Thursday, 31 December 2015

Soundtrack to Ikey and Rusty's poems

This is what they were listening to when they were writing:


  • Violent Arrest - Life Inside the Western Bloc
  • Laibach -  Kunstderfuge
  • Kosheen - Face In A Crowd
  • The Offspring - Americana
  • All Time Low - Outlines
  • Sarah Cracknell - Red Kite
  • Velvet Underground - The Gift
  • Air - Alone in Kyoto
  • Air - Radiation
  • Cornershop - Lessons Learned from Rocky I to Rocky III
  • Yellowcard - Way Away
  • The Fall - Immortality
  • Jack Barakat - No Budget Movies
  • Alex Gaskarth and Jack Barakat - Slovenian TV Interview
  • Me swearing at my phone

Things Ikey and Rusty googled for me in 2015


  • Radar Five Media Grafik Design
  • The P87 Tax Relief for Purposes of Employment form
  • National Theatre, South Bank, London
  • Differential Equations with Operator Equivalents  (a book)
  • ADDS Station Table (Full) - Aviation Weather Center
  • Hand woven West Antolean rug (Etsy ad)
  • W7DXX Internet Remote Base
  • The Ultraviolet Behavior of N= 8 Supergravity at Four Loops (paper, Z. Bern, 2009)
  • LA Clippers at Phoenix, 2015-02-25 National basketball (Yahoo)
  • Troubleshooting on Linn Forums – Issue between KRDS & AK/0d
  • A gallery of Lexus cars
  • Games for Girls
  • Romanian MP3 download site
  • The 98 bus route in London
  • A model wearing a swimsuit with a giant cat face picture on it
  • A summoner called Redty on League of Legends
  • A Romanian funds management group
  • A supercool Pioneer stereo radio/amp separate
  • A video of kids playing at a beach then a man in a hang glider
  • A picture of a mother and son
  • A dodgy download site
  • My Little Pony and a man with a moustache video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9lbbxPchjI
  • A snoop page of a Shanghai-hosted site
  • 4Chan Video Games
  • A video of someone sleeping
  • HK Wonderful Club's Twitter page
  • European Water Partnership
  • Humidity Sensor
  • A video of two characters in a MORPG having a battle
  • Clearing and Settlement system for debt and equity securities
  • Coding is a coping strategy
  • Maibeth Varmen on Google Plus
  • M's Wikipedia page (James Bond)
  • Free Sexy Indians
  • Catalonian radio and TVB
  • Hong Kong bus timetable
  • Venture Capital
  • The Paris News from Paris, Texas

Ikey cat's poem of 2015

Ikey cat wrote these words from 9 Dec 2014 to 31 Dec 2015:



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Rusty cat's poem of 2015

Everything Rusty cat has written from 9 Dec, 2014 up to today, 31 December 2015 by walking across my keyboard.

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Thursday, 17 December 2015

Cat in a box


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Rusty and Ike are my cats. They like doing lots of things. One of the things they like to do is to jump in boxes. Even when you flatten out the box to a cardboard square he will sit on it rather than anywhere else.

I read on the Internet that this is because they feel safe. They can touch all sides of the box so it means nobody can get them. I think I would like that. I think Rusty and Ike are on to something here.







This is the theme music to Star Trek: The Next Generation. When it kicks in properly after all the Space... the final frontier shit I like to sing along but the words are:

You are a cat in a box
You are a cat in a box
You are
a cat 
You're a cat and you are in
A box
You are a cat in a box
You are a cat in a box
You are
A cat 
You're a cat and you are in
A box
You're a cat
and you're in a box
You're a cat
and you are in
a box
You are a cat in a box
And you are a cat in a box
You are a cat

It doesn't always scan properly though.

Covering a book

























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Monday, 14 December 2015

Brief Encounter

She was such a normal looking woman. Maybe early fifties. Mostly grey hair, but some of it was black and her eyes were kind of green, sort of blueish. Noticable, and smile-radiating eyes. She wore a coat that was from a proper clothes shop, rather than a supermarket.

She came into the shop, talking with her friend who was wearing a duffle coat, but a trendier one, not a scruffy patchy school one. Her friend had a tartan hat on so I didn’t notice what colour her hair was. I turned to the counter and paid for my newspaper.

I caught a snatch of conversation between these two normal, attractive, healthy, outdoorsy women. They were laughing about something that a young kid had said during a family visit. It had clearly been a fun get-together with three generations: the blue-green eyed, lovely-happy woman, her daughter and her daughter’s kid.

I imagined a traditional Christmas scene to follow; a table laden with turkey, two kinds of potatoes (roasties and mashed,) peas, mountains of carrots, roasted parsnips and a cheeky small hand nicking a pig in a blanket whilst everyone else pretended not to notice.

The lady would be there, maybe her friend too, plus their spouses and three or four grown-up kids with their own families. Some of them would be perched on plastic chairs pressed into action from an outdoor set. There’d be laughter, six pots of gravy, red and white wine and maybe Smooth Radio’s Christmas Special.

Back in the moment, I caught the woman’s eyes. I smiled at her; tis the season. She smiled back. Happy, friendly, not really flirty but just an exchange of warmth.

As I left the shop I noticed she was getting ready to pay for her own paper.
It was the Daily Mail.


Thursday, 10 December 2015

We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed

How could this happen?
I signed the petition.
I even shared it.
All my friends saw it.

Who is this madman?
What rot. What decision
Should we prepare? If
All depend on it?

How should we now ban him?
I’ll start a petition.
We can all share it.
All our friends will see it.

And this straw-haired bad 'un
Will have no position
Here. I swear. We
Can turn away from it.

So elsewhere the same man
Will shout at the schism
From way over there. And
All his friends will share it.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

England F


The lotto numbers?

Please don't share:

I am a quantum millionaire.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Here is my vote

Unplug the oil wells
And let it drain away;
Re-set the windmills
And see the dustmotes play.

Turn off the TV.
Ignore the tabloids too.
I don’t want a war.
Who does? Do you?


Maude

Not many people are called Maude these days, so when you have one in your family you treasure them.

Nobody really knows, or knew, how old Maude was, but she was definitely an auntie, a cousin, not so distant as to be a rumour and close enough to qualify for friends status on Facebook.

Maude looked old, when you were young. But when you turned 30 Maude looked 50, and when you were 50 she looked 55. If you thought about it, it seemed that she’d been around forever but nobody could remember first meeting her.

Maude, my sister said, once was married. But her love died in a fire, and now she doesn’t talk about it. My sister didn’t tell me how she knew, but I knew she was exactly correct. I never mentioned this to Maude when I saw Maude, which was often enough to update on college or work or kids but not often enough to hold hands.

You wouldn’t call her an old lady if you saw her up close, you just wouldn’t. But from afar, yes, in a certain light, from a certain angle, here was a weariness to her gait. And you wouldn’t want to, dare to, stare into her eyes for too long. My sister said she did it once, and she would never talk about what she saw there.

My sister says a lot of things like that.

What was undeniable about Maude was that she was probably the richest woman the world had ever known. Maude owned her house, never seemed to be troubled by gas or electric or petrol or utilities bills, meaning that all her money was always hers. The fact that she didn’t have any money to speak of didn’t seem to bother her. So she was rich.

Her house was warm, and she owned no television. Maude was one of those that said things like ‘nothing good will come of a word that is half Latin and half Greek,’ and then tell you who’d first said that. She liked the library, did Maude. Even these days. There, she could listen to music on a borrowed Walkman, CD, Minidisc, MP3, neural-implant, depending on which timeline she was in.

Her favourite bands included Mahler, All Time Low and Adam and the Ants. She didn’t care much for Mozart, who she always said was a twiddly-iddly little sop whose PR game was stolen from Saatchi and Saatchi down a wormhole.

But then, Maude could be obtuse.

My sister has gone to see Maude today. Maude, she says, is feeling low. I hope my sister phones soon, because I’d like to know the latest news. My sister came to my wedding and caught the bouquet from me when I married Severiano. Seve is a good man and works hard and wants six kids, four cats, a couple of dogs, but is against caging birds up and hooray to that say I. Life is full of these little compromises.

Seve doesn’t get on with Maude. He says she reminds him of his own aunt, or cousin, who he finds creepy because she lives in a cave-house in the south of Spain, and doesn’t seem to ever want to engage with the world all that much. Seve says he asked her once why she never married, but her eyes glazed over and he knew that was going to be the end of that conversation. He never brought it up again. His own aunt – Marisol was her name – just wanted to sit and watch the sun rise, the clouds cross the sky, and the sun set. She never seemed to have any food in the house, but she never seemed to be hungry either.

My Seve says that once he visited her and made sure he visited the Mercado, where he bought some beautiful, beautiful fresh fish and some fennel and herbs. He cooked them lunch, and they ate without speaking. Marisol didn’t touch the fish, though.

The next time he visited – maybe a month later, he thinks – Marisol had a pond, in which you could swear that you’d see hake swimming about which made no sense at all when you thought about it.

So Seve, being a practical chap, didn’t.

He has gone to visit Marisol this week too. I have sent her some of the flower seeds she so loves. I wonder if begonias will thrive in Clint Eastwood-land? That’s another favourite of Maude’s. Clint Eastwood. Not as an actor, just the way he stares beyond the horizon. My sister says that Maude says that Clint knows.

We don’t know what that means, but it seems to make sense if you don’t think about it too much.
I hope my sister rings soon.

I hope Seve travels safely. Before he gets back I need to find the wedding album - it's the only shots of him that I've got. He doesn't much care for Facebook and such. He says it's not real. Of course, I say, that's the point. But he doesn't bother and well, to each his own, and all that. He's a good man.

One day, we hope that Maude and Marisol will meet. We try and tell them both that they would be happy and have lots in common. Maude is prone to nodding just enough to make you believe she’s heard you, and enough to make you think that she’s on board. Marisol, I’m not so sure about. My Spanish isn’t so great and her English is.

Her English is.

Marisol told Seve once that there was a place in every town where you could stand and watch the world spin against the sky. He is trying to find it in our town. But he can’t. Marisol says that the trick is not to look too hard; everything is always moving, she says. All you have to do is move a little the other way. Cameras can see it, she says, but only until they have stolen enough parts of people’s souls away.

There aren’t any pictures of Marisol, anywhere.
__

My sister rang. She says Maude has gone. There will be no funeral, at Maude’s request. My sister says it is all taken care of. She will be staying a while to sort it all out and there’s no need to come down. I could hear her voice was tired. She seemed a little intense, now I think about it. The line was bad; she was calling from afar. It was crackly. She sounded ancient with all the pressure.

I hope Seve travels safely.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

BREAKING NEWS - French Polishers Ad Kid “Still A Twat”

STAFF, AGENCY REPORTS - 

RESEARCHERS have concluded that the kid from the Yellow Pages ad where he phones up to fix his table is ‘still a twat.'

The discovery was made by boffins from Hoegaarden University of Popular Culture in Groenigen, Netherlands after years of painstaking study of the available material.

Professor Cornelius Funk said in a paper published in Journal Of The Culture that, “We first studied the phenomenon through his stupid fucking monobrow and  his dickwad hair,” which alerted scientists to the possibility of arseholery.

He explained that the teen dingbat appeared to have woken up in the aftermath of a party, albeit a tame-looking one given the lack of any evidence of proper fun.

“His nobhead shirt simply added to the pile of data but our suspicions were finally proven by the fact that this obviously spoilt little fucker immediately knew how to search for a French Polisher when he noticed a poxy little scrape on his wanky fucking table,” said the Professor.

Since the ad was first aired in 1991 the Internet has revolutionised the way people communicate but Professor Funk said that even had the polisher been summoned virtually, the findings still would have been the same.

“The way the French Polisher was contacted was studied but proven to be irrelevant to the context,” he continued. “We had no other conclusion than this kid was, indeed, still a twat in 2015.”

"He is no doubt still a virgin," added the boffin.

He revealed that his team Hoegaarden University was now poring over initial data which seemed to indicate that, ‘The bird coming out the shower,’ was ‘Still fit.’ 

Full findings are yet to be announced.



Thursday, 12 November 2015

Nearly done

You know that feeling, when you're near the edge of a cliff, or walking on a high bridge, or even at the side of a busy road. You know the voice?

The voice saying: jump.

Every other fibre of your being and your brain and your body knows not to do so. But there's a compulsion, somewhere, deep down, that shouts to be acknowledged.

You never do, of course. But there is a what if... somewhere, and it rises and wiggles and tickles until a car beeps or a seagull cawks or you feel a rivet under your steps. Then things snap back into place and self-searching is replaced by talking or thinking of where you're going or what's for tea instead.

This is how I feel today about work.

I've written 85k in about six or seven weeks for a book project and it's all reasonably serviceable stuff. Maybe even good. I think it's not too bad.

And I think I'm going to be able to finish the writing phase today. It's definitely only about four hours' more of work. I have the research and the ideas and the rhythm all down. Just really allowing all that to percolate and make itself ready.

And I've got this voice saying: Why not just delete those emails to myself with the drafts; delete all the bookmarks; delete all the research; throw out all the albums and the music; set Word to 'replace all' with the text of a Snoopy book?

God it's a rascal feeling that. You know the one. I think I've proved I can do it so why bother actually finishing? Keep it pure as an idea. Stop it now, whilst it's still just me and a computer and songs and interviews and research. You know?

I am so seduced by the nihilism of this that I have allowed it to flourish in my head, even whilst every fibre of my being, and all that, knows not to do it.

I'm going for a cup of tea. Then I'm going to finish my book.

But first, I'm going to pretend that I'm going to delete it from existence. What japes.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Two Thousand-Fifteen

People talk about feeling the walls closing in on them. But it’s the opposite. 

The Internet is a vast expanse of everything and nothing and meanings everywhere.

But everywhere you stand the meanings and everythings shift and are different. It’s endless strands of nothingness; a mulch, a mush, a mashup of moments divorcing and remarrying at every instant. It’s endless snakes around your ankles, a mobius Ourobourous of patterns that make no sense and all sense at the same time. To stand up amidst this multidirectional, multimetan infinity is impossible.

The walls don’t ever close in: That’s the problem. Walls would make sense of it. Enclose a space. Define something. Allow the unpicking of some of the living tangle. Bring time to it.

Instead, the data does not flow but cancers itself through every possible atom there ever is or ever was. And it’s always moving, always mutating, always self-reflecting and spewing itself back out again in infinite copies of itself.

You, too, are data. You are tangled, mutant, strands of nothing. A double helix is nothing against such infinite power of averaging, of flatlining, of the race to a million billion shades of the same grey mush that was so seductive before it began; before we truly worked out that our worship was as useless as the god we created.

Deifying data killed information. Meaning is nothing. Everything is there, ready to be dislocated and briefly believed before being cast away in favour of the next shard, the new speckled lie. The trumpets of Jericho hailed nothing but the deluge. You can’t drown in it but you sure can’t swim. The best anyone can hope to do is to float, eyes open but mind shut against the constant frazzling ordure of meaningless input. Input, input, input, and there is nothing you can do because you invited it over the threshold.

Consumption has been replaced by infinite doses of data dressed in whatever flimsy masquerade suits the moment. The moment has been destroyed by the repetition of the infinite copy, the final and the perfect divorcing of linearity from humanity. Data units so numerous that they choke all meaning, that they bury context in a damp dust of input, input, input.


If you want an image of the future, imagine a lorryload of sand flowing into a human mind, forever.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

The Anticulturalist: Granulation Systems

The Anticulturalist Granulation System: 1
Event occurs in time = Event Time
Perceived by those involved = Data Unit creation = divorced from Event Time
Multiple viewpoints = Early granulation
Retold – created about= Data Unit distortion/granulation
Uploaded = Fixed as Data Unit / Infinite versions of itself
Seen – Decontexted – Remixed – Repeated = Anticulturalist granulation


The Anticulturalist Granulation System: 2
Event occurs in time = Event Time
Seen by person – Recorded (reflected) = Data Unit creation= divorced from Event Time
Seen by multiple people/recorded from multiple angles = Data Unit distortion/granulation through language and substrate divorced from Event Time
Uploaded = Fixed as Data Unit / Infinite versions of itself
Seen – Decontexted – Remixed – Repeated = Anticulturalist granulation


The Anticulturalist Granulation System: 3

Event occurs in time = Event Time
Perceived by another person = Data Unit= divorced from Event Time
Perceived by other people = Data Unit distortion/granulation divorced from Event Time
Written, painted, created about as inspiration = Data Unit distortion
Uploaded = Fixed as Data Unit / Infinite versions of itself
Seen – Decontexted – Remixed – Repeated = Anticulturalist granulation


An event occurs. It exists only for the time in which it occurs. This is the last stage of purity of the event.  This information is now a unit of data which has no objective significance or context.

When re-told / remixed / reported / used as creative inspiration the data unit is recontexted to suit whatever effect is suitable or desired, creating inevitable distortion due to vagaries of meaning,  language, expression.  It has also become divorced from any time context.

Once uploaded onto the Internet this data unit becomes eternally granulated as it is available as an infinite copy of itself to every net user to use for their own needs, wants, memes, contexts. It has become infinite simulacra of itself.

Culture is the shared conceit of creation and/or creativity and/or social convention within a specific time/period of human understanding and is a non-static conversation by and with itself. As each individual has their own bias that they bring to the process of data unit extraction removed from Event Time for their own means and ends, this process is Anticulturalist.

Note that it is not an ‘anticulture’ as the definition of a shared cultural understanding no longer applies.

Note also that the Anticulturalist process itself inherently unstable and by nature cannot be described effectively.


The preceding paragraphs are also unstable for the same reasons.

Friday, 18 September 2015

the anticulturalist: movies

The making of video is a better fiction than the movie
The size of the screen and the speakers defines the experience not the content or the cast
The credits are a better fiction than life
The movies are made despite the cast and the employees and the process not because of it
Scripts are necessary lies and data units
A camera does not record images it reflects them as data units
A movie is data units put together as information only for the purpose of the director
The director is nothing in the process as to the producer the movie data unit represents money not art
Money does not exist in large quantities just as data units on computers
Art has no definition use foundation and is only definable against itself and its own absence
This is of course art also
Money is also art by this definition or lack of it
Any movie is at cross purposes with itself and the vested interests it reflects
The anticulturalist may take the view that a movie is finished before it is seen and from there utilise it as data depending on his own motives for so doing
A movie is also never finished because its own PR regurgitates it in clips, reviews, media campaigns, interviews with its employees, cultural context, translation, transformation, sequelisation, prequelisation
This lack of fixed meaning is a postmodern nod to itself and is therefore also unstable


Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Did you see the man?

I saw the man, the enemy, the danger to the people:
He did not sing along, because he knew all too well what the words were.
Can you believe he had his top button undone, this fifties-throwback weasel?
He looks like an errant headmaster from a school in the suburbs:

Sir Dishevilled of Windmill Tilt. This danger to our lifestyle
Wants to talk to terrorists, to sit down with the foul. Has he heard
That we have drones? We can take them out, no problem. The axis of evil
Is pretty scared these days, now we’re on both sides of the hubbub:

The tumult of the world is something with which we just have to deal
And Our Will Be Done. We need to protect what we have from the
Evil Ones. They are out there. They are coming. Make no mistake, they will
Want to change our ways. They will steal your dogs and eat them, first

Making sure to abolish Christmas, burn Jesus, make our kids pray
To the wrong prophet. And this man wants their voices to be heard?
Has he no idea. He needs a spin doctor urgently: we will
Provide one to clean him up, make sure he doesn’t continue this absurd

Insistence in following a moral compass and eschewing the age-old
Procedures Of Politics. Why does he wear the same shirts as a granddad?
He doesn’t even own a car. What a weirdo: he has two bicycles
And surely that’s at odds with his principles? The wheels turn:

We saw this man, the enemy, the danger to our people
He grew up in the Sixties did he? Hmm, I bet we can unearth
A picture of him smoking dope, surrounded by hippies. That will
Show him for what he is. May the force be with us. Earth

Is where we have to live. It is an awful, sickening, vicious, ill
Place. Believe us; we’re here so you don’t have to see the worst
Of it. Our suits are sharp: our words sharper. We still
Know how to play the game. And that comes first.

Monday, 31 August 2015

We don't need any blue plaques

Sorry, folks: we don’t have any blue plaques.
Regardless, why do you want to live in the past? Are you some kind of weirdo?
The C&A was out of date. We moved it all up to Penrhosgarnedd. Isn’t that a fine, enormous, modern facility?
You can be born there and die there and have your own operation if things go wonky and you can wait long enough until the people in front of you die first to open a slot.
Anyway, Safeways was great wasn’t it? So cheap and plentiful and in such a lovely red brick building too.
Well, it’s all in the eye of the beer holder isn’t it?
A one stop shop for bread and fish and meat and hey clothes and vegetables and OK it’s Morrisons now but if you go there at 3pm on a Sunday
Everything’s so cheap. Sandwiches for 30p! 5p for a pack of liver! I mean, wow, right? You’d have to be an idiot to turn those bargains down.
See, Rita wanted to retire from baking anyway. And Albins didn’t have the range we’ve got. I mean, who needs a smelly fishmonger shop when here we’ve pre-packed it all in plastic? From sea to plastic to oven without a whiff.
And it gives people jobs.
And yes you did hallucinate those facades and street art wonders. They never were there. No Warholian beans; no dancing clowns either. Ed Povey? That even sounds made up.

Walk down the hill, the one named after the banks of a river.
The students call it Bitch Hill. That’s funny, isn’t it? Gotta laugh.
There’s a massive new structure going up. It’ll be ready in 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020.
You’ll be able to see plays there and go to the cinema and well, we’ve not really thought about a car park as such but the one down the road is free now.
The one that shuts at 6pm. That’s right.
Anyway, it’ll be great. Plenty of things to do and see and hey it’ll be culturally brilliant and OK Theatr Gwynedd has been closed a while but you know in the end
It was out of date. Looked messy. The G from Gwynedd always fell off. I mean, what a sight. You’d have to be an idiot not to notice that one.
See, we needed something there anyway. And in keeping with the look of the city, I mean, we had to make it look like it fitted in didn’t we? So we made it look just like Debenhams.
The architects did such a good job.
You should see their amazing work on those Biomes in Cornwall. Their glasswork at Empac. Such talented folks. We didn’t want anything too drastic though. Square is the new bubble.

We had to knock down that police station.
Marks wanted the space and we wanted Marks. And Spencer, obviously.
That station was out of date. Intimidating. A relic. Thick walls of stone. Who wants that?
You can visit the police round the corner anyway by the library next to the cathedral. It’s a modern, friendly place.
Come in! We won’t bite.
We’re just down the road from the ex-ramp, the ramp that ceased to be. There’s a sports shop blocking the exit, too. Anyway Sammy Londsdale wanted to retire.
And so did the people from the Welsh shop Leathercraft guitar shop cheap homewares antiques stalls and the panda painted in the middle.
See, Aldi will pick up the slack. And there’s jobs there too. I mean, they pay quite well and their own-brand alternatives are irresistible. So you’d be daft not to shop there too.
Look, they deserve a profit.
Let’s face it, they’re not there for the good of their health. Look at the range they’ve got. This week is Spanish week. Check out the price on that chorizo-rioja bundle! Si, por favour, gracias!

Course, Asda was always our friend.
We just needed to find a mutual space. Somewhere that worked for us both.
That football ground was crumbling. It was the club’s own fault: the 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s were so expensive so the council stepped in.
And the people that bought it were going to build a bowling alley multiscreen cinema playground ice rink low cost housing and it will levitate when the tide is in.
But then the recession bit.
We had to let the planners in, I mean, it was prime city centre retail space. And Asda really is so cheap sometimes. We ought to put up a plaque to their discounts!
George Best Bobby Charlton John Charles Jimmy Conde Carl Dale Tony Broadhead Dave Elliot Neville Southall. Who are dey? Come here and drink yer milk.
See, the club’s got a fancy new ground in Nantporth. Such facilities. Obviously the rent has to reflect that. We aren’t running a charity here. Don’t be silly now.
Asda’s doing a great job.
The students living in the British Hotel are big fans. And, anyway, don’t be a hypocrite. You were in there on Saturday. Buying wine. The Chateauneuf-du-Pape was 9.99 a bottle. What a treat!

We had to knock down that hill.
It was in the way. And Lidl was so vital. It wasn’t fair otherwise.
The cinema next door? What an eyesore. All that garish shopfront and a tree growing out of it. I mean, come on.
Don’t give me that Art Deco nonsense, you could hardly see it under the pebbledash. And anyway, you’ve still got Theatr Gw... I mean, Pontio will be ready in 2021 2022 2023 2024.
We need more room for flats.
Nice, red brick, up quick as you like. Another 140 bedsits and modern, oh so modern, student flats. And Dominos too! Who doesn’t like pizza?
We had to make sure the high street was secure. Look, it’s not our fault half the shops are empty. We don’t set the rates. It’s not our remit.
Anyway there’s Red Cross Cancer Research Oxfam Age Concern Annie’s Orphans British Heart Foundation to go and browse instead. And a hundred estate agents.
See, nobody went to the record shop anymore. Why would you when we have Spotify and Amazon and iTunes? Are you determined to live in the past?
We’ve got a pound shop and a pound shop bakers and another pound shop’s coming soon and you can always buy Sky from the man in the shopping centre.
Not the one with the ramp. The other one, the one we built. The one with all the empty units. Not the one surrounded by scaffolding.
There’s a pop-up art gallery.
Anyway, nobody was going to the pubs anymore. Nobody wants to come out to eat at night. It’s pedestrianised between 10am and 4pm. We are a real city you know.

Sorry folks: we don’t have any blue plaques.
The Railway Institute? What use is that? It’s outdated. That’s a fact.
What we need is more flats. That building’s in the way. Don’t you want to be a forward-thinking city?
And the cathedral down the road: God’s planning to move out. He realised that he was holding up progress by taking up valuable supermarket space.
We’re hoping Primark will move in. Do you think there’s enough space? Maybe if we move the pews out the way and shuffle the statues to the side.
And the Altar will be a grand checkout.
Don’t you think so? Do you remember Pinnochio? He wanted to be a real boy you know. If you wish hard enough, dreams come true. Think about that.
We don’t have plaques here: we have red bricks and supermarkets and big shops. One day we hope to become a real city. Like all the others.
Anyway we’ve got a lovely business park out of town you know. There’s a roundabout there and everything. Just past the Cricket Club.
See, we had to build it or we’d lose the funding for improvements in Caernarfon. It’s a World Heritage Site. Have you been? Oh, it’s lovely there.
They’ve got a square and independent cafes and homemade ice cream and local butchers and oh you really must go, the castle is beautiful.
Who doesn’t like a castle?
That’s testament to our stewardship. You have to take care of what you’ve got. Don’t you? Well, sometimes, in some places, that’s true. Let us do the thinking. The supermarkets are marking down the mince you know. Hurry, or you’ll miss out.
Hurry, hurry, hurry.
To! The! Future!
Why do you want to live in the past?
Are you some kind of weirdo?

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Who needs...?

Remote controls, I've 5 or 6. I’m not sure; I’ve lost count.
Sky, TV, M Box, Soundboard, that’s just four. The right amount?
There’s one for everything these days, of that I have no doubt.
There’s one to close the curtains so you can’t look in the house,

There’s one for washing dishes without getting off the couch,
And one to measure calories when you are working out,
Another sets the tablecloth when mates are coming round,
A tiny one for purine levels when you’re facing gout.

I find one down the sofa back and push the red button
And down the street a car explodes. Oh Christ, what have I done?
I panic, fret and wail and cry, but then the answer comes:
I hit ‘rewind’ and back it zooms as if it’s never gone.

Now that gives me an idea. Now I can have some fun.
Fast forward through the boring bits of life’s dreary friction:
Press pause and get an afternoon outside in summer sun.
And turn the neighbours down when they start ranting at someone.

This handy little gadget’s got a multitude of uses
And in my hands it’s joy on joy; it constantly amuses.
I oscillate twixt then and now on my temporal cruises.
Master of time, I drink my wine and give out red brain bruises

For cultural insanity is bound by these abuses;
To flicker forth an hour or two eventually confuses.
What is my time? What, when and why? Whither the muses?
Creation’s going backwards! The remote’s blown its fuses!

Oh me, oh day, oh what am I to do? Unstuck in time
Like Billy Pilgrim, all my dreams are starting to unwind.
Tomorrow’s gone and yesterday is coming close behind;
Today’s a concept lost to me in psychographic grime,

There’s no such idea anymore of walking in a line,
When waiting's done and what may be’s a tangled ball of twine
With no strands loose to pull and straight. Ridiculous, sublime
Inheritance of Dali's clock. Persistence? Melted mind.

But time is not a country, nor is it righteous, yet
We live by day and sleep by night and work to get in debt
To buy a house to fill with stuff with functions and gadgets
That each need a remote control to keep them on and set.

The red lights wink, the infra-red waves circulate and get
More and more mysterious and leak out through the net
From every mortgaged bungalow to every short-term let
We pile up plastic numbered wands. A modern magic set.

But this is all irrelevant. I’m paused, b-between breaths.
A spectre of a ghost, I am the notes between the frets.
The buttons just won’t work for me. I’m halfway up the steps
And halfway down again. Oh man, I’ve lost what’s coming next,

I’ve lost the frisson of not knowing what’s there to expect,
Anticipation’s dead for me. I can’t go forward, back, bereft
And glued. I’m stuck in amber. I call, but there’s no depth,
No soundwaves travel in still air: not life, but not a death.

I press the buttons one more time. No response. Hopelessly
I curse myself for thinking I could ever make it free,
That I could be so stupid to pause time and life for me
To play in at my leisure. Ah, to be, and not to be -

That is the question that pervades me now. Eternity
In a grain of sand? In a madman’s hand? Uselessly
My garbled mind takes leave. But then – a brainwave – just maybe
All that I need to do is find a pair of batteries.


Monday, 17 August 2015

Zephyr

It was a breeze of joy that blew me back.

My feet remembered all the names of the streets. Sure, there were new bumps – on the road and on my feet – but the recall was there, more or less. And as they remembered the streets, so the calibration of distance followed. Things seemed further or harder-won and yet concurrently smaller. Diminished by the mountains that I’d forgotten. Beautiful. Eternal. All that crap is true, specially when you don’t see it every day.

So my eyes remembered the mountains, maybe for the first time, and my heart or whatever followed straight away. Whoosh. More bumps, I suppose, tumbling upwards through the millennia. A long time. So long to be meaningless. And then I remembered, with my imagination, that I was about four or five years late for a meeting here on this street overlooked by mountains.

“We’ll just remember to do it,” we vowed. “Ten years from now, no matter where we are in the world, no matter what we are doing, probably married with kids or whatever or musicians or maybe a real job ha ha. We’ll come back. Do you promise to remember?”

We both did. I wonder if you did go there; maybe on the way to work, or just for a walk to see the mountains in their autumn clothes, not knowing the reason.  I did think of it a few years back. I wonder if that was ten years. No matter, there was nobody there to verify and anyway I wasn’t home, I was chugging and plugging around, chasing or running away from reality. I have given up trying to unpick that one by now, it’s enough to make you die mad and ranting.

I wondered whether that had already happened.

I walked the same streets: the high street stacked now with charity shops and estate agents and coffee houses; the Asda on hallowed ground where I ebulliently volleyed an orange wide of where the goal used to be, in my mind; I swerved around the barriers where I used to play and now where a Brutalist, brutish, delayed fuckup monster was yawning slowly awake, crusted with mistakes and all the usual nearly-there hometown skewiff glee.

I walked in new places, new corridors, classrooms, seminars: this I didn’t remember, not properly, because I was allowed – meant – to be there. Not an interloper with a blagged card; nobody signing me in, despite my cider-skinhead burbling oafishness; no us and them and get the fuck out of here. The problem with long-held mysteries is that they more often than not end up as vehicles to disguise something that’s banal and ultimately obvious.

I didn’t get around to picking up a guitar properly. Cajoled, eventually, into intermittent noise, yes. But in between something had gone. A snapped string somewhere. I’d forgotten how much energy it took to try and believe in nothing, or to disbelieve in everything. I think that’s a kind of death, too.

It hit me; I was a ghost. It was the only explanation for this floating around these familiar streets, where my feet no longer made a sound. Not a sprite, not a poltergeist, not even a lost soul wailing for what can never be. An echo of myself. An echo of a whelp that was. What may have been. My feet remembered the streets, but now I knew it: the streets never promised to remember anyone.


I floated, and whispered, and the wind whiled me away again.

Friday, 14 August 2015

I never did see the green flash

What is the day? The hour? This weariness is beyond responsibility. I know that I am, but what am I? It is a labour; a journey; a soul shifted. Souls shifted. I must remember that. We came newly adjoined. And wide-eyed. With fear. Excitement. Holding hands tighter than we might. Who are you? What is this place? I’m too hot.

This was a dream: I know this now. The sticky-skinned laughter. The sick, blackened cords stretched and snapped to home. The webcams from the Mersey at midnight showing a Liverpool sunrise. Why? Where am I? It is a dream; an ambition; a magic sun. A magic sun. Think about that. We found things, strange. And familiar-skewed. With sweat. Exhaustion. Sunglasses rammed on faces to redden the night. Too much. And the pool? Reptile-shit-warm. Air-con life.

And it goes, it happens. Time, I mean. All kinds of ripples. I looked at my feet. There was sand. The white sand. The ridiculous postcard azure. The perfection. A beach I had no entitlement to be off. The grains ground and serrated and caressed. Work finished. I don’t miss it. It was me and it, I, still feel unreal. Whose feet? Whose land? The rum’s lovely.

Dreams: things you wake from. Imagination-flickering-derangement. Sand is still in my shoes. But the form is lost. Aeroplanes=airplanes. Sidewalks. Sliders. Parking lots. Cha-cha. Home? 24 hours and a world away. Home? Here? Maybe. But, oh, it’s hurricane season. Look, there’s Africa. That’s a blob. Watch it, watch, it, watch it.

And all that is familiar was familiar means familiar is shattered and put back together with chewing gum with shards swapped so faces are at knee level with an eye and a redface in a navel and life is falling and flattened and we are cubist versions of ourselves.

Was it four years? Nearly so? This strangeness is beyond comprehensibility. I know that we were, but where were we? It was an image in 3D; conceptions cracked. Concepts cracked. I must understand that. We left, still adjoined. And baggy-eyed. With weird. Exhaustion. Clutching luggage heavy with hindsight. What was that? Where are we next? I’m too hot.

More than a dream: perhaps, per-how. The sickly-morning hangover. The limp, slackened haunches tubby and oozing and foam. The deckhands, ropes and fade-sun-hatted white-flowing insipid-cool bunfights, skies, stares. Am I explaining the dream? The position? The frantic sun? The frantic sun. Sinking too fast. To ground, out of range. Green-blue flashing hues. And yet. In motion. Erratic, random races to heaven, in flight, or touch. One more mall. Facile, flit, fawn. Neo-con life.

And it goes, it happens. Time, I mean. All kinds of ripples. Again, at my feet there was sand, the right sand, the preposterous TV allure. In directions of reach I had no incentive to be. Rough remains around, homesick, grated and depressed. What’s in it? I don’t know it. I looked and I lied. Yes, I feel those feet, that land, that rum journey.

Dreams: why wake up? From imagination-flickering derangement, sand still in my shoes? Nothing ventured is lost. Airplanes=aeroplanes. Why talk, riders? Mark your slot, will ya? Home? 24 hours ain’t a world away. Home? Here? Baby, not only a worrying treason: fuck-shared frequent flobs catch it, catch it, catch it.

And then, that was within; year of faring of sea-flung years now splattered and squashed back together with glue and scum with words smacked so places are at the level of a sky and a latte and a turtle, and memories shout out and warble and we are back, back in a hologram that never happened.