Bodies, Porn & Wind Farms

Story for issue 1 of The Read Horse: Bodies, Porn & Wind Farms

A Story About Me

I am going to start by remembering our trip to Blackpool which was very special because we don’t go on trips often because usually I am sick in the car. Though this was the one time I wasn’t sick. Dad was still with us and he was driving. He always knew how to make me not be sick. He’d say “Mark, look at the things outside the window and imagine you are there and not in the car”. And what I saw in the field by the road was three giant grains of white rice moving round a circle like the arms of a daisy; a daisy that was a fan and a daisy at the same time. I was not in the car any more, but sitting on the giant rice waving my arms and legs in the air, which is impossible because of a thing called gravity and because my legs don’t move. But it was a fun thought.

I heard shouting from the front and realised that mum was angry at dad and maybe this is why he has told me to look out of the window to start with and not just because I was feeling sick. The dream of the wind farm got further and further away and the sickness was coming more and more. I started to moan and mum said “now you’ve done it” and looked at dad very cross. Until Adam, who is my younger brother, held my hand and started telling me that what I’m looking at is a wind farm, where they make power and use it to make light bulbs glow in loads of houses.  He tells me about how the farm works as he’s learned it in school. All about dynamos and electromagnets and how energy doesn’t die it’s just transferred. Kind of like when food is grown and I eat it and it goes through me and comes out the bottom and then goes into the ground and makes more things grow.

I like this idea because it means that even though the doctors say that I’m not going to live as long as everyone else I know that I won’t really die but that one day a bit of my power will be turning the petals of the wind farm and that makes me smile. I got quite tired thinking about all the connections between the biggest battery, which is the sun, but I like listening to my brother talk. Adam is really very clever and it makes me happy that he is my brother and doesn’t belong to someone else. Then I fell asleep and when I woke up we were in Blackpool. But I didn’t like Blackpool very much because it is full of really ugly things that shine in your face and flash in your eyes and after about 10 minutes on the pier (just enough time for Adam to go on at least one ride and not hate me forever) I threw up and we went back to the hotel. I had to do my special power for a whole afternoon before Dad agreed we could go home but I got to see the wind farm on the way back so it was worth it.

My special power is this. I do an empty face where it looks like no one is there but actually I am listening hard to hear everything. This makes me look much more sick than I actually am. This is useful for many things but I use it most to get out of places I don’t like to be and to listen to other people’s secrets. It works like this. I try to fix my eyes on a plane in the sky or a cloud through a window then I feel far away although really I am not. If I’m being extra clever I let a bit of dribble fall on my t-shirt to convince them I’m really somewhere else. This works really well when we’re in Mr Khan’s and I want a chocolate bar but mum won’t buy me one. I dribble a lot so the front of my shirt gets really damp and Mr Khan looks away embarrassed and I take whichever chocolate bar I want. But when I use this special power for listening I have to concentrate really hard or I will go to the cloud in my mind or just get lost in the thought. If I stop staring at the plane or the cloud Adam will see me looking and push my chair in front of the television or just talk about something else very quickly and then I won’t get to hear any secrets.

I have found out several things using my special power.

1)      Adam’s friend Jason broke mum’s favourite lady figure and they blamed me because he knows that mum will not get as upset if it was me even though it wasn’t. Adam said it fell off the sideboard top and that I accidentally ran over it in my chair and that’s how it got smashed and the little bits got crushed into the carpet. What actually happened is Jason sat on it. He stuck the lady figure down his pants because he’s a show-off and they were drinking the White Lightning which tastes disgusting and just makes them act really silly even though I know Adam is not. It doesn’t make me silly but makes me need to wee lots so I don’t drink it even when my brother and his friends offer it to me. Anyway, Jason had a bruise on his bum for ages (he kept showing Adam) so I felt he had got what he deserved in the end.

2)      Adam is having it off with his friend Janine. She comes round when mum is out and he is meant to be looking after me. They go into his bedroom and make noises. They are the same noises that come from the TV when Jason comes round to drink the White Lightning. I sit in the corner using my special power so it looks like I am dribbling everywhere again but actually I am listening to the noises from the woman with the massive jugs who I can see out of the corner of my eye. Jason likes to watch videos about having it off. He brings new ones round a lot which he borrows from his dad when he isn’t looking. He prefers to watch women with mostly yellow hair though sometimes the top of it is brown. But the woman is always moaning in the same way, even if she has different coloured hair. I find it really boring, even if they do bend in different ways a lot. I suppose I’m a bit jealous because I can’t bend my legs like that at all but that still wouldn’t make me want to watch it as much as Jason does.

3)      You are worried about me and that’s why you wanted me to write a story about myself. Because you want to know if everything is okay but also because you are kind. You were talking to mum when she came to pick me up from The Centre and I was doing my special power to listen hard though it looked like I was staring at Megan’s painting on the wall, which I was a bit, because it is good. I know I am not getting any better, but it’s okay because I know what Adam told me about the wind farms is true, because Adam is clever and because he is my brother. Bodies don’t really die, our power just goes somewhere else. And one day there will be a wind farm that looks like it is just an empty wind farm with its daisy arms, but actually it will be listening to all the secrets in the air, because it will be me.

Picture by Tai Moolman, aged 5

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International Women’s Day

You can read this article online from G3’s website here.

In recent years we’ve been so bombarded by gimmicky marketing ploys that draw attention to a certain product or cause that you can be forgiven for treating International Women’s Day with the same disdain as International Kiss A Member of the Same Sex Day, International Trombone week or even National Fig Week. So is it like fig week, just a load of crap, and why do half of the world’s population get only one day, when figs and trombones get a whole week?

Surprisingly, IWD actually predates fig week by roughly a century. It has its roots in socialism and the struggle for equal representation, better pay and working conditions that was fought in the early 1900s. Since then the day’s played host to talks and demonstrations to bring women’s rights to the fore across the globe. The day’s much bigger in other parts of the world and is even an official holiday in many, mostly ex-soviet, countries where’s it similar to Mother’s Day. For example, in Poland it’s customary for men and children to give their womenfolk flowers and small gifts.

In the UK the sense that we’ve made great improvements regarding women’s rights, has meant the emphasis has shifted from political activism to focus instead on celebrating femininity. On its founding day we girls would have marched and protested in the streets of our cities wearing suffrage sashes and faintly ridiculous hats. Now on March 8th we should take to the streets in our hi-tops, skinny jeans and:

a) CELEBRATE femininity & female achievements, EMBRACE our diversity, listen to testimonies and have fun whilst EMPOWERING ourselves,
b) become AWARE of certain medical issues,
c) attend a workshop or seminar, make a pot, bake a cake, knit, watch a film or a performance, attend a photography or art exhibition, sing, participate in a drumming circle,
d) stand together on a bridge.

Why is there no women’s forklift derby event or more reasonably, no scientific or sporting activities arranged for this day? It’s all gone a bit Women’s Institute hasn’t it? But now that knitting circles, village fetes and all things twee have found their own subset of kitsch to inhabit, the things your mother dragged you to as a child have actually become interesting again. So here’s a list of events that genuinely got my excited noise:

1. Sugar & Spice 4: Women In Action, 7/03, Manchester’s Lesbian & Gay Foundation run activity tents & speakers (please god let there be a tombola).
 2. Funny Women Stand Up To Stand Out, 11/03 New Players Theatre, London. Empowering comedy workshop.
3. The Great Granny Revolution, 9/03,18:30. Freeview 87, activist grannies tackle aids in South Africa.
4. Shake It For Good, 12/03, CMC Sports Club, Cardiff. Fundraising burlesque evening.
5. Marlborough Brighton, 5/03, female musicians & poets raise money for victims of domestic abuse.
6. Women Working In Textiles, 10/03, Manningham Mills, Bradford. Female life in mills including “peg dolls, sewing fabric fancies” and “health checks”.
7. Wirral International Women’s Day 25/03, Williamson Art Gallery, Wirral. Talk on women in history (never been to Wirral, always wanted to, possibly because it rhymes with squirrel).
8. Bake a Cake – 8/03 Refugee Council , London. Fundraiser for female refugees & child asylum seekers.

That’s just a taster of the events going on around the country and the world; visit http://www.internationalwomensday.com  to find similar activities in a town near you.

And what about d? Well, Women for Women International are running a worldwide campaign called Join me on the Bridge. In most major cities across the world women are invited to walk between the city’s bridges and write or draw their vision of peace on white fabric. Sounds a little naff? I don’t think that thousands of women uniting all over the world to put an end to war is naff at all. So meet me on the bridge; I’ll be the one in the fabric fancies defiantly punching the air with my raffle ticket.

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Save Our Scene

Save Our Scene – article for g3 Magazine, Feb’ 2010.

Click here to view the article online

When I was set the task of writing an article on why the lesbian scene always seems to be constantly changing, my head filled with all kinds of socio-economic theories. I gathered some friends in the Retro Bar and began comparing G3 listings past and present looking for a pattern to see if any of these theories fitted. We were soon mourning our dead: Vespa, Glass Bar, Miss Shapes. Two pints in and we had decided Soho was rubbish and anything worthwhile had moved to the East End and was full of pretensions. After about an hour of heated debate on why we didn’t go to any of the nights that were still running I took a depressing glance at the notes I’d scrawled: ‘cliques’, ‘avoid’, ‘rebound’, ‘monogamy’, and tellingly, ‘trouble’. One phrase seemed to succinctly answer the riddle of why lesbians don’t go out on the lesbian scene: “because we think it’s s**t”. All the theories I’d come armed with clearly came secondary to the increasingly indisputable fact: that most lesbians don’t like the lesbian scene.

This should have been less of a revelation. I’d been discussing the article and the more commonly held beliefs with every lesbian I saw over the Christmas period. These ranged from the classic – you only go out clubbing for about three weeks till you find someone then you stay in for three years – to the comical – you go to places you know your ex won’t be, if you have a lot of exes you stay in. We confirmed these suspicions in front rooms, local boozers and on stairwells at house parties, with not a pink pound in sight. If the locations for these discussions didn’t give me a hint the expression on people’s faces should have set off alarm bells. Almost without fail every time I broached the topic faces began to contort, lips curled into a snarl and throats gagged like they were coughing up the ghost of pubics past. So why do many lesbians seem to hate their scene and why is “scene” itself a dirty word?

From what I can grasp most of you don’t find the scene representative. You don’t like the music and if you do it’s too loud and on too late. Basically, you’re a fussy lot and the scene simply doesn’t cater for your tastes in the way you want it to. The lesbian scene seems to be something you put up with when you were first coming-out but now you’ve grown, you’re comfortable with your sexuality and expect a better clubbing experience. As my friend Rosie put it “lesbians want to go to good places, not grimy little broom cupboards full of psychos that you have nothing in common with”. I know not when the moment of disillusionment occurs but it doesn’t seem have tainted your memories of past club glory. You gaze back to bygone days when the dance floor was rammed full of were beautiful women who wanted to kiss you. These are the sepia tinted days when at least once a month you’d find a note of sizable denomination under the bar and would proceed to buy everyone shots because drinks were just so cheap back then weren’t they!?

And now I’m going to suggest something really controversial: it’s not that the scene is s**t so you don’t go, instead you feel the scene is s**t because you don’t go. I went to Ruby Tuesdays and was relieved to find Soho wasn’t dead, I just hadn’t been there in a while because I’d assumed it was rubbish. It wasn’t and I had an amazing night. I also went to check out Twat Boutique in Dalston, another night I’d been avoiding because I’d pigeonholed it as “too trendy”. Guess what? I had some lovely conversations with some lovely people and another great night. Both venues were free to get in, the dance floor was rammed and the women were as hot as they used to be, if not hotter. Okay I didn’t find any money on the floor but the shots kept flowing and I remained merrily inebriated till closing with very little spent. For those of you screaming, what about the rest of us, there’s life outside of London. I never remember getting along very well with the scene in Brighton, but I have since met people who were living in Brighton at the same time as me and lament the fact we never found each other. Why did we never meet? Because we didn’t go out to the gay places! If enough of you go out and ask for something different, they’ll have to provide you with what you want. Simple supply and demand economics right?!

Here’s what I’d recommend to reverse this flow of negativity. Take some friends, an open mind and a sense of humour and try somewhere new. Don’t just talk to people you came with – avoid cliques by approaching other groups of women. Don’t dash for the door at the first sign of someone you don’t want to see. Don’t get in a huff if you don’t pull or see anyone you want to pull. You can even bring your girlfriend (being in a relationship does not preclude you from admission to clubs), just don’t have an argument with her and never, ever, kiss someone else’s girl. Do throw some shapes on the dance floor like nobody’s watching and if enough of you do this, at the very least, you will have fun. If all of you did it, presto! The scene that you thought was tired, old & didn’t represent you will stop being so. Let’s turn cries of “it’s not as good as it used to be” and moans of “we’re only here because there’s nowhere to go” into “I tried X and was pleasantly surprised”. Because if all of you came out as much as the boys there could be enough nights to cater for your tastes.

The scene has always been there for you if you’ve needed it. Maybe you’ve made your friends, found that special someone or simply outgrown it but having a scene is important for people who are starting to come out and explore their sexuality. Let’s make sure future generations have a scene as diverse as they are and doesn’t alienate them. Chances are the nights you loved closed because they no longer made enough money to sustain themselves and why IS that? More often then not, it’s because you stopped going! As Beyonce nearly sang if you liked it, then you shoulda shook yo’ thing in it”. If the night you loved is gone, don’t moan about it, instead go out there and experiment. New nights only get a few attempts before the venue decides it’s not busy enough and put on something else, but it takes time for word of mouth to spread. Nights that you could have loved never really took off because you thought you’d get around to going later. Go now! The recession’s only made it worse and some once great venues have already been forced to close (Ghetto, I miss you). And if you’re lucky enough to have a favourite night, then do it a favour – go regularly and not just when you break up with someone! If you want a diverse clubbing experience that reflects your identity, and a scene that you get more out of than just a good moan about it now and then, you’re gonna have to vote with your feet.

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Feminist Firewalk for Fawcett Charity

Pied Pyre

Feet are great. You can dance & traipse & trounce with them, plod & pounce with them. Kick and hop and shuffle, leap and bound and scuffle. Whack ‘em into teeny little points with lofty heels, or let them spread contentedly in some fluffy Bigfoot slippers. Feet are even musical; they can stomp and tap and some folk are even blessed with toes that twinkle. Not I. I’ve never really liked my feet. All the grooming that’s required to prune the nail & preen the flesh to make them buffed and beautiful; this was always too much for me. So mine have mostly hidden under socks for the past 26 years. The poor mites have only seen the light of day through a jelly-shoe one childhood summer on the beach at Bognor Regis and briefly from betwixt the strap of some Birkenstocks I found on campus whilst drunk. Until now that is. I’ve decided to say thanks for all their years of good service by burning them alive.  So I do hope you’ll sponsor them as they walk gingerly across hot coals for equality between the sexes. Because if you don’t love my feet, who will?

Click here to view my JustGiving page.

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Heather’s Smalls

Heather’s Smalls

A quasi-politico zine with a side of silliness for Pride ’09. Requires MA Photocopying skills to print (double sided back to front and upside down every other page if I remember correctly). Applicant must be educated to at least undergrad level in the art of Origami and stapling. Actually even I couldn’t get the staples to stay so we hand-stitched them on the train into town on the day and I was rubbish at that too!

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Dear IT Department, re: printer installation request

Incident Details
Category: Hardware

Description: New printer has been delivered. Needs to be installed and networked to replace broken one in room 109. #Thanks,

Resolution Hello We are closing this call as you have not logged all the details we need to assist you. If you need a printer installed you need to bear in mind that we do not have any information about you or the equipment, so you need to provide us with: 1. The make and model of the new printer 2. ALL the computer names that the printer needs to be networked to (found on the blue desktop background of the PC) 3. Your FULL SITE LOCATION including floor and room number (“room 109” does not tell us what site to send the engineer to) 4. A contact telephone number If you need the broken printer removed you will also need to provide us with the make and model so we make sure we remove the right PC. Thanks

—————————————————————————————————————————–

Hello I am reopening this call as your inadequate incident logging system did not ask me for all the information you clearly require to be able to assist me.

I need a printer installed and you require some information about me. My name is Paula Faircloth. I am a Referrals Co-ordinator working at Lambeth CAMHS Adolescent Team, 35 Black Prince Road on the ground floor in room 108 which has four swivel-chairs and a blue carpet. I am 5″2 with green eyes. J’habite une petite maison. Ich habe eine kleine schwester, sie heisst Zoe.

The equipment to be installed includes a Dell Laser Printer 2330dn 220V EMA . Service Tag: 24795GI Supplier internal use only: 0900MX027CW24Y9SG1. It was made in China. Sorry, but I do not know its name, eye colour, where it lives or whether it also has a sister. It does however come with a toner cartridge. This is a DELL TONER 2330DN. I suspect it was also made in China.

The computer names are as follows: F59VG2J, 9PKVQ1J, DNBWJ2J, H1QB03J, 3DPB03J. But they prefer to be called Barry, Amanda, Teflon, Ja-Fool and Legend of Zelda respectively. They live in room 109 were also born in China but now identify as British citizens so please refer to them accordingly.

The broken printer for removal is a HPLaserJet 4100n. To make it easier for you to find I have completely coloured it with a fluorescent marker pen. Should you still be unable to locate it, I will be next door in ROOM 108, also covered in fluorescent market pen, and will be able to guide you personally to the machine. But please don’t hesitate to contact me on 0203 228 7370 if you require further details instead of simply closing the request as you did previously. Thanks

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Looking for distractions: found Jesus

Surfing the cracks of face for something to do I though I’d chat to my and see if anything was up with the folks. She asked me for some ideas for a poem she had to write for school. Being bored I said I’d do her homework for her. The topic: Christianity. We toyed with the possiblity of expressing the internal struggle of today’s youth when choosing the Lord over knife crime but went for something much simpler instead. I give you: “Looking for Jesus”.

I was looking for Jesus whilst shopping one day,
Not over the hills and far away,
But in aisle 9, behind the frozen peas,
I thought I caught him crouching on both knees
tying up his sandal-lace,
a look of embarrassment across his face,
to be caught out shopping, and this the Sabbath too,
but on closer inspection it wasn’t true.
Just a man of a similar colour and build,
looking to see if his product was hand or machine milled.
At the checkout I thought I saw another glimpse,
a messianic whisp, obscured by a purple rinse
then someone bumped into my trolley
and he was lost amidst the beeps.

Later in the car park,
grey rain falling, engine wouldn’t start.
I swore and I cursed,
my freezables were thawing, I needed to depart!
The clouds divided,
some rays poked through,
And I thought
YES! JESUS, this must be you!
But NOT ONE resurrecting sputter,
so I sat and mourned my melting butter.

And it’s only when I’ve eaten most of my supplies,
that the blasted recovery van arrives
To tow me home, where I slump and turn on the TV.
Guess who’s there staring right back at me?
In footage from a war-torn town,
I can glimpse a thorny crown
and washed downstream by a natural disaster,
Yup, there’s our one and only lord and master!
He’s not hide’n’sneaking in some household nook,
or folded in the pages of a pop-up book.
No. He’s ont’telly!

I do wonder if my publishing it on Facebooks means she can’t pass it off as her homework anymore. Oh well. We’ll I’m bored and want props from my peers. Maybe YOU would like to write one for her too?

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The Number Two Ladies’ Detective Agency

Submitted to Smoke: A London Peculiar for consideration, Feb 2010.
Madame Bombola waddled up the street, a gentle breeze fondling her matted locks, accompanied by a rustle of plastic bags. On approaching the river she sidled up to the stone embankment and after looking round rather shiftily hurtled her rotund rear deftly over the edge. Thankfully the tide was out. Landing on the muddy bank with a thud almost caused her glass eye to disconnect from its socket and join the assortment of other brown looking stones below, but the scar that held her eyelid half shut rectified the situation. She began a profuse search amongst the many layers, semi-pockets and demi-sleeves about her person.

“Where me put dem ting?”

One zipper burst to release a flutter of dusty moths who were as dazzled by the brightness of the time of year as they were the year itself. Another woven patch was un-battened to reveal a rather collectable stamp with the picture of a bicycle and the mechanism of a music box that played All You Need Is Love.

Where me put dem ting?”

She sat down, perplexed on an upturned shopping trolley and stared dejectedly at her feet.

“Me shoe!”

Madame B, a creature of habit, often kept her most precious possessions in the heel of her boot. But, like all such creatures of habit was prone to forgetfulness after a few jars in the park as had been the case that very afternoon.

Unlatching the hidden compartment she pulled out an obscene length of blue washing line that more than tripled the capacity of her heel. And yet she kept tugging away. Minutes later and surrounded entirely by plastic twine she removed the rusty fish hook from her left ear and tied it to one end. Things could now get underway.

She meandered along the water’s edge, found a choice spot to begin her prognosticating and launched the line skilfully into the murky depths. The fish bit almost instantly. The washing line went taut. Bombola bobbed left and right, hopping over a variety of planks, pipes and wheels. Finally the creature began to tire and she brought the beast to land. Regarding the condom happily she conjured a tea-strainer and drained the river water from the latex sack to secure her prize: the microscopic remnants of sperm. Now some of her kin felt you could read male discharge like tasseographers read tea leaves, but Madame Bombola had no time for such foolish bunkum.  She was well-versed in the correct approach to fortune-telling. Quicker than a toad snaffling a fly with its bright pink tongue, she ingested every last morsel. The semen was stealthily making its way through her digestive system.

The potent magic began to take effect and her one good eye clouded milky white. Her body convulsed violently creating the rustling sound of a thousand plastic bags in a tornado. Madame Bombola started speaking in tongues.

“Archie dearest, if we are going to fuck in your car, you could at least have brought the Jag.”

“Darling you know Imelda needs the Jag for her client meetings. What was I supposed to say, the fat cats will have to wait, Camilla simply won’t suck my cock in the Audi!?”

“Oh haw-haw! You are a one! But you shouldn’t let her wear the trousers so.”

“Quite. Stupid bitch has even resorted to hiring private detectives to catch me out. Luckily we’re far too clever for that aren’t we darling? But speaking of trousers, down you go!”

The scene faded out to steaming windows and a violent rocking they’d never have had in a car with superior suspension.  The vision rushed downstream like a bubble rising to the surface. It pricked the film of day and with a distinct pop and sent Bombola’s rotund rear hurling backward with a muddy skid. She rose to her feet and gathered the line. She now had more than enough information to collect what was owed. Returning to the road she headed towards the city, her waddle transformed into the determined stride of a person of importance, who just happened to have one leg shorter than the other.

Across town in a million-pound skyscraper an equally determined yet slightly more snappily dressed woman stared coldly out the window. Her PA buzzed on the intercom that her two-thirty appointment had arrived. The familiar fanfare of plastic rustles left the lift and knocked on the executive’s door.

“Enter. Do you have it?”

Bombola nodded gravely and passed a reused envelope from a mail-order catalogue to her employer. She opened it. The contents flopped limply and apologetically onto the monogrammed desk diary below. The woman returned a larger, more professional looking envelope packed full of English currency. Madame B tried to throw a final sympathetic look towards her associate, but missed. She waddled out complaining to herself that throwing anything was so much harder with only one eye. The door shut behind her. Imelda sat, her steely resolve crumpled, and began to cry.

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Waxy Pan, Hot Dog Man

Waxy Pan, hot dog man,
Stained string vest with overhang.
Women in the streets they sang,
Hey Waxy! Love your greasy tan!

Searching tops of night bus stops, 
He hunts for all discarded drops.
Morsels to be reconstituted,
Ground and chopped, with oil diluted.
Debris from double deckers flung,
Pasties, crisps, to name just some.
Scavenging each kerb and alleyway,
Down tunnels where the buskers play.
Leftover crumbs from city slickers,
Some tipsy tart’s discarded knickers.

Waxy Pan, hot dog man,
Abattoir inside his van,
Children in the streets they sang,
“If he can’t cook it no one can!”

Could make this meat of mystery?
Drunkard’s sick and tender louse,
In cauldron mixed with eye of mouse,
Wing of pidge from Nelson’s hat,
Fleas pinched fresh from sewer rat.
Rotten corpse dragged from the Thames,
What flavour to the mix this lends!
Then scarf of whore and shoe of tramp,
With onion sizzle by street lamp.

Waxy Pan, hot dog man,
Rejects no meat from creed or clan,
Hippies in the street they sang,
“Prime minister? I wish you’d ran!”

And when there are no precious scraps?
He takes his net to hunt out cats!
Pouncing with athletic skill,
‘Tween roof and ridge, pane and sill,
Of London’s shops and nightclub venues,
This inventive chef of tourist menus.
He sets his cunning moggy traps,
And swoops upon these furry wraps.
Just admire the job he’s done,
For cats in town, I’ve not seen one.

Waxy Pan, hot dog man,
I hear not everyone’s a fan.
Terrorists in the street they sang,
“Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!”

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Voodoo at the Castle

Friday, January 12, 2007 

The next time you find yourself at a bus stop in Kennington, or on a double-decker to Elephant and Castle, stop and take a look up at the sign. Tied to almost every post in this glorious stretch of the capital is a bizarre assortment of foliage. Cuttings of gnarly twig strangle the wobbly metal whilst clippings of weathered leaf twitch precariously in the wind.

At first, one can mistake it for the tragic site of some roadside accident. But I think even a tramp’s offering to road-killed vermin would be more honouring to the memory of a dearly departed one than these puked up clods of earth.

I am inclined to believe that some mystical voodoo sorceress by the name of Madame Bombola, has been boiling chicken feet in pots and dipping said twigs in the rank and thick mix to enchant the whole of SE11. Why would a creature commit such a vile and depraved act, TO PLAY God!?

No. Being a voodoo master in this day and age is not a 9-5 affair, in fact work is so hard to come by that Madame Bombola has established her own bazaar of treats and trinkets. You’ll find her most weekdays in a shanty lean-to by the shopping centre selling all kinds of plastic nick-naks and fancy-thats that would proudly adorn any mantel for at least the 28-day warranty period.

Why else would a consumer with such discerning taste as myself be getting overwhelming urges to buy a giant plastic Buddha head that emits a multicoloured aura from its crown when connected to any mains socket?

It MUST be witchcraft.

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