Monday, 27 June 2011


There may be only 2520 Cougars 2.0 but at least the life cycle curve isn't sitting at too acute an angle just yet. Overall there are 9451 still around on the British highways and byways, they should last for a while but according the trends for other models when they do go the decline is rapid.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

White Worm

It seemed like a normal tin of creamy, delicious macaroni and indeed that's exactly what it turned out to be. Curse you suspicious mind and suspicious nature. The poor can could never have known, never ever. It was gone in 120 seconds, a time that I do not believe to be a world record of any kind.

But then when I reached the bottom of the can, 121 seconds later I discovered to my horror that there at the bottom, at the deepest point of the 12oz tin there was, coiled up, a great white worm. The great white worm was thankfully asleep so very gently and carefully I reached in with two fingers and pinched it, just behind its mouth and I began to pull it out. I don't know if you've ever seen a great white worm but they can be huge, enormous. As I pulled it seemed to grow, in an exceptional and exponential manner. Thankfully it remained asleep as pulled the great lengths from the can, foot after foot of rich, slimy, wrinkled white worm. I had by now turned the can upside down and was letting the worm pour out, like syrup or condensed milk all across the floor in massive, sleepy wormy coils. It was at that moment I notice some small print running up the label on the side of the can, a statement that I had failed to read before opening the can:

Caution, macaroni mined in a white worm friendly environment, frequent checks are made to ensure that multi-dimensional worms do not enter the can and cause cross-pollution but this manufacturer cannot guarantee 100% (or even 90%) that the purchaser and the end user will enjoy and fully worm free macaroni cheese eating experiences, we apologise in advance should you encounter a great worm or suffer contamination in the can sub-base area. Please call this number 0800 WORM WORM 1 should you require assistance or help with coiling and capturing a worm, many thanks for your patience in this instance and making this purchase in the first place.”

The worm was still sleeping, how helpful that was as the last strand plopped from the tin and onto the floor. A remarkable and wonderful mutation – and as it turns out delicious too. All you do is pop the worm into a (very) large casserole dish, season a little and drip and drizzle oil on it and bake in a hot oven at 200 degrees for about 40 minutes. Tasty and full of protein and all for the price of a can of macaroni.

Sunday, 19 June 2011


Writing backwards

I was alone at the table, behind the wind screen in some payment café, no dogs allowed. The coffee was that warm, continental, granular dish water kind. Foggy on the top and hard to tell if there was any actual milk or cream in there. I supped it slowly and let the pieces of coffee dust swim around my mouth - it was a decent beverage and the cup was a warm and tactile one, thin edge and smooth china. I’d blocked out the traffic and passing pedestrians, the paper readers and the tourists, my focus would be the lined note book now placed between the coffee cup and the half eaten muffin on the too small plate. I had a nice pen, that’s always important. I picked it up in my left hand and removed the cap, allowing the nib to touch the paper.

I stared straight ahead, through the back of a diner’s head, past a lamp post and traffic sign, beyond the edge of a building, into a carved stone balustrade, over a suspended lamp and away into the distance where grey and brown stone building merged into a mess of hoardings and bus tops. My left hand, as if it had a left hand and mind of it’s own began to write. A scribbly, scrawny scrawl, an out of body mess of ink and paper while I gazed far and away and my unloved lesser hand did the work. Time had stopped, my thought processes had stopped but the hand continued to write.

I was asleep and in a dream, the coffee had dried the back of my throat but my transcendental peering into the abyss carried on and the hand wrote on, page after page, only stopping to allow the lazy right to turn the page to a fresh one when that was required. The was sweat on my brow and in both palms but the writing was over, the pen was rested and my hand returned the conscious control of my brain though I’m not sure which side.

I picked up the noted book and flicked across the pages…complete gibberish, well that was my first thought and then a pattern began to emerge…

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Party over?

Some might think that the party is over and that we are at the end...well that's a fair enough proposition but not one that I share. I tend to see things more as a continuum, they just roll on, one thing into another, changing, blending, morphing always into something more interesting than before, better at times then maybe not so good. Don't be afraid of the change, the bigger numbers or just floating along with the current.

For a while I was absorbed in numbers, chasing them, making sense of them I thought, trying to understand where they might lead and looking for a deeper meaning. You can do all of that, it's ok, but it's not everything and never leads you to an end in itself. Ignore the numbers for a while, the scribbles and lines on the page or screen, let them go. The party can be over if you want it to be.

Monday, 6 June 2011


High heeled shoes that could pierce your heart

“I can't just sip a drink, I can't just sit their looking at it or holding it letting it swirl around in the glass. I get nothing from admiring the colour or the bouquet, I don’t want it just to be sitting there dumb while I go about doing something else, maybe reading a book or in conversation. I can't do any of that, I have to drink it, in fact I'll start drinking it as soon as it's poured at the bar. I'll drink some, just to get it clear from the edge just in case I spill some on the way back to the table, at least that's what I try to make it look like. If I'm in a bar I'm there to drink, there I've said it.”

The speaker retreated from the spotlight and took a seat at the rear of the stage, a ripple of applause came back at him from the audience. It was a tough gig, sympathy was scarce, like a taxi after midnight, those well healed individuals knew what he was saying , he was one of them but they were reluctant to acknowledge his position or by any means show approval for all that had been said in the long speech. The event drew to a close and mumbled thanks drifted here and there, hands were shaken, men kissed the hurried cheeks of women wanting to be elsewhere, staff flipped chairs and nodded as they tidied things that needed tidied. The lights were slowly turned up, shadows left by any available exit, gold features, sculptures and drapes appeared from the gloom as the flood of the lamps passed over. All he could see were the backs of the audience, all now headed outside, clearing their heads and shouldering jackets and coats. Good to see them go.

Outside the regular patterns of rain were drumming onto car roofs, scattering umbrellas and glistening flagstones, the tropical rainfall covered his escape, back to the hotel, back to find some sanctuary, back to the bar. The lobby opened it's mouth into a dark jungle-wood panelled lobby, lights were dim, exits glowed green, shadows lurked away somewhere else and low piped muzak sax tried hard to create a civilised atmosphere. The bar was warm and smokey, unhealthy but welcome like a seat on a busy train. A waiter carried a tray of roast beef sandwiches across his advancing bows, mustard and horseradish wafted past. He laid the tray in front of a greasy, sun-glassed man nursing a glass of red wine. A girl sat beside him, black dress and fox fur jacket, buried by the moody shadow pool of a winged leather funeral chair. The buttons glinted in the amber glow. Quickly he caught the barman’s eye and pointed to the optic rack, “double please!” the barman nodded, “Room 230”. In a single sweet move he dropped his coat and picked up the glass and as was his habit took a mouthful. The hot buzz alighted briefly on tongue and throat, moved around his mouth like some spell looking for a victim and then he allowed the swallow. In his head, in his brain, at the core of some place between thoughts and soul another light began to glow. No instant light like an electric bulb, it was more of a rising, slowly throbbing flame, held in a lens, held in check but powerful enough to escape given the chance. It was about eleven thirty by this time.

Time passed like slow clockwork lubricated by maple syrup, he got up from the chair and signed the tab at the bar.

The call girl was walking towards him, blond hair and fox jacket and good times. Circles around her eyes, eye liner and care all mixed up, a cheek bruise. Somebody had given her a rough evening. Her high heeled shoes and low neck line could have pierced the hardest, stoneymost heart. She looked like she was afraid of everything. In her hand was a brandy glass, warm and golden, lipstick on the edges and two fingers of liquid left in it. As she passed she whispered, “I'm just dying for a drink”. There are hotel corridors and lobbys all across the world, places to relax, forget, travel and work in, just don't get caught in one like two ships in a fog.

“I don't care what country you think it is!” shouted the policeman, “this isn't there, this is here!' He fingered the gun in the black holster, he fingered the fabric of his trousers, he was sweating a mixture of used up rain and used up fear. “West Chesterton Hotel” he barked into the radio mike clip on his shoulder and looked ahead waiting on further instruction. The handset gave a tone and crackled, “Ok, let it go...over.” The policeman acknowledged the message swung on his heels and exited the bar, “don't know WHAT I'm here for!”

We all hear voices sometimes, none of them are God.

“I'm tellin' ya the only way that you can beat this thing is with a complete change of lifestyle, you need to get something else. Get religion, get fit, take up golf, find a good woman, find an interest that takes you and keeps you at least a thousand miles away from this. But you can't ever do it, all the people you know, all the circles you move in, all the beats you walk and streets you stumble into. Every gold plated excuse and reason that you try to dredge up to explain, they all come from the same source and you need to run in the opposite direction.”

“I can't just sip a drink...”

He called the lobby, “Taxi, charge it to Room 230, five minutes?” The call girl dragged on the fox fur and left the room, the brandy glass on the nightstand was empty now.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Hello Colombia

Colombia. An interesting place that I once visited about 12 years ago. The traffic and vapour filled atmosphere in Bogotá was, as I recall pretty intimidating as was the apparent threat of kidnapping. Of course nothing bad happened and I had a really enjoyable visit and was taken by the very kind and friendly attention I received from all those that I met. We stayed in the Tequendama Hotel which is something of a colonial and historic legend in itself. Spacious and cosmopolitan with a faded splendour and air of controlled decay about it, soldiers and suits were everywhere and the staff seemed panicky and overworked. The views from the roof over the city were impressive – I'll remember that for a long time. Though I was not actively participating in it the reason for the trip centred around a somewhat shaky religious quest and period of frustrated exploration. The shelf life of this topic ran out a long time ago but the pleasant memories of the thin air, happy yellow taxis, street vendors, steaks and tomatoes and hunger for American Dollars remains. Moving on leaves gaps but in time they are filled.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Wet May

May was the wettest May since records and things like that began. As a direct consequence windows everywhere are at their dirtiest (since records began). This appalling situation can only be rectified by decent, deep cleaning using the well established skills and techniques of the professional window cleaner (as above). Now it's June and for the mean time the rain has stopped, the windows are clear and usable once again and we can see a way ahead. As for the car windscreen, it needs attention as do some other bits of the car, June will be a busy month.