Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Top Ten Load of Bollox I've heard in my Cab

Your Drunk, off your face on a locally grown drug, or you just fancy talking complete bollox to a stranger. You have ten minutes or so to empress me or make me utter a few Ooo's or ahh's, here are some of the top ten bits of utter bollox I've heard so far

Gay man told me his Nan was Gloria Swanson the 1930's Hollywood superstar

Bloke told me he invented crack

Woman said she slept with a horse

Eighteen year old boy told me he was 63 and kept calling me sonny

Bloke told me he went up into space in the fifties but is sworn to tell no one

Man told me he is a spy

Bloke told me he was buying a Bugatti Veyron and didn't have enough to pay me

Man said he has slept with 10,000 women, he also had no teeth in his deluded head

Woman said she can jump over buildings and she'd show me but she had the wrong shoes on

Man told me he killed a sabre toothed tiger in potters bar in 1977

Some may be true, probably not though, I took Keane home once, didn't believe them either...

When Doubt Creeps in

Cursor. Click. Cursor.
Look. Stare. 
Look down. Click.
Fingers hover. Wait. Wait.
Waiting… Click. Cursor. Click.
Look away.  Fed up.
Watch Bowie news...
Distraction excuse.
Look down. Click.
Feeling guilt. Hopeless.
Really hopeless.
Click click.
Another day.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Fuck This, Go Rob a Bank

What is this now? Another middle aged gripe? Another feckless moan at the futility of it all. Maybe its the realisation we all get to when you reach that point in life when surely, it all HAS a point right? Of course your work life is not the point OF life, but work life balance should surely swing in your favour as one gets older, I have made sensible decisions, done ok here and there, bereavements are the norm in any family of course and maybe I have had a little more than my fair share of those.

But fuck this, the only people I see doing well are the ruthless and the cleverest that can bend a rule or legally interpret something that allows them to skim the surface of criminality.

My own anarchic soul that's allowed itself to be chained to my sensibilities is screaming through the noise of  societal indoctrinated respectability shouting...


Fuck this, go rob a bank.
Forty years of graft behind me.
Still have the nothing.
Spent the money on keeping up with the price of life.
Going up faster than I can pay for it.
The odds stacked against most of me.
They need me to be behind.
Creates demand.
Look down, see what you find.
See a dog when it is thrown scraps.
Its head down sniffing out the goodies.
That is I.
Head down sniffing out the goodies.

Conforming is easier.
The man pats you gently.
Gives you a little for it.
The many-armed godhead has its hands in all your pockets.

Fuck this, go rob a bank.
Chance is the new opportunity.
Opportunity for chance everywhere.
Fuck this, go rob a bank.
Have a year off, do as you please.
Out of the gaze of the man
For a while at least.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Faded to grey

I do not write.
Not nearly enough.
Too busy, too many things to do.
I have let it go, lost the thing I had that made me write.
Haven’t the disciplines, the determination to push it through.
I have been courted by big publishing houses.
Literary agents rub their chins and email me for more.
I’m popular then not.
Minimum wage forcing my hand, £5.50 per hour for this grown man to protect.
No prospects beyond the next wage packet.
I am paid five days late. Often.
Don’t make the threshold to pay tax to the man.
He has no need of my trifling small pennies.
Late nights that become day.
Remnants of cancer ping with pain.
It wants to join me in my mire.
Year in. year out.
Perhaps too comfortable in my weaned poverty.
Comfort in the decrepit familiarity.
Need the misery of never enough.
Memories of mum begging down the lane.
Need the pain of no gain.
Always work hard, callous your skin hard.
Reward never came. Capitalist fodder for life.
I dragged riches for others from the sludge.
My dotage, damn it, my dotage is near.
One last push, one last big breath in.
Who wins. Literary or my labour?
Cancel the Sun life monthly funeral payments. Five pounds saved.
Greys of a hard knock life.
Thinned grey papery skin and hair.
Faded to grey.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs and the Varnish of Death

It is the early seventies, I should be at school. Getting work was easy then, you had a couple of weeks before they wondered where your paperwork was…

It is nearly the end of my shift and it has been a long stressy day. I was told off by the bloke on the guillotine earlier, almost had my hands off at the wrists apparently. He is a grumpy bastard, never smiles and has no time for youngsters like me, keeps moaning about my long hair, he thinks I should wear a hair net because my hair is always in my face. Fucking old git.

 “A bit of overtime?” The balding Irish foreman taps me on the back asks. He matches the ink colours from one print run to the next, by eye and texture; I cannot even begin to know how he does that.  I like him; he is a cheerful version of my dad.

 My mum expects me home around 6pm, we don’t have a home phone and since me mum called the lady upstairs a feckin’ witch she won’t let us use her phone anymore. I’m still scared enough of her to make sure she knows where I am and what I’m doing. I need to get home, let her know I will be working all night. Explaining to the boss what I need to do to get the overtime gets a few laughs in the office. I run home, it’s maybe three or four miles, when you are young, you can run fast, like being chased by the old bill fast.

 I’m soon back at work for the already too long shift, I have bag of crispy bits from the chip shop and a bounty, I feel dead posh when I eat a bounty. There are two of us in this big old Victorian print works, Justin and me. Justin is a long haired bespectacled tripped out hippy, a fat John Lennon springs to mind and he’s about ten years older than me, always has a rolled lit fag in his mouth. The long Svecia screen-printing machine is ready to go when I arrive, Justin is sitting atop it cross-legged, smoking and reading the NME. Tonight we are finishing a Charlie Rich LP, it is having a gloss put on, also doing a David Bowie album called ‘Diamond Dogs’, it’s having its final colour done, don’t know what happened earlier but by the loading dock near the bogs there is a skip and it’s brimming with this album. Someone somewhere fucked up. Also by the bogs there is a full size David Bowie stand up cut out figure from the Aladdin Sane album, it has been defiled with goofy teeth and large genitals, the foreman’s name is prominent and little notes have been scribbled all over it.

 Everyone has clocked out and there is just me and Justin left, we spend about an hour of preparation and I am lining up pallet loads of the unfinished album covers ready to go in the machines. David Bowie is first, it is done quickly and I pull the loaded pallets one by one out of the auto stacker thingy at the rear of the machine, the next load goes in. We notice how cold it is with the extractors on and Justin turns them off, we shut the big iron framed Victorian windows, this old building is fucking freezing. Bowie’s album is done and I deliberately position the full pallets around the guillotine so the miserable bastard cannot get to it in the morning.

The varnishing of Charlie Rich’s LP ‘Behind Closed Doors’ is next, its one in the morning and still fucking cold and I’m now wearing the miserable guillotine gits bobble hat. I’m helping spread the varnish onto the silk screen from large tins, my head is already spinning and I’m reminded of my Zoff plaster remover sniffing phase way back when a couple of weeks ago.

I was woken by the Irish foreman giving me the kiss of life. He smelt of old spice and tasted of old Holborn tobacco. Apparently, I was not breathing, three or four hours have disappeared from my memory and once it was established I was ‘alright’ the miserable guillotine bloke wrenched his bobble hat from my head and called me a stupid little cunt. Justin was barely conscious and was being given a fag and a right good talking to for turning the extractors off by the boss. A cup of tea and a headache later I was on my way home, had to make my own way home mind and fell asleep on the steps of the church half way down Cable Street, probably still semi-conscious from oxygen deprivation, got home in the afternoon and me mum told me off. I dared not tell her what happened; she would have been up there punching heads. I left soon after that, got a job in a Jewish wholesaler above the undercover in Petticoat Lane allocating and packing woman’s dresses. I can still do a mean knot and have searched for David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs vinyl LP cover printed by Augustus Martin for years, not found one. Yet.

 I wished I’d had thanked you grumpy guillotine operator, I can’t remember your name, I now know you did your best to take me under your wing to train me, I wasn’t and never paid any attention, I was within an eighth of an inch of losing both hands, you nearly broke your hand slamming the stop button. I cried in the toilets shortly after because I knew that was an unwanted reality that came too close. I don’t even think you were ever that grumpy. I have paid close attention to everything I do ever since; it’s just one day, but one that is still silk-screened into my aged, know-better mind.

Monday, 23 September 2013


Immediately Gem is engaging, breathlessly sparkly and making good eye contact which is strange for me as most if not all people talk via the windscreen. You’re happy! I say with a big smile, ‘No’ she replies and sighs. ‘I’m trying to get my daughter back, she is four next month and they won’t let me see her’ My first surprise is that she was old enough to even have children, she being so small, I would have guessed her age at 14ish maybe a bit older. She is 23. ‘It’s my ex-boyfriend he hurt her while I was at work’ I took her to the doctors, not knowing… Her face is wet. ’I will get her back. He hurt her. He hurt her… I have stopped the cab for a while now, just listening.

Do I have a judgement? Do I dare? I believed her, a combination of harsh association with a vicious child man/boyfriend that stubbed cigarettes out on a child. He disappeared, left her with the burden of loss. Her family has left her with that burden too. She does not have boyfriends anymore and is at college. Her incredible fortitude and positive outlook looked unshakable, not a victim, not a ‘poor me.’

That was eight years ago.

Very recently, I saw her. A small young woman with another small young woman both exactly the same size coming out of Boots in St Leonards, was it her daughter that was with her? It was. How sure am I?  I know how mums are with their children. She was simply being a mum and my face was wet that’s how I know.