Monday, January 31, 2005

Love is... Not Letting The Soldiers In

I was going to write more today in my zipping back and forth kind of way about some of the events and people that shaped my romantic life. Two weeks of Cupid=Stupid to go and actually I am enjoying staying on one topic for a month, instead of doing the usual blog thing, treating each post separately and writing in bite-sized pieces. I like to play with the structure of things and move the beat around to keep myself entertained, but the freedom of blogging can be ruinous to good writing.

Look, Dear, he's trying to extend the form...

To enrich the experience, I decided to link to other writers who are covering similar ground in this messy subject (see below). Then I read this article yesterday about a Bosnian Serb concentration camp guard and his muslim friend. In our age of paranoia, islamophobia, eroding civil liberties, and the constant blurring of truth and re-writing of events to suit, this story is worth a read, and I think I can include it in my theme of love. Love is not a feeling, it's an act of will. In this case, an act also of great bravery.

Muslims had been officially declared vermin.

So they had to be concentrated.

Every night Serb soldiers, back from the front, came to the camp.

They wanted revenge for lost comrades.

They asked the guards for the keys to the rooms.

And committed acts of unspeakable barbarity. Of sexual humiliation and horror.

Of all the guards, only Kole refused to hand over the key, says Duda.

That was the only shift when there were no beatings or killings.


We've just seen the anniversary marked of the liberation of Auschwitz. Let's not forget that these camps are still being built and operated.

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Sunday, January 30, 2005

Thrilled

Yesterday. It wasn't a good day. I was knocked off my bicycle by an irrational and dangerous woman in a car. She actually tried to knock me off, because I wasn't fast enough out of her way. Ok I shouted at her but she lost it and tried to kill me. and I veered off the road and got bruises. Could have been my head. I am lucky to be here really.

I remounted, shouted more, cursing furiously. Then I was shocked because she also nearly killed some poor chinese woman on the pedestrian crossing after nearly killing me. I had the presence of mind to take the number plate. Then I scarpered. She was scary. She actually waited at the lights in heavy traffic OUTSIDE HER CAR, scanning for me to catch up. London is not often like this, at least not around here.

I got a sore hip, so I didn't feel like doing much last night except drinking cold Heineken bottled beer and chilling. I went out to Sway Bar, Great Queen Street, Holborn, last night for a birthday party. The Punjabi Rocker's brother was 30. I stood chatting for a while, then sat uncomfortably on a low padded stool for a while, then after 45 minutes graduated to the corner seat, and let out a sigh of relief as I stretched out my left leg and eased the bruised joint. I got stuck in the corner surrounded by girls chatting which was a top result as far as I was concerned.

I found myself sitting next to S, still in her coat, not really digging the mechanical house vibe in the music but sociable nonetheless and the other side of her was my gorgeous girlfriend who I was also angling to end up next to at some future point.

S was cool, and I quickly discovered she came from my neck of the woods in South London. There'a a swathe of housing to the south of Crystal Palace Hill, and her family, aside from being scattered all along the east coast of the USA and Kingston, Jamaica, had grown up in pretty much the same area of me.

We are chatting like this when her bouncy attractive friend I returns and compliments me upon my fabulous orange and white striped jumper (see profile photo) and Deek says, thanks a lot, it's nice isn't it? D (Gorgeous Girlfriend) (indicates her all-ears presence) bought it for me. I flashes me a sideways look, looks at D, back across to S, back to me and says smartly, so, your not single then? if D bought it for you, you've got a girlfriend.... (pause) Hmmm well I'm not interested in you, then.. (smile) (general laughter). Clearly the woman has a nose for talent.

My lowered self-esteem was raised several notches by this, my gorgeous girlfriend smiled broadly, and of course I later organised a splendid threesome, from which many hours of pleasure I have only just recovered to write this post. Oh how we laughed. Can't wait for the DVD. I'll never wash those sheets again. Pass me the remote.

Did you hear about the new iPod Minging? It actually shuffles smells in your pocket.

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Untitled

Then again, there are those days when no matter how relaxed the laughter the previous evening, truth the next day produces a gulf of sad disappointment in the two of you. No matter that the love is real; the awful realisation comes that love is sometimes not the answer. No matter the hugs and the resolution, the fondness and the feeling and the linked fingers and the touched hair.

It did matter once; but not now.

Now it's just the beginnings of farewell; love's caresses only seek to delay the moment when you cannot rely on your love, cannot call upon it, cannot make demands of it; and underneath all, returning like a tide, loneliness, your constant companion.

Don't ask me. Do however read "Being Mugged By Bizarre Non-Sequiturs"

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Friday, January 28, 2005

Funk Plug

Just over two weeks until Feb 14th. I'm about half-way through my Cupid=Stupid month. I'm a caring sharing kind of guy, so I decided to include and link to other people's stuff. I'll try to surround Cupid so that he can't get away this time. Anyway, I like this kind of internet generosity, swapping comments and links gives me a warm wet feeling in my crotch. Sorry, heart.

I just read this great piece of writing by Transience:

pain. so much pain. i hate love. i will stab it with my favorite kitchen knife 23 times. i will use the same knife to trim the fat off the steak i'm cooking tonight.

GO READ!

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An Unusually Handsome Trick

But one day an unusually handsome trick says he'll double my usual fee if only I'll agree to kiss him. That's all he wants. No fucking, no sucking -- just kissing.

"Why?"

"The best sex is forbidden," he answers.

BREAKING THE RULES: That's What T-Girls Do © 2002 by Joy James

The above story is a great 5 minute read, cruelly paraphrased here for the purpose of brevity: the prostitute performs any sex act but forbids kissing, and falls in love with the man who pays her for a kiss. Aside from the extremely clever link from my last-but-one-post, it's a great illustration of one of the hairy threads of love that slips through life like an unravelling scarf on a winter's day. Let me hear you now Pete:

"Ever fallen in love with someone
Ever fallen in love
In love with someone
Ever fallen in love
In love with someone
You shouldn't've fallen in love with?"

Forbidden. For some this is the necessary challenge to provoke desire. I've never been one for torrid illicit affairs or guilty rendezvous with women of low repute. I guess there is still time.

Spring is still a way off but we are more than a month past the Solstice, and the light is starting to creep back noticeably. Testosterone production is stimulated by light, and the onset of Spring fever is about to hit. I always notice it early. I walked along feeling really chipper, on a cold sunny day, observing a fabulous female behind in front of me, still not quite over the Winter break's excess, tightly wrapped in pinstripe a half-size too small, and moving like it meant business. It belonged to a woman with a mediterranean visage who was stomping in heels determinedly along Holborn. Our random tracks had brought us together on a crowded pavement going in the same direction, and I had the glorious benefit of a single minute cruising silently in her wake, while other suited and booted men occasionally noticed and flashed glances at her spilling rear, then at me, envious of my pole position.

I was perfectly respectful (of course) and kept my nose at head level, and I didn't allow any dribble to escape. I walked calmly and happily and gently allowed my fantasies to develop, discretely and in all innocence, and with a detachment and lack of actual lust which made the glorious minute sublime proof of winter's coming end.

She stopped suddenly to avoid someone exiting a shop, and I pulled up short to within a half a foot of her. The walkers behind me shuffled and broke ranks, going around, but we were too close and had to wait for 3 or 4 seconds while a tired mother edged a pram into the street. The bubble. I was in the bubble. I was submerged in her scent, soap, washing powder, coat made wet and dried over a radiator, something leather, and that unescapable hormonal blue note that underpins and announces ovulation.

At that moment, my defenses down, she turned and looked straight into my eyes. Hers were big and brown and serious. I'm sure I looked perfectly civilised, looked just like she did, someone waiting for the obstacle to pass. In fact, in my mind, we were both in the throes of ecstasy, merging passionately in physical and emotional unity, and although she turned back momentarily just to check out what traffic was behind her before reclaiming her place in the moving human cordon, she had a note of natural city suspicion in her face which threw me back to where I was, in a London street on a cold winter's day, waiting for a stranger to get out of the way so I could go home. It was a tremendous collision of fact and fantasy, and I grew hot. She stomped on.

Now I am 100% sure her suspicion was just part of her natural demeanour and was not related to anything I was doing. But it made me think. What if? I had been thinking quite loudly after all. I don't need science to tell me that humans (and the rest of biology) is inter-connected in ways we have yet to understand. What if she (unconsciously) had sensed my wicked imagination flying high on the wings of her pretty derrière? She didn't know or care. What if other people had seen me drawn along like a fish on a line, until I hit the bank? Nobody had. Yet even though I had done nothing which overstepped the bounds of propriety, I knew what I had been thinking, and so I experienced for a few seconds that heady mixture of guilt and longing. It's an adrenalin buzz. I had to have a tonic water and a cucumber sandwich to calm down.

I am certain that my own experiences and expectations shape my all relationships, interactions with other people, and thus my life, and some of my adult "work" has been to untangle and understand how this happens. The way we think, the paths our mind takes, this activity does not just frame our world, it makes it happen. Thought is real. Thinking is action. The mind constructs reality, and although the Anti-Terror Squads do not have the Brain Scanners in place quite yet, I frequently suspect that not everyone is deaf to even our most secret and personal inner workings.

As above, so below; and when head says go, the feet, they follow.

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Thursday, January 27, 2005

Breaking News



he has opened boxes. not the wrapped big boxes, but the smaller unwrapped ones. and he opened every one, like on a conveyer belt, and i sat at the other end, and watched. what were my boxes now belong to him.

im fucking frightened. he's a monster. he is chasing me and ____ across a hot desert. and alll i have to do is run, but my foot is severed at the ankle. im in fucking agony, near to blacking out. i gotta run, like this, on hot sand.

he and i get married in st paul's cathedral. he and i, we are getting married.its a big jamboree, music and dancing, a big party. and im so fucking happy.

Anon Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2005 13:43:08 +0000

Currently Observing: Love's Most Ouch
Currently Submitting: Tax Return

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A Handsome Trick

Having been to see my old friend the day before, enlivened by the meeting and by his kind and intelligent company, I was in a good mood all day yesterday, whistling and singing to myself, being generous to everyone, bouncing along the streets of London on my air-cushioned soles feeling sprightly, like an old gent with a new hip anticipating the prospect of a liaison with a horny widow at a tea dance.

I noticed how in this expansive relaxed state it really was true that body language alters considerably. Feeling relaxed and giving smiles and being mellow generally does work in your favour - people are more likely to treat you well, let you pass, thank you for allowing them in first, the kind of urban moments that locked up internally and beset by stress you never experience.

So I decided to play a handsome trick. It's very simple and it involves thinking yourself handsome (or beautiful) in a kind of instant, self-help affirmation way. It can be hilarious. You have to be a. relaxed and b. in public. Don't get so self-involved that you fail to relate to the people around you and your surroundings. Don't obsess. Suspend disbelief. Hold the thought. Just keep it there. When the mind wanders, bring it back on track like a little doggy on a lead. Then keep going and see what happens.

So there I was in Victoria Station, walking to get some lunch before getting a train. I AM INCREDIBLY HANDSOME. Hold the thought. I AM VERY, VERY HANDSOME. I AM REALLY HANDSOME. Suspend disbelief. I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN HANDSOME AND I ACCEPT HOW HANDSOME I AM. He he. 5 minutes of this and I actually start to feel handsome.

I AM INCREDIBLY HANDSOME. Immediately a very attractive young woman said directly and curiously into my left ear, "Are you?" and I practically jumped. She was mid-flow in a conversation. But I could tell it was beginning to work. I walked smoothly to Pret a Manger. I am really handsome. I paused in the lunchtime throng, selecting my sandwich, feeling (by now) relaxed, and very handsome. It had stopped being an effort. I stood weighing up Thai Chicken against Crayfish and Rocket. OTHER PEOPLE FIND ME VERY ATTRACTIVE. Selected fish, went to the counter. The woman next to me smiling and indecisive, waved me in front. I thanked her. The voice that came out was slightly deeper and more resonant than usual, and I moved elegantly to the front of the queue.

There before me was an open, fresh-faced woman with lovely skin and hair, the hard-working cheerful east-european kind favoured by Pret, and I gave her my sandwich and smiled. I am very, very handsome. She looked at me, and took the sandwich, but she looked at me long and sweetly, smiling broader and in some surprise, then fluffed the move, dropped the sandwich and blushed.

"Anything else?" she recovered gamely. I am really incredibly handsome. I paused for a half-second and felt like saying "personal modesty" but instead I said, "no, thanks, that's it.." and offered her a fiver, which she took, and then proceeded to put the sandwich in a bag in her neat and efficient way. Except that she then looked up at me to give me the change and managed to miss my outstretched hand and I watched the coins fall off the counter, some her side, some mine onto the floor, among the feet.

Her composure gone, she apologised and blushed deeper. I murmured, "think nothing of it" and picked up the money. She gave me the rest of the change, smiling and blushing, and I moved away. As I left she was looking distractedly over the shoulder of the person behind me towards the exit. Damn. She really liked me! She could tell how handsome I was. We could have danced all night.

Wow. Poor Sean. Poor Cary. Poor Paul. Poor Steve. Poor Brad. Poor Keanu. Poor Johnny. Being too handsome is a problem. I decided to revert to my normal thought-form of being reasonably attractive to some people most of the time, and highly attractive to certain people once in a while. It's a lot easier to get what you want that way.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Skip To My Lou

Lost my partner,
What'll I do?
Lost my partner,
What'll I do?
Lost my partner,
What'll I do?
Skip to my lou, my darlin'.

I'll get another one
Prettier than you,
I'll get another one
Prettier than you,
I'll get another one
Prettier than you,
Skip to my Lou, my darlin'

Skip, skip, skip to my Lou,
Skip, skip, skip to my Lou,
Skip, skip, skip to my Lou,
Skip to my Lou, my darlin'


Woke up this morning and skipped to my loo. This was mostly because I went to bed after drinking a precautionary pint of water after meeting up with an old friend after too long an absence; and slightly because my very loose, should-have-been-thrown-out-a-zillion-years-ago, full-of-holes-and-no-elastic, ultra-comfy faded red jogging trousers that I sometimes wear in bed (I know how to dress sexy) were falling down around my ankles, and it was a miracle that I survived the impact with the doorframe and still managed to expertly aim the jet. Women: pay attention. No cleaning up after necessary. Even half awake, bruised, rubbing a sore head, guess what? Zero splash. I'm sure you understand how proud I am of that.

This love-theme writing business is a rich vein of gold and I am still mining it. I have enough now for half a wedding ring. Which means, I can be half-married to someone. I can be standing at the altar, and confidently answering the question, Do You Take This Woman with, Maybe, Kind Of. How About, Every Other Week? So today, I ask myself, and you, and the cup of tea I have just finished, and my faded red trousers:

Marriage: Why?


So you meet someone lovely and you fall in love with them. It's lovely. They are lovely. You feel lovely. That's the nature of love. Then you spend lovely time together and the love continues to deepen and bring you untold joy and sweets. Fine. You go on holiday together and survive. You attempt Christmas and still want to see each other in the New Year. She survives the beer-breath and attempts at considerate behaviour. He survives the PMS and constant need to praise her fashion choices. All your friends keep telling you both that you seem really happy. You're certainly spending a lot of time together. You begin to think there may be a future in this. Your vision is suddenly rosy, distorted, blurred, you see a red carpet of love extending onwards and upwards to eternal couple heaven, then there's a congregation, an officiary, friends, family, people you don't know eating all the food, there's little bits of paper and rice on the floor, a loud clanging like God's Own Dinner Gong, an exotic destination, painkillers, sunburn...

Oh dear. You're married now. You'd better mean it then. Where's the toilet paper? Damn I wish you wouldn't do that!

I don't want to go on and on about marriage. I will become depressed. I will come clean instead. I got engaged to Jane when I was 17 (several hundred years ago) and I bought her a diamond ring, and my heart was broken when we split up. Thank the Almighty God of Funk that we did split up, since she was a depressed and depressing girl from a depressing family in a depressing part of town. We met in a depression. I was depressed seeing her. I felt depressed when she called me, depressed by the way she never stayed the night, depressed by the boring sex we had, and I was depressed when she went off with God. God was the Head Boy. He was blond and middle-class. I punched him in the pub when I found them together one lunchtime and was banned thereafter. Believe me, this was out of character. My self-esteem was low. I do not condone violence as a solution. I was experiencing appalling jealousy. I was 17. I knew nothing. And now I will draw a veil over that depressing episode and move on.

So far in life, I have done the serial monogamy thing. Mostly I have had serious relationships with the women I have been fortunate enough to love. Tortured, damaged, troubled, deranged women. I'm not saying all my choices were good. It's one reason I am taking on Cupid. Nonetheless, I have learned a lot and been shown a lot and there's been a lot of caring. I don't regret any of it even the tough years and the mad moments, and I still wanted to get married someday, until very recently. But then I met Lou.

Lou was pretty, young, romantic, intelligent, and savage, and I firmly believe she was sent by the Almighty God of Funk to put me right. I had the fabulous experience of a love affair that elevated me for 3 months to a height where angels seemed to sing to me from clouds of joy, followed by a solitary journey through the underworld of bitter pain and rejection, which lasted another 3 months.

Emotionally I was back where I started, astonished ay my own gullibility, and none the wiser for my journey. Then one day I was in the bath, thinking about all this, and I had my eureka moment. I just thought to myself, Deek, you are the round peg. Conventional relationships, marriage and all that, that is the square hole. Ergo, don't do it. I pictured myself wearing a tshirt with the words

UNSUITABLE FOR MARRIAGE


written on it...

and I burst into laughter, loud and long, amplified by the tiles and shiny bathroom surfaces. Just at that moment, the postman walked by the bathroom window, and my guffaws erupted out of a silence so profound I saw the shadow leap back in shock. Poor postman, my revelation made him jump out of his skin and possibly damaged his life expectancy. Either way, at that moment, I felt the burden of expectation lift from my shoulders. I was still somehow harbouring a mad idea of being in some perfect example of the institution of marriage, even after years of evidence to the contrary, and bless her, in her thoughtless way, Lou completely knocked it out of me. I took off the invisible old heavy overcoat that I had been wearing since I was young, put on my nice new tshirt, and I went forth from that day relieved and unpressured, and prepared to be myself and do things in my own funky way for as long as I live and love.

I may yet backslide and marry, of course, but I promise you it will not be conventional. You are hereby invited to throw rice and paper, pin money on the dress, tie cans to the car, and provide toasters, but not at my wedding. My wedding will take place at dawn in the mountains, far from here, and there will just be me, my blushing beautiful bride, the scent of rosemary, the bees, the crickets, and the goats.

I didn't tell you about the goats, did I?



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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Sticky Subject

The BBC reports that the Education watchdog Ofsted has found that most secondary schools in England do not provide any sex education or advice on other "vital" health issues. Sexually transmitted infections are continuing to grow, with more than 700,000 new cases recorded in 2003 in the UK. Chlamydia cases increased by 9% to 89,818, genital warts went up by 2% to 70,883 and syphilis by 28%. UK teenage pregnancy rates are also the highest in western Europe.

What these shameful statistics don't tell you is the amount of emotional damage sustained by the young as they launch themselves into adult life totally unprepared for the devastation that ensues.

There are two subjects not taught in school that absolutely should be, and these are personal finance (tax! banking!) and the whole sticky subject of LOVE in all it's forms, which is demoted to sporadic brief warnings about disease and the horrible consequences of unprotected sex.

The reason for this failure lies in the incredible prurience that still paralyses British institutions and much of public life. It's the same system that I grew up with. You are given the message over and over again that sex is great and we should all be having more of it. However we cannot tell you anything about it, until you are old enough to have been doing it for years. Sex is practically deified in commercial culture because it sells, and sex is constantly presented to us in advertising as disembodied, soundbite-sized chunks devoid of emotional relevance. Love is simultaneously sentimentalised, commercialised, and seen as a commodity, to have. So generations grow up confused about erotic behaviour with no context for their sexual exploration beyond carnal gratification and idiotic, unconnected tales of romance.

Sex is easy and cheap. What else is more interesting for a hormonal teenager? Yet even with mass sexual infection and teenage pregnancy gone through the roof, we don't seem to be able to educate sufficiently to give enough accurate information to our young population to help them flourish. Whilst we encourage academic learning and skills so that children make the right choices for their jobs, we don't allow children to learn and develop the self-esteem, particularly in the area of sex and love, which will allow them to make good choices in relationships. It's all just supposed to magically happen, and very often it magically doesn't.

Now I am not saying that sex purely for recreational fun is bad, nor am I elevating love above sex. At this point, I still don't know that love isn't simply a trick pulled by Cupid (or his equally dumb and destructive cousin Eros) just to ensure the babies that sex produces have a greater chance of reaching maturity. I just really dislike the examples of love and sex we are given when young.

We don't teach sex and we don't teach love, and we leave generation after generation vulnerable by this omission. We don't explain that you can get really confused emotionally if you are not discriminating in your choice of partners. We don't tell vulnerable young people craving love and attention that for some people sex is an end in itself and there's little or no love in the act. We don't explain the way that love and hugs and sex can be connected. We don't explain to young people how to play safe, how to avoid being victimised. We don't explain that making love makes love and that if you keep doing it with the same person you become attached to them. We need to talk openly about passion. Are we so incapable of that?

We just say, use condoms, and there is no condom that works for the heart.

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Monday, January 24, 2005

True Love Never Did Run Smooth

"The course of true love never did run smooth"

So said author William Shakespeare, 156, of Olde England, one Midsummer Night's Dream.

Will, 259, also said:
"If music be the food of love; play on"

which is cool, because we have done. Thanks to all the people who played the Love Song Game - please scroll down and play it if you haven't - it's 5 minutes of mindblowing funky fun.

Bill, 378, also said:
"Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind;
and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind"

Billy can be kind of serious and weird sometimes (like a couple of my ex-girlfriends actually) and so looking for light relief I found a list of so-called "Cute Love Quotes"
(although they aren't as cute as the ones in the comments Astrid left, nor as cute as the biscuit you find when you really want a biscuit and you thought there were none left and it turns out to be your favourite biscuit as well)

Cute Love Quote by Rabindranath Tagore

I seem to have loved you in numberless forms,
numberless times,
in life after life,
in age after age forever.


I wouldn't exactly call that quote cute, but on the internet, people are extremely arbitrary with categorisations, and clearly desperate to fill their pages with anything that vaguely fits the bill. Including Bill, who actually gave us many of the modern ideas we have about romance and the whole dirty business of love. This marvellous passage above actually refers to reincarnation. This is not just an eastern idea - western pagans believe the same thing. However in the east, reincarnation has attached to it various concepts of success and failure - how well you have behave in one life determining your place in the next life for good or bad, with the ultimate goal being NOT to return. Whereas Western pagans believe simply that reincarnation is a gift of the Gods to us mere mortals. Despite the pain and suffering and death of our loves, we have the gift of return, so that we might be with and recognise and rejoice with our loved ones again.

Is it the pain of losing love that more than anything else gives us these myths of hope, or is that as love dissolves the ego and elevates the well-being of another to be central to our existence, we are given glimpses of truth outside our normal experience? Linear time is construct, and is one of the first things to go in a crisis - a s t i m e j u s t s e e m s t o s l o w t o a c r a w l . . . .

The onset of love sees barriers and boundaries destroyed, and we are left to make sense of the inner rubble as best we can, lost in the confusion of not knowing where you end and your lover begins. In this heightened state of awareness, the temporary glory of insanity, we are perhaps more able to discern certain esoteric matters, not less. Or is the high-flown philosophising another part of nature's trick to occupy the mind while the bodies get on with procreation?

Fucked if I know.

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Sunday, January 23, 2005

Bang on Cue

The saddest story for a long while has just written itself in Padua, ironically the settting for Romeo and Juliet. Since my theme for Blog of Funk is determinedly LOVE until Feb 14th, this is timely.

This is the story of Ettore, 71, and his wife of many years, Rossana, 67. Rossana had a stroke and fell into a coma. Ettore visited his wife up to 4 times daily for 4 months before killing himself in despair, convinced she would not recover. 12 hours later she woke up and asked for him.

Thanks a lot to the people who played the Love Song Game - scroll down and play it if you haven't.

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Saturday, January 22, 2005

The Love Song Game #2


If you haven't played the Love Song Game yet, click the image above before continuing.

Oh go on.

Please.

Just this once.

You'll enjoy it!

It's in a good cause.

It will only take 5 minutes.

You'll be the envy of your friends and join a select band who stand to gain similar benefits.

It's fun!

OK, if you're still reading I presume you've already played the Love Song Game and I will continue.

I'm sorry about the waffle but I had to do something to keep the Love Song Game at the top of the Blog, aside from changing the date which I don't like to do.

If you are STILL reading this having NOT played the Love Song Game, the following won't make much sense to you.

I wore my mother's worsted suit, it was warm and woolly and itched worse than a rash. As we strolled along the beach with the ferrets on leads, she would stop occasionally to hack out multi-coloured phlegm and eject it emphatically into the breaking waves. Each time she did so I worried that the rib-cracking force would loosen her teeth and that I would have to enter the freezing water and retrieve her dentures.

Worse, she would insist on naming each sputum she spat, as if to cover up her ill-manners. "Saint Joe!" she'd sputter and then a minute later, "Mary!" and then a few minutes on, "Saint Theresa!" It was Saint Jude she needed, Jude Thaddeus to give him his full name, the patron saint of lost causes.

Having got absolutely soaked in a downpour just prior to arrival at the hospice, and generally being as tolerant of her madness as I could be, I accepted her offer of warm dry clothes without a murmur. I declined the frilly pink blouse however, and gratefully accepted the kind donation of a navy cotton smock from the only sympathetic care worker in the place, a young nigerian woman, who took pity on my plight and quietly intervened. To do so was the risk the wrath of this dying but still immensely strong woman, whose bad tempers were considerably improved by the painkillers. She took to morphine like she had been waiting for it all her life. I struggled into the garments. With a brisk nod, she demanded "Take me to the beach!" and strode through the front door like she had never been ill.

As we set off, through the window by the entrance, I caught the small grin of the nigerian woman. The place would be quieter for a couple of hours. She appreciated my efforts. God this was uncomfortable. I wished she would stop spitting. I wished the ferrets didn't smell so much and bite you when you tried to feed them.

I wished I had someone in my life.

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Friday, January 21, 2005

The Love Song Game

Before I get myself a reputation as some kind of proper writer with metaphors, adjectives and everything, I thought it best to continue the Cupid=Stupid theme with an interactive game.

THE LOVE SONG GAME

NB: This is a game anybody can play so long as they have good hearing and a memory. Deaf people with senile dementia can play Trip The Careworker.

You will need either a pen and paper or one of those new-fangled Babbage computing machines to record your answers.

  • Think of the first love song that comes to mind - whatever it is.

  • Write it down

  • Now the second love song that comes to mind

  • Write it down

  • Keep going with this and compile a Top Ten list

  • You get the idea...

  • Don't you?


THE RULES

1. This is NOT a Top Ten in order of preference. You must record the song titles in the order you remember them. If you later remember the song you wish you had included earlier: too bad!

2. BE HONEST: DO NOT EDIT YOUR MEMORY! Even if you are full of cheesy love songs you actually hate, put them in as they occur to you. This game is about what you have in your head not what you wish you had in your head so that you look dead cool and funky. You are already dead cool and funky because you are reading this.

3. DO IT ON YOUR OWN - DO NOT ask other people for INPUT, and avoid looking at any other list until you have completed your own.

4. ADD your list to the comments below (please).

It's a pretty damn simple game, so there's nothing stopping you playing it RIGHT NOW. I've put my list in the comments section so that you can read it when you've played the game yourself without my list influencing you.

So, boys, girls and those of indeterminate gender, let's all play The Love Song Game!!

Currently playing: The Love Song Game
Currently wearing: A Small Gold Fish

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Wednesday, January 19, 2005

An Anagram of Vole

Reminiscences about my various loves is not something that exercises me greatly. I live in the present and move my hips to a heavy bass.
Of all the devices of fascism, nostalgia has a lingering jaded sweetness that often covers up the smells of death, brutality and oppression. So, a break from the sentimental is required with my morning cognac.

Looking for a Definition of Love, I found these...


Love is illusion ...but it controls the world (Samarthan Bidari)

as yes is to if, love is to yes (ee cummings)

That Love is all there is, Is all we know of Love (Emily Dickinson)

Love is the happy side of needing (Walden Mathews)

Love is when you need someone to be a part of your life, even when they are boring and dumb and rude, because you know they will again have one of those moments where they shine and that light is what you need to survive

A form of pair-bonding in humans similar to imprinting in lesser animals. Effects can persist for a long time despite the conspicuous absence of reward

"LOVE is when your with your love one an then meet your soulmate then give her the finger" (Anonymous)

Love is having to say you're sorry every five minutes (John Lennon)

Love is a lousy tennis score

This page comes mostly from the DIY Homespun School of Philosophy and Itinerant Intellectuals. There are very few song lyrics there, and considering that songs are almost entirely concerned with love, longing, and loss (especially when you are in that post-rejection space when ALL THE SONGS IN THE WORLD are singing to YOU) this is surprising. Music helps to define and celebrate and mourn and even create love, and it is so often the landscape to our emotional journey. Modern recording and playback devices give us unparalleled ease of access to music and we too easily forget it's power.
"Love is a stranger in an open car to tempt you in and drive you far away... Love love love is a dangerous drug: You have to receive it and you still can't get enough of the stuff" (Eurythmics)

Someone once wrote (may have been the great Sammy Cahn) his definition of success as a songwriter: you are old, forgotten, lying in your bed late at night, and in the street outside you hear the plaintive wail of a miserable drunk, staggering home to his empty bed, and he's singing the song you wrote years ago. In 1955, Sammy wrote The Tender Trap, which aside from being era-defining, has a wry lyric about love:
Ya see a pair of laughing eyes,
And suddenly you're sighing sighs.
You're thinkin' nothin's wrong,
You string along, boy, then SNAP!
Those eyes, those sighs -
They're part of the tender trap.

You're hand in hand beneath the trees,
And soon there's music in the breeze.
You're actin' kind of smug
Until your heart just goes WHAP!
Those trees, that breeze -
They're part of the tender trap.

As part of my Cupid=Stupid Month, I will make a list of the love songs I can recall from memory without internet or other assistance and then listen to them all in the order they come to me. Number 1 (for reasons I do not yet dare fathom) is "Love is the Sweetest Thing" by Ray Noble. Which is bizarre, because that song is about as funky as a dead vole. But the 1933 version I found has a great brass arrangement, big swelling crescendos like the breasts of an orgasmic woman, and a lilting groove that gently swings. Maybe they played it to me in my cot. Anyway, here goes:

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Dusty Corners of My Mind

I am unfairly considered to have a good memory. In fact I have a selectively good memory. I can remember quite a lot about a lot of things - or at least, some things about a lot of things - but why should I have to carry this burden? If I had a penny for the number of times I've been asked, "Deek, where's the...?" I would have enough pennies for a penny arcade, a penny whistle, a penny-farthing, a penny black, Henny Penny, Chicken Licken, and the sky that fell on all their heads.

Of childhood, I can vaguely remember a lot, and I can recall specific details with accuracy in parts. Considering the anti-depressant drugs they put me on as a child, this in itself is a remarkable feat, I have come to realise. One of my reasons for being in therapy was to make sense of the times when the drugs I was on had removed sense. Retaining psychological balance in those conditions (i.e. loving parents overdosing you with barbiturates every night) was akin to walking a tightrope carrying a sack of coal and chewing an onion. That's why I so carefully guard my right to self-determination as an adult. Still, despite the relationship of my parents crashing and burning during my first 5 years, and despite the subsequent adults' best efforts to render me into soft and malleable child paste and put me in a little jar with the lid on so tightly so that superhuman strength was necessary to open it, I survived and thrived, and lived to remember most of it.

The first day at Infants School (Primary Year One) I was quite happy, socialising well with a throng of excited, blank, crying, cheerful new conscripts. We were awaiting the very first assembly and busy playing with the "educational" toys, some of which were very boring things I had grown out of years ago... I would have liked my red toy bubblecar with me, but that was at home, so I made do with some chunky painted bricks. These were not like the bricks from home, they were neat and well-painted. There was a nice smart red square one. It fitted my four year old hand excellently, in fact, it had a nice weight to it, so I lobbed it carefully across the classroom, watching it arc splendidly in the morning September sun, seeing how it's flat surfaces caught and reflected the light, and hearing it make a gentle "klunk" as it hit the skull of a boy twenty feet away. God I was pissed off when they didn't let me into assembly. Did they not see there was no malice in the act? My protests fell on deaf ears, and I think I have been determined to get into that hall ever since.

I fell in love with Janice at Infants School, and I loved her for many more than the 2 years we spent in the same playground. She was a tall willowy blonde vision of sweet perfection, and it was my great delight to make her the main object of my kiss-chasing. I worked out rapidly that her long legs would always carry her out of danger and away from me, so I cunningly recruited a gang of enthusiastic girls to head her off at the pass, whereupon I would attempt to kiss her whilst attempting to remove her knickers, like the adults did, except that my gang were also helpfully holding her arms and legs down to reduce physical movement and further enable my attentions. At playtime's end, we all brushed off the grass and dirt and trooped in for more education like the nice innocent little children we resembled.


cute aren't they? and both in dresses!
Nobody ever stopped us, an incredible fact these days when a 6 year old can be removed from school for kissing a cheek. But this is not the time to debate the merits of unsupervised play, child developmental practise, or changes in social mores since the 1960s. Suffice to say, I was not alone in these games, nobody forced us to play them, and everyone seemed perfectly happy with the high degree of excitement they caused. It was more than a game; it was love. You had to be careful about who you chased, and not be too keen, or else disappointment was inevitable. Boys and girls played different games apart from this one. But we all knew who liked who, and whether it was reciprocated. We were diffident, Janice and I, but we both knew that the chase was real.

After Janice moved away, and we all left to go to the Juniors, I would stand by her gate and look wistfully at the front door she used to emerge from. Years later, as an adult, I realised that I had missed her terribly, and that in fact, I really had loved her. It was my first love, a strange love, based on longing, ambush, underwear fumbling and the briefest of dry kisses; but she above all others was my chosen one. I can feel her as clearly as a C Major chord, I can picture her fine bones and hair, and her mid-blue East Coast eyes, and I can see her running like the wind and smiling as we chased her.

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Sunday, January 16, 2005

The Big One

Kwithmuth is gone. I can tell because the dead pine trees that littered the streets have now been cleared away, and the stupid shops where the stupid people buy stupid things for stupid sentimental reasons are full of new glittery stupid items at ridiculous prices for Valentine's Day, which is less than a month away.

Love is the big one, really. Death is really not difficult. You get death automatically just by virtue of being born. To die you only have to step in front of a bus, or stop eating, or insult a violent tempered person with a psychopathic personality disorder. To be born you just need randy parents. But as soon as you are old enough to work out gender differences and start to copy the grown ups, love is the thing to have, to get, to do, to experience, to be in, to be out of, to live for, to be transformed by, consumed by, exalted by, proud of, humiliated by, smug about, devastated at having lost, and eternally hopeful of it springing forth regardless.

From now until Feb 14th we will be bombarded with reminders of how fabulous love is, and asked for our money again and again
and expected to show our romantic nature and expose ourselves to rejection, heartache and ridicule in order to satisfy the cultural obsession with the previously obscure minor deity Cupid, whose arrow is often barbed and badly aimed. Cupid has very bad eyesight by dint of his job.

He has to fly around sniffing for the pheremonal clues of human carnal interest, and when the chemical signs are right, and the trail is hot, he fires an arrow into the mess of limbs and mouths and hands and moist underplaces he finds in the great chaos of human mating activity we call love.

This arrow dissolves the ego in a terrifying way, causing a cataclysmic emotional process.

The desire to merge for the purposes of procreation is only the physical side of the experience. How you feel when you are in romantic love varies greatly from person to person, but it's often characterised by a kind of temporary insanity including eupohoria and heightened tension leading to out-of-character or irrational behaviour; and if the love is unrequited or fate delivers the cruel blow of circumstances not matching expectations, it can lead to serious clinical depression and even suicide.

So, ladies and gentlemen, love really is the Big One.

I read that when you fall in love, the experience of the "fall" or how far you go, is directly proportionate to the amount of loneliness you previously felt. I don't think that's all there is to it. There is a wonderful release in finding someone who is sexually attractive, compatible, mutually affectionate, solvent (if that matters - everyone's ideal lover is different) and if your life previously lacked an essential human intimacy the effect can be dramatic.

I was pretty content when I met my gorgeous girlfriend, but I still "fell" for her. Cupid was on target that night. I was one of the lucky ones. I write as a survivor. And though I have loved and lost, thankfully, I have never been TOTALLY BLIND in love. That by all accounts is a terrifying and bewildering experience involving even more confusion and pain, and with the chances of total recovery practically nil. Some people burn out. Despite all the mythologising, the literature, the film and tv, and the sensible cautionary advice from wise elders, tragic, self-destructive patterns of behaviour occur and re-occur.

A highly intelligent, career-successful female woman fell in love with a man who was deeply troubled. It was a relationship painful to endure and to witness. He bullied and hurt her psychologically. She forgave him. He deliberately infected her with genital herpes; she forgave him. She followed him bravely into dangerous substance abuse. When his addiction, self-loathing and depression could hurt her no more, he left her. She even forgave him that.

She was strong, smart, and had a decent degree of self-esteem. Nonetheless, she was powerless in this one regard. The relationship was always doomed, and she knew it in her heart, but she still loved him, knowing she would never love anyone anymore than him. It wasn't her fault. She accepted the fact of the way she was made. This was her first and only love. That doesn't mean her life now is pointless or without joy, I hasten to add, before you run out of handkerchiefs. But love like that (she says herself with great authority) can only happen once for her, and he was it.

Now, this is where Mr Smarty-pants Psychotherapist says the word "co-dependence", and we say, yes yes. We know that. This was a BAD love. There are better loves, and we will come to those. But this kind of fated experience is witnessed in all human culture.

Not all love is like this, we know. Some loves grow quietly and undisturbed in woodland and flourish like attractive fungi. But whether the approach is soft or sudden, gentle or forceful, we are defenseless. If love was a virus, we would be spending millions on research. Love can indeed be strong and uncontrollable, which is why we have an archer as it's symbol. OK he's a chubby little swine in most depictions - but the image is well chosen. Love strikes and you are wounded, however hard your armour is peirced. Your hopes rise, your pulse quickens, and suddenly the world is changed. And as Tom Waits said, you can't unring a bell.

Love is a primal energy to do with our basic nature as a life form. For myself and for all children who are the unfortunate offspring of failed romance, I am going to get to grips with love, arm-wrestle cupid to the floor, and demand to know what is going on. How dare he mess up morals, destroy egos and ruin lives like this? Why should religion, psychology, literature, art, music, spliff and the bottle get all the action?

Currently watching: Wild at Heart
Currently wearing: Cotton slacks

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Friday, January 14, 2005

Shorthand

No time. Cannot post. Blog withdrawal. Should drugs be legal? BBC included my smarmy email. Blogclicker: Join this sinister cult, we'll all be famous and live in heaven. Not. Who cares? And why? Harry the Nazi. Son of Hewitt. Just like stupid dad. Privileged twat. Sod the press. Take away bodyguards. Titan probe: crashing through marmalade skies into tangerine sea, playing music to Saturn's moon. Music! Conditions for life. Ha! Coming alien invasion, preceded by long guitar solo. End post.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Way Past My Funky Bedtime


thanks to burghamfamilytree.com for this marvellous steal
WOULD YOU CREDIT IT?Hugging a warm grave seconds before requiring one...

Remember: No matter who you are, you can't trust the old oppressor not to have shagged your ancestors, coz they was your ancestors.

Fuck the Bid: London 2012Blogging in the UK (future punk anthem) is being taken seriously at last by traditional mainstream media, tv and print and all. As a form and a phenomenon, blogging is still evolving, and as it does it will continue to interact with and change the older forms of media. They seem fascinated by it right now. "Ooh look, people with words, brains, thoughts, and the odd revolutionary idea". New buds of activity are branching off it already.

Kind readers, thank you for your comments over the past months. Tvindy is thinking of publishing this in a book. Hey, a book, on real shelves, with paper, numbered pages, everything. I was well pleased. But, I gotta be careful of my eco-footprint, man... the internet has minute transport costs. Check it out and check back, if you have a mind.

Anyway, whatever, yeah, blah dribble spit preen slump, soon we will all be rich and famous, poverty and disease will be eradicated, human rights will be respected everwhere, and we will find a non-carbon non-polluting form of energy. Aliens will land to congratulate us and help us to the stars. I will now bugger off for a few days and get some other stuff done. I will be playing music very loud while I shift a lot of furniture around, assemble a bed and wardrobe, finish painting my flat and do my tax return. I may even lay a carpet. I may even have a carpet professionally laid. A round of applause for the hooker carpet, please, Ladies and Gentlemen.

I reckon the web-tarting that I've been doing chez Blog of Funk for the last month and a half makes the place seem fairly respectable now. My political blog about the lack of dog control in the urban environment was in the news. Go on, buy the tshirt I designed or better still, the $99 dollar tosser shorts.

I'm done for a while, it looks fine now. I love good visuals, but that just ain't the point here. This is the every day story of the smell of sex. This one just has to reek like people have been at it. It has to have that unmistakable bassline.

I will return shortly. Please reward me with a biscuit when I do.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Vote Me Happy

I am in a splendid mood today. I think it's because I got some sleep. I can't say everything is coming up roses. but lemon-scented geraniums aren't bad. The Palestinian election has passed off without major drama, despite the Israelis doing their best to deny valid voters entrance to the polls, and with a 66% turnout to put most established democracies to shame, many women voters taking part, and a convincing win for the pro-Peace (whatever that means) candidate, things are perhaps looking up. Most people just don't get that peace, for Palestine, has meant accepting the loss of 78% of their homeland, as well as living under a kind of occupation that even members of the Israeli government have categorised as Nazi.

The reason for the lovely picture above (aside from my improved mood) is the frankly hilarious mix up that the wonderful Royal Mail made over Kwithmuth, where presents meant for Ascension Island were sent to Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay, and mail due for Ascension's major settlement, Georgetown, arrived thousands of miles away in Georgetown, Guyana. I would vote for that in a Top Xmas Blunder Poll. I started laughing at the thought of Paraguayans receiving the annual Branston Pickle shipment, and the Guyanan's getting timeley news of the slight downturn in South East England house prices and the himalayan parakeet population explosion in West London. Actually there are some in nesting on Hampstead Heath, so I will soon have bright green screeching birds to add to my daily avian spread.

Speaking of Polls, I am amazed and ridiculously pleased that this humble Blog is now at #7 in the Blogspotting Rankings. Having read this far, please click the "Rate Me" button to the right of this post, then "Enter and Vote" so that I may reach the Top 3 at least before I pass into Blog Oblivion. Gwaan - Vote Me Happy !

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Monday, January 10, 2005

Stumble Upon

I like the way the internet is maturing. I have been using the internet since 1994 - it's so full up now it's practically impossible to find interesting things just by surfing. That's why I like community-based systems like 43 things. Recently I started using Stumble Upon to check out stuff.

I just found this cool thing called Internet Archive Wayback Machine that holds archives of webpages going back to 1996. I started to surf.. and I found what I was doing 8 years ago.

Oh the thrill of finding my old web sites once again. It doesn't all work on modern browser.. but it's wonderful moment of nostalgia for an old internet freak like me. Hey - I was a pioneer once !

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The 5am Blackbird

The birds have started their ludicrous Spring songs, although we are far from Spring - still technically in Mid-Winter with months of blasting cold still to suffer through. Except, the weather, as we all (everywhere outside the US that is) acknowledge, is screwed. It's really warm and we are experiencing killer winds across North Europe.

I sleep light. I suffer from insomnia, unless I am careful about my circadian rhythm - i.e. bedtime and rising time, watch my adrenalin levels, eat the right food at the right time, exercise, meditate, avoid excessive alchohol or other intoxicants/stimulants, and generally look after myself. The fact that I do all these things has nothing to do with any health-freakery - it's just so that I can get a good night's sleep.

The regime doesn't always work. My rhythm gets messed up anyway sometimes. I wake up at 2am or 3am and then I don't sleep until 5am, 6am or even 8am. The nice cosy big comfy warm middle bit of the night is then for me just a long boring wait to go back to dreamland. Sometimes it's a borderline thing - small irritations grow Kafka-sized in my exhausted sleep-deprived state. The sound of a radio in some nearby home becomes a brainwashing alien broadcast. Some drunk couple arguing loudly in the street 4 storeys below - "Bitch!" "Wanker!" are actually shouting at me. My girlfriend's congested night breathing masks her real zombie nature and she will shortly tear and eat my flesh. Then the 5am blackbird starts up.

I've been living here far too long and I've seen many blackbirds come and go. I like them. Blackbirds can live up to 20 years, and their complex song develops and changes each season. They are great mimics and incorporate sounds from the environment. I used to listen out for a bird which had picked up on one of the local kid's crazy whistle. This kid grew up and left the area, and the bird was still carrying the phrase in it's song for 3 or 4 years afterwards.

I get a sense of territory from the songs I recognise when I come back here after being away - which is the whole point of the loud, persistent, daily warble.

I miss that blackbird, it was smart and musical. I haven't heard it in 10 years. None of the current crop have the range and quality of that particular song, nor the clever integration of melody.

One January morning years ago I awoke to that peculiar stillness that means snow has blanketed everything, softening the hard surfaces and absorbing noise like a sponge. It was as quiet as London ever gets, pre-dawn, everything white. In the middle of this silence there was one sound which carried, the song of the blackbird, the singer invisible, and archly perched on some vantage point which meant the song was amplified by being bounced and reverberated off the side of a large building opposite. It was spectacular - I got up and plugged the best microphone I possess into my DAT recorder and let myself get very cold by the open window while I grabbed 30 minutes for posterity.

Last night's 5am blackbird song was a pathetic dribble of mutant electronic tweeks and chirps, a cascading symphony performed by a deranged toddler with Attention Deficit Disorder. Just loud enough and near enough to keep me awake from 5am to 6.30am when I had to get up anyway. Bastard bird. I want to bake it in a pie with three-and-twenty others. I want to take it to birdschool and teach it not to imitate car alarms - which is what I realised the little fucker is doing. Tink-tink. Tink-tink-diggle-tweek. Weep-weep-weep-weep-weep-weep. Tink-tink. Tink-tink-diggle-tweek. Weep-weep-weep-weep-weep-weep. Weep-weep-weep-weep-weep-weep. Weep-weep-weep-weep-weep-weep.

I am so tired, and tea won't work; I am hungry but I can't eat; I miss everyone I ever missed; and I feel like weep-weeping.

Thank God I don't do 9-5.

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Sunday, January 09, 2005

Does The Size Of Your Penis Really Matter To Your Lover?

I found this neat grafitti on a wall by Regents Canal in Islington. It's the perfect response to junk email. Perhaps the person who took the time and care to make the stencil has suffered too much from spam.

I also found when I came back from the so-called "real world" and returned to the warm, pixelated truth of the virtual one, my Textamerica Moblog has been made Editor's Fix. Which means that when he/she runs out of cameraphone material to satisfy their degrading lust for imagery, they use mine!

Another one for the Funk.

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Saturday, January 08, 2005

You Naughty Dirty Evil-Minded Scumsucker

I considered it a compliment. These were words of tenderness, whispered over a dusky romantic dinner, her half-lidded eyes looking deep across the flickering golden candles, a hint of heaven's reward tempered by the knowledge of our blatant mutual carnality. Or so it seemed to me at the time.

Last night went well. I think we have raised about 1k in Great British Super Strength Pounds (that's about 2:1 to the appallingly weak Deficit Dollar) and we also raised some... I was going to write "consciousness" but I am tempted to put "cous cous". Have you noticed how predictive text on phones is altering the way we conceive and formulate language ? I live (according to my phone) in Hgigatsz rather than Highbury... I actually prefer that, it makes me feel I am living in somewhat of a more Bohemian quarter than the smelly but somehow trendy borough I really inhabit.

World Vision sent the redoubtable Lucy to help out (poor woman hadn't had a break since boxing day) and we put posters up and asked for donations on the door, and there were a host of acts including Planetman with his rock funk psychedelia, the fantastic samba drumming of Rhythms of Resistance, some really cool young vocal acts whose names I ought to remember - Shauna aka Angel I thought was strong - a great reggae artist called One Jah, The Rub, Nubu, Itch, Bass6s & GunSmoke, DJ Daggers. Yours truly contributed a rabble-rousing speech, and sang half a song, before moving hastily on to the young people with proper beats and a future in entertainment.

DJ Dags played his usual, "guaranteed to move your feet in-between acts" set, and I was bopping at 2.30am to "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick". I fell in love with all the female members of the samba band and I wanted to take them all home with me. God I admire a strong woman who can wield a big stick. Still, enough of my pain. It was a good showing for a winter windy night a week after the new year. Marathon-running Pop Star Tyrrell was there, the huge and talented artist Lisa Muten was there. I met a creative brother and sister: Latifa Spiker is showing her art at The Foundry, Old Street, and her brother Hasan Spiker (Happy 18th!) - check out his music. I haven't heard such unusual music for a while. Natural successor to Julian Cope, Beck ? With several slices of Hendrix, and something else besides.

Here are some photos from last night all taken with the trusty Sony Errricccsssoonnn K700i:

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3.30 am finish

It was a good gig.

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Thursday, January 06, 2005

BENEFIT GIG FRIDAY 7th Jan 2005

Friday 7th January at The Infinity Club, 10 Old Burlington Street, Mayfair, W1S 3AG. Nearest Tube Picadilly Circus. Full Details to be Announced. 8pm until 4am.

So, aside from the benefit, other major things are going down which warrant mention, one of which is the sudden (!) interest in blogging from the British "quality" press. I was chuffed that a blog of mine was featured in a recent Independent article.

Now My Life As A Morrisons Employee which has been in my reading list for a while has featured in the Sunday Times. As a result of which, my visitors from the reciprocal link I enjoy with this excellent site have rocketed.

The generosity of the UK public for tsunami relief is amazing: private donations now in excess of 100 million POUNDS. One interesting story is the way SMS text messages played a valuable part in the response. This cheap and effective technology might help in future disasters as it has in this one.

Somewhere between the mainstream press interest in blogging, and this mass response to human tragedy lies the seed of something genuinely culturally new and quite remarkable.

I can't help but be optimistic - it helps cut through the greasy layer of cynicism. My girlfriend is better too. I was born in 1962 remember, I had a lot of hippy conditioning. Hence the Funk. Things are looking up.

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Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Vive Les Germans Généreux !!

Steven Spielberg will be appearing with PLANETMAN and the INTERNATIONALZ Friday 7th January 8pm at the Infinity Club, London plus MANY SPECIAL GUESTS in a BENEFIT FOR THE TSUNAMI

Survivors of the tsanami are digging in the rubble TO FIND STUFF TO EAT
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

I got a call from my musician friend Planetman this afternoon - he told of a great music space in Central London and a benefit, so we are raising money for tsunami aid at The Infinity Club, in London's Mayfair THIS FRIDAY NIGHT!

We are joined by Willie Nelson, Patty Griffin, Joe Ely, Alejandro Escovedo, Bruce Robison, Leonardo DiCaprio, Steven Spielberg, Poonam Dhillon, Jay Leno, Shah Rukh Khan, Harley Davidson the celebrity motorcycle, and the great impressionist, Les Germans. Wow, what a line up. Check back for more details. All proceeds to Tsanami Aid. And Mrs Tsanami Aid. Did I tell you I had changed my name ? No this is a real benefit which Blog of Funk is pleased to help promote. Go, Planetman. I may even take the microphone myself.

Actually, I love the way stereotypes are being confounded. The marvellously großzügig Germans have donated a huge whack of aid, bless 'em and their blonde beers, and everywhere governments have been playing catch up with populations. The Banks were shamed into handing over the profits being made from handling all that cash.

We need to restore the UN. I agree with Tony Benn on this one whose smiling face and reaction peppered an interesting Independent front cover recently. I do think the world needs a strong UN, or something similar. You know, a proper world forum. To avoid wars and promote peaceful cooperation between nations. A respected international body that would oversee earthquake warning systems and the like. Old idea.

2003 and 2004 have shown how out of step with their constituencies the so-called leaders of these so-called leading so-called "Democratic Governments" truly are. Millions marched against going to war in Iraq. That was another moment of mass action I shall find it difficult to forget. Our shameful leaders took us in to get Saddam's oil. Powell was the intrument of the great evil WMD con. The UN was fucked. Kofi now hangs on with all the dignity he can muster, Powell tries to do some good before making a swift pre-election exit. Yuk.

These criminals have commited the cardinal sin of underestimating our intelligence. Now we just need to replace them with better people and start a new civilisation.

By our simple generosity, we can show them how irrelevant history will make them. I can feel a revolution coming on. Or maybe a beer or two on Friday 7th January at The Infinity Club, 10 Old Burlington Street, Mayfair, W1S 3AG. Nearest Tube PIcadilly Circus. Full Details to be Announced. 8pm until 4am.

Thanks to Steven Speilberg, Les Germans and Planetman.

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Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Press for Attention



Alex just left me a comment about this blog of mine getting some newsprint space. Which is nice. I am really chuffed.

File under: Tomorrow's Chip Wrapper.

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Time to Give Up the Day Job

More people quit their jobs after the winter holiday break that at any other time. I heartily endorse this practise. Apparently, the summer holiday gives some perspective, then the dreary slog up to New Year confirms it - YOU ARE INDEED WASTING YOUR TIME.

So quit. They don't need you - they have in fact stolen your life, and in return for what ? Money ? The general rule is: there's better money for less effort/humiliation/shoe leather elsewhere. I don't precisely know where your new glittering future is, of course, that's for you to look out for, from your singular perspective at the point where you now cling nervously to the greasy pole they call employment.

My experience taught me well. Being lucky enough to be born into the most unemployed generation ever (we suffered record unemployment and bankruptcy in the 80s and 90s, and enjoyed our own unique, proudly British economic recessions under Thatcher) and having been educated so that I was almost completely unemployable, I have spent the last 20 years masterfully workshy and have now raised it to something of a consummate art form. Which is what my art training (completely free, fully funded, no fees to pay, with a single-parent family, living-away-from-home grant) expertly equipped me for. While you were learning management, media, and mortuary manners, I was reading Rimbaud, eating mushrooms, and saving the planet. While you were busting a gut to get your first puny bonus to pay the phone bill, I was signing on the dole with my livelihood written down as "deep sea fisherman". When they made me change that after a year, I wrote "samba dancer". After another year, I wrote "poet".

Don't get me wrong - 50 quid a week in London didn't get you very far at all - Thursday, to be precise - and the vagaries of the system meant that your precious financial lifeline could be removed by the flick of whimsical ballpoint. Just like work, in fact. Substitute lunch queue for dole queue. But in the delicious freedom of the in-between days, we found clarity, we saw the huge con of employment and the machinations of capital. Politicians lamented the destruction of a generation, but this was our saviour, this idleness. We were slack before Slack. Except we weren't slack at all, we did a lot of observing and we read a lot and accessed the parts of our culture that were available to us and we fed our souls and our young minds. We watched the drones scuttling to and from work like cutting-room floor scenes left out of the remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, seemingly drained of all hope and personality. Actually, we just watched them come home - we always slept through the morning rush hour.

After a decent combination of creative freelance jobs started to make me money, one day, I decided to start a business. Pretty soon I was employing people. So that's my second point to make - business people generally don't give a fuck about you. They really don't. It's the bottom line they are watching, not your stress levels. I don't think I was a very horrible boss, but then, I wouldn't, would I ? To be a boss, you have to have a peculiar insensitivity to personal pain, your own included, as this testimonial by top executive Genesis Q. Masochist so beautifully puts it: "Work until you bleed." Somehow, heirarchies always make me think of Egypt and the pyramids, slaves, 4000 years of the same civilisation, and the enormous desert that followed.

I can't remember who said, "when I die, I'm not going to wish I spent more time at work" but whoever he was (think it was a he) he clearly didn't spend enough time at work. The corporate and peer-pressure to maintain the lie of the value of work IN ITSELF thankfully didn't work in his case. This sad Puritan ethic we still carry with us, despite the fact that we are exhausting ourselves and our precious earth with over-production. It's not as if you get anything but the crumbs of the crumbs of the crumbs of the crumbs that fall from the very smallest plate of the small man's tiny table...

We need to work less and care less about work, as in, paid employment. We need to rescue the good words "enterprise" and "industry" from the jaws of capital, where they glint like jewels in carrion, and re-establish them as personal qualities. We need to assert that amateurs should be far higher in our esteem than professionals - they do what they do for love, not pay, often with an attendant care and skill which professionals seem to lack. OK, so I don't want an amateur brain surgeon; but spare me the night out with professional dancers. What I am saying is that, unless you are exceptionally lucky, employment simply drains your days away, your weeks, your years, it drains your life away for some meagre profit that has nothing to do with value whatsoever.

Dear worker, I'm not sorry if I have depressed you. Depression isn't so bad. It's better to be decently depressed than pointlessly occupied. As your day grinds to an end, in your mind's eye, substitute the second hand of the clock you watch with an intensive-care cardio bleeper. That's YOUR life, ticking down, and each heartbeat happens only once and will never be repeated.

Quit your job.

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Monday, January 03, 2005

To Believe, Or Not to Believe...

What with all this disaster and massive death vibe and ting, the world gone crazy.



And the real world, my own precious understandable world, has also gone a tad mad - my fabulous lover is staggeringly sick with genuine flu, which means interrupted sleep (I don't want children) dripping nose, horrible coughing and fever, and from me the response of a constant supply of chicken soup and painkillers and reassurance, none of which can ever be enough.

I read that the Archbishop of Cankerberry has "questioned the existance of God" because of this earthquake. A bit late, don't you think, having reached the highest office in the land, to be wondering whether the long climb was worth it ? Whether the job description (love God with all your heart) was a little bit too demanding ? That bumper-sticker adage about "being nice to the people you meet on the way up because you'll see them again on the way down" (which I rate almost as low as "you don't have to be mad to work/live/eat here") - how does that apply to a professional Christian ? Love your enemy (the instruments of Satan) because, when you question the power authority and love of God, who has summarily dispatched 150,000 souls for daring to live on his Earth too near the epicentre of a force 8.9 earthquake, you will meet them again on your road to a disbelieving, atheistic Hell ?

Personally I respect the Catholic Priest in Sri Lanka, who responded to a comment about the lack of "decent Christian" burial, "I don't think the Lord is very fussy about that."

I saw on TV that Jackie Mason that dour and redoubtable comic was a rabbi once, but changed his profession when his father died. Presumably he suffered a crisis of faith and got into something more in keeping with his changed world view. This is a route that currently despairing clerics might follow with some success... "God walked into a bar. He said, my Son's got no hope. How does he smell ? Terrible."

On my deathbed, remind me to call for a comedian.

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Sunday, January 02, 2005

33% Battery, 0% Finance

New Years was a muted affair - this horrible earthquake disaster on everyone's mind. My beloved sick. Me at home.

I held off and in time honoured fashion went for it the next day.

Inadvertently I seem to have got myself somewhat belatedly pissed.

Ah, champagne, best lager in the world.

Happy January 2nd 2005 Everyone. May All Remotely Feasible and Capable of Occurring Without Too Much Damage Be Yours, And May I Be The First To Wish You The Very Best For 2006.

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Saturday, January 01, 2005

Malaga Station

Here (in proper Blue Peter style) is something I prepared earlier:

Malaga Station, 4th April, 2003

Bored now so returned to Etecion Malaga to people watch and drink coffee. Make a text message:

last night I had a peripheral vision. in it u wdnt look at n e thing straight so u kept bumping into things. is this a metaphor or a health msg?


As I text my ex, a beautiful young woman walks intently towards me. She can't be Spanish, she looks Irish. 2 hours before my train. I think I'm just gonna hug this table and make my coffee last 45 minutes. She's got a coffee and lit up on the mobile phone, cig in the side of her mouth. God she looks so cool I wish I smoked. Perfect teeth and hair. I sigh and stare across the concourse pursing my lips and running my little finger down the ski-slope under my nose. What is the name for that ? It feels nice with a 2 day growth to resist the downward track.

Txt reply from Max, she's confused - but who wouldn't be with a mother who is the anglican Vicar of Glastonbury ? Have decided good looking girl's teeth are too white so they'll fall out before she's 40. Look up and she's obviously reading my mind and has scurried off, offended, to clean her teeth. Maybe to text her hulking psycho Spanish BF who summoned by her a la Buffy will appear in hellmouth fashion to wreak implausible gothic revenge on me for my insult to his GF's teeth's honour.

Shit. Still at least 1 and a half hours before I can board my train. At least I got a good spot, right by the bar, back of the hall, everyone in full view. No surprises. Even the coffee is going predictably cold.

When I got to the airport it was mid-afternoon. I took a taxi (15 EUROS) from the airport and stashed my bag and went for a walk to find the beach. I was a hot/cold day - grey clouds obscuring a hot sun even in April.

As I sat on the stone bench by the nearly deserted sea front, watching the drunks share pot and drink cans exactly like the ones in the city park opposite my London flat, and a group of languid teenages size each other up, ditto, I thought: 50 quid to turn up the temperature and add SEA.

This funny intermediate time, enforced idleness because of the train to Montilla leaving 6 hours after my inbound flight. I manage 3 hours in what is a friendly but quite boring town before heading back to the station. Perhaps this is the root of all creativity - boredom and the escape from it. Anyway, buying the coffee and turning an envelope inside out gives me the right to turn this Cafe into my study. I grab a suggestion leaflet.

"I think they should perform a short song and dance for each order over 5 EUROS. Please contact me as I have the very routine. cafe@junksucks.com"


I fill in all the details accurately including name and address, adding my profession proudly: DOCTOR. Yeah, I'm a doctor. I AM THE DOCTOR OF LURVE. he he... post the slip in the the bright yellow metal box on a stick, discretely...

Excellent, 7.35. Train leaves at 9, still 1/3 of a coffee (now disgustingly cold) left.

Waching a long queue form I wonder if my train will be tedious to board. It's a terrible indictment of my mind but I have made 2 significant observations since arriving in Spain.

1. Spanish women's arses are by no means fat. I mean, some are, but I would say, fewer than London. Bang goes the myth of the Latin arse.

2. The Spanish have sparrows, which have all but deserted London.

No connection. Sparrows have tails.

Damn. In a sudden fit of guilt and thirst, I drink the lasty mouthful of coffee. Bugger, Now, if I get more coffee, I'll be speeding. If I get a beer, I'll be bad tempered and tired. I'm in a "no-win" zone with only myself to blame. Cafe con Leche,1 EURO. I'm gonna get one.

God the woman serving has a face like a vole eating sherbet but even she has a tidy arse. It must be Spring.

I'm watching a tense couple try not to fall out, as he walks off to make a call and she looks amazed and disgusted. He returns; she remonstrates in an undertone. Nonetheless they are very obvious, she has flame red hair and he gestures like a bad am-dram queen. Drugs, the back of my mind is saying, they are arguing about drugs. It's Friday night.

Right at the other end of the hall near the platform is the most intriguing girl. She's smartly dressed with a wheely bag. She's been here as long as me and looks resigned, bored. There's a certain aura around her - stillness. Maybe she's not wating for a train.

Now drama-queen is inside flame-head's personal space and is flapping his arms like a penguin and smooching. Damn! Even the station cleaner has a nice arse. Maybe if I dwell on this subject, I can generate a fixation. Shit! Maybe coming to Spain has REVEALED a fixation, hidden in London under tiers of work and play, ambition, regret, success and taxes.

Queen and flame-head have made up, she's putting her hand suggestively in his front pocket and surreptitiously touching him up. She smiles, which is a first. "Listen baby" he's saying, "Don't worry about the drugs, love is the drug and I have plenty for you." Plenty of fucking fat arse, actually, his is enormous. So, hadn't realised - Spanish male arses = very large. Femal arses = nice and tidy. Mmm. Maybe this information is valuable to underwear manufacturers.

55 minutes to go - half a coffee. I think I'm going to make it. The second coffee is making me optimistic. But I am starting to bite my nails. Intriguing girl has disappeared. She wasn't waiting for a train! How cool! Because anyone would have mistakenly assumed by her presence on the bench near the platform that she must be! Oh the folly of assumption. Sounds like a Catholic festival. No, that's the coffee talking.

I'm tempted to chat up the cleaning girl who has a lovely face (as well as a nice arse) but I know no Spanish so it would be comedy value only.

"Hi, I'm from England, you have no idea what I'm saying, I know nothing of the circumstances of your life, but I'm a whimsical geezer, you look nice, let's get to know each other."


This amuses me greatly, I smile, but I think I may have inadvertently given a rather suspicious old git the come-on. Look away, scribble, it is not for you, it's for me, for my (non-existant) children for my (non-existant) wife, I'm writing my (non-existant) 3rd novel.... he's got the message.

8.15 and there are swallows in the station. What beautiful flight, fast and accomplished. time to pull my bag out of left-luggage. God everyone smokes so much here. I haven't smoked cigarettes for 20 years but I miss it now. It would go well with my coffee, the author's pose and my very first heart attack. Ah yes, a new range of tasteless greetings cards: "CONGRATULATIONS on your first Heart Attack"

I can see the cards on the cardio-monitor now...

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