Prolonged prologue

‘Get in the cage.’

Through the metal bars I can see two large Lions, padding sullenly round in a tight circle.

‘I don’t think I want to…’

‘Get in’

I gingerly open the heavy steel door.  Whiplash stares from two sets of eyes, emerald, hungry as fire, suddenly sting me cold.

But I push forward on tense legs, inching forward, deafened by my own heart.

Then I am inside the cage.

The door clangs shut behind me…I am locked in.

What am I blethering on about?



Would you pay £290 for this painting of a dog?

How about for the photograph of it I Instagrammed?

How much is that worth?

According to Facebook, some part of $1bn.

Around 3.5 trillion photos have been taken since 1826, and Facebook is the largest repository of them on Earth, with about 140 billion of them, and rising.

We live in an age of content. What we need is filters.

And not necessarily the filters you apply via Instagram to make your photo of your stapler look moody or hip.

You can read an article I wrote about this.


It’s a madhouse on the elderly ward, the person I am visiting is cogent so it’s bad for her. Last night an old sparrow of a woman – posh, obviously once beautiful and well to do – wandered over and tried to organise an escape with us. It was fascinating and heartbreaking as she flitted between the here and now and the places and situations of her memory. She offered me a job as her gardener.

I think it’s healthier, curiously, to be confronted by madness and death. There’s a tendency to ignore them, we pretend they don’t exist or touch us, so they lurk like bandits on the road ahead, to leap out and accost us. But they are there, and it is chance or fate that determines whether we are their victim or not.

On the elderly ward everyone sits facing nothing. Ill. Prepared.

Happy new year

Happy New Year! is the hopeful refrain, the mantra we repeat each time the planet revolves around the burning star.  This past year has been instructive, but generally very difficult for me, but I have learned at least something worth taking on into the next year.

It is extraordinary (but mundane, of course, really) that a decade has come to an end.  This time last decade (1999) I was painted silver, (unwisely using car paint) and sporting papier mache angel wings, at a friend’s ‘futuristic’ themed house party, surrounded by people I cared about.  I am still friends with a lot of those good people, but sadly some I have lost touch with. In some instances it was fate, in others, my own efforts. So it goes.

Regrets are inevitable in a life filled with decisions, this decade has given me deep regrets, but also great and profound experiences.  I met and connected with some wonderful people. I know that I made the wrong decisions in some instances, but I could not have done otherwise.  Hindsight is never there when you need it, by definition.

I fell in love and I fucked it up, I worked hard doing things I believed in, tried to do some good. Had some seriously close shaves.  Realised that I had a lot of things that had happened to me in my life that I hadn’t ever sorted out. Took steps to sort them out. I gave up smoking.  Learned to like food.  Got fatter.  Got fitter.  Played some music. Essentially, lots of things happened. good and bad.

With the year ahead I hope to make better choices, I hope to be happier, I hope.  That is what we do.

Happy new year! I hope that it is a good one for you.


Snow flake

snow flakes on windowIt is snowing.

A downy grey sky of feather fall.

Heavy in my viscera, memory:

She, rowing opposite me, across
the London skyline.

Upon soft water,  swans.

How happy, how loved. How
could it be
that I erased the slim lines of hope from the page?

Choosing instead
the blankness.

The blankness.

The snow erases the worn lines of the world.



One such summer I

sun of nothing

took your hand in mine


upon the smoothed pebbles


down to the sea


and we slipped



Shedding our clothes

our accumulated selves

I loved you

I loved you

That I

was free

Like blood from a vein

Flowing, pulsing with life

and inevitably


Murder is not honourable

‘Honour’ killings are not honorable. They are shameful murders sanctioned by misogynist, archaic and inhumane beliefs.

Cairo mosques A Kurdish Turk has been accused of murduring his daughter in a so called ‘honour killing’.

Honour killing is a misnomer.

It is better named a shame killing. Or just murder.

There is no honour in killing your daughter because she was raped, or because she loves someone not acceptable to your plans.

There is nothing but shame. Ugly, stupid, shame.

There are many examples of horrific honour killings, one more below:

On October 27, Turkish press reported that 15-year-old Naile Erdas from the southeastern city of Van was killed by her family when she gave birth to a child conceived during a rape. The girl, who hid her pregnancy, reportedly begged doctors at a state hospital where she gave birth not to return her to her family, fearing that she would be killed in accordance with the local tradition demanding her family’s honor be cleansed. Doctors informed state authorities, but the prosecutor nevertheless handed the young woman over to her family, which, as Naile feared, killed her. At year’s end, Naile’s uncles and father were under arrest for making the decision to kill her, while her brother, the suspected killer, remained at large. Source: US Department of state 2006 report

It seems to me that shame and religion go hand in hand, much like the Muslim men who wander the streets of (for instance) Tanzania or Saudi Arabia, holding each other’s hands, but to whom it is forbidden to even shake hands with a woman.

In the Qu’uran, a women is plainly stated as being only half the value of a man.  In law as well as in mental aptitude.

In Judaism and hence Christianity, shame is brought upon poor innocent Adam through his spare rib partner, Eve, and her beguilement by a bad, wise, snake.

Woman are basically bad and they bring shame about for men.

In Islam women are asked (in stricter regimes some would say forced) to don the Hijab and to cover themselves and their ‘ornaments’.  In Wahhabist Islam (the form of Islam most prevalent, possibly due to the fact that it is the harsh form Saudi Arabia practices, promotes and exports using her vast material resources) Women must cover up, essentially because if they don’t, men can’t be held accountable for the shameful things they will do.

This topsy-turvy logic is evinced in the abhorrent way Sharia law is sometimes enacted:

In Somalia, 1000 spectators filled a stadium to watch a 13 year old girl be stoned to death for the crime of adultery, she was accused of this crime after reporting that she had been raped by three men.

Some people defend their mediaeval beliefs by saying that the old texts give them a moral structure to adhere to, but I think to anyone who cares about what is ethical, or humane,  these texts are predominantly unsacred products of their barbaric times – often used to excuse terrible acts and ideas.

Honour killing is just one such terrible act.

A shameful and unacceptable practice, dishonourable in the extreme.