Homage to Huckleberry

I walked Snoops twice this weekend, while everyone was ill @ 42 Braine Road, and I know he’s showing signs of age: not too bothered about running through the fields, but he’s calm and chilled and super happy really. Thanks for all the great time old pal!

#weimaraner #dog #huckleberry

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Potential for excellence

Cry Cry Cry
he does to awaken
our snoozing thinking
sinking none drinking
refusing to slip-away
refrain from Wednesday
Try Try Try
to roll a last time
drifting contented; please!
the tug of covers
and the claws of pain
keep distant Thursday
My My My
body dangles over
and tangle rebounds unease
shrinking head bone
and shrivelled lip
grimly set tonight
By By By
chance to dream
squirming confused
building up revulsions
blood pounds torrid
locked from tomorrow.

Tears before Thursday: Baby Bawling, Snow Thawing, Dog Snoring

I arrived back from Leeds for one pm, had some noodles, bean sprouts, veg and things, played with Finley for a little while. He’s a little sickly lately. Emma thinks that this might be because he is no longer breast feeding. Poor Bear. The baby is wailing constantly – not like him as he’s usually very happy. I think he wants a ‘cudge’; he thrusts his arms forward looking hopefully and I happily undertake the task. He smiles at me whenever I come in the room so I think we’re pals; but he doesn’t know it yet.

He drifts through this wailing and bawling, with occasional half smiles, not knowing what to do. I decide to see what his reaction to music would be? I’d heard certain classical music has an impact mood, behaviour and development, but I’m not sure Beethoven is the right chord? Anyway he responds instantly and wants to touch the music centre. No No! I wonder if he needs something a little more relaxing and enjoyable; music was always my remedy as a baby.

In the antique chest I shuffle through the records and come up a classic of 1971: Teaser and the Firecat by ‘Cat’ Stevens. If I Laugh, Tuesday’s Dead, Morning Has Broken, Moonshadow and I am in a full flood of tears. Finley is content in my arms and quite unaware of the salty water falling on his tender head. Hardly any music got as good as this album?

Took my merry friend for a long walk, in virgin snow, at four thirty. I had heard that it was going to rain so I wanted to take him walking while it was still a few inches deep. Usual route however along Harland Way, Route 66, west off Deighton Road, passed two bridges took the left turn up to the next two bridges, Hilltop Farm and Spofforth Hill. By the time we hit clean snow on The Ings the rain had turned to icy rain blowing from the east. Snoops behaves like a puppy on the fresh snow he runs, gallops, bites or licks the snow in each bound.

Came back to home to find sister has returned and her Boyfriend is due shortly. Suddenly fell a little in the wrong place at the wrong time(they’re having there central heating sorted at the new house so are also staying the night). Off back to Leeds: I didn’t want to tonight as I have Thursday to fear and I want to put it as far away as possible until the day itself. Waited 15 mins for the X99 and then a African guy walks past tells me he’s waited since 19:30 and seen no bus go towards Deighton Bar. I decided to trudge in the brown slush to the Bus Station in Wetherby to see if there is any indication of whether there might be a bus there. My mood is declining. I get there and there is no lighting on in the the dank, plain, basic shelter that is called the station: the travel display suggests a bus going to Deighton Bar with arrive in 30 mins. I decide it’s not worth it as this might all be a First Bus lie; I’ve had ‘interesting’ experiences with First Group in Truro before. Back to 42 for the evening and I’ll set off at ten am Thursday for my date with fate.

The Ghost pt.24 (we call it acieed)

We call it acieed

There was once a night club in Harrogate, North Yorkshire where we 17 and 18 year old kids spent most of our Friday and Saturday nights. It was so special to us all and it was known simply as the Elevens Club; we belonged to the place. The proprietor was Dio (or was it Dion my memory fails?) and he vetted everyone coming into the club individually. He had his own method looking at us for fashion faux pas, age concerns, too many men and what I felt was his unique sensing of who was the  right person to come into his club.

It is there where we went to hear Tim Garbutt(one half of the very successful Utah Saints) deejaying for a tiny £30 a night. He’d play a wildly conflicting mixture of street music of the era: House, Techno, Garage, Rap, Hip Hop, Soul, Hip House and any other extension of Electronica; all of it successful.  Many of what became know simply as dance anthems: Rhythim Is Rhythim, Adamski, Hardcore Uproar, Todd Terry, anything on Bigshot, Landlord, French Kiss, DJ Mark the 45 king, 2 in a Room. We young people were born for the second time.

A new way of life stretched before us from 1989. We followed Tim like wagging dogs, he blew our minds, we blew our own minds and we’d support him at all times. Report to the dance floor.

After Tim left Elevens Club he and Des, the hairdresser, started Hoof nights, this introduced us to Tim rebranded as DJ Tim ‘Sense Invader’ Garbutt. Hoof travelled around Harrogate from Legends to Carringtons and finally broke apart just as the Casbah(their own club) opened to continue the good vibes!

The few of us religiously travelling from Wetherby were joined by a handful of Jewish lads from Alwoodley(Jackie Katz, etc), in their snazzy spats  Zoot suit, shirt and tie, but all others were the regular ingress of Harrogate school lads: Steve W, Chris B, Justin D, Neil D, Steve Z, Dagger: an assortment of St. John’s, St. Aiden’s, Rossett and other secondary schools dotted around HG1. So many names have been forgotten! From their auto-mobiles I recall Andy S with an electric blue Renault 5 GT Raider, Mark F in a Citreon AX and Marcus F worked in the department store in Harrogate now known as Hooper’s (Hewlett’s?).

Hanging out on a Sunday afternoon, post Saturday blues coming through, playing football at the Cenotaph or chillin’ out over at Valley Gardens with Caroline W and Fiona D.
With J and S fighting to be in the front controlling the tape of the night before; on rewind for Take Me Away. I was happy to leave J and S squabbling and joined Jazz-hard-strongbeard in a mini ROO or ALF the Triumph-ant Acclaim. All these cars: RT in the battleship grey Fiesta 950, Simon’s brown Honda civic, and Johnny Gaddins legendary FSO ‘super-styled’ Red Riot – ‘it’s not a Lada’: A body panelled brick built for speed propelled off Boulby Cliffs.

I’d buy every Armand Basi I could afford and chucked acid down my neck with joie de vivre for a really really good time. Acid only, with a little poppers, (but J was the anti-Christ).

With Nude Photo or Acid Rock banging out, disco smoke and LSD working its magic I always lost all sense of what part of time and space I was inhabiting while Jiggy Eyebrows was next to me on the dance floor. There were so many people on acid! every one of the 200 people on any particular Saturday night (or so it seemed). Not a drop of alcohol in sight: and Dan always drove as was clean as whistle. Or we’d have somewhere to crash in Harrogate, or J, S and I walked the long route past the gypsies opposite Plumpton Rocks: 3:15am. Or picked up at dawn by Dean Jackson and Rastafarian Mark at 5am just outside Spofforth or Mikey in his shoveit(chevette) at the services on Woodlands: Bowyer’s Pork Pies! Nobody drank! Everyone did the acid and were driven where ever next: Brimham Rocks, Knaresborough, Thurston Reservoir. J would drive anywhere for ever a couple of quid: to put in the tank. We’d wait for the sun to come up. Or stand on a street corner being tormented and reduced to a blubbering mess by S Beyotts . Chris B once called us all we were plastic ravers. Like he was special and we were on his turf…

From February 1989 and West One, where we smoked cigars and danced to S-express, Tyree(awesome superdoupertrooper) chinos, tweed blazers and brogues in Legends. Thorough fair British Knights, Troop and Travel Fox; always Stussy and Nike Jordan’s. To the last days of The Mix circa May 1991 and Chipie brand. MC Spider, Sasha, Digweed, others and always Tim ‘Utah Saints’ Garbutt.

Whether on happy purple oms, strawberries, farty green or purple dragons, super-smilies, test-tubes, the legendary home made and ridiculously strong ‘Wall’, microdots, windowpanes?, but be very careful with white lightening. If I told you that acid was sold in sticks of Wrigley’s Spearmint what would you say juicy fruit?

Oh yeah, baby there isn’t a more satisfying feeling than the first warm glow of acid coming on before it take full control of all your aural, oral and visual stimuli and reduces a once viral young man to a gibbering maniac for 6 hours, 6 days, 6 years or forever?

Afternoon rambling

This afternoon I have been busy perambulating from place to place to find a few surprises and a few disappointments.

Joel invited me Behind the Town Hall and he mentioned there might be some lunch – this turned out to be pancakes this being Shrove Tuesday. Sweet offerings with jam and cream. My taste buds struggled a little with the Lidl raspberry jam which was a little tart. It needed something to wash it down and there is a wonderful differentiated selection to chew upon at Martin and Joel’s gaff(not while comfortably sat on the wagon . I needed the food so ‘thank you guys’. If only I was at home for a night with mother for the usual savoury mince Shrove pancakes !

I left them discussing the table arrangements for this Thursday’s ‘Spice’ meeting, but I won’t be in until Saturday at the earliest as my body feels in need of a detox. Maybe they’ll listen to my suggestion to keep it tasty but simple.

They’re digging up Dortmund Square in Leeds to build something else I shouldn’t wonder. Then  passing over The Headrow, through Thorton’s Arcade, The Victoria Quarter I turned out opposite the Halifax bank on King Edward Street and approached Kirgate market from the central entry on Vicar Lane. Joel had mentioned to me there was a South African stall on the Butcher Row. Saw this and thought briefly about buying Biltong.

Kirkgate market has developed quite a multi-ethnic taste. There are three or four Polish/Russian delis, a couple that cater for African and the Caribbean and even the odd Chinese/Oriental/Indian shop-let. I bought some bean sprouts, noodles, mushrooms and bunch spring onion to conjurer up something leaning towards China.

There are so many empty retail units in the market and lots of shops are vacant around Leeds. I drifted to the Calls – falling buildings – via the disused area behind the Corn Exchange. It strikes me that once a lot of the majority of the core ‘Brands’ congregate on Trinity some of the other areas of Leeds will fall into further decline. I don’t think Leeds can support the retail infrastructure it currently supposes. Reduce the over heads and perhaps Leeds will start being more like Manchester.

A chance discover of Raw Chocolate Pie – haven’t had one of these bars since Falmouth a few years ago now. Does justice to the raw ideals. Nothing bad here! It is tarred, smooth, bright, intense and coats the palate in a tobacco woodiness. Indeed apart from some one who vanished from Borough market long ago – currently Chocolicious does some great stuff there, but I regard it as inferior.

It appears that the Dock Street Market has vanished – closed by the landlord on 28th January. To be fair I hadn’t been in really, but today I was trying to find another place to think that wasn’t the big 4. Hell! I am back in Starbucks and high on Hibiscus tisane.

Good news is I have another interview on Monday. This one is for YO!Sushi in the new Trinity Development; I keep the wheels a’turning. Any opportunity there would be amazing so I will keep my fingers crossed. Next week should be busy with interviews, etc. and maybe back in work shortly?

Elena’s birthday and the Tate Odyssey

In 2009, prior to my Elena’s birthday, we undertook to Tate Britain in Pimlico to see some of the brilliance shining within there.
Luck would have it that the 2009 Turner Prize was also being expo’d too so, for the addition if a few liquid quids, we could look over and ponder the winner?

The time grows wider but the memory remains vivid.

The prize winner was predicted by Elena but, although I felt that only his work meant something to me, I really wouldn’t like to predict the winner of this award: the choice of champion is drearily done. I couldn’t connect anything, nothing with nothing in this scene. In such an vain enterprise I always feel tossed with wilted cos lettuce and fouled Caesar dressing, belonging to nothing conducive but a dreadfully proposed modern jazz cacophony. With pencils and lined paper we wrote our artistically thought contribution and exited to jazz ourselves up for London, in funked up costume, for fun down in Camden Town that night.

Bring on the Batman’s Jokers (Jude and Elena) and the brutally stupid me!
So Richard Wright won? No surprise really…

In the beginning was the word and the word was Coffee

The Coffee Shop Wars?

It is my feeling on this Tuesday morning, 9:56am, that no coffee shop chain in the UK can actually do justice to a coffee done well. I have returned to my usual workspace this morning and gone for a surprisingly well created option from Starbucks’ Tazo blend of tisane: Hibiscus blend.

As I prepare for the coming Thursday, and locking horns with the various mental challenges I will no doubt need to deal with, coffee is a no-no. Why do I think coffee shops fail? I feel the systems in mass produced coffee takes away the creative genius required to get to the personal touch in the roasting process. The bitter stuff we consume across the length and breadth of the UK, in the majority of establishments run by huge faceless corporations, has ceased to be a artisan craft. I see no difference between Costa, Nero, Pret A Manger or Starbucks and McDonald’s, Burger King or KFC and the method of driving prices down and getting the customers in used. So what happened to the world in its haste to homogenize every singular experience for the individual into repetitive, across the board, clones?

Colour coded and branded, like the sacks some of the take home beans are presented in to add authenticity, we long sojourners struggle to find ourselves in a space like this. The passage of those on-route to work, college or school, who don’t need to linger is short, and for them there is no need for any consideration of the aesthetic qualities of the furniture and décor.

Also coffee as a true and simple upper has been hijacked by the profusion of decaf, cow milk, soy milk and gomme style syrups that replace the exquisitely burnt edges in the varying types roasts with a variety of differing sugars; lactose or sucrose, or the absense of any reason to have a cup of coffee in the first place: decaf. Like alcohol free beer, wine, etc. there ain’t no point paying for the opposite of what is advertised on the tin!

We all have differing experiences of the coffee prepared for our prole participation. I feel love for only one minute coffee ‘chain’ if it can be called thus? The other 4 or 5, if you include Ritazza; which is the least impressive ensemble, have nothing in common really. Take time out to visit Monmouth Coffee Co. near Borough Market, Southwark on a Monday thru’ Thursday morning – before the vultures descend on Friday and Saturday for the kaleidoscope of food, drink and trudging feet(warm or cold, wet or dry) – where there are permeating waves of freshly roasted, ground and brewed coffee placed within that ramshackle corner coffee house.

From here the comings and goings still occur, London’s bicycled brigade and those seeking the demands of the City o’er London Bridge; north, pass this spot en-route to whatever concludes their morning sprints. But from 9am until 11am this is somewhere the ponderer can disappear; whether it is to trouble the patrons to move along the French farmhouse oak table or to squeeze up the mezzanine to look out onto Park Street, SE1 it is simple to find a zone of simplicity within the breathing heart of Southwark. Arrayed for purloining pleasure are French,Italian, Swiss, American and British breakfast suggestions all done without guile, condescension or pretence.

We merry few felt in those far too inconsequential months of occupation, while belonging to Rotherhithe, Bermondsey and SE1, there was an a kindred parallelity of us on the perimeter of existence, beyond the troubling Brogue shoe, colluding Chelsea boot and stabbing Stiletto feet, enjoying sumptuous English jams, French bread and dodging pointed pigeon beaks; until, we too, had to exeunt up Stoney Street to collect the 381 for our day which began at noon.

Persons living beyond the call of Starbucks, Pret A Manger, Nero and Costa are truly glorious; those who can find simple something’s with which to dance into the rush of the day belong to the worlds turning.

Opatija (edited)

28th September 2010,

I have this over riding feeling that Croatian’s are very sad. Their national music is really very sombre  Every one of them is a torture to the heart.

And I’ve heard way too much of U2 while on tour.

Positive news is I can get to Trieste from Opatija for less than it would’ve cost me to get there from Rijeka. Ticket bought. Some days to relax out my Croatian odyssey on this Riviera while the last of my Kuna flits away.

The sun is coming out. Although it is rural the campsite is simply as nature intended. If you can cope with many flying things you’re aright and I feel more relaxed here than in the big cities. The big but is that some times the loneliness takes over.

Ičići
I think pronounced Itch-i-chi?

I went out for a relaxed scout about after a shower, to recompose me from the overnight journey. I got some nice local rye bread, sir/cream cheese and sat down on the sea front waiting for the sun to hopefully/finally force the mesmerizing clouds away: No such luck. Flirted in an expensive café on the front, but in the end it feels pointless as the grey colours win. It’s been raining since 1230pm. I got back to the tent just prior to what I thought must be the main event and went to sleep; knackered after the long journey up the coast on the ferry, and with increasing frequency rainfall drops fall heavily on the delicate tent. As I awake it has slowed to a steady drumming beat; my iPhone says 3pm, maybe it is ceasing? So I need to venture to the local shops for more cheese and more proteins: additional meat.

All along the waterfront a torrent is gushing from outlets that bring the streams off the Kvarner. Heavy rain on top of the range of hills/mountains that sprout straight up behind the thin settlement and ominous clouds west of here, towards a peninsula, make me ponder my decision to leave the tent of dryness, but I can hear the birds calling each other so maybe it is passed and I will carry on.

Ha, I’ve waited for two hours for a bus that is none existent; to be told by a driver going the other way that the next one for me was in another 2 hours! 4 flaming hours waiting for a bus. Fuck that. Why don’t I just walk back?

Now I can hear thunder…
Back on the waterfront I have decided to walk and galeb call around me like screaming babies tossed by the sea into the oppressive air. From here it is very difficult to differentiate the horizon from the sea. The colour is only a couple of swatches different. I am walking into the thin band; home.

Got back via the Komzum, picking up some bread, salami and cheese, and now the heavens have truly opened. I am wet to the skin. I am hoping my tent it still in situ and will protect me through the night without getting washed away into the Adriatic; the lightning is getting closer now.

Once it got dark I was terrified that it was going to hit me. The lightning was striking from behind my eyes. I felt somehow warmed by it’s closeness. I could taste the earthly tension on my primal tears. I had no defence against it if it struck. I accepted the reality that this was it – to end my days frazzled in a burnt out tent in a remote part of Istria. It was my willingness to accept it as the final summation of my existence that moved it on. I felt the planet was to finally rend me and take me, a brief cadence of burning flesh, then the rain would pelt out my remnant flame. I was terrified and then at peace. Perhaps my spiritual acceptance of its providence was enough cause for it to move on to less appeasing individuals along the coast. Phew!

It has moved so now I can sleep peacefully. I hope the rain will lessen and I’ll have some reasonable days before heave-hoe back to Trieste and England

I woke twice in the night convinced that I had a leech like creature on my face. I stared in to the night blackness in the tent and could make out a smudge on the lining. I put a light on and that mark became the screw top on the bottle wine.

By the morning I had a 4 dozen flies and an assortment of other flying insects between the inner and outer lining. And one solitary snail dragging itself towards the toppermost of the poppermost. A large Escargot snail.

I had loads of fears in that tent last night, irrational and uncomprehending. Now I can collect myself and gallop towards the eastern part of Opatija.

I know I don’t speak any Croatian, but some of the locals have the expression of the grave. Especially those in service industries. On buses, ships, in bars, restaurants even in tourist info. I don’t like Croats with that oppression/expression: it makes the clouded and rainy days seem doubly insidious.

As I come back up north from the Dalmatian islands, and get further into a solitary zone, I am beginning to miss Nina in Trieste and Rene, Lena and Michelle in Piran more than I care to admit.

The Week Ahead

Like a new dawn I woke up, clean veined, at 7:50am without alarm clock, or other motivation; Monday.

After a rampant and quite unexpected Friday night –  setting off for home after 2 pints I managed to be lured by the bright lights and attractive sights of the Black Bull, Wetherby – I had a very quiet and hidden weekend dwelling with mother and Mr Dog.

Today now in Leeds – I don’t feel anything. Motivated? Nope. After several interviews and a month of applications I spy the yawning gape of Thursday 14th Feb and a date with fate, or dictatorial advisor Nick, at Park Place Job Centre (I almost wrote Palace) at 3pm after my first visit to the Leeds Mental Health team?

No matter what I ever try it never quite works out. I bang on the door to normal conditioned acceptance, but anyone willing to listen has long since departed to a higher place: the board!

As per usual this Monday morning I am sat applying for as many entry level roles as my mind can cope with. For this routine I always take to the Starbucks on The Headrow. After a couple of productive hours I find myself pondering the past, present and future. This is a common pastime…

So I referred my mind to the second instalment of passages provided by the writing critique group I attended 2 weeks previously(31st January). On reading the selection I find a bundle of badly strangled efforts; witless and wilting. For the 14th I have to critique these empty pointless immature and vainglorious extracts: I haven’t a chance!

If I was to write a short story, novella or novel there are a number of skills I think I would need: the ability to draw interesting characters, realistic plot and sparkling text, all of which are currently absent from the other pieces I have to critique. Shit I can’t see the point really. What I write is for me and rarely treads/threads upon third person narrative; I keep monologuing into the ether. The one thing I wrote of more than a few pages was more an exercise in recording a dream I once had. Dreams rarely have sense enough to have a beginning, middle or end in sequence or haphazardly; they don’t progress chronologically. I recall some intense dreams of world cataclysm, usually involving atomised destruction; both a warm place(if ever you’ve dreamt of the pyrotechnics acclaimed in gravitational neutron collapse) and a pleasantly secure dream-scape I have found. The thing I wrote in 2011 was an exercise in playing with what my mind was telling me. Some of it has interesting concepts, but it rarely hangs together for more that a few pages before it is off in another direction, and it echoes the many conceptual hard sci-fi I have intravenously dripped into my subconscious since I can recall; Baxter, Banks, Niven, Bear, Asimov, etc.

Returning to another Starbucks this afternoon I left the room tidied, after watching on iPlayer the newer format Room 101: Frank Skinner chairman, and departed down the stairwell feeling a clandestine loathing for phoney Jack ‘Bleeding Posh apropos Roughly Attired’ Whitehall (I find his ‘sort’ often assorted on the No. 1 Bus from Holt Park to City Centre passing, stopping and collecting dreadful oinks from Carnegie, Arndale Centre, etc., to drop at the University steps – I think the toffs have won again!). It’s cold outside so I wrapped up bushy and warm; why is it I feel more self-conscious wearing a Kangol furgora trapper hat than when I did in 1988 in an Italian Army regulation jacket, Swastika and Exploited On Stage badge? With age comes fear?

I have to give wine, beer, cider a wide berth this week. Got that important day on Thursday and I need to be depressed naturally, not artificially: it’s important to show the psychologist the real me. If I could I’d never ever drink again, but I just get so bored!

Here I am with a filling bladder and watching the businessmen of Leeds chaw the jaw clock wise – what next? Urine out…you’re in/out? Out!

***

Oh God, why am I on the wrong week? How did I decide it was the 7th on Thursday? In the hurry I poked out a week between and looped back to last week. Was that some how hopeful? I linger this week with fear of Thursday’s barbarism – full day of such daunting eventualities I respectfully wish it were receding not approaching with gathering reinforced pace. I am a shaking mess.

How often life revolves into spinning a bottle?

How often life revolves into spinning a bottle?

 

Until empty;

Rattling

In forgotten alleyway

Truth hold communication

Alone

Within commune a la conspirator

Snifter held to nose

 

Concluded

We collude a separate rush;

Train heave on to Horsforth; foot carries to Holbeck

 

Breaking

Over bold horizon,

Through a Bedouin drape, pours liquid morn;

Nagging reminders arose

 

Scorn drag on smoke ladened

Snoozing head;

Damp cheek on pillow case

On fingers numb days count back, waiting

For happy call of phoned news

 

Every day is forever

Crossed out, scribbled,

Dashed against razor rocks,

Done

On mornings condense the patrons

Solace found in drinking hole

And coffee prior to none at noon

 

From a lightly swaying cradle

To the yawning grave,

We hang around; queued

Until a’snoring

Time appears again

 

A heart says flee and never return.

Take all you can, pull up root, jump train

Plane away

Plane the grain smooth

Step onto a horizon clean

Green plain

Gray life no longer dangling feet first

Looking for the moment Gravity wills

You down.