22 Jun 2010

Found this little effort lurking about the hardrive trying to convert the more fanatical .pdfs and .jpegs to extreme secularism - with much success may I add. Good lad. Had a call at work last year from a mate who was late with a philosophy essay for his eighth attempt at making it all the way through a year at college. Asked me if I could knock something up for him proper-quick-sharp. Which I did.

Has Religion served its Purpose?

Taking religion to mean a commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance I intend to suggest that religion has lost its relevance to Homo Sapiens as a result of the emerging reliance upon Science. To define what purpose religion may be said to have, or have had, I intend to explain what beneficial effects are attributable to such a belief system. Therefore religion will be approached as a whole and only infrequently on an individual basis. Of course it is necessary to mention that science can be classified as a religion as well – a scientist takes it on faith, as there is no definitive way of knowing, that what has happened in the past will happen in the same way in the future – but for the purposes of this discussion science shall be referred to as rational, empirical and provable in the face of religion’s need for blind belief. In J.B.R. Yant’s ‘Mortal Words’ he states that, “Religion is just superstition which has been around long enough to have become respectable.” Whilst perhaps true there is no doubt that religion has played a central role in Man’s social and personal life and development.

It is in Man’s nature to strive to answer questions posed by himself that are immediately, and possibly eternally, unanswerable. As Hans J. Morgenthau wrote,”Man will not live without answers to his questions.” Religion has long enabled rationally unanswerable questions to be answered. Perhaps the most basic query of them all being,”Why are we here? For what purpose?” Over time religion has provided a source of divine connection to a metaphysical deity or concept that has the effect of raising Man, in his own eyes, to a position of superiority over the rest of the natural world. The belief that Man is favoured by an all-powerful god-head enables the question to be, at least partially, answered. Religion enables Man to assert that the reason and purpose for his existence belongs to his god. Not even taking into account that some individual religions also supply the exact purpose, to the religious, such an answer is sufficient. An alternatively slanted approach might be to say that religion, in this case, alleviates a subconscious fear of death or simply, according to neuroscientist Dr. Andrew Newberg, meets the innate tendency of Man towards harboring faith, a need created by brain patterns. These alternative explanations are provided by and introduce what has perhaps caused Religion to lose its purpose; Science.

Science suggests that eventually we may find answers to such questions and without the need for reliance upon unquestioning faith to accept them. Facts will be empirically proven where possible and rationale will overcome dogma. As John Gray mentions,” (Science) rules our lives today…only after a long struggle in which it was ceaselessly opposed by the church.” (Straw Dogs). He goes on to mention,”…Science is a refuge from uncertainty, promising – and in some measure delivering – the miracle of freedom from thought; while churches have become sanctuaries for doubt.”

Religion has long provided rally points for mixed peoples to gather around as one, superseding previous tribal connections and allowing for greater mass unity and identification. The unity of purpose that arises from shared religious beliefs and practices, whilst frequently used against fellow men, has also enabled great developments in society. Where we now have democracies religion initially allowed for effective states to exist under theocracies, where religious law was, as far as was implementable, social law. Present day Iran is a good example of this. Such beds of social rest and compliance allowed time and energy to be spent on productivity and innovation rather than internal strife, which, eventually, has allowed for the development of scientific reasoning and practice.

On occasion religion has also provided moral behavioural codes which were frequently beneficial to the faithful’s fellow man and, once again, promoted cultural and social development. The fact that the majority of religions in history have showed some similar core beliefs as concerns god and morality might suggest some verifiable facts. Perhaps the most universally beneficial tenant shared by multiple religions is the Ethic of Reciprocity. In the Christian bible it is written,”So, in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12). In Islam, Prophet Muhammad, in his last sermon, said,”Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you.” Admittedly, Christianity and Islam grew from the same tree but such a tenant is also found in Hinduism in the form of Karma. No one could argue that such ‘rules’ were morally incorrect and therefore religion must be attributed the praise of such enlightened thinking. However, it is equally easy to argue that these similar core beliefs exist simply as Man’s nature is shared and thus results in similar conclusions whether or not the thinkers are separated by oceans or millennia. Therefore, taking religious doctrine out of the equation, there is no reason why Man would not maintain decency towards his fellow Man. Indeed, ridding the world of the inevitable conflict created by the differing aspects of separate religions is hard to disagree with by any rational individual. If it is evident that Man naturally steers towards decency then the need for religious code maintaining this is no more. Instead, perhaps, additional unity can be provided by science.

The gradual spread of and dependence upon science has clearly been the main reason why religion is suffering global decline. Where Man once had to rely upon apparently prophetic teachings, ancient writings that described ways of existing and signs from the gods, now he can decide for himself how best to approach his existence with the constant companion of rational thought aided by a constantly increasing sea of tangible and empirical knowledge, or fact. “Science is the supreme expression of reason.” (J.Gray, Straw Dogs.) Religion developed in ancient times when no better answer to Man’s questions and needs was available. Through the course of the ages religion has enabled, for the reasons mentioned above, Man to develop to such a point where he was able to explain religion itself. Due to the prevalence and acceptance of science religion now finds itself, having served a grand purpose perhaps, relegated back to its original embodiment of Man’s superstitions. Religion is outdated. This is perhaps best summarized by Carl Sagan in Pale Blue Dot when he says,”How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded,”This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant.”

It’s been an age since I’ve left any detritus on these pages. In the face of mySpace, then Facebook and now Twitter with a background of belated maturity, engagement, house purchase, proper job, this tired old blog has been left to fester. I do miss it though. Perhaps I can provide additions every now and then? But what to write and when? Busy at work, the kitchen is still far from complete, the sun is very much out and, oh yeah, I forgot, I don’t BLOG!!! Ha AH!! Almost got me there. Bloody social networking. Bollocks. That is all. Long Live Hunter S Thompson!!!!

1 Dec 2008

Arrived in Hull for work at about 00:30, registered and then popped across road to take this. Being polite and nice, like I am, I went in first to ask if they minded if I took a picture of the outside of their fine establishment. It soon became clear that I had made a large mistake as there was no sign of the boss and instead only Fuck-witted and Demented-dwarf were on duty. Fuck-witted did all of the talking in this increasingly heated and irrelevant exchange as D.dwarf could barely see over the counter – he pulled himself up with his forearms on the counter-top, forearms like corded, tensile steel may I add. Conversation was joined by wizened whore with chips in one hand, bottle of sherry in the other and a severely disfigured face.

Anyway, it went a little something like this:

Me: “Good evening guys – I was just wondering if you’d mind me taking a picture of your shop? It’s for a mate who isn’t here who loves your shop a lot.”

F-W.:…..(blank stare with one good and one glassy eye.)…….

Me:”Is that okay? If I take a quick picture?”


Me:”So, I’ll just take a picture with my phone (brandished phone) outside, okay?”

This got a reaction.

F-W.:”No, no, no, no picture. No picture.”

“No? Is it a problem if I take a picture?”

“No picture, no picture.” (starts waving hand in my face.)

Wizened-Whore joins in:”Shhhlovely place this, slovely.”

“Yes, I know. Thank you. (back to F.W.)Why not? What’s the problem?”

“No picture. I have said.”

“Will you please explain why I can’t take a picture of the outside of your wonderful kebab house? Me and my mate love it here. This is a good thing!”

“Loves this place, slovely.”

“No picture. My boss come tomorrow.”

“I’m not here tomorrow. Look, legally you can’t stop me taking a picture of your shop – I was just being polite when I asked.”

“No picture.”

“Why not?”

“Boss may not like.”

“Why not? It’s great marketing.”

“No picture. I have said. Leave now.”

“Listen mate, you cannot stop me taking a picture of you or your shop. It’s completely legal and you are being rather dim-witted about this.”

At this juncture of the exchange a large, fat English bloke turned up with a disheveled look, barely covered beer-gut and a bashed in face that I recognized from our last visit as that of the delivery man. I turn to him in mild-desperation to salvage this expedition with an iota of good-will.

“Excuse me mate, can I borrow you for a minute. Can you tell this bloke that I want to take a picture of the shop for a mate who loves it but hasn’t driven up with me today?”

Fat-Bloke: (to F.W.) “Let him take a picture Hamed, can’t hurt.”

Me: “And it’s good marketing.”

Whore: “Wanna chip hansum?”

Me:”No thanks, but thanks.”

F.W.:”No picture, no picture!”

At this point I have had quite enough of the Bodrum experience.

“Okay, I’m off and I’m taking a picture. Thanks.”



And I went outside and took it. Wizened-whore left with me but I soon made it clear I wasn’t going to ‘partake’ so she stumbled off. In pic you can see D.Dwarf on left and Fuck-witted in middle with big fat delivery bloke.

Then I went to hotel bar, had a pint and crashed.

6 Nov 2008

Alex and Bruce GO Rally Driving.

“Three, two, one go.” Right foot down, left foot coming up and then down and change and right foot down and grin. Dust plume behind, track in front. Intense acceleration.

“Easy left, leading fifty metres to right ninety degrees….” Steering wheel throwing the car from verge to verge. Flying up and down the gears. Small straight; “Hundred metres.” Time enough to blink.

“Hard left, 50 metres, hard right…shit, potholes.” The car takes off repeatedly, the map pen flying on its string, and teeth chatter.

“Skin up.”
“Hard left, you’ve go to be joking, easy left.” Slight steering change (no problemo) and it’s into the left, tapping the break, feeling the sideways momentum, gliding around.

“Skin up. I need smoke!”
“Straight, 100 metres, leading upto 90 right.”
“Look, I’m driving; I can’t skin up. Skin up.”
“Seriously man…watch-out-the-deer! Jesus!” Car slides right fractionally. More revs and it’s back on course for the moon.

“Straight. 200 metres. Well, have you got any rizlas?”
“Door pocket.”
“Baccy? Smoke? Lighter? Roach?”
“Door pocket.”
“This is going to be rather taxing. 90 right leading to easy right then hard left.”

“Shite. Helmets. We can’t smoke because of the helmets.”
“Close the windows and burn the herb. Hot box!”
“That’s a fine idea…hard left, hard left, hard left!”

2 Jul 2007

El Nina is apparently intent on making this a rather moist summer in the good’ol UK. I say “Bring it on, bitch” – that’d be the Celtic blue blood in my veins hankering after the misty highlands of my bearded, kilt wearing antecedents – and, anyway, there were no April showers and we all know that the weather will be glorious in the run up to Christmas. The cyclical nature of the seasons is itself on a slide. We must adapt and invent new meteorological aphorisms.

Anyway, I don’t mind if I spend every day of the next three months inside, in bed – just as long as a certain young woman is with me for some of the time. I have had the good fortune to meet this absolute toe-curler.

She’s half my height. The last fling I had was with a girl who, in heels, was as tall as me, something which I really enjoyed as I didn’t have to bend down as often as normal to snog her silly. However, I prefer having someone slightly more diminutive than that writhing above, below and against me.

She told me she was 23 but it turns out she’s just turned twenty. That’s ten years younger then me. Last night I spent a few hours curled up with a long-term occasional amore who is 17 years my senior at 47, but whom, down to a combination of excellent genes and a predilection for long hours spent mountain-biking over the lowlands of Fife, has a bottom that could crack walnuts. I have nothing but an unhealthy fascination for the elder woman and the age gap is of no importance. The younger woman normally presents no moral dilemma to me either but a whole decade younger? I know at twenty I was missing the point on many things (but isn’t that always the case with self-retrospection?) so I think that maybe her mind might grate upon mine. No fear of that though as it turns out she’s quite possibly smarter than I was at twenty, and am presently at thirty and, more than likely, than I will ever be. Which, in my personal opinion, is saying something.

I met her at a mate’s stag do. She came over with a bunch of friends and ninety minutes later we were walking back to hers. I know, not a good show on a stag – Bro’s before Hoes and all that razzmatazz but, hey, I wanted a taste of this black skinned, bounteous, purportedly innocent honey who spent most of the walk home with her nose jammed in my armpit inhaling the mix of essence d’Bruce and some rather fancy JP Gautier deodorant that came back with my mum from HK.

So, three weeks later I drive back up for what I believe is termed a ‘booty-call.’ She called me, I came running. She’s just so damn tasty and tight. I get there at lunch time and she tastes of curried chicken, which I like. Straight to her bedroom and let the fucking begin. It was good fucking. Good, honest, full-on fucking. Then we had to have a moment of repose and my hands wandered, once more, to seize her sexiful butt cheeks and squeeze the flesh there within hard. I love her bottom. I think the technical Ebonics term is ‘thick’. Helluva thick.

She lies on her front with navy blue knickers covering her cheeks. I guide them into her crevice with a thumb and forefinger and massage the chocolate orbs revealed. I hear her moan quietly and I can’t help myself. I have to broach the subject, the subject that was in the back of my head from the moment she first bent over to sit down.

“So, babe, what d’ya reckon about anal sex?” I tensed for her reaction, ready to defend my face from her frequent and, if the truth be told, quite enjoyable slaps of mock and not-so-mock rage. None came.

“Well, I’ve never done it but I have thought about it.”

“Really? I thought you said you were awfully innocent. I told you that was bollocks.”

“I suppose you’ve done it lots of times.”

“A few.”

“Lost count haven’t you.”

“I have no memory. You know that.”

“So, do you wanta try it?”

(FUCK YES!)”Yeah, if you’re into it.”

“I’ll try it for you.”

“Okay – shit, great. Well, I’ll just loosen you up a bit, pass the lube.”

“What, with your fingers? That’s gross!”

“Baby, I’m gonna be sticking my cock up there in a minute – it’s not gross and it’ll relax you so it won’t hurt as much. Trust me.”

“No. Just lube your cock up and slide it in. Slowly!”

“Okay, I’ll go slow and gentle. Let me know if it hurts too much for you and I’ll stop.”

“Wait, put some music on first. Just random play on the computer.”

“Okay, okay. Don’t go anywhere.” as I jump from the bed and skip across the floor with my boner slapping lube all over my chest and legs and the carpet and, oops, a little on the screen there.

She lies on her side and I lift her top cheek and position my red head against the ring of her dark pucker. She’s always going on about how thick my cock is and looking at her arsehole and then at my shaft she has a point, I concede. “You ready baby? Breath in and out slowly.”

“Okay.” So, to cut an intensely enjoyable penetration short, pretty soon she’s on all fours and I’m sliding my oiled cock into her back passage with increasing vigour and thrust. I start to get carried away and pile in hard and deep and fast and she screams. I immediately stop and ask if she’s alright and she tells me she’s fine – “Jesus, fuck my arse some more Bruce.” So I do, my strokes becoming occasionally erratic as I feel my mind begin to melt and my balls spasm. I’ve been fucking her arse hard for about ten minutes now. I could come at any point but I’m keeping it tight and enjoying the view of my pink penis sliding from view in and out of her sweet black arse. She’s pushing back against my strokes slightly and her head is drooping from her shoulders. She has uttered a couple of low, guttural groans and screamed a few more times but I did not stop to see if she was alright – I was selfish and horny and hard and she kept pushing back against me.

The music stops. She lifts her head and turns it slightly to say “I don’t know how much longer I can do this for. Come inside me.” The next tune starts – it’s a jungle tune, one of Pendulums I think and that’s all I need. I get up on my feet so my knees are just behind her shoulders and I pound the fuck out of her. She starts screaming again, loudly and amidst all this sweat and sex I remember that the windows are open and she sounds like she’s getting murdered but, as it goes in such fits of passion, I couldn’t care less. She’s screaming and I’m making strange moaning noises that I can’t control and then I feel my cock spasm as my balls evacuate themselves and I pump my cum deep into her bowels.

The Pendulum tune was called ‘Slam.’ Particularly fitting we thought.

We went out to meet some of her friends then came back and fucked some more. She wanted me to cum inside her again but as she’s not on the pill it was the arse or nothing. She was up for it but worried that she was still too sore. She went to the bathroom and came back and told me she was still bleeding. I had ruptured her. “Okay, baby, come here and lets just fuck some more.”

“No – it’s okay – let’s try my arse again. If you want.”

Well, fuck yes!

But it was too sore and, though she tried like a trooper to take it, she couldn’t.

Later, with her head cradled in my armpit, again, I challenged her that there was no way that she hadn’t done that before – to just take the suggestion, my fat cock and the absolute demonic shagging so aptly in her stride – I insisted that she was fibbing, that she’d been fucked in the arse before. She insisted she hadn’t. I’m not convinced – either she’s lying to turn me on or she is, as I am beginning to suspect, just fucking special in multiple fields of physical and mental endeavour.

14 Jun 2007

Fucking Wahey! Opened one of my bank statements this morning and saw that I had earned 21 pence interest in the last month from my sizeable investment. Slowly realised, being that it was early in the day, that my sizeable investment was entirely comprised of overdraft and so looked again. 21 flipping pence earned from Goodle Ad-sense - in my first month! I was mildly elated. I thought the first thing to do was to conatct the bank and demand an enlarged overdraft limit - what with my new source of income! Refrained. So - the four people who read this dribble - at least two of you or one of you twice or something (not sure of the maths; gift horse, mouth, spatula) must have clicked on one of the above adverts. Thank you. The other twenty clicks were mine. I know I agreed not to click on the adverts on this page but they were just so damnably enticing to me.

So - thinking earnestly of selling out and creating a blog or website that will actually have some regular and considerable traffic so I can buy that Jensen Mark II Interceptor that I've always had mine eyes upon.

Shit, it's already started - catch myself writing about me and what actually happened today, like a proper blog. Can't and won't do it. Will have to find alternative means of income through apathy.

11 May 2007

I turned eight on holiday in Norway. We stayed in a wooden cabin a short walk from the forest and a large lake. It seemed like every lake in Norway had a rowboat on the shore. I struggled to push this boat out into the water. I would spend all day on the water. I made a fishing rod from a stick and a shoelace. Worms were nowhere to be found and the fish did not like blueberries which were everywhere. Twice when I was sat on the boat in the middle of the lake a noise made me look to the shore and I saw the same big black wolf. It drank from the water then looked up at me as I sat on my boat in my straw hat. It winked at me, a big wink I could see from far away and then turned and walked off. No one believed that a wolf had said hello to me. “Really Bruce, wolves just don’t say hello to strangers in a nice way and I’m not even sure wolves can wink.” said Mother. When we drove away from the cabin and the forest I saw a big truck parked by the track. It had a black carpet on the bonnet. I pressed my nose to the window. A tall bearded man stood by the truck tying the paws together. He was smiling when he looked up at me and winked.

1 May 2007

The first time we met was in London on a wet day and I had just been soaked to the skin. Grey water dripped from my nose and hands and my black suit was now skin-tight. I stood still and looked skyward but remembered there was nobody up there. I looked down at my wet shoes and then she was standing in front of me chuckling. “Don’t you know never to stand next to a puddle in the bus lane?”

“Don’t you know it’s not safe to talk to strangers?”

“Well, some strangers are clearly not dangerous. Those standing in their very own puddle rank very low on my list of possible threats.”

“What about if I had a knife which I wasn’t going to use but now I’m wet and pissed off and some lady is taking the mickey and I decide that perhaps, right now, I want to kill someone and she’ll do?”

“Do you have a knife? Should I start running?”


“No? No knife?”

“ No knife. But I could drip all over you and give you pneumonia.”

She kept her eyes on mine but tilted her head to one side and pursed her lips. Then “Lovely weather isn’t it?”, she said as she looked up at the sky.

“There’s obviously no one up there. And I refuse to talk about the weather.”

“Too British?”

“Yes. And it’s a boring topic. Why talk about the weather when we can talk about football?”

“True. Great derby match last night, I really thought Fulham were in with a chance.”

“Okay, stop right there.”

“Not a footie supporter? Bit of a dubious judgement call there.”

“Well, you don’t look much like a fan.”

“No? My knickers are a big give away and I have a tattoo but I suppose that wouldn’t actually help you much.”

“Nope. Fulham. So you have yellow knickers?”

“Hmmm. Are you going to stand here all day in the rain waiting to get dry?”

“I was thinking about it. I don’t really see any point in going on if this is the way I’m going to be treated.”

“Come on, you’re not that wet.”

“I have puddle water in my belly button and, yep, look, a bit of grit in my ear.”

“Well, I’m off. Nice to meet you. Gotta get to work.”

“Hang on, wait a minute. How about a drink?”

“A drink? But you’re a stranger, remember?”

“Not really, not anymore. Just a quick one while I dry off a bit.”


“Come on. I want to know about your tattoo.”

“It’s in a very secretive place. I’m not going to show you.”

“I have a secret tattoo too. Show me yours and I’ll show you mine.”

“We’ll see about that. Watch out, here comes another bus.”

14 Apr 2007

Sidney sits at his desk staring at the flowery wallpaper behind it but really seeing the universe in all of its suffocating infinity stretch out before him. He can see what he believes to be the Milky Way (it isn’t) not too far off and then other clusters of stars and suns and cosmic debris all of which he cannot name. He blinks and focuses closer in, on the moon, and looks for the one area that he can correctly name. He has to wait about sixteen bars of Beethoven’s ninth symphony until the moon rotates enough so that he can point it out to himself and smile. “That’s the Sea of Tranquillity, Sidney my boy.” He notes the ragged edge of the crater that someone once told him was made by a crashing meteorite. Sidney thinks the sea has been well named and watching it float past always makes his brain slow down. But it’s difficult to stay focused on such a large and near object when all existence pans out in front of him, without boundary, edge or horizon. He lets the moon slip from his eye-line and instead zooms in on a distant group of suns. It takes about two bars of Ludwig’s ninth to arrive and he has to wait three more until the orbs become large enough for him to make out the explosions and licks of super-heated gas erupting all over them. “Fascinating, fascinating.” he mumbles to himself as he leans in towards the wall to see the dancing flames even better. The largest of the four suns glows brightest of all, so bright that its light casts shadows of the other suns onto the surrounding moons. Sidney agrees that it is a marvel to behold. His mouth is open and flecks of dry spittle have collected in the corners like enzyme deposits to be mined later, or just to be brushed away with a sweeping finger of mild self-disgust. As he watches, the biggest sun’s intensity appears to wane and Sidney blinks just in case this darkening is an effect of his eyeballs drying out. “Nope, it is darkening. Perhaps it is going out.”

Despite spending a great deal of his time coasting amongst the stars whilst sat at his desk, Sidney has yet to see the actual moment of death of a star. The chap with glasses and a beard that occasionally he talks to down the pub has told him that when you calculate the number of stars that there must be in the universe it would be more than likely for at least one of them to go ‘super-nova’ every week. “It would be huge. It’s difficult to conceive of really. If we could watch one it would be like all the fireworks ever fired in the world, ever, being let off all at once as well as all the nuclear weapons and flares and all the power stations blowing up. Actually Sidney, it would be even more powerful than that.” Well, Sidney can watch it, if only he could find one nearing its end. The big sun is still dimming and Sidney shuffles his chair closer to the desk to get the best possible view. The sun seems to throb once, twice and again and then it starts to glow brighter and brighter. It is so bright, so quickly, that Sidney shields his eyes against the glare with his hand, but he immediately realises he cannot both watch the sun and block his view. “Sunglasses would be nice. Make a note Sidney.” He does not as now the sun is going dark again but it’s only a moment this time before it is throbbing once more and brighter than ever. The incandescent globe is all yellow, almost white, no red, no orange, as definite as a single light bulb in a pitch black fruit cellar. By contrast the other suns around it are mere moths now, flitting around the bulb, in rapture over the light much like Sidney. The sun is so dazzling that the jet black background of the universe appears to him as dark blue hue and all the other stars that normally sparkle so brilliantly are just splashes of white paint on it. ”Like spilt Tippex on my jeans.” he recalls. Sidney notices that it has stopped throbbing. It is difficult to look at the sun as it is so bright. He thinks he can feel his retina over-heating and curling up like a dead, dry oak leaf in an oven but he does not and cannot look away. Sidney’s hands have involuntarily grasped either side of his wide desk and the knuckles on each one are pale and straining. The tension of the moment is giving Sidney butterflies in his stomach and he keeps swallowing great gulps of air as if he had just resurfaced from a three hundred foot free-dive. He blinks and then notices black dots beginning to appear beneath the surface of the sun, like polka dots on a yellow beachball but the two colours together make the sun look ill. “It’s diseased, it’s dying.” Sidney whispers in a voice so quiet he can only just hear himself. The dots are multiplying and darkening, taking the edge off the brightness of the orb. Sidney has an urge to poke at the sun but his hands do not unclasp from the wooden edge of his desk. “It’s miles away anyway Sidney, and it’s dying.” The dots stop appearing and the ones he can see stop darkening. Sidney’s big breaths stop as well and his mouth closes, dislodging flakes of saliva crust onto his desk, and instead he is now softly drawing breath, attempting to make no noise whatsoever. He blinks the dryness out of his eyes and suddenly a barely noticeable line of red appears on the surface of the sun, creeping its way over the top horizon and advancing between the black dots like a fissure racing its course across pack ice. It starts branching off into one, two, four, countless veins of red, intersecting each other and cracking paths around the black dots. Sidney does not notice but he is biting his lower lip hard enough to draw blood. “It’s cracking up, it’s about to blow. Blood?” It takes Sidney a second to loosen the grip of his left hand on the desk and when he has he dabs fingers on his lips and looks down at them. “Blood.” He looks back up at the broken sun, it’s black dots and angry red veins. “Blood, super-nova, it’s going to blow.” he says distractedly. Nothing matters at this point in time to him other than what he can see. The sun dims, the patches of yellow almost as dark as the black spots with only the red lines glowing; the surrounding suns are now much brighter than the dark orb; it looks like a ball of solidified lava with its heart of fire only visible in the cracks that cover it. Sidney blinks and then the universe goes white. “Holy mackerel.” he mouths and then his phone rings, he blinks and all he can see are pale yellow poppies, pastel bluebells and some sort of meadow grass. He blinks again and looks down at the phone on the corner of his desk. He looks up quickly but the flowers have not gone. He swallows long and hard and picks up the phone. “This had better be important.” Sidney says quietly.

Indeedy Poo.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
As does Absinthe.
And Abstinence (which, actually, is pretty much absence anyway.)

11 Feb 2007

Only the second month of the year and already bulbs have broken through the lawn. There is never any frost anymore and the old and bent pear tree is dotted with light green buds. The white, blue and yellow of the snowdrops, bluebells and daffodils catch the early morning sun as I tramp down the garden path to my car, their heads drooping downwards in a royal salute of my illustrious passage. I think that I might take a hedgetrimmer to the sarcastic bastards.

Surely it is still supposed to be winter? Surely the weather conditions should be a much closer match of my mood? Out of the warm house, away from the smells of lightly burnt toast and smouldering incense sticks, at nine in the morning on the way to eight hours of correcting other people’s mistakes (people who are not paid as much as me and so do not have to care) stepping into blazing sunshine, no wind, light birdsong and the fantastic motionless dance of mocking flower heads. Where are the cascading sheets of rain blown in, around and under my jacket as I slip and slide on an icy path and see nothing around me other than grey sky, wooden skeletons and smeared earth? When it is dour outside it is much easier to enjoy being dour inside. This warming of the planet is making it much harder to bear the loathsome lethargy of working mornings. The realisation that a sunny gardenscape heightens my internal melancholia makes me even more miserable. Perhaps I will start recycling more. Do my bit towards dealing with the carbon levels in the atmosphere.

“Morning Bruce! Lovely one ain’t it?” says Fred the ever-optimistic postman. He says this to my backside because I am leaning over the driver’s seat trying to grab the split wooden handle of a hammer I know is somewhere in the passenger foot-well. I’m sure I am about to grasp it but I pretend to flounder a little more, for dramatic effect, in the hope that Fred will get on and do his job and deliver his letters and leave me alone. It does not work. “Lost something?” he inquires just as I realise that the hammer is not there and I have indeed lost it. Still resting one elbow on the driver’s seat I raise my head to curse and the morning sun bounces off the wing-mirror directly into my eyes. My curse turns into a resigned sigh just as Fred asks,”What’re looking for? Your sense of purpose? Ha Ha!” I squeeze my frame back out through the car door whilst thinking how fortunate it is that I could not lay my hands on my ball-pen hammer as otherwise, with great power driven by a sense of righteousness, I might be about to imbed it into my postman’s cranium.

I turn about and face Fred. He is smiling fiercely so I try to dredge up some form of facial arrangement that might be mistakenly interpreted as good humour and I suspect that I fail but Fred is only five foot nothing so he can barely see up to the giddy heights where my lips refuse to loosen. “Good morning Fred. If you must know, if you really must know, I am looking for my hammer.”

“O right. Found it have you?”


“What do you need a hammer for on a glorious morning like this, eh? If I were you I’d forget about the hammer and drive on to work and come back later and do all the hammering you want then. In fact, I have a spare hammer. I could drop it off tomorrow morning if you like. What do you want to hit?”

I am fully aware that I am experiencing an irrational descent of my mood into a dark, underground region where murderous intent lies in wait for the border patrols of reason to have a bad day. I look at the dry stone wall opposite me but I can still see the top of Fred’s bobbing head and so I look sideways along the wall to the big blue tractor that is digging up the road and, judging by the fast flowing river escaping into the graveyard, the mains water pipe as well. Then there is a sound that reminds me of the church’s wrought iron gate squealing on its hinges as the wind blows it to and fro because someone did not properly push home the hook. I am about to interrupt Fred to ask his opinion of what this noise can be but then I realise it’s me. I’m grinding my teeth together with such vehemence that sparks might be flying.

I look skywards and instead of heavy and tumultuous clouds, which would be fitting, all I can see is flawless blue sky. It is all too much. I look downwards and all I can see is Fred. “….said her cat has never been the same since but who can blame it, what with the size of that chicken. No, wait, it was a cock wasn’t it? Heh! So, what’s the hammer for?”

When the Titanic fist slipped from its dry dock into the merciless Atlantic Ocean the ship builders did not have to cut the fifteen sturdy lines holding her still all at once. When you are dealing with the mass of potential energy that a huge body such as the Titanic exerts on its surroundings you only need it to shift in any direction a little to start the inevitable and complete relocation of said object from here to there. They had cut only three ropes before the ship tipped the scales and broke free all on her own, rending apart the remaining twelve ropes. The same is true of any object that dwarfs its surroundings; it only needs a small shove and suddenly it’s developing a deadly momentum all by itself. My brow furrowed and my mood shifted.

“Well Fred, and not that it’s any of your business but…actually, hang on. I’ve been meaning to say this to you for ages. You’re a postman, you deliver letters and despite your physical similarity to a leprechaun, that is all you deliver. No happy tidings, no bloody rainbows and no bastard pots of gold. Just the fucking mail, okay?! If you must know, I need my hammer to hit my fucking starter motor, which is shagged at the moment, so my bastard car might start and I can fuck off out of your way to work. Clear?”

The accelerating prow of my malevolent angst smashed into the waters of a good upbringing, showering Fred’s face in distemper and several large droplets of spittle, and came to a dull thud of a stop. We stood in the lane looking at each other. Fred looked up. His face lost its openness and clouded with disapproval. I looked down and could feel my arched eyebrows relax to a straight line and the blush begin to colour my cheeks. Bugger. I can’t even muster a satisfactory rage. What is the point? Here it comes. The apology, the smiling, the second apology, the grovel, smile, sorry Fred and the inevitable strengthening of the bond between us. At least as far as Fred will be concerned. Every morning will be so much worse from now onwards. His very walk will begin to anger me uncontrollably. An utterly futile anger, like sodden gunpowder in a sodden gun made out of sodden toilet paper rolls. Fired by a pacifist.

I feel my entire being become limp; soul, body, spirit, everything. I look down at my hands as they fiddle with each other like a squirrel checking a nut for potential flaws. Despite being over a foot taller than Fred we both know that he is the bigger man at this moment. The torment, the self-pity, the indigestible morsel of humble pie which I’m choking myself on; if only it would rain. That’s the only thing that would cheer me but look at the sky, and I look up again and so does Fred, it’s bluer than Homer Simpson’s trousers. “It is a lovely day, eh, Bruce?” says Frederick. What an utter bastard! And then there is the noise like the heavens splitting asunder, an almighty crash, screeching, spinning metal grating on dry stone wall and lumps of tarmac flying through the air above our heads. Our eyes snap from the sky to the road and we see the blue tractor on its side, spinning in a circle sending stone and road through windows of cars and houses, into trees and straight at us. Fred reacts first, pushing me into the open car door and then diving into the foot-well after me. A large lump of granite lands on his post-trolley, collapsing it. I feel a smile welling up from my very core. Fred is whimpering and holding onto the brake pedal for dear life. My smile moves faster through my gut. I look over the car seat at the blue spinning-top that stops suddenly. The wailing of machinery stops. My smile stops. It falters at my throat, finding inadequate motivation to manifest itself properly. Damn! Typical.

Then the earth wails, the tractor jumps five feet into the air and from the ground shoots a torrent of water in a funnel, looking for a moment like a furious typhoon. Water is pumped into the sky. Men and women scream, Fred curls tighter into a ball and as I pull myself from the car I can feel rain on my face. Followed by the smile. I’ve had worse mornings.

19 Jan 2007

Yo Bro! Check it out - Mum was tidying some stuff up recently and found some interesting stuff (check your email) - the most interesting of which I think are these two photos of our biological grandfather, Spencer. Pic one has himself and his sister at some social gathering - look at the stamp on the back of it. He looks rather smooth if you ask me. His brother, the Ratman Geoff, told mum that when he saw the pictures of you from Nippers that he could see some of his brother in you. Pic 2 is of him with mum in his lap. I'm not sure who the other lass is. Picture one is from 1937 and 2 is from 1943. Blimey, eh? Only taken thirty odd years to find the light of day! Peace out bredren!

The first fire I went to with Elaine all I could think about was that she had dropped her end of the ladder onto my foot. We raced through the traffic. She was sitting in the back of the cab trying to smile at Dan who refused to meet her gaze and lessen her worry. Her smile died and she drew her lips shut in a straight line. I watched her fiddle with the straps of her jacket out of the corner of my eye as we overtook a coach full of school kids and Matt gave them a loud blast of the siren. They cheered, we smiled, Elaine coughed. My toe had yet to fully heal but I had not told the medical officer. Despite any reservations I had about a crew member, a colleague, a compadre, the eyes in the back of my head and strong arms carrying me from harm’s way, not being able to lift their end of the standard 20 foot ladder, unlike the others, I did not enjoy seeing Elaine’s struggle added to by bitterness. So I would not allow Elaine to be silently persecuted with dismissive looks by a team minus one of their number. Perhaps already aware she had an ally of sorts Elaine looked at me. “Big, old warehouse, dry as bones, gonna be a real crackler.” I said to noone in particular. “We’re set, get it wet, no worries.” came back from Matt. “No worries.” from Dan. They were daring Elaine to say something so it might be made even clearer that she did not belong. It was not malicious, solely a test you could only fail, but in degrees. I watched Elaine with her head down in the rear-view mirror but then she looked up and said, ”Totally no worries.” and I could not help my back stiffening. Perhaps Matt’s knuckles turned alabaster on the wheel and perhaps Dan gave a hidden and venomous look, but I could not see as I had turned to look at Elaine. She met the gaze, let it wash around her head and gave it back. I faced front. “This left Matt.” It was a start but even the thickest glaze can be cracked in the furnace.

A group of men stood by the bench. One of the cars had its lights on. Two of the men were smoking and one of them turned when the click-clack of my heels reached them. The bite of the night air was on my legs and un-pantied groin but I was excited and it just heightened the sensation. All the men turned, none of them smiled but the fags were thrown to the ground. Number one and two looked me all over. Their eyes roved up and down my body and if I had needed any encouragement this would have been it. Number three was nervous and could not look at my face so just stared at my open jacket and the red bra underneath. Number four stood to one side and talked on his phone. He looked at my face briefly and he was very handsome. Normally I would have hinted at a smile but not tonight, not here; it would not mean anything at all. Tonight was only about servicing. I approached number one and two and knelt down in front of them. Small edges in the tarmac dug into my bare knees as the two men smoothly and with the practice of regulars undid their trousers and offered one darker, one lighter, for my appraisal. I grabbed one in each hand and roughly yanked back and forth. I turned my head to look at number three who stared at my right hand while his left hand searched for change in his pocket. He would watch but that would be all tonight. Perhaps next time. One and two stiffened quickly and I spent equal time savouring their salty hardness, each tasting similar but uniquely different, perhaps like snowflakes, no two quite alike. Number four was still on the phone but he was watching too, edging closer. Number two moaned and came and some slipped down between my knuckles and onto my palm. I left number one and tasted it. I looked up and smiled for the first time before returning to number one. Number four was by my shoulder now, still talking about Saturday and how he would drive to wherever he was going. Still talking he unzipped and offered himself. I stood up, brushed small stones from my knees with my dry hand, looked at four briefly and then down at his trousers. “No thanks luv, but you can watch if you like.” I turned to number one who was grinning and told him he could fuck me over the bench.

Then was she alone for the first time in what now seemed like forever. She sat down and nodded her head. The chair was comfortable, sure, although she had sat in more luxurious seats. The surroundings were well-appointed and she especially liked the chandelier although she suspected that picture at the far end of the room would be gone fairly damn quickly. She had never liked the subject of the portrait and the idea of spending the days, weeks, years exchanging glances with him and, perhaps, even growing accustomed to him was untenable. Changes would be made, hell, changes had already been made. She span herself around in the seat with her feet. No problem with the view though, no sir. So, the chair was comfortable and the surroundings well-appointed but, she thought, it’s all about location, location, location. She chuckled to herself and then thought that she should probably stop doing that. The phone on the desk rang and she picked it up. “Hello darling……..Really? What do you think?…….Good. Well, probably about eight…..chicken sounds good. Yep. Good. O, I almost forgot, that program on penguins is on tonight. Do you think you could record it for me? Thanks honey…yep, see you later.” She put the phone down and had one more spin and then there was a knock at the door. “Come in,” she said, checking the desk was in order. It was, she looked up. It was Jackson. “Putin on line two, Mrs President.”

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