Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010
As a general Rule For Living I suppose that ranks alongside my 'Always live east of where you work.'
Half a century of learning from my own dumb mistakes has given me my own set of rules. As for those two: living east of where I work saves me getting blinded by sun-glare off wet roads on my way to and from the office and starting each day with a poo and a poem clears both body and mind ready for whatever horrors the day might throw at me.
Not groundbreaking, I know, but an accumulation of such nuggets helps me stumble along without bumping into too many sharp things.
This morning's poem (I'll spare you this morning's poo) turned out to be Mandrakes For Supper, by James K. Baxter (am I alone in ascribing ludicrous names to people who insert intrusive initials in their signatures? James Baxter has this morning been variously called Kleptomania, Kniphofia, Kimberley and Knickers and it's his own fault).
Anyhoo … His poem:
Mandrakes For Supper
Memory feeds us on a prison diet
Of bits and scraps. 'Remember Mr. X-,
That simple solemn man, so deathly quiet;
'And Sally Z-, compounded of raw sex
And circumstance' - 'Ah yes, her corn-gold hair …'
A land where roams Tyrannosaurus Rex,
The giant lizard, calloused by despair -
In Nowhere I received my education
(If memory can be trusted) mooching there
Like Dante's ghost, among a faceless nation.
The white antarctic Gorgon was my mentor:
Her cloudy arms, her eyes of desolation
Sisterly gazing from the whirlwind's centre,
Received, embraced my naked intuition.
The town of Nilburg too I shrank to enter
(If memory serves me right) and wept contrition
For indistinct all-but-committed crimes
In gelding-rooms and caves of parturition.
Yet undeniably I laughed at times
With those who shared my headless hullaballoo:
Fogeaters, Dwarfs, Green Quims and Paradigms.
Cellars of Nilburg! how I hated you,
Your Ixion wheels, hot frogs and icy toads,
Your existential climate where I grew
Into an adult Mandrake. (Memory loads
My plate with mushrooms.) But I woke at length
And left you, travelling light by mountain roads
To elsewhere; drank at desert wells; gained strength.
I don't know why I like that quite as much as I do. Perhaps the quirky rhyming rhythm, perhaps the freewheeling imagery or the playfully obsessive gallimaufry of punctuation, but more likely my childish word-glee, born of a love for Anglo-Saxon poetry that revels in such words as 'Fogeaters' and capers with the joy of 'hot frogs and icy toads.'
I do love to play with words and this poem set me up rather nicely for the day.
For the year, in fact as I am (according to my calendar and birth certificate) fifty-two today.
Oh, frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!
Or perhaps that should be: 'Oh, bugger! I've wasted another smegging year.'
Either way, I'm off for a swim in the River Lexicon with Fogeaters, hot frogs and icy toads.
Care to join me?
Thursday, November 11, 2010
This cess-pit of salmonella and out of date, plastic-wrapped horror is situated next door to an organic food store and right opposite a lovely local bakery but The Children have never dared venture inside either emporium through fear of not knowing what actual food looks like and so accidentally buying a lunch of squid-ink pasta, unbleached flour, rollmop herrings and molasses.
As a result of their unwise purchasing decisions (usually of out of date stuff to save a few pennies) they regularly spend afternoons moaning in pain and running back and forth to the bathroom for sessions of arse-gravy mayhem. This happened to poor Jason yesterday after he ate what the plastic wrapper claimed to be a 'chicken tikka' baguette, and prompted a theory from Mike that rather appealed to me.
The theory posits that the supermarket starts the week with a display of 'chicken and mayonnaise' baguettes, any unsold examples being re-labelled 'chicken tikka' by Wednesday when they've become suitably aromatic, and by Friday the remainder are sold as 'mixed cheese'.
On a slightly more palatable note, Jase brought in a cafetiere last week (a French Press to you Colonials) as he was rightly sick of the powdered 'coffee' the office provides and had been driven crazy by the aroma from my own yummy coffee each morning. He brought in a nice organic fairtrade coffee ('I didn't know what to buy so I asked the lady in the shop, who sold me the most expensive stuff') and followed my directions as to how much to use, then he put the kettle on. Holding up the cafetiere he asked 'Do I put the milk in now?'
After I'd finished laughing I felt quite touched at the innocence of today's 'yoof.' Raised on pre-packaged microwave meals and junk food they panic when confronted with a vegetable, a cut of meat or (God forbid) a fish. In Jason's case, he had only ever known powdered 'instant coffee' and was left helplessly confused by his cafetiere.
Having made his first cup, however, he went coffee crazy, with the result that he spent most of the day running to the bathroom to enjoy the inevitable emetic effect of real coffee on a digestive system that had never encountered it before.
I have decided that the only way I will survive life with The Office Children™ is to regard the experience as anthropological research. I feel not unlike Jane Goodall with her chimps.
The experiment continues.
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
As those of you who have been subjected to my rants on the antisocial network will know, one of the side-effects of my move from Metropolis to Smallville has been that I have inherited three young and unruly children. Jason, Matt and Craig are 23, 24 and 25 years old, though I can never remember who is which age as they all behave like hyperactive two-year-olds. If nothing else, sharing an office with them has reinforced my belief in the wisdom of not breeding.
I am used to a spacious and quiet office (or working from home with classical music playing softly in the background) but now find myself crammed into a room the size of my former workstation with three idiot children and a ramshackle tangle of prehistoric alleged ‘computers’ that sound like vacuum cleaners and are about as useful for my 3D work.
Over the past half-century I have managed with some difficulty to rid my life of the sheer fuck-awfulness of four particular circles of Hell, namely: football, television, ‘popular’ music and junk food. Inevitably these are the four main topics of conversation with the Office Children. Oh, and boobs. A good half of each day finds them ‘perving’ (their term) photographs of women on Facebook for ‘boob action.’ The rest of the day is taken up with arguing about football, raving about crap celebrity television and singing (ear-buggeringly badly) along to execrable chart hits.
Today (and bear in mind that the morning is only half over) we have had football, moaning about the shit office heating, eBay crap and the idiot family who turned up last night to collect Matt’s old sofa in a compact car full of kids and let their screaming brats run riot in Matt’s flat while they discovered the sofa would not fit in their car before asking him to deliver it for free, last night’s celebrity TV, Craig’s’ lucky’ shin-pads, who in the office is the biggest bell-end (Nick from the back room), strippers, football, video games, the ’shaggability’ or otherwise of the women in the local shop, burgers, last weekend’s binge-drinking sessions and just how much Matt vomited, football, boob-perving, football, Craig’s sister, what they would do if they won the lottery, why the only piece of classical music Jason knows is the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and what that tells us about him, bad pizzas, moaning about the office computers, arguing about the smegging X Factor, bitching about old girlfriends, a waste-paper fight, hobbit jokes (Craig is a hobbit; honestly, he could pass for Frodo in an identity parade), football (I hate fucking football), Parisian hookers, the worst kebabs available locally and football.
All of this has been accompanied by the most excruciating, out of tune falsetto singing by the tone-deaf trio to a selection of shit-awful chart crap, rap songs, bad Elvis film songs, thrash metal and farmyard noises from iPods and YouTube. Add to that a bout of belch-tennis (thank God they’ve not yet started their regular rounds of ‘fart-tennis’ that would gag a rat) and the usual graphic descriptions, comparison and rating of their most recent poos.
Only one of them has ever read a book (Craig, who managed to struggle through the first Harry Potter tome but got no further). Matt does appear to follow the celebrity scandal magazines but he’s probably just looking at the pictures. Jason plays bass in a thrash-punk band but is the first to admit he only knows three notes.
There’s an old Larson cartoon depicting Satan leading an elderly man into a room filled with banjo players, saying ‘and this is your room, maestro.’ I am beginning to wonder whether I dropped dead of a heart attack running for my last London train and have found my eternal resting place here in this cramped and freezing room filled with shrieking idiot children (currently belting out Queen songs and revealing their opinion that fat-bottomed girls make the rocking world go round).
And it’s only Tuesday.
Thursday, November 04, 2010
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
Yay for free market irresponsibility.
Yay for boom and bust cyclic recessions.
Yay for environmental disasters.
Yay for religious fundamentalism and the Christian Taliban.
Yay for teabaggers.
Yay for Big Oil.
Yay for fucking up health reform.
Yay for the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.
America has spoken.
America is dumb and angry.
America is headed straight to Hell in a handcart.
When will they ever learn?
Monday, November 01, 2010
They will probably be back, but I'll have to build up a stash of them first.
In the meantime, in (dis)honour of the US mid-term erections, here's a poem by the splendid Roger Mc.Gough, whose poems guided me (and made me giggle) throughout my childhood and teenage years.
I wanna be the leader
I wanna be the leader
Can I be the leader?
Can I? I can?
Yippee, I'm the leader
I'm the leader
OK what shall we do?
Happy November, people, and always remember:
Those who desire power are by definition those least fit to wield it.
That's where modern democracy falls down.
Use your votes wisely.