Tuesday, February 19, 2008

two haiku: night and morning

a silver jet flies

across the moon at rush-hour --

february night.


the whole way, transfixed

by his misshapen ear --

morning bus to work.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Dalai Lama Crowd

Did anyone else notice George Bush's reference to "the Dalai Lama crowd" as one group who might want to politicise the Beijing Olympics? Such a delicate, diplomatic, sophisticated tongue he has! God or Allah forbid that such sticky considerations as government-sanctioned murder and brutality, not to mention the wholesale suppression of free speech, should get in the way of a business opportunity, eh George? eh, Gordon?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


I seem to have beaten my writer's block. I've squeezed out a couple of poems over the last few days, albeit neither of them is quite good enough for public exposure. When they're ready, I'll let you know. Try not to bait your breath too emphatically.

In the meantime, politics.

We live in paranoid times (or do we?) Since those planes slammed into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre and George Bush used it--to quote or paraphrase (depending on how well I've remembered it) William Burroughs--as a pretext for "establishing an international extreme Right Police Authority", everybody with a free bone in his body has been looking over his shoulder.

Myself, I just hate anything that is opposed to free speech. Anything that sets its crossed arms against an individual person's right to make his or her mind up without coercion. Ergo, I loathe Al Qaeda. Ergo, I am fundamentally opposed to Bush and all his accolytes. But if the advice I'm getting from various sources is correct, the fact that I have made public pronouncements against the US and British action in Iraq, and against the spectacular abuse of democratic process that is Guantanamo Bay, means I am very likely under surveillance by some clandestine agency which imagines (bizarrely), that it is working in the service of democracy and I'm not.

Sites with a political content that opposes the present American administration have been shut down without explanation on MySpace. Frank Serpico's site has been interfered with on Blogger. Word is these agencies, whoever they are, monitor blogs for key words and then pressure the site hosts to shut down the ones that don't meet with their approval (though who elected them guardians of democracy I'd like to know). I have no proof that this censorship is happening, but that's the word. The only thing that gives the word an appearance of paranoia is that I haven't been shut down yet. But maybe they just haven't caught up with me.

Yesterday I was even advised, by somebody much more reasonable than I am, and less inclined to paranoia, that I should think twice before attending the pro-Tibetan rally outside the Guildhall in Northampton on March 4th. "I'm always careful of things like that," he said. "Your name will go down on a list, Hodder."

These are frightening times when even the moderates don't trust their leaders anymore.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


I received in the mail today Wild Bill Blackolive's latest bit of mad genius scribbling "Criminal Class", which recounts the problems he had after being arrested for drunk driving a year or two ago. I'm not sure where you can get it right now, or even if, but if you can't find it anywhere else, write to Bill. You can find HIM under the friends list at my MySpace page.

Monday, February 04, 2008

A Dream For You

Sometimes it seems I deflect readers from personal issues at this blog by talking politics. Well, maybe I do. It takes immense courage to bare yourself publically the way my friend Holly does at her page Bus Stop (http://busstopholly.blogspot.com) and I just don't have balls that size. Plus I've been doing a lot of meditation lately, after my early December meltdown, trying to get to the root of my periodic derailings; and if my readers are anything like me, which I suspect they are, they probably experience something akin to an involuntary epileptic absence whenever somebody starts talking about religion. Most of you know I have Buddhist pretensions. It doesn't have to go too much further than that!

But should anybody out there be requiring something sort of personal from me today, how's this? It's a dream I had last night, recorded in my journal the moment I woke up (well, after I'd had a wee). If there are any psychiatrists out there, please analyse this for me:

I was with a group of people and we had got hold of the last jumpsuit Elvis Presley wore on stage before he died. I decided to show off by trying the suit on. Went away to change, then came back with the suit underneath my green winter coat. I was about to let everybody see it when the door came open and Frank Sinatra rolled in driving a golf cart. Suddenly embarrassed, thinking, "My God, Sinatra can't see me like this!" I crept furtively out of the door and went to put my own clothes back on.

Anita Thompson Blogging On

This caught my eye when I was playing around on Facebook the other day. It's the blog of Anita Thompson, she of Hunter S. Thompson fame, and she's carrying on the work of the world's second best journalist (my dad is the best of course), in a manner that all Hunter S. fans will probably want to catch up with. Doesn't entertain quite like he did, naturally. But who the hell could?


Saturday, February 02, 2008

Oops She Did It Again

Ah, poor Britney. You have to feel for her. Going publically haywire, being sectioned, and then having control of her affairs delivered into the hands of a father she supposedly can't stand. According to the radio, she expressed the wish that somebody else take care of business while she was dribbling and screaming in the booby hatch but the court ignored her because, presumably, she wasn't deemed fit to make a sound decision.

I don't know what's going on with her, obviously. I don't know her. I don't even know the name of her latest album. But I wonder how crazy she actually is right now, and how much the state's assessment of her mental condition has been directed by stories in the press, and bigoted mainstream judgement of how eccentric behaviour might impact on the raising of a child.

It all started, didn't it, with the scandal of Britney driving her car with one of her kids on her lap in the front seat. How very dare she, as a friend of mine would say. The sheer depravity of it! Leave aside the fact that the profiteering scum who follow her everywhere taking photographs of everything she does are probably (if I know anything about the Gentlemen of the Press) drunks or cokeheads who would sell their own mother for a Grazia cover. When I was a kid, in less uptight times, parents used to let their children run around naked in public parks.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Where I Stand

Readers of this page must think sometimes that I am very anti-Labour. I do seem to be knocking them all the time, after all.

Well, I actually live in fear of the inevitable Conservative Party victory at the next election. The only people who don't must either have a vested interest in seeing them elected, or be too young to remember what a horrible, mean-spirited, soulless, oppressive, immoral society they created the last time they were in power.

The Eighties, to steal a comment Sam Shepard made about the Fifties, "sucked dogs". Even its supposed high point--Live Aid--was really a nastily onanistic spectacle, despite the good it did. In the Eighties workers' rights were stripped away, unions were devastated, gays were persecuted, rainbow travellers were assaulted with impunity by the police, and money became the guiding principle of every endeavour. We are, actually, still living in the shadow of Thatcher's erosion of all the civilised values painstakingly built in the decades before she was elected and after Queen Victoria shuffled off the mortal coil. How else would a brand of beds for pre-teen girls called Lolita make it into the Woolworth's online catalogue with nobody at the company realising the name was synonymous with sexual precocity because of a novel by Nabokov? Nobody, it seems, at one of the biggest companies in the country had even heard of the book.

I want to see our society rebuilt, with the inner man being as much of a consideration as the suit he's wearing and the bulge of the money in his pocket. And the Conservative Party aren't the party to do that.

Are Labour? Well, at least in their traditions they might be, however hard Mr. Blair and his pale shadow Mr. Brown might have tried to distance themselves from those traditions; and however appalling the government's misadventures in Iraq and their immoral association with China might be. But I feel sometimes that those of us trying to steer Labour away from its still-obsessive desire to become a more fair-minded version of the Conservative Party might be shouting into a wind so heavy it carries our voices out to sea.