Saturday, 26 September 2009

Oh Goody! His Hole-iness is coming!

It's been announced that Pope Bene-dick-t will be coming to England in a year's time. My oh my! It's the first time we're been 'honoured' with a Papal visit since, well, all of 27 years! How have we managed to survive so long deprived of blessings from the Holy Father in person? However the question remains as to whether such an increasingly frail old biddy will himself last another year - to be replaced (through God's personal choice, of course) by yet another aged reactionary who parades that essential Papal qualification, rampant homophobia. There could well be the added 'attraction' of his successor quite likely being the first black Pope for over one thousand years, probably even the first in history. No doubt this added 'feature' will be used to trumpet extra validation to the proclamations of his Papal Bulls.
The 2010 Papal itinerary will include the city where I lived 1975-88 and where I'd like to retire back to in order to live out my final years - Oxford. (A small city steeped in arts and culture, which I revel in.) Interesting to see what kind of reception he'll get there from the University authorities and the student bodies. Although superficially conservative through long pro-establishment history, a significant and vocal proportion of University students are actually quite radical = some very much so. I can't imagine they are going to miss out on the chance of delivering a loud raspberry or two.
One of the random people of Oxford interviewed on TV was practically having orgasms of delight at the news. "He's a good man!" she gushed - while I thought "Hmmm. Moot point!" - as though the phrase 'good man' was the clincher which justifies his bile-spouting pronouncements causing suffering, misery and alienation to hundreds of millions. Oh dear, better stop now. Got to keep an eye on the old blood-pressure.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Christians get their turn - and don't quite get it right.

After a splendid few days when our railway stations were displaying on large-lettered posters the slogan "SOME PEOPLE ARE GAY - GET OVER IT!" (posters were paid for by 'Stonewall', this country's foremost and highest-profile national gay organisation), pretty much those very same spaces are now taken up by posters advertising the Christian 'Alpha' course with the question "IS THERE A GOD?" and then a choice of three boxes to tick as though it was a questionnaire - 'YES', 'NO' and 'PROBABLY'. Hmmmm. That seems rather weighted in one direction. Where's the box I would have preferred to tick ? - 'PROBABLY NOT' (ideally with the addition of " if there is one, S/he or It doesn't give a flying f*ck about us!") Or, alternatively, shouldn't the 'PROBABLY' option have been either 'PERHAPS' or, even better, 'MAYBE, MAYBE NOT'?

Sunday, 13 September 2009

BACK POCKET BLUES - A Little Froth in Verse.

Seeing that my good computer-pal 'Idle Eyes' (aka 'Wonderboy', at least to me) put up a poem of his a couple of days back, I'm similarly inspired to post this little effort of mine which was knocked together a few years ago. It might get a wider audience here, perhaps raising a ghost of a smile in the process. It relates to an actual incident in the early 1990s when I lived in the London suburbs and my finances were really rock-bottom - even worse than they are at present. I only escaped a likely dreadful fate by being able to outrun my tormentors, something I doubt I'd be capable of doing now.


BACK POCKET BLUES

Woke up this morning.
Pulled on my Wranglers.
'Golden Brown' on the radio,
that hit by 'The Stranglers'.

The colours weren't right
for those in MY shoes.
Without any cash
life's colours are BLUES.

That bulge on my right hip
don't mean I got plenty.
My wallet's right there,
but it's practically empty!

Appearances can be
so very deceptive.
My wallet's compartments
are sorely defective.

Not even a fiver.
No sign of a ten.
I do have some coins, though,
for moments like when -

I'm asked "Can you lend me
10 pence for one cup of tea?"
"LEND? Yes. But when
will you return it to me?"

A chain on the wallet
connects to my waist.
It shows only where
my wallet is placed.

So don't bother mugging me.
You won't think it funny
when I tell YOU to
"PISS OFF - or show ME the money!"

Saturday, 12 September 2009

New neighbour gets 'stoned' so often he's driving me to drink.

This morning, repeat morning, at o5.10, there was the clear sound of the non-dulcet tones of Mr Jagger - sorry, SIR Michael Jagger - drawling out 'Honky Tonk Woman' coming from below. Luckily this was around the time I get up anyway so I personally didn't suffer too much - but the neighbours? Actually the volume was probably about what one might expect in the daytime, but at that unearthly hour when everything else is near-silent, well.......
He's been ensconced below me for 3 1/2 weeks now - and it's not been a dull time, to put a spuriously fine complexion on it. Every evening at some point there's high-volume sound of his record-playing (he's a great fan of the 'Stones') or TV/radio. When he's got the telly on it's so loud that if I found his channel I could mute my own set and watch it using his sound. And it's not only that - he's constantly talking to himself (or his dog), sometimes yelling - even late into the night. He clearly has a problem with drink but, as far as I can tell, is getting no help over it. He probably doesn't even realise the commotion he's causing. To be fair there are times, lasting a day at most, when he's so quiet that I think he's turned over a new leaf, but then each time so far my hopes have been confounded. He's clearly oblivious or just couldn't care about the disruption to the lives of others. About a week ago I was awoken around 3 a.m. by his hammering - as though he was assembling furniture or something. This went on for about an hour. Then the night before last heard him going out at 11.30 p.m. slamming doors as loud as if it was deliberate. (I normally retire around 9-9.30) He returned half an hour later in same loud fashion, went out again (likewise) and then couple of hours later came back, with the same 'fanfare' of slamming doors. My sleep had been so inadequate that yesterday I tried no less than 5 times to catch up on it, only finally succeeeding with the help of a large Jack Daniels. Not good for my health - and sanity. At least one particular neighbour is also suffering, with her 12-year old daughter using the room directly neighbouring his living room as her temporary bedroom. Neighbour tells me that this guy's every drunken word can be heard from there. (I normally just hear mumblings unless he's really firing on all cylinders, which, admittedly, isn't every day.) She's trying to approach my landlord who seems to be avoiding her. But he knows the situation from me - and doesn't want to get involved. As long as he's not actually breaking up the place, it seems, it's up to me to ask him gently to "keep the noise down". (Quote: "I'm not a social worker!") I don't know if my landlord has ever asked a guy who's frequently sloshed to 'act reasonably'. Being the lily-livered person that I am who just wants a quiet life, I don't want to say anything to him for fear of retaliation not just against me but to my two pussies who are already scared out of their little wits in seeing his huge dog in the garden below, so close - the very spot where they, until he arrived, could doze in the sun undisturbed. So what to do? I'm just hoping that somehow things will move on by themselves, such as him putting a brick through his own window (not mine, please) so that the landlord tells him to move out. Ain't I the coward? Now I've just heard him coming in downstairs, with an ear-cracking door slam. (Great!) Developments will be chronicled.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

An 'M Butterfly' situation - but with a cat.

Took Noodles, my 'tabby' cat, for 'her' first visit to the vet yesterday for a general check-over, as well as getting her started on the course of the vaccinations necessary in order to be able to put 'her' in a cattery when I'm away from home. Yes, 'she' turned out to be a 'he' - and demonstrated in spectacular fashion by squirting a jet of piss onto the young lady examining him. Actually I'd always suspected it was a tom even though his previous owner with two little girls which it had run away from kept describing it as 'she' - it never possessed teats, unlike my other cat, a neutered tom. They'd both left their previous separate homes (on this same road), preferring to live with me. Efforts to return them were all failures as they insisted on moving in here, so the two previous owners just gave up and I was too much of a softie to shut them out. I could never give them up now. They are truly my best friends.
As for the new neighbour in the flat below me - the nightmare goes on unabated. Don't know where to start in describing the present dreadful situation - so for the moment I won't bother. I'm just too depressed about the whole thing to make it feel even worse by putting it down in writing. But I'll get round to it sometime.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

'Liberal' and 'socialist' as terms of abuse in America.

I was very interested to hear an item on our BBC Radio main morning news programme today which said that in America the word 'liberal', which was formerly used as a political insult, now no longer seems to carry the weight it used to, whereas 'socialist', when voiced by the 'right', does still carry the same disparaging clout. (I ought to say that in the UK neither word is used in particularly condemnatory fashion - indeed, even some Conservatives here are proud to declare themselves as 'liberal' on social and/or economic matters! ) The subject came up relating to the sad, but not entirely unexpected, demise of Senator Kennedy - almost universally liked and admired here, I dare venture to say. But it seems that defining him merely as 'liberal' is not pejorative enough for right-wing American commentators and politicians - the word 'socialist' carries more demeaning weight. Actually, to call Kennedy or Obama as 'socialist' or even Obama as being just 'liberal' is almost outside our comprehension here - though, of course, one sees things through the political prism of one's homeland and its history. But if there actually is this change of mood in American right-wing thought, it is something to be welcomed.