Friday, 31 October 2008

Have A Wonderful Halloween!

The night is still
And the frost it bites my face
I wear my silence like a mask
And murmur like a ghost
"trick or treat"
"trick or treat"
The bitter and the sweet

The carefree days
Are distant now
I wear my memories like a shroud
I try to speak but words collapse
"trick or treat"
"trick or treat"
The bitter and the sweet

I wander though your sadness
Gazing at you with scorpion eyes

A sweet reminder
In the ice-blue nursery
Of a childish murder
Of hidden lustre
And she cries
"trick or treat"
"trick or treat"
The bitter and the sweet

I wander through your sadness
Gazing at you with scorpion eyes

Siouxsie and the Banshees

Satan Rejected My Soul

Satan rejected my soul
He knows my kind
He wont be dragged down
He's seen my face around
He knows heaven
Doesn't seem
To be my home
So I must find
Somewhere else to go
So I must find
Somewhere else to go

So, take it - please
It's free
You'll never see
You'll never see
All the fun in life it's cost me

Satan rejected my soul
As low as he goes
He never quite goes this low
Hes seen my face around
He knows heaven doesn't seem
To be my home
So I must find
Somewhere else to go
So I must find
Somewhere else to go

So, take it please
It's really sly
Come on, come on, ah
Come on, come on, come on
Take it please
It's really sly
Come on, come on, ah
Come on, come on, come on
Call me in
Pull me in, call me in
Come on, come on, oh
Come on, come on, come on
Pull me in, pull me in
Call me in, haul me in, pull me in
Come on, come on, ah
Come on, come on
La la la la la...
Words and Music: Steven Patrick Morrissey
Posing: Reece Shearsmith

Trick or Treat?

Trick or Treat?

Trick or Treat?

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Sleepless Nights

My Age:

What Happened:

Writing. Fame. Death.
Sleepless Nights

It was around about the time of the Third Age of Gordie that I began to have bad dreams. I would wake up afraid, unable to breathe, and unable to shout for help. (To this day, one of the weirdest and scariest things about bad dreams is the way I try to shout for help and make no sound whatever.)

I suppose it's no big deal these days... is it? As Paul Simon once said, I don't expect to sleep through the night. But I don't feel right when I wake up in the night. I question myself, more fundamentally than I do in the daytime. I feel like I've been abandoned, I feel on the wrong planet.

I don't think I understand this song; I just like it. What's the lie he's talking about? Why is the cross in the ballpark? Anybody got any thoughts, please leave a comment.

I’m accustomed to a smooth ride
Or maybe I'm a dog who's lost his bite
I don’t expect to be treated like a fool no more
I don’t expect to sleep through the night
Some people say
A lie's a lie's a lie
But I say why
Why deny the obvious child?
Why deny the obvious child?

And in remembering a road sign
I am remembering a girl when I was young
And we said these songs are true
These days are ours
These tears are free
And hey
The cross is in the ballpark
The cross is in the ballpark

We had a lot of fun
We had a lot of money
We had a little son
And we thought we'd call him sonny
Sonny gets married and moves away
Sonny has a baby and bills to pay
Sonny gets sunnier
Day by day by day by day

I've been waking up at sunrise
I've been following the light across my room
I watch the night receive the room of my day
Some people say the sky is just the sky
But I say
Why deny the obvious child?
Why deny the obvious child?

Sonny sits by his window and thinks to himself
How its strange that some rooms are like cages
Sonny's yearbook from high school
Is down from the shelf
And he idly thumbs through the pages
Some have died
Some have fled from themselves
Or struggled from here to get there
Sonny wanders beyond his interior walls
Runs his hand through his thinning brown hair

Well I'm accustomed to a smoother ride
Maybe I'm a dog that’s lost his bite
I don’t expect to be treated like a fool no more
I don’t expect to sleep through the night
Some people say a lie is just a lie
But I say the cross is in the ballpark
Why deny the obvious child?


Wednesday, 29 October 2008

The Hum in the Room

There's a strange noise all around me. And I can't find where it's coming from. It woke me up at about three o'clock in the morning.

It sounds like a truck, parked outside with the engine running. Or a pump, filling a tank or draining it. It's not in my house... but when I go outside, the noise is quieter, and then it gets louder when I come back indoors.

I don't like not knowing what it is.

We became aware
Of a hum in the room
An electrical hum
In the room
It went mmmmmm

We followed it
From corner to corner
We pressed our ears
Against the walls
We crossed diagonals
And put our hands
On the floor
It went mmmmmm

Sometimes it was
a murmur
Sometimes it was
a pulse
Sometimes it seemed
to disappear
But then with a quarter-turn
Of the head
It would
Roll around the sofa
A nimbus humming cloud


Maybe it's the hum
Of a calm refrigerator
Cooling the big night
Maybe it's the hum
Of our parents' voices
Long ago in a soft light


Maybe it's the hum
Of changing opinion
Or a foreign language
In prayer
Maybe it's the mantra
Of the walls and wiring
Deep breathing
In soft air


Lyrics: Paul Simon Music: Philip Glass

Monday, 27 October 2008

The Times They Are A Changin'

News from America this morning: in Tennessee, federal agents have foiled a plan by white supremacists to assassinate Barack Obama.

Meanwhile, in Texas, Amanada Jones, the 109 year old daughter of a slave, has cast her postal ballot in next Tuesday's election.

Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'.
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.


Copyright ©1963; renewed 1991 Special Rider Music

Tuesday, 21 October 2008


Girls at Play

One friend's daughter at play, with another, the same age:

"I know. You be Supernanny, and I'll be a pole-dancer..."

Fatherhood is going to be so interesting, if I get round to it...

Monday, 20 October 2008

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Mess On Your Hands

Today is Global Handwashing Day, sponsored by UNICEF, and it seems that the further north you travel (in the UK, that is) the more likely you are to meet someone with poo on their hands.

The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, tested commuters at bus stops outside mainline railway stations, in the morning rush hour. Here are the results:




I think it's interesting that there are huge regional difference between men's standards of handwashing, while women are more consistent (but grubbier than blokes, it seems, in the Midlands and the South.)

What is it with Northern men? I suppose they just love their allotments. Or fisting.

Perhaps Wife In The North can tell us. Or Belle de Jour. Belle has a new book out this week and was on the radio just now chatting to Mark Lawson - I would have preferred Nigella.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Left Wing Politics

Heroes of the Working Class, Manchester, 1983

I picked this up from America's National Public Radio. It's a poet's response to the banking crisis.

$700 billion is more than enough money to buy every able-bodied American a chain saw, a solar-powered generator and a stake in a communal well and windmill. Also, red dirt and plum trees.

That would probably only cost about $100 billion, and you can use the other $600 billion to buy everybody their house outright.

Now everybody can own their house and be green and self-sufficient, and can go back to whatever they were doing before the world ended: watching TV.

Except for me. I was sharpening my chain saw.

It's an idyllic vision, worthy of Thoreau and Walt Whitman. There's only one thing I don't like about it: the assumption that Americans are all stupid sub-prime rednecks who contribute nothing to the world.

Doesn't that exclude most of the honest working class?

Or maybe the idea is that America should just give up on capitalism and allow the Asians to run the world from now on?

Okay, I get it now.

Meanwhile, back in jolly old Blighty...

Last week, on a day when the British government seized the assets of Icelandic banks, shares continued to fall, and inflation in Zimbabwe reached 231 million percent, the most frequently accessed article on The Guardian website was about local councils' attitudes to lap-dancing clubs.

  • Where are the ideas?
  • Where are the debates?
  • Where are the leaders?

“Every generation needs a new revolution.”
Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence
(picture posed by model)

World's First Blogging House Plant

Kamakura is a little town in Japan, about thirty miles south-west of Tokyo, and is home to the Hachimangu Shrine, and this wonderful statue of the Buddha.

It's also the home to Bowls Cafe, and Midori-san, the blogging houseplant.

The weak bioelectric current flowing across the surface of Midori-san's leaves responds to changes in the immediate environment, such as temperature, humidity, vibration, and nearby human activity.

Local software company KAYAC has developed software to translate the plant's awareness into Japanese sentences, which are then posted on Midori-san's blog.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Date It, Fuck It, Kill It, Cook It, Eat It

I like my food, but have never been a 'foodie', or even much of a gourmet. Simple, tasty, nourishing dishes, in ample quantities, with beer and wine, and an extra portion of chips, is what works for me.

The only TV chef I ever liked was Keith Floyd, because he was usually drunk and charming, and would quote Bob Dylan lyrics. He once managed to fit an entire verse of Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues into a recipe.

He was also responsible for Kiwi Fruit and the Stranglers, two elements of Eighties culture without which life under Mrs. Thatcher would have been even harder to bear.

But times change, and now we have now we have to be entertained by gastric gnomes like Anthony Worral Thompson, Giles Coren (the humourless son of a humorist), and Jamie Oliver, whose tongue seems too large for his mouth and capable of vasodilation, which may explain why a) he talks in that lisping fake Cockney accent of his and b) he has managed to marry quite an attractive woman. Jamie is currently annoying the population of Rotherham.

But it gets worse.

Thirty miles up the M1 from Rotherham, the top match on Google for "seasoned and fried" is now the murder trial of Anthony Morley of Leeds, who went on a date with Damian Oldfield, after which he took him home, had sex with him, cut his throat, stabbed him repeatedly, then carved a piece of flesh from his thigh, seasoned it with fresh herbs and fried it in olive oil.

Morley then walked to his local takeaway kebab shop, wearing a bloodstained dressing gown and flip-flops, and told staff: "I have killed someone, call the police."

Isn't this just typical? One minute he's all pretentious and showing off, with his olive oil and herbs, like he thinks he's Paul bloody Newman or someone, then as soon as he's got what he wants, he's off down the kebab shop in a dirty dressing gown! Mr Morley, I'm afraid, is a cannibal bulimic and a junk food junkie, and very much in the closet about all of it.

I think Mr. Morley hasn't exactly been honest about his sexuality either, come to think of it. In 1993, he won a beauty contest as Mr. Gay UK. According to a contemporary report, to win the title he had to beat off stiff competition in front of a nightclub audience in Blackpool. (Oo-err, missus) I'm not sure I could have managed that.

Then, he was the "gay scene's best known and talked about lad" who listed as his hobbies "pleasing other people". Now he says he's never been happy being gay, and claims the other man raped him. Sad, if it's true, but still no reason to kill your date and eat them.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

The Seven Ages of Gordie - # 3

My Age:

What Happened:

How I Coped:


Writing. Fame. Death.

I loved books. Then somebody told me I could write. And suddenly, I discovered myself. I wrote stories,I wrote poems, and within a year, I was a published author, with my picture in the paper.

That same year, people around me started dying. A boy in my class, who got cancer. And my Uncle Ken, who just expired one day, and I don't remember being told why.

I think the first funeral I went to would have been Robert's. The little boy coffin, and then a while later, a different church and an adult coffin.

Uncle Ken was a painter, and my Auntie said he'd gone to paint houses in Heaven. I hope he did a good job. I hope they paid him properly.

I'm still not sure how I dealt with all of that. I'd found something that made me powerful, and something that no power could overcome. I think I began to split in two, inside. I began to think about what was and wasn't acceptable about me, and who I could safely share it with. Yes, dear reader, I became an editor.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Crocheted Coral Reef

This is what I found when I was Googling for references to "The Great Wen". (I know, my dears, teh interwebs is a random place, and I should not be let near it.)

The mad lady scientists at the Institute for Figuring have crocheted this beautiful hyperbolic coral reef. Crochet advances our understanding of mathematics, and the nature of space. And it's pretty.

Weary Willie and Tired Tim

Weary Willie and Tired Tim were cartoon characters in a comic that had ceased to exist long before I was born (the picture above shows them recruiting unemployed soldiers to go and fight in the Boer War) but my Nana always used to mention them whenever children looked tired.

I was working in The Great Wen last week, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience (which included a couple of new business opportunities, and drinks by the river with one of the women I love) but once I came home I felt seriously tired.

That's how it usually is when I go to London. I enjoy the buzz, and then I crash and burn. I'm wise enough now, to know its coming, and to accept it. I've been going to bed early, and setting the alarm clock a half-an-hour later. Three days seems to have got me right.

And now I find myself thinking about sleep, and tiredness, and taking good care of myself (which I do, some of the time, because if I don't, nobody else will.) I always wanted to stay up late when I was a child, and I never felt good about being tired. But it's a message from my body... and my body is my soul, and I need to learn to listen to it.

The unwanted side-effects of a good education

Sunday, 5 October 2008

The Sun Hasn't Set On This Boy Yet

I dropped out of high school
It bored me to death
They taught me a dress code
And lodged my respect

I flied up to New York
And learned from the plants
That the sun hadn't set
On this boy yet

I came back an artist
I tried to play a story
Friends called me loser
Yet envied the glory

I fought for humanity
I sank in the sand
But the sun hasn't set
On this boy yet
On this boy yet

Everyone just makes me strong alright
Somehow when the lights went out
I got myself through the night, yes I did

So I went west
And I found out
Hope was all around me
And that's what life is all about

I'm back on my feet
Err, with no regrets
'Cause the sun hasn't set
On this boy yet

No, the sun hasn't set
On this boy yet
The sun hasn't set on this boy yet
On this boy yet


Note to Self: Don't Die

The days are gone when I really needed this advice, and they won't me coming back. But it's a good, gritty song for an autumn Sunday afternoon.

I'm as blue
I'm as blue as the ocean is true
It's just reflections of the sky
I'm as cold
I'm as cold as the stories you told
But never sick enough to die

Note to self: don't change for anyone
Note to self: don't die
Note to self: don't change for anyone
Don't change... just lie

I'm as sick
I'm as crass as the things in your past,
You wished that you could let them go
Caged birds
Caged animals starving for class
In your house when you're alone

Note to self: don't change for anyone
Note to self: don't die
Note to self: don't change for anyone
Don't change... just lie

Who do you call when you're alone
Nobody, baby
Who do you want to be,
Figure out and just let me know