Posts Tagged ‘blogs’

He stared at me, pupils dilated to the size of ink spots either side of a hideous, bloated bulbous nose. Daring me to hold his gaze. His lips parted in a wide grin revealed a mouth of undulating broken teeth. Wild, unruly and unkempt long hair flared out behind him. He was a throwback to the Neanderthals, right down to the rock clenched in one hand, the stick held menacingly high in the other.

It wasn’t the first time we had met and he had barred my path. But today was different. Before I had ignored him. Now I couldn’t. He just kept staring, and I just kept staring right back. No words passed between us, nothing was said. That was the problem, the cause of the trouble. No words.

He wasn’t going to speak. It was not his way. He just stared, standing there barefoot, eyes unblinking.

Usually we looked at each other for a while, then I would smile and move on. Not today. Today I wasn’t smiling, and he never did. Deadlock. I tried a few words. Nothing. I glanced away trying to think, a way of phrasing what I had in mind to say, but the right words wouldn’t come. That was the problem, my mind was empty. I looked up again and of course he was still there, the rock held firm, the stick pointing in my direction.

I bunched my hands into fists, nails digging into the palms and tried again. A few words sprung to the fore, no gushing torrent as there should have been. A slow sentence dribbled out. Not that it made any difference. I knew it wouldn’t. He was still staring. He knew I was drawn to his ugly physog. He was right. I was staring. This time I knew he was winning.

I knew it couldn’t continue. It made no difference to him, he had all the time in the world and would still be there tomorrow. But I needed to be somewhere else. There were plenty of places I should be in, I wanted to be in, not here staring at him. Relax, I tried to tell myself, just ignore him and look away, take a step back. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, rubbed the tension out of fingers and hands and slowly exhaled. I opened my eyes and instinctively knew the spell had been broken, that for now he was gone, out of sight and out of my way. And of course that’s when the right words sprung to mind.

Fuck it, don’t you just hate it when you can’t think what to write!

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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 5,300 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 9 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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“Deck the halls with boughs of holly, tis the season to be jolly.” OH, NO IT ISN’T, not if you’re a man and you still have your Christmas shopping to do.

Let’s face it, MEN and Christmas shopping just don’t go together. Ask any woman. We lack the stamina for it and that special ability that you females have to browse and stalk the shop floor looking for that elusive present. We’re hunters not gatherers and need a specific target to home in on. Shopping malls and shops are in general an anathema to us. But once a year we do have to come down from our tree or out from behind that rock.

The other day ‘we’ visited one of these emporiums of plenty where the shop floor stretches to the horizon and is festooned with all manner of bounty and provender. I had managed to negotiate the first challenge, that of actually getting into the car park and locating an empty space. Sometimes it would be easier finding a dodo on an ostrich farm. You can almost hear the voice, “Welcome motorist, you have entered the Chrystal Maze, but take care to remember where you left your vehicle, for you may struggle to find it when you leave.”

The doors shooshed open and I tried to look back for a re-assuring landmark. Too late, they closed and I was inside that Aladin’s cave, a novice within the temple of merchandise and about to worship at the altar of commercialism. Yes, it’s all very pleasant, light and airy, warm and inviting; and if you like Christmas musak, large hanging baubles, lights and giant wrapped presents. Enchanting in a shoppy kind of way.

The trouble is I find these places so alike and soul-less. Chain store multi-retailing at its best, or should that be its worst. So much so you could be forgiven for wondering exactly which High Street or Shopping Mall you are actually in. And then I find myself daunted and baffled by the array of goods on offer. The book shop’s boring and I don’t want to buy the books they are desperately trying to sell, the electrical gagdet store is predictable, the CD and DVD shop completely uninspiring, the clothes shops and shoe shops, well I don’t need any. “You’re supposed to be looking at things to buy for others, not yourself”, is the exasperated response.

But there was one shop that kept my attention for ages; the toy and model shop. Train sets, cars, planes and soldiers. Now you are talking. Only it wasn’t as it used to be, not as I remembered. There was no atmosphere; it was completely devoid of any wonderment or wow factor. In fact it was more like a toy supermarket, shelves piled high with boxed merchandise, than a toy shop with individual toys you could actually touch and play with.

That aside I did manage to suggest a few ideas for presents for family, friends and relatives. I happily carried the bags and waited dutifully outside a few shops, sometimes there’s a strategically placed bench. I had just plopped onto the end of one with the bags, there was a chap doing likewise at the other end when a middle aged woman approached to sit down too. I smiled and gathered my bags up. “That’s ok,” she says, “plenty of room unless you suggesting I’ve got a big bum!”

And you will be pleased to know I did find my way out of the Chrystal Maze. Unfortunately, though, I do have to go shopping again tomorrow. You see, I, didn’t actually manage to buy any Christmas presents!

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If you’ve met Shazza, my long-time, intermittent and extrovert friend from Newcastle, you would know and wouldn’t need to ask. If you don’t and wonder what I was doing in Paris I think the short answer is I was kidnapped. She’s like that.So there I was being shown to a table, petit dejeuner en Paris chez le Charles V. Shazza was already tucking into a bowl of porridge topped with fresh fruit and maple syrup. (I should mention we had separate rooms, just in case you were wondering)

“Hiya. Howay, now sit yerself doon, pet. I’ve ordered the full English, lashings of scrambled egg francais, bacon, sausage, mushrooms and fried bread. We had a problem with ‘fried bread’ in French but the lad knows now. Ee, man, wasn’t last night knackering? Well, it was for me, Pet. How was it for you? Anyways, you’ll soon perk up.”

Cutlery clattered noisily against plates at an adjoining table.

“Great those four posters. Talk about therapeutic; room to enjoy every position imaginable and some.”

Someone choked on a croissant, coffee spluttered onto a starched tablecloth.

“What do you have in mind for today, Shaz? Shopping, Faubourg Saint Honore or Haussmanns, or Eiffel Tower, Notre Dames, Les Invalides?”

“Nah, first I’m ganning to Shakespeare and Co’s antiquarian bookshop, there’s a rare first edition of Frederic Mistral written in Occitan I want. Then the Musee D’Orsay afters? I’ll nae bother seeing Francois Hollande this trip. Mind, you’d like the Elysee but I think we’ll have a quiet night. ”

The waiter collided with a table.

“Now, some Bucks Fizz with that fruit and yoghourt, Pet? You need to keep yer strength up.”

I’ll admit, the rest of the weekend passed in a hazy blur, but if you’re familiar with Paris or Shazza then you’ll know how it is!

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That’s it, it’s so easy, my new book. An instant hit, an ‘International Best-Seller’ and I don’t even have to write a word. A work of pure genius, a plot unsurpassed and a story to top all others and it’s as long or as short as you like. Available NOW, just send your cheque to….

At this point you are probably thinking, “What on earth is he rattling on about!”

There’s a new art exhibition at the Hayward gallery in London entitled ‘Invisible’ where visitors will be asked to “look beyond material objects” and “find that there is plenty to see and experience in this exhibition of invisible art”. Yes, I kid you not. It’s an exhibition of invisible art! Pay the £8 admission fee and you too can wander through empty rooms admiring empty plinths and empty canvasses.

Exhibits include ‘Invisible Sculpture’ by Andy Warhol, an empty plinth upon which he once fleetingly stood. Another ‘1000 Hours of Staring’, a blank piece of paper stared at over a period of 5 years by artist Tom Friedman. And ‘Invisible Labyrinth’ by Jeppe Heine where you can negotiate your way round an invisible maze wearing headsets activated by infra-red beams.

According to the gallery blurb, “works invoke invisibility to underscore the limits of our perceptual capacities or to emphasise the role of our imagination in responding to works of art.”

There’s probably more to it than that, there surely has to be, but that seems to be the gist of it. You can call me a philistine where Modern Art is concerned, I don’t mind.  I just don’t get it.

But it did get me thinking. I am a writer, so by taking the concept a step further…. As I said at the beginning, I have this great idea for a new book!

If only it was that simple.

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