Friday, 23 December 2011


It's always the same with Christmas. I'm a child at heart, and my energy levels noticeably rise in the days leading up to the holiday period. This year the build-up seems to have been longer than normal, so I've gradually whipped myself up into my own version of a festive frenzy. That sounds more impressive than it is, and really only comprises of talking to people I wouldn't ordinarily talk to, whistling slightly more than usual, and tuning the kitchen radio to a station that only plays Christmas tunes. Even so, by my own standards I've been lively, playful and, goddammit I'll say it, happy. Despite a succession of late nights I've comfortably maintained a regimen of early morning rising, have so far maintained admirable dietary discipline, and even remain motivated to exercise each day.

Yet I can feel it upon me. The slump is approaching. Of course Christmas day itself is an anticlimax for many, consisting as it typically does of an initial whirlwind of gift exchange and food preparation and consumption, followed by a slow descent into dull games, generic TV, and more food, interspersed with snoozing. But I'm okay with all that. I can cope with seeing the uncle I don't like, pretending to be grateful for the third packet of Licquorice Allsorts, and watching Oliver! for the fifty-seventh time. What I struggle with, and always fail at, is keeping myself from slipping into introspective mode. All celebrations do this to me. I find myself withdrawing to a corner, watching, reflecting, sometimes brooding. I suppose sobriety doesn't help matters, but there's something about witnessing key moments in people's lives; in my own life, that breaks my heart. Perhaps it's the knowledge that the moment is about to be lost forever. Perhaps it's some kind of response to the desperate futility of it all. It could be that I am touched by the ability of my family and friends to cast aside all the hostility and cruelty in the world and concentrate for a few precious moments on the love they share.

Or maybe I'm just a miserable bastard. I don't know, but either way I inevitably reach this state of Christmas paralysis. I become a rather sad-looking and distant observer. And that's not me. It's not me at all, though I think many people believe it is.

The moroseness has been hastened a little this year by a comment one of my ex football team mates made at the pub the other night. We were being told that another chap from the team had been busy lately decorating his new house, and the first chap made a mischievous enquiry about whether he lived alone, or with a 'friend'. There was a moment of awkwardness, then someone else told him to 'behave', and the conversation moved on. I can't be certain, but I'm fairly sure the comment was directed at me.

To clarify, I don't really regard myself as closeted, but neither have I made any explicit statement about my sexuality to this particular group of friends. For some time I have been working on the assumption that they all know I'm gay, and whilst none of them were invited to the civil partnership ceremony earlier in the year (see how I subtly revealed that?), several of them have seen me around town with my partner, so I assumed that any speculation or gossip that may have taken place in the past had long since ceased.

I'm surprised and annoyed to discover that this should still be a subject of interest for any of them. The individual who made the comment is someone who I like, and having mulled it over for a couple of days, I don't think my opinion of him has changed as a result of this. I suppose I resent being reminded of my embarrassment about those times in the now distant past when I was evasive about my sexuality. I wonder if I continue to avoid making certain proclamations because, deep down, I fear some of the prejudices it might unleash. It's possible that I am ashamed to admit to myself that perhaps I even share some of those prejudices.

Christmas specific bi-polarism, that's what I've got. Ho ho... oh!

Until 2012, over and out. Merry Christmas all.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011


I'm not in the habit of directing people to other web pages, but please visit the below if you have the time. It's a favourite of mine.

Monday, 5 December 2011


A couple of blog-portal-space-location thingies I frequent have touched recently on the subject of not knowing how to react to compliments. That’s familiar territory for me, so I thought I’d chip in…

In life it's sometimes easier to fly beneath the radar; to dress anonymously, to reveal no opinions, to avoid distinctive cologne, to nod and/or smile at the appropriate moments. I have certainly been guilty of this kind of behaviour for large tranches of my life.

Yet whilst I may not go out of my way to impress others, I suspect I am not alone in preferring that people in general think well of me. It's affirming and confidence-building to know that people recognise and appreciate one's efforts and abilities. If people must notice me and form opinions of me, I concede that I'd much rather those opinions were positive ones.

And yes, sometimes compliments have come my way. Someone will say "you're funny", or "you're clever", or "I wish I could think up stuff like that", or even (once or twice) "you look nice". How generous of a fellow human being to offer words of encouragement! How validating to hear that one is considered relevant, useful, worthwhile! What joy to know that one is contributing to the happiness of others by simply being! Well, not quite.

There are a number of potential responses when one receives a compliment:

1. Gratitude. A simple acknowledgment of the kind thought, and a heartfelt thank you for the sentiment behind it. Example: “What a lovely thing to say – thank you”. Probably the best way to react.
2. Reciprocation. Responding with a compliment of one’s own. Example: “And you are looking rather resplendent today too.” Also a gracious and pleasant response.
3. Agreement. Where one reinforces and even bolsters the compliment. Example: “Yes I am rather splendid, aren’t I?” A little unseemly, I’d suggest.
4. Fishing. Where one attempts to pull ever greater words of praise from the complimenter. Example: “Oh really, what makes you say that?” Possibly even worse than Agreement.
5. Deflection. Shifting the praise onto someone else. Example: “Ah, but I had a good teacher”.
6. Rejection. Denying the validity of what has been said. Example: “You obviously don’t know me very well!”
7. Diversion. A silly or bizarre comment aimed at quickly changing the subject. Example: “[Insert Dad’s Army character impersonation here]”
8. Ignorance. Carrying on as if the compliment never happened. Usually borne out of embarrassment.
9. Silence. Pure, inept, eye-contact-avoiding silence.

On a very, very good day I might manage a version of Number 1 above and force out some mumbled acknowledgment. Normally I’m a combination of 7, 8 and 9, and mostly 9. It’s awkward. I blush. I stare blankly. I shuffle uncomfortably. What should be a moment of celebration and bonding is quickly swept away because I am paralysed by a fear of being thought immodest, unfriendly, ungrateful, ill-mannered, smug or ignorant. And this from a man who can, I think, more honestly than most claim not too be too preoccupied about what people think of him.

Examples, you say? It just so happens that I can offer three:

Exhibit A. It is 1994. I am in the upper-sixth form (Year 13 for younger readers). A young lady from the lower sixth / Year 12 arranges for her friend to pass me a note. Whilst I no longer have said note in my possession, the words contained therein are so memorable I have no trouble in recalling them verbatim after all this time. It was the young lady’s belief that I was “Clever, witty, handsome… a bit of alright.” (The last bit probably sticks in my mind because ‘a bit of alright’ was a long outdated phrase even then.) My reaction? I’m somewhat ashamed to say there was no discernable reaction. I remember being shocked, having hardly spoken to the young lady before, and of course flattered, not to say amused at the ‘handsome’ bit. But I made no effort to respond to the note. I read it and disposed of it. Now of course, one might be forgiven for assuming that her gender played some part in my silent rejection of her advances. On reflection, I’m reasonably sure that had the letter been authored by an equivalent young man, I wouldn’t have been able to cope any less inadequately than I did. Katherine, I’m sorry.

Exhibit B. The story of another misguided female admirer. The year is 2000. A young lady in my office is clearly taken with me. I’m not the quickest at recognising such situations (largely because, contrary to the pattern emerging in this post, it has hardly ever happened), but the young lady is not subtle. Whilst she doesn’t go as far as to put her feelings in writing, she is noticeably pleasant towards me, seeks out my company, and, memorably, on more than one occasion, seductively sings the eponymous title lyric to the Britney Spears song “I was born to make you happy” as we pass in the corridor. Once again, I ignore the compliments; carry on as if the situation were normal. At one or two social events I recall letting people think we were an item (what the heck, she was pretty hot), but we never were, though I think (hope) by this time had the young lady been a young man I might have fought back the compliment-related discomfort enough to properly respond.

Exhibit C. Again, the year 2000. On reflection, quite a year for admirers (which does leave me puzzling whether I am 11 years past my best). I have just played a highly competitive and enjoyable game of football. My team lost 1-0, but unusually, I am in no way deflated, such was the high level of collective and personal performance. My dad tells me I played ‘brilliantly’ – a biased opinion if ever there was one, but nonetheless a descriptor he has never used before or since. A senior team mate whose opinion I respect refers to my performance as my best ever. Again, nice to hear but hardly impartial. Then in the bar after the game, the opposing team manager seeks me out. This is a man who spent several years in the professional game as a player and coach, and ought to know what he’s talking about. He tells me I was the best player on the pitch, and would have a chance of playing professionally. I stand, open-mouthed, like a total buffoon, for fully ten seconds. I have never been so lost for words. Eventually I mutter something nonsensical and unintelligible. He wanders off, presumably thinking I am some kind of brilliant football-playing deaf-mute.

Sorry about mentioning football again. It does tend to find its way in no matter what the subject.

I’d like this paragraph to draw together my thoughts and make some conclusion or other, but it so rarely does. But then I never promised to resolve or throw light on anything, I only said I’d chip in.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011


Wonder doesn't rhyme with ponder.
Yonder rhymes with ponder.
Wander rhymes with both of them,
But not gander.
Gander rhymes with slander, blander, brander, dander, Evander, lander and even candour,
And almost with panda, but not quite.
Panda rhymes with oranda.
My friend Amanda had an oranda,
But not a panda.
She wanted one, but they're difficult to get hold of,
Being as they are confined to the Chinese provinces of Shaanxi, Sichuan and Gansu, none of which rhyme with anything.
They also belong to the People's Republic of China,
Who won't give you one unless you're a country.
And Amanda isn't one of those.
This is only the giant ones, of course.
Red pandas are a different kettle of fish.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011


Now that I've had the birthday, which sped by despite being awake for twenty hours of it (it was the only birthday I am ever likely to spend in three different countries), I am thirty-five years old. A little less young than before, but as I've already pointed out, none the worse for that.

A confession: I am highly prone to sentimentality. Endings cause me difficulty. It's not that I fear or habitually reject change; in fact I can sometimes embrace it. But I do cling to the past in lots of ways, and one thing that horrifies me about having somehow let thirty-five precious years slip through my fingers in the blink of an eye (fingers and eyes in one sentence - how 'bout that?), is the feeling that of all the great stuff I've done, a large percentage has overflowed my memory bank and been washed away in the murky waters of time.

Like everyone, I am an amalgam of the various influences I've been exposed to over time: phrases I've borrowed, styles I've co-opted, beliefs I've acquired. Some consciously, but, I suspect, the great majority without very much thought. The only original thing about me is the precise recipe in which all the exact measurements of the constituent parts are blended together. So in that respect at least, nothing I ever did or knew is lost. In some imperceptibly small way, everything I have ever experienced is retained and used every day just by being me, by reacting to and interacting with my current life in my own unique way. But this isn't the same as being able to recall details of people and places from years past. I dread endings not because of the upheaval itself, but because they mark the start of a long process of erosion, of sharp and highly specific memories being degraded, dismantled, blurred and eventually either lost completely, or, perhaps even worse, distorted and lumped together into generic and vague representations of those original memories.

There are those who keep diaries. Diaries which record notable events from each day or week. Whilst I accept that it might be a good thing to have volumes of memories on a shelf somewhere, this is something I don't seem to have done up to this point, suggesting that I lack the discipline to maintain such a record. Some bloggers use spaces such as this one to document notable events in their lives, but I've so far shied away from anything quite so uninhibited. Whilst that kind of blog is, in my opinion, quite the best kind, for nothing is so interesting to people as other people, my reason for being here is not to record, but merely to reflect. Besides, even a detailed written record can never recreate a feeling or an experience. It might jog the memory, paint something of a picture, and take the reader to the same psychological avenue as the original event, but the event itself is gone. For that reason I'm not sure I would even bother to re-read old diaries had I ever made the decision to keep them.

To re-plot the course of this blog entry back toward endings, here's an example of my behaviour in response to them: earlier this year I moved offices, from a place which had been my location of work for a little over two years, to a new office. Sadly, I'm not generally able to derive a great deal of pleasure from my work, and most days I'd certainly much rather be doing something else. My office was a scruffy one, in a shabby 70-year-old building that was widely considered ugly even when it was newly-constructed. I had a ripped chair and a desk adorned with antique IT hardware adjacent to a window which had a dusty ledge and from which there was no view save for the identical office not ten yards away. The carpet was worn and stained (not by me, I hasten to add), the overhead strip light occasionally flickered, and the room could be either very hot or very cold, but never anything in between. It was a place for which it was all but impossible to have affection - a place I went to in order to do something I didn't want to do in surroundings I wouldn't have chosen. Yet in the closing days of my time there I collected a few souvenirs, and took some photographs of that same desk, that same office, and the view from that same window. From somewhere I manufactured a sadness of sorts, not motivated by the loss of those things I have described, but by sentimentality, by the ending itself, and by the passing of the time I spent there.

Given my reaction to the end of something I didn't even much like, you might imagine the magnitude of my reaction to the still relatively recent news of the state of my knee, meaning that I am unable any longer to actively participate in the sport I love. I can state without trace of exaggeration that the end of my time as a football player has been the single biggest threat I have ever faced to my psychological wellbeing. Apart from demonstrating that I have led an ultra-sheltered life, I think it also shows just how bad I am at endings, less still premature ones.

I have a third example of my sentimentality with regard to endings. Whilst it goes against my professed reluctance to recount events from my personal life, it is certainly the best example, so clearly merits inclusion here. It's actually something I'm a little embarrassed about, and something I have only ever told one person, so let us also consider it a reward for anyone who has read this far. In the early stages of our relationship, I visited my partner's home town for a week. We stayed at his mother's house, went to some local tourist attractions together, visited places he used to live, went to see his old schools, and viewed a few other places of significance to him. When the week was over, I drove home while he stayed on to spend some time with his family. I sobbed like a baby for ten solid minutes as I drove away. Not out of happiness at having found someone so wonderful with whom to spend my life. Not even out of sadness at being temporarily separated from him. I cried because the week was over, and because the special memories of the most fantastic week of my life would soon start to dissipate. I wanted that week never to end.

I know that my best ever family holiday as a child was in 1991. I know who was there. I know where we went. I am able to access one or two fuzzy pictures in my mind of the places we went, what the weather was like, and how those twelve days made me feel. I can even look at the photos, and reminisce with my family. It pleases me that we were able to share those times together. But I still feel troubled that I can't picture the hotel room in my mind, or remember the expressions on faces, or recall conversations at the end of each day where we reflected on what we had done. The sum total of possibly the best two weeks of my childhood is "that was a great holiday". That feels less than adequate, somehow.

Thursday, 27 October 2011


In a conversation with a friend the other day, I mentioned my upcoming birthday. He made one of those comments which younger people (he's more than ten years my junior) are sometimes given to, gently poking fun at the fact that I'll be moving further away from youth. It was something like 'enjoy your old man-ness', if I remember. No offence was intended, nor was any taken, our friendship long having reached that happy stage where we may merrily rip one another to shreds all in the name of a cheap gag. We both know that's there's virtually nothing one can say to the other that would cause upset.

It got me thinking though. There does seem to be a perception amongst some younger people that older generations are, or should be, jealous of youth. Maybe there's some truth in that belief, but it's always seemed a strange idea to me. My reply was something along the lines of 'It's a fair system. We all get to be young. If we're lucky we get to be old too.' Of course there are advantages to being young. You are given more leeway - room to play, to experiment, and to make mistakes. There are fewer responsibilities for most. But those who are not young any more have already been young, and carry with them the wisdom and experience that brings, not to mention the joy and sense of fun they always had, even if for some it is exercised less often, or less extravagantly.

I've never had the slightest pang of jealousy of someone based on their youth. Youth is to be celebrated and lived and enjoyed. There's nothing more beautiful than seeing human beings develop through the whole gamut of experiences offered by our society, and by life. If there's any less than positive thought that enters my head regarding young people it's fear. Fear that the opportunities previous generations had will no longer be there when they are older. Fear that the mistakes the human race has made, and continues to make, will make the road ahead less clear, more hazardous, and potentially even impassable. It's important that those who used to be young give those who still are the space to grow, the basis for some optimism for the future, and the resources to take up the mantle when the time comes. If that cycle were ever to be broken... well, it hardly bears thinking about.

You may note that I categorise myself as neither young nor old. By most definitions, including statistical ones (in this country at least), I remain a youngster, at least for another couple of years, and certainly anyone who knows me well would describe me as childish. I've never yet been worried by a year being added to my age, nor a line to my brow, nor a pair of spectacles to my face. Unsightly nasal hair is another matter, but it's not such a hassle to remove it now and then. I'm not sure whether I was building up to a point here or not. I suppose I'm just saying that it's not youth that's precious, it's life. Whenever I list the things that excite me, interest me, make me feel most alive, I realise that hardly any of them require youth. That is one of my favourite, most comforting thoughts, actually.

Thursday, 20 October 2011


The day’s congregation was rocked
When a priest whose advances were blocked
Chased a boy from the choir
Halfway up the spire
And had to be quickly defrocked

To my mind, that's the best limerick I ever wrote. But for some reason, nobody wants limericks about paedophile priests.

Friday, 14 October 2011


I often think people take swivel chairs for granted these days. When I was a child, they seemed such exotic and grown-up items, and it was a real treat to be able to pilot one for just a few seconds. I was especially fascinated by the chairs which swivelled clockwise to raise the height of the seat, and anti-clockwise to lower it.

At school, the teachers often had swivel chairs, whilst the pupils were forced to make do with those moulded plastic ones with holes in the back of the seat. At least they came in a range of pleasing autumnal hues, oranges, browns and a sort of dusky buttermilk.

I would take every chance I got to leap into the teacher's chair and propel myself around by pushing against the ground with one or both feet, using the thing as a personal roundabout, trying to reach the highest possible speed before abruptly stopping and launching myself back in the opposite direction, in a misguided attempt to avoid dizziness.

I have a rather nice swivel chair in my office at work, my energetic use of which has led to one or two funny looks from my colleagues. But what, I ask, is a swivel chair for, if not for swivelling?

Wednesday, 12 October 2011


I'm going to start a new blog. And keep this one. From zero to two in a fortnight - quite remarkable!

I thought about making it a series of posts on this blog, but after some inconsiderable thought, I've decided it probably belongs in its own space. The main reason to keep it separate is that I haven't made up my mind about how serious I am about believing the concepts the new blog will espouse. Another reason, the irony of which will become clear when I reveal the subject of the blog, is that I worry about what others might think of me. To mutilate a metaphor: I am an island, but I rely on certain supplies from the mainland.

The new blog is entitled 'It's all in my head'.

There is a theory that says all babies are solipsists; that it takes us as tiny humans a little while to work out that the people around us are separate beings with their own thoughts and experiences, rather than constituent parts of a private world generated subconsciously by the self.

I'm not sure I ever grew out of this phase. On one level it's clearly a ridiculous belief system. But then in order to function properly and maintain some level of satisfaction with perceived experience, wouldn't solipsism have to seem ridiculous? And frankly, I haven't come across a belief system that isn't ridiculous. Many people make fun of Scientologists, but are their theories really any less plausible than those of any of the mainstream religions? Don't answer that.

I've never quite been able to rule out the possibility that everything exists only in my perception, and lately I'm leaning slightly more in that direction than I have for a while. So I'll be exploring the implications of this over on the other blog. Let me know what you think. Not that I care of course - none of you exist.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011


Here's an interesting mental exercise:

Think of someone you love. A partner, or close family member. Picture them in an uncomfortable situation. A time when they were in a job they hated, or a situation when they felt out of their depth. Perhaps an occasion where they were humiliated or made a fool of themself. Don't you feel an overwhelming urge to rescue them? To hug them and take them away and make them feel safe? I know I do.

Now picture yourself in a similar circumstance. What are your thoughts now?

Mine are something along the lines of: "You IDIOT! How could you be so stupid? For pity's sake stand up for yourself!"

Self-loathing? Being one's own harshest critic? Perfectly natural self-defence mechanism? I don't know.

Monday, 3 October 2011


Not having a blog isn't working out, so I'm kind of back.

I'm still not going to post very often, but there doesn't seem to be any harm in slapping in a paragraph or two when I do have something to say.

And it's been an exciting few days. I've socialised twice in the last week, which is positively unheard of. Okay, I'll go to the pub once a week, maybe twice, but these were full-blown, special occasion-related nights out, and I really can't remember when I last did one of those. I should point out that they were, respectively, a retirement do and a wedding, so hardly scenes of outrageous debauchery, but given that my idea of a late night has become staying up for the end of Match of the Day on a Saturday night, two seven-hour sessions in a three night period ranks as something of a blowout. Honestly, my diet coke intake this week has been monumental.

The retirement drinks took place across a number of pubs in town. There were more than 30 people in attendance at various points during the afternoon and evening, only a smattering of whom I know well enough to talk to. There was a time when integration with the unknowns within the group would not have been an option. I don't know whether I'm less shy nowadays, or have simply learned that I don't give a shit. There remains much awkwardness, but I seem more comfortable than I used to be with proceeding into the unknown. It helps that after a couple of hours everyone is drunk except me.

To my pleasure and surprise, midway through the day I found myself having one of those conversations. You know the kind - you end up sitting next to someone with little option but to talk to them. Mutual friends have drifted home or off to another table, and you have no choice but to engage with the individual next to you. I say 'one of those' conversations, meaning one of those which seems natural and easy from the outset, despite initial unfamiliarity with the other participant. You seem to share interests, use the same kind of language, and, crucially, make one another laugh. There is some level of attraction. You're not sure whether it's physical or emotional. It doesn't matter, because it feels unusual and exotic and unfamiliar and, well, just plain great. I don't have these conversations very often. Perhaps I've only had five or six in my life. I'd forgotten how it felt. The only equivalent I can think of is the sort of crush you develop on a friend you admire at school. For only the second time in my life, the other participant in this conversation was female.

This ties in rather nicely with the second night out of the week, since the previous female subject of 'one of those' conversations was the bride at the wedding I attended (for those who are new or have not been paying much attention, I wasn't the groom). I distinctly remember, since it was as unusual then as it is now, the speed at which we connected ten years ago. It briefly felt like some sort of romance, and it felt necessary for the first time to tell someone outright that I was gay, lest my eagerness to become friends be misconstrued. In fact I sometimes wonder if, were I perhaps 20% more heterosexual, I might have become her husband myself some day. Thankfully, I was always clear-thinking enough never to consider shoe-horning myself and others into a life that wouldn't fit.

It was a great wedding: Medium-sized guest list, lots of good food, no speeches and a chocolate cake. The choice of song for the first dance was almost scarily like a tune I'd have chosen myself. I have no doubt that they will be jolly happy together for many years.

I don't think I'll pursue the new friendship too far, although we have since exchanged e-mails. Our paths may cross again at work, but the truth is I don't really have a vacancy for a close friend right now. I'm settled, comfortable with my routine, and, by any conventional definition, happy.

Hmmm.... didn't expect this post to go where it's ended up.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011


So now, alas, 'tis time to go
I'm off to pastures new
And you will all miss me, I know
Much more than I'll miss you

Just kidding. All the same, I'm done here. Take care of yourselves.

Friday, 25 February 2011


Dr Foster went to Gloucester
In a shower of rain.
He stepped in a puddle
Right up to his middle
And never went there again.

I went to Gloucester the other day. It's a pleasant enough city, on the right day, though by the look of the high street the recession has hit fairly hard. I've been to Gloucester a few times before, and it strikes me as one of those small to medium sized cities that doesn't quite know what to do with itself; a glorious but mothballed industrial and maritime past, no creative industry to speak of, a bit-part player in the financial services sector, a semi-successful rugby union team. Some academics have their doubts about the future viability of large cities like Liverpool, Sunderland and Newcastle, the industrial Northern powerhouses of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Even without such strong local identities in those places though, I'd argue that their sheer numbers of people give them a good chance of sustaining and developing in the coming decades. Smaller cities like Gloucester, on the other hand, always feel a little stagnant to me.

Another indicator of a place where people have too much time on their hands and not enough money is Gloucester's crime rate - significantly above the national average pretty much across the board, and particularly when it comes to violent crime. Which brings me nicely to my subject.

This most recent visit was to see a friend, who moved to Gloucester a few months ago, and who now happens to live in a rather infamous street. A street which nowadays lacks a house where Number 25 used to be. I hadn't put off my visit for that reason alone (I'm just a bad friend), but I do admit that as I headed up the M5 that evening, my happiness at seeing my friend was more than a little clouded by the knowledge of where I was going.

Cromwell Street (for those who haven't worked it out), really does have an eerie presence. I believe the local council removed the street sign from the more commonly accessed end some years ago, in an attempt to deter those with a morbid fascination from paying a visit. The house itself was demolished, and replaced with a landscaped walkway to an adjoining road. I parked my car about ten yards away from this ex-house / walkway, a featureless, silent yet screamingly obvious memorial to horrors that are now more than thirty years old. What struck me most on stepping out of the car was the lack of street lighting. The street consists of several terraces, rounds a corner, and has odd and even numbers on opposite sides of the road, so I imagine it's difficult to get your bearings even in daylight, but I found myself walking up a number of garden paths because it was so dark I couldn't see the house numbers from the street. This undoubtedly made me look suspicious, and whilst there weren't many other people around, I started to feel quite uneasy, and increasingly anxious to get in off the street. The brief eye contact I shared with a couple of other passers-by was unmistakably tinged with nervousness, hostility and even a trace of panic.

After a couple of zig-zags up and down the road, I found the right house, and spent a pleasant couple of hours with my friend. Fred and Rose didn't come up in our conversation, funnily enough.

Friday, 18 February 2011


Simultaneous - Unfinished

This me and that me
Are one and the same
An easy, serene contradiction
This scheming and dreaming
Is not just a game
And fact isn't stranger than fiction

The bright little screen
Brings a world of deceit
All huddled in feathers and flowers
A chance never wasted
The world at my feet
At least for a couple of hours

The callously casual
The lovingly cruel
Alarmingly woven in one
Successful diversion
But who is the fool?
And at what expense is the fun?

I can't trace it back
To a single route cause
Leading that me and this me to merge
Abandoning values
Creating new laws
Letting reason be governed by urge

Friday, 4 February 2011


Does continuing to search for something even though you don't know what it is and are pretty sure it doesn't even exist:

A. Mean that you are a dreaming fool, detached from reality and destined never to amount to anything?

B. Pass the time, distract from the mundanity and help you to cope with ennui?

C. Merely demonstrate that, in spite of everything, you have managed to preserve a core of innocence and optimism?