Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Phones, Again.

I turned off my phone four days ago and only just switched it on again this morning. You ought to try it sometime.

Remember those great golden days when if you wanted to make a phone call when you were out somewhere you had to drive around until you could find a working phone booth? Remember that feeling of being joyously, unreachably disconnected from the world that grinds us all into dust each day with its meaningless tasks and absurd pressures?

Remember those days when people smoked on buses, but nobody would sit and moronically run through each of their phone's ringtones, grinning like a simpleton at the ones that sounded funny, completely unaware of anything around them except the pretty music?

I saw someone doing that the other day. Reminded me of a baby in its crib watching coloured light play through a plastic mobile near an open window.

Monday, July 30, 2007

New Poem. Called, Ingeniously, "POEM".

it is hoped that readers will forgive the uncharacteristic honesty of the following poem. i won't let it happen again. honestly.


The voice of Frank O'Hara
is talking in my head tonight
as I sit lonely by my
window watching the
women in the street.
Couples very much in love
cross beneath the window
heading for the restaurant
next door to my flat, where
they will sit, drink wine,
and love each other in the
muted light. O Frank, I want
to be one of them again.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

On The Job Again: New Poems

Sunday Morning Haiku

condensation covers
half the attic window:
the life within

men emerging from their houses
in slacks and rubber shoes:
gone to fetch the paper

pigeon on a lamppost
preens fussily this morning:
last night it rained for hours

underneath the tree
a gnome smokes a cigarette:
the heavy shower

he kissed her
but her eyes were cool:
parting sunday morning

Friday, July 27, 2007

Notes From The Lookout

MySpace was the new Blogger. Now we hear Facebook is the new MySpace. It's so hard to stay fashionable in the world of the internet. Good thing I don't give a shit.

Have you noticed that there's a certain appealing quaintness about the sight of someone reading a book in a bus station or a rail station? There is where I live, at least. Now the majority of people spend their waiting time staring at their mobile phone. I know some are listening to music or watching videos; and you can see when somebody is texting because of the motion of their thumb across the keypad. But what are the rest of them doing? Reading old text messages? Scrolling through their contacts list in a completely absent-minded way, delighting in the fact that they know so many people?
I sat next to one girl a few days ago who spent fifteen minutes doggedly deleting one text message after another in her inbox while she waited for the bus from Northampton to Kettering. This may be the communication age, but as with deregulation of television services many years ago, an increase in the many ways a person can communicate seems to have drastically diminished the quality of the communication being made.

We learn that a relatively unknown fellow called Fred Thompson may get the Republican nomination for the presidential election in the US when that sainted day comes and George Bush finally leaves the White House. Apparently Thompson is an actor in some kind of television show and has very few political accomplishments to his name.
That probably doesn't matter. I feel uncomfortable as a fervent liberal (if such a thing exists) predicting it, but I can't see Clinton OR Obama being able to seize the presidency, however suited both of them might be, and however deeply-rooted dissatisfaction with the occupation of Iraq might be. They just don't feel like potential presidents in this confused and conservative age of ours.
I hope I'm wrong, though.

Next post, POETRY. Yes, I have finally written some. And all it took to set the stage for the return of my better, bardic self was three months of constant rain, pleurisy, depression, alcoholism, loneliness, and some good reading.
Who'd be an artist.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

My Country Right Or Wrong

Why is it that standard company self-appraisal forms--you know, the ones you have to fill in before formal appraisal by your manager-- link loyalty and integrity in one tick box? Aren't they very different things sometimes? Can't they, actually, on occasion, be mutually opposing? An employee who is loyal to his company might wind up doing a disservice to it by overlooking aspects of its behaviour that are unworthy of its higher values. Bad deals, corruption, intimidation.

And that holds true for one's country as well. We Americans and Englishmen who stand against the occupation of Iraq aren't unpatriotic; we aren't "running down our country," as Merle Haggard would say. Actually we're trying to save our country by holding in check those in government who would dump its nobler aspirations and traditions in the name of profiteering imperialism. George Bush is the real enemy of American values. As was Tony Blair, though at least his domestic political programme was positive and progressive.

My country right or wrong? No thank you.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Holiday Notes And Doggerel


Off to ----------- we will go
A dull and dreary army.
-------- drunk and ----- loud
And ------- fake and smarmy.

We're going for to make some noise
And throw stones in the ocean,
And hang about like ancient thugs
In loads of suntan lotion.

People have said, "Let me come with you on your walks." But I don't want anybody to come with me. Let them find their own path through the woods.

The two main requirements for success in modern life are low intelligence and instinctive subservience. If you have both you will never go hungry. If you have neither you may end up like me, standing alone on a clifftop in the rain shouting revolutionary slogans at the seagulls.

One yesterday described me as "set in my ways". Yes, if that means unable to pretend I like bingo, and wouldn't rather be stabbed in the eye with a rusty nail than endure another cheesy cabaret singer.

By the time you hit 40, if you've had sex and been in love and watched somebody die there's nothing left to learn from other people.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Computerus Interruptus

Computerus Interruptus
Ahh, this new thing of having to rent computer time to post here is really getting on my nerves. Been working earlies all week, so by the time I leave work I'm too tired to hike down to the library in town and be creative. Or halfway interesting. And next week I'm heading off to Bournemouth again, but I'm hoping to locate a library or an internet cafe I can use around there for posting. Not that I fancy my chances. That part of the country is rather like the Land of the Nearly Dead. Full of old people hobbling in and out of swanky retirement villas waiting for the End. Still, one should try. I owe it to my public.

The way to get my own personal computer access back is clear. Either I a) swallow my pride, and apologise to my landlady for telling her to shove up her arse her demand for half the money to install a phone line so I have internet access, or b) I move house. Now, the former is never going to happen in a million years. The latter? I need about a grand that I haven't got. It's funny I persist in thinking of myself as an intellectual giant when even a drooling idiot doesn't get themselves into situations like these...