Archive for August 2011

Ghost story

August 27, 2011

A group of middle aged men sat around a camp fire and told each other ghost stories. This is one of the tales. This is Cordoba Mendoza’s story.

I was an only child and had a room all to myself. This was great during the day when I could pretend to be anything I wanted as I played with my toys. At night it was lonely.

We lived in a street that ran parallel to a new motorway. There weren’t as many vehicles back then compared to today’s unrelenting traffic. From my window I could count the cars and Lorries as they passed. When I was out with my mum I came across a man wearing a yellow jacket who was counting cars on a calculator device. I wanted to be him when I grew up.

To help me get to sleep I would watch the lights of cars as their illumination passed through the window blinds and blazed a trail over the ceiling before finally disappearing. From my bed I could track the various speeds using the simple time and distance formula.

With expectation I would wait for the next car to pass my house. Sometimes it was a long vigil, as I said, traffic was quiet, more so in the dead of night. This was how I got through my lonely nights.

One night it was exceptionally quiet until I sensed an approaching car. I felt great joy towards this night time traveller as his dazzling light gave me some comfort.

The beam from the head lamp traversed the side wall and snaked across the roof of my room.

Then it stopped.

Halfway across.

This had never happened before.

The sparkling fire work beam of the stationary vehicle remained on the ceiling. Its brightness was brighter than a thousand and one suns. It hung there like an alien space craft.

Scarily other late night drivers continued on their journey. Their lights whizzed right through the frozen light as if it were invisible.

But it wasn’t.

This one big eyeball light stared at me from on high.

Another car and another light invaded my room. This one was travelling very slowly, almost at a snail’s pace. Eventually it stopped at the precise same place as the original intruder.

For many tense minutes I knew something unknown and unbelievably strange was going to happen. Gradually, one of the lights extricated itself from the other and ambled along the flight path on the ceiling until it got to the end and vanished.

Still one orb remained.

The light flashed on and off a few times.

Then it slowly moved off leaving the room in darkness.

That night I vowed never to count cars again.



August 18, 2011

Having never been flush enough to afford a brand new car I always take a back seat when a more affluent neighbour waxes about the plastic and adhesive combination that makes their automobile smell like teen spirit. Go ahead, smell my car. I sniff and admit it is a great smell. A dealer should bottle this smell. It would sell like hot rods dogs.

In space there is no sound. Excluding, of course, the obligatory fart lurking in the space suit, we will have to ask Major Tom if there is any smell. Because, count them yourself, there are more aromas on earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy. As we speak there will be new smells bubbling away in a laboratory somewhere. The good ones will be mass-produced while the rotten ones will be thrown on the dung heap.

Then there are the odours that can evoke memories. We neglect the sense of smell as we much favour the lazier option of seeing. However, you can’t see smell. Sometimes perception can only be achieved via the olfactory nerves. A long forgotten scent might be tasted anew and you remember where you were when it first squatted in your nostrils. The nose can be a time machine. Though it’s not a genuine all-rounder as it is limited by not being able to smell what’s around the corner.

All noses have their own preferences. One man’s cologne is another mans Rot-Weiss Essen if we’re being Teutonic. Freshly cut grass is a prime example. While some smoke in the sweetness becoming pastorally poetical others are expelling all kinds of mucous from their blow holes. The human animal does have an exhalation problem or two. Hotel cleaners complain about unpleasant smells guests leave in their rooms. Unions have demanded the staff be given a uniform much like the outfit of The Hurt Locker bomb disposal guy. Some professions are more dangerous than others; cleaning is high-stress.

We must move on and finish with a high note. With great anticipation I shall stake out the newsagents with my tent. Tomorrow is Friday and a huge clutch of new magazines will be on sale. I love the newly-minted smell of new magazines in the morning. And I’m not alone. There are a pack of us, hungry as wolves, jostling for an inhalation of the glossy paper when the doors open. With great speed I will head for my favourite: the manifold, greasy, high torque, super-strength Tractor magazine, and bury my snout in it.

The politics of dancing

August 13, 2011

Without bumping my gums too much, I’d say I’m quite adept at Djalminha overheel flicks, Panenka penalties and Laudrup drag-dribbles. All this fancy footwork stands me in no stead when I Ronaldo stepover to the dance floor. Suddenly, I’m the worst player on the park.

Routine dance movements like waltzes or ballroom dancing can be practised and smacks of socialism to me. These sketches are too conformist with everyone in robotic choreography and lacks individualism, if you ask me. A few lessons and you’re on your way, one big happy line dance. Freestyle dancing or make it up as the beat goes on is a more celebrated type of dance. This is the choice dance of discos, parties, shindigs, raves, knees-ups and the like. The trouble, of course, is if you are a poor dancer.

Regularly at a family get together I’ll stay on the sidelines (the subs bench) while the music plays. In this environment I know my part and I‘m more attuned to acting as a coach. My sister is a good sport who will play along with my directions. When she’s dancing I’ll shout out to her to incorporate some occupational dancing to the party.

Do the fisherman: She’ll cast an imaginary line and reel in a whopper of a fish.

Do the lumberjack: Axe-wielding manoeuvres of cutting down trees are enacted on the dance floor.

Do the biker: Wheelies abound with wide chopper handlebars to the fore.

She soon tires of my machinations content to go with the flow, joining the other shakers in the jumbled field of sound, lights and movement.

As there is no coordination between my arms, legs and hips I can only talk a good dance. The Maradona/Pele conundrum exists in the dancing world; you’re either in the Fred Astaire camp or the John Travolta one. Notwithstanding the trinity believers who would add the dark horse, Nijinsky, into the mix.

Being a right-winger most of my life- though I have played centre-mid on occasion- it’s surprising that the dancing I most admired was the Marxist collectivism of Pan’s People. Teenage joy, indeed.

For too long I have fretted over my poor reflex to rhythmic songs. It has crossed my mind to hone my technique while in the privacy of my own home. As an adherent to the run before you walk school I started break-dancing. In all likelihood it was the worst hip-hop performance ever. Still, it cured my back of that itch I couldn’t reach.

Treasures lost…and found

August 8, 2011

Pets, children and mothers say the funniest things. “You’d lose your head if it weren’t screwed on” being a favourite of mums everywhere. Dodgy anatomical design structures excluded, why is the head singled out to be the lost part? Why not the bigger, better statement: “You’d lose your body if it wasn’t riveted on.” Definitely, a case of the heart ruling the head.

As you know I’ve been years perfecting the musical I’m writing. In my head I was harmonising the scratchy rhythms of Bach with tinkles of Glass when I exited the bus last week. Disastrously, I had left my tuba behind. Understandable really, I mean when you get off a bus and check your things, you never say “I must remember the tuba” now do you?

The next day I ventured to the lost property department at the bus depot. I was told there was no tuba on the premises and to try the subway instead. I was brassed off. There are only about five people in the world that can play the tuba. Who would want a tuba? I espied all the other items, paraphernalia and appurtenances, lying unclaimed on the cluttered shelves. In this lost world a full-size replica of a complete skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex stood menacingly in an aisle. I can just picture a curator waking up and exclaiming- one of our dinosaurs is missing.

Another hullabaloo happened when I left my Daily Telegraph in the pub. Next day I asked the owner if a Guardian of the mighty print medium had handed the paper in. Nup. Nothing. Stolen. How can these people look at themselves in the mirror?

By this time my sunny disposition had evaporated as now out in the street rain clouds broke forth, fifth, sixth and seventh from the heavens. Shelter was found in the nearby train station and I expressed in with a drenched member of the human race by my side. I took a seat on a bench while my fellow from the flood fled to the lost property section. He asked if anybody had found an umbrella. What colour, asked the man in charge. Black. Yeah, we’ve got a black. What an opportunistic strike! Now with a deterrent from the rain, my ex-companion braved the inclement weather.

Four hours later as it dried I ended up at my mother’s to find her in an absent mind. My sister was on holiday and left her cat in my mum’s house for cat sitting purposes. Mum couldn’t find the cat. It was nowhere to be seen. She had lost the cat.

Cagily, we searched all over as this cat had attitude. On being surprised it was known to spring at a space invader. It was a tigress in all but name. There was no way a cat burglar had intruded; the feline was hiding for keeps.
Searching high
Searching low
In the light
In the shadow
Come hell or high water
We (scan it, man) sought her.

Here, there, everywhere. Yep, you’ve cat ‘o nine tails’d it. This farce was a comedy of clichés.

There was none so blind as us until a slinky, sleekit, boss-like “top cat in the slats” silhouette appeared behind the window blinds. Lost threat status downgraded or so we thought. My dad appeared, fresh or not so fresh as his whisky breath was omnipotent, from his local bar. After patting the top of his soldered on head he said “I’ve lost my hat somewhere”. Poor soul, at least he remembered the way home.

This Rex is as old as my dad. Note the screwed on hatless Jurassic head.

This blog has been rated F

August 1, 2011

“My name is JW10 and I haven’t said a swear word in eighteen months.”

Cue- a deafening round of applause at the latest Professionals In Swearing Help (PISH) meeting.

I gave up coarse language when I realised it’s a negative use of the vocal chords- My baritone atoms are now super-charged with protons. There is also no shock value in profanities anymore. Given, sometimes, an expletive does add emphasis to certain types of jokes; however, crudity is poor form, I think.

The first few weeks of abstinence were the hardest for me as you can imagine. Many a sentence I started and not finished when a rude word was on the tip of my tongue about to pollute the atmosphere. I considered carrying a bleeper about with me to use whenever a lashing of bad language might have been unleashed accidentally. This would be no good as my timing- I could never master the spin ten plates on ten sticks trick- is terrible. I would bleep the good words by mistake in an unintentional parody of Julius Caesar.
The evil that men say lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bleeps.

Another worry for the non-swearer is the substitute word. Drat and double drat can be used once in company invoking some mirth. Overuse could result in mockery. “Dearie me” would see my reputation in the pub disintegrate like a 1990’s England innings batting collapse. “Did you just say “Dearie f****** me?” ” would be thrown back at me by a hardened hard man drinker completely misquoting me. I’ll sue, so help me god, I’ll sue, for slander or libel or whatever the Fox News it is.

Success. Words that closely resemble the foul phrase can be used instead or a few syllables can be dropped from the offending item without much being lost in the message. If said quickly no one notices. That basta needs a good kick in the ar. The hard man will buy you a pint for that one.

It helps if you don’t have a bad temper. If you try to sail through life with all its storms and try to treat it like a teacup, there’s no need to swear. PISH tells us to face every day foibles with a sugary outlook.

The computer’s on the blink as windows has crashed again, though literally I suppose it has just frozen- its real windows that crash though you can understand the dramatic overtones of a crash. The boiler’s broke. Nothing unusual there. Like a potboiler Jackie Collins novel, the world is full of broken boilers. You see, there’s nothing worth getting worked up for. Ooops, dearie me, I’ve just remembered I’ve some wood to saw for decking. Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s off to ….(the saw slips on my fingers)…Arrggghh….you….