Monday, December 7, 2009

Belated first travel post

So, we're back in the land of the fat grey cloud.
After an amazing week-or-so in Austria we jetted back into wonderful ole Gatwick Airport, walked several miles in from the gate (including a lengthy detour "For Non-EU Passport Holders" that brought us out right next to all the EU Passport Holders, who hadn't just had to zigzag for a mile or so), collected our soaking wet suitcase, bought a vaguely expensive train ticket, and sprinted to catch the train to Havant.
We needn't have bothered.
The train itself was delayed by ten minutes - which was okay - but no sooner had we got on than things began to go slowly wrong. Not big-engine-failure-and-subsequent-high-speed-derailment-and-fire wrong, just little wrong. Dubious-toilet-door wrong. Conductor-standing-on-the-phone-nearby-and-sighing-a-lot wrong.
The reasons for his sighs soon became apparent. He got on the PA system, apologised briefly, and then informed us that "..due to a, ah, er, well, a fatality at Figglestone East-Hunking (I may take some artistic liberty with place-names, forgive me) there will be a bit of a delay, and then we will be making a straight-through service along the Hough line, missing Burnham and Grundle and all subsequent stops up to Little-Drippings-Upon-Gingham, whereupon any passengers for, ah, Burnham, or Grundle, will be able to get off the train, and catch a bus service, or a different train, I'm as yet unsure, back to the, ah, stations there. And their subsequent destinations. Sorry again, I'll have more information as it comes to me. As it is, ah, forthcoming. To me. Sorry."
And so the tone was set for the remainder of the journey. We hurtled along at a fairly good chop for some time (presumably the straight-through service on the Hough line), with the conductor occasionally making vague announcements - which did a good job of passing his complete ignorance of the situation on to us, but not much else - until we reached L-D-U-G, and usual service was resumed.
By 'usual service' I mean the train would trundle along for a while, then stop for no good reason, sit silently for a time, then move on again. Occasionally we would stop at a station, nobody would get off, and nobody would get on. Eventually we got to a station and the conductor got on the blower again.
"Ah, it would, ah, appear that this train now, because of the delays and rescheduling, will no longer be going all the way through to Bognor Regis, I repeat, this train will no longer be going through to Bognor Regis, it will be terminating at Southhampton Central. Sorry, ah, for that particular problem, I've only just been informed of it myself, so passengers needing Bognor Regis will have to disembark the, ah, train now, and get on the, ah, next one that comes through for Bognor."
A healthy string of cursing from the end of our carriage indicated a passenger who was less than satisfied with these arrangements.
He needn't have worried.
Shortly after he and the other grumbling passengers unfortunate enough to be going on to Bognor had disembarked, our poor conductor was back.
"I've just received some new information, this train will actually be going to Bognor, but everyone else who needs any other stop on the line will have to get off and get on the train to Southhampton Central which is waiting on the other side of the platform. Sorry again." He then had a brief whine about how it wasn't his fault and we did all actually feel a bit sorry for the poor chap.
But we left him behind anyway and made our way without incident to Havant, and then we were absorbed into Caroline and David's wonderful house and hospitality.
The next day we settled in for a good day's flobbing, to recuperate post-Austria. Movies were watched. Toasted sandwiches were toasted, and subsequently eaten.
It was a good day.
That night we had good ole English fish and chips, minus the mushy peas. We vowed to make something of the next day.
We almost did.
After a pretty relaxed morning we set off to Gunwharf Quays, where there is a great array of DFO shops and such, as well as some pretty good eateries and bars. Effie was in heaven, and purchased a lovely jumper very cheaply. She is presently sulking pretty mightily because we haven't gone back there today.
Anyway. After our shopping experience at the Quays, we went back to Martin and Julie's place, sat about a bit, then headed out for a curry. The reason for this was Martin having retired the same day, so celebration was in order. The meal was great, and the restaurant let you bring your own beer as well as wine, so I thought the whole affair rather splendid.
And it was. Once we finished up Martin and Julie went elsewhere for a drink with friends, and we adjourned to the house via an off-license, where we may or may not have bought some particularly potent 8.4% cider called "K" which had a blurb on the side that read like the liner notes for "Powerthirst 3 - Alcoholicalypse."
Lucky there weren't many of them, as they were pretty savage. Then we went to a nearby bar which is supposed to be good but when we arrived there was a cover-charge, a DJ, and all the hallmarks of a pub putting on airs as a club. Needless to say, I was unimpressed, and left (Effie had stayed home due to fatigue [possibly cider-induced]) as soon as other people stopped buying drinks for me, which was actually quite late.
Next morning we rose, feeling a tad rough, but very excited for the day ahead. This was because Martin had generously (they were thirty quid apiece) got us tickets for a premier league match between two titans of the league: Portsmouth and Burnley (this is less sarcastic than it sounds, Portsmouth [or "Pompey"] won the FA cup a few years ago. They have since let their form slide a little, and are currently sitting at the bottom of the ladder facing relegation). We were still pretty excited, regardless.
The atmosphere in the stadium was good when we arrived (hope springs eternal for football fans, I suppose), with some gentlemen in one of the end-stands beating a drum, ringing a bell, and starting chants which tended to go "Hey-ohhh Pompeeey, hnnngh-ahh Pompey" and something like "Rory" or "Robbie", I could never tell which. It was all pretty exciting in an incomprehensible way. Kind of like watching those Japanese game-shows while sleep-deprived, in that sense.
The game kicked off and both sides proceeded to play the worst half of soccer I have ever witnessed. It was probably the worst term of any length, in any game, I have ever witnessed. Ever. It was simply, plainly, diabolically awful. There were wild, two-footed tackles, horrid dives, appalling passes, and when the few goal-chances presented themselves, they were, by and large, fluffed horribly.
When, at one point, a Portsmouth attacker found himself dribbling the ball at a goal defended only by a panicking keeper - the other two defenders having managed to trip themselves over while tackling - he decided, against all logic, commonsense and instinct (not even taking into account the tortured pleading howls of the crowd), to stop. And stop he did, before clumsily passing the ball back towards a player on his own team who was standing somewhere near the corner of the box. Needless to say, the ball was intercepted, taken up the other end, and another chance was mangled there.
Worse than this was a penalty (again, for Portsmouth) which the Burnley keeper managed to knock back to the guy who took the penalty, who proceeded to head it almost straight back at the small area that happened to still contain the keeper's hands.
There were evidently some serious talking-to's given out in the half-time break, because the second half was a lot better.
No longer did Pompey constantly pass the ball backwards. No longer did Burnley manage to trip over their own legs while running.
Assisted by their acrobatic keeper (who played an absolute blinder, just for the record, stopping two shots that looked in for all money), Portsmouth found form and slotted two goals past the Burnley keeper (who ended up having a pretty bad day, all told).
So we saw premier league goals get scored, and got to take part in the exuberant jumping-to-one's-feet-and-screaming that occurs when your team scores.
Then we walked home in the rain and ate burritos.
Next day the weather was better, so we went out to the farm and Effie, Harry (another visiting Australian who like Slayer and Top Gear and was like fifteen) and Megan rode horses through a wood. While they did this myself and Martin walked through said wood. It was all pretty pleasant, and Effie's horse was called Aztec, but he was a pony, and he looked like a rugged beast of the steppe, so I called him Genghis, and whispered tales of pillaging and warfare into his ear when nobody was looking. This may explain why he later came over all bumptious, and attempted to leap across a creek, injuring Harry's nether-regions, as well as trying to buck Megan for no good reason at all. He had a fire in his eye.
Then we watched Batman Begins.
Today we've mooched in preparation for the beginning of our big rail journeys on the morrow, and I've spent a lot of time fiddling with the fire. It must remind me of home, or something.
At present I'm drinking a cup of tea and listening to the stereo coming through from the kitchen while Effie sits behind me on the couch intermittently reading To Kill A Mockingbird (again) and drawing a picture. Things are pretty good.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Check Your Bathrobe

I am filth in a striped jumper.

I am Eros in polyester; Cupid with a keyboard.

A wettening, a fattening, a rush of blood
nether, a twist of a nipple, a feather
tracing insouciance.

I am your ignored urges; thoughts entertained, stripped and fucked.

A stinging slap, hot wax, a lingering
grope, raw ankles scored ragged by rope,
ball-gagged and bound.

I am Russian pornography, pixelated, plotless; sweat with a thousand-dollar budget.

I’m a maiden taken, a ballgown torn, a husband
seduced, three lipstick lesbians reduced
to two stabbing planes of motion.

I am your second spouse; that first finger.

I’m a glance, a laugh, a come-hither static
touch, a playful spark sucking your soul
from the end of your finger.

I am your favourite loss of control.

I’m the best friend you never had.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Some Whimsy

come in dozens
and sixes
and singles.

They bulge at the bottom
and taper at the top
and dance everything imaginable in between.

If you hold them right to the light,
you can catch a rainbow
in your hand.

They’re black, and white,
and filled to bursting
with shattering vibrant colour and

They sparkle
with velveteen brilliance
and pink-brittle promises.

They make beauty
until your head fills with nonsense
and flitting amazement you wouldn’t swap for
the world.

Then, with a yawn, they’re gone,
lost in the calm before the

Moths batter my window, blind-trying for
the great white light.
What I would swap for wings
and such simple ambition.

Monday, August 31, 2009


There is a foot on my throat. And hands
holding my arm (the arm that isn’t thras
hing pretty wildly looking for somethin
g to grab, the arm that is held at the wri
st, the elbow). The hands and the foot a
re working in concert, pulling and push
ing neatly slowly gently so that my hea
d is squashed meatly lowly ment’lly ag
ainst my shoulder and squeeeeezing bo
th my carotids sht. The arm, my arm th
at isnot held fined find finds somethinn
nng nnngh to grab to pinch to to to clari
ty. The pinch, the roll, the fulcrum. The
se are the basics, I know so I stop strug
gling and squeeze my hand and my han
d is pnching the sqeeze away justf ast e
nough ntil I am able to roll my head for
wards and find relief and a way in. He i
s bigger than I amd but not as fast or lit
he or dazed so it takes him longer longe
r to realise I am no longer choking and I
have rolled away, around, and kept hold
of the leg and he is like a flipped beetle
as I make my feet and his other leg kick
s at me so I let it fly and slip around the
m both and he has realised now what is
going on but it is rather too late for him
I am astride him looking to drop elbows
on his unguarded scone so he rolls to his
side and I let him and then push him for
ce him further with my knee and I insin
uate myself an arm around his neck and
under his arm we roll to my back, him a
ll arms scrabbling and me thinking legs
and tightening mine around his body ho
oking heels inside his thighs and he gets
an arm in his ham-hands and pulls it aw
ay but this gives me the opening I desire
and the other arm snakes around his lov
ely lumpen throat and I shake away his
hands and calmly place my hand atop h
is shaven head and my other hand meets
my elbow and now, now it is my turn to


I sit with my bambinos and my
tea and my Radiohead and I chew
and swill and listen to the whine
and clatter of the wind in the roof.

I plant my feet and my head and
try to make myself

I want the puns of old, my jaunt
-y tossing wordplay and my will
-ingness to try things and to may
-be write something not so-so stilt
-ed and cold.

I wish to be emptied
of synthetic
Vitamin A and the backlog of words
which bounce rogue-fireworklike
through the tight tunnels of my brain but
fizzle when they reach my fingers and leave
me – hands stuck-paused inches from keys –
spitting damp paper and sulphur.

I am all words these days
they are just the wrong


See that boy.
See him through this

Look along the sinuous
of his
Follow the line of his shoulder until it is
by the small nub
of a nipple
which peeks
from behind.

Leave the boy now,
move back to the model.

See the swell
of breast
sweep to the smooth
ridge of collarbones
brushed by the tips
of the frame for the face.

A nymph with a
PhD in Coquette
(Sm.Rk, LuS.Te, 1st Class).
Slyly stealing the gaze,
she is the stuff of
and oils
on canvas.

Fitting then,
that behind her the
painter holds her tightly at
the waist,
her straddling her straddling him.

They are versions

See that boy.
A clumsy perversion
an intrusion
filling the corner of the
He would be ignored
or just not
if they were not
holding him in.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Pillow-Faced Introductions

Disaffected. Sounds like a six-year-old trying to get their tongue around household cleaning products.
Sounds like tinny strains of second-hand iPod angst on the bus.
Sounds like your midweek binge.
Sounds like your shitty band and the sigh of your teacher when you've just failed Modern World History through nonattendance.
Sounds kinda like being thirty-eight and jaded when you're seventeen and stupid.
Unhappy and snappy at your pore ol' parents.

And we are, aren't we? Wallowing in our self-pity and carelessness at the bottom of the vast caldera left by the last fifty years. Hell, sixty years.
Sixty-odd years ago the youth were running across battlefields with carbines and hand-grenades to kill for King and Country.
Fifty years ago things were boring, admittedly. They were getting over the war, though. And they had a proper depression. They had an excuse.
Forty years? Shit, you might have taken a pill back then and you still wouldn't have woken up by now. You could grow a beard and fuck your best friend's sister. Catch-22 came out.
The seventies? You could watch bands who were fucked-up on real drugs. You could build a house wherever you wanted. You could blame everything on the sixties.
Admittedly, the eighties weren't so great in retrospect, but at the time, you had a licence to kill with your hair. Nothing was off limits. They took the mullet and permed it. Then they wore headbands and lycra and vinyl. Bright Lights, Big City, man. Lead in petrol was still a great idea. The keytar was fair game. Sonic Youth presciently saw a Teen Age Riot.
The nineties. Nevermind. American Psycho. Oil wars. Flannelette. Fallout. The playstation. Damn, it was the last decade in the millenium. Mobile phones were a luxury.

When you look at it like that, what have we got? Terrorism. iPods. Crazy frog. Postmodernism. Widespread stupidity and ignorance. Crystal Meth. Myspace. Global warming.

Small wonder the youth spend their time drinking premixed vomit and fucking each other stupid and pirating music and reading Cosmopolitan (Yeah, girls, read this and you'll fit in anywhere. Just so long as whoever you're trying to fit in with is a slave to Cosmo as well).

We live in Heller's Rome, without the war. We've got no excuse, with the possible exception of "Whatever.", which won't really cut much ice when the Germans arrive.
I guess we can fall back on the Products-Of-Our-Society line.
Or we can just blame it on being young.

I was bored, what can I say.

Next time: Blawg lite, 99% cynicism free. And if you text in your unique code you get a free ringtone.