Wednesday 21 December 2011

Pineau Paradise.

I am so so happy. I am home in France. It was not long before there were friends at the door, Pineau to pour and and invitations to accept.  Don't these people know that I am an artist and have to WRITE?  Luckily they couldn't care less because everyone here is an artist in the medium of smiles and humanity. The teenage kids kiss Gilles and I as friends and are respected as friends themselves. Whatever happens, mankind must not forget that we can care about one another. 

Of course, it is Noel and the decorations are lit. French rural life is curious because it exists invisibly in homes and "les foyers". Streets can have a ghost like quality. We arrived after "La tempête" and the crossing of the Channel was a churning vomitous horror. The night previous to our voyage, the vessel "Le Pont-Aven" had not been able to enter St Malo because of the storm. I guess the crew must have had a terrible experience.  For this reason I will not be writing to Brittany Ferries about the rude and almost confrontational behaviour of one of their car deck marshals. This large young shaven headed character had obviously trained as a night club bouncer. When Gilles did not understand his wild impatient arm gestures, he responded by pointing at his eyes with angry stabs and then at us. Finally we just pulled up behind the car in front and got out. We do not go on these boats looking for aggro with people who are paid to help us! By the sideways nervousness of his comrades I kinda got the idea that they were a bit uncomfortable with this guy. Brittany Ferries - let me say that we pay hundreds of pounds for these crossings. WE are the customers! If any of you guys out there have Trans-Manche Ferry stories I would love to hear from you.

In the meantime here are some shots of St Savinien at Christmas. With respect to the shot below, the box on the right is if you want a delivery. The box on the left is if you you would rather avoid one.

French letters.

Emma thinx:  Peace on Earth? Well, it's no good looking at me!

Thursday 15 December 2011

Christmas, Kindlemas, Body Mass

Well, the old boy did it. Oscar's book of poetry has gone live on Amazon Kindle. It's called 'I threw a stone' and he kindly asked me to write the foreword.  Not only is it an e-book, it also includes an audio album with all the poems read by Oscar. I find all this uploads/downloads stuff a bit bemusing but I managed to get the audio onto my Kindle. All this new interconnected media gives writers the chance to produce some unique kinds of work. Oscar's book has a music intro as well. I believe that the e-book is not a competitor with the tree book. The e-book is actually a wide exciting medium in itself and can provide far more. The book trailer is here if you want to take a peek.

Apparently, this Christmas will in fact be Kindlemas. This is the year when the e-reader will be the must have item in Santa's sack. I think  the old dead tree books will still have a place. I have shelves of them to show folks how learned I am. While books proclaim what you like folk to think you have read, the e-reader hides what you actually like to read. You can sit on the commuter train to a posh job in the City with your Kindle reading "Confessions of a Harem Handyman" and no one knows. 

I have parked up the bus for the holidays now. Soon I will be going home to France for a holiday season of ruthless dieting, cold baths and exercise. On the other hand I might get out the foie gras, un bon Bordeaux and catch up on some reading. I wonder if we Brits will be turned away at the border by the Sarko police? His eyebrows really do look like circumflex (little roof top) accents, the presence of which in French denotes that a consonant used to be present in a word.   With Britain missing from Europe the look on Sarko's face takes body language to new heights.

Emma thinx:  Europic - a new serious vision problem.

Friday 9 December 2011

Channel Tunnel Vision

Well, that's that then. The Brits have swept their chips off the table and stamped off to the cash desk. How dare these Europeans think of regulating and taxing our world saving philanthropists in the City of Londres! If only we had some planes on our non existent aircraft carriers we would show these foreign johnnies some bulldog behaviour. Let them beg in vain for our chutney and orange jelly. 

The Euro dream may or not survive, but the vision was there and I am very much part of that generation. Now the head boy will come back to St Margaret's to the applause of the City prefects. With pay day loans at 1,700 % and the latest scandal of long term investments sold to vulnerable old folk too old to collect, you can see why we need to sacrifice ourselves to keep these guys here. 

Since the Brits didn't want to play, I'm glad the farce is over. All this stuff of demanding that Europe be a free market but not wanting to share in the responsibility for its continuance was getting embarrassing. 

Emma thinx: Let them eat money.

Thursday 8 December 2011

Matthew 5:5.

At 7am my mobile phone was ringing.It was the mother of one of the kids on my bus.
" I'm sorry can't come today - I'm took bad an' I'm up the 'ospitall. I 'ad to send him round to my mate coz I can't leave 'im indoors like ee is."
She is an ageing mother now, in poor health. They cling to each other in a tiny fragile life boat. Yesterday a survey revealed that fewer and fewer UK citizens really cared about those poorer than themselves and blamed them for being lazy. That's OK then.

Emma thinx: Hiring now. Meek needed for major earthworks.

Monday 5 December 2011


There is nothing simple. Love is wonderful. War is heroic. The deeper the love, the more terrible its end. The more terrible the war, the more joyful its end. The machinery of conflict has potency and evokes awe. The salt of tears shed in love spice the soul equally for king and slave.
In London I took a couple of photos and from these arose my thoughts. You will have your own.

Emma thinx: If you can think sensibly of love - you are not in it. 

Sunday 4 December 2011

Far From The Crowding Mads

I took the train to London. Ooh - I never knew there were so many people in the world and that most of them would be in Leicester Squash. Yes, yes I know it should be Square. Apparently they are improving London ready for the GAMES. What games do you say? Yes, the Olympics. I must confess to feeling that it's actually a lot of fit young folk running about and playing games. Tribal warfare with feral mobs of grasping lawyers has already broken out over the ownership of the Olympic stadium after the event. Anyway, they are pimping up Leicester Squash. Entering or leaving from the Charing Cross Road means battling with thousands of one's comrades through a small gap created by building site mesh barriers. Any faller would be trampled. Last night a rampant gang of spidermen dress-alikes surged and jumped through the shuffling throng. A comatose young female in Father Christmas garb was dragged along by merry reindeer mates. Ho hum - I'm getting old and longing for Charentes-Maritime. My business plan in this world of austerity is for the inflatable Olympics. The same stadia and palaces of pugilism could be traipsed around the globe and inflated in the winning city like a travelling fair or circus. And we could have all manner of be-knighted bigwigs blabbering about drug scandals in the bouncy castle event. OR - we could have the games permanently in some unlikely place that needs a cash generating theme park GREECE.

I went to London in full bourgeois pursuit of ART. There is a fabulous exhibition of paintings by Degas at the Royal Academy of Art in Piccadilly. It focuses on his paintings of dancers and takes in that period when the whole notion of motion was a lotion flotion in the air. Photograph, film and the science of movement were combining to fix and define the relationship between Action and Time. Ooh - when I try, I can sound right posh don't you think?

I feel a bit mean for writing about Degas because he guarded his privacy very seriously. He thought the worst possible fate to befall a man was to be written about by writers. Well, that's all right then - I don't think I count. Regular readers will know that I once had a temp job in the ART world and developed a taste for the old brush strokes. Some exhibitions can be promoted with lofty themes and in reality have a cobbled up content. Not so this one! It is the biz with a buzz.

There is a modern term used in comedy these days of "projectile vomiting". I had always dismissed it as hyperbole although laughed to see it in" Little Britain"clips. Last night Gilles and I dined at a famous Chinese restaurant in Wardour Street Soho named "Wong Kei" (Affectionately known as Wonkies). This restaurant is known as being good value but with staff at best brusque, but probably often just rude. The food is kinda slammed down in front of you and plates are snatched away before you have finished. Last night Gilles was left in mid munch when his plate of hors d'oeuvres was grabbed from the table. To a Frenchman this kind of thing is incredible. In seconds the next course was slam dunked in front of us. As I began the Chicken in black bean sauce young man of about 8 years old stopped alongside my table. He turned his green face towards our table and clutched his hand to his face as he convulsed in pre vomit apoplexy. Suddenly he let go. A stream of hot pre-owned sweet and sour pork noodles splattered into my rice and onto my arm. Gilles, who had not been impressed so far, shrugged and asked cynically if this was the cabaret. The child appeared happier and stood smiling in front of me. Waiters arrived throwing green tea and bleach on the floor. The child wandered back to his oblivious family who were occupied with a second screeching child who was throwing some kind of tantrum and charging around the salon. Still green, the lad resumed his meal. I was delighted. I hate to see food wasted.

The sting of bleach  in my eyes and the splash of vomit had cooled my appetite. We paid and left. You know, this is the land of plenty. Sometimes it is just too much.

Emma thinx: When you think you've had enough, you've already had too much.

Wednesday 30 November 2011

Kissing Is Calorie Free

I guess I thought that if I reduced my output of blogs I would automatically have more time to do all sorts of other things. What has actually happened is that I spend longer doing the same number of things. 

As an act of pure self indulgence I went out to see a movie last night. Nothing too bad about that except that the screening was preceded by a chocolate tasting. It was an odd kind of event to be honest. The film was French entitled "Les Emotifs Anonymes". In the UK it is playing as "Romantics Anonymous". (There are sub-titles.) In fact this is not really a translation because the term and psychological condition "emotif" does not exist in English. In France there are self help and counselling facilities that recognise shyness, timidity, blushing, fear of intimacy, fear of social situations etc as at least a problem. In France I find my neighbours and friends to be both more formal and emotionally open all at once. We English (although this term is increasingly loose), are trained to cover our meaning and soul in layers of vagueness and politeness, rather like a hazelnut in a bar of Cadbury's Dairy Milk. 

The story of the film is set in a chocolate factory and hence some marketeer came up with the idea that a couple of the sales staff from the local "Hotel Chocolat" shop should stand in front of the cinema audience and chocolatize them. The girls done good and we all received some samples to reflect upon. I quickly analysed my tastes in matters of cocoa solids and sugar content and decided that there was just not enough of any of it. I must admit I did wonder how I would have felt if I had been ordered to stand in front of a chocolate hungry mob and give a speech. I think I might have crawled away to attend the local branch of "Emotifs Anonymes". By the way, this is a great film. In movies and plays there is often a pre-snog moment when the story focuses in on lips, eyes and glances. In a couple of moments the comedy is so potent that Angélique (played by the lovely Isabelle Carré), is fighting not to laugh as she approaches a kiss. It is a charming and lovely screen kiss quand même. This film sheds a light on a lot of private heartache and longing. It is subtle French cinema at its beautiful  best. 

Oh dear, world economy red alert. I'm out of work today because of strikes by government employees. European leadership has fallen silent and I get this image of ears pressed to the ground in citadels of power to hear the first crack and split. If I were a leader I'd be withdrawing all camouflage clothing from shops. When the marching and the flag waving starts, a rag-bag mob look less serious. Any lateral thinking government should be stocking up with chocolate bullets.

Emma thinx: They put orange creams in the box to show the flow of my generosity.

Friday 25 November 2011

Cook The Books With A Gastrocrat

Italy is to be led by a technocrat. Greece has been handed to a technopinion of technocrats. All of this misses the vital point. What is a crat? Also what is the proper collective noun for a number or gathering of crats? And another thing - how could you hire one or apply to be one?
"Excuse me Frau Merkel - we have a problem here. Could you send us a couple of crats?"
Anyway this whole issue has led to me re-branding myself as a writocrat, busocrat, laundrocrat and very much of a gastrocrat. World governments please note. If you need to pay a big wedge of cash to hire a crat, you need look no further. Once you've put a crat in your team you're on the way to salvation.

Well now, I've been kinda loafing about and kinda busy. You poor souls had to clear your inbox every single day of my output and I figured you might need a rest. I actually needed to get down to some good solid chocolate sampling and digging up of sexy tingle dust to sprinkle on a video trailer for "Knockout". I'm sure some of you already know that it takes about a day to do 10 seconds of visual. If you would like to see my efforts they are here.

At an educational establishment where some of my bus kids attend, they offer "life skills" training. Often this involves retail orientation and expertise development. You probably know this better as shopping. The idea is to show them how to handle money and how to evaluate the best price. During a recent tutorial held in a hypermarket, a student was grabbed by security guards for impulse buying without payment. There are several terms for this practice. The suspect explained that he had been asked to obtain goods at the best possible price. Now, that lad got the best deal in the world.  And they say educational standards are slipping!

Tonight as I drove my bus on a 4 lane highway at about 50 mph a black cat flashed into my vision as it sprinted across the 2 lanes to my right, across my path, body swerved a lorry to my left and sprang on to the foot-way. I'm guessing that's 4 lives used up. If he makes the return he'll only have the one in reserve. Should I buy a lottery ticket?

Emma thinx: Why do the big breaks all come in life number nine?

Friday 18 November 2011

The Worth Of Words

On May 19th I pushed out my first blog. At that time I was in my little home in France. Blogging was apparently all part of reaching one's readers and building a platform. I must confess that I sighed a little when Rosina told me that this was what the modern author does. I decided to do it everyday, I think as a form of the discipline that you need to write anything. Deadlines are the best possible master. For me there is always a feature to read or a last ever chocolate to eat before I'm ready to write. So, TODAY completes 6 months of daily blogging. Manuals about self promo tell you that it is hard to think of a subject. My problem has been that it is hard to choose which of the many to attack. As I write this, my book "Knockout" sits at No 1 in the Kindle Romance/ Suspense Romance tag search. I think it changes by the second and works on a formula too deep for tears. (Check out these last four lines of Wordsworth's Ode on Intimations....) 

Thanks to the human heart by which we live, 205
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.

I was not looking for a tacky DJ style link to this piece. The full text is here. If there is one poem that really tries to tackle the slippery subject of metaphysics, this is it for me. 

I know I should not, and I assure you it will be the last time, but the affairs of Silvio Berlusconi have once again caught my attention. In common with very few world leaders, he was a cruise ship crooner. As he resigned from office he released an album of songs called "True Love". I just wish I could have been at meetings between him and Angela Merkel. He was an outrageous clown and so often accused of immorality and corruption. All the same he coloured my life a little and I can't believe that he will never influence the odd character creation in many a novel. Ecco la musica. He was a monster - with a perma-tan facelift.

Looking back on my blogs I do chastise myself for my unkindness to  some members of the teaching profession. Since the corporate tide swept Gilles to London for a while I have been back in the UK. I was lucky to find some casual temporary work as a bus driver and have been plodding a route with special needs kids. Everything I've said about the horrid teacher petty types is true. Since these characters are for more spiky and in your face, I have been guilty of noticing them more. This week I was chatting to an angel without knowing it. One kid is very challenged and has laundry issues. One day I happened to see his shirt was different and clean as he boarded the evening bus. The teacher washes stuff up for him. She's never reported a bus driver for being a minute late or early and she's never shouted her mouth off about being an angel. But she is! Obviously going nowhere in this world.

Emma thinx: Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach. Those who can do both, LOVE.

Thursday 17 November 2011

Typewriter Types

When I was a kid (by the way, beware of anyone who opens like this), the great fear was the advance of the machine. The world was mechanical. Most watches still ticked in clockwork measurement of time, so that to me it seemed that time did "Tick away". Common London vernacular described the human heart as your "ticker". Now the beep and the arty bing bong form the punctuation of time. The electronic calculator arrived as I was at primary school and its been a one way street ever since. A few days ago the final bridge to that past was blown. The last typewriter factory in the world closed down. Now let us think about that. The works of F.Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway and Shakespeare were all qwertyd out by ribbon and roller sweat. (A deliberate error is included to keep you awake). I hit the keys during the 70's as a teenager and I still have my old friends at my side. These machines beat out novels and poems that were rejected by some of the greatest publishing brands in the world. Words pounded into the paper on these keyboards sat unread in slush piles of Faber and Faber, Mills and Boon, Poetry review and True Love magazine. Some of them are still there. Who knows, some work experience kid on a 10 year internship hoping for a job before she/he dies might be reaching for the next yellowing bundle on the !980 pile. What bothers me is what do we do when all the power goes off? Has anyone come up with the clockwork powered lap top?

A recent survey has revealed that "most people" feel insecure and vulnerable if they do not have their mobile phone with them. I suppose I should poo poo this idea but actually I think this is true. Firstly I think that folk feel insecure and vulnerable anyway as their jobs and life-style lose stability. Secondly I think that the cult of individual grasping for self that has created our societies, has eroded the notion of community. The mobile phone represents a kinda friend and a connection to our own network, where folk just might be more kind or care. 

Unemployment among the young is a record levels and soaring. More and more old timer steam and clockwork guys are clinging on to their jobs, while kids who teethed on X box and have degrees are queuing for a job flipping burgers. I know it takes a while to turn the tanker around, but is there anyone on the bridge?

Emma thinx: In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is under contract to the bank.

Wednesday 16 November 2011

Holding Out For A Hero

Really I'm a bit of a pleaser type. If I write something I've got half an eye on what I think folk want to read. I don't think I could have been a Charles Bukowski although I do admire him. He portrayed himself as a drunken sexist, although I've found that men like me more when they're drunk. He spent years sending his poetry to editors and getting knocked back. For years he worked as a postman and from his own account in his book "Post Office" was hardly employee of the week. When I've entered poetry competitions I have been guilty of double guessing what the judges would like instead of ploughing the arid furrow of artistic truth. In social situations I try to pretend to be kinda like the other folk there and just go home. As an employee I'm semi obsequious because I want people to be pleased with me. I think I am most people don't you?

All of this brings me on to another of my heroes. Yes - you've probably guessed it - Silvio Berlusconi, that slimy arrogant self seeker who should be the enemy of all righteous pure people like me. Take a look at this clip which is just so outrageous that when I first saw it I could not believe it. Also notice that he only had about a quarter of the hair on his head that he has today. The point is that people like this represent the possibility of being audacious and getting away with it. I would not want this guy anywhere around me, but I rejoice in the comedy of his vileness. This is a most inconsistent argument and I'm not proud of it. But it sure makes me laugh. 

I'm missing France and the French language. I've been tweaking the foreword to Oscar's book and called him. In the background he was playing Jacques Brel singing "La Chanson des Vieux Amants". Brel was an unparalleled genius as a musician and a poet. If you love French, or your soul longs to understand its longings or you feel homesick, have a chocolate and a weep with me. Go on, give in! This song is so beautiful in French. 

Emma thinx: The imbalance of your inconsistencies = YOU.

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Homeward Bound

It's week 4 of the Warm Fuzzies Blogfest and it is also the last week of my daily blog before it moves to a new twice-weekly schedule.  

The quest this week is to discover what makes us scribblers do it at all? Hmmm - well, I would have to give two separate answers. I write poetry because I want to magnify that small voice that is the essence of life. Most of the time you cannot hear it above the rumblings of lusts, stomachs, diesel engines and the pick and mix dilemma of daily decision. As I have aged the sound has become ever fainter and more distant. These days it is the blurred hiss of the TV sound system between segments of the jangling multi-coloured commercial breaks.

I write Romance because I like sexual passion, travel, wine and drama amongst most other things as well. The sensation of warm sun on my skin, a glow of Bordeaux wine and a long deep kiss of lips and souls that starts to build my desire, is where I want to be mentally all the time. As it is I aim a bus through heavy traffic and shop in Walmart. I am saved by a gorgeous lover. Romance writing is a turn on and is intended to nudge the love nodes of my readers. For me this  is fantastic because it gives me too an erotic buzz and allows me to use what I learned about words and moods as a poet, but without the ruthless discipline of poetry and short stories. If I combine my two responses it would be in saying that I write because I love words and words of love are the writing of our emotional DNA. 

I have chosen a passage from my novel "Knockout!" when the lovers are spending the night in Paris. They have dined and become engaged that evening. Both Anna and Freddie know that huge forces beyond their rapture are hurtling in. At stake are their lives - or worse - their love.

That night they made love tenderly, without urgency or complication, reaching out to each other like the roots of two seeds blown by chance and interwoven as one. At around midnight they lay touching hands in the moonlight. The window was a little open and admitted sounds from the street. In the distance voices and traffic spoke the muffled language of other lives. Somewhere close by in another apartment a sad saxophone played reflective moody late night jazz. If there had ever been a moment when she would have stopped time it would have been then - in the mellow moments of their after-love and their before-life.
The great River Seine rippled and pushed on to the sea as the sun tip-toed the back stairs of the world climbing towards dawn across Paris. Maybe the morning light would never uncover two lovers hiding within the protection of each other’s arms…

I would like to add my thanks to Juliana for hosting this blogfest. It has been a marvellous opportunity for me to encounter so many other writers. I know this kinda stuff is hard and eats time and so I wish you now a little peace and poetic space.
Tonight as I drove my route, the setting sun was a cold red disc in a sky of cruel blue. The kids were singing along to Rihanna's "We found love in a hopeless place". A particular lad always wants to sit next to me. He pointed at the volume control to indicate he wanted to pump it up. I pumped it up as a V formation of rooks passed across the void of space and we sang, bopping about in our seats. For just a moment I really felt the lonely turn of our planet in the cold indifference of the cosmos and heard it filled with defiance and a kind of love. The lad cannot speak.

Emma thinx: A beautiful second will fill all time.

For Juliana: WFPF 4xposts plus 4xtweets = 24 ?

Monday 14 November 2011

Toilet Humour For Robots

You know those shows like "Les Miserables" and "Oliver" where there are always packs of ragged urchins in dirty clothes and smeared faces. All the same, they intone in posh fake underprivileged accents and defy their filth with their perfect white teeth dazzling from their blackened well nourished rosy skin. It's a form of theatre I have always called Singing In The Pain. You would think that these historical "shows" are colourful cameos of those poor n 'appy snappy, golden gutter, good old days. Please forgive my little pastiche of show biz poverty. It helps if you flap your arms like a bird and do a knees up misery minuet. 

The trouble is that when you come across kids who are are only slightly less piteous, who smell and whose crooked teeth are already stained with tobacco, you kinda think they should be cheerful.  They are not. I pulled up in the bus this morning and picked my way through the detritus spilled from ruptured bin bags on some wasteland which adjoins a run down house. A chaos of bins, old bikes, a bed and a rusty supermarket trolley vie for dominance in a garden of unintentional  urban art. Eventually a lad stumbled out, unwashed in the same torn soiled clothes he always wears. This is 2011. We have been to the moon. So far we haven't got to poverty and more importantly, its causes. Some politicos will tell you it is not there. Follow your noses guys.

As an act of goodness I agreed to do some child sitting this morning. It was not too tough, but it was a peep at a world that I had forgotten. On the TV was a channel clearly sponsored by some global coloured plastic manufacturer. A few seconds of cartoons were followed by about 15 minutes of toy advertising. One toy caught my eye and actually made me laugh aloud. It is called "Stinky the garbage truck". It is billed as "interactive" and you can see it here. The imagination of these toy designers is truly fantastic. This machine belches, farts and defecates. It bellows and sings and actually is the most crass and UTTERLY DESIRABLE TOY  I have ever seen. I have had dinner parties with  people who have behaved very similarly but without the entertainment. I want one and I'm gonna pester and pester and pester and stamp and whine 'til I get one.

Another toy was a radio controlled tarantula. Some horrible boy was tormenting his squealing sister into terror. In my youth they just stuffed a frog down your knickers. I guess  you just can't  get the frogs these days. I've never mentioned it to Gilles.

Emma thinx: Imagination - the pale public mask of unlimited fantasy.

Sunday 13 November 2011

And Still The Bodies Come Home.

Today is Remembrance Sunday in the UK. I feel humbled by the TV pictures of older men and women who endured war and combat. Now they stand in Whitehall in the slight mist of a late autumn day. Green leaves still decorate the plane trees in a defiant gaiety, like a soldier's marching song. I reflect that all the crowds gathered there would only have occupied an hour or so of a machine gunner's time in the trenches of World War One. At Passchendale each human life was exchanged for two inches (5cm) of advance.(140,000 soldiers died)

The magnificence and pomposity of State plays out a fabulous theatre which does give gravitas to the ceremony. Today and tomorrow the mines, bullets and bombs will harvest their crop of  lives and limbs. The flags will drape the coffins. We all agree on the futility and cheer our brave warriors. One day, one day there will have been enough killing. It is easy to make hollow judgements and rhetorical appeals for peace. Peace appeals for itself. Where are the humble giants of humanity to silence the strutting dwarves of division? I hear those opposed to European unity and wonder if they skipped a few chapters in our history.

Lunch-time found me in a country pub for a traditional English roast. It was the occasion of a distant relative's birthday. Ooh, how I would hate to be a caterer. The poor lady had to explain that  the roast potatoes had all gone wrong - so it would be mash or boiled. There was a bit of huff and puff, a dash of English tut tut and several Gallic shrugs.Through the window a clear blue sky drew me a picture of two aeroplane vapour trails crossing in a perfect kiss. I took a photo to show you. I am alive, I can eat and kiss. I think I thought sincerely of those from whom War had stolen their hitch with the potatoes or had no eyes to see.

Emma thinx: The enemies are those who divide us, not those from whom they divide us.

Saturday 12 November 2011

Lies, Damned Lies and Bus Driving

I suppose there are degrees of shame. I'm always telling people not to beat themselves up. In the absence of the confessional I'm just gonna confess to all you guys out there, most of whom are Russian Mafia spamming me from websites with a .tk suffix. All you computeroids out there probably knew about these creatures years ago but they have only just come onto my radar. If you see postring, glowlan, massprofits on your traffic BEWARE! They constantly change their names so keep alert.

So here is my confession to you sweet readers and also the Russian Spamming Mafia. Last night I parked up my bus and came home. Somehow a large gin and tonic slipped accidentally into my hand. As I lifted it to my parched longing lips the phone rang. It was the bus company. There was a crisis and a mob of kids had not been picked up. Was it possible for me to dash back to the depot, collect a bus and save them? Enraged parents were foaming at the mouth with anger and only I was capable of confronting them. And then I lied. Oh Great Unisex Progenitor of the Busiverse, I told them I was not at home and could not get there within an hour. Even as the lies slithered from my throat, a life giving infusion of gin passed it on the way down to my deeper soul. Did I want to deal with rage filled parents? Um - no to be quite frank, I did not. Kids - I am so sorry. I have felt wretched all day.

Another reason for my deception was that I was going out. I was going to dine with some friends of Gilles and the food would be Romanian. Just the idea of Romania reverberates in the follicles of the romantic novelist. So, I prepared myself with interesting comments about Romanian culture. I had googled the work of Mihai Eminescu (headline photo) and read (in English) his passionate poem "Desire". I enquired as to what the hostess liked to read. And the answer was "Pride and Prejudice". That shut me up. I've never read it! We had a lovely meal of pork with the finest ever mashed potato which was as light as mousse. There was beetroot with caraway seeds and cheese filled pancakes.  Gilles has such wonderful friends who do big stuff in the world. Sometimes I wish I'd gone to school properly instead of wandering about wanting to write the poem that is out there somewhere in the Universe. At least I knew the smell of  river water on my hands and knew that I had stolen it from under the nose of Time before it faded into the hour, the lifetime and the deception of personality.

I've been hiding from Formula One and football. Oscar Sparrow called me to say that he had to put out his first ever blog in preparation for the launch of his collected poems. As a blogavirgin he needed inspiration. I told him, rather exasperatedly, to write about bloody racing cars going round and round and round. He said he would but was worried about the jargon. I tried a translation myself.

Emma thinx: Drag reduction system: keeping Queens out of Formula One.

Friday 11 November 2011

Slush Pile

At last I have got down to the Warm Fuzzies trial by keyboard. If you are not a cognoscenti, the mission is to talk about the story arc of the Main Character of your Work in Progress. Well, I can't really do that because the WIP is not simply a fiction although it does have a main character. As a writer I believe I am what is known as a pantser. This is not purely lack of planning but a deliberate gift of freedom. Most of my stuff has been self edited to the bin and the rest has sat in the slush pile until it melted with the Spring sun. So - please excuse me talking about the main character of my short story "Sub Prime". 

Now this tale was written in my heart for many years after I had had the experiences described. When I presented it to a magazine competition it won the prize but they refused to publish it (Publication was actually the prize plus £50), because it could upset advertisers. Two of the judges clashed over the issue in my presence. One was a T.S. Eliot prize winner and the other an acclaimed author. I felt like the mouse in the herd of elephants. This experience changed my whole view of writing and in fact more or less finished my serious career ambition. It was the chance of a major breakthrough and no one was allowed to see it. (Thanks to Indie publishing it is now out there). I think it was then that the Romance writer was born. I love sex, passion, intensity and joy in my own life and I make no bones about it. Some writers are fantastic writers. I am just a being with a pen. Writing Romance is a turn on and reading it should fix you up a bit if you need a fix. However, I digress. By chance during a low ebb of my fortunes I came across the world of casual labour and illegal immigration which amounts to modern day slavery. The main character is a male, a tough guy who drives a truck until he is thrown out of work. As Christmas approaches he gets the chance of some cash and finds that maybe he ain't so tough. He has to confront the matter of his own inner strength and finds himself humbled by someone far weaker. More humbling still is the generosity of the human spirit and the hopelessness of those without power. All I can say of this little story is that it makes me cry even today. If you fancy a look at it it's FREE. I would only ever give it away although Amazon list it with a price so do not buy it there. You can get it FREE here  on
Smashwords with audio. It is formatted for kindle, nook, apple, EPUB, kobo, pdf for PC or Mac. 

In my life I have made a few faux pas. I have cocked it up, gone off on one, grabbed the shitty end of the stick and undoubtedly taken the biscuit. Today was a milestone in contemporary embarrassment. The bus company put me on a new route as a guest act. Because the kids were younger with very challenging behaviour I had an escort who was kind and lovely. This evening as we arrived at the school she warned me that one of our passengers was difficult and needed to be firmly advised that no misconduct would be tolerated. I saw the obvious passenger approaching flanked by two staff. The lad looked about 20 with bleached spikey hair and and bellowing a rock song while playing a violent air guitar. OK - I had to be firm.
"You'll have to pipe down on the bus and sit quietly," I demanded, standing aggressively in his personal space.
"I'll remember that if I need to travel," he replied.
I heard a shriek from the escort.
"Not him! that's the headmaster," she shouted.
Well, as you get older everyone looks so young. Apparently he was doing something for charity.Teachers and important people are a problem for me.

Emma thinx: Most people's problems are people.

PS. Juliana WFBF 3 posts =15, 3 tweets = 3, Total 18?

Thursday 10 November 2011

Hi Ho Silver.

I love science and there is nothing better than kinda working out something for yourself. My first ever contact with the matter of latent heat was when I discovered the Indian dish of lentil Dahl. I  became aware of an issue when my first tasting of hot lentils turned the roof of my mouth into a huge blister that could carry enough fluid to keep a camel alive for a crossing of the Sahara. When I researched this matter I found that learned scientists were already on the job. If you're a lentil gobbler check out the truth here. So, science was ahead of me with lentils. During the night I often get up for a cup of tea and a think. In the kitchen of my temporary English home there are silver fish,(pictured above). They are just so beautiful. Whenever I come across some little bug and take the time to examine their complexity and the sheer audacity of their marvel, I  always think of Walt Whitman's saying that he saw "nothing but miracles". By the way, Walt was an Indie author and self published his first books.

So, although these little miracles are plentiful in my night kitchen, I'm not too sure about their little "borrowers" routine in the sugar bowl. Chemical pesticides and the like are a no no but my scientific brain at once told me that there is a solution. I do not have any in my French kitchen but I do have my huge huggy friends, the house centipedes. Guess what they eat? I bet you need a license to import a few. It could be the grey squirrel all over again.

Oh no - big trouble in the world of never ending footballfootball footballfootballfootball.  Firstly the English were not allowed to play wearing poppies but luckily Prince William and the Prime Minister intervened. I always find that the threat of the Tower of London and Beefeaters' pikes soon deals with all those foreign johnnies. But even worse is that Couldn't Care less Carlos Tevez has refused to play, picked up the ball and has gone home to his mum in Argentina. Now, only one WOMAN OF IRON knew how to deal with Argentina when they wouldn't behave sensibly. Maggie - they won't give us our ball back!

Emma thinx: More creatures live on crumbs than live on loaves.

Wednesday 9 November 2011

Death! Plop.

OK Literatti - let's get down on some poetry. Today I have been busy on a whole new project of compiling and editing a book of poetry on behalf of Gallo-Romano Media. Regulars will have heard me rattling on about my mate Oscar Sparrow whom I have known for many years. He's a bit kinda prickly to be honest and is a tree book hard-liner. On account of that he's scuffed along in a bedragglement of small press pamphlets, anthologies and Arts Council artsfarts. (An artsfart is a form of poetry only read by South American ant-eaters)  Eventually I have persuaded him to put out a small collection of his poems via Rosina's media outfit. Everyone knows that no one reads poetry except other poets and they don't like it cos they didn't write it themselves. I'm officially gonna be credited as editor and a small contributor.  He believed that he has sold his soul to the forces of Mammon but he cheered up when we assured him that no one would read it and he wouldn't get paid. It is at moments like that you know you are in the presence of a true poet. I wish Oscar were my brother so that I could love him.

There was a poet called Theophilus Marzials (1850 - 1920) who is sometimes accused of having written the world's worst poem. In his day he was a successful writer and it only since his death that the critteratti have spiked into him. Oscar uses this as an argument against having any form of success in this world. Now, I like Theo's poem and so you know what I'm talking about - here it is.

A Tragedy

Theophilus Marzials

Death! Plop.
The barges down in the river flop.
Flop, plop.
Above, beneath.
From the slimy branches the grey drips drop,
As they scraggle black on the thin grey sky,
Where the black cloud rack-hackles drizzle and fly
To the oozy waters, that lounge and flop
On the black scrag piles, where the loose cords plop,
As the raw wind whines in the thin tree-top.
Plop, plop.
And scudding by
The boatmen call out hoy! and hey!
All is running water and sky,
And my head shrieks -- "Stop,"
And my heart shrieks -- "Die."
*          *          *          *          *
My thought is running out of my head;
My love is running out of my heart,
My soul runs after, and leaves me as dead,
For my life runs after to catch them -- and fled
They all are every one! -- and I stand, and start,
At the water that oozes up, plop and plop,
On the barges that flop
                              And dizzy me dead.
I might reel and drop.
                                                Dead.And the shrill wind whines in the thin tree-top
                           Flop, plop.
*          *          *          *          *
A curse on him.
                            Ugh! yet I knew -- I knew --
If a woman is false can a friend be true?
It was only a lie from beginning to end --
My Devil -- My "Friend"
I had trusted the whole of my living to!
Ugh; and I knew!
So what do I care,
And my head is empty as air --
I can do,
I can dare,
(Plop, plop
The barges flop
Drip drop.)
I can dare! I can dare!
And let myself all run away with my head
And stop.
Plop, flop.
Just read on from "slimy branches" through to "thin tree top." To me it is a poem teeming with drippy droppiness and flappy ploppy flopshiousness. Of course, its absolute lusciousness of vocab kinda does away with the sentiment of TRAGEDY which he is trying to capture. I like it because a guy wrote it when he had trouble with a woman and whatever was going on this trace of of love remains and I am here reading it and talking about it. Theo - you were a man who wrote poems. Time has made you a poet in my heart. Over to to you guys......

More international MARKET people all day talking about what they want the world to do. Is there any further point in the pretence of having meaningful national democratic governments?

Emma thinx: Economic Feudalism - the noble savage serving the savage noble.

Tuesday 8 November 2011


I do wonder about the role of the press. The whole Greek problem with referenda on and off, coalitions coalescing and journalists journalising worked its way up to a frenzy in much the same way as I attack a jar of anchovy stuffed Greek olives. Of course, at last they are all gone and you are in with a frenzy without a cause. Suddenly a cry goes up. Greece is done as a subject. Editors scream for more copy and the circus moves on to Italy. Grave faced reporters report on the seriousness of the problem. A first wave of retired ex-experts are dredged up to talk to camera whilst the crisis is fanned up to a level where real experts can be hired in. The credit rating guys look at the thrashing whirlpool of exciting gloom and put up the interest on everyone who cannot pay, while reducing them for those who can! More experts and retired statesmen are called in and they predict further gloom.....Do I need to go on?

Of course there is nothing new about this. When I was a kid at school I was not that girlie and was entertained by the boys who played fantastic playground games. One game was called "Pile On" and could occur spontaneously at any time. Some kid would be knocked down, perhaps in a fight. A cry would go up "Pile on, pile on!!!" Kids would run to the scene and fling themselves on top in a heap. Teachers would charge to the scrummage and start pulling at the boys who clung to each other in order to resist. The girls would stand about watching, advertising their angelic goodness whilst enjoying the spectacle. One day I'm gonna switch on the TV and see a reporter yelling "Pile on!" I have asked some modern kids about this game and apparently it still exists under the name "Bundle".

President Sarko is in trouble on account of a frank private conversation with President Obama. This matter has come to my ears as I was writing the above paragraph. Seemingly the Press decided to blab the story and the old "Pile On" game goes on. The same scribblers who denounce in purple prose hypocrisy those caught in the Murdoch phone hacking scandal, quite joyfully report an overheard private exchange. Mind you it was good to see Sarko and Obama in agreement. Guess French Fries might be back on the menu soon. Not so sure about the bagels though.

Are you guys watching what has happened in Greece and Italy since I revealed the CQB index on Sunday? 

I just want to say that there are roses. It does not matter where they are or what they are doing. The Roseness of the rose is there as part of the fabric of existence. The photo is of some supermarket roses that have flooded my heart with roseness every time I have seen them in my hallway this last week. 
Emma thinx: Take off the mike before you take the mickey.

Monday 7 November 2011

Pick Of The Crop

Every billboard on every street and on the side of every bus is announcing the Coming. Tomorrow it will be here. Have you got yours yet? I guess you folks all know that MW 3 "Call Of Duty" is launched on Tuesday 8th November. Of course I was aware of all this. Well, I could see that these ads were plastered everywhere and that they looked like they had been stuck up using a bucket of mud. To the horror of the anger management lads on the bus I did not know that this was a deliberate effect and that the product was a computer game for the sex box 360. It's all about grunge, squalor and violence. I must admit that in a world where films are seen as sensational if you get a full nipple exposure, it astonishes me that "gaming" revels in psychopathic violence seemingly as a celebration and a joy. If you wanna see a clip this is the trailer.

I have no right to pontificate on such matters. The closest I have come to warfare is when my mother took me to the January Sales in Croydon, South London. In those days "The Sales" actually offered bargains. We queued from about 6 am. The plan was to attack the doors as soon as they were unbolted. My mother was going to run flat out for a winter coat. My job was to drop back and obstruct pursuers by running far slower in a zig zag. It worked and ever since I have had a kind of interest in military tactics. However, this was not the master blaster machine gunning engagement of "Call of Duty". I guess that it was not real war either. But what I want to know is whether proper brave soldiers, serving or vets, want to play these games? Is there a problem when violence is fun and painless? I bet there are all manner of studies and I really would like to know, but there again I'd like to know so many things about human behaviour.

 I mean does anyone have a child and say to themselves "I want to bring this kid up to be kind, modest and honest as a priority"? Should one not say "I want my kid to big themselves up, muscle to the front and get rich/ important /successful/ admired/be a bishop with a palace/martyr/ etc." I am not a Christian but I have no argument with their outline propositions. In a world where there is no sign of the meek inheriting, to what extent should you influence your kids to be meek? I've been a parent and I am a grandparent and I just dunno. Do I say "Go snatch it kids" or do I say "Maybe someone needs it more - hang back and help them." ? I am a hard line Atheist, Buddhist, lighter of cathedral candles, pinko commie, semi revolutionary property owning hedonist. I have no special insights.

As I passed a run down take-away pizza store tonight in my bus, light spilled out onto the footway. I glanced into the empty shop  to see a large moustachioed man at the counter poised to serve his next hungry customer. Obviously a slice of pepperoni had become lodged up his nostril and he was attempting to gouge it out with what looked like his thumb and several fingers. The meat feast could be a no-no. 

Emma thinx: Don't solve the problem until the solution gets you noticed. 

Sunday 6 November 2011

Mein Hair



In the world of high finance around which my life revolves, I am constantly hearing the term "Haircut". Seemingly this means to write off a portion of a debt owed to you. Unfortunate banks are likely to have to accept major haircuts on loans made to Greece. Luckily, the banks will be "re-capitalised" by governments if it looks like they will fail as a result. So boys and girls - who do you think will end up with the bald eagle hair-do in the end? Um - that's a tough one. All these affairs of state got me thinking about the hair styles of European leaders and I do believe I have spotted a pattern. Exhaustive research has shown that a tidy haircut leads to financial ruin. Just compare the coiffure quotient bias (known as the cqb amongst insiders) between Angela Merkel of Germany (Solvent) and Silvio Berlusconi of Italy (Indebted and struggling). When you see evidence this profound you will realise that the market rule is "If you don't want to take a haircut, avoid leaders who obviously know a few hairdressers". The most startling proof comes when you look at George Papandreou of Greece. Now that's what I call a haircut. The poor guy has given his all. Dear old Great Britain who kinda stumbles around trying to find the key to the last of the kids money boxes remains afloat while the markets accept the bluff. A quick glance at the Cameron Coiff should steady the exchanges for now while we look for that damn key. By the way girls - can you see how the term "haircut" is dripping with macho don't give a billion kind of swagger. I'm gonna tell my own creditors that they have won a free re-style.

I'm getting a bit peeved with product pricing. A pack of prawns last week at ASDA was the same price that it had been in March. Hoorah and jolly hockey sticks! The only difference was that the weight had reduced by 100 grammes. This is an enormous increase. I had earlier noted that chicken breast fillets had been similarly reduced in pack weight. So, what is going on? Do they think we don't notice. Having been out of the UK for a while the jump is obvious. I guess if you just plop the same stuff in your trolley week in week out you may not spot the difference. So come on guys -d'ya fink we're like stoopid or summink?

Emma thinx: Tosstesterone - the ultimate field event steroid.

Saturday 5 November 2011

Every Child Splatters

I suppose we all think we remember what it is like to be a child. I've always been a great admirer of writers who can produce stories and characters that grip the attention of children. I often think that some books for very young kids are designed to appeal to parents. Writing for children is a special talent and I'm guessing that you need some element of personality that is still rooted in being a child or younger person. I must admit to wondering if you actually have to like children. Maybe to know children you have to retain some their utter cruelty. Are there any children's writers out there to tell me?

This topic came to mind as I was sitting in my bus yesterday afternoon. A woman with a little boy of no more than 3 walked past and we made eye contact. I could see she was kind. A few yards ahead was an enormous puddle. The lad looked up at mum who smiled consent to an unasked question. The lad ran in splashing and shrieking with delight. Soon he was soaked and the reality of cold wet clothes overcame his pleasure. I guess that was his first time and I was forced to reflect on how quickly the predators begin to nibble at our innocence. All the same it was one of those little golden moments that will stay with me. She was a lovely mum and no statesman or super star has ever done more.

Once your kids grow up and in my case very quickly become far more serious and sensible than me, you kinda lose touch with a large slice of the world. Luckily, driving a school bus has refilled my account  with all manner youthful cultural currency. I do like to have a little sing and a bop about as I'm waiting for the kids to come out. Yesterday a student took the time to give me a steer to Genki Sudo and a music group named "World Order". Now, I missed all those protest songs that were spawned by the Vietnam War and the threat/fear of nuclear attack. It is tempting to think of young folk as conditioned and accepting on account of the lack of overt radicalism in politics. This little clip (you may think it goes on a bit) represents some cogent social comment and the yoofs are much more aware than you would think. It is also very troubling to realise than most people are so much more talented, so much younger and so under employed. 

A high powered committee  have named three new elements for the periodic table. Apparently they are super-heavy and fall apart as soon as they are created. Tomorrow I'm gonna send them one of my poor attempts at Quiche pastry. Soon Calinium will be number 113. Immortality at last.

Emma thinx: Youth - your state of mind before your mind's a state.