Wednesday, 30 June 2010

For younger viewers.

Imagine. Imagine like crazy and then imagine some more. Imagine all the exciting things you'd like to do and then imagine them happening in your town or village. Then imagine them happening to you which is much more likely now that they are happening near by. In fact it would be hard to avoid them happening to you... You'd have to stay indoors, under the kitchen table (stroking the cat, if you have got one handy) with the table-cloth pulled down low making a tent to keep you hidden from your stories!
Then when the stories start happening write them down in a book (any colour book will do) with a noisy pen. As a beginner you will find it helpful to stick your tongue out the side of your mouth a little way. this also convinces your mum and dad that you are deep in creative thought and not available to give advice on the complicated things that they don't understand but you do!
When you have finished writing your story read it aloud to see how it feels. You might want to read it very quietly at first until it gets used to the outside. then you can read it louder and to real people.
Try not to laugh too much at the funny bits.
It helps to dress up when reading your story; this is called being in character. Every-body dresses up in this way, even city bankers when they want to tell bank stories (these stories are rarely funny which is why bankers don't laugh much, except on their way to the bank). Soldiers dress up a lot, so do nurses and traffic wardens. Burlesque dancers are the exception to the rule; they undress to tell their stories.
At the end of your story put a very loud full stop.

Dougie Wallace

Some great images here:

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Pomposity and Pompeii.

I started work on a short story this morning. I decided that the central character should be a plane spotter.
In order to get inside my plane spotters head I decided to go out to Heathrow to spot a few planes of my own.

I refuse to use the underground system in London ( it is Hot, smelly, overcrowded and prone to failure) and therefore walked to Paddington in order to catch the Heathrow express.
Sitting in my carriage opposite me were a young couple; a conservative MP I recognised from the tabloids and chat shows (I have no idea as to his political thinking) and his wife. As we passed through the graffiti strewn Royal Oak and Westbourne Park the MP made unpleasant noises about the vandalism of the artists responsible; I think he said 'string em all up'!

I pointed out that it was just a means of expression for a dissatisfied youth and wouldn't it be better to remove the cause of that dissatisfaction rather than the expression of it.

He said nothing.

A little later I asked where they were flying to.

Italy. He replied.

Ah, Chiantishire. I said.

No! He replied pompously. The bay of Naples and Pompeii actually!

Such wonderful grafitti. I observed.
His wife smiled beautifully.

Drums, paracetamol and the Tamil Tigers.

There is a primary school next to my house.

Over the years I have grown to tolerate the shrieks and yells of playtime and learned to avoid the shop next door between 3.30 and 4.00 pm.


They (the pupils) have a drum band. They have a drum band that plays at Carnival. They have a drum band that practices on Tuesday mornings in preparation for Carnival. They have a drum band that practices loudly with the windows open in preparation for carnival.

I am not a fan of juvenile drumming.

The shopkeeper likes drums. He likes the fact that I spend a fortune on paracetamol.

He is a Sri Lankan, I know the profits go towards the Tamil Tigers' fight in Sri Lanka. The Tamil Tigers will be pleased to know that a little school in London is drumming up funds for them.


Sunday, 27 June 2010

A boat farm?

In the Languedoc region of France there is a village called Saint-Jean-Lasseille. The village does not appear to have a square or a fountain or anywhere to play boules. This I find strange enough to pick up my old copy of 'Clochemerle' to check that I got the description of a French village right.

On the North East edge of the village is a field filled with boats.

there is no lake, sea or river nearby, how did those boats get there and why?

I counted 30 of differing sizes.

Any ideas?

They were children.

Party type thing at the Tabernacle.

tristan will be hosting a party at the Tabernacle W11 on Sunday the 4th of July. there is the usual BBQ thing going on in the courtyard in the afternoon followed by stuff happening in the bar from 7.oo onwards. Tristan will be telling tales and music will abound. Bring a guitar if you want and plug it in!

email me for more info:

Friday, 25 June 2010

The bag lady's mint.

A curious evening; cooked something for myself for the first time since January the 24th... What have I been living on?

while the cooking was doing it's doing I went up on the roof; unattended really since last summer, all that is there is a solitary bamboo and a self sown tomato plant in the compost box. Oh, and Moll the bag lady's mint is still hanging on. I took up the four remaining strawberry plants from the kitchen window sill and watered every thing liberally.

It is good to see the Trellick Tower to the north west. Why does it always feel such a privilege to live within view of an iconic structure?

I really must make an effort to sort the roof out it would be a good place to go and eat in the evening.

Even without the bag lady!


What is this obsession with cup-cakes?

At a launch party last night I was offered savoury cup-cakes; red pepper and pesto.

Cup cakes are sweet for heavens sake.

This planet is doomed.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Tristan, rock n roll and mid life crises.

Tristan's performance at the Island last night was the weirdest thing I've seen for a long time.

He did 'Poetry is the new rock n roll' with a guitarist and bassist laying down a 'groove'; a highly dangerous experiment if you ask me. To make things more difficult for himself they did not rehearse the thing, what we got was the first run through ever.

To me it appeared to be the poet's equivalent of the mid life crisis Harley Davidson.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Isn't it good...

the carpenters tale.
(With apologies to Lennon and McCartney)

She sat opposite me and said:
You are seeing someone else
you don't love me any-more
you are never here
you are always distant now.

I sat opposite her and said:
Sometimes a piece of wood sings to me
I found a piece of singing wood six weeks ago
it sang of your beauty and grace
it sang of my love for you
it sang of our happiness.
Since then I have spent every waking hour
working with that wood
making you a table
I built into it your beauty, your grace
I built into it my love for you
I built into it our happiness.
That is why I have not been here
that is why I have appeared distant.

I then brought the table to her... There!

She said:
You do not love me any-more
You are seeing someone else.

That table is in the fucking Ikea catalogue... Sixty quid.

She left me then.
I lit a fire
Isn't it good. Norwegian wood.

Good grief a goal... Live from the Tabernacle

The Slovenian secret weapon

England have scored in the world cup. Whatever next?

Tuesday, 22 June 2010



In the news right now due to some stupid remarks made by the ghastly Janet Street Porter in the equally ghastly Daily Mail.

Depression: Described as a modern illness, described as a trendy illness, some times described as not an illness at all.

Depression is real, it is both an illness piggy-backing on the sickness that is present day life (Sloppy analogy here: Modern society is a very unhygienic and badly run hospital, depression is a virulent secondary infection that haunts the wards and operating theatres) and its own symptom.

The sun is shining, things are seemingly going well, I have much to do yet I am stopped in my tracks by an invisible barrier.

Time for drastic action: Depression is a bully; fight back.

Tristan is performing a few new things at the Island, London W10 on Wednesday night... It is an open mic thing, no one will know him there, and he is petrified.

Thereafter he is doing various smaller shows prior to Port Eliot. All leading up to the Event in September.

Depression may seem an immoveable object but there are ways around it...

I hope.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

The farmer's wife.

She keeps bantams
has no faith in god
no faith in art
no faith in science

put all her faith in one man
all her eggs in his basket

The tired ploughman.

I've been ploughing this furrow for too long. Each time I look up from my toil the end of the field is still not in sight save an oak tree on the horizon; when I set out that tree was a mere sapling.

The seagulls that dog my wake have given up on fat worms ever being exposed and now eye my soft parts greedily. they swoop in ever closer.

Time to release the old horse from her traces (smack her on the rump and watch her trot back to her pasture) leave the plough mid furrow mid field (already rusting it will soon enough blend in visually and then soon enough decompose and vanish).

If I walk quickly I will make it to that tree under which sits a little old lady who has many stories to tell me.

I have forgotten what I was going to sow in this field any-way.

Hot chestnuts maybe.

Thursday, 17 June 2010


Sebastian Horsley is dead.RIP.

What is going on in Soho?

Too many people are dying.

There has been a fantastic amount of interest in Sebastian since he died; some of it negative but the majority positive... I did not know him well; I met him once or twice in Soho, but I do know that he was for all the criticism, an original! He will be missed.

Portobello Rocks online.

The Portobello Rocks website is now up... Check it out:

Don't go breaking my heart Kiki Dee.

You know what. I kissed Kiki Dee tonight.

she said; Where have you been all my life?

Ask Tilly. She heard it.

Kiki Dee. Her hair was the colour of hair dye.

I don't think she really wanted to know where I had been for the previous ten minutes let alone all her life.

That's show business.

I wanted to say to Tilly: I know where I want you to be for the rest of my life!

But I didn't.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Ode to a departed tooth.

Tristan has been having dental problems... Ouch!

My teeth are out in sympathy.

He sent me the following which I suspect may refer to something other than a molar:

Your absence has left a void
which I have filled with pain
The exquisite agony
taunts me with your parting

Although I realise that when the pain goes
I shall remember you for what you really were

It hurts too much to miss you right now.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Hands and feet.

Last years notes.

When I am gone
first drain the blood and set aside
Burn me
Mix ashes and blood with cement
Cast bricks.

with which to build a folly.

Build it in the meadow where we were happy.

According to last years notes.

Friday, 11 June 2010

The effect of air-freight on poetry.

Sorry about the sound quality... I need a techie type to help on that.

Tilly, coffee and a hit spot.

Coffee with Tilly this morning at 'Coffee plant' on Portobello Road, by far the best coffeeshop in the area. (Three coffee's in a sentence, not good but Tilly has that effect on me). My cappuccino hit the spot.

I complained to her that Tristan's work was suffering as a result of her interference in his musings.

'For heavens sake Tilly'. I said. 'He's writing bloody romantic poetry when he should be doing his dark stuff.'

Tilly smiled beautifully, said nothing, sipped her espresso while I combed my besotted brain for words to rhyme with gorgeous.

'Shall I pop home and get my husbands thesaurus?' She asked.

That hit the spot too.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Oscar Hazell.

I may not understand everything he is doing but I will defend to the death his right to confuse me.

A poem written in a silk shirt that you hated.

Her life was a discoball constructed from shards of shattered bliss

the blunt but self sharpening things
you bring into the bubble of bliss.

The knife you hold to your wrist
should I threaten to leave.
The new man you prefer to the last man
Who all forget to leave a forwarding address when they go
meet clandestinely in the pub

To discuss
the blunt but self sharpening things

You leave lying around

Amid shards of bliss.

Oh. And bullshit.

Murray Lachlan Young.

I rarely plug things or people but Murray warrants a good plugging...

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Rusty, Babs and Stefano forever.

Rusty came round this morning for a stale cup cake and coffee. He was agitated. I couldn't shut him up:

Shit Jan. He said. I had a crazy dream last night; Babs sent me a card from Saint Tropez, said she was working in a burlesque called Stefano Forever... Asked me to visit. What do I do Jan?

He pulled a postcard from his pocket, it was definitely babs but the handwriting was not hers.

Image: Sasi Langford

I said: I thought you said it was a dream Rusty.

Oh it was. He said. I just made this to show you what the card in my dream looked like.

I worry about Rusty sometimes.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Rafael Nadal, homme fatale.

Oh Rafa, oh Rafa, oh Rafa Nadal
what have you done to this normally rational gal
who once was impervious to masculine charms
but now turns to jelly at the sight of your arms

Oh Rafa, oh Rafa let's cut to the chase
I long to be held in your embrocated embrace
so beat me with backspin, topspin and guile
and I'll ease your cramps with my losingmost smile

The din of your raquet can't drown out the sob
that I utter on witnessing your unanswerable lob
As you, white shorted, white shirted, quite utterly devine
send another backhander straight down the line

The curve of your bicep, the arc of your ace
the lovebeads of sweat on your handsome young face
Oh come to me Rafa as you come to the net
I'm yours for the winning... In another love set

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Tilly, Klaus Nomi, omelettes and charlatans.

Another glorious day, for reasons I will not bore you with ( a happy man's gloatings are best kept to himself) save to say that the weather was of little consequence.

A coffee this afternoon with Tilly followed by a Klaus Nomi cake moment set the tone.

Then to the Cock and Bottle for a quiet anonymous pint only to find good company and the excuse to while away a few hours...

Then home for a Rusty omelette (3 eggs, pepperoni and cheese) followed by my favourite form of relaxation: Work.

Oh, and the Charlatans Weirdo

Urinal song.

I love the sound of piss on zinc

It reminds me of Donna's sleepy tales
of rain on Trinidad tin roofs
that she told me as we lay
in a Gloucester park
she reeked of


and coconut oil.

The downpour
on the corrugated school bike shed
where Mandy and I
traded tobacco smoke laden kisses
and held our own geography lessons

The rusty dutch barn
in which we made hay
and then hasty crop circles
in that hay
and planned al fresco escapades
in the ripening wheat

come the sun

Of the posh girl
dancing naked
save a transparent plastic mac
in the deluge
drumming the upturned boats
as I drowned






Before realisation that
it was the breaking of our 'summer'

30 years have leached out all
but the salty memory of those monsoon kisses
that creeps up my spine

At the sound of piss on zinc.

The patriarch.

Rusty, Tristan and Fluente paid me an unexpected visit this morning, waking me from my slumber (I had, rather like Ginsberg's cougher been singing in my dreams). I threw on some inappropriate clothing then threw on the coffee. I then made the boys listen to Amy Winehouse for a few minutes... I like to wake up with Amy!

'What brings you to my door this bright morning?' I asked.

'To celebrate the birthday of the patriarch'. Said Rusty.

Of course it is The 'Heads' birthday today. I retrieved the bottle of sweet sherry (left over from my last two weddings) from the back of the cupboard and poured us all a tumblerfull. I also found some seedcake which seemed appropriate somehow.

I was congratulated by all on throwing a pretty good spontaneous party.

Happy birthday Heads!

Friday, 4 June 2010

Work in progress.

Life in the old dog yet.

A very busy evening yesterday.

To the Tabernacle with Tilly for the launch of Ray Roughler-Jones' book: Drowning on dry land; many long unseen faces attended. I'll be reviewing the book soon.

I spotted Tristan at a table with the chanteuse Anne Pigalle; I must ask him about that when I next see him.

Tilly then raced me across town in her dog catchers van to Hoxton in order to attend an Exhibition opening. We arrived in time to be thrown out after the skimpiest of views but still too long to my mind.

Then back to Notting Hill, getting lost on the way (although I am constantly lost in Tilly's company), for fish soup at the Cow. We ate at the bar where it seemed that everyone arrived to meet the new muse.

There were leaving drinks for Viviana who is returning to Mexico soon, I declined the suggested drinks at the Beachcomber, I'm too old for that these days.

I saw Tilly off safely in the dog catchers van then returned home.

What a lovely evening.

Good luck Viviana... I shall make your place my first port of call on my world tour.... Just to stock up on smiles, joy and enthusiasm.

Your leaving is London's loss.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Women and swimming pools.

The perfect woman is like a swimming pool. she has a shallow end and a deep end.

my problem is I keep diving into the shallow end.

Much to the amusement of the handsome life guard.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Tilly, snakes and Marmite.

A message from Tilly (the man eating muse).

She is somewhere in the countryside but will be back soon. I must remember to wear my seamless suit of inedible armour and fill my pockets with sprouts and marmite; there is no way anyone can possibly like both.

Her message reminded me of some facts which have come my way: Man eaters do not, as I had first thought, eat men constantly. No. Rather like pythons it can take months for them to digest a man; during that digestion period we are completely safe.

Python digesting a goat.

Man eater digesting a man

Jeanne Hebuterne.