Tuesday, 31 August 2010


A few years ago I was asked to restore an old pinball machine for a friend... It was part of her degree show at St Martins college of Art.

The playing field graphics are by Natasha Griss.

Carnival 2010. No acid attacks then.

From the BBC:

Notting Hill Carnival has drawn to a close - with revellers enjoying a late spell of sunshine on Monday evening.
The clouds and rain that marred Sunday's event were banished, to the delight of crowds.
Police made a total of 230 arrests for a variety of offences over the two days of the carnival, and British Transport Police arrested another 34.
The incidents included two stabbings, but police said overall the festival went "smoothly and to plan".
Two pit bull-type dogs and one Staffordshire-type animal were seized by officers.

Ch Insp Jo Edwards said the event was "marred by a small element".
She said: "Most carnival-goers had a fantastic time, with the large part of the Bank Holiday weekend passing without serious incident.
"For the fourth year there were no firearms incidents and reported crime fell by more than 31% compared to the same stage last year.
"However, as we have seen in previous years, last night saw some people determined to try and ruin it for others who simply wanted to enjoy a day out."
Notting Hill Carnival: Your pictures

Monday, 30 August 2010

A few drums

The view from my roof on Carnival Monday!

A few drums

Rumours of Trouble on Carnival Monday.

The police have been quick to deny the rumours (circulating on twitter) of trouble at the carnival today.
Rumours of acid attacks and a shooting began to circulate on Twitter but were later said by police to be unfounded. A Metropolitan Police spokeperson tweeted: "There have been no reports to police about any acid being thrown or firearms incidents at Notting Hill Carnival."
Hundreds of thousands of revellers have thronged the streets of West London for the first day of carnival today. Over a million people are expected to attend the two-day event, which is second only to Rio Carnival in visitor numbers.
Director of London Notting Hill Carnival Ltd Chris Boothman said: "This weekend is thehighlight of the year for not only the Caribbean community, but also for the many visitors from London and the rest of the country."
According to the Metropolitan Police, a total of nineteen people had been arrested at the carnival as at 4pm today, with most arrests made on drug-related charges.
Although incidents of crime have hit the headlines at Notting Hill over recent years,organisers and police are keen to stress that the event is safe.
Chief Superintendent Mick Johnson of the Territorial Support Group told the BBC: "It's important to remember that crime rates do remain relatively low at carnival, given the thousands of people who attend."
Scaremongers and killjoys posting rumours on Twitter - we reckon they're just jealous. If you're off to carnival tomorrow, have an amazing time!

This was first posted in 'Most wanted': http://www.vouchercodes.co.uk/most-wanted/police-deny-rumours-of-trouble-at-notting-hill-carnival-london-3772.html

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Today; Carnival Sunday!

9.00 am. The view from the roof.

                                                                  Gaz's Rockin Blues

Apart from the rain showers (fortunately I was safely tucked away in the Tabernacle) Carnival day one went well!

9.00 pm: I have just attended the worst party  imaginable; full of youngsters (fair enough, but why invite sentient beings too in that case) and fairly sad middle aged folk who should have known better... I sat down next to an overweight, over made up, over indulged middle aged woman who informed me she was 'too tired' to talk. she was, however, not too tired to ask where the quavers were.

I was handed a beer of the variety that through it's sheer cheapness, leeches out any sense of enjoyment and, through it's weakness, and through some strange osmosis or capillary action, sucks out any alcohol already in the body... the fat plain woman, I was told, had a rich husband and for that reason must be respected; bollocks, the husband deserves a great deal of respect for putting up with her in the sober light of day 24-7, what the fuck he was thinking about when he married and impregnated her boggles the mind. She was truly appalling..

I left.

Now, outside my window, thousands of drunks are exploring that place that exists the wrong side of 'time to go home'.


rumours have been circulating since this afternoon of impending acid attacks and shootings tomorrow. Let us hope they are groundless.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Notting Hill Carnival 'After parties'. The Source Magazine.

Are you coming to Carnival? Do you need to know where the best parties are after the carnival has melted into the barrio's and bars of W11, W2 and W10 each evening?

Check out 'the Source' at:http://www.thesourcemag.net/

It is also THE Source of all local action throughout the year.

All Saints Road, last years whistle and the economy.

All Saints Road last night was great fun! The photograph is rubbish but I'm not a photographer. 

I called in at the Cow at the end of the evening and an interesting point was raised; Carnival spirit is most certainly linked to the economy; the tougher the times, the more determined to party! This year should be a good one.

My first party invitation is for 11.30 am tomorrow. If one had the inclination (and stamina) one could party solidly for 48 hours.

I have dug out last years whistle.
Peep peep!

Friday, 27 August 2010

Notting Hill Carnival: D day minus 2. Panorama.

After days of miserable weather it looks as if it might cheer up for the occasion.

This evening sees the Mangrove steel band playing in All Saints Road. W11. Tomorrow the band will compete in the 32nd Notting Hill Panorama in Kensal Road (off Ladbroke Grove) W10. Where the 'champion' band will be decided from the best bands in Britain.  It starts at 5.00 in the afternoon. check it out It's free.

'Ebony' another local band are the guys to beat having won the thing 18 times...

More than one way to skin a cat.

A Scandinavian start to the day; coffee and Danish with Kiki the Swedish vet.

Kiki the Swedish vet

She showed me a circular she had just received from the RSPCA. It read as follows:

The RSPCA is deeply concerned by the alarming number of cats that are self harming by jumping into bins. After extensive investigation it is found that peer pressure along with facebook taunts seems to be the main cause in the sudden rise.

This phenomenon is not dissimilar to the spate, some years ago, of cats attempting to self harm by jumping from trees. On that occasion the attempts stopped when the cats realised that they always landed on their feet and the exercise was therefore pointless.

All cats should be kept under close observation until further notice.

In a paper today I read that a Birmingham builder has been arrested and charged as a result of having been overheard claiming that there was 'more than one way to skin a cat'. "This is serious". A spokesperson said.

In America the Catskills mountains are to be named the Catspetteds Mountains.

etc etc etc

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

The Cameron's new baby... No Labour!

I am reliably informed that the baby was delivered by Caesarian section  in order to avoid any mention of Samantha going into Labour... You heard it here first!

The cat in the wheelie bin. Time for concern, not just death threats.

Am I the only person concerned as to why the owner of the cat and wheelie bin should have his own cctv camera operating.
What is he hiding or protecting?

The authorities should be in that house like a shot looking for one or more of the following:

A niece hidden in a bed.
A crack/cannabis factory in the cellar or buried in the back yard.
Sex slaves in the attic.
An illegal chicken pot noodle factory and furriers workshop.
A wardrobe full of strange uniforms.
The lack of a TV licence.
Incorrect recycling procedures.
A cache of illegal videos of the public going about their business.
Unsent letters to Jeremy Beadle.

I think we should be told.

For overseas readers who may be nonplussed by this. Here is the back story:


In the light of the anonymous comment posted on this blog I will add:

This is Satire, pretty weak satire at that. A joke. A poke at a nation more concerned with the well being of a cat than the plight of thousands of human victims a day of man's monstrosity towards fellow man.

The story is being pumped up by the media - it is silly season - It is as big a non story as is possible. A waste of space and time.

On a serious note, the private use of cctv by members of the public to monitor other members of the public is a dangerous thing; what's next? Vigilante groups?  Photographers are frequently told by the police that they may not take photographs in the street. Cameras have been confiscated. It is criminal to photograph children. It is probably illegal to photograph and publish images of others without permission.  

Please let me know. Is it legal to film the general public without their knowledge or permission.

One last thing. Cats fucking hate that repetitive tinned or foil wrapped shite that their owners force on them day after day... they are scavengers and hunters, they like nothing better than hunting down (especially in bins) and slaughtering innocent birds and mammals. What about those victims.

For petes sake lets draw a line in the litter tray.

Something as simple as a roof.

An extraordinary sunrise this morning, and of course the batteries are dead in my camera.
The Morning Glory blooms open with the dawn; they will be dying by noon... But what aptly named things.
The tomatoes are heavy on the vine (green still through lack of sun) and the pink shamrocks are opening.
All of the above have self seeded in the pots on my roof ( along with a bonsai elder tree, nasturtium, solitary potato plant and a fire-weed (Rosebay Willowherb)); welcome immigrants all!
The Algerian mint (it's scent screams) came from Melanie as did the few remaining strawberry plants that survived.
The last remaining Bamboo is beginning to show signs of recovery...

Up on the roof.

Self Galvanising and urban foxes.

From time to time I find that, by working through into the early hours of the morning for a number of nights, my body clock gets somewhat messed up and drastic action is called for.

The instant remedy is of course a bottle of scotch which will induce instant sleep prior to a stinking hangover the following day. The safer bet is the 'up all night' followed by a day of semi stupor.

Tonight is an all nighter; I've just taken a 4.00 am walk to the nearest 24 hour shop for tobacco supplies - I'm trying to give up smoking but tonight ain't the night for abstinence - as usual I buy chocolate.  One of the great joys of London life is the 24 hour shop. Thank heaven for the Asian community who are willing to provide this service. One is obliged to run the gauntlet of addicts and the homeless who frequent the environs of these nocturnal establishments but this is ameliorated by the urban foxes out on the scavenge, always a welcome sight.
I am also always surprised at the number of people out and about at this time of the morning (today I met a woman sporting a splendid beehive hairdo, lugging a bright blue wheelie bag), we eye each other up cautiously; each thinking the other might be the psychopath!   I've been mugged twice in 25 years in London. Not bad statistics really.

Now I am at my desk with a cup of tea and a slab of chocolate cake; 4.00 am is the most depressing time of the night according to the experts and chocolate cake is an anti-depressant according to me (has anyone tried putting nettles in chocolate cake - just a thought); therefore essential.  Outside there is a dribble of traffic on the Westway - the vehicle lights cross my line of sight at eye level... The trains below have yet to start their day  and the buses (which I hear but do not see) are limited to the night service. All of these elements contribute to my natural environment now... I would miss them should I leave.

A short while ago the bulb in my lamp blew, it is an old 1950's anglepoise that I rescued from a skip at St Martins school of Art. In trying to replace the bulb and get the thing lit I managed to send 240 volts of current through my body (now I know why they threw it out).

Boy! That gets you perked up; the electricity avoided my brain (I think) and headed due south, my heart definitely got a jolt and my extremities tingle. I also now have a metallic taste in my mouth.

Self galvanising into action, Auto Voltaism even! Good old Luigi Galvani, where would we be without him. Is it Zinc I can taste?
Luigi Galvani

It didn't seem to work on poor old Earnest Hemingway ; maybe they overdid it.

May 2012 Update: I gather Brian May the guitarist is about to do a television programme on urban foxes. About time too Brian!

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Poetry is the new Rock n Roll: Part 3.

True story this:

I was in the Nashville (a music pub in West London. Now deceased) in the late 70's to see a couple of punk bands. I got talking to the female guitarist from one of the bands at the bar. She talked about music, I talked about poetry. I asked for her phone number.

She told me to fuck off!

Thirty something years later I was in the Inn on the Green (a music venue in West London) to see a couple of bands. I got talking to the female guitarist from one of the bands at the bar. We talked about her music and my poetry and stuff like that. She asked me for my phone number.

I took hers.

I didn't tell her to fuck off, even though it would have rounded off the story. I'm a poet not a punk!

I wish I had told her about our previous meeting.

Friday, 20 August 2010

never return to lighted fireworks.

The 'Angry man' picture (blog passim) seems to have stirred up some hot ashes.... Maybe the creature (scaling the gunwales) in the picture is, rather than the octopus of truth (it's tentacles able to explore even the tiniest chink in the woodwork), a squib. And not such a damp one as that!

Society in decay. No. 1: Classical music.

I met a 'classical' musician yesterday; nice enough guy, a bit overweight. At first I thought it was too much rich food but no; he was just full of himself!

We were talking about promoting events, funding and the like. He agreed that there was no money to be made from poetry or spoken word, nor was there any likelihood of corporate sponsorship as it was just not 'sexy' enough.

He then went on to suggest that I got a gimmick... Perhaps I should dress in a nappy in order to generate some kind of attention and therefore become commercial. Later I mentioned the steel band practice going on elsewhere to which he replied: 'Oh, that is of no interest to me...It is not high Art!

Which allows me to suppose that he thinks that what he does IS 'high art'. Bollocks; A load of over-sponsored middle class idiots scraping things with horse hair bows in front of a bunch of overpaid, overweight corporate free-loaders necking Roederer Crystal while groping their secretaries/mistresses whilst listening to Garry Glitter on their ipods to drown out the caterwauling is not high art.

Now don't get me wrong, I like a bit of fiddle music (especially at Balkan weddings and Irish lock ins) and the Classical 'composers' borrowed some very pleasant peasant tunes back in the old days or just plain stole them from costermongers and fishwives But music is music. Just because something costs the tax payer loads of money does not make it high art nor does it make it any more important... Let's not get our own self importance confused with the things that amuse us.

A noise is a noise is a noise is a noise.

I asked the fiddle player what he did for a day job. He told me he played on the backing tracks for something called the X factor.... HA! The air was suddenly filled with the sound of a hundred barrels being scraped (albeit with virgin Pomeranian stallion hair bows)... He also went on to cite LLoyd Webber as an exponent of Classical Music.

High Art my arse.

What is called 'Classical Music' is in fact the noise made to drown out the sounds of a society in decay; lying around on metaphorical chaise-longues eating third world grapes and buggering small boys.

Give me a steel band any day and save me from being surrounded by the braying whordes of social and cultural mountaineers.

Whordes by the way is intentional... the people who would sell their children's souls for the price of a ticket to see the LSO perform the Telly Tubbies theme.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Notting Hill Carnival looms.

It will not be the best of times. Lets hope it is not the worst of times.

The barricades are already going up outside.

like a lot of locals part of me wishes for a far, far better place to go to do far, far better things. But I like a lot of my neighbours do not have second homes in Tuscany or France as refuge.

Without wanting to sound like a killjoy Carnival is a real pain for some people who find themselves under house arrest for two days, unable to do anything other than suffer the aural abuse of every sound system on the planet churning out decibels. The steel bands do play a part but can be better appreciated at one of the pre carnival events; Mangrove in All Saints Road is not to be missed on the preceding Friday.

It is impossible to leave home without passport and I.D with an address and when you finally get to a shop all they want to sell you is beer at three times normal price... On your way home you must put up with half a million drunks attempting to piss in your garden or trying to steal your wallet, purse or life.

Yes, the barricades are going up... Not just the physical ones.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Not a good day really.

The only good thing to happen in the last couple of days has been a letter from a Nigerian princess offering her undying affection in return for helping her extract millions of dollars from Burkino Faso... I know it is a scam because she cannot spell proper... And we all know Nigerian Princesses go to English schools to learn proper English spelling so that their begging letters will be taken seriously!

On top of that it was Sebastian Horsleys inquest today; Sebastian's is the most 'hit' page in this blog! He was an original whatever you think!

I missed a gig tonight because of transport problems... London is too big for its antiquated transit solutions... Sorry Andreas.

Other than that life stinks...

Of roses.

And as Gertrude Stein tells us: A rose is a rose is a rose...

Shakespeare wrote: Should I compare thee to a summers day... You are cold dull and grey!

Hemingway: Cut out the adjectives, cut out the bullshit, get drunk and have a fight followed by a post fight bonding drink. Ah to be a man.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Nettles and depression.

London is wet cold and grey. Where has the summer gone? I feel lethargic and uncreative, but what to do?

Then I read the following:

Serotonin occurs in nettle, and is found to be of great benefit to many people who suffer from depression. Serotonin has a major role as a neuro-transmitter in the central nervous system. Research in Europe, on the antiinflammatory potential of nettle, showed that the herb has a very strong action to de-activate cytokines that perpetuate the inflammatory destruction of cartilage and bone. Therefore, nettle can help to inhibit joint and bone destruction, and slow the progression of the disease.

The answer was, I thought, obvious... I walked down to Hyde park this afternoon and having found the largest patch of stinging nettles, proceeded to remove most of my clothing and roll around in the things much to the amusement of passing joggers and nannies.

I am now even more depressed as a result of an excruciating rash.

It has not helped my arthritis either.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Pot noodle and love.

My insufferable employer Jan Nieupjur suddenly stopped mid way through dictation; his eyes glazed over and a wistful smile attempted to light up his miserable old face.

He rose to his feet declaring that we should try something called a 'pot noodle'.

Now I have of course heard of the aforementioned foodstuff but have made a point of avoiding it. I asked Jan to explain and a pretty sad story emerged:

'I have fallen in love Tristan. I have fallen in love with a 21 year old Peruvian girl who seems to live entirely on pot noodle and cider, I feel I must acquire an appetite for such things in order for the relationship to proceed!'

I told him not to be so ridiculous; he is over 100 years old, what on earth could a 21 year old see in him apart from a rapidly approaching funeral. I asked him how often he saw this girl. He replied that he had met her twice, briefly! But, he said, every time I see her my legs turn to jelly!

Jan, your legs are jelly!

Sandie Shaw - Long Live Love [totp]

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Why I love where I live.

This evening:

At the Tabernacle for a few beers talking to first generation Trinidadian immigrants who arrived during the 50's and 60's... We could all learn a great deal about national pride (not nationalism) from these people as well as completely new stuff. I am not being patronising; I learnt more about where I live in the space of two hours than I can shake a stick at.... More another day.

Then I watched a steel band rehearse for a while. Bliss.

I called in at the Cow on my way home... Luti the bar manager got his citizenship stuff confirmed this week, good news. If you ever bitch about immigrants and their negative input you should come down to the Cow and watch the best, hardest working, fastest barman on the planet (he even smiles now and looks ten years younger). To my mind fast barmen are second only to fast women! Fast barmen never let you down though.

Then I got home to find that I had done the washing up earlier.

And there was beer in the fridge...

Who could not love where I live?

Answers on an e-postcard please.

Starbucks or Macdonalds at the Tabernacle?

I have heard a rumour that Starbucks and Macdonalds are in a bidding war for the concession at the Tabernacle in Notting Hill.

It is probably one of those urban myths that do the rounds...

But then I found the following in my mailbox from an anonymous reader. It claims to be the transcript of a pitch made to the Macdonalds board meeting earlier this year.

"Gentlemen, oh and Lady, John Lennon once said that the Beatles were better known than Jesus. My stats team have just informed me that Ronald Macdonald is better known than Jesus and the Beatles put together!

Conclusion... We need a church!

And I have found one. It is called the Tabernacle in Notting Hill, London; you know, the place where Hugh Grant lives with that guy in the underpants.

I hear Starbucks are interested in the place too, but Hell, we got more bucks than Starbucks got bucks and our bucks got god on our side... He told me in a vision!

I've seen a photograph of the place and the Golden Arches will fit neatly above the gate to the street. We'll need to remove the existing sign but that is not a problem as we can blame the local kids for the theft; that place is worse than Detroit.

We can dress the staff as choirboys and girls. The manager can wear a surplice and paper mitre on his head.

Breakfast will be called morning service... Oh, and you don't order your food; you confess your order.

Any-one ordering water will automatically receive wine. (applause and cheers)

The 'fillet o fish' shit will be renamed the 'sermon on the mount' burger; this will be a great little earner for us as the left overs will always exceed the initial serving and we can get our boffins to come up with a catchy name for 'left over fish burger' burger!"

I've met with a young guy in a black suit who tells me he can fix the deal. He is also offering to sell us Buckingham Palace and Tower bridge at a reasonable price.

Etc etc etc.

You get the drift... I for one do not like the sound of this!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

BEAT at the Drop or Rude poets society.

I'm doing some stuff at BEAT next Tuesday. I'll let Andreas explain...
17 August at 20:00 - 18 August at 00:00

LocationThe Drop
175 Stoke Newington High Street, N16 0LH
London, United Kingdom

Created by:

More info
It's good to be back. We have been gone. And when we are gone, we are really gone.

Poetry is a Zoo where we go to visit Demons and Angels. There's no middle ground. There are a lot of poetry nights. There is just one BEAT

BEAT means trouble. Sometimes the host passes out. Sometimes one of the performers casually drifts into the realms of the unknown. Sometimes we get banned from Soho for indecent exposure. Sometimes we get drunk.

But we take our poetry very seriously. Life is poetry and if it's not, you must be doing something seriously wrong. And like all good poetry, life hurts.

Luckily BEAT doesn't. It's free of cost, high on quality.

Welcome to 2 nights of hard hitting no bars hold self decapitating poetry

2 nights at the Drop, under Three Crowns, corner of Stoke Newington High Street/Church Street, Tuesday 17th and 31st of August.

Opening night 17th of August presents the BEAT All Stars:

$Tristan Hazell - Nothing Hill haven't been more well read since Hugh Grant seduced Julia Roberts in an antiques book store. With the elegance of Dorian Gray and the voice of his portrait, poetry is seldom, as funky, as decadent and as stringent in one embodiment

$Ben Graham - Brighton's answer to the call. One of the finest lyricist on the UK circuit. Wit, style but above all substance.

$Tomas Adejumo - the voice of Barry White meets the mind of a scientist working full time to cure Cancer, when's he's not busy silver lining the every day clouds of London's ladies

$Dougie Hastings- runner up best newcomer London 2009, the king of undercover wit. His interpretations of Jesus childhood makes you feel for the chap

$Ant the Rant - legend on the UK poetry scene, the Ant is always fresh, never old, although his eternal hit on the post club generation, 50 years later: "Colostomy DelMar", might suggest otherwise. The Rant is always a pleasure, always a surprise

Plus live music by:

$Fabulous John-founding father of London legendary rockabilly post punk band, as seen on the festival circuit, Fabulous Penetrators, Fabulous John christens the BEAT stage with his virgin performance and some freshly written songs

$And your ever present host, racounteur, debaucher, Mr Grant is there to make sure proceedings run according to plan: "there's no plan B, there's no plan A either, but definitely no plan B"

More to be announced

Monday, 9 August 2010

Insomnia and Abstract depressionism.

I am frequently asked: 'What does insomnia look like?'

I made that up; I've never been asked that but never mind... artistic license and all that.

In my case insomnia looks like my ceiling. I'm pretty lucky in that outside my flat are some Belisha beacons and street lighting, when I leave my blinds open the various lights create interesting shapes on the ceiling.

At 3.30 this morning I decided, instead of just looking at it, to photograph it; the resulting images are shown below. I've played with the exposure of all three and the colour balance in the blue one but other than that they are a true representation of my ceiling which is what insomnia looks like to me!

The weird thing is though, that when you decide to photograph and write about your insomnia it ceases to be insomnia.

It becomes inspiration.

Jan Nieupjur discovered this paradox many years ago when formulating his principles of Abstract depressionism (blog passim), although all of his resulting images were black, black, black!

Insomnia No:1
Insomnia No:2
Insomnia No:3

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Ruby slippers at Port Eliot.

Check out Fiona Campbell aka Ruby slippers' slideshow of Port Eliot photographs:

Who took this photograph?

This photograph arrived on my facebook page. It was posted by a guy called Scotty Heath; he found it on the net but the original source is now unknown....

Who did take this photograph? And who is the guy on the right?

Not interested in the bigot.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Pirates, pirates, pirates. The world is full of bloody pirates.

I have had a long day attending to necessary social obligations in the neighbourhood; thankfully Tilly is back for long enough for a tea-time catch up. I attended a 'bright young things' party this evening then departed with exquisite timing and grace. One should always read these occasions carefully.

I thought I would put a link up to one of my childrens stories for the pirate lovers out there.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Mangrove rehearsals at the tabernacle.

I was lucky enough; right place, right time scenario, to be invited to sit in on a 'Mangrove' rehearsal last night.

For those who do not know Notting Hill, Mangrove is a steel band which is central to the Carnival and in many ways central to the community.

Initially the space was filled with individual musicians each practising their parts. this went on for some time but at some point the 'director' hit the floor then tapped a drum with a stick and the milling ant's nest of noise formed an orderly mass of pure joy.

A steel band in the street is pretty amazing, this steel band in an enclosed auditorium is something else. It blew me away; I heard church bells, strings, a horn section, a piano. All from a collection of oil drums. It was an aural wine tasting; full of hints and nuances that only come with maturity and loving care.

The director is a young Trinidadian from New York Named Andre White, he seems to hold the entire score for a very complicated piece of music in his head and was teaching the band bit by bit. It was a privilege to witness. At one point a small child entered the fray, was handed a pair of sticks and immediately started playing; watching her neighbour attentively she was learning by sight... the director looked on and smiled as the rehearsal carried on...Where else could that happen? Imagine the uproar if a child entered the rehearsal of the LSO and started joining in... Yet with Mangrove it was the most natural of events and I am sure that a lot of the musicians there had once, sometime past, walked in and picked up some sticks, got stuck in and stayed.

By the way, these are for the most part the young black kids that the majority of the white middle classes instinctively mistrust. What I saw was the kind of community activity that has long since vanished from most peoples lives.

Throughout the building, as the rehearsals went on, scores of people were putting the costumes together; in the dance studio vast skeletons of fantastic creatures awaited their plumage and in the gallery below this years musicians costumes were on show. And throughout the building enthusiasm shone.

Mangrove will be performing on the Friday evening before Carnival in All Saint's Road; an event that is a Carnival of it's own... Go and listen.


Thursday, 5 August 2010

Bullied by a nurse.

Nurse Caz bullied me into this some time ago...

Till human voices wake us...

I grow old… I grow old…
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

From 'The love song of J Alfred Prufrock' T.S.Elliot

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

The Angry Man... Freud would have a field day.

This was painted by myself and two brothers back in the sixties; I can still remember who painted which bits, mother did a bit too. Double click on the image for an enlargement.

The old man painted the figure head; definitely a self portrait, I then named the ship (even my signwriting is angry). most of the crew seem now to be jumping ship apart from the very gay 'pole dancing' matelot on the foremast.

Suppressed sexuality is most definitely symbolised by the preening mermaid; again the old man's work. god knows what the octopus symbolises.

I've a feeling that some of my French readers might enjoy this... Any comments will be gleefully received.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

An existential question answered.

There are some times in a poets life when the only thing that rhymes with 10 p.m. is pub.

But that doesn't stop me thinking on the way to the pub and as I was thinking I thought that I might as well think about 'who is god' and stuff like that....

A black dog crossed my path. I did not stop however, I could smell the beer, but I did think: Is god any more important than that dog and if so, why?

I met up with the English emigre and bickered over a cigarette lighter which broke anyway and then we got into a conversation with a drunken mourner who wanted to know why Jimi Hendrix was more important than his dad... I am not making this up...

Suddenly there before me was the answer; knitted into a womans chest and back.

I personally think, having read Ginsberg's diaries, that the opposite might be true.

I'm going to get my ouija board out and ask Charles Bukowski!

After Annie Leibovitz.

After Annie Leibovitz

On the circle line I said
Let's go to West Ruislip
because we can
and will you marry me

Probably she said

I will not ask her again
but simply say
let's go to West Ruislip
because we can

Papa Was A Rodeo. Misery, romance and humour.

I guess, being a storyteller I am instinctively drawn to the narrative element of Country and Western music; 'Ruby don't take your love to town' gets me every time.

Jarvis Cocker played this on his sunday radio show last week (BBC 6 music)... I'd never come across this band before, I love it. I know 'country' purist will say: 'That ain't country' but It is my kind of country.

Like misery, romance needs humour too!

Monday, 2 August 2010

Ryan O'Reilly band.

An interesting early evening at the Cow; my guru and anger management counsellor dropped by for a chat followed by a notorious pot growing friend... then the king of tours turned up still loved up from Port Eliot; he had Ryan with him.

Ryan and his eponymous band busk on Portobello Road on Saturdays... Get down there, check them out and buy the CD. http://www.ryanoreilly.co.uk/