Lost in Broadstairs Folk Week.

I am in Broadstairs with Jim-one of my best mates and we are looking forward to a unusual and passionate celebration of radical cutting edge folk.

And by the way-what exactly is the term 'Folk' if not a vague descriptive noun for 'music of the people'?

But here in the heart of Folk week an aural nightmare begins to unfold with the relentless plinkety plonkety happy clapping bell ringing morris dancing bearded folky set with their weird looking ancient instruments and their tarrum tarra refrains and their pewter mugs hanging from their rucksacks.  This cacophony of ancient musical shite.  Oh Lord of the Sounds deliver us from 'Folk'.  Even now the restless deebeedeebedu plucking mandolins and the weeweeweeweewo violins tear at me having heaved in through the unsafe orifices of my unguarded ears like audio burglars smashing up the china shop of my so carefully collected internal rhythms.  Why is no one walking around wearing headphones-noise cancelling ones?  'Why are you here?' I wish to scream at groups of scantily clad 17 year old Italian girls with their glossy hair and the big brown eyes of gently ruminating cows and their language college rucksacks and their long long brown legs.  Why???

Then we stop along the prom and see three young lads soundchecking with mobile gear and he sings and we suddenly have some passion and originality and a voice with some beautiful stretching emotion hauled out of a guitar, a bass and a tiny drum set.  This is music!  This is what it's about!  Relief floods over me-all is not lost.

But they have to pack their gear away to yet more empire building folkies with their tarrum tarra again and their fucking whining violins and their Ewan McColl dirty old town renditions-awful! Soundtracking our over-salted, over cooked and over priced cod in 'Posillipos' Italian where sour looking Italian waiters ejaculate black pepper over our gruel-food.
Then Jim quite literally has this amazing lightbulb moment!
'Let's get back to the flat' says Jim,
'too right mate' I assent, 'any more violation of the eardrums in this manner and I am prone to murderous intent upon a possible innocent party.  Indeed let us repair to the safe haven of my flat.'

On the road up my friend nearly steps in a mound of vomit on which mould is growing.  I internally gag and day 1 is, thank Saturn's round rings, finally over.

I sleep badly having a sea kayaking dream about my kayak being smashed just before a Scottish Island expedition.  I wake at 4am feeling nauseous like a parrot has crapped in my throat.  But out at sea earlier in the day I saw a beautiful lugger blowing to windward.  Her bowsprit almost her length again holding full sail like a vision of what-might-one-day-be.
And in the morning the sea shimmers like a silver curtain-beautiful as we walk past Bleak House.  Fucking Dickens I muse internally.  He's like a rash in Broadstairs, and I will deliberately never read Bleak bleeding House!  Anyway I saw the TV series, and I liked it muchly.  I have started writing again-where will it all end?



After a significant hiatus I am back blogging-more posts to follow very soon!


Norwich Cathedral

Norwich Cathedral

The Gothic cathedrals-the idea of 'God' in the medieval mind, transmuted into stone.



Thatcher Free Zone


Can you hear me Mrs Thatcher,
will you listen to my words?
Cos if you don't go pretty soon
 it's gonna get much worse.

The city streets they're burning,
the youth ain't got no work,
your plastic bullet policies-
you know they just don't work!

And in your nuclear paradise
time doesn't fly, it dies-
I see it in the poverty
and, in the people's eyes.

Well they murdered Prosser
in Winson Green
He let out a few yells-
the shouts of the cops and
the screams of a man must have 
rung round those prison cells.

How can you love justice
if you are so unmoved
at the rights of an ordinary man
being so flagrantly abused.

So I'm lookin' for a Thatcher-free,
thatcher-free zone,
a thatcher-free,
thatcher-free zone.

The old folks they're freezin'
after all that they've seen
while bankers drive around in 
chauffered limousines

So I'm lookin' for a Thatcher-free,
thatcher-free zone,
a thatcher-free,
thatcher-free zone.



Margaret Thatcher dies aged 87

Well it will set the chattering classes off as we are regaled with the various paeons to the New World she ushered in.  However my own feelings about Thatcher are somewhat different-I consider her vile government and her pernicious impact to be one of the great disasters for British and European society in the twentieth century.  But I also consider her to have been a lame duck and incompetent politician saved by a momentous concatenation of events mostly reliant on two factors provided by two different very stupid men, both of whom suffered from tremendous hubris allied to an astonishing lack of strategic insight.  The first was Arthur Scargill, an egotistical communist with an agenda so hopelessly out of place that to see him lead the brave miners who so faithfully followed this strutting martinet was heartbreaking.  The other was the gold braided thug General Galtieri who invaded the Malvinas Islands as a means of stoking up his political capital at home which was ebbing as a result of his almost complete political ineptitude.
The result was that the lame duck was transformed into 'The Iron Lady', and a fantastical Catherine The Great type character was manufactured by the Media and the myth was born of the Lady who was not for turning.
The asset stripping of the country's natural wealth and housing stock from public ownership into private hands at knock down prices remains one of the great grand thefts of history.
The death of manufacturing to be replaced with parasitic financial service industries remains a huge social and national disaster whose grim effects continue.
The narrative that transfigured the great socialist objective of equality into a lie about laziness, and the 'ill man of Europe' continues as a myth underpinning greed, selfishness and the chronic cult of the individual at the expense of all else.
The legacy of Thatcher is the mentality of greed and selfish individualism over collective responsibility.
To call it Thatcherism lends it an intellectual coherence it never actually had as a set of ideas based on gut feelings much like a political system founded on the letters page of The Daily Mail.
Yet there is one thing that can be said for Thatcher as she performed in the House surrounded by her yes men-there was no doubt who was wearing the trousers!


Easter Sunday 2002 - Pontins

EASTER SUNDAY 2002 Pontins

The past? It's a frozen, foreign land.
A labyrinth of tourmaline-a dream
of black horses flowing out to sea.

Breaking the chains of memory
that tie us to the static of the land

The past? It is a strange and twisted tongue.
I cannot bend these chords to utter it!
Cannot find the rhythm in the line.

While fools found gold in crystal streams,
I rooted, ankle deep in mud, braying:
Who are you? Why are you here?

The past? That coldly-calculated joke.
Those idiots fell about the place side-splitted,
While I looked for help, for meaning, for a sign.

It was not that I didn’t understand.
It was that I would never understand.
Because... I seemed to be a stranger there.

The past? It is shapeless, blind, mute.
No road maps or strangers passing with news.
The very idea seems cruel!

And is it not cruel, this vile thing
set loose around the houses? This abusive
heart-skewering fear.

Nightsounds are lonely in the vale.
Smoke-rings of obliterated joy.
Oh these losings of familiar things!

These losings of familiar things.
These tales of the three rings.

And the first...shall be:

Of Despair.


Of Spirit and Healing.


Of Transformation!


Words for Steph

Words for Steph
from the Dougans
Well Steph, we’re going to miss you not least because you’re just about the best babysitter in the World, and you do it all for a Chicken Korma from Marks’s!  Ben says any other babysitters would just be ‘pants’ and Jack says ‘Stefna’s the best!’
Seriously though we are all sad to see you go but happy for you too.  You have been a good friend and we will miss you.  We all wish you every happiness in the world and we’ll keep in touch through e-mail.  Hopefully too we’ll come and see you next year by which time you will no doubt be talking in a languorous southern drawl and referring to the rest of the population as ‘them damned yankees!
Meanwhile yippety dang and howdyeedoodee, keep a weather eye out for rustlers and liquored up commanches and watch out for Evil Eye McNeevil one of the wickedest meanest outlaws in the whole South.  And if, while wandering around the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains you should come across a small boy shouting ‘Shane!  Shane!’  Please strike him several times about the head.
Lots of love,
Tony, Ben and Jack.

We never saw her again!

The Kitchen-The Soul of the house!



Those moment's of impending transformation.


I’m stuffing all the sheets in the machine
When, reaching for the detergent, I strike
A gentle, glancing blow against a glass,
Which topples and then smashes on the floor.

A curse is gently breathed, and then I stoop
To bring some healing back into the day.
Then I slice my thumb on a sharp shard,
And pull back quickly-cursing once again.

Struck then by the nature of this glass-
This new glass of a hundred razor shards;
None could hold a drop of the dark blood
That even now is leaking on the floor.

This glass is nothing like it used to be;
Not vessel, container, chalice or cup.
This glass has embraced chaos with a crash-
A moment of transformation has just passed.

As if a sign’s been written in the sky,
The essence of the moment is revealed-
Just as the glass is falling-does it scream:
‘I did nothing wrong! So why me?’

Or does it smile into the falling day?
Knowing no power on earth can intervene
Beyond the hit and miss.  It sings, ‘I go
                                                   With all my glassness! I say yes to this!’