How much the American journey seems so much like a dream…
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Water, formed as ice,
has tripped me up once or twice.
Flashing blue lights,
Certainly a warning of the night.
Brick, stone, or a broken bone?
Nothing more than a cosy home.
‘…and you are locked into a debt of which you will never become released of, I am certain of this and it is clear in my thoughts as such.’
‘But sir, don’t you deny the very foundation of being able to see beyond your own situation, of bringing hope into not just your life but also ours?’
‘What a petty imagination you have, for your futures I see nothing but dark horizons and cascading torments.’
‘Well be done with your thoughts and imaginations then as it is clearly visible to us that you have no such qualms in harming us with your words and misdeeds’.
‘Petty fool, please! Calm your house and make it in order, even though I fear it will never become so!’
‘Twice now you have called myself and others before you ‘petty’, but grant that I will not! We are not petty sir, nor miserable or locked into innumerable heartache, no sir, we are just, kind and civil. Our steady boat has become only rocked once by this heavy handed court and I, for one, will not have my name besmirched for any longer. It is a duty of the law, yes, the law, to guide in it’s civil advocacy the way in which we point our democracy (in this I agree wholeheartedly), but this expenditure in this adventure is surely just a mess, an exploitation that matters not a jot to the jailor or to the lawyer. Think twice before you call us petty sir, for we may yet bite the ass of the man before us!’
‘Order! Order in the court of law! Hark hear how thy sing such praises of only of yourselves, you disreputable rogues. It gladdens so to sit here and judge, preside over your fate and decree it so: 7 years hard labour for your financial irregularities, not a day more but not a day less.’
It was at this pronouncement that the witnesses in the stand burst into a flood of tears, wetting their lapels and dousing their frocks in so much salted water that the barristers and lawyers feared for their lives. The judge, jowls and all, had become, by this point in the proceedings, annoyed by this ragtag band of misfits before him. The sentence was harsh, he knew that, but it was just, it was acceptable and it was do’able. It was at this thought that his rage subsided and he became more relaxed in posture and tone.
I could see Jackie crying at the edge of the road as I was carted into the back of the ambulance. I was annoyed as I was going to fuck her tonight at Tom’s party. She had the cutest smile and a small peachy bum, but her scrunched up tear ridden face disgusted me now.
The day at school had been long and boring, English followed Math followed French. I filled my notebooks with drawings in each class and managed to avoid any real work, focused as I was on going to Tom’s house on the night to get high and drink beer. In each class I thought of Jackie. She was the sort of girl you could see in a suit and high heels working in a boring business job in the future, her co-workers slavering after her as she pounded the corridors of power. Fuck, I wanted her so bad that day.
At dinner I’d gone to meet Jake and Mike round the back of the main block where the rusting gates and bins stood guard. Jake had managed to grow his first crop of weed and this was his inaugural toke, one fat joint between three. We each took three off and joked around.
“You gonna get into Jackie tonight?”
“If that douchebag Paul keeps his fucking distance”, I snarled in reply to Mike.
I’d noticed that Jackie and Paul had been getting closer over the past few days, teaming up together in woodwork to make some stupid box or some shit. It annoyed me the way she’d seek his protection when they used the tools. I’d see him leering over her, his eyes meeting mine as his hips would get closer to hers, cajoling me to punch him right in the face the smug bastard.
“Ah fuck that prick man, this shit is pretty good eh?” bragged Jake, though it was damn fine.
“Yeah yeah, you are quite the farmer! Why don’t you quit and go and grow some vegetables amigo!” joked Mike.
After dinner I was high but not too high. Physical exercise could go fuck itself I though and I got some food from the nearby cafe and nodded off briefly. The owners knew us and didn’t mind us, as long as we didn’t make a scene in the cafe we were welcome to frequent it whenever. I think it was because they knew we would get high and come and eat and drink almost non-stop for a period or so that they put up with us. Mike was starting to get a fat little pork belly due to his munchies habit but me and Jake were still stick thin, even after stuffing our faces.
I got to home economics on time. It was the class I’d elected to take because Jackie was there, it was full of girls and there were barely any boys in it. Mrs Finkle, who led the class, was something of a bore who smelled bad. Like a jumper that had been soaked in the rain and put away into a draw before it had dried properly. At any moment I expected to see Mrs Finkle’s top to be crawling in moths.
The weed had taken away the screech of her voice and I was relaxed enough to droop my eyelids. No one noticed or cared. I could see the shimmer of Jackie’s beautiful face on the edge of my vision and I sunk into a revere of kissing those plump lips.
Out in the car park after school I saw Paul by himself next to his kick bike. The weed made me feel a bit invincible but I really needed the whiskey to make me really feel it. Regardless Paul was smaller than me so I went over.
“Hey Paul, stay away from Jackie right” I barked into his face.
“What the hell you on about?” Paul replied, his voice bruised by shame.
“I’ve seen you both, seen you creeping up to her in woodwork, trying to touch her. Keep the fuck away from her you creep”.
To re-enforce the message I jabbed him in his kidneys and he instantly curled up like sad sack of meaningless flesh.
I walked home, taking in the sun and the last wave of lightness that the weed brought. I could see Jackie walking up ahead on her own, her hips sashaying as she went, hypnotizing me. So much so I didn’t hear the car pull up next to me nor the click of the car door opening.
It took one punch from Martin, Paul’s older brother, to get me on the floor and a few more before I felt a rib or two break. Through the tears and the dribbles of blood into my eye I could see Jackie walk on in the distance, oblivious at first to my pain.
Only when Martin finished pounding my body and I started to come to did I see her turn around, drop her books and come running. I heard Martin get back into his car, I looked up and saw Paul looking down at me from the passenger seat, a rictus grin plastered across his face as the car sped off.
The contents of a book never published. Drafted and edited for publishing in 1967 but never printed, this work remains lost among the vast swathes of literature produce year upon year.
Everyone should get crustaceans: views on the value of hermits by R. P. Hunter.
All My Friends Are Hermits
Chapter 1: A bottomless deep
Chapter 2: A seagull stole my dignity
Chapter 3: Homeless
Chapter 4: Stolen!
Chapter 5: Stollen!
Chapter 6: All my friends are dead
Chapter 7: The shell re-union
Other Such Tales
A Sea Shore Svengali
Deep Blue Yonder
Your Plaice or Mine?
The Best Catch
Wailing About Nuthin’
Those Catfish Eyes
A reverse view of the world: from sea to land and land to sea by W. L. Rimmington.
The water lapped over my feet as I sat in the shallow surf, the sand acting as a welcoming cold blanket to hold the heavy weight of my sodden body. I was focused on watching the summer sun shimmer over the watery horizon, ascending to spend a day in the big blue eternal.
I happened to be only a stone’s throw from the rest of the gang back behind me, who were content rummaging in the post-apocalyptic coliseum-like landscape of an old concrete water tank. It was half demolished, half drained and half open to the elements but it still contained a small pool of still water, resting peacefully in the centre. It provided ample dry space to camp in overnight as we burnt wooden flotsam and jetsam to keep warm. We would watch entranced as the flames licked dry the wood, as they curled high into the air, as pieces of free floating ember drifted out over the water. Occasionally the concrete couldn’t handle the heat and a bit of rock or ‘crete would crack and shoot off like an errant lost firework. It was peaceful and it was beautiful.
We were cut off from the rest of the town by a train hill, had to enter this ruined landscape by a long concrete tunnel bored right through. It was a visual rite of passage as we lugged our crates of beer through it and pocketed the bags of mary for later use, all the while watching out for puddles or malformed bricks to trip us up.
Only by sitting in the shell of the constructed past could we engage with our present, stars twinkling in their heavenly domain above, resplendent in their peaceful beauty. I am pretty sure that anyone who saw us would not think the same, of our matted hair and corduroy. Throwbacks to the 90’s. We completed the scene with empty cans and deep laughs, of guitars and harmonicas played deep into the night.
They say now that the ground is leveled, cleaned and scraped back. Houses to be built by their dozen, a luxurious bolt hole for the wealthy. The landscape of a decomposing industrial wasteland has been deconstructed and reconfigured to fit the needs of an expanding people. Water tanks turned inside out and re-shod with wood and tiles, distorted bricks re-cast for the foundations. The sofas we used to burn now litter the beach in their full splendor.
But still, when the wind blows right, the scent of mary and the sea can still be smelt, a reminder of a time long past.
The UK government have managed to pass a pretty horrendous bill for the democracy of the country. It is hoped, or at least I hope, that the bill will be changed again shortly, but I do not hold out much hope. At times it seems as if this country is sleep walking to a place I dare not think about. I am intensely aware of the many freedoms we have in the UK, of our beautiful country, but I do fear for the future. The civilian population must remain vigilant and hold our politicians to account over their links with big business. It is easy to get carried away with these kind of things, but we must make a stand for moral democracy and the right of the everyman.
Scriptonite Daily has done a particularly effective blog post on the ins and outs of the effects of the bill which is highlighted below.
From the Scriptonite Daily website:
“Last night, the UK government passed the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill. A bill gagging charities, NGO’s, bloggers, community groups and most attempts at organised opposition to the government in the year prior to a general election…and just in time for the General Election next year.
What is the Gagging Law?
The Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill, or Gagging Law, was hailed as the UK government’s answer to the issue of commercial lobbying.
But, this bill does not take on the political power of wealthy corporate lobbyists. Instead, it kneecaps any attempts at organised local and national opposition by civil society, so as not to influence the outcome of general elections. It is a gagging law. The law puts in place a range of bureaucratic and financial barriers amounting to a gag on free speech and effective opposition. These include:
The new spending limits will come into effect on 19th September this year.”
Read the full post here.
As bloggers we must raise our voices. To stand idly by is to legitimise the actions of those that lead us.
I will always remember taking a gamble on that plain black CD with the band name emblazoned in silver on the front. I’d heard of them sure but I did not really know them, know who they once were or what type of music they produced. It looked intriguing and interesting. The one word that crept up in my head as I handled the CD case and looked for a clue as to what sounds I could expect was the word reverence. The CD looked like a reverent artifact to a much loved band.
I got it, put it in the blue and white plastic bag and took it home to be played on my brother’s big old black ghetto blaster, the kind that if you put on top of your shoulder your back would sag due to its hefty weight. The jangle of those first harmonic notes shivering into a chorus of raw vocals and grinding guitar had me hooked. I loved the album, the band and the music. Have done ever since I guess. I delved deep into their music, original albums, back history and influences, read the biographies and dug a bit deeper. Times I should have spent writing essays at school were spent learning about their musical equipment. They got me through some hard times. They will get me through some hard times again.
(I am aware of the controversy of the album, and heavily recommend the newer box set as well).