Wednesday 31 January 2007

Pam's Moods, Kilburn & The High Roads feat. Ian Dury, 1975.

Stop press:I did some comparing and fiddling with the html, which is a mystery to me, and killed the autoplay. Hooray. I realise, for many of you, that's something you can do with your eyes shut. But I'm rather pleased with myself...
In case, just in case you're wondering, I didn't want this to autoplay.... and I don't know enough to tweak the code provides. They do two forms.. Play on demand or autoplay. The p.o.d., code doesn't pop the player up at all. So please don't curse me for autostarting music, I'm against it too. The alternative is to kill this post.... Well, I could go interactive. Mythical reader? leave a comment. first ten comments, (from different people) in favour of killing it or keeping it, I'll act. I'm fairly safe there. I'm not convinced that many people care either way.
Comments generally would be nice though, about any of the posts, or almost anything....

When me and Pam
Are hand in hand
We make a lovely pair
But when we fight
Her awful spite
Is more than I can bear

She give me the business, I lose all self control
The curse of fifty witches making wormwood of my soul

A life of broken china sneering yellow hate
Ohh, derision and contumely, things that nauseate

Ruptures of the psyche, vexation in the head
Poison in my coffee and needles in my bed
Mischief in the midriff, tensions of the spine
Ohhh, underhand aspersions that really are unkind

Pam’s moods ,
Pam's moods,
Pam’s moods ,
Pam's moooooods,

An abject little toady her scolding makes of me
Ooooh, why is she so bitter every time we disagree?

Pam’s moods etc... lots of times........


Tuesday 30 January 2007

"Rose of Sharon" (1778) by William Billings

"I am the rose of Sharon,
and the lily of the valleys..."
-- Song of Solomon, 2:1-11

I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valley;
I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valley;
As the lily among the thorns, so is my love among the daughters,
As the apple tree, the apple tree among the trees of the wood,
so is my beloved among the sons, so is my beloved among the sons.
I sat down under his shadow with great delight,
And his fruit was sweet to my taste;
And his fruit, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.

He brought me to the banqueting house
His banner over me was love,
He brought me to the banqueting house
His banner over me was love.

Stay me with flagons,
Comfort me with apples, for I am sick,
for I am sick, for I am sick of love;
I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem,
By the roses, and by the hinds of the field,
That you stir not up,
That you stir not up,
That you stir not up,
that you stir not up, nor awake, awake,
awake, awake, my love, till he please.

The voice of my beloved,
Behold! he cometh,
leaping upon the mountains skipping,
skipping, skipping, skipping,
leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.

The voice of my beloved,
Behold! he cometh,
leaping upon the mountains skipping,
skipping, skipping, skipping,
leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.

My beloved spake,
And said unto me,
Rise up,
Rise up,
Rise up,
Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.
For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone,
the rain is over, the rain is over and gone.
For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.

Bear on the Running Machine

Poor Bakkom the bear. His life's a bit like mine, everything he touches seems to be fighting him..

Saturday 27 January 2007

Dave Lindholm:- Pieni Ja Hento Ote

I was told this sound file was not working, have been back and fixed it... Nice to see I get so many visitors from Finland!
From 1982 album, Äino.
My translation would not be very good, but just listen and enjoy.

Dave Lindholm - Pieni ja hento ote
language finnish
text+music Ralf Lindholm

Pidin siitä mistä kerroit, ihmisestä joka halusi muistoksi talon
Pidän siitä miten kerrot asioita tunteita
Pidän siitä mitä teet, teet sen kauniisti ja hyvin
Sinä yllätät kaikki paitsi ne jotka tietää

Pieni ja hento ote ihmisestä kiinni
Aivan sama tunne kuin koskettava tuuli
Pieni ja hento ote - siinä kaikki

Olemisen riemu ei ravistele olkapäitä
Runoilijan kehto ei ole ruusuista tehty koskaan
Hiljaisuuden huntu ei milloinkaan petä kuulijaa
Mikä nämä yhdistää? Rakkaus suureen elämään


Turhanpäiväinen älykkyys syö ihmistä rotan lailla
Miten kaikki voi olla valmista kun ei ole edes tehty mitään?
Miten niin jalat maassa? Oletko nähnyt kenenkään kävelevän ilmassa?
Pidän sinusta siinä kaikki. Pitääkö se todistaa tuhansilla sanoilla?


Valoa ja pimeää, ei siin ole mitään luonnotonta
Kummassakin laulussa hyvä tunne kasvaa ja kasvaa
En pidä siitä että siirtyminen vaatii mahtavia tekoja
Sateen jälkeen hiekkatiellä kauneus hehkuu ja kumartaa syvään

refrain Small and gentle touch

I like what you said, about a man who wanted a house as a souvenir.
I like the way you tel of matters of emotion.
I like what you do, you do it beautifully and well.
You amaze everyone, except those who know.

Tiny, gentle, touch holding mankind,
Feels just like the wind's caress.
A small and gentle touch - that's all.

The joy of existence doesn't shrug shoulders.
The poet's cradle is never made of roses.
The veil of silence never betrays the listener.
What joins these? Love of life.

Superfluos intelligence eats at man like a rat.
How can all be ready when nothing has been made?
How come down-to-earth? Have you seen someone walking in the air?
I like you, that's all. Does it need to be proved in thousands of words?

Light and dark, it's nothing unnatural.
In both songs the good feeling rises and rises.
I don't like that changes ask for mighty acts.
After rain on a dirt-road beauty glows and takes a bow.

The Bear is Back

The Bear, in earlier post, titled The Sheep Look Up seemed popular. Here he is again, having a little trouble with a balloon.

This Site Does NOT Condone Violence Against Gnomes

Despite provocative behavior by some Gnomes, led no doubt by Bjorn Tealeavery, in response to an earlier post, I must say this site does not and will not support violence against gnomes.
To do so would be to descend to their level.
So I deplore the perpetrators of the Gnomesville Massacre, against the Gnome populace near Dardanup, Western Australia, which lists Gnomesville as one of its no-doubt many cultural attractions.
I quote "The population of Gnomesville has grown from a handful of statues placed covertly in the forest a few years ago, making it a popular stop off for tour buses visiting nearby vineyards.
It's being called the "Gnomesville Massacre" and emergency workers in Western Australia are offering a reward for the capture of vandals who smashed their way through a local tourist attraction.
An unknown number of attackers lopped off the heads or smashed several dozen of the pot-bellied statues this week at Gnomesville, a collection of more than a 1,000 colorful characters deep in a forest south of Perth.
"We are incensed by the damage done to the gnomes and willing to pay a reward to catch the culprits," State Emergency Service Volunteer Association President Phillip Petersen told Reuters.
Six orange-colored gnomes depicting emergency workers were among those destroyed, Petersen said, adding the reward was A$500 ($390) Remember, readers, most gnomes are moderate, and are no threat to humans. And over the millennia they have successfully kept their dissident hotheads under control.
Stay away from Gnomesville, don't travel in the region at night, keep your doors locked. Report any suspicious activity to the police. If you know who might have done this, call the police."

Friday 26 January 2007

Tom Waits,

Amelia, by Joni Mitchell, For RedDirtGirl.

Amelia, The Amelia in the song, is Amelia Earhart, pioneering aviatrix. She was the first woman to fly the atlantic, more importantly, she was , after Charles Lindbergh, the second person to fly solo across the atlantic. She was attempting to be first to fly around the world, when she disappeared near Howland Island in the Pacific, 1937.

I was driving across the burning desert
When I spotted six jet planes
Leaving six white vapor trails across the bleak terrain
It was the hexagram of the heavens it was the strings of my guitar
Amelia it was just a false alarm

The drone of flying engines
Is a song so wild and blue
It scrambles time and seasons if it gets thru to you
Then your life becomes a travelogue
Of picture post card charms
Amelia it was just a false alarm

People will tell you where they've gone
They'll tell you where to go
But till you get there yourself you never really know
Where some have found their paradise
Other's just come to harm
Oh, Amelia it was just a false alarm

I wish that he was here tonight
It's so hard to obey
His sad request of me to kindly stay away
So this is how I hide the hurt
As the road leads cursed and charmed
I tell Amelia it was just a false alarm

A ghost of aviation
She was swallowed by the sky
Or by the sea like me she had a dream to fly
Like Icarus ascending
On beautiful foolish arms
Amelia it was just a false alarm

Maybe I've never really loved
I guess that is the truth
I've spent my whole life in clouds at icy altitude
And looking down on everything I crashed into his arms
Amelia it was just a false alarm

I pulled into the Cactus Tree Motel
To shower off the dust
And I slept on the strange pillows of my wanderlust
I dreamed of 747s
Over geometric farms
Dreams Amelia - dreams and false alarms

Sunday 21 January 2007

Those Subliminal Gnomes

These gnomes were borrowed from Rozanne,
at Ragwater, Bitters and Blue Ruin

Go over there, she's got some interesting stuff, and she made me laugh too.


Thanks are due to mist1, who spotted the significance of the subversive gnomes in the post about Delores. We all see them, sitting idly by ponds, wheeling barrows through the rockery. It occurred to me it was time to find out more. If any of you have more knowledge or documentation of their dastardly deeds, please post it in a comment. The blogosphere should be warned.
mist1 said...

The curio shop with subversive gnomes? That's so funny to me. Those gnomes have always scared me. It's like they know something that I don't. And now I know...they do.

soubriquet said...

Those submersible Gnomes worry us all. Under cover of their garden rockery activities, Soubriquet Investigations has unearthed a plot so spine chilling... Under one suburban rockery, Soubriquet, using his patent 'shrinkometer' obtained access to a tiny intercontinental ballistic missile launch site. In the silos were little 'minute-man 3' missiles fuelled and ready, in the control room, one gnome, pistol outstretched, confronts another, "sir! Turn your key, sir, we have a launch order!" The other gnome, frantic, shouts "It's a drill, it's got to be a drill, oh my god, they'll call stand down, they must!" Sure enough, the tannoy bleats "All Gnome stations, all gnome stations, launch order is rescinded, return to defcon 3"
They stand down, mopping sweaty brows. They notice me, I smile politely- I'm from headquarters, just observing the drill.....
I make a steady retreat for the door, then leg it to the exit, a concealed tunnel behind the hydrangeas. Outside, gnomes are pushing wheelbarrows, fishing, as suburban gnomes do. The duplicitous beasts.

Saturday 20 January 2007

Elephants in the Mist

Artwork by Charity Larrison

I know there are many people who say animals in circuses are cruelly treated. Here in England, many towns and cities will not allow circuses to camp on public land, or licence shows if animals are involved. I truly don't know enough to argue for or against that view. But for me as a child the circus was a wonderful sensory overload.
The first time I went to a circus, I must have been about six years old. My big treat in those days was to go to the local market town with my grandfather. He was a big, towering, kindly man, with white hair and a white moustach. he always wore a waistcoat, over a blue and white striped shirt, he wore brown boots, shiny, and over them and his legs below the knees, buckled leather leggings. On his head, an old flat cap. In one hand, a walking stick, in the other, my small hand.
He was a retired farmer, and his day for visiting town was the day of the livestock market. a music of lowing cattle, bleating sheep, grunting pigs, clucking hens, He'd walk slowly between the pens, cautioning me not to get too close, exchanging a few words with the men there.
On this one day, he said to me "Do you want to see a Tiger?" I stared about me, wide eyed, expecting a cattle-market pen to house a roaring cat, but he laughed, held out his hand, "Come on then." We walked, out of the market, past the cattle trucks and chatting farmers, past the fire station, and gradually out of the town. Through a gate into a field. four white horses were trotting side by side, a circle of wagons beyond them, we continued, my grandfather spoke with a big man, who smiled, turned, and led us to a row of wagons, with open bars one side. There it was, in the shade, a great striped creature, far bigger than I'd imagined, the man called to it, it got up, stretched just as our cat at home did, although its skin looked baggier, looser, it turned, took a couple of steps to the bars, the man reached his hand in and scratched it behind the ears. It yawned, great yellowy pointed teeth, and lay down, rolling toward the bars belly up, head outstretched, for the man to scratch.
"But Tigers eat people", I squeaked, "Yes, the man said, but only if they're very hungry, and only people they don't like".
Then we went to see a Zebra. And horses, lots of horses. At last, in the corner of the field, in the shade of a tree, the elephants. Oh those elephants, great grey wrinkly beasts, oh, I was in love, these were my favourite animals oh look, oh.
That evening we returned for the show. My sister was extremely jealous as I recited the few things I'd been told, and paraded my superior knowledge, and the fact I KNEW all these people in gaudy costumes, I'd even touched one of the elephants.
Those wonderful people, in their exciting bright costumes, the sounds and the smells, and appearing to me to be genuine, their love of their animals.
I was told by an old soldier who had worked with elephants in Burma, that you work with elephants by their consent. an elephant will remember forever any slight. He recalled an elephant killing a burmese timber worker. The british officer was demanding the elephant be shot. But the burmese said this man had been cruel to the elephant, and had hurt its calf some ten years previously. The elephant had never attacked any other person, and waited patiently by the body, raising its foot to allow a restraining chain to be attached. It was reprieved, and the soldier told me all his mates were extremely cautious, after that to never give offence to an elephant. If it stole your bread, or ate your hat, you learned to laugh. The elephants did work in the jungle carrying heavy loads, during the day. In the night they were set free, to roam and forage, in the morning they'd all be there, waiting for their loads.
Maybe circuses are cruel. I truly don't know.

One evening, about ten years ago, I was walking with a friend and her two dogs, in a wooded area of a city park, The night was misty, and ahead of us a great shadow loomed, making a strange rumbling sound. we were a bit spooked, the fierce brave tough dogs hid behind us.... out of the dark came two elephants, and a girl, maybe 15 years old, she spoke quietly to them, and they stopped, and waited, to let us pass, We stopped too, and spoke to her, she spoke very little english "like we, they love walk, but cannot when is many people, now in the night, they can walk in trees, they dream of their home, I too of my home" . We had cakes in a bag we showed the girl, she clapped her hands oh yes, oh yes, as we gave to the elephants my girlfriend's mother's lemon cake, and then the chocolate cake. All this time the two dogs kept a safe distance, clearly thinking we were extremely stupid.
The Elephants were gentle, exploring us with their trunks, and conveying handfuls of cake to their mouths.
Then we all moved on, that was the last time a circus with animals performed in this city.
I'd forgotten that, remembered it in the night.
We went to the circus, Didn't recognise the girl, she was probably transformed into a glittering queen of the highwire.

I recommend: Busted Wonder
Artwork by Charity Larrison and story by Kieran Gillan.
A long time ago, I found them. I found a blog called "Cabinet of Busted Wonders". What a great title, it drew me in. At the time, only the first few frames had been drawn, so I had to return many times for the story to unfold. The first few frames had me though. It's still unfolding.

Stop press: I posted this before asking permission. then I emailed Charity, seeking forgiveness, and have had it granted. And she's very kindly given a permit to use some other images. I will.
I think her drawings are great, I love the people, the style, the way she uses perspective, the choice of palette. No, She's not paying me to say this. I just really like her work.

Nick Drake

Sunday 14 January 2007

Delores Aloft

For Stephanie; fragments of a lost story.

This story began: Once upon a time, there was a beautiful trapeze artist called Delores. She lived in an ornate wooden circus caravan, hauled by an elephant named Nelly.With her, in the closets, lived her friends and fellow performers, a troupe of tiny dwarves, (who preferred to be known as Porgs, or Persons of Reduced Growth.) To a man, they were in love with their curvaceous amazon.
Part of the story is lost here................

...She loops out of the darkness in the upper tent, spins, forward roll, lets go of the bar, flying forward, sequins sparkling, AAAH!! The crowd gasp, yes, she's missed the bar, falling, 60 feet in the air, a scream, then- Whup! Out of the dark comes an elephant, looping below the falling girl, with a cry of "HUP-La!", she twists, a moment later, she is in the elephant's trajectory, one muscular leg gripping the trunk, she precedes the elephant, like a finely carved, buxom, figurehead on a sailing vessel, Hup-----LA!! And girl and elephant spin again, catching the safety net, which bulges, but stops short of the sawdust. What a show, AHHH!!! Look! Aloft, a troupe of tiny pirates are swinging, swashbuckling, cutlass fighting on the high wire, swinging oblivious of the drop below, one leaps at another, bowls him off his perch, another grabs hold, they cascade off the wire, like a tiny grappling chain of porgosity, then flup! Little parachutes pop up, they steer, wildly out, over the audience, a shout! What's this? A porg sets fire to his tiny adversary's chute, with a squeal, the tiny chap plummets, the audience screams, but below, suddenly, is the statuesque, shimmering amazon, astride the huge grey elephant- how did they get here, in the walkway where only the ice-cream girl strode? But no matter, for with another squeal the tiny porgs perilous plummet plops safely to an end, cushioned by the cleavage of our heroine. One by one, out of the dark they come, circling in, and being plucked out of the air by Nelly's trunk, and Delores's curvaceous arms, the roar of the crowd is immense, Nelly trumpets in triumph and farewell, the little fellows stand, bouncing on Nelly's back, and bow deeply with a wave of their feathered hats, at last, the beauteous amazon stands, balanced on one slender foot on Nelly's great head, she sweeps then a graceful curtsey, winks at the crowd, and in one fluid move, scoops up a porg and bowls him at the clowns, the stiltman is first to go, then the stepladder, the clown with the wallpaper paste throws it at the porg, who dodges and scrambles up the stiltwoman's leg, she screams and shakes him off, he tumbles onto the dog and rides it ferociously twice around the ring, the ringmaster throws a long pole with a net on it to the slim clown who gives chase…. Ah! Yes! No, in the net is a dog, but sitting on the top of the re-erected stepladder is the porg, out go the lights, the band strikes up, the performers return to take a bow.

In the big old wooden caravan, in the soft light of the oil lamps, a very big wooden bathtub is waiting, and Delores cries out as they enter "C'mon boys! Whose turn is with the sponge tonight?!"

As I recall, Delores was later arrested, accused of Porg abuse, and un-british activities, spirited away by secret policemen and flung into a noisome dungeon in the Tower of London.
Extaordinary repetition- They flung her twice.

It continues:

delores languished., deep in a dungeon,far below the tower of london.... your writer can't remember the earlier genesis of this story, but is used to improvisation, and all repairs requiring string or silicone. so those will be used in Delores' rescue....

Languishing, thought Delores, is such beastly boring work, whilst filing her nails with the side of a matchbox. In fact, look at that! a matchbox with sandpaper! when did you last see one of those, she mused....

I wonder if a jailer dropped it? being as she is a nicely mannered girl, she bethought herself of the need to reunite the jailer with his property. Gathering a quantity of staw from the floor of the noisome cell, she proceeded to knot it into a short cosh. Using the matches, she set fire to another bunch of straw, and screamed as loudly as her well equipped lungs could manage. Cloppity clop!, there was a sound of hooves in the corridor, " What the?" she mused, as two jailers dressed as a pantomime horse burst in. "THWOCK" went the straw cosh, the front half of the panto horse toppled, taking with it the rear end, whose warder was encumbered not a little by a faceful of the front end's buttocks. "THWOCK" and his problems ceased to trouble him.

Meanwhile, Huweegebung, and the smallest porg, miniature in all respects but one, Huw, had split from the rest of the group, and were strapped to carrier pigeons, circling high above London. They were hoping that the bloodhound of restricted growth (borg) strapped below the third pigeon could keep following the faint fragrance of the giantess. So far they had stopped to investigate several noxious bins, a boneyard, a sausage shop, and Buckingham Palace. She's been here, cried Huw, as Muttley bayed, look, he's pointing! sure enough, the hound of the basketcase was glaring eastward, a forepaw outstetched, along the glistening line of the Thames.

"Send up a flare" cried Huweegeebung, Whoofle! up it went, calling the attention of porgs throughout London. P chuckled with tiny glee, rubbing his hands, "Taroo! Taroo!" went the porghorn, and porgs dropped what they were doing to heed the call. The people of London had never seen such a thing, out of those little hatches at the bottom of street lights, clambering out of post boxes, issuing from cat flaps, porgs were everywhere, armed with knitting needles, pastry rollers, electric toothbrushes, out they came onto the streets, marching eastward with one purpose, "Taroo Taroo" !

Back in the Dungeons, Delores had immobilised the pantomime horse with some inspired knotting, and muffled its indignant cries with a couple of well placed warder socks.... the warders dare not shout for fear of having to inhale deeply of each others pongy foot odour, but what next? creeping quietly up the stair, our amazon was readying her formidable armoury.... yes, she was now equipped with a tin plate, a fork and a spoon. "Just let them TRY stop me," she murmured.

But up ahead were the Beefeaters, Yeomen of the Guard, gates, portcullisses, could she really escape?

"Foong! Foong!" "what the?" as startled beefeaters looked up, a pair of synchronised porgs came over the wall in a steep trajectory, spinning slowly, in unison, the first pair crashed painfully into a tower wall, and tumbled, unconscious to the grassy sward. Foong Foong, Two more launched into view. "What the hell!" cried the Captain of the Guard, training his binoculars on a knot of porgs on the far side of the river, this time the two aviators deployed spotted handkerchief parachutes at the very apogee of their flight, steering expertly toward the inner court, Foong!, Foong!, across the river two more launched. "My God" he cried, "They're catapulting from a giant brassiere!

The advance porgs were taking, from their belts, tiny axes made fom pencil sharpener blades, and hacking at the stout oak doors of the inner tower. Above them a Voice boomed out, "This is the Pope! cease all your porgish activity at once or you will be condemned to eternal damnation"
-"Foong! Foong!" vame the reply as more porgs breached the perimeter.
The porgs were not afraid, Heaven sounded boring anyway, and the devil has all the best tunes!
Deep below came a scurrying Clop Cloppity, as more warders in pantomime horse garb deployed.. "EEK" squealed Delores, at a loss for anything more constructive. "I hear my beloveds, Foong! Foong!" she murmured, recalling the days when they would launch off the wardrobe, aiming at her recumbent form. (The lucky ones found warmth and softness, but more often a bedside light, a kneecap (oof) or in one case, an open window and a mound of horse poo.)
At that moment, Delores spied a side tunnel, unlit, and eased into the dark crevice just as a bedraggled panto horse panted into the light of the stairwell. Outside the cacophony of shouted orders, as warders tried to snare the scurrying porgs, was deafening. Neighbours called the city council to complain about it, "They're using a Cacophone!" one cried, And on a weekend too.
Huw and Huweegeebung by now had landed atop the highest tower and were tying together short pieces of string, in preparation for abseiling down the inside of the chimney. From Harley Street, the street of the plastic surgeons, a crack squad of porgs was rushing, clutching the entire stock of silicone breast implants, Viewing though the satellite link, P chuckled, it was all going very well indeed.

Another lost bit...

The Prime Minister, alerted by his underlings, called George Bush," It's no good George, You'll just have to do what you do best, an accurate, intelligence guided surgical mission to recapture the curvy woman and take out the little guy's chain of command" "YEEHA!!!! Okeyfurdokey, Blairie, A mission to restore peace and harmony to your capital. CAN DO!!!" "Okay guys, Accurate, intelligence led, Time to carpet bomb Engerland, there's terrists on the loose!"

As the first smart bombs took out a bookshop, a public toilet, and a railway station, prime minister Tony Blur stood to address parliament.
"Look, ah, well, in any intelligence led operation of such overwhelming accuracy, there are bound to be a few casualties, but we must be vigilant, I am assured by ah, our brave allies that there is unequivocal evidence that certain porgs are known to read, and as such, a bookshop, or a public library may well feature in their plans, we must deny them resources, ah, and sometimes that may be a little painful, ah, yess, public toilets, we had clear evidence that at least one of the porgs may be constipated and it seemed a pre-emptive strike on the toilet was ah, yes, justified, as soon as the evidence team finishes collecting the body parts, ah, we will conduct a dna analysis that I am sure will prove that a senior porg might um, possibly ah, have um, (what?) oh, well maybe not exactly a SENIOR porg, but a a a a (yes?) a porg sympathiser? might, um, ah have been in, um, over um yes, during the last three weeks, it's hard to set a time, but I'm sure the members of the public, loitering, ah (what? minister for what? boys?) my dear friend the Minister for Public Decency, and his young, ah, friends will be sorely missed.
And um, Railways, well, what can I say, it was just an accident. The missile was aimed at a curio shop with a subversive display of garden gnomes in the window...(what? Two miles?) yes, ah, smart guidance systems, well, ah, yes, budget cuts we are all forced to make, the base in question needed batteries for the radio in the canteen, so I understand they had to use the ones from the Wrath of George missile guidance system, I hope when it comes to budget time we'll hear less whining from the opposition benches, when a further £62 billion pounds is needed for defence...
Ah, yes, of course, absolutely, I'll have an urgent summit meeting with Mr Bush, just as soon as Cherie and I get back from our two weeks in Barbados, in the meantime, you will all be reassured that in order to support our brave allies up above us, I've ordered 6000 of our finest troops to secure and pacify London with whatever force Geor... The President, thinks necessary" WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!! "Argh! Quick! Where's the bloody shelter!"

she being brand new, by e.e.cummings

she being Brand

-new;and you
know consequently a
little stiff i was

careful of her and(having

thoroughly oiled the universal
joint tested my gas felt of
her radiator made sure her springs were O.

K.)i went right to it flooded-the-carburetor cranked her

up,slipped the
clutch(and then somehow got into reverse she
kicked what
the hell)next
minute i was back in neutral tried and

again slo-wly;bare,ly nudg. ing(my

lev-er Right-
oh and her gears being in
A 1 shape passed
from low through
second-in-to-high like
greasedlightning)just as we turned the corner of Divinity

avenue i touched the accelerator and give

her the juice,good


was the first ride and believe i we was
happy to see how nice she acted right up to
the last minute coming back down by the Public
Gardens i slammed on

brakes Bothatonce and

brought allofher tremB
to a:dead.


Saturday 13 January 2007

The Small Box

The small box gets its first teeth
And its small length
Its small width and small emptiness
And all that it has got
The small box is growing bigger
And now the cupboard is in it
That it was in before
And now it grows bigger and bigger and bigger
And now has in it the room
And the house and the town and the land
And the world it was in before
The small box remembers its childhood
And by overgreat longing
It becomes a small box again
Now in the small box
Is the whole world quite tiny
You could put it in a pocket
Easily steal it easily lose it
Take care of the small box.

by Vasco Popa

This poem inspired a whole series of small ceramic pieces and drawings for me.
I'm fascinated by contradictions of scale, models in glass cases, giants and dwarves.
So is Til Nowak, maker of the movie in the post below this.

'Delivery', by Til Nowak.

Fantasy shoe day

I shall be wearing these on my voyages. They'll protect my feet from spiky things in the ocean, and leave oversized, strangely non-human footprints on your beach. In order to avoid all the Robinson Crusoe jokes, I shall NEVER land on a blogisland on a friday, unless the owner thereof has never heard of Robinson Crusoe.
RDG: Please note. These are not available with 6" pointy heels. But they are allowed on deck and in the rigging.

Friday 12 January 2007

The Sheep Look Up

Okay, No sheep. Cow? Always look up. And double check you have the right pack.
For Steve.

This studio produces some great work.

Thursday 11 January 2007

A Dream.

This is a dream I had about a year ago, I wrote about it then, because it was so vivid.
At that time, I'd not heard the term 'Steampunk', but that dream was pure steampunk, and I can see the images now, the distant voices, the smell of woodsmoke.

It was posted on my profile at (a site that has provided some amusement and a few true friends)... :

"In my dreams of flying, I rarely travel more than a few feet above the ground. I have to go around trees and very tall buildings, but can easily manage brief hops to clear fences and houses.
In my dreams I sometimes fly high on the sky, but more often I am close to the ground. I seem to skate, but as if my feet are about a foot above the ground, I can lean into the turns, glide, rise and swoop, and balance is never a problem, I can never fall or suffer bruises. (did we have this discussion before?) I was very tired, after a string of long working days. I did dream of flying, though, over a mythical country .
There were strange beasts, castles, villages with mediaeval-seeming life going on. Yet on a road below me, a great steam powered traction-engine was pulling a sort of road train of four heavy trailers laden with goods, sacks with spilling grain, barrels, bales of something , maybe wool. Two of the trailers were sheeted over, I swooped down for a closer look and the driver, a woman, built like a heavy-duty russian heroine of the republic, wiped her brow with a bandanna and raised a cup of coffee in greeting. Beside her, a young boy, maybe ten years old, was shovelling coals into a glowing firebox. I waved back, pedalled harder for the climb, for the first time was aware of the craft I piloted, a beautifully made airboat, made of polished wood, rattan cane, bound with copper fixings, the wings were covered in bright silks, rose and fell by force transmitted fom the pedals, I sat on a bicycle saddle, steered with handlebars, behind me, a bright silk rooster tail turned, pedal harder to rise, gently to maintain height and motion, push the bars forward to dive, pull back to climb, I heard a clanking, and below and to the left, I saw a larger flying machine, with a steam boiler, pilot at a wheel, like a ship's wheel, standing, braced. Behind him a filthy stoker leaned on a shovel, and tapped a boiler gauge. They were on an upper deck, below and behind them, were rows of seats, wooden slatted things, about ten passengers, wearing goggles and gloves. some waved. Below the control deck, and at the front was a small cabin with celluloid glazed windows, I could dimly see some people inside, bright clothes, nobles, no doubt, first class. The great wings, two sets, flapped ponderously, covered not in bright silk, but heavy duty canvas. Chuffing and clanking, the air-liner pulled ahead. I was looking for a country inn, a place to set down for a meal and a bed for the night, they were signalled by a cluster of tethered balloons about 200 feet up, the colours of balloons denoted the facilities each offered, hot food, accommodation, steam baths, minstrel gallery, air boat exchange Ah, you can exchange your airboat here? you don't own the airboat, it's a commodity, you show a wristband that seems to denote credit, i think, and you pick up a fresh, adjusted, cleaned and provisioned airboat in the morning, could be a plodder, a two or more seater, with ample luggage space, or a nimble lightweight, like mine.
I was hungry, tired. And not sure why I was there or where I was going, but a walled town, far away, on the horizon, with a great castle, seemed to be my goal. I was aware that I had entered this world as a stranger, that everything in it was new and interesting to me, I was aware that I was elsewhere at the same time, sleeping, and a little afraid that if I fell asleep at the inn, in a room above the stableyard, i might wake up back in my own, familiar world, before I had seen enough of this, before I had found my purpose here.
And so it happened.
Starcitywoman may recall this discussion of dreams. Actually, I've been reminded that the first line was in her dream, not mine, I do apologise, I'll dust it off and return it as soon as possible, but this is scarily like being married, I mean, the cds are all mine, I think that painting's one I had before flork, but fragments of my dreams, wisps of my reality, I'm no longer sure, Anyway, if anybody wants to claim the elephant, please do, soon, because it really doesn't fit in some of the recent dreams, yet it's been there. How about: each morning, before we launch ourselves into a new day, we just take a few moments to tidy up, pack away any strange artifacts? That way there'll be no strange minglings of dreams, and strange, busty, gleaming silver space-suited starship crews won't wander unannounced into my carefully crafted, late seventeenth century coaching inn dream. Whoever released them, it was most disconcerting, and my coachman was so distracted by the tactile shiny ladies that we almost missed the tide- and that would have caused havoc over the three year voyage.......... It occurred to me, where would they find electricity for their hair driers in seventeenth century Oxford? Then I realised the hairdriers were probably rayguns. Anyway, please take care, and keep your dream characters separate to mine, it confuses me so much."

It seems people like my dream. I manufacture them nightly, but with so perishable a product, few survive to be shared. How annoying, it is never possible to return to one at will, and to see the next chapter.
Trap one of yours, (keep a glass preserving-jar near your bed, seal the dream from air, I think that, and daylight, are their enemies,) mount the dream on your blog, or as a comment here, I'll be interested to compare delusions.

Tuesday 9 January 2007

I Saw Eternity.

I saw Eternity the other night,
Like a great ring of pure and endless light,
All calm, as it was bright;
And round beneath it, Time in hours, days, years,
Driv'n by the spheres
Like a vast shadow mov'd; in which the world
And all her train were hurl'd.
The doting lover in his quaintest strain
Did there complain;
Near him, his lute, his fancy, and his flights,
Wit's sour delights,
With gloves, and knots, the silly snares of pleasure,
Yet his dear treasure
All scatter'd lay, while he his eyes did pour
Upon a flow'r.

The darksome statesman hung with weights and woe,
Like a thick midnight-fog mov'd there so slow,
He did not stay, nor go;
Condemning thoughts (like sad eclipses) scowl
Upon his soul,
And clouds of crying witnesses without
Pursued him with one shout.
Yet digg'd the mole, and lest his ways be found,
Work'd under ground,
Where he did clutch his prey; but one did see
That policy;
Churches and altars fed him; perjuries
Were gnats and flies;
It rain'd about him blood and tears, but he
Drank them as free.

The fearful miser on a heap of rust
Sate pining all his life there, did scarce trust
His own hands with the dust,
Yet would not place one piece above, but lives
In fear of thieves;
Thousands there were as frantic as himself,
And hugg'd each one his pelf;
The downright epicure plac'd heav'n in sense,
And scorn'd pretence,
While others, slipp'd into a wide excess,
Said little less;
The weaker sort slight, trivial wares enslave,
Who think them brave;
And poor despised Truth sate counting by
Their victory.

Yet some, who all this while did weep and sing,
And sing, and weep, soar'd up into the ring;
But most would use no wing.
O fools (said I) thus to prefer dark night
Before true light,
To live in grots and caves, and hate the day
Because it shews the way,
The way, which from this dead and dark abode
Leads up to God,
A way where you might tread the sun, and be
More bright than he.
But as I did their madness so discuss
One whisper'd thus,
"This ring the Bridegroom did for none provide,
But for his bride."

Henry Vaughan 1621-1695

Monday 8 January 2007


'Matapedia' By Kate and Anna McGarrigle, from the eponymous album.

The Blog Archipelago

An Archipelago:
That's what we are, tiny islands adrift in the great ocean of the web's wide world.
Although I'm new to the business of bloggery, I'm not new to blogs. I've been wandering, watching, reading, enthralled, for a longer time than I remember.
Long ago, I ditched my television, because there were just too many channels not worth watching.
There were some good things too, but generally I don't miss it.
I find the written word has better pictures, anyway.

I sail alone upon this imaginary ocean, I could be like Captain Joshua Slocum, the first man to sail, single handed around the earth. -In a boat he built for himself, felling the trees, forging the fittings.

I sail, making landfall at enticing islands, I stay, linger, read, sample the produce, make a new friend, perhaps, and then I row back out to my sturdy ship, hoist the anchor, set the sail.
Sometimes, at an island, I find recommendations for other islands to visit, and I mark my chart accordingly, at other times I'll sail beneath the stars, listening for surf. One day I might find your island. I'll admire your grass hut, try that hammock by the beach, read your words.
Perhaps I'll swim to my boat for ink and a quill, on your beach I'll peel a strip from the paperbark tree and write my little message. Perhaps I'll still be in the lagoon when you return, and we'll chat, become friends before the tide draws me away.
Along the way, I consign my scribbles to the waves, tight-corked in bobbing bottles. Who knows where they will find landfall, who knows what waifs or beachcombers will open and read.
In the night, my ship comes oft to my own island, or maybe my island follows. I sit at my own driftwood fire, writing my thoughts, for anyone and nobody to read. I pin them to the side of my hut, and, hearing the call of the whales, return to the sea.
When I come again to my island, I remark, with glee, your footprints in the sand. I hope you found fruit and food aplenty, refilled your casks with sweet water, rested in the hammock, sampled the wine, picked through my book-case, I hope the lamps were lit, and you left refreshed.
Perhaps you read my words, and found the pens and paper, on the table, and perhaps you left your thoughts, pinned there. Maybe you scratched graffiti on my wall. Or took a trinket. Maybe you just moved a chessman, and smiled.
I'm not sure why I am voyaging, except for the idea that there's always something to be discovered beyond the next horizon.
How about you? What calls you to the keyboard? to the little glowing box, the window into these myriad worlds? Do tell, I really really do want to know.
I'm not sure why I am here, but on my travels I've met some good friends. People who I'll never touch, but friends all the same, I've been shown new music, art, poetry, and I've read things that make me laugh, things that make tears spring in my eyes. Just as if I were truly travelling.

John Donne wrote:

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manner of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

We bloggers are not the islands, we inhabit them; also we roam, befriending some, shunning others. We are travellers in the web, interlinked, interwoven, in designs more complex than we can grasp. We can come together, on one beach, and party as a group of friends, or retire to our own island, solitary, perhaps, but never alone, for out there, we can see the twinkling lights of each other's fires, the glows of the lamps beneath which we all write.

Leave a few words, traveller, I thank you for visiting.

Update. May 30th, 2007:

In my imagined world of the blog archipelago, the lights on a friendly island have winked out. A patch of darkness, a sense of loss."

The death of a blogger.
'Dodderyoldfart' of
When I wrote the post above, I never imagined this.

6 Weird Things About Me.

Oh dear. These blogging folk have strange rituals, like the passing of the sacred meme. And it's passed to me. I'm the person who breaks the chain in chain letters. Chinese whispers? They stopped at me. I must have been a horrible child, but as I get to write the definitive autobiography, You'll never know.
However. As I have sneaked into the realms of Bloggolalia by false pretences, I fear if I do not embrace the meme, I'll be found out, and banished. Or varnished. Which is shinier, but uncomfortable. So here goes.

Six weird things about me.
1: I like to read dictionaries.
2: This is really difficult, because what you might think of as weird, I might consider normal.
I have a mind packed with useless information, that I can't extract at will. The answer is there, but it's going to pop up at a time when I don't need it.
3: The first time I met the girl who was later to become my ex-wife, she told me her mother had told her not to talk to strange men. I replied "How will you know whether I am strange, if you don't talk to me?
4:I am the untidiest person I know. I create chaos out of order.
5:I can levitate and glide. (only in dreams, so far, but I live in hope of remembering how to do it when I'm awake).
6: I died once. I hovered near the ceiling of a hospital room, whilst simultaneously rolling and tumbling deep down in green water, drifting away from sound and light. And I heard the clicking of the shoes of the nurse who came in each evening, and a voice saying "Don't go in there tonight, Nurse, the boy's dying."
And I started to struggle and fight to return to the surface, to return to pain, to return to life.
I think it makes a difference to how I see life every day.
Which six people do I tag? Well, I'm new to this so I'm not sure who gets it. I'll think. Maybe tomorrow.

Saturday 6 January 2007

A Poem

I found this via.... I forgot. I need a better memory. more about that later.
Anyway, h
ere's a poem.
The poet,
Brian Turner, a 39 year old sergeant, in the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, was serving in Iraq, and turned to writing, honing words and meaning, to try make some sense out of the chaos, boredom, pointlessness, the purpose, the blood, bombs and violence, the sunshine and quiet, the beauty, and despair.
It's glib to say Turner reminds me of the war poems of Sassoon, Wilfrid Owen, et al, but he does. Crouched in a dusty hot place, he is their brother, those men who scratched their words in the cold mud of the Somme trenches almost a hundred years before. Not ideologically a supporter of the war, but a soldier, accepting his duty to share the burden with his comrades, trying to portray, to make understandable the impossible contradictions that war zones pose.

He sees it for us.

Brian Turner

At dusk, bats fly out by the hundreds.

Water snakes glide in the ponding basins

behind the rubbled palaces. The mosques

call their faithful in, welcoming

the moonlight as prayer.

Today, policemen sunbathed on traffic islands

and children helped their mothers

string clothes to the line, a slight breeze

filling them with heat.

There were no bombs, no panic in the streets.

Sgt. Gutierrez didn't comfort an injured man

who cupped pieces of his friend's brain

in his hands; instead, today,

white birds rose from the Tigris.

The Al Harishma Weapons Market

At midnight, steel shutters

slide down tight. Feral cats slink

in the periphery of the streetlamp's

dim cone of light. Inside, like a musician

swaddling a silver-plated trumpet,

Akbar wraps an AK-47 in cloth.

Grease guns, pistols, RPGs --

he slides them all under the countertop.

Black marketeer or insurgent --

an American death puts food on the table,

more cash than most men earn in an entire year.

He won't let himself think of his childhood friends --

those who wear the blue uniforms

which bring death, dying from barrels

he may have oiled in his own hands.

Akbar stirs the chai,

then carries his sleeping four-year-old,

Habib, to bed under glow-in-the-dark

stars arranged on the ceiling. Late at night

when gunfire frightens them both,

Habib cries for his father, who tells him

It's just the drums, a new music,

and the tracery of lights in the sky

he retraces on the ceiling, showing the boy

how each bright star travels

from this dark place, to the other.

© 2005 by Brian Turner (Alice James Books, Farmington, Maine)


Wilfred Owen

Dulce Et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

(Dulce et.. Latin: 'Sweet and fitting it is to die for one's country', a quotation from Horace.)

With mustard gas the effects did not become apparent for up to twelve hours. But then it began to rot the body, within and without. The skin blistered, the eyes became extremely painful and nausea and vomiting began. Worse, the gas attacked the bronchial tubes, stripping off the mucous membrane. The pain was almost beyond endurance and most cases had to be strapped to their beds. Death took up to four or five weeks. A nurse wrote:

I wish those people who write so glibly about this being a holy war and the orators who talk so much about going on no matter how long the war lasts and what it may mean, could see a case--to say nothing of ten cases--of mustard gas in its early stages--could see the poor things burnt and blistered all over with great mustard-coloured suppurating blisters, with blind eyes . . . all sticky and stuck together, and always fighting for breath, with voices a mere whisper, saying that their throats are closing and they know they will choke."

This passage is from John Ellis, Eye-Deep in Hell: Trench Warfare in World War I, (1976), pp. 66-7.

And then, a reminder that we never learn.

Aftermath, by Siegfried Sassoon.
HAVE you forgotten yet?...
For the world's events have rumbled on since those gagged days,
Like traffic checked while at the crossing of city-ways:
And the haunted gap in your mind has filled with thoughts that flow
Like clouds in the lit heaven of life; and you're a man reprieved to go,
Taking your peaceful share of Time, with joy to spare.
But the past is just the same-and War's a bloody game...
Have you forgotten yet?...
Look down, and swear by the slain of the War that you'll never forget.

Do you remember the dark months you held the sector at Mametz--
The nights you watched and wired and dug and piled sandbags on parapets?
Do you remember the rats; and the stench
Of corpses rotting in front of the front-line trench-
And dawn coming, dirty-white, and chill with a hopeless rain?
Do you ever stop and ask, 'Is it all going to happen again?'

Do you remember that hour of din before the attack--
And the anger, the blind compassion that seized and shook you then
As you peered at the doomed and haggard faces of your men?
Do you remember the stretcher-cases lurching back
With dying eyes and lolling heads-those ashen-grey
Masks of the lads who once were keen and kind and gay?

Have you forgotten yet?...
Look up, and swear by the green of the spring that you'll never forget.

Siegfried Sassoon, 1920

Wednesday 3 January 2007

Mental Floss

There is no work in progress. Soubriquet's brain has absconded, and he has decided to sleep until it returns. Perhaps tomorrow. The last few days have been hard for the small number of brain cells doing all the work.They need sleep.