Saturday, April 30, 2005

More of Under Milk Wood...

I can't help it...

still in the intro but a little further on...

You can hear the dew falling, and the hushed town
breathing. Only your eyes are unclosed to see the black
and folded town fast, and slow, asleep. And you
alone can hear the invisible starfall, the darkest-
before-dawn minutely dewgrazed stir of the black,
dab-filled sea where the Arethusa, the Curlew and the
Skylark, Zanzibar, Rhiannon, the Rover, the
Cormorant, and the Star of Wales tilt and ride.
Listen. It is night moving in the streets, the
processional salt slow musical wind in Coronation
Street and Cockle Row, it is the grass growing on
Llareggub Hill, dewfall, starfall, the sleep of birds in
Milk Wood.

And it goes on and on and on... reading Under Milk Wood is like eating the richest and most moist of cakes. Imagery, words and sounds tumble to form a tale of life in the small Welsh fishing village of Llareggub (buggeralL). Astonishing stuff.

Last night I watched Sea of Love, a top movie from 1989 with Al Pacino, Ellen Barkin and John Goodman. Intelligent film making spoilt only by the prissy final minutes. The story is strong and well played allowing for no fat except the tiny post plot ending which is shite. Great film nevertheless.

Friday, April 29, 2005

It's been a tough week...

so here's some William Carlos Williams.

The Red Wheelbarrow.

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

This Is Just To Say.

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

Bugger, and I can't resist the introduction to Under Milkwood. Goes like this...


FIRST VOICE (Very softly)
To begin at the beginning:
It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless
and bible black, the cobblestreets silent and the
hunched, courters'-and-rabbits' wood limping
invisible down to the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack,
fishingboat-bobbing sea. The houses are blind as
moles (though moles see fine to-night in the snouting,
velvet dingles) or blind as Captain Cat there in
the muffled middle by the pump and the town clock,
the shops in mourning, the Welfare Hall in widows'
weeds. And all the people of the lulled and
dumbfound town are sleeping now.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

In Chicago...

there's a stain on a concrete wall that looks like the Virgin Mary. (I'm really trying to move away from this Catholic stuff but it's a struggle I can tell you.) The news footage showed an underpass, a fire engine, an ambulance, cops and a crowd. Not sure what the fire engine was doing but presume the cops were to deal with trouble and the ambulance was for the wounded because that stain had fight written all over it. A sombre voice told us that the Virgin Mary's features were clearly marked on the concrete. Incidentally 'stain' is not much used by the Deity as a method of representation though you can never tell with God, always testing the faith and all that. The camera shot I saw didn't help as the stain looked as it was, a stain. It's general shape not much different from what's left after your average underpass pisser has...well... passed. Mind you I thought pissboy clearly had previous experience and might even have won school competitions with heights like that. Or is it only in the UK that schoolboys piss for prestige?

The place had become a shrine with flowers and candles and crowds. Judging by the stain's poor definition it didn't seem long before violence broke out over interpretation because even I could tell that from certain angles it was John the Baptist. Maybe mica particles in the concrete produced an optical illusion like those plastic pictures that change when tilted. Suddenly, word from the back showed a split ocurring between fundamentalists for whom there could only be one possible image and the new fundamentalists who saw many images. The genesis of a new world religion ended when the City's cleansing department arrived in answer to complaints about the all night singing . A couple of wipes with Shrino Clean and it was all over. How fickle is that?

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Pope urges world...

to find God. One of the net headlines today. I've just returned from an afternoon canvassing political opinion for the Respect (anti-war) candidate in Trafford, West Manchester. Not a soul was in, in fact the streets were deserted, houses with doors ajar, half eaten meals on tables, kettles still boiling. Finally a lager drinker in the park tells us everyone's out looking for God. Apparently the Pope's really worried cos he hasn't seen God for sometime so the call's gone out. The Pope's word is taken literally in this part of Manchester. I asked lager man why he wasn't out looking for God and wryly he told me that after a few more cans God would come to him. A good answer, perhaps we should all drink more, especially if God's now available in a can. God in a can whatever next, possibly in a six pack or a case of God, cheaper bought by the dozen. An attractive prospect for the rich who can afford more. No doubt the poor might afford only little cans of God but the wealthy, they can buy tons of God cos capitalism's irrationality is demonstrated in life being cheaper for the rich. George Orwell put it really well when he said that the poor pay more because they can't afford to pay less. When Marx said that under capitalism all human relations are reduced to a cash nexus he clearly meant relations with God as well. Bush and Blair believe that so it must be true.

Imagine if you will the God aisle at the local superstore and getting the God franchise for that, it'd be a license to print money. And what if other religions jumped on the can bandwagon. What if Brahma, Siva, Vishnu or Krishna wanted a piece of the action? Or Thor and Odin, or Zeus? The market would be quickly saturated. Of course there'd still be the bean eaters complaining that God in its pure state was too rich and so the demand for God Lite would arise as sure as night follows day. There'd be a weightwatchers God most probably in a tracksuit and instead of a crucifix for the neck a little silver bathroom scales. Ah, it'd be so neat. All of this would be followed by the inevitable backlash, the pollution, massive landfills for all those empty cans, probably a bit of persecution thrown in as well. The US Food and Drug Administration would declare God a carcinogen. Yeah, yeah, they'd fed tinned God to rats and one of them got cancer. The shelves would be cleared, God would be dumped in those deep ocean trenches... I can see it now. And all because the fucking new Pope's worried about God being out all night clubbing and not yet back. The Pope's new, he's keen, but chill the fuck out. God'll be back, probably a bit stoned, bit hungover, hey he's fucking celebrating your election for Christ's sake!

But what if he doesn't come back? Wouldn't that be the coolest thing.

Friday, April 22, 2005

It is 5pm...

on Friday afternoon.

Whoopeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. Sent a note to Mimi in NY and JohnnyFarOut, who's far out in the great Western US of A. I'd put in links but still haven't learned how to. Made me think that they're hours and hours behind Europe so it's still lunchtime or breakfast time for them. Be nice if it was possible to get stuck in Friday eve. Enjoy it here in the UK, shoot off to NY then further west. Spend all my money on booze and food and restaurants and mates and fun and Friday and booze. Hmm, using this method I wonder how long a weekend could last?

I love Friday evening more than any other evening because it's the furthest away from Monday it's possible to be. I think of Spring in similar terms, for me Spring is the Friday of the seasonal world, and the furthest it's possible to be from the miserable other end. An old mate Lisa used to say I should embrace winter, learn to enjoy its fickle pleasures, its subtleties. FUCK THAT! Winter is gloomy and dark, and miserable and shite and sad, and cold and wet, and dark and miserable and shite and sad and cold and wet and... oops, got stuck for a moment there. Tonight in Manchester there's a warm sun and a wonderful soft light, which is remarkable for a town where we don't often see what's above the clouds. It rained for so long once that people forgot the colour blue and many mistook the round yellow thing for a bottle top from which something was about to pour. As a result people in Manchester ducked everywhere in the expectation of matters unpleasant falling on their heads. Then came science which taught us that the sun was an object many miles from here and so we had no reason to be frightened. A wary few still holding to the old ways can be identified by their enormous hats and poor posture.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

There's a bounty on squirrels...

in the south (why do all the interesting things seem to happen there?). It must be true because some gnarled old farmer was on the radio the other morning going on with himself. Before leaving by early bus I want to see one of the handbills because I'm not shooting any squirrel named Tex. Nor if they smoke or have scarring. I wonder if it was a dream? £500 seems a lot of money, unless they're after one particular squirrel. Could be it is Tex.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

As I type this...

my new neighbours, daft lads, are currently blasting hip hop through the bedroom wall. This must surely lead to deafness. I SAID DEAFNESS, DEAFNESS!!! See what I mean? Sometimes cars go by my house with the bass so deep that windows fall out one after another cos the putty's gone, long gone, we are talking disintegrated . Teeth, innards, eyeballs, even small children can be displaced. A similar effect as on those bellies road workers have shimmering atop pneumatic drills. Animals 50 kilometers away stop what they're doing and look up, especially the dogs who always think they know the tune. Fucking dogs, don't know their Eminem from their Elgar as they associate all vibration with the opening of a can. I saw a programme recently where these blokes had fixed into their cars or vans enormous speakers, woofers 3ft in diameter and shrill little tweeters that reach right under your fillings. Great heaving sound systems encased in auto steel. I think the US death industry's missing a trick here. "The prisoner shall be taken to a place where his insides be mashed by a wicked tune of the Judge's choice." A cruel and unusual punishment if the fuckwit decides on Jennifer Warnes giving her all in some vomiting power ballad, or maybe Celine Dion. You can predict the final words of any decent person under those circumstances "Pull the switch, pull the fucking switch now!" The rightwing would get pleasure from such a thing because they have cold cold hearts.

A study has been done on the correlation between Country and Western music and suicide. More people top themselves to Country and Western than any other musical form. A professor describes one song that summed up the misery that is Country and Western. A guy falls for a girl but weds someone else, all his life he suffers the pain of unrequited love until becoming so overwhelmed he shoots himself with a shotgun in the head. Unbeknownst to him the real love interest has always felt the same and comes looking. She finds his body just after he's shot himself, devastated she takes up the same gun and shoots herself. It seems many fools commit suicide to that song. Laugh, I nearly choked.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

I can't often be accused...

of not letting something go but a sub header on Friday's net news read "Pope's tailor already busy." Honest, it's like shooting fish... Anyway, this death thing becomes ever more intriguing. Elvis is the highest earning dead person, since the Pope's death his tailor is even busier. It's obvious we're being hustled here, and it's the dead wots doing it, the nerve of them. Now look, I try to see both sides in an argument, weigh up the pros and cons (unless it's nazis then there are no pros) but the dead earning more than the living cannot be right. I'm also upset that they wear out clothes quicker than children. I mean what can JP2 be doing in that box? In a previous blog I described a newspaper graphic of the coffin's interior but didn't mention, because I thought it a smudge, the multi-gym. It's not immediately obvious but on closer examination there it is by the gaming table. Another issue must be how little wear he's getting from those tracky bottoms despite them being in baggy. Which leads me to think that the clothing allowance for dead pontifs might not have kept pace with inflation. So the Vatican's buying cheap knockoff most probably from the local market thinking they can get away with it, thinking he'll not notice. Little wonder we're being hustled. If you ask me it's a false economy on the basis that he's only been dead a short while and eternity's still some way off. They should buy stuff that'll last, you pay a bit more but get it back in the quality.

All of this does beg a question though. If the Pope's tailor is so busy who's he making stuff for? Could it be... no I daren't say it... the Cardinals? A clue may be found in the latin root of the word 'conclave'. 'Con' of course is from the latin 'to change, or changing' and 'clave' is from the latin 'in a room'. Need I say more?

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Driving home from work...

the other day my path was crossed by an open wagon piled high with old mannaquins, a higgledy piggledy mixture of arms, legs, trunks, bodies and at the bottom lone heads shouting up "Are we there yet?" Of course I followed on and when stationery at nearby lights their chatty voices were clear. Not a single one thought the Tories would win the general election. Says something when Michael Howard can't even convince dummies! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Reminded me of possibly the greatest ever Spitting Image sketch. Margaret Thatcher is in the cabinet office at No 10 surrounded by her ministers. A waiter comes in takes her order then asks "And the vegetables?" Balefully Thatcher looks over her menu and replies "They'll have the same as me."


Tuesday, April 12, 2005


seems to be going through a massive construction programme of boozers and student digs. Every second building is a bar named Colon or Meek. Undergraduates lurk in nooks and crannies many becoming trapped in the shoes of pedestrians. An experience akin to stepping on a slug though without the squashy, and that muffled "Oy!" as they wake up can really make a person jump. Generally the student body is harmless as it moves from site to site, from lecture to seminar in vast heaving migrations through the southern half of Manchester's city centre, which incidentally is also the largest student campus in Europe.

Using excellent graphics a recent history book shows the route and size of Napoleon's grand army as it invaded Russia in 1812, laid seige to Moscow and was then forced by General Winter into an ignominious retreat. You can see the wide swathe as tens upon tens of thousands of troops cross the eastern borders into Imperial Russia. Many battles are fought but the real attrition begins with winter and the great retreat. All but a trickle make it to their final destination, to their dream of a return once more to France. Far too many fall by the wayside and are never seen again. I suspect if we did a poll of how many students make it past the bars we might be looking at a similar demographic.

Monday, April 11, 2005


in the south it's become common to graffiti horses, and we're not talking tiny tags here. No, we're talking the full eight can, six colours, four shades and something in geometric. It's a wonder the horse fails to notice, though in animal terms it seems horses are remarkably dim. So dim they make sheep look good, even after shearing when no sheep looks its best. I was reminded of horses on Saturday when Prince Charles and Camilla were on the news. Both ostensibly worse for the wear, no doubt from a gin too many afore the ceremony. As ever Charles affected his startled palomino look and Camilla, well Camilla had the air of someone upon whom a coat of graffiti would not have gone amiss. On reaching the door of Windsor's Registry Office they swayed in a bewildered manner until some off camera flunky with an enormous stick poked them into the building. Imagine the mayhem if at that moment a passing sheep had stopped to jeer.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Sean's sister has received...

a bill from the council demanding £50 because she was seen throwing a cigarette from her car into the street. The fact she doesn't smoke is neither here nor there. Over the phone she denied the 'offence' and they said she would be prosecuted. There's a madness abroad in the early 21st century where you can be denounced just for being out of doors. Whatever will be next? My money's on an underealised issue, that of exhalation. It's persistant, polluting and shows no regard for global warming, the ozone layer and glacial retreat. And isn't it just fucking selfish of us not to realise the damage we're causing through such behaviour? Of course the rich won't be affected as they don't exhale they give. So that's alright then. Farting cows are also a menace but play a stronger hand having neither independent means or the capacity to fit into a dock.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Today's press is...

full of Pope stuff. Seems the funeral was a big event. The paper's had photo's and there was a diagram of the inside of his coffin. Jeez, it was like the Tardis though I think the mini-bar a tad excessive and what's that piano about, and the trouser press? On closer examination I could see it was an old graphic and the body was Imelda Marcos. Little wonder they had to use a winch, what with all those shoes...

Friday, April 08, 2005


back on line. Last night I was locked out of my blog, some technical hitch, it was so complicated I couldn't even get into the blog system. All my friends seemed fine so I sulked and went to bed.

Yesterday I read in the press that Elvis is the most successful dead person on the planet today, pardon me but don't they mean in the planet. Mind you not many of them make as much dosh as Elvis. And one other thing, all the dead are successfully dead, in fact it's the only thing they're good at. Well, maybe that and being compost or a door stop. If wealth came from dying it might become fashionable, with everyone doing it, lowering the tone and leading to the inevitable crash as the bottom dropped out of the market. There is an upside, if it became popular with the rich we could just let them get on with it. Imagine the ruling class greedy bastards that they are trapped in an eternally rising market that we refused to buy into. Talk about slaves to fashion, it brings new meaning to the phrase Final Sale.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

My mate Sean..,

for it is he, told me that there was to be a partial eclipse of the sun over Rome on Friday. I sometimes don't know where he gets this stuff from, for instance he also told me that just before the Pope was declared dead he was hit three times on the forehead with a silver hammer and his real name was called out to him. A silver hammer, what witchcraft is this? You'd have thought a religion as wealthy as catholicism could have afforded both a gold hammer and the services of a decent GP to confirm John Paul truly had left the building.

However, the eclipse thing could be a worry. Wasn't there a dimming of the light just as Jesus contemplated Peter's thinning pate that one last time? Better not go there, I mean how embarassing if JP2 rose again just as the new pope was elected? A spanner of that magnitude, phew, even I'd be impressed.

And what a poisoned chalice being elected could be, especially if they make the wrong choice. Isn't that what happened to JP1? God's money was on the Polish guy, true to form the curia put their shirt on the Italian. Then shite, God's a sore loser and the Italian gets it in his sleep. It's a risky business being a Prince of Rome.

Today it has pissed...

down in Manchester. Nothing new there then.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

I was raised a catholic...

and am almost certain in the 1960's Vatican II did away with venial sin, mortal sin and Purgatory. This is apropos of me pondering if the Pope would spend time in Purgatory on his way to heaven. I'm fairly sure it was purged, forty years ago. If so, what happened to all the poor buggers stuck there at the time? Purging purgatory is quite the cancellation, and do the residents know? For instance there might still be crowds watching the departure boards in Purgatory Central but this time for a plane no longer destined to leave. If it was me I'd be a tad pissed off, especially on hearing yet another post V2 Pope was being ushered directly through customs.

And another thing how come his feet are so small? I watched the bearers remove his carcass, the man had tiny feet and anyone who's visited the Bronte Museum in Howarth to see Emily's shoes will know what I mean. We are talking seriously small here. Perhaps Papa JP and Emily shared the same cobbler. It can't be true, the Bronte's cobbler must have died years ago, before Vatican II in fact and therefore is most likely still stuck in Purgatory watching the departure lists like everyone else. Bet its annoying to see his design for tiny shoes reach heaven before he did. It seems to me though that whoever made those shoes missed a trick because they could have stuffed the heels with drugs. Hey, who would have the nerve to pat down a newly dead pope? With a partner in heaven as the only dealer it'd be a license to print money.

One further thought occurs, given it's 40 years since Purgatory was cancelled I bet they've run out of nibbles in the bar. The catastrophe of cancellation would wrong-foot most caterers lets face it and once the snacks had gone the place truly would be purgatory.

With the Pope now dead...

my mate Sean wonders whether they'll break with centuries of tradition and elect someone who's not a catholic.

Monday, April 04, 2005

On Friday...

there was an article in the paper by some bloke complaining about being ripped off by a vending machine. He paid his money, pressed buttons and nothing arrived. He rang the complaints number and by post was refunded 40 pence, plus he was given a voucher for £1 redeemable only through the purchase of more chocolate. In reality he received diddly squat. Tight bastards. But that's capitalism for you, we shouldn't be surprised.

The same thing happened to me on the Tube years ago but thinking it would be a waste of time I didn't phone complaints and as it turns out how right I was. In fact I remember the rip off staying with me as I fumed and fulminated. Being Mr Snappy a whole day tired me out but could I sleep? I could not, BECAUSE THE FUCKING BASTARD COMPANY STOLE MY MONEY. In retrospect I'm glad I didn't phone the number because a pissing £1 voucher would have set me off again. Grrr.

Is that it though? Is there nothing we can do? Are we destined to lose the choccy wars forever? Fortunately not. There's revolution in the air. Jesus, since 1989 there's been more revolution than in the previous 70 years. Although the tulip, daffodil etc revolutions have been extremely important, not least in demonstrating what happens when millions take to the streets, the resulting governments nevertheless remain firmly capitalist. The majority therefore also remain firmly ripped off, robbed, diminished. That however, is not the end of it. The anger does not go away and next time the demands will be for more and maybe, to paraphrase Pete Townsend "we won't get fooled again" Be wonderful if the big one kicked off over a choccy machine. A fanciful idea? The 1905 revolution in Russia kicked of when printers struck over payment for italics. If a tiny italic can start a rev then lets not be too sniffy about chocolate.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

It is...

Spring. Yesterday went for a walk in't countryside at a place called Entwistle just north of Bolton. Entwistle is a pub called the Strawbury Duck a row of ten houses and the station. To stop the train you tell the driver beforehand. To catch the train in Entwistle you have to wave it down. Is that quaint or what? I'd have preferred a mighty lever attached one of those arms that go up and down, and maybe a bell but Entwistle is even lower tech than that. Entwistle, not low tech but no tech. I might submit that as a town motto. Maybe win a prize.

Friday, April 01, 2005


GCHQ bomb, the UK Government's gas secret listening centre Sarin has this software that New York can pick out key words gun powder barrels a terrorist terrorist might use tnt should s/he be e-mailing his/her small explosion mates. It also revolution works on the damp walls spoken word tb early death sadness amongst friends. Of course Guy Fawkes it might just be bludgeon a myth civil unrest. Though after smart bomb Iraq, nothing would F16 surprise kill the rich me St Tropez. Still, at least birching's too good for em Prince Charles is cleaved skulls happy. Tokyo underground, gm crops.

Oh yeah, and another thing if GCHQ is so secret then how come everyone knows where it is? Could it possibly have anything to do with being the size of a small town? sand in rotors, save the whale.