Friday, September 17, 2010


I joined the Book Club although I had never ever read a book since school. You may wonder why. Well, you’ll probably guess that there was a girl involved, one who went to the Book Club. I fancied her, fancied her desperately. I knew her at work. We had chatted inconsequentially at the drinks machine as the plastic cups clattered down one by one, each followed by a defiant hiss of steaming liquid. One day, she told me about the Book Club. She evidently thought I looked bookish – or rather she fancied me as I fancied her. Well, so I hoped. She just used the Book Club as a catalyst for our future relationship. I jumped at the bait with enthusiasm, but then immediately regretted it when she told me that I needed to read an actual book – a very large one as it turned out with tiny print and an unattractive cover that I had to buy in WH Smiths – it was titled BARGE – and I needed to talk about it, she told me, with the other members of the Book Club.

Well, I did read it religiously. It taught me long words like ‘catalyst’ and ‘judicious’. I gave up all my favourite TV programmes. And, surprised as I am to report this, I actually enjoyed it. I never understood the significance of the title, though. Anyway, this was the first time ever I had enjoyed any book.

I expect you will guess, by my tone, how the plot now turns – because, predictably, when I arrived at the Book Club (fat book in hand), the girl who had invited me was nowhere to be seen. I never saw her again at work, either. And, incidentally, they replaced the drinks machine with a tea-lady pushing an urn on a trolley. I now have a nostalgia for drinks machines.

I have a nostalgia, too, for TV programmes because, soon afterwards, they did away with TV sets and replaced them with large wirelesses, ones with glowing consoles and wickerwork speakers. Oh for the good old days of big black plasma screen on the wall.

A lot came from reading that book it seemed. And I generally became an avid reader as I listened to Mantovani music on the crackly wireless. Eventually, I married the tea-lady. She looked much younger without her overall. And we lived happily ever after – like the ending of that first book I’d read since school.

I never returned to the Book Club because they started using Ipads and Kindles instead of real books.

One day, I did think I saw the girl who had first invited me to the Book Club – in the distance, sitting on a park bench. She was much older, but I could tell it was her. As I got closer I found her reading a real book and sipping a drink from a plastic cup. She half-smiled. I was never sure if she recognised me. I went off to WH Smiths – but it was shut. So I returned home to the wife who was knitting in the corner of our silent candlelit sitting-room. Somehow her dress was kept nicer by the judicious use of her old overall.

Life continues to go by outside the window.

Written yesterday (slightly amended today) as a speed-writing exercise at the Clacton Writer's Group

Sunday, September 12, 2010



posted Friday, 18 June 2010

The piece of paper had one word on it: Twilight.

It happened in a busy pub while I was standing at the bar trying to make myself be seen by the barman. I generally have trouble getting drinks at bars – it’s as if I am invisible.

Anyway, that evening, I managed finally to catch the barman’s eye with the first few words of my order spoken out loud already a few times: “A pint of Extra Cold Guinness...” and, as this happened, I felt someone touch my hand (the one not holding out the ten pound note pleadingly to the barman), then placing there, as I instinctively took it, a piece of paper. I sensed it was a woman but I did not see her as she vanished into the hubbub behind me.

“...and a glass of Twilight, please, “ I confirmed.

“Ice and lemon?” immediately retorted the barman.

I returned to the table, reserved with a bag and two coats, and placed both drinks in position. I sat down in one of the seats and suddenly took the opportunity to inspect the piece of paper whereby I confirmed a presumption of what was written on it.

“Someone just passed me a piece of paper at the bar,” I told Susan as she returned from the Ladies. She had evidently risked leaving our table and belongings unattended but, in my present mood, I was averse to complaining. In fact, it had not crossed my mind at all. Hindsight was wonderful.

“What’s on it?”

“Nothing. It’s completely blank.”

“What’s this drink? It’s not a Pepsi.”

I scrutinised the wine-glass shaped glass containing a liquid that seemed to give off its own light, a dull glow from amid a dark centre. A centre as dark as my Guinness, if not darker. It was like no drink I had seen before.

“Well, it certainly doesn't seem like a Pepsi,” I agreed, scratching my head. “Try it.”

“You try it,” said Susan.

I picked it up and took a sip. There was no taste at all, indeed no relative temperature to gauge how cold it was. If a drink could be completely bland, this was it. A warm sensation however hit my stomach –

“Hmm, it’s strangely not unpleasant. Try it.” Then I remembered that Susan never drank from glasses that others had used – even me. Me the person she often kissed. “Well, shall I get you a Pepsi?”

She nodded. I visited the bar again and undertook the whole procedure of catching the barman’s eye. This time it was even busier and I felt even more invisible. Less or more invisible seemed a strange way to put it, but my mind must have been slightly off-kilter. That drink - despite its lack of taste - must have carried a kick. One sip and I was anybody’s. Just another outstretched hand, this time with a five pound note in it, pleading for attention – for some acknowledgement that I was there. Tears falling down the cheeks with no salt in them...

I turned to seek re-assurance from Susan. She wasn’t there. Caught short again, no doubt.

I looked down at my hand. The five pound note held out in it was completely blank.

('Twilight' was speed-written at the Clacton writer's group last night and typed out above with slight revisions today)

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Merest Creak

The Merest Creak

posted Monday, 3 November 2008
Published 'Wearwolf' 1993

Feeling knackered, the saviour clambered on board and went the rest of the way in the boat. Eventually on land again, he was brought to a paralytic man lying on a stretcher-bed. “Your sins are forgiven,” announced the saviour. “Rise and take up your bed.” The man rose with a satisfying sigh and the merest creak of bone - walking off, without bothering to take up his bed. The saviour was spitting mad, shouting for the man to come back and take up the bed, but the wretch merely wagged his finger at the saviour and bounded away. As it would have been a pity for unmitigated anger to become the only shortcoming in the path towards Divinity, the saviour calmed down ... then deciding to use the abandoned bed for a long snooze.

Crumbling Edges - 2

Crumbling Edges - 2

posted Thursday, 9 October 2008
Written today and first posted here.

The ghost was immediate. Like love with no foreplay.

Jack and Sylvia glanced at each other with frightened looks, having glimpsed the ghost glancing at them from where the cupboard door should have been. They hadn’t long moved into the flat and they believed this cupboard to be an airing one, slatted with empty wooden shelves above a large pipe-fed cylinder. It was early in their days of tenancy and the prevailing summer weather had caused them not to have yet fathomed the flat’s heating system. They assumed the cylinder would be central to any such system. Quite divorced from the electric power-shower they had already been using to remove the dust and sweat of the city.

This was the first night of chilly air so they had been investigating the various so-called heating-controls in various dark corners. Jack was not particularly practical. Good looks but not good hands. Sylvia had more nous than Jack but was saddled with a belief that men should look after women, not vice versa. She had her hands full with keeping down an office job to help pay the rent. The flat had been too expensive for them even before the Credit Crunch. Jack was self-employed as a messenger, but his motor-bike was currently out of commission – beyond his own capacity to mend – and he really needed a new one. His good looks alone could not pay the rent. At least Sylvia’s good looks had played some part in landing her a job in an office. A pretty head seemed to disguise its otherwise disordered numeracy and literacy.

Life was not complicated. Merely difficult.

“Did you see that?”

Sylvia’s voice turned into under-muttering... her crumbling nerves on edge. She was tired. Easy jobs were never easy when you made hard work of them. She watched Jack peering into a vase. He had bought some flowers to celebrate the completion of a week in the flat and wanted, evidently, to see if this vase – that came with the furnishings – was worthy enough to display the flowers that would be useless without being arranged and then viewed properly. The flowers had been bought with real money. The opportunity cost was a single destiny too far. Never to be recouped. He sighed as, simultaneously, he too glimpsed exactly what Sylvia had glanced at.

A misbuilt figure – shimmeringly shaped no doubt by a haze or fitful blast of heat – veiled the blank stare of the open airing-cupboard. But wait – the cupboard was not open as such but now completely doorless or somehow shut without a door at all.

Jack put down the vase and continued to stare as the figure took on further form as a transparent example of humanity: waving its arms about in a wild panic at its ill-timed emergence from separate ghostly forces. There was no doubt in the couple’s minds – although they had no time to discuss it – that this was an essentially mysterious event. And thus more horrifying than it would otherwise have been. The only horror for mankind is the supernatural: a truth about the unknown or inexplicable that neither Jack nor Sylvia bothered to rehearse. It only came too naturally.

“Stay still,” whispered Jack, “until it goes away.”

“I’m scared.” Saying the obvious was the only thing she could think to say.

Jack stayed silent rather than admit his own terror.

The edges of their nerves were now as if creeping along the carpet between each of their feet, seeking an electric circuit of comfort, thinly holding out invisible tingling arms to each other.

Almost automatically, Jack surrendered any hope that this event was a dream or a mistake of vision – it was essentially real, there, taking place, moving all the time without any possibility of predicting where it would, as an event, move next. He picked up the vase again, an equally automatic or unpredictable action, as if to catch the ghost in its open mouth.

Sylvia, in turn, made a scraping noise with her chair as if to distract the ghost from what Jack was attempting to do. And, indeed, the ghost’s whole face of a body swivelled violently in her direction, the cylinder and its pipes appearing to swivel with it. It was an uncanny attempt to make something flat three-dimensional.

Jack’s hands were, as ever, uncoordinated, but he managed to bring the vase into an optimum position so as to be able to trap the ghost within it. But at the last moment all he could do was watch helplessly as his own and Sylvia’s lost nerves vanished into it, leaving the ghost alone - simply left to ponder on the crumbling edges of the flat emptiness around it. It scratched its head deciding it had nothing with which to scratch it, being nothing but head. Eventually nothing but a further flatness of face. A grin and a grimace. A final glance or glimpse. Then, nothing at all.

Slowly, time drifted on, with nobody to note its passing. Messages failed to be delivered and files mouldered in deserted city offices.

Sylvia abruptly and unexpectedly scraped her chair. Jack smiled warmly. Time to make love.

The flowers, however, were dead.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Crumbling Edges

Crumbling Edges

posted Friday, 12 September 2008

A story written today and first published here.

The damp room gathered itself as a setting. The man in his rocking-chair ... to and fro ... creaked in time with Handel’s Messiah on the wireless. The reception’s low volume begged the question: why was it switched on at all? Merely to give some undercurrent to the silence, should the chair’s creaks become deadened by dust? He was surely scared of silence. It would make him think of death.

He looked down at the frayed ends of his trousers where the turn-ups still contained a month’s crumbs. His wife had abandoned him by entering her own shape of silence a few weeks before. He had tried to keep up the domestic standards she would have expected him to maintain but, in the end, the silence had again begun to gather ... as if it were now his own turn to have the noise of his bodily movements deadened. He kept the wireless chirruping baroque music through the hiss and static to divert any sleepiness that the silence otherwise encouraged as its ally.

The bed remained empty. Strangely, it creaked, too, by its own volition, as if in communion with the creaks of the man’s bite on the pipe stem that had been unnoticed in his mouth when initially surveying the setting. The rocking-chair was well-oiled and silent, after all. The wad of tobacco in the bowl had long ceased to smoulder: now as damp as the atmosphere of the room itself. The spittle still shone where his teeth clenched the mouth-piece.

Beside him was a wedge of durable cheese: aging into ranges of flavour that the man relished in anticipation. Its stitched rind held firmness intact. The smell was uncertain. There was, indeed, no smell at all in the room, a fact which is hard to believe.

The blur-edged shadows were cast by a moon he had tried to switch on like a light.... and miraculously it had indeed started to run on electric and hang from the middle of the room, complete with its own map of desert seas. Lack of noise was silence. Lack of hearing was silence, too. But it was more difficult to use a single word for the lack of smell. Lack of sight was blindness. But the dim old-fashioned crinkly globe hanging from the ceiling kept blindness at bay. But lack of touch was the most painful to put into any word but nothing.

One of the shadows suddenly took on a life of its own ... bending as if to scoop the crumbs from the turn-ups. His own shadow was then suddenly cast upon the peeling wallpaper, its pipe rocking to and fro as the Messiah reached its scratching endless run-off groove that proved it was a pick-up on a record rather than a wireless-broadcast with hiss and static for edges.

The room had now become a silent setting for not one but two living shadows able to touch each other’s gentle moisture. The only way to believe in ghosts was to become one.

The crumbling cheese surely stunk to high heaven.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Pipe Dream

Pipe Dream

posted Wednesday, 16 July 2008
Published 'Ammonite' 1997

One man dreamed that he had been many people - without the aid of reincarnation. And as his greatest love was music, he wondered if it were not that very music which collected and delivered him upon its ebb and flow of sound. Yet how could it? How could he be other than who he was? His friends and relations did not need to wonder with the same degree of perturbation, since they were entirely oblivious of the need to wonder. He was the person they knew as Susie and they would have considered any doubts as they would have done dreams. Their unshakeable certainty helped to give certainty to the Susie about whom they were so certain, but there was a certain something that nagged at the back of his mind, urging him towards an equal certainty regarding his own uncertainty: a fiction of a person who lived in the mind and, at a push, in the music: a ghost who only failed to haunt people by haunting them. But did it matter? Certainty might have meant something different, give or take an odd dip in the uncertain tides of certainty. Even the man’s name could be changed as easily as he could change for dinner, names simply being convenient coastal barriers against the waves of confusion. Names indeed, were merely words by another name: bricks in the sea-wall: the sound-bites of muzzled reality: music’s muskets against the Void’s own cacophonous snipers gradually sniping away at him.

So, although he harboured doubts that doubt gave him the right to exist, he thankfully retained the need to wonder - and Wonder, he knew without wondering, was not doubt, nor certainty. Nor something in between. Nor even was it dream.

Even if fire were fantasy, a dragon would sniff at it. And the nameless hunter knew there was no smoke without a dragon or one of its smouldering cousin dinosaurs being in the proximity along with its clouded breath. He had climbed through the stacks all day, in search of arrow-bait for the narrow belly-quivers of his wig-wammed kinfolk who lived back a valley or two ... beyond the spreading swamp that resembled an age-curdled Sargasso Sea back-paddling between each bristled stack. Now, he could discern the smoke that puffed fitfully as from a tribal fire, rising beyond the roughest-hewn stack he had ever seen: as tall as was the tenable without teetering upon the brink of toppling: buzzful of spindly-legged creep-creatures and crawling with insect-wings. The pests were known to thrive on the horny backs of dragons - so here, he thought, was likely to be the toughest hide for his arrows to pierce. Slightly-lighter-than-air arrows were the only ammunition for his crossbow purposes: feather driven by birdsoul once the initial thrust had gone.

He aimed at the tell-tale smuts of smoke. And rescuing his feet from the sucking terrain so as to give more purchase for his stance, he tugged at the hair-trigger, with a minimal force to create the tantalising music of his own taut gut. The shimmering arc of aura was more piecemeal than direct in its path towards the smoking stack.

He smiled. The twanging music was sweet. And his purchase was beyond a belief that even God bought. He whistled as he witnessed the huge beast lumbering from behind the stack. Its pesky parasites were invisible to the naked eye, bar the faint sounds that stung the air with flecks that fought the floaters upon the hunter’s retina. Such irritants, however, were as nothing to the faster-than-light venom that had spurred the beast into view. Its bray was blessed with the horse­power of a hundred thousand ancient engines. The fire gushed from between the hinged saw-jaws of ribbed gristle - and floated more ferociously than the flick of its wide whip tail which, in its frenzy, inadvertently demolished the towering stack with the fulminations of buzzings turned to volcanic roar.

Never was seen a dragon like it. The remains of its death would probably feed the hunter’s broompole-boned kin back home for centuries of feasts - and floor over sections of the swamp with flesh harder than sheets of living human bone. The dragon’s nostrils burned on high octane snot. The danger was that the beast had been budged at all - and it would take a hundred thousand ancient Indians to put it out of its misery, give or take a few finger-yodelling braves who loved warpaint more than war.

Nor had the dragon literally ever seen a man. So the man was left only to hunt out his own hallucination of himself, one that had been induced by puffing pipes of peace in some distant past of flowers, bees, fish and birds: before the world was swamped and saddled with a spare second slippery chance to start. And if he were not nameless, Susie would have known a lot more about himself.

Susie could hear the waves surge, even from the forest clearing which the expensive map told her was still a mile from the lake. She was holidaying in such nettly terrain, in an attempt to remove the unsightly stains of a messy love affair from her otherwise clean canvas of existence. The cherry-trees men had secreted about their person were over-rated, in any event, she thought.

It was relatively smooth underfoot, as she pressed fir-cones into the ground with her trainers. Unaccountably, she thought about the truffles the cones would meet in the pig-proof paradises below. She wished she had a companion on this hike. A talkative partner of her own sex would at least make the story easier to tell later. Who would otherwise believe the Wild Lake? Solely with her say-so, it would become a fictitious expanse of white water. She did not ever talk to herself. Her speech was all inside. The trees would not have benefit of her backchat. The world was one without dialogue. Hence, the lonely holidays, the spinsterly flat back home, the lover who possibly never existed - even if she did recall his telephone number.

There is a great delight treading upon poison berries that have fallen to town pavements, with each generous squelch of sole on the separate scatterings of swollen red seeds. In the country, the berries are more often hidden within the soft mulch of the track. But, today, as she neared Wild Lake, berries were inches deep, literally belching underfoot.

As she stumbled through the trees towards the shifting lake’s edge, she saw a dragon-powered craft which was to take her to the opposite bank, without the necessity of clambering through the margins of overgrowth. There was a figure already on the other side, no more than the size of a doll. She waved in unison with this figure. At last - a sounding-board.

Having launched the craft upon the heaving face of silvery dusk’s reflection, she paddled sluggishly across. The figure appeared to have far too much lipstick smeared over its face, as if it had pigged itself upon Hell’s currant harvest. And a bulb-ended object which syphoned the steaming menses...

The lake was echo-chamber for silent music. Little need to wonder. Reincarnation has no body with which to clothe the soul. A hunter of names. A circle of uncertainties enclosing the only certainty. Emptiness. A pipe dream.

Prose Poem or Verse?

Prose Poem or Verse?

posted Saturday, 26 June 2010

Eventually very pleased that someone has seen fit to publish an old piece of mine: SIMPLY SICK AGAIN - first published in Not Dead, But Dreaming (1996):

It was attributed to 'DF Lewis' but the publisher had not been able to find anything about 'DF Lewis' - until I told him in the comments to his publication of my piece.

It also originally stated that my piece was "not great verse" (a wording since removed regrettably from the site).

'Regrettably' because it stirred in my mind some interesting thoughts about story, fiction, prose, prose poem, poem, verse.

The piece is indeed 'not great verse', as I understand the word 'verse'. But with its ostensibly clumsy enjambement it gives the appearance of prose chopped up arbitrarily - a bit like the nauseous choppiness of sickness itself?

Perhaps this unusual arbitrary chopping method creates a prose 'poem' in its truest sense. It is also fiction or story. It is also a vignette. But not verse!

Having just re-read it for the first time after a long period, I find it to be a very strange, yet effective, work!

Thanks to the kind gentleman who thought fit to publish this work without knowing anything about what lay behind the authorship: only a name or nemonym.

comments (1)

1. Weirdmonger left...
Saturday, 26 June 2010 1:23 pm
Perhaps a new form has been invented: the prose verse? Proverse? Proserse?

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

The Teapot Moved (3)

The Teapot Moved (3)

posted Tuesday, 29 April 2008
Written today and first published here

I sat up beside the teapot. It had been placed there by a servant and I’d been told to let it ‘stand’ for a few minutes. Steep? Infuse? Draw? Brew? No, ‘stand’ was the word I was sure I heard the girl in the pinafore say as she plumped the teapot down on my bedside table – rather rudely, I thought, in hindsight.

And now I noticed she’d forgotten to leave the tea-strainer with the cup, saucer and teaspoon. I called out: "Strainer!" in my long drawn-out high-pitched voice which I’m sure the servants found irritating, but I had not told the servant girl to forget something, had I? Indeed I wondered if she had forgot it at all but deliberately didn’t bring it. Again: “Strainer!”

It was then I noticed the teapot moved. Only slightly but clearly enough. I was staggered. I stared at it to make sure I was not mistaken, willing it to move back to where it had moved from, in an illogical hope for its previous standing as the status quo. I might then have been able to imagine it had not moved at all.

A teapot moving of its own volition was certainly an anxiety that a bedridden person like me would find difficult to cope with. It was best I did not believe it at all. “Strainer!” I shouted again, in an attempt to cloud my misperceptions with a recognisable routine rather than to elicit the missing strainer. This was not the first time that the strainer had been ‘forgotten’.

“Stop your whining!” the teapot suddenly said with a righteous gurgle of its innards.

“Pardon?” I said automatically, thinking that the servant must have returned with a different voice.

“Just stop your whining. The stew I’ve got inside me today doesn’t need straining. Get on with the pour!”

I was more upset by its distasteful reference to ‘stew’ than by the fact the teapot was talking to me at all. This represented more of a certain settling into a customary mindset of denial, I suspect, when I now look back at the events. I had also forgotten that the servant girl had forgotten the dunking-biscuits.

Was there a ghost inside the teapot – a ghost capable of moving it as well as speaking for it? This was not a question that occurred to me at the time. Only since.

I put the eiderdown over my head, hoping to blot out not only this single segment of time encompassing the teapot incident but also the whole of reality itself now and forever.

But the voice persisted: “I’ve got good quality stuff inside today and the longer you leave it the more it will stew.”

My head re-appeared over the top of the eiderdown like a bedraggled puppet or worried clown. It was easy to imagine myself as this downbeat figure through lack of any mirror in my room. Only the tiny curved bowl of the teaspoon gave any chance of a reflected image.

The spout of the teapot waved in the air like a tiny snake with, I imagined, a certain wild desperation to perform its duty of pouring: its only reason for existence.

I hastened to do its business. I can’t now understand what possessed me. I picked up the teapot. At least it could not now move of its own volition without me feeling it wriggling or twitching in my hand. I thought that pouring out tea – a generally tasteful art-form of upper class people like me – would expunge any remnant of uncouthness in the creature that I had earlier considered as out of my control. Civilisation is all to do with control. Taste and good breeding, too.

But instead of a golden shaft of healthy infusion, the spout exuded a syrupy blood-like substance into the teacup. I heard myself cackling with uncontrollable delight. I snatched up the teaspoon in haste. But it dropped to the floor. My head wagged from side to side like a funfair target and shouted: “Dunk it!”

I had obviously let things stand too long. They’re still standing now: waiting for hindsight to kick in – or waiting for a dream strainer.

The Mirror

The Mirror

posted Monday, 21 April 2008
Written today and first published here

The clock was easy about the mirror. He didn’t mind it being hung just above him where he tuck punctuatingly to himself on the mantlepiece. The lady owner of the house spoke a different language from the clock's but he had correctly gathered from the noises she made around her various gentlemen callers that she had bought the mirror as a bargain from a local antiques shop. The clock’s ability to look up or behind was not great but he did manage to ascertain that the mirror was fussily framed and more reflective than normal. It often took a mirror’s huge age, strangely, to enhance images upon its shiny surface to the most perfect pitch when one might otherwise have assumed visible cracks or skewed incidence. Time was usually not a good conditioner. Paradoxically, this mirror was so old and yet so very clear-sighted, the clock could precisely see itself by the mirror’s means even from such a sharp angle of squinting upward.

The clock clucked. He did not like what he now saw. He had long assumed that he was an antique of some standing, judging by what the lady of the house told her gentlemen friends about him in so many words. But within the mirror’s blank stare he suddenly feared he saw he was a fake – a clock unworthy of its own movement: a clock that, abruptly, may now not even be the ‘he’ that the clock had long thought he was. The small round aperture towards the bottom of the O-shaped dial-face – where the winding-key was regularly groove-inserted – appeared to contain more of a spindle’s retraction than its protusion. The mirror could not hide the worst of it, however. This was the fact that she, the clock, was not only misgendered but mistimed! She felt the springs tightly sprung within her newly aware body, straining against rather than in synergy with the cogs while all these moving parts continued to release – by piecemeal pizzicato music-box technique – the jewel-facets of the pronged hunker-drive in its own eventual course of misjudged time throughout the aberrant frictions thus created. The worst of all worlds, indeed. Not only faked but fucked.

The mirror chuckled to itself. It had no pretensions to life or even gender. The clock below it was a prissy miss; it had earlier been able to judge this as soon as the lady of the house had hung its own sloping back upon the chimney-breast just above the clock’s relentless tutting. The lady’s face was so close to the shiny surface that it could see her mole hair sprouting. It was almost as if it possessed a shaving-mirror’s powers of magnification. The sweat on the lady’s upper lip was clearly visible – as was the aggrieved strain in her eyes, as she sensed the arms of some man suddenly around her from behind. Valuable antique mirrors should not be submitted to such uncouth scenes, it thought to itself. It spat out the sight.

The clock fell from the mantlepiece with a crash; each ricochet of its many exploding parts became a kaleidoscope of animate and inanimate life that the mirror collected for a sensory posterity. One day, all mirrors, old or new, cheap or valuable, real or metaphoric, would steep themselves in a sufficiently deep reflection with which to unpick an antique mankind’s festering wounds once inflicted upon time’s substance if not duration. A bloodcount without a face.

The Mirror (2)

posted Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Written today and first published here

Johnny did not like rooms with mirrors. He had a superstition that any mirror somehow collected his image, later to be released forensically and used in evidence against him. Johnny was a burglar and his own evidence for such a superstition was the famous occasion when an actual burglar many decades before was found inside a burgled house’s mirror just as if he were Alice trying to escape back from her nightmare into the real world. To weigh two nightmares in the balance, as that famous burglar must surely have done, he needed to turn a blind eye towards the general rule that all nightmares were equal in nightmarishness. To him, there always seemed a lesser evil, as if evil were relative. That famous burglar soon learned the error of his ways because prison in his day and age was a dreadful experience from which many of the inmates could only escape by committing suicide.

So, Johnny, once he was inside any room that he was intent on burgling, did slide and sidle with his back to the wall and then turned any mirror to face in its opposite direction by stretching out his hand to the edge of the mirror-frame so as to twirl it surreptitiously before it could capture him as its own property. Johnny did not want to become a famous burglar.

One rare day, Johnny found himself in a room with ostensibly no mirrors. He looked warily from corner to corner. Then with growing confidence, he strode into the middle of the floor where he made a few outlandish signs of contempt for Fate, then bowed to an unseen audience. He may not want to be famous, but he was a born entertainer. Silent applause was however all he ever received. He soon concentrated on the business at hand. There was no money to be had from miming to nobody.

There were oil paintings, jewellery-strewn dressing-tables, and other items that set his mouth watering. He was greedy enough to carry away more than he could carry away. And he often wished he had more than one pair of arms.


I was inside the wardrobe as Johnny rifled the room in which the wardrobe stood. The wardrobe, I knew, was the most valuable antique in the room, but being so large, he would probably miss seeing it. The door’s wood was randomly knotted with an image that if one imagined hard enough could be turned into a dark human shape. This shape went straight through to both sides of the door. I couldn’t see it, however, as it was too dark within the wardrobe where I was stationed trying hard not to breathe for fear of discovery. It was no wardrobe for any Alice or Lucy to explore as it literally led nowhere. Hard done-by children had often complained to Uncles and Aunts that this wardrobe was the most boring wardrobe they had ever encountered. Little did they know its value as an antique.

There were many cloaks and suits hanging up against me. I could sense them in the darkness. Mothballs, too, in all the various pockets. I went to hold my nose for fear of sneezing. But I could not find my nose. I could not even find things to use with which to find anything! If any sneeze could sound like ice shattering like glass, then I must have had the worst cold possible.

I heard Johnny stop in his tracks. He was evidently surrounded head and foot with undivided swag. A mound moving clumsily doorward, except it was the wrong door in his urgent haste.


A child peered out from among the cloaks and coat-hangers - and applauded.

One Day At A Time

One Day At A Time

posted Friday, 18 April 2008

When you have a lot of worries, a useful piece of advice is to take one day at a time. I often think about this and do my best to take into account the implications of taking one day at a time. You see, I have a lot of worries and countless people who worry me with their own worries and sometimes a stray worry floats by and my brain picks the worry from the air like a magnet and makes it my own worry – a worry escaped from a stranger’s brain or a previously ownerless worry or a worry that is not a worry at all but something disguised as a worry. On bad days, worries swarm en masse rather than separately: not a spattering but a blizzard: the worries not only of people who are still alive but also the residual worries of those who have passed away. Recently, I picked up one of King Henry VIII’s worries. Well, I could go on. So I should ‘take one day at a time’, thus to capture each day’s worries within that day and then allow the whole day itself to pass away – a day of worries vanishing into a cone of nothingness. Each day packaged and signed off. But they do say when you die you re-live all your days again. I can’t believe this is true. But it certainly is a worry.

Monday, September 06, 2010



posted Tuesday, 5 February 2008
Written today and first published here.

Weekend cottages were a luxury, in those days, and I could hardly afford the cost of the journey from London, let alone the rent on the journey’s actual destination. I always took a different companion with me, people I liked either for their conversation or for their body, but rarely for both.

It is delightful to tell you of one of the occasions when it was both. You’re probably thinking that I am concocting an easy style to convince you of its truth or this is effectively just a diary of wishful thinking! Well, think what you like, but the weekend I spent with Shirty is worth living through again, at least for me.

London is a big, big city, with big, big men
Who sit in offices and count to ten

And one of these men was the one called Shirty. A pure crisp whiteness with ice-diamond cuff-links, starched detachable collar, high-tight tie, chest-pocket where he kept his mobile and a body-shaped neatness. He was a cool merchant banker.

And I took him to my weekend hideaway, because I liked the cut of his jib as well as the gift of his gab. Financial wherewithal was not even a consideration. Two handsome heads being talked with from each plump pillow of a country cottage’s feathered bed with a shiny wit between them as well a shared sleek skin – well, that was what it was all about with Shirty and me. A single moment. A focus of passion.

The place was haunted by a dog. I knew that. I have no excuses for not warning Shirty. This dog was a relic of a previous century and probably far beneath the attention of a modern couple like me and Shirty. A nagging bark that sounded from beyond the skirting-boards. I did not believe in ghosts. But how explain it otherwise? Only my easy style can gloss over the contradictions. I simply wanted to concentrate on this single prize of a weekend with Shirty. Next weekend would be time enough to worry about ghosts when accompanied, no doubt, by a more down-to-earth form of humanity than sharp-eyed Shirty.

He sat bolt upright at the first sound of snuffling beyond the bedroom wall.

“What’s that?” He was not used to being startled in his daily life. He normally had all corners covered. But not tonight.

I smiled. I secretly enjoyed the chink in his armour. I saw him sit bolt upright in the vague moonlight bidden by inefficient curtains. He had quickly slipped the previous day’s shirt over his head, hands struggling through the still linked cuffs. How could he otherwise exist in public view without a shirt? This was his persona. This was the way he kept his guard up in the bank’s boardroom. He even started counting backward from a whole pen of sheep he had just counted towards following our earlier pre-sleep relaxations together.

Then there came the slow relentless barking.

He jumped from the bed and walked over to the wall whence the noise seemed to be coming.

“Don’t worry, it’s only the ghost.” I smiled to myself. I had forgotten how satisfying this was – to watch my ‘guests’ become bewildered by something so outlandish, something so utterly un-London.

Ghosts are traditionally white glimpses of intangibility.

Ghosts are surely not guttural sounds like any old dog that has lost its way in the time tunnel.

Over the years coming here, none of us (my guests and I) get much sleep after the initial disturbance. Tonight was no exception. Shirty was grumpy as he wandered round the kitchen muttering incomprehensibly to himself of this and that. Probably the first time he was at a loss for real words. Not in character at all.

I’ve just remembered why the Shirty weekend was one to remember. This was the first occasion when the ghost dog actually appeared, rather than just bugging us with its barking from behind the wall. A wall dividing what from what? That’s a good question. It was the bedroom wall but it was difficult to know what was on the other side of it because I had never been slim enough to slide between it and another wall that was half built into the hillside and half purely exterior to the open air of the countryside. A dank, dark slot where God knows what might lurk.

The dog turned out to be dressed in a ruffly shirt befitting an earlier century.

I drove back to London next day alone. Shirty somehow no longer seemed to matter, as if I had forgotten he existed at all. Only writing all this out for you has reminded me about him.

They do say a dog now haunts one of the bank’s boardrooms in the City. But that is only hearsay, because nobody has actually seen it for real. The barks however are quite useful as a sort of abacus of sounds that befits financial calculation.

And I have gained a new pair of sparkling cuff-links. I shall probably give them to my next ‘guest’ for a country weekend ... to show how much I care. And with the dog exorcised, we could both relax and enjoy things without any grumpiness.



posted Sunday, 23 December 2007
THE opposite of spit is swallow. There’s an animal in the room that’s gnawing the legs of the bed.

Sandra woke with a start - with those two fleeting images: all that remained of her dream.

Indeed, she usually remembered nothing of what events her sleep surrounded.

But tonight was different. The darkness glowed brighter than her luminous clock beside the bed. There was a lambency filling her eyes. She was unaccountably crying - the tears acting like tiny lenses, focussing the dull shimmer upon her retina, almost blowing the optic fuse.

She felt sick. But not with food. More with an over-fill of her own saliva - welling up like clear syrup from every corner of the body. Her pores seeped this fluid, too, like the slow-motion spitting of miniature volcanoes. Surely this was the dream and the animal-thing gnawing the legs of the bed was within real life: an event she’d left behind when falling asleep.

But, in her real life, there should not be any animal in the whole house, let alone in her bedroom. Was the real life she’d left behind -- to fall asleep and enter this dream of dull shimmer and bodily regurgitation -- derived from earlier intakes of food?

The real waking life she’d left behind surely must have an animal gnawing at the legs of her bed ... because she was soon half-awake and half-dreaming and heard it coming from outside the dream.

Sandra must now fully wake up. To face whatever it was. She called this animal (whatever it was) the Night Gnaw. But that was only because she called it this name from within the dream, the dream from which she was now trying to escape in order to cope with the danger represented by the Night Gnaw. She would no doubt call it something else in real waking life. To call it the Night Gnaw was decidedly a very dream-like thing to call it. So she must be dreaming to call it a Night Gnaw. Meanwhile, she was terrified that her sleeping body - the body that contained the mind that called it a Night Gnaw - was threatened by the thing in real waking life she currently called the Night Gnaw.

She was sweating. Her sleeping body felt slicked and slippery enough for the Night Gnaw to slowly - oh so slowly - swallow her whole, like a python with an ass. Then for it - even more slowly - to extrude her back out, covered in the thick curds of the Night Gnaw’s own bodily fluids - like a slow motion spit.

She must wake up before this happened. She needed to face the Night Gnaw that she did not dream about.

The bed suddenly collapsed. And the darkness lost its lambent glow. Sandra’s snores were no longer the dry gunning that they once were but more the rhythmic slurps of some animal with deep indigestion. Trying to choke up life itself.


The Old Familiar Places

The Old Familiar Places

posted Sunday, 23 December 2007

It was like drowning in memories.

Surely not that cliché about the whole of your life flashing by your eyes as you suffer death by drowning? I could rarely remember much about my life at the best of times – but like most people, memories of things reside on some back burner waiting for their turn to take a curtain call.

But my memories were fast asleep dreaming of things not themselves. Memories with memories of their own. False memories. My real memories having unreal memories as dreams. A concept I could hardly grasp.

I’d rather depend on the old familiar places rather than places that never ever existed other than in the pipe dreams of those very familiar places hatching up unfamiliar places for themselves. Unfamiliar places disguised as familiar ones. Unfamiliar, I claim, because, they never existed. Until now.

I look out from inside my head away from these thoughts on paper. And wonder if I am the same person who wrote them down. I look down again to read them – and the print has changed in the meantime. The words now say different things from what I originally intended. Except they seem to be the same words, but words with different meanings – and when they are linked together in what I can only describe as sense-patterns, they keep flashing from one narrative sense to another, like a pulse. Or a strobe. Memories strobing. Faster and faster.

Could I really be drowning in memories? The words seem to indicate that I am drowning in memories. Slowly enough to record the process. But too quick to understand what is going on.

People’s faces flashing by. Loves and hates interchanging. Various stages of myself stripped out in separate essences of self, none connected between. The only consistency is the ladder or tear in the very texture of the words as laid out on the page. They seem to be dividing like a Red Sea to leave an emptiness among the sense-patterns. A false syntax. A gap-strewn paragraph of thoughts and mis-thoughts. Memories taking over my mind with a force my mind can’t withstand even though it is the same mind that is creating this strange onslaught on itself.

One of the faces flashing by in the stream of consciousness I drown in is you.

Simply that. The whirling onslaught slows to a silent last gasp of meaning. A face I recognise. It starts out, however, as a face without a feature. A white empty plate or recently emptied bowl. Then gradually a couple of eyes prick out. Wide rolling eyeballs that radiate an expression of knowing. Knowing me, if not itself. I say ‘it’ because there is no other word for a gradually emerging ghost of a person.

Once it’s fleshed out by the ever-building flashes of identity that become stuck to it then I can begin to decide on you or he or she or me. I suggest me because I’m not yet convinced it’s not a mirror that I see flashing into a steady state of existence around my face. Steady state rather than an explosion or implosion of a big bang.

I look down at the words again. I leave the slowly emerging features of the face (your face? my face?) to thicken and define themselves.

I feel the words may give me some clue as to the true resemblance of the face to whom or to what. The face itself is deceiving me as well as itself. Only the words can tell. The words will tell me who it is. And I notice that the crack in their texture has widened as if the tectonic plates of the sense-patterns are ever shifting to reveal a more meaningful pattern that is a white shape rather than a set of words describing a shape. A real shape rather than a shape imagined by the words I write.

The whitening crack discards letters as if they are dead insects while it lays the paragraph into a flatland of nothingness. Alphabets fall off the edge of the paper like dead lemmings in full zombie flight.

I shriek inwardly with fear. I seem to be heading towards some old familiar places that I once inhabited but had long since put out of my mind’s memory for fear of returning to them in the full flood of true present memory. Memories that are forming as new memories even as I think them.

When does a memory become a memory? What is the time lapse needed to make a present event into a memory. A new unfamiliar place into an old familiar place. Place or face. Because a face is a sort of place. It has its own geography, its own secret alleys and hidden corners. Its own inhabitants sitting behind the eyes as if these eyes are windows to some apartments in a city’s high rise property.

The little people look from the two eyeball windows in the face, their own eyeballs rolling in their heads as they see some old familiar places for the first time. One hangs a huge rubbery nose between the two eyes as if hanging out a flag for a jubilee or something like a jubilee. A mardi gras. Or a fancy-dress festival that the city holds every year. The city is a strange one to them. It’s certainly not one of their pet old familiar places.

Faces that find themselves in a foreign place.

I have taken my eye off the ball. The words have escaped my pen into new uncontrolled configurations of syntax and non-syntax, with an ever-widening gap or crack that forces me to disbelieve that any meaning at all can bridge such a hiatus.

And, in despair at controlling the words, I have raised the head where I live, indeed raised it towards the ceiling, rising not with mere sight to see the rivers of geography in its cracked white plaster surface (otherwise blank) - but the head actually rising in the air along with the sight itself to see the ceiling close up.

Either my neck has elongated like a giraffe or the head has actually separated itself to float up towards the ceiling.

One particular crack in the ceiling is so deep I can see daylight through it. And my sight or the head that carries the sight escapes through it into the open air – and I am a mere speck of consciousness being wafted by the wind. At least I am safe from those words now. And from the old familiar places of meaning that each word familiarly contains, despite the horror that they would otherwise convey with the unfamiliar meanings that they felt themselves duty-bound to convey to the unwary such as I who releases them on to the page.

Each dot, each pixel of the marks is just another me. Just another beginning of a face. Drowning in memories, in anarchic thoughts and in the forgotten white airinesses of space where familiarity breeds contempt for any steady state or big bang. Because neither is right. The old peculiar place of dreams dreaming dreams that represent our existence, yours and mine. The place that launched a thousand … no, an infinite number of familiar faces towards their inevitable sinking and drowning in the white water frenzy of words.

I stop writing. Then true horror. Because I don’t stop but carry on beyond the end and reach a new end that still doesn’t stop me because the internet knows no ends, only a weave of spiders who try to break my fall.




posted Monday, 12 November 2007

First published 'Dagon DF Lewis Special' 1989

There was a wooden tree at the bottom of his garden. He could see it from his bedroom window, just where a painter would have placed it to set off the perfect balance and perspective of the landscape. The sunset was in oils, too, bright oranges and reds streaked across the bottom of the darkening sky.

His daughter was still outside rolling her hoop around the tree. She was only eleven. His elder daughter, showing signs of her age, remained in the shadow of the toolshed, whilst the one with the hoop glowed with the last of the day’s sunshine. He could hardly see what Melissa was doing in the wedge of darkness thrown out by the side of the shed. Spinning her large wooden top, it seemed, with a whip far too long and wild for its purpose.

Alison had by now fitted the hoop around her waist and was snaking her torso to make it spin like the golden ring of Saturn.

Gradually, the colours in the lower sky faded, such as a painted canvas would if left too long in direct sunlight. A wispy splodge of white in another part of the heavens hinted at the whereabouts of the moon.

He opened the window with a sash cord and called to his daughters that they should get their skates on: the dinner gong was about to go. They waved at him, Melissa having now come out upon the open lawn of closed daisies. The whip trailed behind her, a vestigial tail. Alison’s hoop dropped from her tiny waist to the ground, as she smoothed down the front of her frock. Both girls now turned cartwheels across the lawn towards the house, their limbs glistening in that sweat-light with which a summer’s enduring dusk is often imbued.

He’d not been far off the mark with his timing, for he heard from far below the gong’s characteristic resonance: the number of strikes was meant to indicate tonight’s menu: one for rare roasts of meat, twice for Royal Salad and High Tea, three for fish stew and, once in a blue moon, four for ... Chef’s special, it was called: and the ingredients were as secret and mysterious as the half-darknesses upon each descent and landing of the winding staircase.

As he tapped his way down, he could hear the girls squabbling in the downstairs bathroom: their mother burnishing their faces with unperfumed soaps. Melissa was far too much a real madam for this treatment: she should have flannel and tuck towel of her own. Alison was still too young to be left to her own devices, he conceded, her cheeks often bearing the grimy skidmarks left by an endless summer evening of play.

He knew the way by heart: as he unfalteringly made his entrance into the dining-room, he felt the perfunctory kisses of his daughter’s greeting. They loved him, of course, but girls being girls they had other thoughts on their minds. He . .. well, he painted with his mind. How else could he have borne the onset of blindness? He lowered himself into the chair at the head of the table.

He heard knees creeping across the Persian carpet towards him ... under the long table. Then he could feel nuzzling mouths beginning to nibble upon his finger-ends that he naïvely laid on his lap.

A Walk Through The Forest

A Walk Through The Forest

posted Tuesday, 6 November 2007
A fiction by DF Lewis written today:

A Walk Through The Forest

I changed the rhythm of my pace as I entered a special part of the Wood that the map called Forest.

I waited for reaction to the opening of my ghost story but none came. There was nobody to react.

It’s an easy note to strike – pretending that my narration was being made to a gathering of like-minded people in the cosy firelight of a civilised turn-of-the-century parlour, each participant eager to enter into conversation with me by constructively interrupting my narration, entering such discourse as easily as they might have entered the trees of the story: a story made more believable because of their awestruck, rapt attention and interpersonal responses to it. But I was simply telling the story to myself so as to have my own company in real time while still actually within the story’s woody gloaming itself. You see, I did not want to believe it. Belief would have been too frightening. And if I told it to others, I would have been duty-bound to believe it, so as to give the story an edge of suspenseful credence the more so to entertain my audience.

I did not want to believe it, I maintain. Quite frightening even if this were half-believable; more so if it were truly real.

The trees were thickening around me as I spoke. Or should I say, as I strode? I tried to switch my mind to other concerns – was the parlour (in which I would have preferred to sit telling this story to like-minders) as veritably turn-of-the-century as I had earlier assumed. If so, the turn of which century? The cadences of the room’s decorations and in-built electronica indicated 1999 fast becoming 2000 in the mistaken fear of end-of-the-millennium changes, a fear that was so prevalent then. But looking at the listeners, they were dressed as if it were 1899! One was dressed like a Victorian Vampire. But, of course, nothing in the parlour could be real. That was just my daydream to help me withstand the Forest that the Wood had now become.

My map originally showed me entering a sparsely and intermittently wooded suburban area. But now it indicated that I was beyond the pale of this outer countrified residentiality of a gaslit city and was soon to be bodily overcome by trees without even glimpses of house-lights between the trunks. Earlier, I was amidst topiary and rigorous tree-surgery. Now it was as if I had grown an unruly head of hair and I had no narrative comb to untangle it.

“Sorry, why were you walking there in the first place? I didn’t really hear you begin the story, as I got here a bit late?”

I stared at the man who had interrupted me. He was squatting on a stool too near the fire for comfort, clutching an umbrella with which he had bustled into the parlour. Indeed, because of the firelight, he was the only person I could now see clearly, with the dusk having abruptly turned the parlour windows tantamount to night-blocks – and nobody had evidently thought to switch on the parlour’s new-fangled lights. The other members of the audience had become shadowy presences subsuming the characterisations I had given them before the man with the umbrella had entered the room. I did, however, sense I heard mounting mutterings among these shadows, either agreeing with the man’s question because they, too, had missed at least some of my preamble or complaining that he had spoilt their concentration of listening with his interruption.

“You may leave your umbrella in the hall,” I suggested, more to take the fanning wind out of his sails than to offer helpful advice. In truth, I, too, had forgotten how my story had begun, and I merely deployed delaying tactics. With a face flushed by embarrassment or by fire, the man scuttled from the room. My own fluster thankfully was disguised by the autumnal gloom having drained all colour from me.

I laughed; my daydream seemed to take on a life of its own: an autonomous narrative course quite outside the reality of my situation. I shivered as the trees around me shrugged their shoulders in the re-freshening of the wind. It was as if they scorned ... spurned my laughter.

A walk through the forest. This was, however, no routine constitutional after an unduly heavy supper. I felt I was feverishly intent upon leaving somewhere for good or eager to arrive at a permanent abode after a long period of idle wandering. I had only the rhythm of my pace to give any clue as to whence or whereto I went.

Easing the pace to slower than a walk, I stared at the map in the scratching-light of a match. The place called Wood seemed to spread from amid the last housing estate towards the edge of a place called Forest, the two places’ relative tree-densities represented by the varying of cross-hatching between irregular margins.

I looked around. Were they following me? My language was often over-florid. My thought-patterns retained their own form of diverse cross-hatching. I had no hope of being followed on this rite of passage. I was alone. Unutterably alone.

But ghost stories could not contain such loneliness, if only because of the ghost’s presence itself presenting a company of sorts to a lonely narrator. Given Victorian beliefs, a ghost could be just as sentient as those who were not ghosts. But...

Pace for pace, I suddenly felt we were mutual shadows, the ghost and I. A Wagnerian quest for each other.

“You said you were alone, didn’t you? What was it you said, unutterably alone? But you did utter it! And now you admit there is a ghost to keep you company. Not that I believe in ghosts!”

The man (now without his umbrella) had returned to his fireside position and positively laughed at his invocation of my inconsistency. He was evidently trying to get his own back.

I tried to spurn his faulty logic by returning to the Forest. The map now told me I was in an inner part of Forest called Wood. I could see through the trunks towards vistas of a new electrified city. I would soon be out of the Wood altogether without having to retrace the rhythm of my steps. Not through the middle and out the other side – but deeper towards the middle where, strangely, things now became clearer.

A crack of gunshot. I fell to the ground dead. I felt a comb being dragged with difficulty through my shaggy head of hair, and heard the crackle of branches as shadowy story-arsonists roamed in my wake. Then the stench of flesh. Thankfully, a kindly ghost sheltered my body from the rain with the unfurling of his portable parlour ceiling.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Two recent sayings by DFL

Two recent sayings by DFL

posted Wednesday, 19 May 2010

"...there is much discontent built into a fragile certainty of faith but much potential hope in resilient uncertainty."

"One man's obfuscation is another man's struggle to express the inexpressible."

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Harvest Time

posted Tuesday, 29 May 2007
HARVEST TIME… by Gordon Lewis and D.F.Lewis.

First published in 'Enigmatic Tales' 2000



'Only Connect' paperback collection of collaborative stories by DFL and GL:

EDIT (20/7/07) Dad found his true Hiraeth on 28/6/07. RIP. des


posted Saturday, 10 March 2007
A landscape by Constable I could take for granted.

A seascape by Turner, too.

A single painting by both artists – a collaboration – would bear a cathedral in full marine rigging, as it rose between banks or waves of wild flowers or flows or saltings or maltings or tiles or ridge tides.

Torn between truth and trust in truth.

I dreamed this hybrid plant into existence. Plant and machinery of dream deliberately planted within a linear flow of impossible or clandestine art. A painting on the wall that I could reach out to touch – if the gallery-guard of dreams would allow me to get close enough to its reality. Constable had never collaborated with Turner except along this edge of dream and non-dream. Turner turned to me with a vicious face, waking me to his anger at being dreamed into a passably believable collaboration policed only by a sense of nonsense…

A joint effort he had never wanted to share.
So, he showed me his Fighting Temeraire.
He showed me, too, his bent shape
At the easel of a still-wet seascape –
The distance being widely vast,
The remains of the ship a simple mast
Upon a site of fleeing sea-bed
Rising through its own hardened head
Into runnelled landscaping rains
Pierced by turning spires and drenched hay-wains.

I felt the two artists within me arm-wrestle to win the canvas of vision upon which their elbows rested…

Until one was sunk
And the other buried
Below the haltings of seascaped land,
Leaving each just one brushless hand.

(written today)

The Chivalry of Fame

The Chivalry of Fame

posted Thursday, 13 May 2010

This year, I was challenged by another writer to a Duel of Fame. You may find details of it by a careful or lucky search of a world that does not really exist: the Internet.

To cut a long story short, it has transpired that whoever of us becomes most famous in 50 years’ time wins the Duel. There are some Rules of Engagement including the formal yardstick by which to measure Fame. Another particularly interesting Rule is: “In the event of neither participant becoming famous, the Duel is deemed Null Immortalis.”

One certainty: in 50 years any fame, sadly, for me is Posthumous.

Or, better, Retrocausal?

Or, even better, Nemonymous. Forever.

comments (1)

1. freckles left...
Friday, 14 May 2010 6:30 am

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Big Brother 11 (2010) - part 5

continued from here:


Makosi in the shower -
John's own ludicrous silent eviction - back to his own Booby (or Bristols?) -
Truly horrific Mr Snuggles scaring Nikki with a plastic hand on a stick, but Chantelle facing him down -
Nadia and UnCoolio...

This was a classic BB.

But Coolio's gone?

Brian or Ulrika to win?
Not so good tonight. I thought BB was a bit harsh on Coolio - they didn't really leave him much option but to leave. Nadia can give as good she gets.
And the rest was all a bit silly. Contrived.
Wonderful report, as ever, Marion. You often make me think and change my views.
A BB summer without Marion's writerly BBeatitudes would not be a BB summer.
The Victor / Nick alliance (instigated by the former) was a treat to watch. Well-oiled BB machinations (intentional and dis-intentional, theaitrical and real) in BB-classic evolution.

Victor is also partly gauche, partly slick, peppering his verbal sinuosities with 'you know' and 'you know what I mean'. He is both self-consciously / clumsily deliberate and briskly brash on confident auto-pilot.

Nick a mere co-pilot but finding his 'nasty' feet again.

Decolletage rampant, indeed - changing the subject to erupting breasts...
As an aside, these cricketers 'underperforming' so at to benefit finanacially from gambling bets - didn't John McC do just that in BB?
'Makosi' should be a technical term for something or other...

'The African Queen' - as dubbed by Ulrika - is certainly centre stage. I can't see her being evicted. She has such a sculptural face... and artistic curves and slopes that nobody can quite fathom, even Escher.

Something not mentioned so far was a most striking event in BB history I think, ie. Craig's hoax - it brought out so many cross-sections of emotion. It was done with such panache, too.

And could we really be seeing a *genuine* rapprochement in the strangely public love of Chantelle & Preston?
Brian's task was silly and so was his punishment for failing it.

The majorettes fell a bit flat too, although they seemed to enjoy it.

Nikki remains the most touchy - but that reminds me - her antics in the DR with the shock-suit yesterday were hilariousy catatonic and wildly body-ripping.
Ma Makosi to go!?
Heaven Forfend.

Nikki's face like playdoh? LOL. How true.
I like Nikki. She's unashamedly playing the Nikki card from BB7 but, somehow, I believe it is still the real Nikki and how she behaves in real life.

This is what I said on TTA in 2006:
Nikki is a mixture of (i) acting and (ii) self-believed-self-imposed-torment-which-isn't-con scious-acting.
Yes, Makosi's wasp sting does seem very symbolic, almost taken into ownership as cause as well as effect by its victim / perpetrator. God's gentle thorn in her side as a reminder of His presence. He reserved the Crown for His Son.
No, not Dave...

But PIE JESU !! Lord Have Mercy!

And Vanessa Felz! OMG!

Nadia found one of Ahmed's plates and blamed it on Ulrika.

And Brian danced with several Bubble surrogates.

And Kandy Floss! Chantelle should have sung it with Michael Barrymore and Pete 'round round like a record' Burns!

Sounds as if Nadia and Makosi may be going tonight judging by the boos.
Indeed, Ma makkosi hath gone to a better place. May her bodice ever RIP.

I thought Nadia was atrocious. I suspect I thought that last time, too. I'll look up to see what I said then a little later (was it BB7?)

I actually liked the performance of Pie Jesu. Not Bass but frothy Coloratura. It could be a game-winning performance for Michelle....?
Thanks, Marion.
Oh well, no accounting for taste. The only thing I can find about Nadia written by myself is:
Nadia is improving all the time.
Your vision of VF lifting her veil is vintage Marion. Wonderful!
As is your savouring of Nikki's Annunciation ... of 'discarded'.

Meanwhile, Nikki's office task with Pete Bennet was dreadful, the very depths of fabrication and post-retrocausal special effects. The ultimate abyss.
I did not buy it to read it but today's STAR on the news rack has this headline:
Thanks, Marion.
That's serious stuff.

And interesting she used the word 'discarded' in the Star article. I wonder whether it was a conscious echo of Nikki. Or whether it retrocaused Nikki to use it in the first place?
VF dealt efficiently with Nikki's made-up whining about beds. But equally we had to endure more talk of VF's gastric band as modelled by a water-bottle.

Nasty Nick was doing an Eric Cantona alone in the garden...

Dressed to mosh, but little moshing spotted at the metal party...

Ultimate Big Brother is entering its 'dying fall'.

Michelle to win. Or Victor.
Parfait, Marion.

I just wanted to add mention of our friend John Tickle in the tickle job.
Nikki's play-doh face in the DR tonight did a hilarious mime of Ulrika.

Although I thought the Feltz Show another example of how BB has gone wrong this season, I was intrigued by the pretend pretence / pretend reality / real reality -- as a trifold trope of tearfulness typical of such shows -- as represented by Chantelle's reaction within that trifold trope.
We seem to have diametric opposite views on the Feltz Show, Marion. Both in its staged and fabricated and pre-rehearsed essence (with retrocausal special effects) and the (unknowing) contribution of Chantelle.
A gem of a programme tonight.
Victor was the star - with just the right mix of humour and rudeness, passiveness and aggression. And sportsmanship with the 'vile' foods. Dressed as a tree, he was a sight to remember. He has probably won the show - with Nikki second...

Nikki's touching speech about her illness to VF (credit to VF to draw it out) was indeed memorable.

As was Nick's memory of telling an outrageous lie on BB1 (which I did not watch). Nor did I watch VF's original CBB.

But hated the bottle game.
Tonight, other than the amateurish jiggling and jabbing of limbs in a generally failed attempt to dance (Vanessa being a game old bird in this regard), the evening has been marked by Ulrika reasonlessly losing her temper over a tiny matter concerned with Preston's migraine.

But Nikki's splits went down well.

Otherwise, pretty much much of a muchness. And Chantelle blubbing over home sickness and Prestonitis.

I'll probably be missing tomorrow's show so will be depending on Marion to fill me in....
And I have hated - during this series - the 'excitement' drumbeat behind Davina and her increased screaming at the camera.

Yes, Nikki as Jimmy Savile. A weird comparison.

(BTW, I'm only pleased Brian Belo hasn't turned up in this Ulitmate BB!)
Thanks, Marion.
You are my favourite reporter of BB on TTA.

I'm sad about BB ending - and about BB Summers and Celebrity Winters here, too, ending.

I think Brian may win tonight. But Victor, just on this Ultimate Season's showing, deserves to do so. Nikki may swing it, too.
I've now come to the considered conclusion that Nikki is the one most likely to win, based on my knowledge of life, the universe, everything.

It seems that we shall be glued to the box tonight from 7.30 to 11.30!

Despite its retrocausal special effects, the funeral scene for BB I've just watched was touching and strikingly cinematic - Gosforth Park with Nikki Kidman. Barber's Adagio brought a tear to my eye, a tear shared with Davina. And maybe with Marion.
From that to another funeral - Jade's.
Touching in a different way. I'll search out what I said about Jade in the past, if I can.

In between, housemates have left to leave three still in contention: Nikki, Brian & Chantelle.

I still hold by Nikki winning. I hope so.

LOL at Jade being the 25th most influential person in the world, yet she can't pronounce or understand the word 'influential'!
Fascinated earlier by Jade's almost Shakespearean soliloquy about being in the BB House wih such a mother. She, incredibly, this Jade of yore (equally an oxymoronic phenomenon) is her own mother's mother.
Interesting dynamics between Shilpa and Jade tonight. Jade now has a strange mixture of naivety and maturity which she never had in her original BB.
Jade's dream as well as her 'free association' on eskimos - interesting as a borderline self-deception and outward conniving.
Things have taken a serious turn. Potentially damaging to those who create it, appear in it and, dare I say, those millions who watch it. We (the generic we) have become participants by complaining and affecting its course. Maybe those complaints are justified, but that's perhaps another topic thread (political correctness etc etc). And only those who watch it continuously live (as opposed to just the summaries) can even attempt to make judgements. Normal discourse of people who don't like each other or racially motivated taunts? Cultural ignorance or pointed hate?
Just anoher consideration - one that may be completely wrong ... Jade (assessed as the 25th most influential person in the world before going into this CBB) is probably not a racist as she would not have felt herself able to act like this (on class grounds) to an Indian lady if she were a racist - if you see what I mean.
But that may be granting too much intelligence to Jade. She certainly seems to have no inbuilt instinct as to possible external perceptions of her bahaviour.
I'm not trying to make excuses for her but still trying to fathom the whole phenomenon. Some may say it is a waste of time to apply one's mind to it at all - but that is escaping the influence of BB (an influence (good or bad) that has become apparent worldwide, it seems).
Jade is remarkably articulate when trying to patch things up. I hope the world is easy on her frailties. I fear it will not be.
Well, Jade was brave and, in the circumstances, relatively cool. Almost a tragic figure summoning stoicism. Yet, still culpable. Knowingly culpable. How can so much be within someone so ostensibly shallow?

I'd forgotten many of the housemates I glimpsed on the Davina tribute show - and pleased to see Pete Burns sing his one-hit wonder.

Yes, Marion, on to the grand finale. Nikki or Brian?
Nikki about to be interviewed. And Brian is to be winner.

I loved the opening to the 'Final hour' with a sort of macabre Venetian funeral procession and Davina in Widow's Weeds - and the band is great.
The backward click is recognition of some retrocausal force...

The DR Chair's angel wings a symbol of BB heaven.

The band and the fireworks...

Well done, Brian.

And thanks, Marion, for six years of your fulsome reporting that has allowed me to ricochet.

I'm sad, but feeling fulfilled.
Genuine celebration at the end. Can TV repeat such mixed emotions ever again? I doubt it.

Finger clicks on Ultimate Big Brother

posted Saturday, 11 September 2010
I have been complaining about retrocausal special effects on this year's Big Brother - i.e. tarting up the summary programme's footage with music and cinematic frills to 'retrocause' motives and meaning - and generally to over-egg the cake of entertainment from very basic ingredients.

The backward clicks and hand clicking by Brian, Victor, Nikki, Nick, Chantelle, Preston, Ulrika were intended (consciously or sub-consciously) to mark this travesty and to neutralise any ill-effects of retrocausality from their future lives as a result of this Big Brother event.

There is also a superstition attached similarly to such overt but otherwise seemingly inexplicable finger-clicking.

Please see my long-term commentary on Big Brother (with Marion) here:

Click on!