Sunday, 12 May 2019

View from Planet Earth

Another amazing day visiting this incredible planet — view from the surface looking up towards outer space . . .

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Breaking News

My old white T-pot fell off the shelf today
Shattered into about a million pieces
It was one of those Art Deco ‘Stay Hot’ models
That originally had a spherical chromium-plated jacket
Hinged at the ‘equator,’ and with a clasp
Lined with brown felt so that the tea would — stay hot
Without the need for an ‘old fashioned’ tea cosy
Like your grannie might have knitted 
From bits of wool left over from other things
But somewhere along the line
The pot and its jacket had parted company
That’s the way of things, I suppose

I remember once at a party
The very same T-pot and the jacket got opened up
Perhaps someone was intending to make some tea
But got distracted, or had the sudden impulse to dance
But in the meantime someone had been using the bottom half of the teapot jacket as an ashtray
Stubbing out their cigarettes on the felt lining! 
Can you believe it? 
Using the felt-lined chromium-plated jacket of an Art Deco teapot
As an ashtray! 
But I suppose that’s the kind of thing that happens at parties
When people have had a lot to drink
I’ve done lots of crazy things myself
At parties

Inside the pot the glaze had crazed
There was a latticework of crazy glaze
Stained brown by all the tea that had passed through it over the years
Although it hadn’t been used so much since teabags came along
So easy to take one out of the box
Drop it in a mug
Add hot water and a bit of milk
And bang it around with a spoon for a while
Until it looks the right colour 

Especially as no one really comes round any more 
For tea
So it’s not worth making 
A pot
And getting all the cups and saucers out
People will ‘like’ something you put on FaceBook maybe
And say, “Yeah, we must get together sometime.”
But you never seem to get the time
People are ‘busy’
Doing ‘stuff’

I can’t now remember the last time I used it
Perhaps it felt a bit neglected
A bit redundant
Like me
Perhaps it even jumped on purpose
I would understand 
If it did

In fact
Amongst the broken pieces
The piece between the pot and the base of the spout
Where there are lots of little holes
To stop the tealeaves going through
I found the dried up body of a spider
Which just goes to show
I wasn’t using it that often

Wednesday, 1 May 2019


Every morning I awoke
And listened to the blackbird’s song
Somewhere nearby, unseen, perched on a branch 
Or a chimney pot, in the crepuscular dawn
Come rain, wind, snow, Trump, Brexit . . .

I took it for granted
Like the sunrise
Or water out of the tap
And then, one morning
He was gone
And all I could hear 
Was the distant rumble of traffic

1st May 2019

Tuesday, 30 April 2019


Such wonderful creatures, cows
We all like to see them
Chewing away in the fields
Giving us that —
           funny old life isn’t it . . .

They look so natural
In the landscape of grassy fields and hedges
Their black and white camouflage a bit eccentric 
And entirely useless 
Yellow plastic tabs stapled to their ears
Swishing their tails to keep the flies away
Udders swollen up with milk
For our Cornflakes, muesli, and cappuccinos 
Very pastoral
Seeing cows
In fields

Saturday, 13 April 2019

The Dark Side of the Moon

In the Plaza of the Moon
Where sunlight and shadows 
Play their daily routine 
A revolving city sundial
I met a woman dressed in black
Her lips painted brightly red
An open invitation, I already knew
“We fuckie fuckie,” she said
In case I didn’t entirely get her drift
I asked her her name
She answered —
“Twenty Euros”

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Fluffy Jumper

I'm sitting in the pub
It’s lunchtime, special offers
I’m an old person, reading the paper
Anonymous, transparent, thoroughly unremarkable 
Pint of beer, sipping slowly
Nothing much else to do
My grey hair, a bit sparse on top
And my face has long since given up its struggle with gravity
Still a bit self conscious about my hearing aids
Even though you can hardly see them
Bit different than when I was a boy.
All around a murmur of voices
A shopping list, a hospital appointment, a dog that has halitosis 
Good deal on sausages this week at Tesco 
It’s all STORY
And there’s always some kind of nonsense on a screen nearby

For some reason, or none at all
I start to think about that girl I used to know
Way way back in time
Before all the cells in my body got replaced with those I have now
Forget her name
But she wore a fluffy jumper
Charcoal grey, or black?
Maybe I was seventeen
Or there a-bouts

Somewhere in my brain
Resides the tactile memory of that fluffy jumper
And all it contained 
Drone air strike in …
Fluffy jumper 
(some famous person) getting married…
Fluffy jumper 
England all out for one hundred and twenty nine…
Fluffy jumper...
I see house prices are ….
Fluffy jumper
Snow and sleet moving in from the north west…
Monique perhaps?

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Finding Tom

A few years back I found myself working on Star Wars Episode One (the first of the ‘prequels’). To begin with I was fixing up a few old R2D2 units, which had survived (somehow and somewhere) from the earlier trilogy, while the other ‘modellers’ were earnestly following detailed drawings supplied by the art department. (It was very serious you know —STAR WARS— and all that…).
Later, being at something of a lose end, but still with time to serve out my ‘contract’ I was given free reign to make some droids of my own, using the vast storeroom of parts which had been assembled, and were completely at my disposal. These ‘droids’ were supposed to be only for set dressing, but two of them ended up being used in action sequences. Of course, this being the movie business, it was non stop cocaine snorting and we often hung out with George Lucas and Ewan McGreggor. (No, not really, though they did drop into the workshop once or twice.)
Anyway, this is all back-fill, set dressing, if you will.
At that time I was living in North London, leaving the house at 6:30 every morning to drive up to Leavesden via the North Circular and the M1. But it was my good fortune to meet Simon, one of the crew, who lived just up the road in Holloway. Since we lived near each other we thought it would make sense to share the driving, and the petrol. Now, Simon was a big Tom Waits fan, and for some reason I hadn’t ‘got’ TW at this point. The days it was Simon’s turn to drive I began to dread the choice of music, which was invariably Tom Waits, at full volume, at 6:45am. But a few weeks later, having got to know each other better, Simon invited me one evening to his flat, where a few friends were gathered. By this time Simon was incorporating one of my sculptures into an animation he was making on his computer. Needless to say Tom was on on the stereo, but because we were trying to be creative with the animation, and talk to each other, the volume was reduced to a point where I was having to strain my ears to hear it.
That’s when the Epiphany happened.
Without the confrontation of the growly voice full up in my ear, I was straining my ears to listen, which in that instant I realised was great music.
I’ve been hooked ever since.
Coming from the hippy generation, it was of course part of my birth right to listen to everything at volume eleven. But now age and experience has taught me that, like looking, where your eyes have to search and find, your ears similarly have to reach out to really ‘hear.’