Bean’s better judgement, the mother takes the little girl and drives off to Virginia, to the ghost town of Silent Hill.
It’s a movie adapted from a video-game, and as these things go, it’s not too bad, if a little predictable. The special effects and the design of the beasties which infest the abandoned mining town are excellent, but don’t expect anything intellectually challenging.

Friday 22 June 2007

a chastity ring.
i think the school has banned it
because it’s tacky.

Religious groups, it seems, have rights above and beyond the rest of us. Today a young lady, despite the fact that she is about to leave the educational establishment concerned, is nevertheless taking the school to court because they wouldn’t allow her to wear her chastity ring.
She claims it is a symbol of her faith, which is errant nonsense, as it’s an American invention – a tacky one at that – in which teenagers wear a ring and pledge not to have sex until, well, until they take the ring off, I suppose.
I would like the court to examine what difference it has made to the young lady’s life having been deprived of wearing the ring during school hours? Was she driven so mad with lust that she defiled the janitor in some dark cupboard, thick with the scent of Dettol?
No, I didn’t think so.
This is just a bit of cheap christian propaganda invented out of nothing just to make a point. I’m a bit unclear as to what point is being made, however.
A girl is claiming her human rights are being violated by not being allowed to wear a ring which is not a traditional symbol of her faith, but a bit of nonsense invented in America for purely commercial reasons.
The school has a prohibition against the wearing of jewellery.The girl presumably wishes to wear the ring in order for all her schoolmates to see it. In this day and age one’s virginity is not something one can be proud of without having it displayed like a fashion accessory. It sounds suspiciously like Vanity, and although it is a long time since I last consulted a Bible I’m reasonably sure that that is a sin.

Friday, 22 June 2007

Thursday 21 June 2007

a giant afro
in the queue at sainsburys.
retro respect, dude.

The longest day of the year here in Britain. It’ll be light until nearly bedtime.
Since my last post I have been thinking a lot about Noah’s Ark. If any of you reading this believe that there actually was an ark, maybe you could explain the following:-
To accommodate two members of every species, and foodstuffs sufficient to last them for, lets say, forty days, the ark would have to have been the size of North Wales. How did Noah find the manpower, let alone the wood, to create such a craft?
The combined weight of all the animals and their supplies would, in any case, ensure that the ark wouldn’t have a hope of floating.
Where did Noah find the penguins, polar bears, tapirs, Tasmanian devils, kangaroos, American squirrels, Indian elephants, dormice and pine martens?
We are told that – representing the human race – Noah and his family were the only ones of God’s children to be saved and repopulate the world. Where then did Africans, Indians, Eskimoes, Native Americans, Chinese and White people come from subsequently? This was after all between 5 and 6000 years ago (according to the Fundamentalists), and even if those picky religious types did accept the idea of evolution this would be a woefully short time for individual races to evolve in various countries of the world.
Really. Think about it. It’s all nonsense.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Wednesday 20 June 2007

i’m reading shorthand,
and this is the irony,
it takes a long time.

Anyway, to get back to the concept of Rationalism:
I have just started reading Richard Dawkins’ ‘The God Delusion’, a lucid and very enjoyable book which sets out Dawkins’ own Rationalist manifesto, if that’s what you’d like to call it. Like myself, Dawkins is an atheist, and this book sets out his own views on God, Religion, and the sad consequences of our living in societies where major decisions are made on the basis of supernatural belief.
Unfortunately, I fear this book will never be read by those who really need to read it, i.e. those people who are trapped in a religious culture and have not been educated to see that there are alternatives to their beliefs.
At the cinema yesterday there was a trailer for a film called ‘Evan Almighty’, a sequel to ‘Bruce Almighty’ in which God (played by a suitably white-robed Morgan Freeman) devolved divine powers to Jim Carey (who was presumably surprised to discover that he hadn’t got them already).
In the sequel, God appears to Evan (Evan! Heaven... Geddit? I'm crying with laughter here, honestly), and tells him that he is to be the second Noah, and must build an ark.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I am sure that this film is likely to offend just about anyone. The Christians will no doubt be offended by the fact that it is pure blasphemy, White Supremacists will be offended (again) by the idea of a Black God, Atheists like myself will be offended simply by the reinforcement to naïve American minds of the concept of Noah’s Ark being presented as historical truth. The rest will simply be offended by the fact that their intelligence is being insulted, since the film looks, well, a load of pants.

Tuesday 19 June 2007

the toilet leaking;
an australian plumber;
abandoned chinese.

We returned home from seeing ‘The Rise of The Silver Surfer’ to find our bathroom awash and the agitated neighbours downstairs eager to show us how water had been pouring in through their ceiling. It appears that the Dave Gorman plumber who repaired our toilet last week did more harm than good.
One of the contractors who had been working in another flat during the day had to climb a ladder, get into our flat and switch the water off while we were at work.
Later, having contacted the out of hours emergency people and mopped up the lake that had formed around the washbasin, an Australian plumber turned up and examined the toilet and cistern, with a lot of ‘Awww mate! Look at this…’ and ‘Whoaah mate… it’s coming from here!’.
By this time it was midnight and I had been gloomily contemplating the prospect of using a bucket should a toilet-related emergency occur.
Finally however, he made it safe and useable and arranged for someone else to come tomorrow.
Stressed beyond endurance, I lit a cigarette and settled down to watch the Big Brother nominations.
Foolishly, I always tend to underestimate the stupidity of the contestants. The twins (whose favourite colour, tellingly and ominously, is pink) must share a brain between them. They both nominated Carole who seems to have been single-handedly doing their washing and cleaning for the last three weeks.
Their only reason for nomination seemed to be that when they want to do dangerous and stupid things, Carole tells them not to.
‘Fun’ seems to be the thing that the housemates want to do most, although their definition of ‘fun’ seems to be somewhat vague. ‘Fun’ is a fuzzy concept which exists only as potential in some Shangri-la-la-land. It is what Jodie Marsh and Paris Hilton have.
Seany’s idea of ‘Fun’ is to play tedious practical jokes on other people. He poured water into Charley’s boots and put wet tissues in her pumps. Then he put a condom over the head of Gerry’s toy monkey, Freddy, which Gerry refers to unaccountably as a bear. My, how we, and the other housemates, laughed!
This somewhat childish behaviour earned him enough nominations to face the public vote, along with Carole and Jonathan, whose only crime seems to be that he’s rich and looks a little like Bilbo Baggins.
Somehow, Charley avoided the public vote by one nomination.
Apart from her other extensive charming habits, Charley is constantly gnawing her fist, as if this is the only way she can stop herself talking. Sadly, it’s not working.
Get Charley Out! Get Charley Out! Get Charley Out!

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Monday 18 June 2007

‘accepted’ it said,
like e-mail benediction.
published, I’ll be saved.

Once in a while, as I have said before, it’s nice to get those letters or e-mails which say ‘we like your work and would like to publish (for instance) ‘The Famous Moths of London’’, but they seldom say what it is they like about ‘The Famous Moths of London’.
The reason I would like to know is that it always comes as something of a surprise when people actually like something I’ve written. I like it myself. I enjoy reading what I have written, but I am the first to admit that I have very strange taste in all things. My passion for Wayne Rooney, for instance, is widely mocked by straight and gay people alike.
This time the good news was from a magazine called ‘Aesthetica’ which is available from Borders and WH Smith (or so they say). I suspect it will only be those large branches, rather than the small ones in Tube Stations that only sell ‘Heat’, ‘TV Quick’ and Wordsearch magazines.
It’s been an odd weekend. On a whim I decided to cook Curry Goat, never having done it before, and so dug out a dusty Jamaican recipe book and set to work.
On Saturday I had a thoroughly enjoyable time grinding spices to make up some Jamaican curry powder. I am glad that I decided to reduce the original amounts quoted by two thirds, as otherwise I’d have ended up with enough curry powder to last me a decade.
On Sunday I went out and bought some goat from a butchers in Shepherds Bush, but when I got home I foolishly fell asleep and didn’t wake up till six.
The curry was finally ready at about 9.45 pm, and bloody good it was too.
The goat is an underrated beast.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Wednesday 13 June 2007

what was she wearing,
clinging like a scared marquee
to her acreage?

I love Sheri S Tepper. I have just read her novel, ‘The Fresco’ which is as good an example of my view of Rationalism as I could have hoped for.
It’s ostensibly a science-fiction novel in which an alien race, the Pistach, offer Humanity the chance to join a Confederation of alien races, but in order to qualify we must conform to a certain standard of behaviour.
Benita Shipton, an abused wife and mother of two, is chosen by the Pistach to take the role of intermediary in the negotiations between Earth and the rest of the galaxy.
Meanwhile, another race, this one being warlike and predatory with a taste for human flesh, is seeking to gazump the Pistach and open up Earth as a hunting ground for the more carnivorous races of the galaxy.
The science is immaterial, since Tepper uses the story to give us a view of Humanity through an alien’s eyes and casts a cruelly objective look at our global childish behaviour.
The aliens, asked by the President of the USA to show what powers they have to solve the problems of the world, immediately set about doing so. Their first act is against Afghanistan, where the women, more or less imprisoned and covered up by the Taliban lest they fill their men with demon desire, are all turned ugly, with bald heads and crone faces. Now that they can no longer engender lust, the aliens say, they can walk freely in the streets.
Likewise, the aliens completely remove Jerusalem and tell the Earth that it will be returned when humanity has grown up and learned to live with itself.
In a plot element which is not worth going into in detail, several men are impregnated with an alien larvae by a race which has evolved from insects who lay their eggs in living creatures. The men are promised that after 13 months the larvae will begin to eat their way out and that, although the process will be painful, the hosts will come to no harm.
The aliens have chosen the men because they have all taken a religious position on abortion and are committed to a pro-life agenda. Thus, these men are compelled to not only go through the experience of pregnancy but to also suffer an experience equivalent to that of childbirth.
I recommend this novel to all religious (and non-religious) people. It’s a breath of fresh air which cuts through the nonsensical dogma of politics and theology and simply espouses common sense.
How I wish the aliens really would arrive.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Tuesday 12 June 2007

aftershave bottles
line up like a cityscape.
i don't even shave.

I had a day off today to deal with a workman who came round to fix the cistern on the toilet. He looked like a thin Dave Gorman. Not his fault, I suppose. I don’t wish to be judgemental like the men my mate Glyn encountered yesterday. A few pies and some of my hotpot would be certain to fill him out and make him quite lovely.
I seem to be getting a lot of verbal abuse myself lately, mainly from mad people. Once the workman had packed up and gone I went out to The Bush of Shepherds and, on passing the Baptist Church, an old black man sitting on the steps clutching a can of Tennants looked at me and said ‘Oi! Fatso!’
Ignoring the unjust and unwarranted remark I waddled on with quiet dignity and grace.
Despite the presence of the odious Simon Cowell, ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ continues to fascinate me, more for its celebration of British eccentricity than anything else. A middle-aged married man, indistinguishable from a million or more other middle-aged married men, for no reason anyone could fathom, decided to enter dressed as Kylie Minogue, singing ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head.’
Mr Cowell, as has become customary, threw a couple of his usual moodies when acts he didn’t approve of were put through by the other judges.
Cowell, who appears, oddly, much nicer than he normally does in these sort of programmes, doesn’t seem to have any middle ground. The acts in Cowell’s view are either ‘pointless’ or ‘brilliant’, apart from one which paraxodically was ‘pointless but brilliant’.
As he relentlessly points out, the search is being conducted for an act of quality suitable to perform for the Royal family, though why the Royal Family’s taste in variety acts should be so superior to the rest of us is not clear.
Simon Cowell doesn’t seem to understand what a variety act is. A seasoned club performer who played the keyboard and did rather good impressions of Neil Diamond and George Formby (and whom the audience loved) was summarily dismissed by Cowell, whereas two days before he’d put through a pole dancer who produces sparks from her crotch with the aid of an angle grinder and a metal codpiece.
I’m sure Her Maj is going to love that.
Talking of stupidity, in the Big Brother House the Housemates nominated today. Gerry and Seany chose the dozey twins Sam and Amanda to nominate alongside them and not one of them nominated Charley.
Consequently, up for nomination this week are Carole (I’m baffled by this), Tracy (perhaps because she reminds the housemates too much of Sean Bean as Boromir when he’s looking angry and about to kill some orcs) and Satnav.
My money’s on Satnav. She think it’s funny to keep people awake all night, does no housework at all, and then wonders why people get grumpy with her.

Monday 11 June 2007

nightwinds and bold moths
carry in the sounds of taxi
doors; muffled laughter

My mate Glyn, on his way to the Walk For Life yesterday, overheard the following exchange between two young men in mirror sunglasses and skinny t-shirts, clutching matching packets of Marlboro lights.

Camp Belgian :
Oh, you know, dahling, I`m going to end this whole relationship thing. It`s been two weeks, you know!

Camp Englishman :
Two weeks?! You`ve lasted well!

Camp Belgian :
I know that we`re supposed to be nice to old people, but he`s forty-six for God`s sake! I mean, really, he lives in a council flat in (cue curl of lip, and look of arch horror) Peckham! What am I supposed to do with that?!

Camp Englishman :
You can only take charity so far, dear...

You can indeed. I feel disinclined to be charitable to people who display such attitudes. When did we get to a point in our society where the public consciousness seems to deem anyone over thirty as unworthy of any attention whatsoever?
I blame Margaret Thatcher for all of this. She has to have had a hand in it somewhere.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Sunday 10 June 2007

sunday has escaped
again while I was elsewhere
preparing for it.

I suspect that Sundays were invented to deceive us into thinking it was a day of rest, when in fact it seems to fill itself with things that need to be done.
Having done the usual morning coffee, bath and shave thing I went shopping for food, returned and caught up with my e-mail and correspondence, did the washing up and, having fallen asleep, was awoken by an ice-cream van playing ‘I love to go a-wandering along the mountain track’. By this time the day was mostly over. It only remained to watch ‘Coronation Street’ and ‘Big Brother’.
Ken, no doubt worried for the sanctity of his laptop and faced with the prospect of a large hairdresser forcing her way into his cardigan, has packed up and left and returned to the far less threatening bosom of Diedre.
As for BB, this was the usual round of arguments about food, allocation of household chores and those odd indefinable arguments which seem to be about nothing at all. Charley is very good at those. She opens her mouth and a torrent of nonsense falls out, usually prefaced by ‘I’m not being funny, right, but…’
She’s quite right, she isn’t being funny. As far as I can recall, over the last thirteen days or so she hasn’t been in the least bit funny at all.

Monday, 11 June 2007

Saturday 9 June 2007

outside my window
the voices grate like crow-tongues
scraping at the night.

Paris Hilton has been sent back to jail. Hoorah!
This raises my faith in the American Justice system, but only a little bit. It remains to be seen whether she serves the remaining term of her 45 day sentence.
The Olympic logo debate rumbles on. Jonathan Ross, in his TV show, claimed that it looked like Lisa Simpson giving a blowjob, which, spookily, it does.
So far, the Olympic Powers-That-Be are standing firm, despite almost universal derision at the absurd , ugly and impractical design.
Talking of things absurd and ugly, Simon Cowell had a new show starting tonight, ‘Britain Has Talent,’ its aim to find an act worthy of performing before Her Majesty The Queen in the Annual Royal Variety performance. The trailer boasts ‘Three Entertainment Megastars’ (or words to that effect) as judges, which turn out to be Simon Cowell himself, Amanda Holden (most famous for being married to Les Dennis, having an affair with Neil Morrisey and then appearing in ‘Cutting It’ on BBC1) and Piers Morgan, one-time editor of News of The World and The Daily Mirror. They have big red buzzers which they can press when fed up with an act, and if all three judges buzz the act off, then they’re finished.
The hype surrounding the show, which as a bonus has the marvellous Ant & Dec adding their own subversive commentary on the acts backstage, tends to blur the fact that The Royal Variety Performance hasn’t really moved on since its heyday back in the Nineteen Seventies. If it wasn’t for the fact that the Queen is forced to turn up once a year for what is, if we are honest, two hours or more of at best, lacklustre performances from mostly has-been performers, the show would have been scrapped twenty years ago.
One has to ask also, what does Simon Cowell, or the other two for that matter, know about variety acts? He’s a music producer. She’s an actress and Piers is a newspaper editor/columnist/writer, and is rather dull.
Having said that, there is something gruesomely pleasurable in watching acts that have absolutely no chance of success burning and crashing in front of a live audience, almost literally so in the case of Chief Firewater and White Dove from Manchester, a flaming-knife-throwing act which nearly set the venue on fire due to the nervousness of Chief Firewater.
Like most viewers I will likely lose interest once the crazy auditions are over.

Friday 8 June 2007

the conversations
on my mobile are all fake.
I speak to myself.

I was heartened by the arrival in the post of a large brown envelope which contained the latest copy of ‘The Rialto’ which features one of my poems, for which I was paid twenty pounds. I imagine that this makes me officially a poet.
If you want to know what it is and what it’s about I suggest you buy a copy. ‘The Rialto’ is a well-established, high quality magazine which needs to be supported. Details can be found at
In ‘Coronation Street’, Ken and Diedre’s relationship remains in limbo. Ken is shacked up with a large hairdresser, a laptop and his hobbit-like son. It’s never been clear what Ken does with his laptop. He stares at the screen while tapping at his teeth with his glasses, adopting a look of weary resignation. Maybe, he too, has a blog and is keeping Weatherfield residents up to date on the semiological significance of events in the Big Brother House.
Realising, perhaps too late, that his behaviour has been somewhat bizarre, he lies to the large hairdresser, telling her that he is off to the library to do research, when in fact he is lurking at the Coronation Street bus-stop, spying on Diedre as she nips out to buy some parkin and barmcakes.
Later, after a bottle of wine, the large hairdresser makes a saucy lunge at Ken, but he pushes her away - no mean feat for a man of his age dealing with a woman of her size - maybe on the understandable grounds that she’s likely to crease his cardigan.
Meanwhile, in The Big Brother House, the housemates deal with the aftermath of Emily’s racist remarks. Charley, who, to be honest, didn’t seem too bothered at first by the incident, has once more turned herself into a victim and has bleating loudly to all and sundry about what a horrible experience it was for her.
Her bleating was temporarily interrupted by the arrival of two new housemates. Gerry (or is it Jerry?), a
gay Greek archaeologist of some sort, and Seany, a gay Irish lunatic who looks like a cross between Mick Hucknell and Benny Hill.
Ziggy seemed confused by the arrival while Tracy adopted the look of Sean Bean as Boromir when he first saw the ring of Sauron in Rivendell.
Charley, obviously still so traumatised by Emily’s racist abuse later dared Seany to pull the duvet from sleeping sixty year old Lesley, which he did. Lesley, shocked and disoriented, obviously deeming this to be the final straw, promptly requested that she leave the House as soon as possible.She left at about 9.30 Saturday morning. A terrible, terrible shame, as Lesley was ten times more entertaining than the odious Charley could ever be, even with the help of a support band and a team of writers.

Friday, 8 June 2007

Thursday 7 Jun 2007

mabel’s goat curry
is a tribute to the goat
he died not in vain.

I am in the odd position of not knowing what to do about the mayonnaise in my local coffee shop. I having been using the same coffee shop most mornings for nearly five years from whence I pick up my
cappuccino and my ham roll, with mayonnaise.
Recently, the mayo has changed. I am not sure into what. I suspect that the café have decided to try making their own, while leaving out a very vital step in the process; that of tasting it.
I am on the horns of a dilemma, the very horns, I say!
Do I point out that their new mayonnaise is just nasty, with an aftertaste of onions, a pretaste of garlic and a during-taste of…. metal? Maybe it dissolves spoons. I cannot tell them this. They are Italian and therefore easily roused to wrath, especially if their cooking is criticised. I could wake up with a donkey’s head on my pillow.
Or do I avoid the place and send in minions at weekly intervals to see if the mayo has returned to its former quality?
Today I just got cappuccino on its own and later went to a new West Indian café and had Curried Goat with Saffron Rice. They called it Saffron Rice, but I suspect the nearest the rice got to saffron was on the shelf. Nevertheless it was damn good, and free from disturbing flavours which shouldn’t have been there in the first place.
Why is life so complex? Why do people change things that don’t need to be changed?
I was torn from my dilemma by the news that posh Emily from Big Brother had been summarily ejected from the house after using the word ‘n*gg*r’, allegedly in jest, to Charley.
Hoorah! One bimbo down. Five to go.
Big Brother, to be fair, had no choice but to remove Emily from the house. Her remark, although her intent might not have been a racial one, no doubt caused offence throughout the land. It is wrong, however, to compare this isolated situation with the sustained intentional nastiness which was such a prominent feature of the recent Celebrity Big Brother.

Wednesday 6 June 2007

they always steal pens.
large awkward office magpies
with nests full of ink

And so it begins.
The initial harmony which pervaded the Big Brother House has vanished like a Jade Goody advertising contract.
Ziggy (I am further confused by the fact that some people call him Zak), in order to win money for the shopping budget, had to judge where the housemates would place themselves in order (from 1 to 11) in various categories, i.e. intelligence, attractiveness and consideration.
He guessed, not unsurprisingly, that Lesley would be judged most intelligent. One would have to employ the full forces of the SETI project to find intelligence elsewhere in the house, so this wasn’t a hard task.
Somehow, Charley managed to get the number one spot for attractiveness, although she loudly (she does everything loudly, even silence) protested afterwards that it wasn’t her choice.
The rest was a random scramble for podia, and ultimately, poor Ziggy could only get two answers correct.
Then, the poor man, already beaten to near insanity by the girls singing ‘I’m a Barbie Girl’ over and over again, had to nominate.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Tuesday 5 June 2007

coffee and sushi
and the late sun shimmering
like a metaphor

There’s a small furore going on concerning the new logo for the 2012 olympics. A top advertising concern was commissioned at the cost of the annual income of a small European kingdom and the result is, well, crap. There are five pastel shapes, four of which represent an abstraction of the numbers 2012, and the fifth is… just a shape.
The populace has risen in fury at such amateurism, added to which the animated version on the website has had to be withdrawn as it’s caused people to have epileptic fits.
The BBC morning news, which is always ready to jump on the bandwagon of popular uprisings, has been running a continuous feature every day in which viewers have sent in their own ideas for logos, the majority of which are far superior to, and more practical than, the agreed design.
Most popular of these is a simple idea in which the word ‘London’ is used, with the initial L O N doubling as 2012.
A ‘design guru’ was interviewed this morning and expressed his own dismay at the accepted design and showed some alternatives submitted by students which again, were interesting, exciting, and far more acceptable than what has been chosen.
Personally, as far as the Olympics are concerned, I couldn’t be less bothered. My only involvement with this regular circus is to complain about it commandeering the TV schedules for months without the terrestrial TV companies providing any alternative viewing for those of us who find sporting events only slightly more entertaining than a conversation with Katy Price.
It doesn’t bode well, though, that with five years to go till the event, we can’t even get the logo right.
Meanwhile, in the Big Brother house, the housemates are unaware of the nation’s unhappiness with a bit of design tat.
Food and toilet rolls are running out, and despite Nicky’s best efforts to get the girls to discuss rationing what food they’ve got left, it appears impossible to get them to stop talking about themselves in order to debate the issue.
Satnav (or whatever her name is) had earlier asked Ziggy (I’m wondering now if this is short for Sigmund) if he’d nominate her, as she wants to leave. She’s already been to the Diary room to ask Big Brother if she can ‘still get deals’ if she leaves by the back door.
Those of us who actually watch Big Brother know that discussing or soliciting nominations is a rule one breaks at one’s peril, and Satnav has been punished by Big Brother in the form of banning all the housemates from the bathroom.
Who could have predicted what a terrible punishment that would be? Hair-straighteners have assumed the status of Sauron’s ring, with various females turning to the dark side and attempting to take possession of ‘the precious’.
Lesley watches from another room with the eyes of a reptilian professor, studying the subjects of a vital experiment.

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Monday 4 June 2007

thirty years have gone
since marc bolan died in a
purple explosion.

I am beginning to wonder where those thirty years have gone. I recall sitting at my mother’s table, eating (I remember vividly) bacon, egg and fried tomato when the news came on the radio that Bolan had been killed in a car accident, having wrapped his purple mini round a tree near Barnes.
I was in Wales at the time and had no clue where Barnes was, nor did I care, since the terrible truth was filtering through to me that Bolan was dead.
I was seventeen and not terribly sane at the time so it was understandable, at least to me, that I should be upset as Bolan had been an important figure in my life since about 1970. So I cried.
My family, as always, were confused by my behaviour and for the most part remain confused at my behaviour to the present day. There was a fair bit of tutting, frowning and mocking, which is the standard procedure in North Wales for dealing with unusual situations.
Certainly my mother has always found my addiction to Big Brother to be deviant behaviour on my part and one year banished me to the kitchen to watch it while I was staying with her for a few days.
Ziggy from BB (surely that can’t be his real name) today hosted a dinner party for the girls, wheeling them in one at a time so he could share a different course with each of them.
He used the time wisely, and probed the ladies on how they felt about their housemates. No one, it transpires, likes Charley very much.
‘She’s got no substance,’ said Emily, neatly emphasising the fact that she wasn’t discussing nominations, just telling Ziggy (he’s Jewish. Is that a Jewish name?) about the people she’d rather not have in the house.
Later, Charley was the last to come to bed at 5am and started the girls on a sensitively-timed singalong.
‘Will you stop singing shite???’ raged Tracy from her bed, her face adopting the expression of Sean Bean as Boromir when Frodo goes invisible and escapes.
‘It’s the Spice Girls!’
‘Exactly! It’s shite! shite!’
This gets Tracy lots of points from me. Anyone who realises that the Spice Girls are shite has reached a certain level of spiritual enlightenment.
Meanwhile in Coronation Street, Leanne Battersby’s secret is out. She is a woman of the night (or at least a woman of the afternoon) and has been selling her scrawny bones via an agency in one of the only two hotels that Manchester has.
Unfortunately, as Manchester is such a small place, it was inevitable that one of her customers would turn out to be someone she knows, like her boyfriend’s brother.
In soapworld there is no such thing as a secret, and very soon, boyfriend’s brother’s wife is threatening divorce and (as you do) the boyfriend’s brother manhandles Leanne into his car-boot and drives off with her, his expression rather like Sean Bean as Boromir when Frodo goes invisible and escapes.
Attempting to retrieve his ringing mobile from the floor of the car while Leanne screams ‘Let me out! Let me out!’ he runs through a red light and gets driven into by a Greggs Delivery Truck (heavy with pies).
I feel a tragedy coming on…

Sunday 3 June 2007

a sausage sandwich
half a bottle of lost sheep
and a jazz woodbine.

Sadly, due to a power cut which affected our aerial I missed Big Brother this evening as we were employing the satellite to watch the finale of 24.
I last saw BB on Friday night when a young man called Ziggy was admitted to the Big Brother House, unaware that his housemates had been living there since Wednesday and that they were all women.
I have no further opinions on the housemates as yet other than that Charley (as I now discover it is spelt) is my first choice for eviction.
Charley is an example of some of the worst aspects of British Society. She seriously believes that she does not need to work, cook, wash her clothes or indeed, do any anything productive other than exist for the glorification of herself.
If she actually had anything positive going for her she might stand a chance, but judging her by her own values (of which, it appears, there are few) she is sadly lacking. Rude, patronising, aggressive, attention-seeking, and (being as kind as I can be) not really that attractive, I can’t see the point of her.
What is she for?

Friday, 1 June 2007

Wednesday 30 May 2007

i anticipate
my ‘rendezvous with rama’
and space on the train

I have learned to enjoy my journeys backward and forward to work, mainly through shrewd timing which generally gets me a seat on the tube. My passion, if I can describe it as such, is Science Fiction. That’s the literary sort, not the televisual sort, which in most cases is not science fiction at all, but soap opera featuring characters with bumpy faces. It’s only at this time, which amounts to about two hours a day, that I get to read without distractions.
This week I am reading Arthur C Clarke’s ‘Rendezvous with Rama’ in which a vast cylindrical habitat enters the Solar System, and whose exploration throws up alien mysteries which are never solved.
In SF circles these vast unfathomable alien structures (of which there are many) are known as ‘Big Dumb Objects’, a term supposedly first employed by reviewer Roz Kaveney, and one which has been used to describe these feats of extravagant (and usually alien) engineering.
I was reminded of the term this evening when I tuned in to watch the new Big Brother Contestants entering the house. This year they have elected to have an all-female house although it appears that a man will be put in amongst the baying hordes some time on Friday.
I am not sure what BB’s criteria is in choosing housemates. Their target audience (allegedly) is 18-24 year olds, but I seriously doubt that premise since it appears that Big Brother fans come from all age groups. It still does not explain why the people behind the choices seek to fill the house with people guaranteed to irritate and annoy its audience.
There are a pair of Northern airhead teenage twins who (much in the manner of Katherine Tate’s character) scream in unison when confronted with anything unusual. Chanel (if that is how you spell it) bases her life and looks on Victoria Beckham and claims that she once told her mother she had spent £400 paying for a friend’s operation when in fact she’d bought a pair of the pock-faced one’s designer label jeans. That in itself is grounds for sectioning.
Charlie, from South London, is a gobby unemployed girl who was booed on the way in after boasting that she loves money and goes clubbing five nights a week. One suspects that she doesn’t buy many rounds even though her income support seems to be going a long way.
Why put these people in the house? Given the choice, I’d rather not share the same planet with them, let alone have to watch them practicing their limited vocabulary on each other.
On the plus side I like Lesley, at 60, the oldest Big Brother contestant ever, a retired businesswoman who, scarily, sounds a little like Thatcher. Then there’s Carol, 53, from the East End, a bisexual vegetarian sex clinic worker. Laura from South Wales, looks so much like a Little Britain character I can’t believe she’s real. She wants to train to be an embalmer. We should, in a fair world, be able to vote which of her housemates she can practice on.
Tracy is a crazy pink-haired cleaner who says ‘Having it!’ rather a lot.
There are others, but to be honest they’re so dull I can’t find anything to say about them.
So far, Big Brother, I’m not impressed.