Friday, 23 January 2009

Tuesday 20 January 2009

and this is tuesday
the aches of time are peeling
through me like numb bells

It would appear that The Vatican have come down with a very heavy papal hand on the Italian bus companies, or else the Italian government, as the atheist posters promised are no longer to appear in Genoa as planned. Boo!
The Pope, it appears, is to post his pontifications on You Tube. I’m tempted to dress as The Pope myself and make my own papal postings. I can guarantee they’ll contain more common sense.

Monday 19 January 2009

a freezing park bench
chatting to clem about sex
and the world. warm words.

I was sick today, so I rang in and told the PTB that I would be in tomorrow. I still had to go out shopping though. I had a yen for Chicken Laksa.
And indeed, Chicken Laksa I did have, which is as good a cure for the blues as plain old chicken soup, except that this has the added delight of coconut and chillies.
‘Celebrity Big Brother’ hasn’t really grabbed me this year. I find most of the housemates quite dull, apart from Ulrika Johnson, the wonderful Tina and Terry Christian. Coolio is just tedious, Verne is a nice person, but he’s famous because he’s 2’ 8”. LaToyah Jackson obviously believes she is Minnie Mouse. Tommy Sheringham is cute enough, but I expected more from a committed socialist. The rest of them I have already put from my mind. They are forgotten.

Sunday 18 January 2009

outside ‘al-abbas’
the arabs bicker and shout
with smiling faces.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Saturday 17 January 2009

i can’t get the words
‘carmina burana’ on
the first line of this.

And so, off to the O2 we did go, to see ‘Carmina Burana’ with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Franz Abraham. The set was amazing, but to be honest, without the giant screens showing you the detail on stage it was difficult to tell what was happening. It sounded amazing anyhoo.
I sat next to a lady from Ohio.
‘I’ve never been to Ohio,’ I said.
‘Not many people do,’ she replied, with a note of finality, so I didn’t enquire further.

Friday 16 January 2009

‘you german bastard!’
a cyclist, shouting to me.
he left, unchallenged.

On my cigarette break, some way outside the secret government bunker in which I am employed, I was abused by an old rastafarian on a bicycle.
‘You German Bastard!’ he shouted, several times. This was, I presume, because I was wearing a parkah with a german flag on the sleeve and not because I look particularly german. Even if I did, I see no reason for the abuse. I am too young to have been involved in any Nazi war crimes, or the war, for that matter.
On my way home, I saw the actor who played Count Scarlioni, The Last of The Jagaroth in the Dr Who episode ‘City of Death’, back when Tom Baker was Doctor Who. He was on his way through Hammersmith Tube Station. He didn’t call me a German bastard, thankfully.
We have a new Doctor Who now, a young whippersnapper who is surely too young to play a Time Lord, but Time will tell... (did you see what I did there...?).

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Thursday 15 January 2009

in tailored prison
tied, shirted, trousered, booted
to the interview

"There's two things I can't stand - intolerance and Catholics" – Spike Milligan

The atheist posters have gone up on buses around London, proclaiming the message ‘God probably doesn’t exist. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life’ which, one imagines, should offend no one since religious Groups have no problem with filling Underground Trains and stations with their religious propaganda. However, I wasn’t surprised to discover that it didn’t take long for god-botherers to find a rickety bandwagon and jump on it.

“An atheist campaign claiming "There's probably no God" has been reported to the advertising regulator.

Posters with the slogan appear on 800 buses in England, Scotland and Wales, as well as on the London Underground.
But organisation Christian Voice has complained to the Advertising Standards Authority saying they break rules on substantiation and truthfulness.
The British Humanist Association, which backed the campaign, said it was not taking the complaint seriously.
The ASA's code states "marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove all claims". The regulator said it would assess the complaint and decide whether to contact the advertiser.
The adverts contain the slogan: "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."
But Stephen Green, national director of Christian Voice, said: "There is plenty of evidence for God, from people's personal experience, to the complexity, interdependence, beauty and design of the natural world.
"But there is scant evidence on the other side, so I think the advertisers are really going to struggle to show their claim is not an exaggeration or inaccurate, as the ASA code puts it."
The campaign was dreamed up by comedy writer Ariane Sherine and was supported by scientist and vocal atheist Richard Dawkins.
Hanne Stinson, chief executive of the British Humanist Association, said: "I've sought advice from some of our key people here, but I'm afraid all I've got out of them so far is peals of laughter.
"I am sure that Stephen Green really does think there is a great deal of evidence for a God (though presumably only the one that he believes in), but I pity the ASA if they are going to be expected to rule on the probability of God's existence."


Meanwhile, the campaign is moving to Genoa where the very grand-sounding Italian Union of Rational Atheists and Agnostics (UAAR) are planning their own campaign next month.

“Father Gianfranco Celabrese, a spokesman for Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, the Archbishop of Genoa and head of the Italian Bishops Conference, attacked the atheist campaign, saying it amounted to "intolerance". Vatican officials were said to be alarmed at reports that the atheist campaign would target Rome next.
Father Calabrese said: "There are some methods which promote dialogue and others which feed intolerance. Head-on opposition always demonstrates intolerance." The Genoa bus campaign will use the slogan: "The bad news is that God does not exist. The good news is that we do not need him", rather than the claim by campaigners in Britain and Spain that God "probably" does not exist. “


This serves to hearten me to the fact that rational people are willing to stand up and be counted around the world. It is, of course, rather ironic for a Catholic Archbishop to talk of intolerance, particularly in view of the Pope’s unfortunate remarks just before Christmas.
My boss, here in the secret underground government bunker, is against the campaign, and when I asked her why, she replied ‘It’s wrong to attack the church like this. You’re unravelling two thousand years of rhetoric.’

I had an interview today, perversely for my own job. This is the second time this has happened although I am gratified to know that there will be a substantial uplift in the old moolahs.
And Ricardo Montalban is dead, famous for both being Khan in ‘Star Trek – The Wrath of Khan’ and for being in The Colbys.

Friday 9 January 2009

It was a full moon today, a fact I did not notice until I had encountered several moon-maddened individuals on my way home.
On my way into Brixton Tube Station, a hooded man was shouting incoherently. I had thought he was shouting coherently, since I had my headphones on at the time, listening to ‘Union of Knives’ (Their album is just astounding. I exhort you all to go out and buy it, and not just download it free from some robber site).
It turned out, when I had turned ‘the Knives’ down, that he was incoherent. However, just as he was halfway down the escalator he had a moment of lucidity and started screaming at the passengers going up on the opposite escalator.
‘Come on Then! Why don’t you say something, instead of just staring.. staring! Staring!’
He got off at Stockwell and shouted at a poster of Jeremy Clarkson.
Then in Earls Court, I was approached by a gay homeless man to whom I gave a cigarette and would not go away.
‘Are you going out tonight?’ he asked
‘Have you been to Heaven? It’s for gays and bisexuals, but you don’t have to be gay or bisexual to go there. They let anybody in.’
‘I’ve forgotten your name.’
‘That’s because I didn’t tell you.’
‘What is it?’
‘Ernest,’ I said, off the top of my head.
‘Can I call you Ernie?’
‘I’d rather you didn’t.’
‘Do you believe in God?’ By this time, I was becoming a little annoyed, since I had given this man a cigarette and some money in the hope that he’d go away, but he was showing no signs of doing so.
‘No,’ I said. ‘It’s a stupid idea.’
There followed a moment of blissful silence, after which he pointed to the sky and said ‘But how do you explain the sun and moon and the creation of the world?’
‘There was a big ball of gas,’ I said, ‘which collapsed under its own gravity to form a spinning disc of burning plasma. The outer rings cooled and clumped together as planets, while the centre stabilised to become our sun. The moon was a smaller planet which at some point caught in Earth’s gravitational field.’
‘Don’t you believe you have a soul?’
‘Why not?’
‘Because, as I said, it’s an absurd idea.’
‘I have a soul.’
‘Good for you!’
‘How do you explain the fact that when I slashed my wrists...’ He showed me the scars as prove of this event, ‘I was floating above the operating table and watching the doctors work on me?’
‘Anaesthetics,’ I said, at which he gave me a glare and stomped off into the night.
I stopped off in Tescos and while in the checkout two men came in and said to the Security Guard ‘Have you got any doves?’
The SG looked puzzled.
‘Doves? Do you sell them?’
I thought I must have misheard, but he repeated the question to a baffled SG, after which they set off into the store.
As I was leaving I saw one of them leaning against the door, a mobile clenched to his face.
‘I’m telling you bro. They don’t sell doves here!’
Outside, the full moon was shining down on me balefully, like a mad bugger’s beacon.

Wednesday 7 January 2009

brixton market shines
like scrubbed tin and polished rust
a net made of eyes

The Ugly One bought me a dalek mug as a late Christmas present, which cheered me up somewhat. It may be the weather, or my bipolar tendencies, but for the last few days I’ve been feeling flat, rather like Bilbo Baggins who has been stretched too thin like too little butter over a piece of bread.
This was slightly assuaged by another acceptance from a magazine.
I have made a resolution to try and finish my novel this year. I have been writing it for about ten years so it’s high time I made an effort. I’ve got to Chapter Nineteen with one murder, a weird sexual act and some high tension chases across London. Maybe I should put those in the novel to make it more interesting.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Tuesday 6 January 2009

the richmond service
has been delayed because of
sarcasm at bank

Monday 5 January 2009

snow is a sky joke
but there’s too many of us
who’ve heard it before

I had an e-mail today from another magazine to whom I had submitted work last May. To be honest, I had given up hope of a response, as eight months is a bit of a long wait in anybody’s book. However, they liked what I had sent them and will be publishing it in due course. I called into the shops on the way home and bought a more palatable bottle of wine, one with no hints of Geri Halliwell, or faint Beckham aftertaste.

Sunday 4 January 2009

if biryani
had less syllables i could
extemporise more

I did the chicken biryani today, the one based on a packet recipe I bought as previously related. Despite taking most of the day to prepare it was damn fine, and rather fiery, despite the fact that I included only three chillies and not fifteen as the packet recommends. Had I done so I would be writing this from the toilet with my laptop balanced on my knees.

Saturday 3 January 2009

‘i will publish these’
says a kindly editor
‘but not the others’

I received one of my usual stamped addressed envelopes today, which I regularly send out with my writing submissions to various magazines, and which, more often than not, come winging back with a rejection slip on which, more rarely, is a handwritten note saying ‘sorry’ or, even more rarely, some encouraging words and helpful feedback.
I got myself a strong cup of coffee and sat down, expecting another slip to add to my collection. However, there was a note telling me that the editor would like to print three, yes three, of the pieces I had sent him.
I poured the coffee away and opened a bottle of wine. Unfortunately it was a bottle a friend had given us and tasted rather like what I imagine a Spice Girls album would taste if the sound were able to be liquidised and decanted into a glass.
Nonetheless it was alcoholic and I persevered, toasting myself on my minor literary success.

Friday 2 January 2009

distilling music
into a very small box
to carry around

Thursday 1 January 2009

outside kfc
pavement lit with chicken light
night perfumed with fries

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Wednesday 31 December 2008

trivial pursuit
it’s so old the answer was

Our friend Robert came over and we hit the vodka and played Trivial Pursuit, which seems a little sad, but we’ve got to the age where New Year’s events are somewhat crowded, tiresome and expensive. Jools Holland’s ‘Hootenanny’ is a good thing to put on as background entertainment since one gets good music, drunken celebrities with not a lot to say and a man with a clock for a head.
We realised that our Trivial Pursuit game was a little out of date when the answer to one of my questions, ‘What European country comes last alphabetically?’ was ‘Yugoslavia’.
Robert won, not surprisingly, since he was getting questions like ‘What were the gifts that the Magi brought to the baby Jesus?’ and I got ‘Who wrote a novel about the closure of runway 29 at Lincoln International Airport?’
It’s an outrage!

Tuesday 30 December 2008

i spoke in my dream
and it was all in german
what could i have said?

I woke up in the night speaking German, which was a bit disturbing, since I can’t speak German. ‘Schnell! Schnell!’ I was shouting. I am not sure if I can even spell German so this may not be correct.
The Ugly One and I watched a documentary about Hawkwind this evening, which was quite illuminating. I’ve always been a fan, but had no idea that the band had had such a turbulent history, having had some thirty seven members so far and still counting, or had taken quite so many drugs. This brings a whole new meaning to their album track ‘Kings of Speed’.
Later, we switched channels to land on the ad for the pan pipes collection; the best relaxation album in the world... blah blah blah... the magical sound of the pan pipes.... this is not available in any shops... blah blah blah.. thirty seven CDs of pan pipe classics such as ‘You Are Beautiful’, ‘Nessun Dorma’, ‘With Me Little Stick of Blackpool Rock’ and Motorhead’s ‘Ace of Spades’.
What sort of people buy albums of pan-pipe muzak? Don’t their friends ever sit them down and have a quiet word?
Do you know someone like this? Sit them down and have a quiet word!

Monday 29 December 2008

ooh, it’s bitter out!
bitter! yes, missus! bitter!
no!... don’t mock!... poor soul!

I had some DVDs for Christmas; the complete ‘Black Books’, and the complete ‘Up Pompeii’ (Hoorah!), as well as a £20.00 amazon voucher which I will no doubt squander on CDs by obscure Eastern European composers or German rock bands.
‘Up Pompeii’ is one of my all-time favourite comedy series, albeit merely a vehicle to showcase the sublime Frankie Howerd as the slave Lurcio. It is (althoughly cleverly written) a formulaic and deliberately crude farce, which shows Lurcio each week attempting to deliver ‘The Prologue’ only to be inevitably interrupted by Senna The Soothsayer and her perennial cry ‘Woe! Woe! And Thrice Woe!’, and then various members of the House of Ludicrus Sextus. Without Howerd, the show would probably not have even been made, and even if it were, would no doubt have been long forgotten. Frankie’s performance, even with the gaffs, the corpsing, and the occasional stutter, is a masterclass in comic delivery and, nearly forty years after I first saw it on BBC, still never fails to make me laugh out loud.

Sunday 28 December 2008

i did not go out
and the flat held me hostage
no one came to pay

The Ugly One made a wild mushroom risotto, which he insists on pronouncing ‘rees-oh-toe’ in the manner of the Barefoot Contessa.