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Showing posts from June, 2008

A Challenge

if you can watch this without crying, i'm impressed

After Brown, What, Exactly?

We all know the Labour Government is awful. But are you so naive you are prepared to risk the alternative?

George Osborne has already said that when the Conservatives are elected (although I believe he said "if" to avoid the appearance of over-confidence), they will respond to the renewed vigour of the unions by strengthening anti-union ligeislation.

Of course, that won't bother the majority, because they're not in unions anyway. They haven't got enough money to pay for union subscriptions; and the bosses wouldn't like it.

Plus those unions are only in it for themselves, really.

POSTMODERNISM ISN'T DEAD KIDS, IT'S JUST IN ITS POSTMODERN STAGE

I saw a kid this morning wearing a t-shirt with the words NO SLOGAN in big black letters on the front.

How he must chortle at the irony when he stands in front of the mirror combing his hair in the morning.

PULLING A SICKIE

I was talking to a friend with a yen for philosophy last night about self-indulgence, particularly as it applied to the workplace.

Screwing the System. I'm all for it. "They" are undoubtedly out to screw you. That's why you can't afford to pay your heating bills after working your arse off for a month and "they" drive around in BMWs. "They" deserve to get a bit of their own back every now and then, don't "they"?

Most people screw the system by pulling sickies. They have a hangover, or a mild twinge in their back, or they feel a little giddy because they just got up off the sofa too quickly after stuffing their face with Pringles. They could go in and do a day's work. But Why Should They? The workplace will go on perfectly well without them. And if the bosses don't care about them, why should they care about their bosses?

Which is fine in the abstract. The majority of bosses don't care about you, however touchy-feely the …

MY COMPLAINT TO TV LICENSING, IN GLORIOUS TECHNICOLOUR

Those of you with long memories will know I have been having a long fight with those charming people at TV Licensing. Well, I thought it had finished when I gave in and sent them a request for a tv licence, even though I have no access to television and find the majority of it so mentally deadening I wouldn't watch it even if I did have. Who the hell but the terminally brainless would want to watch the shit the BBC serves up for our edification these days? (And then they wonder why the streets are full of gum-chewing, mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging, monosyllabic, grunting morons.) But anyway. It turns out they didn't GET my request for a licence. I found this out when they turned up at my door yesterday expecting to be admitted to investigate my property like some mildly politer version of Robert Mugabe's pre-election militia. Luckily (for me or them I don't know), I was at work. But they left me another one of their delightful, bullying letters. Here's my repl…

MUGABE AND BEIJING: DO I DETECT A DOUBLE STANDARD SOMEWHERE?

I have to applaud the action that that agglomeration of business concerns known as "the international community" is beginning to take against "Bob" Mugabe and the catastrophe that's unfolding, largely because of Bob, in Zimbabwe. The Queen's decision to strip Mugabe of his knighthood was a particularly impressive one, given the general fear the monarchy has of getting drawn into politics (or any other controversy, for that matter). Make no mistake, this man is a monster, and if we don't act in unison to squeeze him out of office pretty soon, Zimbabwe may never recover, at least not in our lifetime. Talk to people from that country if you think this is typical Bruce left-wing rhetorical bullshit.

But one thing among all the high-sounding expressions of concern and (in Queen Liz's astonishingly intemperate case) revulsion did puzzle me. The British Government getting heavy with the Cricket Board, or whatever they're called, and insisting that the t…

DO I HAVE TO REINVENT MYSELF?

A question from 2005 when I was labouring through the quagmire of my relationship with R***. She required it. Had the "insight" that the me I was becoming under her tutelage was the person I was meant to be! That the poet and the left wing pro-animal polite agitator were an overhang of the dominance of my mother.

Well guess what R***? I'm still writing and I'm still thumping tubs. I tried to put a shirt on and go to an office every day like you wanted and all that happened was I had a breakdown.

I'm not changing for anybody anymore. "This is the creature I am." If I have to be alone for the rest of my life (however short or long that might be) because the women I meet are too dumb or too uncultivated or too conformist to understand me, so be it.

Oh, and I would be proud to be considered a creation of my mother (which biologically I am anyway). She was no better or worse than anybody else, but I loved her. I'm proud of what I have inherited from my fat…

The State of the Art

You know, while reading "Emeryville War" this morning, it crossed my mind (not for the first time), how bizarre it was that writers like Bill Blackolive were out there writing the real literature of these times, telling the story of the Age just like Kerouac and Ginsberg told the story of theirs, or Hemingway and Dos Passos told the story of theirs (in a different way), but that only one bookshop in every five hundred (and that's a generous estimate), would have the intelligence or the foresight to carry their books. It's the same with libraries. Northampton, where I'm writing this from, is a fairly big provincial town, with historical connections to literature. John Dryden had some involvement with Northampton. So did Jane Austen. But I couldn't go into the grandly-titled Central Library--about five minutes walk down the road from this internet cafe--and find anything by Bill Blackolive. They have no books by anybody on the roster of the ULA, who publish Bil…

Received In The Mail Today

the new print versions of Wild Bill Blackolive's "The Emeryville War" and "Tales From The Texas Gang" . Bill, for those who haven't come across him, is probably America's most famous underground author, justifiably, and "Texas Gang" in particular has an almost mythical status among serious, hip readers. A figure no less than William S. Burroughs, a man famously not given to empty praises, declared the book "really great" in a 1975 letter to Bill and tried to interest his own agent in representing it.

The book has existed online for a while at Bill's own site www.texasgang.net but now it's back in print form--as far as I know for the first time since 1978--published in a handsome new edition by the Underground Literary Alliance, ISBN 1-892590-38-7. You can order it directly from them by sending $22 postpaid to:- ULA Press, 4686 Meridian Road, Williamston MI 48895. And this is one instance where I can promise you you won't …

42 DAYS etc.

After the vote in parliament the other night, we can now, in Britain, detain terror suspects for 42 days without charge. Which, apparently, the majority of the British public and Rupert Murdoch (neither of whom I would be comfortable siding with), think is a good idea.

Of course it is. Internment works a treat with an enemy that fuels itself on martyrdom. On feeling wronged and sacrificing its children as well as yours to the cause. We've just emerged for thirty or forty years of peace and roses and cuddles and nursery rhymes in Ireland, after all, where similar policies existed.

The Labour Party now seems determined to abandon every principle that made it seem, in the Eighties, like the only hope the country had after years of Thatcherism had left England an almost unrecognisable, callous, uncultured, little plastic offshoot of the United States. Gordon Brown doesn't even believe in an NHS free at point of access anymore. He'd be severing the last remaining political links …

FATHER DEATH BLUES

Allen Ginsberg sings a song that encapsulates everything the many querying souls I've met lately want to know about Buddhism. And what a great folk voice he had!


first draft: LUCKY (after Allen)

I'm lucky, yes.
Lucky I have a job, a place to live.
Lucky I get three square meals a day,
too many don't even in Northampton
let alone Zimbabwe, their bad luck on the news.
I'm lucky my parents gave me brains,
mixing their respective genes together
so I can think and write these poems.
I'm lucky that I found the dharma.
Lucky meeting Kelsang Powa on the street last week,
he walks for children, what a great example.
I'm lucky I know Emily,
I never had a daughter but she calls me dad.
I'm lucky Sadie has the shop beneath my flat.
She came all the way from Suffolk
like I did, and I met her here.
She gives me clothes, incense to burn in meditation,
through her I've made new friends as well.
How lucky's that? but then I am, I am.
I'm lucky.
Lucky my own dad still bothers
though I've been a lousy son for years.
Lucky to have two arms and legs.
Lucky (so far) to be around at all
to think about my luck, that's a miracle!
I've lived for forty years on bad food and beer…

first draft: my death plaque

on my death plaque,
screwed to some rotting bench
that overlooks the sea,
please don't say
i was "always brave",
even if i went
from cancer
after eight long months
of chimotherapy.
please say instead,
"he wet his pants."
"he went out
like a snivelling coward."
"he met death
on his knees, and begging,
with a suspicious
faecal odour
wafting in the air
about him."
even if i am brave--
and that possibility
is quite remote--
please don't let on
to anybody,
now, or in the
doubtful future.
i don't wish my exit
to ennoble man
(most of whom
i didn't care for).
i'd just like it
to make them
fear their own.

~waterside holiday park, devon.