Monday, 25 July 2011

Of idols and the idle

They are there and here and there. Travelling around the world spending other people's money, tweeting their warped wisdom as they go. Beware the wormy tongue, the shiny, bright lights and the promise of something too far away to grasp. Their religion seems to get them somewhere but they themselves are in a worse place than nowhere.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011


Truculent isn't a word I use regularly, neither is xenophobic. There is of course a very good reason for this namely I only have a vocabulary of five hundred words (exactly) and these two bad boys are coming in at five hundred and one and five hundred and two respectively. This simple fact has placed these two very useful and certainly meaningful words outside of my current range of basic word benchmarking if you will. A lesser man would perhaps be frustrated by this limitation but not me, when faced with using words outside of my vocabulary and over that somewhat abstract, imagined yet tangible line of five hundred I simply use the time honoured technique of substitution.

For example if I wished to use a word such as “azle” (coming in a seven hundred and ten) I might just use biscuit or roller, or if wanted to say “pernicious” (a close one at fivefivefive) I could say hammock or liquid. Easy. This method has saved me conversational(?) embarrassment many times over and the fact is that as conversations and debates run on few people if any notice it when you drop and hammy, stupid or inappropriate word in there. Language should flow freely, abstractly at times, make interesting noise and allow itself to be as absurd as the topic. Folks the truth is, people only really ever listen properly to what they are saying themselves, everything else is blah-blah right up to word five hundred. Don't believe me? Next time pay close attention to where their eyes are focused as they speak...

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Whatever is written

We were looking at each other we think, odd wandering thoughts persisting. I concentrated on the shape of the face, every one's face tells a...? I ate a scone and drank a latte, she had a slice of millionaire shortbread and a larger latte, she had an Americano, she has water, water is clean. I remained persistently invisible, as always. Outside the sun shone, traffic and shoppers passed. When I got home I looked at mine, deeply hidden in the parallel universe of a shaving mirror. How had time played tricks with it, a thousand thousand cigarettes, facial scrubs, alcohol and sugary drinks, shaves, exhaust fumes, summers in Ibiza, Florida and France, rain and salt sea spray, not sleeping, slimy bars of chocolate and greasy fried foods, time, tides, worry and wear and tear, tears, laughter and the occasional heavy handed slap. What I feel is always written on my face.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Lentil as anything

In Denmark there are no lentils, they just have a plain thin soup recipe to get them through the hard Winter months. History is vague on this but my theory is that marauding Vikings had them done away with as a direct result on an intellectual crisis that occurred over the portrayal of Loki, God of Mischief and Mayhem (later to be translated and cruelly reinterpreted as a child's sweet, yes, I can reveal that that is what M&M actually stands for). Loki was always the subject of camp fire arguments and mass murders and due to his wiry profile and scary demeanour associated with thin and (unmanly) soup. It was believed that to thicken the soup would be a gross insult to Loki and so incur the God of M&M's great wrath or he might just play some cruel tricks and twists of fate on you. These might include sinking your longship on some uncharted reef or rendering you unable to rape or pillage properly due a mystery illness, impediment or complex psychological disorder.

None of this went down well with the chronically superstitious and baffledVikings great sailors thought they undeniably were (discovering America before the Americans and Greenland before the colour ever existed or could be knitted into a nice pullover). As a result the Vikings avoided using lentils and went so far as to deny their very existence, this was reflected in them being removed in a cruel and ritualistic manner from songs, sonnets, great and epic tales and most soup recipes. The end had arrived for the lentils of the west lands, the rest as they say is some kind of history.

Editor's note: Loki is/was of course a Norse God and maybe didn't have much of a following in Denmark...or did he?

Thursday, 7 July 2011


“It’s all I ever think about, it’s all I ever think about.” That’s what she said, she kept repeating it, over and over, like some mantra, like a prayer, a quiet cry for help as she walked away. She was tall, attractive, troubled and I was intrigued. Those within earshot could not understand this mumbling, slowly ranting woman. None of us knew quite what she meant or understood. I was fascinated, briefly, eternally, questioning so I followed. Not something I was used to doing, not my normal behaviour, tracking a strange, disturbed woman, on the edge and striding away to deal with or confront that mysterious purpose. I kept what I considered to be safe distance, I let the crowds part before her, the lights change and the barrage of traffic get between us. I borrowed a technique I’d seen in a hundred movies, change pace, stop occasionally, look away. As if aware of my inexperience she steadfastly walked on, not looking back, not turning, allowing me the luxury of this temporary moving bubble. I was closing in, may be something would happen, a sudden stop, a meeting and perhaps I’d understand.

Fifteen long minutes passed and we were out of the business district, through a shopping centre and into an area of bars, cafes, street vendors and more shifting crowds. Her brown hair bobbed ahead of me, above, below, hidden as the Red Sea gaggle of pedestrians shifted, parted and closed in. I was still in the hunt. Left down a side street, right onto a busier one and then abruptly stopping, looking at her phone and sitting down quickly on a silver chair outside of a sprawling restaurant that opened onto the street. I stood still looking blankly into an opaque pub window, I stepped to the right and began to read a wall poster, she was still on the seat, now talking on the phone, her back to me, unaware. I moved carefully and as far as I was aware naturally towards where she sat. I noticed an empty seat in a table opposite and made a bee-line. Just as I crossed the pedestrian barrier a couple laden with shopping and embroiled in a vigorous conversation beat me to it and sat, absorbed in there discussion. I prepared to turn on my heels and retire, then I saw another space, vacated by a young suit, three tables away and facing her, perfect.

A waiter was by now at her table and she ordered something. Another waiter was now by my table, “coffee, a pot and a ginger cookie please.” An automatic order made as I looked across. Both our orders arrived a few minutes later, she had tea and water, I supped my coffee, she was still oblivious of me, her faithful and unfamiliar follower. Then from nowhere (well from the street ) another woman appeared and sat down quickly at her table, it was it some electric spark flashed between them and as I watched they seemed like a pair of some sort. Both were dressed smartly, business suits, one blue one grey, skirts and heels, both from the same office or business possibly. Handbags were strategically placed on the tabletop, they then both began to lean back, creating a battle space it seemed, staring at one another, like rival sisters about to quarrel over a lover or some long running family dispute.

I cupped my coffee with both hands and leaned as far forward across the table as I dared, straining for some snippet of conversation or vital word to be borne across to me, above the street noise and café chat but there was nothing recognisable that I could sift from the babble. Now they were speaking taking turns, animation seemed to be bristling, slowly building, even without the essential key of words I could unlock that much. Suddenly the other woman stood up and squarely slapped the other, the one I’d followed, rudely across the cheek. A shriek followed and an abrupt silence…every head turned their way, as you would expect. She stayed in her seat and bowed her head, the other woman took a step back and with a stiff back straightened up. Her voice rose up from the table, she sniffed and with a trembling and whispering tone said “But I’m wearing it better…”

Friday, 1 July 2011

They (may) mean us no harm

Fair and affordable: Watching the world pass under the very tip of your nose. Perhaps you are out and about, enjoying a drink and some relaxation. Then as you sip on your coffee and munch on your caramel biscuit you remember that these are not just people that you are watching. Many of them are in fact shape shifting alien lizard tourists from the future on holiday and participating sociological studies for long periods of their visit. They arrive through the numerous sink holes in the Pacific, transported by energy beams powered by captured solar winds. Then they absorb the look of the locals by a temporary regeneration process and mingle and interact as they gather data and unwind. They mean us no harm. You have thought about it for a while, how it really was and then you were distracted. It was a rather nice cup of coffee and the biscuit was crunch and tasty, the service was fine though there was something about the waitress, was she, could she be? You park that idea and enjoy the afternoon sunshine, overall the total experience was fair and affordable. You have a fresh thought, what kind of feedback do the lizards give after their holiday?