Sunday, 30 December 2007

Happy New Year

Again. Well I hope you get what you want and not what you deserve in 2008; here are my wishes for the year:

1. See 2009.

2. er...

3. That's it.

actually that's not quite it. I'd like to resolve the mess that is my professional, personal, artistic and spiritual life once and for all. But that brings me back to No1 so I guess I'll just bumble on.

My New Year's Resolutions:

1. Stop giving New Labour the benefit of any doubt over any aspect of legislation or ethics. I'm still saying to myself "oh well, perhaps x law won't diminish freedoms of speech, assembly, movement or the right to a fair trial or the right to know when one is breaking the law..." and I'm always wrong. Any system where you can be fined, not for smoking in defiance of a law, but for not displaying government propaganda on behalf of that law, needs to be smashed and smashed quickly.

2. Finish The Brothers Karamazov. Three times I've started this and three times I've got to page 500.

3. Stop swearing in blog posts. And "bugger", "bollocks", "crap" and "bloody" don't count as swearing.

4. Publish some decent poetry instead of the shite I have been turning out, the toe-curlingly crap stuff I've written this year.

5. Find somewhere to live.

6. Finish the Paradiso. I can't help it but on every re-reading of The Divine Comedy I get stuck mid way through the Paradiso. It's just dull.

7. Get a hair transplant. Yes, laugh. But the fact is, without hair you are nothing. And what the hell has happened to mine I don't know. It's fucked off, probably bored to tears.

8. Stop being a ****. And I don't just mean ****, oh no, I mean stop being a ****.

9. Read Hegel.

10. Consume Stella in quantities that more accurately meet government targets and sustainability requirements with regard to the diversity of relationships within my bodily community, going forward.

11. Never, ever, write in jargon. Even for work policies.

The Not So Iron Man

Currently reading Letters of Ted Hughes and very good they are too; though you have to read extremely carefully between the lines a lot of the time, especially the 1961 and 1962 letters, and there is disappointingly little about his own methods of writing, (a lot about Crow, though, which is fair enough).

Of The Iron Man he writes:

I intended it as a blueprint imaginative strategy for dealing with a neurosis. That is, ideally anybody familiar with that story will have a plan of action for dealing with neurosis in themselves. It is a story intended to cure the mentally sick, and to put people in contact with their real nature.


I don't think he was taking the piss, but I have to admit this had never occurred to me. Assuming it is the space-bat-angel-dragon suffering the neurosis, I suppose he means you need someone to challenge you, and to force yourself into change by agony and defeat. But the dragon thingy is not changed, as much as trapped by the terms of its defeat by the IM. It might have got out of its neurosis through its defeat and collapse but it had no choice. Maybe that's the point. A more interesting concept is that the IM himself is not quite himself: he falls to bits and puts himself together at the beginning (which strongly reeks to me of a shamanic experience), is hidden underground for months and eats every bit of metal in sight. He only agrees to take on the dragon when the child offers him limitless metal for life - he's a surprisingly unaltruistic hero. And he goes into the fire three times. but he spends the rest of his life aimlessly chewing metal (until the events of the not-as-good but still cool Iron Woman, at least). The Iron Man seems to me the one with the problems, although admittedly he's not trying to destroy earth.

But this brings me to my next point. It's a lazy and dull idea, sure, but I think The Iron Man is an allegory. The Iron Man=Ted. Metal=poetry. Farmers=critics. Space-bat-angel-dragon (controversial, this)= Sylvia. The reason is this. The sbad is originally a star spirit meant to sing beautiful songs to the universe (ie to write lovely poetry). Through the ghastliness of earth it ends up with a mass of serious problems (somewhere in the letters he refers to the damage she would do to people who loved her); and the Iron Man defeats it ("...the way I caused Sylvia to suffer..."p218) by fire, making it his slave but freeing it to resume its original function (ie in death she becomes the poet she was going to be). I guess the allegory breaks down here...

I can hear my dear readers ask why I am spending my life thinking about this crap. The main reason is that I have taught the damn book about a million times to primary children so it's kind of stuck in my head.

Anyhow, as a parting shot: I still think Ted Hughes is an underrated poet, whose reputation will grow as time goes on. He really was one in a million. As was Sylvia Plath. No doubt the controversial Graham Hancock would claim Ted Hughes as one of the 2% of the population who can experience shamanic-type visions without the aid of fasting or drugs...perhaps he was. It says a lot that when he died I remember the Torygraph writing, "at the tragically early age of 68". With someone like him, only a lifespan of 150+ would have seemed enough.

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Happier Christmas?

I hope, dear reader, you have had (are having) are finer Christmas than your drummer. I've spent 48 hours in bed as a result of some kind of ghastly vomiting bug and am only just feeling better today. Reading about DK's Xmas breakfasts and copious dinner only makes me feel even more annoyed.

Consequently I haven't seen Doctor Who yet, but I gather it was viewed by 12.2million. That's the highest individual rating since 1979 (City of Death part 4 I think) and it's still only the overnights. We can expect the final figure (ie once the likes of me have watched it) to top 13 million. For someone who remembers 1989's parade of 3 and 4 million figures, this is just bliss.

Actually, apropos my illness, I wonder if I haven't been reading too much Susan Howatch and have come down with a terrible spiritual crisis for which I have been leaving hints and guesses for any budding spiritual director to ride to my assistance with...maybe not. Red cabbage it was, then.

Monday, 24 December 2007

Lord of the Files

Arsey stood before the desk, and saw the late afternoon winter sun strike off its polished exterior like a revelation, as if he were a religious figure of importance.

"Come on, Phil," he said nervously, twitching his water-resistant watch, "you know who did the work on the Health and Safety Policy, you know I went to the H&S: Towards a Happier, Safer Future courses."

Phil was unmoved and remained behind the desk, his face impassive as he looked at his monitor. It seemed to be tanning him.

"Phil," implored Arsey.

"Shut up, Arsey and fuck off out of my office."

"But I've made the appointment, I've been through HR, I've had it in the diary for weeks-"

"Fuck off."

"I wrote the policy, Phil, and now you're just going to present it to the board like it was yours." Arsey's sweat was becoming intolerable. He rose from his chair leaving a thong-shaped streak of arse-sweat on the leather seat. He tried to wipe it with one of Phil's tissues, but Phil just laughed, still encased by the document he was adapting.

"I said, fuck off. I've got the lever arch file," and he tapped the buff coloured folder on the desk. "Besides, the board elected me CEO and I write the policies and I take responsibility and I take the fucking credit. Now get out and write me that policy on diversity that was due last week."

"Come on, Phil, you know I haven't had time. I've been at the diversity seminars and I spent three days last week at the Appropriate Language course. By the way you can't tell a subordinate to fuck off. It's-"

"Fuck off." Phil stood up, and took the lever arch file off the desk.

"It's not right, it's harassment and it references hundreds of years of oppression by the dominant hierarchy and-"

"Fuck off, Arsey, and get the policy written before I fire you for being a twat."

Arsey's perspiration dripped down his face and he felt the late, global-warming flies inch towards his bounty of stale and salt-heavy sweat.

"Actually, twat is an offensive term of-" he felt the kick of Phil's Doc Marten's in his luxuriantly padded arse, "unless you were using it to reclaim it for-" bang went another kick, on another cheek, like an atom bomb. "And if you weren't, I could sue you for-"

And the door closed, and another policy was done; and all Phil could think as he slunk back into his leather chair was: Jesus these guys are wankers.

Friday, 21 December 2007

A Unique Experiment

As an expert in mind altering substances, as is the birthright of all human beings (c Graham Hancock), I was tonight privileged to be asked to test a little known narcotic, which, as I am told, goes by the name of "Stella Artois". I was asked, by a Mr C Smith*, if I could report my experiences to the world of my intake of this substance.

The first effect I noticed was upon my wallet. It immediately began to feel lighter on the pronounciation of the sacred words: "Pint of Stella, please". I believe that sometimes Stella-shamans are known simply to point to the appopriate "pump" (clearly this term derives from long forgotten methods of deriving alcohol) to obtain their Stella. I left the "bar" with my wallet lighter by the sacred "two-ninety"; I have been assured that this may be, as appropriate, "two-ninety-five" or, in certain areas, "three-ten".

Having had my wallet lightened by such an amount I sat down to taste it. It was cold, light, honey-ish (from inferior bees, perhaps) and of a golden, rich-piss colour.

Immediately upon drinking my tensions evaporated and I was enabled to read the ancient document known as "The Times" (I have on previous occasions sampled "The Daily Telegraph", but I have never dared to approach either "The Guardian" or "The Daily Mail" - I have been told that this latter can have a serious, even permanent effect upon the unwary experimenter).

I soon began to notice that the piss-poor music I had ignored upon my entry assumed a more powerful aspect: "Rihanna" and "The Hoosiers" sounded, not like cheap-standard EMI toss, but like fellow shamans, on their own, private journeys into the recesses of the human psyche. "Stop The Cavalry" by Jona Lewie, as referenced previously by this blog, occasioned a tear after a mere 1 pint of Stella.

The pint, incidentally, is a long held measure of this drug. It is thought by some that it is "just right". My own researches suggest that it may have been designed by our ancient ancestors to facilitate a key marking of psycho-active quantities AND bladder concentration. Could the human bladder have emerged into full evolutionary form at the same time as the brain AND tongue, around 40 000 years ago? As I sipped the amber liquid, I doubted it. More on this later.

After one pint, I enjoyed "The Times", though I found myself "tutting" at what are known as "PC gone mad" stories. I had heard that reactionary tendencies are a frequent side effect of Stella, but I was unprepared for that fact that these are surely not just the manufactured effects of a drug, but are windows into truth. What I experienced here, of authoritarian bastards masking their controlling impulses with a veneer of "respect", "fairness", or "tolerance", is, I believe, a portal into humanity's ancient origins.

After two pints, nothing more had occurred, though I needed more of what are known as "crisps". These curious beings jump and dance around one's mouth, releasing the inhibitions against one's desire for more Stella, and so they are a crucial part of the experience. Stella-shamans are known to match each pint of Stella to a packet of crisps. Needless to say, I tried to keep up!

After three, something curious occurred. The world began, not to spin, but to dance: a slow, ethereal, lovely dance. My pasts began to swim into view with every sound I heard; my every utterance bathed in genius and my own prejudices assumed the status of unimpeachable fact. It was quite extraordinary. I can only compare this state to a vicarious life, such as those who live through celebrity.

At the same time, I should report, I noticed an upswing in aggression: towards leftwingers, bastards, tossers, fuckwits and arseholes. Twats also. Dickheads, perhaps not so. My inclination was not to kill or maim them, but merely, should I come into contact with any of these groups, to confront them and perhaps disabuse them of their peremptory notions of human existence.

Finally, I ended my session after four pints, owing to an absence of "money" and an increase of shame at the concept of attempting to pay for booze by "card".

At this point, when my body was well enough to walk, and my mind well enough for me to consider all of my most shameful episodes without fear of a panic attack, it was time to go.

And, by a staggering coincidence, it was time for a piss.

Could this be chance? I don't think so. Stella taps into the recesses of the human mind, gives us access to areas of our life we had forgotten, and brings us towards harmony with painful or difficult pasts. Such, as I have said, is our birthright as human beings. Just like those pioneers, a mere 25 years ago who walked into pubs and had the courage, the sheer audacity, to ask for "a pint of Stella, please". Well done to them. We all raise our glasses. We are all Stella drinkers now.

ps. I had heard of the "hangover" -luckily, it seems, I have avoided this! By another staggering coincidence of nature, 4 or 5 pints of Stella necessitate only one piss and no hangover! More evidence of the infinite bounty of this psychoactive compound.

* Mr C Smith: name invented, to protect the guilty.


There is less daylight today than ever before; or so I am told.

So what do the bastard birds do?

The fuckwits start up at 5am, as if they're chanting to Thor or whatever damnfool deity they worship at this time of year (er...). total buggers. There's fuck all light, so they start singing like it's May.

Nice one, twats.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

What's Christmas good for then?

Only one thing excites me about Christmas-the-secular-festival and it is this.


Can you guess what it is?

Ever Fallen in Love with Someone You Shouldn't Have?

No. Nor have I, obviously. Ca va sans dire.

Actually it used to happen distressingly frequently, back in the mists of time; I eventually figured out (when I fell in love properly, and could distinguish the difference) that it was a kind of coping mechanism: faced with situations or problems I was not keen to dwell on my brain seemed to trip a switch and start obsessing about someone, always wonderful and always inaccessible, instead of focusing on the issues at hand and dealing with them. So I learned that my pysche is essentially cowardly, sneaky, and romantic. I mean was. What a ghastly mixture. At 23 I worked out that this facility for love was also a brilliant way of achieving regression hypnosis: I could live as a 13 year old again (I mean 13 year olds of my shy disposition and slightly more restrained generation): not eating, not sleeping, not concentrating on anything except her. Incidentally as a genuine 13 year old when I did this many of my classmates took this her to be Mrs Thatcher, but this was not the case (my dad, on the other hand...). I always chose the most horrendously inappropriate people for the objects of desire, which continued into my twenties, although then it was the same person for a couple of years. But they would be all, for however long it took...for whatever was really bothering me to die down or be properly repressed. Only once did I confess my neurotic-love to its object, and the stakes were not high so it didn't matter: later on the stakes were infinitely high and I derived even more delicious, self-flagellating lovesickness from them.

Now that I come to write this stuff down it makes me think more of the idea of inaccessible women, and their pivotal roles in art and literature (Beatrice?)...but it's probably best not to dwell on that for too long, if at all. It also makes me think more about that awful, slimy creature, myself, but not for too long.

I don't write any of this thinking it's unique or unusual, btw. Just because it came to me in a dream, one of those odd ones that leave you slightly out of kilter for the whole day.

And I had been reading about fairy circles, alternate dimensions and psychoactive drugs that evening.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Lucid Dreaming

Disturbed night, strong winds blowing against loose lead flashing and through suburban Lleylandii. Drifting in and out of sleep. Falling down into a vortex of dull colours - "Hey, I'm dreaming, I know I'm dreaming! That means I can have sex with-". vortex disappears down a plughole, as awake as possible in the darkness.

Proof, not only of the existence of God, but specifically of a Catholic God of the old school.