Friday, 28 January 2011

Shakespeare (Amongst Others) In Love

It's time to get back to promoting poetry and all things romantic again...

Reprise, by Ogden Nash

Geniuses of countless nations
Have told their love for generations
Till all their memorable phrases
Are common as goldenrod or daisies.
Their girls have glimmered like the moon,
Or shimmered like a summer moon,
Stood like a lily, fled like a fawn,
Now the sunset, now the dawn,
Here the princess in the tower
There the sweet forbidden flower.
Darling, when I look at you
Every aged phrase is new,
And there are moments when it seems
I've married one of Shakespeare's dreams.

For those not already in the loop about such things, there are a couple of events in two week's time that might interest the romantic in you. It's of particular interest to those living in London.

Love Poetry,
Poet In The City

For those of you who enjoyed the above poem, and who'd like to have an evening of love poetry on Valentine's Day, either to share the night with someone you love or because it's an alternative to siting at home downing a bottle or two of wine on your own, then please come along to Kings Place on the 14th February.

Tickets £9.50 online.

My previous post about the event is HERE!

Details are HERE!

Meet. Play. Love?
Chapter 2, Are You My Partner?

Last weekend I met up with a bunch of total strangers (plus one friend) and we ended up wandering around an art gallery, discussing in depth what art we appreciated and what, quite frankly, was a bit shit. We then went to a pub, that turned out to be a gay pub with cabaret downstairs, talked about the day out, then some of us went on for pizza to discuss things like tourists who stop at the top of escalators and other random things. The people were a fun crowd, in that they were all quite interesting people with stories of their own, but also very friendly.

So, am I telling you that you've missed some cool event where you could've made a bunch of friends, where you could eat, drink and be merry (and look at art), if only you'd known? Well, not quite. That was Chapter 1. Chapter 2 will hopefully attract a handful more people and could be a meeting anywhere (within London), doing anything (within reason).

And that's where you come in. Or could come in. If you're likely to be in London alone Valentine's Day this will be a great way to not feel so alone. Chapter 2 is kind of pencilled in for the weekend just before the 14th, so you never know, you may actually end up with someone to go out with Monday night. You will, at the very least, leave with a bunch of really cool new friends which is better than a kick in the teeth.

So, yes, sorry... where do you come in? It's simple. On a very practical level it'll be nice to have people turning up. There were about ten of us last time, which was pretty cool, although the question 'Are You My Parner?' was answered pretty quickly by the six people already in relationships, leaving us with three men and one woman still looking. So more single people would be cool, and more women (although I imagine the one woman who was single had no problems with having three single men pay her attention).

On a creative level someone needs to decide what would be a fun thing to engage us all, and all ideas are welcome. There's lots of opportunities to go for something romantic and tied into Valentine's Day, but there's just as many opportunities to rebel against that and go do something random. Allan Wills, who is arranging these events after he found his wife through a similar project, travelled the world and jumped out of planes amongst other things and although we'll probably not be doing anything quite that grand it does help highlight that there are relatively few restrictions on your ideas.

The gallery event was free (the beers and food afterwards not so free, but then that was more a friendly catch up after the event itself), so it doesn't need to be anything that costs money.

My own vague ideas are:

  • Maybe something involving writing or reciting poetry
  • Maybe something at the Globe Theatre on the South Bank
  • Maybe something in Camden Market

I've got no real fully formed ideas, but those are three springboards. If anyone else has ideas feel free to visit the website HERE - or just contact me through your usual channels.

As a footnote I'd add that the AYMP project is currently sitting in London, but it's in it's infancy, and could quite possibly evolve into something a lot larger. I don't know. What I'd really like to say is don't feel you've got nothing to contribute if you're nowhere near London. Maybe you'll find online involvement brings you closer to someone. Maybe something said will encourage you to travel here. Or maybe AYMP will come to you. Who knows?

Meet. Play. Love?

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Mutual weirdness

Thought I'd repeat this quote again, in this format.
Because it's possibly one of my favourites.
Or, you know, wishful thinking... :-)

Dr Seuss says...

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."

"You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams."

"I'm afraid that sometimes you'll play lonely games too. Games you can't win 'cause you'll play against you."

"I’m glad we had the times together just to laugh and sing a song, seems like we just got started and then before you know it, the times we had together were gone."

"Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple."

"Being crazy isn't enough."

"If things start happening, don't worry, don't stew, just go right along and you'll start happening too."

"We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love."

"poor empty pants
with nobody inside them." :-)

The Weekend

There aren't enough days in the weekend.

Rod Schmidt

So here, at long last, is a lengthy blog about the weekend...

It begins Friday night, when I finished my late shift relatively early (before midnight), and went to meet my friend at The Intrepid Fox. I figured, hell, it's a fun place, I make friends there sometimes. It's a cool place when you're feeling a little lonely. My friend rocked up from a gig in Hammersmith (seeing 'The Cult') and I got talking to a guy from America, before the Fox shut and the three of us tried to get into the Crobar. My friend knows the bouncer, and so was let in, but we were told in no uncertain terms it was too full for us other two.

I might have tried to sneak in regardless. I may have been grabbed and pulled back out of the doorway. I rang my friend on the inside and explained there was no way we were getting it, but the message went straight to answer machine. At no point did I consider my friend a prick for disappearing into the bar and leaving us outside. Well, you know, not til the morning.

It was probably for the best. I got back in and to bed at about 5am. I got up and out of the house by 9.30am.


Saturday was a proposed pubcrawl, to celebrate Australia Day on the 26th January. Some of you eagle-eyed people might spot that Australia Day is closer to next weekend than this one just passed, but having been invited to this one it seemed rude to kick up a fuss. Intentionally the aim had been to get up early enough to pick up some Aussie-ish beach wear on the way to the first bar, something from Fat Face. It didn't quite work out like that so whilst friends turned up as the ladies from Sheila's Wheels, I looked like some weird confused geek.

The lady on the left, who is helpfully being pointed out here, is 'Megsy' our tour leader. She's also a participant in something called 100 Things, where people list one hundred things they'd like to do within their lives, and attempt to do so, raising money for charity in the process. Here's Megsy's 100 Things for you to look over, to applaud, to make you think, to maybe even offer assistance with. Or maybe, just maybe, it'll give you a moment to think of 100 Things of your own to complete.

We were also told about the incredible Carnivale D'Ivrea in Italy, which takes place in March. Not only told about, but invited along, and if money was no problem I'd be there like a shot. Money is a problem, however, and I really need to sort out getting my own place before arranging foreign holidays... but this looks SO cool - next year, Italy, next year!

Megsy was the first of two people I met this weekend who was working on a private project that involved inviting others along for the ride, but we'll come to the second person in a moment.

It was a pub crawl, of course, so we wandered bar to bar, and between maybe fifteen of us shared about forty free shots at some of the bars towards evening. Theoretically things could've got really messy, but I somehow managed to survive, brain intact. I had a great time dancing, though noticeably spent little time trying to flirt or engage any of the girls we met in any bars. I only really noticed that the following morning, and when the photos appeared online Sunday morning I begun to wander if looking and acting like the funny friend or the protective brother is really doing my love life any favours.

Anyway, starting at 11am and going on for just over eight hours meant it was pretty full on, but didn't go on ridiculously late. Which is just as well, as Sunday had other plans.


On Sunday I was due to meet a bunch of strangers to... well... I wasn't sure. There was a Psychological Art Game proposed at the National Gallery, and we just had to turn up to, as the tag line stated, to meet, play, love? I'd arranged to meet one friend, Chris, and potentially another, Claire, but since the latter had been on the pub crawl too (she's on the right hand side of the picture above) and was feeling a bit the worse for wear, she elected for a day with books and DVDs.

We were there to meet Alan Wills, who's recently set up the website - having previously experimented with blogging his search for love and a wife via a series of random invitations to try a date that was somewhat out of the ordinary (result = success!) he now wants to be able to resurrect the idea for other people to meet up in a series of interesting ways, to defy the idea of conventional dating. I wasn't sure what this would mean before turning up. Part of me was terrified that it might be some sort of speed-dating thing, simply within the confines of a gallery.

And yet three words intrigued me: Psychological. Art. Game. I had nothing to loose, and potentially everything to gain.

I'd found out about Allan via a mutual friend called Kate, who had met Allan during his Are You My Wife? project -whilst she'd been experimenting with her own 30 Dates in 30 Days project - and because Chris and I had met Kate via something else random and spontaneous it seemd that Allan's project might be something we could really get into. I'll admit a little trepidation to sticking my hand up and saying to the world "Okay, yes, I'm looking for someone," but when online dating seems to be an exercise in spending lots of money and enduring the humility of seeing how much people rate you out of ten (the last time I checked it had fallen from seven point five to seven), and going out is often an exercise in getting drunk in the hope that I might get drunk - and lucky - enough, well, it held some promise. And I wasn't disappointed.

Okay, so the male to female ratio was maybe stacked against the men, and of the ten people who turned up, six of them were in couples (including Allan and his wife), but it was a nice crowd of people and I'm pretty sure we'll see all of them at some point in the future, if only through further 'Chapters' in the project. I can see, as more people get involved, there is the potential for singles to get together, and that's cool, but it was just a nice dynamic this weekend, meeting a group of people like-minded enough to spend their Sunday afternoon doing something experimental.

Experimental? You want to know what the Psychological Art Game entails? I won't disclose it here, as it's something I think might work really well as a future first date, but it's on Allan's website. In conclusion though I seem to have been able to get to the heart of someone else's likes and dislikes almost perfectly (and with no idea whether I was anywhere near the mark until it was confirmed) - which is funny, because I'm always tied in knots about whether I can read someone properly, or whether I just want to read them in a particular way. So essentially I go around thinking the best, but don't do anything about it because I can't recognise the signs as being explicitly signs. My anti-rejection buffer generally stops me from doing stuff, but it's also wired up to my don't-ruin-a-good-thing circuits. So, well, those are issues I need to resolve.

I'm not sure where or what Chapter 2 will be, but since I've got the Love Poetry event I'm helping out with on Valentine's Day I think the day before, Sunday 13th February, has been pencilled in as a possible date, an 'Anti-Valentine's Day'. Which is good because it then frees up Valentine's Day for everyone - it'd be a shame not to see people for the next 'experiment' (although also nice and reassuring that they've got a person to spend that day with).

In summary a really nice bunch of people. I'll maybe summarise them in more detail following Chapter 2.


I got my hair cut. Whenever I have moments of doubt about the man in the mirror I always change how he looks, whether it be via complete beard shaving or extreme hair cut. This time I went for the short hair, as the floppy hair was making me look a little studenty. I prefer to look a little more serious, a little more cool, if only to balance out the fact that I'm not half as cool as I'd like to be.

And then I went on to teach art at the place where I volunteer. Drew a few pencil sketches, one of which another volunteer asked to take home with her, after she'd asked me a lot about my love life (relax, she's married, and trained as a social worker - oh... and another Romanian). And then, on the way to work for the evening I bought The Picador Book of Love Poems. Mainly for ideas for things to use to promote the Poet In The City event, but also as a springboard for my own poetry. It's been a while, but it's something I'd love to get back into.

The last poetry I wrote was a Sonnet I composed for my ex-wife, in a card for her to read on the morning of our wedding, with each of the ten lines beginning with a letter that spelt out her newly married name. I've not really considered anything much since til recently, and the wedding card emory had me considering Valentine's cards on the bus journey home last night.

But that's another story.

Monday, 24 January 2011

The Message of Love

Now the reason we're here
As man and woman
Is to love each other
Take care of each other
When love walks in the room
Everybody stand up
Oh it's good, good, good
Like Brigitte Bardot

Now look at the people
In the streets, in the bars
We are all of us in the gutter
But some of us are looking at the stars
Look round the room
Life is unkind
We fall but we keep gettin' up
Over and over and over and over and over and over

Me and you, every night, every day
We'll be together always this way
Your eyes are blue like the heavens above
Talk to me darlin' with a message of love

Now the reason we're here
Every man, every woman
Is to help each other
Stand by each other
When love walks in the room
Everybody stand up
Oh it's good, good, good
Say I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you

Talk to me darlin'...

The Message of Love,
by The Pretenders

Credit where credit is due. The above image was stolen from here.

Vaguely promoting forthcoming AYMP and Poet In The City events in London.

#lovers #poetry #song

RingtonesSend "Message Of Love" Ringtone to your Cell Ringtones

Because She Would Ask Me Why I Loved Her

If questioning would make us wise
No eyes would ever gaze in eyes;
If all our tale were told in speech
No mouths would wander each to each.

Were spirits free from mortal mesh
And love not bound in hearts of flesh
No aching breasts would yearn to meet
And find their ecstasy complete.

For who is there that lives and knows
The secret powers by which he grows?
Were knowledge all, what were our need
To thrill and faint and sweetly bleed?

Then seek not, sweet, the "If" and "Why"
I love you now until I die.
For I must love because I live
And life in me is what you give.

Because She Would Ask Me Why I Loved Her
by Christopher Brennan (1870-1932)


#neilcolquhoun #frank #boilingpoint

I promised I'd do this a while back, and it's been sitting in my Inbox a while, so on the back of my previous book-promoting post it's only right to address te balance and get this out there too!

The novella "FRANK - Volume 1: Boiling Point", by Neil Colquhoun, is something of an immersive experience. In a series of short podcasts the author introduces us to various characters. The first five minute episode part introduces hitman Walter, with Frank himself introduced in the second explosive episode. So far so good, but the podcast is just one of a couple of facets that blurs the line between the author and his public. I've been following Neil for a while on Twitter, and since he's been writing the Frank stories there have been competitions for listeners to get involved, to make cameo appearances within the stories.

I love this way of engaging the audience, plus the associated Infected Legion, those that have responded or otherwise helped promote the worlds of Neil Colquhoun (and, in a sense, spreading the disease) who get a little badge on his site.

Neil sums up the Frank story as follows:

Frank, a mysterious bounty hunter gets more than he bargained for in
his latest assignment. Becoming mixed up in the beginnings of a gang
war, he has to contend with a team of hit-men, who are not like your
usual guns-for-hire!

It’s a story about a a bounty hunter, a dead-but-alive hitman
partnered with an alive-but-should-be-dead criminal, an escort girl, a
man who has a taste for something bad… and the Devil!

The 'Frank' podcasts can be found here, at, and Neil is on Twitter @necol66

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Handling The Undead

Handling The Undead

Wow! I'm not quite sure how to sum that book up, but it's pretty amazing. Where as Let The Right One In was a very intimate and personal story - though perhaps less so in the book than the film - Handling The Undead takes a number of very strange phenomenom and subjects the whole of Stockholm to it. A heat wave, malfunctioning electronics, spontaneous telepathic broadcasts between people and, yes, the dead coming back to life, we see the effects these events have on a handful of people, specifically those people who are already mourning the dead, that are forced to re-evaluate things when their loved ones return. Not all of these effects are explained by the end (although I understand there's a novella length epilogue still waiting to be translated into English).

Much like Let The Right One In wasn't so much a vampire story as it was a boy confronting bullies and finding a true friend he can share an almost unconditional love with (who, okay, just so happens to be a vampire), 'Handling the Undead' is not really a zombie story, though it will appear to many as such. It cuts straight to the relationships between people, particularly family, seeing where the ties are strongest and where they fray. Ultimately it's sentimental without being mawkish, the characters are beautifully rendered and believable and the 'reliving' are simultaneously alien and human. It's also punctuated by a timeline of events as they unfold, of newspaper clippings and transcripts of interviews that make for an added dose of 'reality' that serves to remind you that these characters do not live in a vacuum, although I'd have perhaps liked to have seen a little more of what the world made of events in Stockholm. Perhaps it was beyond the scope of the book though, as the stories it does concern itself with are really engaging, and it would have been a shame to see them fighting for space with a 'bigger picture'.

There are three main families around which the book revolves:

  • Gustav Mahler, the old journalist who gets the scoop of the dead coming back to life, his daughter Anna, and her young son Elias, nearly two months dead;
  • Flora, teen goth and Marilyn Manson fan, and her grandmother Elvy, who are visited by Elvy's recently deceased husband Tore, who was still be prepared for burial; and
  • David Zetterberg, a stand up comedian, his wife Eva, who writes and illustrates children's books, and their son Magnus.

It is David Zetterberg and his son who take centre-stage for most of the book, his being the story that starts off the first chapter (after a short prologue). Shortly into the book Eva Zetterberg is tragically killed, but it is soon after that the dead begin to come back. As the reliving who was the shortest time dead befor coming back Eva remains the most coherant of the dead, although it takes her some considerable time to be able to relearn to put thoughts into words and try to relate exactly what she experiences. The three families' stories briefly entwine - Gustav is the journalist assigned to get an exclusive with David Zutterberg, although he ends up concentrating on the welfare of his grandson, and Flora is a fan of Eva Zetterberg's children's books and - being particularly sensitive - is able to eavesdrop on the thoughts of Eva's family when they cross paths.

The book ends with a handful of unanswered questions, with hostility to the dead only beginning to become apparent in the final chapters. I can't really say to what end the reliving resemble classic horror movie zombies as their motivations and nature are one of the key points addressed through out the story by the living protagonists, but it's fair to say that the story, like Let The Right One In, ends with a positive note. That's not to say it ends well for everyone, nor that the stranger events see any sort of of final conclusion (I suspect the related novella will fill in a lot of the gaps) but for the most part the three seperate families are able to find some sort of closure, or resignation. David Zutterberg's story, in particular, ends well, though it's fair to say that the three stories are all linked, that Flora's tale helps David's to reach a conclusion, and that his in turn is able to help Anna help her son.

Another really beautiful book by John Ajvide Lindqvist. I think I may have enjoyed reading it more than I enjoyed reading Let The Right One In, though that is largely because I read that book after seeing the film, and had lots of preconceptions. This book is very much a blank slate, and so I hungrily devoured it, page by page, with no idea where it would take me.

I'm very happy with where it took me. A stunning book, and I feel pretty wired having got through it. It's funny, I can go to sleep now thinking relatively happy thoughts, which is perhaps weird for a horror novel.

But then, in may ways, it's not a horror novel at all.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Love Poetry

Since I’m promoting a Love Poetry event for Valentine’s Day, I’m probably going to use this blog, over the next three weeks, as a place to post some poetry with appropriate images. Who knows, I may even write some of my own poetry and post some of my own pictures.

Watch this space. And feel free to point me in the direction of some good material. And don’t hesitate to ask me anything about either of the events I’ve mentioned over the last few days. :-)

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Do you love poetry? Do you live in London? No, wait a minute, that's too generic...

Do you love poetry about love? Will you be in London on the night of Valentine's Day (that's Monday 14th February)? Do you think you can drag someone else out for an entertaining evening of live poetry recitals in a pretty damn classy place (which, let's face it, is a little different from flowers and a local restaurant)? Alternatively, are you a single hopeless romantic who'd like to sit and listen and sigh deeply and maybe, just maybe, meet similarly single hopeless romantics (they'll be the ones sitting on their own, sighing deeply and glancing around in case that special one is also there in the audience)?

Do you have money for tickets?

You do? You are? You would? You have?

That's wonderful! Feel free (after having bought non-free tickets) to come along to the Love Poetry event, hosted by Kings Place, a lovely little place a few minutes walk from King's Cross Station, and arranged by the lovely people at Poet In The City (specifically this event is managed by the lovely Rebecca Wilkinson, the charity is chiefly executived by the lovely Graham Henderson and a whole bunch of lovely people - like me - volunteer our time to promote poetry in London, and other cities in the UK).

Here's some blurb. I'd only say much the same as this anyway, so it makes sense to just quote what is written elsewhere:

Celebrate Valentine’s Day in grand romantic style at this fabulous poetry event. Featuring a superb line up of Picador poets reading poems about love, passion and intimate relationships, properly functioning and otherwise.

Featuring the distinguished Picador poets:

Ian Duhig, Paul Farley, Annie Freud, Clive James, John Stammers, Robin Robertson and Lorraine Mariner.

Since it began in 1997, Picador Poetry has established itself as one of the leading poetry imprints in the UK, and the roll-call of Picador authors includes many of the best-known names in British and American verse.

I first went to one of these poetry events in 2010, and they're always entertaining - and, in part, why I now volunteer for them. I also went to see Clive James at Kings Place last year promoting his memoirs, and he's very entertaining in his own right. I'm looking forward to seeing him again and to discovering some more talented people. So, if nothing else, come along and keep ME company.

You'll have to buy your own tickets though. :-p

Monday, 17 January 2011

It Can't Rain All The Time...

...but it'll damn well try.

I've not really been motivated to do much this morning. I was in the mood for maybe writing some miserable poetry, which I suppose is better than nothing, but I had a book review to write and post online, which was perhaps more productive. I'm not really looking forward to my volunteer work today, as I've no idea how I'm going to bounce in all smiling. At least with the graphic design work I don't have to be happy - I can just bury myself in work for a bit.

I'm going to be like this for a few days, I think. This may mean I'm not online much. And it may mean I go seek proper human interaction with some of you until I can snap out of it.

Meanwhile, on other internet sites, I've been compared with this guy. For he always seems to be walking in the rain. I'm sure it's a metaphor.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

A little heartbreak aint the end of the world

So... there we go. Relatively painless, but actually ended a little more painful than I'd liked. Got to say goodbye, got to hear her story of where she wants to go with her life, got to confirm she's leaving and that there's not some magical way to persuade her to stay.

And, well, after that we just got drunk, and watched several hours worth of South Park, and it would've been rude to try anything by that stage.

Then just one final bowl of soup, a cup of tea, a few more awkward silences and sad looks, and a hug goodbye. Two people at different stages in their lives that might've connected better if things were different. But she's flying out on Tuesday and not coming back.

We plant roses in our hearts hoping they'll bloom into something wonderful, and yet we always plant the seeds where the thorn will do the most damage. And yet we never really learn, do we?

I'll miss her. :-(

Saturday, 15 January 2011

I’m mature / (im)mature

On Twitter someone’s said that, for my age of 36, I’m mentally very mature. Which was weird as I don’t usually feel it, and especially weird as it wasn’t some female groupie doing the usual ‘cheer up Simon’ thing.

I had to admit to him: Mentally I’m quite mature. Emotionally, very immature. It doesn’t always strike an easy balance.

I overanalysis everything, every situation, every person (yes, even you!), and quite frankly I’m terrified of putting a step wrong.

When I’m talking in general terms, like this, I can be brutally honest - it’s relatively easy over the internet. When it comes to face-to-faces I wear my mask of least-likely-to-offend. Not that I’m naturally offensive or anything. I’m anything but. I find people a pleasure to be around and value all my friendships. But I don’t rock the boat, which may be why, as a rule, I’ve got lots of female friends but generally rather than end up with one of these confirmed nice, sane and generally quite cute people I end up with psychos who see me as an opportunity for something. Although, okay, generally quite cute too.

Still. There’s a learning curve there. This week has taught me a lot about myself. When to appreciate someone for what they are and not to put yourself through shit for what they’re not. When to recognise the thing you’re chasing after is more a dancing balloon heading into space than a taxi ride to other things.

So, yes, mentally I’m mature. Emotionally I’m not. If I wasn’t the former the latter would’ve driven me insane by now. And God knows, it’s tried.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011


"In our troubled world, you hear a lot of folks calling for revolution. Down South, they're calling for evolution."

Bill Hicks

A while ago, in the mists of time, I wrote a blog that talked about how I ended up here, where I am now. Online and wasting valuable time.

It's here ( and is about as close to a Psibreaker 'Origins' story as you're likely to get short of becoming good friends with me and bonding over a weekend in a remote cottage drinking lots. Or in a flat in Amsterdam, after exploring the delights of the city (not the red-lit delights, the other ones). Both of which have been done by people I'm very happy to consider good friends. But I digress.

The END bit of that post, that first real attempt to blog I made after joining Twitter, suggested that it was "a little like the human consiousness, a stream of thought somewhere between pure polished personality and subconsious. It's vital, it's fresh, it's almost fucking alive. Most of all, I feel connected to like-minded people in a way I've not been able to before."

The thing is, I've wondered if human evolution is supposed to take us to a moment when human kind is enlightened, when thoughts can be transferred mind to mind in an instant, when we can all be as one. Cue new age music and twinkly lights. In which case Twitter is a perfect example of technology well outstripping human nature, because it's more like wandering into a crowded pub and hearing everyone trying to make a point at once than it is reaching perfect understanding of the people around us. At least we can tune out the voices we don't want to hear. Or just shout at them a lot and grind our teeth, and make angry noises.

The thing is, until mankind CAN all see eye to eye, all connect on that higher level, there will be arguements about what exact evoluntionary path we're supposed to be taking anyway. And I think that's going to be going on a long time.

Me, I'm just going to find some friends I can get along with and hold tight, enjoying the ride as long as I can. I'll keep myself evolving as long as I've breathing, developing, learning, growing, passing on wisdom or laughter or anything I can sell to make a few quid.

And then maybe I'll see you on the other side.

The evolution will not be televised. :-)

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Careful What you Wish For...

"Everything that you wanted I have done. You asked that child be taken, I took him. You cowered before me and I was frightening. I have reordered time, I have turned the world upside down, and I have done it all for you! I am exhausted from living up to your expectations of me. Isn't that generous?"

Jareth the Goblin King

There I was, minding my own business, eating some food and it struck me that sometime life, or reality, or the big bearded bastard in the sky, or the pointy bearded one in the flaming abyss, maybe they really do listen.

Careful what you wish for?

I'm feeling pretty happy with the way things appear to be heading at the moment, as if someone just decided to check the schedule and saw that, okay, it's this guy's turn to get a big helping of sprinkles on his icecream. But on reflection dreams don't come true in a snap, as if some fantastical tight-trousered spirit summoned them into being. But they do turn your whole world upside first. They have to tear things down, potentially tearing away comfortable surroundings and taken-for-granted cornerstones. They take the pain-stakingly built Lego construction of your life and reduce them to handfulls of multi coloured bricks.

Because if you're going to build your dreams up sometimes you need to get back to the basics. And work from the blocky green ground up.

I don't know if it's all worth it. I don't know if the dreams I've had in the past have been realistic or not. But many have come true, if broken down to the very basics of what I've wanted. And sometimes it feels like crawling over broken glass to find that one shining crystal of dream, of hope, of wonder.

But shining crystals are cool.

Dreams are cool.

"Magic and dreams and good madness..."

There's only so many times I can possibly say it's been a crazy few days, or variations of the same, before I start yawning myself. :-)

What may be better are a few details. So, here we go...


Friday night was a night at Katzenjammers, with Claire and co. I've been declared the Oompah Brass bands fifth official groupie, which I deny whole heartedly. :-p

I met up with the guys from Snortle Comedy; they're like the new Goodies, if only because there are three of them and Steve reminds me of a hairer version of Graeme Garden, rarely seen without glasses and suit. Chris was celebrating being unemployed, and his mothers constant attempts to point him in the direction of jobs that pay peanuts. Jamie somehow got into the place looking like a swarthy fisherman. Some said he looked homeless, but he hadn't quite got the dirty bearded look, the nicotine stained teeth and fingers or smell of beer and urine. Although I didn't check too closely.

As official groupie it is part of my job description to stand outside talking with them during smoking breaks. There were tales of weird sex, of ladies trapped in bathtubs, and of ball cupping. The latter was demonstrated on me by the tuba player. It's almost a rite of acceptance into a new circle of weird friends.

A coin toss determined I wasn't going to the Intrepid Fox. Which was good, because I hadn't got much money left for the weekend.

I got home to find myself listed in someone's Twitter #ff post as someone who looked to be promising in 2011. Which I considered incredible praise (and, frankly, a kick up the arse to perform). Thank you @Decimoo :-)


Because I hadn't got much money left for the weekend, I walked to Wimbledon Village from Kingston, to join the Wimbledon Eight pub crawl I'd promised I'd go on. I had the intention of only drink coke and water.

I got there, didn't see anyone I recognised, sent a text to the guy who arranged it then remembered his phone was buggered. I wondered around a bit, checked other pubs, and left the meeting point at about 2.30, half an hour after we'd arranged to meet.

Apparently he was late and arrived at 2.40.

Because I hadn't got much money left for the weekend I walked back to Kingston. In all that was just over two hours walking. I felt vaguely fit by the end of it.

Because I hadn't got much money left for the weekend I turned down a request from my friend Glenn to go drinking in the evening at the Intrepid Fox.

Because I hadn't got much money left for the weekend I hesitated when a girl I'd met just once when very drunk at the Intrepid Fox facebook messaged me to see if I was going.

Using advanced mathematical principals unknown outside my head, I estimated it would be possible, to go for a drink, if I only travelled by bus.

And so I went on to meet my nice new Romanian lady friend and hung out with her. And although nothing really happened much, we did spend most of the time exclusively in each others company.

And she got a massage out of it. I think that scores 'nice guy' points but I have a slight issue with always being the nice guy. It usually fucks me over in the long run.

We spoke about future plans - Slimelight in the near future, Stonehenge maybe some time in Summer.


Posted something about Slimelight and Stonehenge on Facebook. My second cousin from The Netherlands announces she wants to come too. :-)

Heading out to London I pass a dog with a pink collar that takes an immediate liking to me and decides to follow me. I've no idea who her owner is, but she keeps following, sniffing trees, investigating gardens then catching up with me. Several times I turn around and attempt to find her owner and then, when she's occupied sniffing something, turn around. After the first couple of attempts I try to put a car between us. The last time, near the end of the road, she nips into a garden and I run like crazy, round the corner, round another one, and keep running for the best part of a minute. This wouldn't be so bad if I were not carrying a large boardgame and what looks like a giant metal dildo (it's in fact an elaborate case for a card game, designed to look like a bullet - but a bullet that's about the size of a bottle of wine).

The dog, apparently, is unable to pick up my scent.

I met up with friends to play boardgames near London Bridge, including one that takes the piss out of the War on Terror, and one that takes the piss out of Chavs (and is loosely based on Monopoly). One of my friends confided with me that he'd been wanting to get down to Slimelight with his mate, and so a plan was hatched. I think I've got a good new friend in John - I didn't realise we had such similar tastes before today.

Went home feeling good but had a bit of a come down moment. Possibly because the alcohol was wearing off. Possibly because I half hoped to hear from my Romanian friend. Possibly because what goes up must come down.


Checking my Inbox in the morning I find a long email from a celebrity confiding me to secrecy, so have to write a reassuring message back. That was weird.

I fired off a message to my Romanian friend about Slimelight and Stonehenge.

Most of today is devoted to my volunteer work with two charities: Sutton Centre of Independent Living and Learning and Poet in the City. During the first I draw my 'Under A Cheshire Cat Moon' pic, which I scan and drop into Facebook and Tumblr along with another bunch of pictures later that day. Get some nice responses. I'm happy.

Poet in the City is an evening meeting. At Kingsplace, Kings Cross, we discuss upcoming events. I've already volunteered to help with the 'Love Poetry' event on Valentine's Day, but discover that what I thought was a one off event called Borderlands, about poetry from eastern Europe ("Ooo, Romania's in eastern Europe") is, in fact a run of about six events that are all tied to Romanian poetry. Wow! So, well, yes, I sign up to that too.

I'm also asked if I'd like to take at least part responsibility for Blogging and Tweeting on behalf of the charity. Wow. Sure. Yeah. Okay.

And then in a taxi ride to Waterloo station I am told by the guy who runs it about a book of poetry they once produced, and how he had me in mind to design the next version. Wow! I've already done something a little like this as a private project, ambient photography cut together with what I considered cool quotations. So... yes, yes, yes!

I get home to find my dad watching the film version of Aeon Flux. And find replies from my Romanian friend, who says she's still up for Slimelight, she's glad that I'm taking Stonehenge seriously and she likes the fact that I'm nice.

So... yes. Eventful. A very eventful few days. I think I'm allowed to chill out just a bit today. Just a bit, mind.

"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself."

Neil Gaiman

Amen to that. I almost feel like wheels are turning where I can't see them, as if someone has decided this year should be a good year for me.

I bloody hope so. :-)

From Tumblr. And an indication of maybe where I'm going this year. :-)

Sunday, 9 January 2011

From Dave McKean's Cages.

Words, words, words...

It's been a crazy weekend. And all I really want to do is write and write and write, to try to get things out of my head and onto what passes for paper here, this strange little bundle of memories, inspirations, insecurities, sights and sounds and songs, all bubbling away, threatening to spit and splash and startle and... and... I don't know what to write. I don't know where to start and I don't know where's the truth and where's the fiction.

It's been a crazy weekend. It's been a GOOD weekend. Life threw a few curve balls, decisions I might not have made were made for the better and I'm all the happier for every little anecdote this weekend has thrown up. But I just think I'm coming down a bit.

I think I need to stop thinking so damn hard.

I think maybe I should go listen to music until I can't keep my eyes open any more.

Maybe a little longer.

It's been a crazy weekend. And maybe the first of many this year. And maybe posting Neil Gaiman's New Year's Message was a step towards ensuring it all comes true.




Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Happy New Year

This is something I stumbled across online earlier today, something Neil Gaiman said once at the end of 2001, then repeated in 2004 before deciding that every three years was just about right. And so, after 2007 he reached 2010 and had the following to say. And although these aren't my words I'd like to pass on the sentiments to you...

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.

And, once upon a time, he performed an extended version of this before a live audience, as can be found here:

I don't know what my coming year promises, let alone yours, but here's to good things. Happy New Year, every one of you. :-)