Walking Contradiction – 13th October 2021

I’m a walking contradiction
No, I’m not, I plead
One day this, one day that
How can I succeed?
Do as I say, not as I do
I’m going nowhere fast
When I say that red is blue
I mean that first is last
I’m a walking contradiction
Depending on my mood
Don’t tell me about yesterday
When I was really rude
I know what is right and wrong
And I must always be right
Try to keep up with me
And I’ll enjoy the fight

Johnny Looked Sad – 8th November 1987

Johnny looked really sad
Looked like he’d killed his dad
Stood outside in the rain
His face etched with the pain
No one said a single word
Least not that anyone heard
Hands in pockets he trudged away
He’s been like that since yesterday

19th Oct 2021 – I have such a clear image in my mind of the photograph that inspired this poem but cannot find it online anywhere. Perhaps I’m misremembering or making it a combination of other images. These will give you an idea at least:

Friday night’s here, what’s the scene? – 29th January 1982

Stiff Little Fingers
Flying Padovanis

Poole Arts Centre, Poole, Dorset

19th Oct 2021 – My very first concert. Mum dropped me and Rupert at the Arts Centre around 7pm and would come back around 10.30pm to pick us up again. There were people everywhere. This was still a time when entertainment was not at anyone’s fingertips and folks would save their money for events like this and make a night of it. We were rowdy 14-year-olds on what felt somewhat like unknown territory.

My only recollection of the Flying Padovani’s was a bald guy on stage. Their music passed me by like a familiar b-movie, anticipating the real deal.

Stiff Little Fingers had made a big impression on me back in 1980 with their ‘Nobody’s Heroes’ album and seeing them perform ‘At The Edge’ on Top of the Pops. Intelligent lyrics and rousing choruses, melodic guitars and galloping rhythms.

By 1982 they had already released their third album ‘Go For It’, another classic, and were touring around this new ‘Listen’ EP. Although the recording felt a lot more restrained than previously, they were still writing great songs and they translated perfectly for the live experience.

Our skinny bodies were adept at squeezing our way near the front and the hall was rammed with people. When SLF came on I learned something that many have noted since, that the floor at the Art Centre was sprung, or at least felt that way. Jammed side by side with other sweaty youthful punks and rockers, the whole front of the audience pogoed and bounced in rhythm with the songs. It was impossible to fall over, everyone was packed in so tight. It was so exhilarating.

I was rapt from start to finish and asked my mum to buy me an SLF silk scarf which I still have.

Where Were You? – 12th October 2021

Hello, my old friend, where have we been?
I travelled around the world to see the things I’ve seen
The past is a cloaked memory yet difficult to forget
Here we are again with little time to be upset
All the hopes and dreams we shared, left along the way
Stuck in a nine to five, kids and rent to pay
Do we recognise each other with the words we are using?
No longer in need to win if one of us is losing

The thousand nights spent on the floating ship, I wish I had another night – 11th October 2021

After reading both Stephen Fry’s books on Greek Myths and Heroes I picked up two volumes of The Arabian Nights (or One Thousand and One Nights) and I started reading the first one today.

Whilst I was reading I was conscious of the fact that I often take something in from the story and then almost immediately forget the details. For instance, I started reading a new bedtime book last night and today I can’t even remember what it is. Just being a file on my iPad doesn’t help with trying to remember things either.

So as I was reading this first story, which sets up the premise for the rest of the book, I decided I should write down a summary of the events, without too much detail, to help me remember, but also to understand more deeply.

Summary of the Story Of King Shahryar and His Brother

There were two brothers. One found his wife cheating with another man, so killed her. He was devastated by her betrayal and also remorseful for having killed her. He made himself sick.
The other brother, seeing him sick, took him in but whilst there found his brother’s wife cheating too. He realised that whilst he was suffering, others were also suffering. Telling himself things weren’t so bad he started to feel better.
His brother asked what had brought about this change and he reluctantly told of what he saw. Once the brother also saw this betrayal with his own eyes, he too, killed his wife.
They decided to get away from their betrayals and perhaps seek others who were suffering even more, a way to make themselves feel better.
They came across a monster, who kept his wife locked up. He had let her out and promptly fallen asleep, whereupon she saw the two brothers and insisted they make love to her whilst the monster slept.
They saw that the monster was suffering even more than themselves but the actions of the woman were immoral and vowed never to trust a woman again.
They returned to their lives and after sleeping with a virgin woman, killed her the following day so she would never be able to twist the hearts of men.
Eventually, virgins were becoming scarce and one brother asked his friend where to find more. The friend repeated the story to his two virgin daughters and one insisted she knew a way to put an end to this difficult situation.

These weak men, never challenging themselves as complicit in their wives actions, prefer to blame and punish what they dare not understand. Of course, women have suffered in every region and era of history yet it begs belief that if tales such as this become established amongst children they are likely to take that into adulthood and pass it on from generation to generation.

Should tales of old be updated for modern audiences and cultures? Cut the wheat from the chaff? Should they be completely replaced?

Of course, the summary ends on a more positive note as a woman is prepared to put herself in danger to provide a solution. Does it work? I don’t know yet.

I purposely left out the fact that the brothers are kings and tried to make the summary more human. The downside of this is that it is not in most human minds or possibility to kill every woman they sleep with. Being a king (or having that illusion) seems to allow for that possibility!

I used monster instead of jinn or genie as I was trying to understand what difference this makes. I feel that a human can be a monster but not a genie.

As in all good stories, I want to know what happens next.

Seeds of Regret – 11th October 2021

*Am I living in the hearth
And home of the now?
For all the present is worth
Before the future I bow
*Last year I had a clear cut
If lunatic, set of ideas
Ventured onwards but
Paralysed by my new fears
*Why doesn’t someone start a fire
Close enough for me to see?
To burn through my fields of desire
*Why doesn’t someone kick me?
*Easy going as I farm
Sowing the seeds of regret
There’s no cause for alarm
As it hasn’t happened yet

*All swiped from Glenn Dakin’s ‘Abe – Wrong for the Right Reasons’

Working From Cafe – 10th October 2021

Plug it in and power up
Working here with coffee cup
–Day and night slaving here
Waiting for beer o’clock

Wifi Password 9999
We got the power but not the time
–Living in a deadline fear
That must remain forever online

Twenty four seven three six five
Blown through another portable drive
–PDFs sent peer to peer
Waking up dead just to stay alive

Words were writ, emails sent
Both for and against the government
–What the fuck are you doing here?
With all the wasted time you spent

Earned a dollar, put in bank
Spent on all the coffees drank
–Your boss is making profit clear
Whilst you are just a mindless blank

Foundations – 8th October 2021

There’s a plan that’s been put in place
Decided years ago, real and known
Paths set to further the human race
Historical analysis shows how we’ve grown
Allowances were made for deviations
When the train almost left the tracks
The firm bedrock for our foundations
Ensured the plan always had our backs
All the charlatans and fly by nights
Have long since been forgotten
War of words no longer become fights
And we stopped ourselves becoming rotten
Instead of an instant profit turned
Future generations were the consideration
Making sure that all history was learned
We came together to celebrate this creation

I see parallels between Asimov’s Foundation stories and the differences in the way the US and China plan their futures. It feels like the US system is constantly hamstrung by its election cycles and lack of consistent vision whereas China has its five-year plans and I think extending even further into the future.

Singy – 7th October 2021

Rob’s singing about his cat again
And I’m trying to sing-a-long
I can’t quite hit the harmony
And I get the lyrics wrong
But the joy is in our hearts
As we’re belting out this song
There’s no difference between us
We are all where we belong

Inspired by listening to Thingy and the genius songwriting of Rob Crow and his songs about his cat Molly.