I've written a lot of poetry and more surreal pieces over the years and I kept them private for a long time. Then I started posting a few to Facebook. I'm not so active on FB so I decided to put them here, in a blog.

Feel free to relax here, with a coffee and a decadent cake... it's like reading the papers in your fave cafe.

  • Tired Traveler Tales: 1
  • 15/06/23 07:29am
I've just remembered something.
When I was about 14 I went to Ireland.
I fished.
Dan took me. He looked a bit like my Dad, who I never knew,
but I saw pictures.
I remember a girl who looked at me with some attention.
Too dope or too shy or both, I wouldn't make any kind of move.
Actually that's not true.
I didn't know what a move was.
We went swimming. A few of us. Her included.
I remember she changed into a bikini.
The towel slipped briefly and she looked at me.
I turned away quickly and when I turned back
she was smiling at me.
I have not thought of that smile since then.
I carried it with me for weeks after
and then it slipped from view.
One night, when I was in half sleep
the handle of my bedroom door turned slowly
and someone tried to push it open
but couldn't.
They tried several times.
I got up and as I moved to the door
it stilled into a silence.
I opened it and looked into a dark space.
The bedroom landing was quiet
but it wasn't an empty quiet.
It was more a beating silence.
I've not thought of Dan, or that silence,
or her smile, for the longest time.
Memories are ghosts that long
to stay with us, moving through our loneliness,
yearning for our company.
We're not so different, you and I.

  • Tired Traveler Tales: 2
  • 15/06/23 07:29am
So this happened.
Yesterday I lost my phone.
I tracked it.
It said it was such and such a street 14 miles away.
I went to the Street. A cul-de-sac.
I had to knock on every door.
That was weird. Said the same thing.
"Ok this is weird, I know.... but.... " etc.
And everyone was lovely and keen to help.
No one had the faintest Idea about the phone but everyone would keep an eye out.

As I was about to hit the last but one house a car pulled
up in the drive of the last house.
So I waited for the driver to get out.
She got out.
She was oblivious to me. In her world.
Smiling to herself.
She saw me and I startled her.
Big daft guy in her drive.
I apologised.
Told her my woe.
She said, "Mike" ??
I said "Yes. How do you know my name?" thinking
maybe she's seen me play.
Then she told me her name, and I suddenly
saw the girl from school who became my first girlfriend.
It was a brief affair, we were just kids... 14 or 15 maybe...
I felt very moved by that.
We never mentioned it ofcourse.
What are the odds?
She was very helpful.
I had a memory later of when we were first kissed...
at a school dance...
the gentlest thing... like two pockets of air
melting through each other,
ghosts embracing....
She was shy, but more experienced,
I was an idiot, and naive.

And here we stood,
some 45 years later,
on her drive...

We have stories.
Let's find some kindling for the fire..
Jaw awhile.

  • Love angles
  • 29/05/23 10:09pm
Neighbours get noisy
when they pass the cuddle stage
I reach for earphones
lest I hear her say
'call me your delinquent'
and he replies on cue
'you are my delinquent
my one and only view'
and other stuff that singed
the edge of pages
that were banned on flicker
the saints embrace the sinner
hoping that the walls
are thicker
or, like delinquents do
wish that they were thinner....
Whatever have and have knots
through the ages had to say
or priests and poets binding
souls through guilt and shame
and play
I feel this moment theirs
and theirs alone
despite perhaps
the sky bound eyes
still straining to condone
When the soft squint
of base desire
folds you into flight
I turn the music even higher
And dance away your night.

  • Carwash Holiday
  • 29/05/23 10:00pm
I like going through the carwash.
No, not me as a who-man bean
I mean me in my car.
I used to take the kids through as a kind of mini holiday
when we were'nt flush.
I'm not flush now but I'm flusher.
The kids insisted I take them through again which on
one occasion I did.
The car was 'spockless' as my Mam used to say.
Anyway, I went through the 'platinum' wash yesterday.
It's one above the 'Gold' and I was intrigued to see
the £1 difference in the gleaminess.
Well, what a riot it was.
The suds!!
Lord of the suds, thats the platinum wash.
And the brushwork was very intense.
My mirror felt the strong arms of that brushwork
pressing onto its tender casing which heaved
breathlessly against my passenger window.
That was a Mills and Boon moment and it's a Sunday too.
Anyway, my car was rancid and needed the carwash more than
a rebel needs a cause.
When the deed was done and the green arrow prompted my
leave, I drove on a little then stopped and surveyed the bejesus
out of my mean machine.
Well, the joy of that gleaminess. I saw myself,
metaphorically, and literally in the incandescence of that sheen.
And the Tyres and things that the Tyres go on....
As I drove around I felt lighter somehow,
and it felt like the car was driving with a smooth confident air,
Like a pony or the non-jealous partner of a flirty, needy, significant other.
The only downside was, because I got a Platinum wash,
I received a free air freshener that hangs from the mirror.
It smells of face powder my Auntie Mim used to use.
I don't like it at all but somehow seem compelled to use it.
It was free and I'd feel a tad profligate in the face of such fortune.

  • The cusp of Rayano
  • 31/01/23 08:50am
I had a dream
It was quite beautiful
It involved Rayano
with the emphasis
so a seething under the skin
woman told me
on the o
I danced with her
And we simply glid
As my dear friend Norma
with the emphasis on dear friend
used to say and still does on occasion.
Rayano was quiet and beautiful
And we'll never dance again.
Those moments we are in love
with a stranger
are beautiful and weightless
They may involve a brief exchange
A glance that slips between touch
to create a shared longing
Skipped beats of the heart
strewn across ages
secrets long forgotten.
She had a long dress and sneakers
And her innocence
cusped her fascination for me
I want to go back
to that dream
to thank her
strange as that seems.

  • Entitled to anger
  • 17/01/23 10:28pm
I've known a few people who felt they had
an entitlement to their anger.
Just the anger felt, seemed enough of a reason
for its justifaction.
Pointing out the fatal flaw bobbing up and down
in the red sea of their disgruntled face,
was not the thing to do, in fact to do so,
however calmly, however caringly, could be
a betrayal, or a grenade thrown into a tirade of grenades.

It's obviously the seed of barren soil.
Vulnerabilty couched in some kind of knowing authority,
smug and volatile, intractable, incendiary,
a vacuous conflagration of historic unmet needs.

(That last sentence was too much. Unnecessary.
Too big for its own boots.
I'm already reaching for the shedding pen.
I'll leave it.)

Just the anger you feel, entitles you to call the shots...

But it doesn't. You know that right?
The fact it feels good isn't enough.
The fact you feel you've shed your sin like a skin
because you found one more fool to flog
is just the ravings of a coward hiding in the shadows of self righteous virtue.

Pointing out that fatal flaw,
if I can see it, is not the thing to do
in the face of such brittle intractabilty.
But I'm damned if I'll take any heed of that.

  • Recipe
  • 27/09/22 08:47pm
Peel Solanum tuberosum.
Spread evenly with a little oil added,
on the foiled floor of your roasting tin.
Add chopped Daucus carota, Apium graveolens,
a capsicum, and tomatoes for which the latin
escapes me. Google is not my friend.
I have real friends with a liver and a kidney and some
problems either financial or physical or romantic.
Then, place a chicken on top of these veg mostly in the latin.
If you're a pescatarian, flirt some fish on but literally 12 minutes
before end of cooking.
If you're a vegetarian, add mushrooms and aubergine 33 minutes
before end of cooking.
After the first suggestion, there'll be a stock accumulation
and the veg will cook in that.
The second suggestion will have a little stock gathered to which you can
add onions reduced in white wine and add a little vegetable bouillion.
The third needs all the help it can get, then add the reduced onions etc.
After cooking use the stock of the first, with a little demerara sugar added,
along with reduced onions in the white wine.
Reduce the whole stock and use as a gravy.

If you like, when the first is cooked, you can remove the stock, and
the chicken, and crisp the veg on a higher heat for about 10 mins.

Once served, eat slowly and deliberately and savour like
angels savour the last 20 minutes of 'It's a Wonderful LIfe'.

You may need to separate the oil from the stock.
Do so. And use it the oil to crisp up the veg on the high heat at the end.

Use it the oil.

Comma's slid off the digital page, Like fish in it, the oil.

  • The Fortune of the Faceless
  • 20/09/22 10:08pm
Long Life
The Queen.
Husband too.
And Mother, bested the both.
One day, her head, the Queen
was all over money
Coins and paper and plastic.
Imagine your head all over money
And stamps.
I prefer her in jeans and t-shirt
but wearing the crown for a funny.
I prefer her telling a corgi "NO!!!"
when the corgi was barking at a dog
on the telly.
She couldn't sleep some nights.
Affairs going round and round in her crown support.
The smell of Churchill's head, a dunked head in a
jar of cigar smoke
and an erotic thought slapped right between the eyes
of her Coronation. Not even Phil knew about that...
too prone to share what he felt humanised them...
To his driver on Safari.
How many times did she say,
'I didn't ask for this'
And then the luxury
of being 'one of the crowd'
with her sister
On VE day, May 8th, 1945,
And my Mam just turned 15
And the Queen's Mum shy of 45.
What would you have done?
Ask it now. Live it awhile.
Of course you wouldnt
have been you.
And thats the point.
You've always got a but,
because that's in you now
whatever her guard at arms says,
or the old guy who tended to her horses
this past 30 years and more.
To want more than anything,
to shop for a scarf yourself,
Imagine wanting that,
more than anything.

  • Let them find it for themselves
  • 09/09/22 09:18am
There’s a way of saying something and I cannot find it, the way, the way of saying the say.
I look between the cracks of conversations that seem to wrestle meaning to the ground, or clip its wings,
or crunge it’s teeth to dust
I don’t know what crunge is.
I’ve been told there are no boob tubes in Bethlehem.
Putting words together in certain ways stimulates the brain in positive
or not so ways.
Striatum might be an apt word here and some know why and some don’t and both are blameless ...
oh do stop blaming.
Some didn’t get this far...
they gave up because they need their pathways trodden in one direction
any deviation causes stress,
but that little stress creates new pathways of neural.
New pathways of neural?
And then you give up.
It’s not worth persevering.
Not worth your time.
And you don’t like certain phrases like ‘
‘at the end of the day’ or ‘if you say so’ ...
But when words burgle their way into your
Skull prisoner,
thieving their way through that barbed wire thought box,
you get confused so which is it to be?
The well oiled wheel,
the path less travelled
I know it’s the road and that’s what my meaning gets to.
Yes the gramma and spelly are belly
crawling cross the floor
leaving a prefix behind,
but that’s not the points the s is meant.
That’s the meaning. It’s just you and me.
And now.
Just we.
In a terrible fight for the right to be.
And the shock, the last bit of twisty...
The freedom in a thought uttered...
A swear word..
a beautiful swear word
or a name,
yes your spelling,
John, yes that John,
Pete, and Al and Tom and Grace,
Alex and the need of that last word,
That girl I love, that boy I love,
or Jake, mad as hell
and trying to pour himself away,
and those we find the audacity to forgive, pretending we are past forgiveness..
Smoke and mirrors,
another phrase some detest.
Next it’ll be that well worn phrase ‘I love you’
But oh, how I do.
And the thing is when we can’t get the world to clutch its tired heart, there might be a good song in the shared smile of a stranger. Of not with. Let that go.
Just me and you. Now. And now.
Now you.
Write your heart out and don’t mark
the way...
let them find it for themselves.

  • Red car round and round
  • 04/08/22 02:35am
Aldeburgh. About 2am.
B&B just off a roundabout.
Wake up to car screeching around and around the roundabout.
Gotta be boys having their fun.
Is it ever girls that do that?
I digress.
The car moves on, thrill depletion on the 5th round.
I drift off only to hear a car heading toward the roundabout.
Can't be.
And yet....
about the 3rd round I open my curtains and look to see a red car...
and the smoke from burning rubber,
the loud screeching.
They move on, having made some point, or no point.
Or who cares?
Perhaps it's a girl, peeved about her lower than average grades.
Or a dog hell bent on creating havoc.
Howling like a human.
Or an old person celebrating the letter from the queen,
All shot to hell on heroine, and bank notes spilling from the windows.
Or a kid lacking imagination.
A roundabout can do that to a kid.
World seems funny at the minute.
All bobbly and serious funny.
I listened to a story of a lifelight gone
just yesterday, from a delicate soul.
Broke my heart.
And the red car, round and round.

  • You're in your head
  • 02/03/22 02:04pm
You’re in your head.
If you get that, then you should know that the person you’re talking to is in their head.
They’re making little observations, little self talk comments.
It’s tough to stop that. To totally be in what someone is saying to you,
especially when they are not totally inside what you say to them.
You’re in your head. Best know it now.
If you know it, and remind yourself frequently, it’ll give space for a real conversation.
Imagine getting that, from someone who knows it about themselves too.
It’s not easy sharing dialogue, but it’s what makes the difference in life, I feel. The shared experience gives meaning.
So, yes, you want to be heard today... but do you want to hear?
Someone shares something with you, and it’s difficult for them and you say ‘been there, worn the t shirt’.
Think about that, for a moment.
Now, you say hi to someone at a party, and they say hi but then they immediately say a bigger hi to someone over your shoulder.
Ok, you might be ‘big enough’ to ride that, but at some point, you won’t be. You won’t have the armour or the nonchalant breeze that briskly walks you through that potential mauling.
It’s basically this - you’re in a hurry and people are in your way and they are the enemy and annoying and slow and frustrating and inconsiderate. Next day you’re not in a hurry, and the person who barged past you quickly,
needs to take a chill pill, and they are the enemy,
and annoying and too fast and inconsiderate.
You’re in your head. Self talk slapping you silly, you need a rest.
Listen for a while, without having been there and having worn the t shirt.
Then listen even more. No advice. Just listening.
You might mend a broken heart, at least for a while.
It may be yours.

  • Nikki Iles Orchestra gigs
  • 14/02/22 04:34pm
It's always a beautiful thing to play music
that has been loved into being, as this set of pieces has.
Elegant twists and turns throughout and a familiar
face at the door of a house of warm stories, and longing,
and risk, and an open invitation, to add flavour to the food.
I've known, Nikki, almost 40 years, from early college teaching,
through various ensembles, Park Hall dances, dark green too fast Astra's,
rolling white VWs, church scraped vans, knotty harmony made balletic
by new, familiar melodies.
Lovely concerts at Leeds, Sheffield, Scarborough, and the Sage, Gateshead.
Such a pleasure to catch up with Ianto Thomas, who sculpted a path through
in a beautifully musical way.
Thanks to all the musicians, old friends and new,
and to Nikki, for wonderful music, and unwavering friendship.

  • The House at the End of the Path by the Sea
  • 30/01/22 09:29pm
I've been in Lanzarote for a while now.
Walking, swimming, writing, reflecting.
The wide open spaces here are not peppered by specks of birds
in the distance, or goats, or cows, sheep, horses,
or even people.
I'm in Famara, a surfers haunt on the North East coast
looking on to the Atlantic.
I went walking with a friend a few days ago, on the cliffs that overlook
the beach. Walked quite a way until only sea lapped the rocks below.
My friend had walked this coast, many years before
and vaguely remembered a small stone dwelling
built into the rocks at the base of the cliff.
Or had he dreamed it?
We walked on.
A few hours later as we traversed a rocky ridge, and the sea
about a hundred metres below, we saw what looked like a dwelling in
exactly the place he'd remembered, about half a mile ahead.
As we approached it, with about five hundred metres to go, we came upon a house.
How to describe it.
It was a shock. He hadn't seen this on his previous walk
twenty years before as he had walked the beach
when the tide was out and we were about a hundred metres above.
The cottage was white. It had a gate.
A yard at the front. At the end of the yard, was a little foliage
then the drop to the sea.
The house had no doors. No people there.
It looked like no one had lived there for years.
We walked inside. Clothes hung up on a line.
Shoes on a self made rack. Painted bottles of all colours
stood in their own spaces dripping candlewax.
Books and journals, on nature, biology, medicine, geography,
Central America, The Galapagos Islands, Asia, India, Europe, Africa,
Patagonia, The Sahara, tucked into shelves in one corner of the room.
The Journals, written by a spanish hand, were many, and detailed.
There were diaries. Even here, these personal notes,
in a hand I could not understand, seemed out of bounds to me.
I left them alone.
What i found most fascinating, amidst this bohemian
den of mystery, was a stack of schlocky magazines
on who was doing what and where and to whom
and lets not dwell on the why too deeply.
'Hello' magazine and the European equivalents, well thumbed
non-smutty periodicals to keep the feet on the ground, in the mud,
out of the constellations of the heavens, in the eternal damnation
of our earthly stars.
There was a bedroom.
Again, it warranted a peak, continuing the trashy magazine theme.
Female flip flop, make up, toiletries and a bed and bedding
that hadn't seen a body in years. Maybe.
Spices on a shelf.
I remembered doing this as a boy in derelict houses in the early 70s.
I was electrocuted and blown across the floor
when i was trying to get a massive magnate out of the electric meter.
Those were the days.
These days, here and now, are somewhat different.
And the sea, relentless, indifferent, always ready for the fall.
Despite that, what a wonderful place this was.
I was in awe.

  • Pandemic poems and funnies over 2020
  • 22/01/22 09:52am
The wonderful fall of my certainty.

Every time I do a thing that's lacking hip
Like go to bed and let the candles die away
or leave the washing in the washer wet all day
or venture forth with toothpaste on my upper lip
I fathom out the fool that flunks first base
has always been a traveller in the race
and not the skipper of the ship
This gives comfort to be sure
relieves the conflict at the core
But the bolthead is the dolt that thinks the fool
is the exception, not the rule.

Pandemicemonium (March 2020)

Excellent that the big stores
are rationing goods.
Nowt in the Tesco when I went tonight.
People getting around the rationing by taking all family members and they each buy an item...
couldn't believe a 3 year old child could get a
12 pack bog roll onto the counter without help.
All the wigs had gone.
There was no lip gloss.
Conan the barbarian vids all gone.
What to do..? I thought.
I know.... I'll take some comfort
in a late swoon with the great
dance troupe, Boney M.
Guess what? Not one single CD
left. Loads of Sinatra, loads of Jazz Rock,
loads of Experimental Improvisation Troupes
but Boney M ?? Nada.
Is that how you spell 'Nada'? I keep hearing it
in direct replacement to the old word 'Nothing'
which I thought was useful enough, but I'm in the minority.
Well, let's get a book. That'll do it.
Every single copy of 'I don't give a F**K' had gone.
'Bums' ...? Gone.
All copies of 'After You' 'A History of Empathy'
and 'Longitude' completely safe, hugging the shelves.
We'll meet again, don't know where,
but I know.....
some sunny day....

Your last song.

What will be
the last you see?
A loving look
a closed account
an owed amount
a book
about a dying tree?
Could it be the thought
of what you might have been
or would have seen
had you held on
or let him go
or let her know?
Or maybe it will be
another quiet scream
a hushed regret
that slips you into dream
and all that is beyond the final breath......
the last that brushes past your lips
as it did mine
and more often than we care to dwell
and sooner would forget, or redefine
and yet, to think on this,
of sinking ships
and tales too cold to tell
and lips you could not kiss
of winters waiting in the wings
of kings that should be queens
and queens that should be kings
and all that we demand
that must be true
to think on all these things
gives us a chance
to tune the dance
refine the view
and when we do,
oh how my heart sings.


Well, what to do. ?
It's a Sunday.
I woke early. Stayed in bed till 7am.
Then I made porridge and redbush tea (non caffeine guy)
then brought that back to bed.
My bed is probably the best bed in the universe.
Better than the Queens, better than a Movie Star and better than yours no use in denial.
I have a canadian goose down duvet that was scorchio expensive even at half price which I got when I was flush
which I'm not now with all this shenanigans going on.
A woman gave another woman a right old disgusted look
because she was wearing a mask in the Tesco.
This is only a week or so in.
What'll it be like in a month?
For those of you isolating in families or couples, here's some tips.
Invent games. Of course there's the usual board games,
Monopoly, Chess, Snakes and Ladders, Kill the Scone,
Daft Get, etc etc.
But you can add a little piquancy to the jolly affair, especially for you competitive types that pretend a smile when you get beat and can't stop thinking about it through clenched teeth.
Stress Chess is good. You basically insult the other person
during their move which causes a stress response and sometimes leads to a fight with pulling hair etc but it's really fun and it costs nothing. The kids love it when Mam and Dad play because there's always a point where Mam tries to pull Dad's hair but he has none, and she realises mid-fight and the kids are in tears, but happy tears of laughter.
For adults there's Naked Monopoly. This involves setting up the board in the usual way, then getting naked, then going to bed.
Another old game with a new twist is Snakes and Bladders.
You play the usual game but drink loads of water throughout
but try not to wee. I used to spell wee 'wea' but I've learned
and that's what life's about.
Reverse strip poker is one of the best. Try it.
I used to do this with my kids and Sisters kids.
and Ruth
were about 5 and Jack
and Mike
were about 7.
We played pontoon (21) and whoever bust first had to put on an item of clothing.
As Charlie Brown used to say 'Good Grief!' it was sooooo funny. What was especially funny was as they accumalated more and more clothes, they found it more and more funny.
And, they were ALL MY clothes. 😂🤣🥳🥳
They had to pick them out without looking at the item.
Ruth kept getting socks so her feet looked enormous and bulbous.
Jeez, that was hilarious.
Ok, where was I.
If you live alone, there's much fun to be had.
Try this:
Walk upstairs - pretend you're wearing a skirt or kilt or better still, wear one, and very quickly show your bum to an imaginary person behind you. Now, reading that might not give you the insight needed for such an experience but trust me, the fun is in the doing.
Most folk who spend time on their own, have full blown conversations with themselves and you can use this to your advantage.
Essential; Buy a wig. Conversations take on new depths.
Wig off: 'This pandemic has caused pollution to diminish'
Wig on: 'Yeah, but don't get comfy, it'll come straight back when it's safe to pollute again'
Wig off: 'Well, let's enjoy the clear landscapes while we can'
Wig on: 'What's the point?'
Wig off: (thinking) 'What am I doing with this sad clown?'
Wig on: (thinking) 'I want to poke you in the eye so bad'.......
Anyway you get the picture.
You can always stare out the window of course and wait for stuff to happen.
But you can also happen to life.
If you're not confident enough to make a suggestion, do this:
Write your idea, but in disguised hand writing, on paper or a piece of bread if there's any left at the Tesco.
No one will know it's you.... feign surprise.
If it's accepted..... you're not as lame as you think
If it's rejected...... you are as lame as you think but no-one knows... happy days!!!
Lovely day today so I'm in the hills ..... done my weights now gym is closed, and I'll be writing music and words after the walk. Made soup last night for later.
Get creative, there's a long way to go yet and we don't want to be spending it moaning and procrastinating and blaming all and sundry. How do we make a difference to our lives in trying times? How do I make a difference to yours?
Posting funnies and poems, maybe?
The terrain changes, and we're forced to navigate it in a different way. We'll go crazy for a while.
But let's go good crazy... Imagine living just one day,
learning how to spit good.
Or this: Write on 100 large labels and go into the Tesco or local equivalent, before the mad rush.... and stick them on the Loo Rolls.... or Bread, or whatever...... "RESERVED FOR NHS STAFF'.
I'm gonna do it.
Never, ever, give up. Mx

Housebound creativity

Well.... I never.
I did, but that's another story.
I'm hoping there isn't an album coming out called 'Social Distancing'... or variations on that theme.
I'm even standing two metres from the mirror when I'm brushing my teeth.
The cable to my computer snapped last week so I've been offline for a while and I couldn't finish some writing I'd started on Sibelius. I don't use it that much for writing.. I usually put it in afterward then flesh it out, but this one I actually wrote away from guitar. So I was desperate for that lead.
I cleaned out the cupboards. I found a marinade from about 1920 and the only thing you could marinate safely now is a 9v battery.
I did some jobs around the house. I moved the celery over a bit in the fridge. Plumped a cushion. Stuff like that.
I was gonna paint the kitchen but when I really eyed it, I decided I could get another 20 years out of it.
I've started doing odd things like seeing if I can get from the kitchen to the living room but walking backwards with my eyes closed. It's sooo exciting and what a cheap night out!!!!
Those who mock the dance, don't feel the music... that may have been Nietzsche and I'm paraphrasing.
I'd have been mocked royal today doing the dusting.
I decided to see if I could get as many jumpers on as I could. One over the other. I did about 20 jumpers and looked like Pavorotti .... So I decided to do the dusting like that.... I did it to Motown but it was hard to bend down and difficult to move my arms.
So of course there's a knock on the door and lord help us if it's not the postman!!! And he leaves the box (it's my cable) on the doorstep but looks at me, from 2 metres away, trying to pick it up and contemplates coming back to help me but then decides against it.
I'm not a religious guy... but you have to wonder...
what f#ck#n channel am I on, on God's telly?
She's 'avin a laugh innit!!??
Selfolation... a chance to do different.... Mx

Flower in the Rain

Stand in your heartbreak
A new life waits
just out of sight
it waits
for a wrong turn
A risk taken
A fear overcome
It waits
by your impatience
Your sudden insight
has been waiting
For you to stop knowing
It’s been waiting
For the fool in you
To meet my own fool
to begin the glorious collision
of our mutual doubt
where new views wait
And sure paths
fall away
Sodden with mistakes that we must make
If we’re to live
If I’m to live
If you’re to live
you must
Stand In your heartbreak
A flower in the rain.

  • A New View
  • 03/01/22 08:37pm
When I've been in conversations that allow me to share my view,
shared dialogues that encourage me to speak, as I encourage them,
I walk away fulfilled.
To hold an opinion is not to guard it with your life. It doesn't have to define you.
The willingness to have that opinion challenged, no matter how universal it is,
is a requisite of shared meaning. I want to think my way through your ideas,
and I want you to think through mine, and in doing so, we open up the possibilty
to create a third 'us', one that leaves with a more informed opinion, or a better understanding.

That understanding, if we are true to ourselves and not the madding crowd,
can change our opinion for the better, and therefore our lives for the better.
We grow.

As a child, I spent my time alone. I was not easy.
Creative, impulsive, fearless, lacking in social skills, unempathic, risk addicted, feral.
I burned the house down. It was an accident.
Experimenting with cooking. 10 years old.
Only me in the house. Eating chips I'd just cooked in oil,
I noticed smoke coming from the kitchen.
I investigated, to find the oil pan on fire and immediately opened the back door
before grabbing the handle of a flaming pan and moving toward the door.
As I got closer to the door, the wind banged it shut, and I dropped the pan,
which spilled the oil across the floor, taking the fire with it.
So that was the beginning of the end of that house.
I remember my Mother running toward me.
I feared the worst, as her house went up in smoke, with all her possessions,
such as they were, clothes, furniture, cherished photographs, etc...
scarred black or burnt beyond hell.
When she reached out her arms, I flinched.
She scooped me up and held me awhile.

For a long time, I was a loner. A maverick of sorts.
My history had molded me into an individualist by design,
not desire. I didn't have the temerity or the care for it to be by desire.
I had no ambitions. Well, maybe one. When I told the careers officer
I wanted to be a stunt man, he seemed unconvinced and pointed me
to the Fire Brigade. I didn't point out the irony.

I realise now that I craved isolation. It's what I knew. A safe place.
I took this right through my adult life, even after I became known
for playing guitar, and teaching music.

I never really understood before, but I came to understand
that there was something aloof about this craving.
Like I knew more than others. I certainly had experience of many things.
But it was an oddly out of whack experience. Not conventional.
This came to light, starkly I would say, when I was training to be a counsellor.
On one session along with 22 others, we were asked to write our name
at the centre of a piece of paper.
Then we were to put our immediate loved one's,
those who meant something to us,
around our name, then friends, then associates etc
so that we would eventually be the epicentre of our world.
After five minutes, everyone scribbling away, my paper was blank.
I did not want to engage with this exercise because I thought I was above it.
I'd done this kind of thing years before. It hadn't revealed anything then
and it wouldn't reveal anything now.
And then, I got a view of the situation. A new view.
I saw beyond my ingrained knee-jerk comfortability and I wrote
a single sentence at the top of the page:
"Why am I resisting?."
That one sentence changed everything. And the fact that it was staring up at me
meant that I couldn't jump to self-regulating biases in my head.
So I did the exercise. I went against type. And I learned something in the process.
I won't say what I learned here. It's not relevant. The process is relevant.
The fact that I allowed myself to see my own self-script,
writing inevitable outcomes that my history had deemed
the only story worth telling, was revelatory.
I've never been one to ride the train of popular opinion.
I tend to dig in to both sides equally and come up with
my own idea about what's happening.
But my willingness to ride my own train, without questioning long held beliefs,
is something that I'm now careful to address without fear or favour.
Nuance says I'll be wrong a lot of the time. But I can be a little less wrong
if I remain open to other possibilities, open to new views, open to seeing
past the madding crowd.

It's not easy. Especially when you meet someone who is hell bent
on shaming you at the point of entry. They're eye-rolling your second syllable
and are eager to share a rehearsed checklist no matter how irrelevant it is to
the conversation at the time.
It's tough when you realise that you're not there to have a conversation.
You're there to learn. To learn things you've always known,
but maybe that you've know in a slightly more open, nuanced way.
You're a notepad for their joined up writing, and nothing more.
They see you as a conduit for their ideas, their dogma.
And you'll have the feeling there's no point in engaging and it's time to move on.

This is happening within families, between partners,
between children and parents, and long time friends.
And often it's happening based on tittle-tattle,
because the opiate that is perceived just-cause
is just too strong to resist.
So a meme based on another meme based on assumption and the need to
be wronged makes someone cast out those they love.

If you want to get nuanced, find out if the media you're reading
is invested in the story, beyond imparting simple information.
In other words, do they have shares in the company they condone?
It's not easy to get to that information. So much disinformation
exists to put you off the trail, and the truth that simmers just beneath the
'facts' you have come to unequivocally recognise, is often uncomfortable.

That's one thing.
The other thing is you'll often find yourself being shuffled into positions
you're not really sure you hold. You won't be alone. In fact some of those
doing the shuffling are not as sure as they would have you think.
You may find out some interesting, long submerged, opinions surface
at the empty end of a vodka bottle one night, when all is still,
and the crowd is sleeping, all claws withdrawn (tipped hat to Joni).

Be open to a new view. Or shout with the mouths of others.
Don't ignore that brief aperture of light that catches you off guard
and provides such a view.
It's all too brief and not easy to catch, but it can be gold if you do,
life changing even.

  • New Years Resolutions
  • 01/01/22 11:21am
1. Give up giving up.
2. See things
3. Have Fun
4. Burst into tears during the meld point of fusion
5. Do nothing, together, on the side of a mountain
6. Whisper into the ears of a horse,
tell her we love her, in stereo
7. Buy one square foot of land
where the little things live freely,
on our dime.
8. Kiss long, and often.
9. Swap spit in church on Xmas eve night.
10. See many more New Years days, as us.
11. Follow a set of paw prints on the roadside.
12. Braid grass
13. Brush sand off each others cheekbones at the beach
14. Bake a cake and give it to someone who wasn't expecting one
15. Hold each other gently in the palm of a hand
16. Make faces at a baby
17. Kiss secretly in the kitchen while we cook for our friends who came to visit
18. Kiss not so secretly at a New year's party as someone else plays the music
19. Sing
20. Be a stunner.
21. Keep an Ostrich called, Saul Dupree (no boots, sports a hat).
22. Have bear and petal dance, to beats of just one clock.
23. 23, should be, just you, and me.

  • Tests. Tonsils. Topiary.
  • 24/12/21 07:22am
Frid - 24 - 12 - 21 - 4:37am

I've been in Germany. Doing Nikki Iles Big Band music
for the NDR big band. Ian Thomas on drums.
Such clear lines in his playing. So easy to play with.
Nikki wrote some great music and it was fun to play it
in that setting - getting into the weeds... detailing.
We had to test pretty much every day. Twice on Friday.
People I'd never meet again swabbing tonsils and tickling
the underside of my brain through a nostril and speaking
German in Germany and how many nostrils have you probed today
and this is weird and do you go home and practice probing nostrils
on a mock nose you set up in your mock lab?
Not to mock. They were warm and friendly and all those noses!

The travel was a mix of 'this isn't as bad as I thought it would be'
and 'Just kill me and have done with it'. But how to kill me?
Leave me in a room of topiarists discussing their day. That's how.
I wonder if I've ever written that word before. Topiarists. Twice now.
I've written that word twice in my life. And yet, each retains an individuality.
It's all in the t and T which is not explosive code.
I digress.

The sessions were wonderful at the NDR. The company most evenings,
Ian (Ianto) and Nikki was sublime and so easy, unforced, shared, interesting
and other stuff to wax lyrical.

As you may have gathered, I can't sleep.
Xmas has gone awry. My daughter, Evette, tested positive for Covid.
I'd picked her up the night before. Her tonsils shot, and miserable, she'd
voice messaged me to tell me the state of play and broke down in tears half way through.
She doesn't cry on a whim. She's a midwife. Sturdy. Dependable.
So I jumped on my trusty steed, and knight in shining armoured my way over there, wormhole speed
and beeped morse code outside her Ma's house. 3 beeps. 2 short. 1 long.
Dad's out-siiide.
Brought her back to mine, to hers, to ours. Her bedroom unchanged.
She slips the world occasionally, and rests up at my house, her house, ours.
Looked after her. Watched a film. Took her mind away
from the next harrowing horror of swallowing.
She slept soundly and felt better in the morning.
I went gift shopping and she rested up.
Manchester was bedlam. Everyone looked weird to me.
I'm guessing I looked weird to them.
It was them, and me. The me and them theme.
If the theme was an e theme (a theme based on the note e)
I could say 'it was the me and them e theme'.
If I left out the 'and' it would be 'the me them e theme'.
I always knew, even as a boy of 9 months old,
that the word 'theme' had hidden folds of meaning.
I remember trying to convey that very revelation
(yes.... say it again... very revelation..) to my Mam
when I was 9 months old, just with my face.

I digress.
Evette got her PCR test result back the next day
when I'd not long been back from the weird site of antlers
on men who are envious of other antlers on other men
just because those particular antlers flash on and off.
It's like flashing antlers provide a further layer of individuality.

The PCR test was positive.
I was making a fish curry. I heard the sigh like a long goodbye
from the living room.
So that was that. No traditional xmas for her. Dinner at my sisters gone.
Nights out gone. Going back to Ma's gone.
So the fish curry is really good. And we have a laugh as usual.
And we watch Elf. And we stay up late.
It's about 7am now. Slept 2 hours.
Going for another PCR test in about 3 hours.
She's here now at least till Boxing day.
I started boxing again, no not crisps, but actual boxing
with gloves and my left cross is relaxed and powerful and
'fuckin 'ell e's not getting up' my trainer with the pads said.

I digress.

Let's talk about the good times.
Right here, right now.
And the views we choose.

Sam signing off would be Sam x
which, at this time of year is the perfect palindrome...

ah well, nearly there


  • A quick note for communication
  • 21/07/21 09:21am
Are you consistent?
You're direct and honest on social media,
even a little caustic, when the time warrants it,
dare I say, a little cruel, on occasion.
But are you consistent?
Do you use the same language, epithets,
when face to face with your interlocuter?
If you don't... why don't you?
I don't think I've ever known a time where
people have relished snatching the chance to
be pissed off at someone who made the mistake
of thinking that our communication used the same language
as it did a couple of hours ago.
This will to snare a passer-by who's wearing high heels
on sneakers day, will implode.
At least be brave, and say what you'd say, online.
And then show real courage, and listen to the answer
without interruption, without screaming them into submission.

  • What has happened to having a simple opinion?
  • 01/06/21 02:31pm
"No-one should be inheritors of collective innocence
or collective guilt'. Bari Weiss

"Some proactively shun the counternarrative".

"That white, middle aged, schizophrenic, homeless guy -
where does he rank in the heirarchy?"

Has online media, social network sites and the like, spilled onto the streets?
People used to say don't believe everything you read in the papers -
don't get sucked into Twitter - it's just anonymous people having a rant
or just trolling to make their day a little more palatable.
But now, it seems that these reactive, often incendiary
online interactions are stunting our growth in everyday life.
We just can't agree to disagree.
Hate comes into play way too easily.
I have a slightly different opinion to you, suddenly I'm evil?
It's all a little scripted, and people seem to be waiting, with baited breath,
to read you their script. And the laws of social media, seem to bypass
actual laws.
Where will it end? You want to live in a world where all those around you
either agree or pretend to agree with you?
That's the world you want?
People, no matter their creed or colour or persuasion, will game the system.
It's a human thing. Go figure.
To watch Twittersville and the like, spill onto the streets,
denigrating individuality, whilst somehow infringing upon
the rights of certain groups that don't jive with their world view,
is confusing and worrying to say the least.
How do groups live together without imposing their preferred way
of living onto the other group? And how does this play out
in the libertarian world?
What a desperately uninteresting world it would be, if one group
dictates the parameters of discourse always
to the drumbeat of their own agenda.
That's been done before, of course, to disastrous ends, and, invariably
those particular regimes set laws for the people,
(for the people's own good, of course) whilst at the same time
choosing to live outside those laws.
Hint: Don't ever point this out to the regime - you're going to get
some particularly toe-curling, brazen, frankly bizarre excuses as to why
they are exempt from these laws, and you'll be deemed a bigot for
pointing it out, then shamed, cancelled, and in certain regimes
you will pay the ultimate price.

For me, one must align onself with one's core,
and not get swept up in the raging river of the madding crowd,
maybe meeting each other at the cente of our respective cores,
bringing them together in mutual respect.
Just my opinion.

  • Lesson tip.
  • 23/05/21 09:33am
Stop moving on too quickly from something you are learning.
Stay with it.
Studying triad pairs? Make it a year then, not a week.
All you do, when you move on too quickly, is make a habit
of digesting something for the shortest time, so that it makes
absolutely no difference to your playing, whatsoever.
In other words, a total waste of time.

Someone, a student, said to me recently, 'I can't swing...
It doesn't feel natural to me, I just don't feel it and I don't
think I ever will'.
'Ok' I said.... 'Let's find out whether that is true'
We hammered swing for 3 months. No prizes here,
but he's swinging 3 months later.

So stick with it. Let it make a difference.
Then write something that contains that difference
so it embeds itself into your playing.

Do it.

  • I'm Having a new guitar made 1
  • 09/05/21 09:31am
I tried a guitar last year. My guitar tech, Ged Green,
who I've been with for years now, also makes beautiful guitars that are gorgeous to play.
I was having some work done on my 335 and he showed me a Telecaster he'd made.
The neck was just wonderful and I took it home and played it for a few weeks.
Sat down, it all made sense. I could hug it into my body if I raised my leg slightly.
The problem was standing with it. I've had my 335 since I was 17 so i need that body under my arm.
So, despite it being the Anne Bancroft of guitars (I was besotted with Anne Bancroft) it had to go back.
Talked to Ged, and we mooted the idea of someting similar with a bigger body.
That guitar, is being made now, as I write this.
Ged is starting to send me pics. We're talking about it as we go.
I think it will be special. I'll share the pics as we progress.
Stay tooned.


  • I'm Having a new guitar made 5
  • 09/05/21 09:30am
These pics have been coming in steadily over the last months.
I'm posting where we're up to pic by pic. I suppose i could have
done it one longer post but I'm not sure how to do that in this website format.
Ged suggested we have a basic control layout that didn't interfere with face of
the body (the face of the body!!!???) too much and I agreed.
He went out of his way, and waited a long time, to get the woods he wanted
and it seemed fitting to have as much of it intact as poss, whilst having access to
all the tones through a 4 way switch.
We discussed where the switch would be, and I preferred the volume next to my pinky
with the switch on the outside of the tone control. I tend to swell a lot
with the volume control so easy access is a must.

  • The silence of doubt
  • 09/05/21 08:59am
Remember when friendship welcomed different opinions?
Lost in the rage, there's a friend, reluctant to remember.
Stay strong in your glorious doubt, be brave, hold fast,
they will, eventually, see nuance through the fog
of their intractability, unfettered from their sure opinions,
tired of the lonely life of the righteous.

I love the phrase 'I'm not so sure, let's explore'.
It's the green light to get into the weeds and
dig a little deeper than what fuels the media
to get you fired up. Or just fired.

Doubt has backed into the shadows, safe behind
closed doors. Many are nodding, meaning no.
Foresight is fading, hindsight on the up.
Hindsight is the new crystal ball.
You should have seen this coming even though I didn't.

And then the wave. The wave of opinion. As though it holds a truth,
because it's a wave. While the rest of the coast is calm.

What happened to doubt?
It became dangerous to express it.
At some point, certain media will back track,
they'll change the story, blur the lines because
it's in their interest. The wave of opinion
will no longer hold sway. Then doubt will start
to move into conversation again.
And those screamers will be left with the reverberations
of their righteousness echoing off the walls in an empty room.

I never thought I'd see the day when it was actually dangerous
to disagree, and even more so, to be unsure.

Be brave. Slurs don't hold truth by default.
The ease in which they are hurled, or snaked into
conversation, is a desperate measure to shame you out of
your doubt and into their thought-prison.

Laughter is key.
Feel your doubt. Explore it.
Then take that monumental step (my god, it became monumental!!)
and air it. It's ok.
All will be well.

"The real enemy is the person who tries to mold the human
spirit so that it will not dare to spread its wings".

  • The shedding of the telly
  • 30/04/21 07:33am
I tend to keep things for the future.
When the future comes, they sit there still, unused.
I realised this the other day. A big fat B&O telly in my bedroom,
ya know, to watch in the future? Except it has never been connected
along with a DVD player underneath and another contraption that I cannot
even remember the use of. It did something fancy 15 years ago and I
haven't a clue what that was.
I have a telly in the living room. A good one.
The fatty telly in my bedroom has sat there for at least 12 years.
So I've been on this shedding trip. I've been slowly getting rid of
stuff that stares up at me from draws I rarely open.
They stare up at me like a dog that thinks it's going to get a treat
or go walkies. That frozen, held excitement, the anticipation of
a delirious soon to be happiness. Then I close the draw for 3 years.
Now and again, I see myself partake in crazy behaviour and I change it.
I think, 'what are you doing, you utter clot?' or similar.
This happened the other day.
So I got a load of garden refuse sacks and went to work on my draws.
I went to work on clearing things. I threw shoes out. I realised I was
a bit Imelda Marcos except my shoes looked like shrivelled raisins
but shrivelled raisins as big as size 13 shoes.
I stuffed clothes in the refuse sacks. Horrendous clothes I'd never wear.
Why do I have that shirt and what possessed me to buy it in the first place?
Moth eaten T shirts, clothes I feel I must have bought blindfolded or on a dare
from the school of mockery.
As I was clearing this stuff that had slowly closed down my physical space
which in turn encroached on my thinking space, I stopped suddenly,
and I looked at the telly.
I do put feelings into inanimate objects. This is true.
I talk to my car. Congratulate it on getting me where I need to be.
I pat the steering wheel with, 'well done, you'.
So, I must admit some resistance when I stopped and pondered
the shedding of the telly.
I loved that telly in it's day, and it had been with me 25 years.
I remember seeing it, in a shop window on offer, shop soiled.
So I felt, at that time, like the rescuer.
And now, I was contemplating my new role of executioner.
This was difficult.
I waited.
I turned to books instead. I usually have about 20 books
either side of my bed. They sit there having been read,
or waiting to be read. Why do I do this?
It's something to do with the Great Perhaps.
I don't mean God. I never had that gene not even as a catholic
child and I was horrified when the priest lunged over me with
a wafer and said 'the body of christ' with a view to putting it in my
mouth which would have been agasp had I not had the forethought
of sealing it shut as I saw the tortured looks of the other kids.
I never did take in the body of christ.
I used to pretend I was wearing glasses when taking confession.
Father Mulholland would be looking away, staring at the floor
or a daily paper, absolving me of sins I'd made up and I'd
circle my fingers and thumbs and place the circles over my eyes
like glasses. This made confession much more fun.
Father Mulholland once came to our house. I was about 9 years old.
When he sat down he fell right through the chair.
I see it now. Mortified Mother, child laughing covertly into his sleeve,
and a priest with a look on his face that said 'what fresh hell is this?'.

I digress. I do that sometimes. Digress.
What a funny word that is. Di...... gress.

Having cleared away books, thrown some out, boxed some for Oxfam
along with clothes I hilariously thought some fool might wear, perhaps
to commit unspeakable crimes, I turned once again to the telly.
This time, I made a move. A tentative move of detaching wires
so that it stood completely alone, unfettered and moveable.
It's heavy. An old analog telly as deep as it's wide.
I embraced it. I lifted it. I moved with it. I didn't ask questions.
I moved stealthily, with purpose, through the quagmire of my doubts.
The stairs were tricky. Slowly, one at a time, and down, down, into
the kitchen.
The move had been made. The deed was done.
All the electrical sundries that had lived underneath it for 12 years
were placed directly in the car. Then the telly.
Driving to the tip was a solemn affair. I thanked the telly for its years
of service (i didn't thank the electrical goods.... is this a size thing?).

When I got back, I looked at the space it had occupied.
A space fat with unwatched telly.
I left it a day.
When I woke the following morning I had a feng shui moment.
Things were clearer.
Because of the shedding, I was able to see other things that needed to go.
The top of the wardrobe thick with god knows what.
I cleared it. Found pictures I hadn't seen in years.

I'm still on with it. Shedding.
New horizons beckon.
Clutter free.
And suddenly, I remember, as a child,
lying down in the long grass of an empty field,
and the sky, an ocean.

  • Social Media is Amazing!
  • 24/04/21 02:40pm
It manages to inform you whilst disinforming you.
And whether time is pressing, or you have all the time in the world,
it will provide you with the wrecking ball you need to muddy the waters,
or sully a reputation, or drive a dangerous ideology underground,
where it's more difficult to spot, but carries on regardless, quietly recruiting.
The name you're told, ordered, to use in your bio will become tomorrows slur
and you'll be told, ordered, not to use it anymore.
So, live and let live is quickly falling out of fashion.
You can't be you, but they can be whoever they choose.
You can have diversity of opinion, as long as it aligns with their world view.
I left social media. I don't find it, on the whole, a very giving place.
I like the connectivity, especially for lonely, isolated people.
But the conflagrations of outrage that virus themselves into topics
as innocent as cake or knitting became tedious in their predictability.
I was on Twitter for a while. It didn't take long for someone to
school me in my inherent racism. It's not an intrinsically bad thing,
you understand, but it's always there.
I asked them if they had it too, and they said yes.
I asked how they knew, and they said because
when they see someone not like them,
they clutch their bag tighter. I said I'd never felt this in my life.
'Never!!?' they said, 'I find that hard to believe'. I found this genuinely shocking.
And then I got it. That person was telling me about their inherent racism, not mine.
The bigotry they see, is a mirror they look into. They're taking a selfie.

The scramble to blame, to castigate, to demonise,
has become a way to earn points,
likes, validation, and, (dangerous beyond belief), money.
People game the system.
I hope it's a phase. When money is to be made from finding witches,
the tendency is to find witches at all costs, in all corners,
until the finders themselves are accused.
People start to prove their innocence, through accusatory swipes at others.
It's happened in every dictatorial landscape since history began.
This is the way to be. Why are you not on board to our right way?
Hey look everyone, that person isn't on board!
They're doing their own thing, which isn't our thing, so let the ridicule begin.

Life will get in the way at some point, and the dogs they set on others
will turn around and come for them. It's what happens. It's what has always happened.

When we spin the tale that people are a mess because of the world,
because the world is to blame for our sorrows,
miscalculations, bad decisions, life problems, etc
it gives us an excuse to point at someone else, someone in our sightline.
We, conveniently, can't get into our sightline, unless we have a mirror.
If we don't choose to hold up that mirror, and continue our blame,
we lose our autonomy. And we demand that the world
change around us, rather than meet the world as it is,
and work to change aspects that make it better for everyone.

At one point, this tucked away post, would have been an easily ignored opinion.
And we could talk it through, over coffee.
Now, it's a risk.
Hey ho.

  • As if I was you.
  • 22/04/21 08:45am
2019. April 27th.

Last night, we played a wonderful gig in Frankfurt. Dear old friends, and some new soon to be old friends.
After the gig, I went outside and talked with a local man.
We spoke for quite a while. He told me many fascinating stories. ‘I don’t get a chance to speak this way, with time to unfold my stories’ he said.
He told me one story, dear to his heart, and at one point, the meaning of the story, was caught in his throat, and he couldn’t speak for a second, ‘I cannot tell it without....’ he said, but by that point, it had all been said.
And his story, was stuck in my throat.
We are, to put it mildly, as delicate as stone,
and as tough as smoke.
Go easy with the shouters, the screamers, the constant moaners. Their claws are brittle, their hearts beat like swallow wings and bruise under bright light.
In the middle of the night, they wake up to themselves, and try to turn away.
It’s worth remembering, I think, that when they snap and spit at you, for the smallest indiscretions, the points that prove you all too human, they are giving you a glimpse of their history, and the ache that remains as constant and universal as loss.
Listen to her stories, be heart deep in his tales, as though they were your very own.

  • The importance of space.... In Ikea
  • 22/04/21 08:20am
I would like to relay a tale.
This tale involves a Fake Fig tree that my sister said I simply must have in
my bedroom if I wanted to get with the 'in' crowd and also set the right
mood along with an incense stick and a fat candle and go on joke all you like.
Well, this Fake Fig tree was planted but not literally planted in a
10ft square space in Ikea. It was a Sunday.
Sunday in Ikea is like food scrap day in maggotsville..... It's dense.
And it's dense in all senses of the word.
Dense in all senses.
So parking was the first bizarre event.
I keep very calm, almost too calm, some would say, in such situations...
blue birds happily tweeting, when tweeting was tweeting, around my head.
Not so, for many, with big anger smudged faces.
And some are resigned to staring into a space that will never be theirs,
as drivers reluctant to let them through, or past, or out, or first, command spacial respect.
Tripping over a miracle, I bag a space. I try to stave off smug but it's useless.
Walking into Ikea I spy one of the spatial respect commanders stuck
in a queue mouthing his disgust at other spatial respect commanders who won't let him out.
In Ikea. It's actually Bedlam and I consider going home and getting in bed
with only insence and a fat candle and go on joke all you like.
But I'm made of sterner stuff so I march on.
Well, I have never seen so many people stressed about spoons and colanders.
The kids were bored into the floor, exasperated at having to
stare at a yellow cheese grater for literally minutes.
It was absolute carnage. The crowds around the dishcloths appalled me.
I found my Fig Tree. It's remarkable.
When I got out I cried freedom like William Wallace
and eye-swallowed the good clean light of the world.
The Fake Fig tree sits well in my bedroom. It's about my height.

  • Feb 2020 A lovely thing
  • 22/04/21 07:47am
Just played a beautiful gig in Edinburgh with Kit Downes and Norma Winstone.
Instant composition. A dance of silences entwined with improvised non-silences... that sounds clumsy but I'm struggling to plant it.
It was a joy and why I play music.
When I checked into the Ibis, Edinburgh.. I had to go through that shenanigans of answering a 'how did we do at check in?' survey in order to get wifi in my room. Out of 'terrible, bad, Ok, Good, Amazing,' I put 'Good'. Then it takes me down another rabbit-hole because answering 'Good' isn't good enough.
So I have to give pointers to how they can improve the service.
So I put something like 'There should be Dark Salt Lindt Chocky on arrival in the room. There should be some books. Maybe, Hemingway, to get couples of all persuasions into the Hemingway debate. There should be a map to the heart of the woman I'll fall in love with.'
After the gig, when I got to my room, there were two bars of Dark Salt Lindt Chocolate waiting on my table with a Card.
The card said 'Fun Times Ahead' and a hand written note inside said... 'Unfortunately, we couldn't get Hemingway's books, however we got some salted chocolate. We hope the performance has been awesome'.
Reach out, you never know what beautiful things will come your way.

  • Sleep
  • 01/04/21 05:26am
Every night/morning for the past week, I wake around 4am. I lie here, for about
an hour or so, changing position, sifting through various techniques
I've acquired over the years to melt me into dream, to no avail.
I go years without a problem. I sleep fine. Always broken, but drift off again
quite easily, with minimum disruption.
When I was much younger, I was a periodic insomniac,
sometimes going days without sleeping. I dropped caffeine and alcohol.
Things improved almost overnight.
For a long time I had no problem with sleeping.
And then it crept back in. So now I get bouts of restlessness
and a few weeks at least when I wake in the early AMs.
I suffer with restless legs. One in particular drives me nuts.
It's like there's a leg, bigger than mine, inside my leg, and it wants out.
I've recently discovered a certain magnesium tablet and it helps
but it still gnaws at me when I wake up around 4am.
Sometimes, I do this; I write. Middle of the night/early morning musings and
three beats in and my eyes get heavy and I close them for a few secs
and then something kicks in as If to say 'Oh no you don't' and I rouse
and that brief heaviness lifts and I'm as fresh as a daisy again.
So, this is 'Sleep'. Nothing too fancy or surreal. Just a plain document
without linguistic thrills (would that I could) that sets down the mundane
slop that is sleeplack. There'll be a 'Sleep 2'. It'll be a series.
I'm going to try and break the pattern today. So no napping in the day.
If my body says get up after 3 or 4 hours then it's going to damn well stay up!
My assault starts now.

Hugs, from a distance.


  • Allow yourself your own song
  • 31/03/21 07:37pm
Wait. Wait to find out what you feel.
Wait to find out what you want to say.
Put a distance between you and your initial thought,
to see if that thought carries you across the threshold of a new view,
maybe a better opinion of the one you held yesterday, and the day before.
Years ago, I remember something leaping out at me from a book I was reading;
Cultivate a space between stimulus and reaction.
That stayed with me.
It's necessary, so that you can see what you really mean
before you oil your own water with things you may not really feel in your soul.
Learn to see that regret ahead, rather than on the glance back over your shoulder.
And keep that regret in sight, always.
That regret, hasn't happened yet. You haven't danced to it's tune,
or the all too familiar tune of your history.
You're writing a new song. Your song.
Allow yourself to. You may surprise yourself.

© Mike Walker 2024