He’s so alone

He sees the small one, eyes down, knees up, trying to understand why he’s just been stung by a wasp in the sun. He wants to tell him not to stay in that place; he wants to tell him to shake it away. Look, everything’s going to be all right.

But he can’t, he has to shake this away even though he suspects it may not be true. Didn’t he read something the other day about memory? How it is simply a mental construct from one physical part of the brain. How that part can be damaged or destroyed. The being can still function but more on autopilot than by intention.

Maybe his memory is damaged; maybe what he defines himself as is gleaned from broken brain cells. Whatever – it doesn’t matter anyway, because this life is a one-way trip.

He sighs, yawns, gets off the sofa and stares at a fly trapped between the net curtain and the glass. Alone, he’s alone, he’s so alone.

Related Posts:

2021: The Truth about the last 4 years

Something has to be written about these times; sorry that my skills are not as good as they should be. There is nothing I can do about that – my skills are the only skills that are available. I am the only one left and time is running out, so there is no time to get any better at this. Perhaps in a hundred years, someone will find this account interesting enough to rewrite it as a work of fiction – it’s dramatic enough. It would make a good film. I wonder if they’ll still have films in the twenty-second century? It’ll probably all be holograms by then – total immersion in a fake reality. But then what is reality anyway? And if what has happened here happens more widely there won’t be much left to fret about by then.

I’m sitting in an empty oil barrel inside a deserted factory – it used to be a machine shop. I used to work here. Now all the lathes and grinders have been sold for scrap and all that’s left is this oil drum and the run down building that surrounds it.

All around me lying in various awkward positions on the cold greasy floor are the bodies of the others. These were my fellow travellers, my crew, my gang, formed from an alliance of survivors. It has been six months since the coach crashed and it took us six outlaws every one of those 180 days to get here. I can’t look at them any longer, and there is nothing I can do but wait until the dangers have passed and all I have is this notebook and this pen. I hope it doesn’t run out . . .

Related Posts:

Blodyn – Legalise Poo

Here’s a painting from nearly 15 years ago – one of the first I did. It was painted on the back of a placard/protest sign that I had previously used in a satirical community play I wrote called ‘The History of Llangennech – Part 2’

Blodyn has become a bit of an icon for me since I painted her. She was used on the cover of my poetry collection “The Words in Me” and will be used again on the cover of my new collection “More Words in Me” due to be published in a couple of months.

Here she is:

blodyn-rsBlodyn – 2002: Acrylic on board: 520x670mm

And here’s the back of Blodyn

blodyn backLegalise Poo

Related Posts:

in a shell

Myself is in a shellinashell

Myself is in a shell,
Being hung up
And that.
I shed my shell,
From now
And then.
I am being sat;
Upon a wave
Of Freeness.
My shell is shed,
But what
Do I find to be done.
In the phase,
It’s hot
Outside, it’s muchly warm.
I am being moved myself,
But be looked
Onto Scorn

We Us-self do change
Our scenes and our shells
And in the interim of truth
We’ve such a much to tell

***

Related Posts:

Everyone’s a Writer and an Artist now

listApart from the odd shopping list or doodle, there was a time when the content most people created was limited to school work or writing reports at work.

When the Internet took hold a small proportion of people started keeping blogs or journals of their thoughts online. Then Facebook and Twitter and all the other social media platforms emerged,  and now everyone tells everyone else every day what they’re thinking, whether that’s by sharing content they relate to from other sources, or whether it’s by the creation of their own original text and imagery.

This is all welcome of course, it gives those whose voices were previously unheard a way to let the world, or at least their extended social networks, know what’s important to them. It doesn’t stop there either: if you want to publish a book it’s easy, just open an account with Createspace, upload the text and cover image and it will be available worldwide almost instantly. It’s free and you don’t even have to buy a copy yourself. Fancy getting your artwork onto T-Shirts or mugs or greetings cards? – just as simple. And if you haven’t got the time or skills to do it yourself there’s always some student willing to do it for the price of a pizza.

As a bonus, now and again a seemingly random scribbler is raised from the ranks and elevated to the status of superstar vlogger or best selling writer of tacky fiction, thus giving us all hope that one day, as long as we continue with our prattle we might be discovered and earn those millions we have always deserved.

But what does it mean to all the people who previously defined themselves as professional writers or artists or photographers? Those who spent time and money studying, and dedicated most of their lives to improving their skills and producing ‘work’? I mean nobody wants to pay for anything anymore, least of all for the witterings and snapshots of some stranger when they can get all the above and more from their ‘friends’ for nothing on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

If you’re someone like me who has been writing since long before the advent of social media then it’s tempting to believe that all the noise now being created by every person and their companion animal is somehow diluting the literary or artistic merit of published work. I mean, without the traditional gatekeepers, who knows what kind of hideous barbarians will enter the citadel?

On the other hand you may think that the privileged few who were allowed entry in the past have finally got what’s coming to them, and now have to be judged by the whole hive mind rather than just protected by a small cohort of praetorian guards.

I’m not sure, but I do believe that most people, whether they define themselves as writers or artists or neither, are capable, with lots of practice and a little guidance, of creating work that is every bit as good as that which was previously created by the few patricians lucky enough to have had the opportunities in the dark ages before the Internet.

Related Posts:

To Me – New Book coming soon

To Me is the title of my next book. It’s been written specifically for myself and it is dedicated To Me, but I don’t mind if others read it.

I think everyone should have their own ‘To Me’ book. Luckily I have the experience and skills to publish my own.

Using Print on Demand it doesn’t really cost anything but time plus the cost of any printed copies, and you can buy just one copy if you like.

I’m working on the final edit, it looks like it will end up being about 103,000 words and 310 pages long in an 8.5″ x 5.5″ format.

Here’s a sneak peek of the cover:

TO-ME-308pages-FULL-resTO-ME-308pages-FRONT-res

Related Posts:

There’s Always Burnt Jam

I thought I’d written about this before but can’t find it anywhere. I know I did write a poem at least, and I know it ended with the line ‘But there’s always burnt jam.’ I can’t find that either. I wonder how many other poems or snippets of writing I’ve lost, many of them on paper from my teenage years, and many more on broken computer disks since. Ah! Sometimes you just have to let things drift down to the dim depths of the Akashic Records.

It was the late sixties, possibly 1970; I was seventeen or eighteen years old. I used to hang around with a group of young people from around the town of Llanelli, where we behaved in ways that defined that period if you believe the myths that have arisen since. The truth was there were not that many of us, no more than a few dozen – a hundred or so at the most, and that from a population of around 77,000.

Llanelli Beach - Stradey Woods in the background

Llanelli Beach – Stradey Woods in the background

We were a small group, but we were highly visible because of the way we dressed and the way we behaved – roving around the streets, openly smoking joints and tripping on acid, as well as squatting the grass opposite the town hall, playing guitars and engaging in free love, well free foreplay at least. Continue reading

Related Posts:

The Artistic Imperative

The Artistic Imperative

* Warning – this is a self-indulgent ramble *

When I was young I was told I was very clever. ‘You are so intelligent,’ they used to say. I was also a very nice kid – generous, gentle, helpful and uncomplaining. I was full of life – ‘Fond of play’ as my form teacher wrote on my final report from the primary school. I was top of the class, number one of thirty-four, and that was in the A stream in the final year at that school – so at that time I was the top pupil of the whole school.

Allot-profile01

Me writing in the chalet/shed at the allotment. pic by Rhian

To be fair my teacher recognised this and wanted me to apply for a scholarship to go to Llandovery College – a private school around thirty miles from my home – it would have meant boarding I believe.

But, my parents didn’t have the wherewithal, either in monetary terms or in imagination to pursue the idea and the teacher realising it was an impossibility, let it go. As it happens, I’m glad about this, I don’t think I’d like the person I would have become if I’d spent those important years of my childhood in such a place.

Now, I’m approaching my 65th birthday – my mother is disappointed in me. I can see it in her eyes – and anyway, she says it often enough. ‘You used to be so clever,’ she’ll say. ‘You could have done so much.’ Continue reading

Related Posts:

This time next year

Another extract from some work-in-progress on my new book ‘This is It’

NOTE: After writing this I forgot about it for eleven years, if I hadn’t I would definitely have made that first million.

This Time Next Year

(How I make my first million)

***

1-millionHi! It’s seven minutes past ten in the evening; it’s Monday May 16th 2005. This is the beginning of the story of how I made my first million. As of now, I have no idea how I’m going to do it, but do it I will. This time next year I’ll be a millionaire. Continue reading

Related Posts:

I may have written about this before but it will have been with different words

Another snippet from This is It.

(Disclaimer: I can’t guarantee precise historical accuracy – all these memories may be mixed up and reconstituted in a skewed way, probably due to the bin-bag full of potent Mexican grass we consumed during the period – it was the sixties after all!)

oxford-and-cambridge-mansions

In 1969 when I was seventeen I went to London with my friend Dave. He picked me up in a transit van from where I lived with my parents and my siblings in the small council house on the outskirts of Llanelli. Dave was a roadie; well actually Dave was a brilliant guitarist but worked as a roadie in London at the time. He was a couple or more years older than me and he died in his twenties but that’s another story. Dave was one of my two best friends – the other one was Stu, who was younger than me and who also died in his twenties – that’s another story too of course. Continue reading

Related Posts:

Public Bloody Transport

Another one from the archives – written on Tuesday November 30th 1999

Public-bloody-transport. How did it come to this? Me. Having to catch a bloody bus of all things. It’s my fault I suppose. By my age you’d think I’d know that you have to do something to earn a living. I mean, you get up in the morning, you go to bed at night and you have to do something in between. That’s why work was invented – to fill the gap.

Most people know that instinctively, they just get on with it. But me? No, not me. I’m so bloody stupid; I don’t know where I get the ideas from. It’s as if I thought I could live on thin air or something.

That’s why I’m on this bus. Look, there’s another pair – fellow-travellers, I’ve seen quite a few in the last two weeks, since my car broke down and I couldn’t afford to get it fixed. Couldn’t afford it – me? After all the money that’s passed through my hands in my various (failed) business ventures. Perhaps one day that poor bloke will start a business of his own – he might as well. At least then he’d have the illusion of doing something useful for a while, until he goes bust. Continue reading

Related Posts:

Exhibition – Day 2

This is a piece I wrote on Tuesday 4th November 2003 during the substantial gaps between visitors on the second day of an exhibition of my work at the Neville Gallery, Llanelli. I had also invited a few others to exhibit some work alongside mine since it is a large hall.

Exhibition Day 2 – Tuesday half ten am.

No one in yet but at least it’s finished. Everything’s up.

The Three Bears

The Three Bears

Laura Mason’s installation – Anna’s paintings – Ian’s drawings – my 87 varieties. Maybe I’m deluding myself but it all looks amazing to me. Toying with the idea of getting in touch with the media – but I don’t really want personal publicity a la Llanelli Star, obviously I’d like artistic publicity-recognition-acknowledgement whatever, but I’m scared of getting my chops in the local paper – daft aren’t I?

Need to go for a piss etc so shall lock up and leave a note on door. Continue reading

Related Posts:

Shopping Monsters revisited

In 2003 on a visit to Carmarthen I spotted a man and a woman coming towards me in the street. They could have been a couple but they looked so similar that they were probably brother and sister. When I got home their image was still in my head, so I painted it on art-card using acrylic paints. Here it is – apologies for the fuzzy photo.

shopping-monsters-2003

Shopping Monsters 2003 – 32″ x 24″ – 80cm x 60cm

The other day I retrieved the painting from the beams of the shed on the allotment. I had rolled it up and stuffed it there three years ago (with a lot of others) when we moved to a smaller place and I had no more room at home.

Of course, three years in a damp shed is going to have an effect.

What 3 years in a shed can do to a painting

I like this painting so I intend to restore it and get it framed – watch this space . . .

Related Posts:

Irrelevant?

(Another snippet from ‘This is it’ – my Fantasy / Autobiography)

Something on an old sheet of paper torn from a notebook – written around 1969 when I was 17. Like many of the pieces I post on here it is completely unedited – just the beginnings of a work-in-progress. This horrifies some of my writer friends but since there is very little chance of it being fully developed this is the only way it will get an airing – and in any case I like it and it means something to me.

Irrelevant

bubblesWhat was that noise, a screech, no just noise. Noise of what, thought the tramp, noise of excitement, he concluded, what excitement, he restarted. Round the bend of the car park came a gathering, hippies they were, all together, messing about with a skin-head.

‘Okay,’ shouted the skin. ‘Okay.’ Louder. ‘So you prove your point.’ Hysterically. ‘Okay – O-bloody kay.’

They all stopped, gave him his boots back and offered him food from a bag, a brown paper bag. Irrelevant. Brown paper bags were very common in town on Saturday. Everybody had one, under arms, in bags, trolleys and other convenient spaces; it was the day of the brown paper parcels, conform, buy your brown paper parcel today. Horror, I’ve got one round my bubble-tube, get rid of it, ceremoniously execute the conformity of brown-paper parcels. Irrelevant. It’s Christmas, a change, bells, green leaves, red hats, and multi-coloured paper wrapped parcels. Irrelevant. Brolly time, out of nowhere comes the dreaded rain, my God you must not get wet. What a disaster. Wetness, put up your brolly, tuck your parcel more securely. Irrelevant. Do you feel secure? Irrelevant. Of course. ‘I’ve got a house. At least I earn my living.’ Irrelevant. Living, are you living? Are you dying? Are you preparing? Comfortable? Irrelevant. ‘I like my work.’ Well it’s better than hanging around doing nothing. Nothing at all. Sleep long. Watch the taxman, watch the Axeman. Worked hard, got bread. Irrelevant.

The smiling face of Mr Punning caught me in the eye, yes sir, no sir, bollocks sir. ‘Ah well,’ thought, then said Mr Punning. ‘Restless these youngsters today, never had it so good. Lucky they don’t live in the same place as those,’ a sudden twist to fascism, ‘Dirty Red Bastards.’ He sighed heavily, that was hard to get out, but he’d said it. Pity no-one heard him though. He was sitting in a park eating his packed lunch out for a change. ‘There you are duck,’ he said, thinking how kind he was, yes the English were kind to animals.

‘Excuse me, man.’ Punning jumped agitatively. ‘I heard that.’ What had he heard thought Sir. ‘What about the bomb?’ said the man. Irrelevant. He hurried off tucking his brown paper parcel and putting his brolly up for a spit of water. Irrelevant my foot. My foot? Irrelevant.

***

Related Posts:

Boys From the Backfields – the first chapter

The first chapter of my novel The Boys from the Backfields

Backfields-front 1 cover oct 8-2013 2013

 The door to my past opened easily, it was a surprise. I’d intended to confront Angel directly, but she was out when I arrived. Considering her profession, she should have changed the locks.

I was hiding in the attic when she came back in.

I’d climbed up there to see if I could find any clues among the bits we left behind when we’d gone to LA in the nineties. The questions raised by the anonymous emails needed answers. I found a heavy wooden box crammed with old photos, and two large manila envelopes, stuffed with my scribbles about the events that had come to define my life.

I was sitting in an old deckchair waiting for Angel to go to bed. The answer had to be there, in those damp, limp bundles, some detail I hadn’t realised was important when I’d written it down.

My cell phone vibrated as another text arrived. It was my PA, Helene, again. No. I couldn’t think about work, or too much about Helene. I had to focus. The past had to be resolved before I could think about the future again.

I wrote the first ‘book’ in the late seventies, when I felt I was able to give some time to myself, after half-a-dozen years of frantic success. Hell, I even considered retiring then, before my thirtieth birthday.

The paper was thin and stained, but the typewritten text was still crisp and bold.

I started to read.

BOOK ONE

1963 – 1973

CHAPTER 1

Have you watched those wildlife programmes on the television and seen the images of big cats dealing with porcupines? That was me and trouble. I sniffed at it in a circumspect way, and then, when it showed any sign of life, I ran like hell. That was me usually, but that day the taunting just got to me.

The smirking face begged to be squashed into the muddy grass of the field. It was a wet summer and I had recently come into that phase of life that marks your earliest memories, the few vivid incidents from early childhood that you remember when you eventually emerge into the heaviness of adulthood.

The boy’s name was David, an innocent sounding name for what was a vile specimen of childhood. Like the serpent in the Garden of Eden, he slithered and oozed his way around my consciousness, an evil, ugly, smelly, little boy. I knew him as Snobby, a name that invoked gross images of dirty dried-up snot and filthy fingernails. Continue reading

Related Posts:

Should Do Well

My mother showed me this the other day. I was top of the top class in the last year of primary school. She said: “Look at this – what the hell happened?” – LOL

report-1963

Related Posts:

Two Black Cats in the Garden

Image

Cats & things

Over ten years ago we adopted two black cats via the RSPCA, one dainty and friendly, the other fat and feral – they were sisters, two years old. The RSPCA were extremely thorough – they sent an inspector to visit us at home to check if we were suitable, then they inoculated and ID chipped the animals before we were allowed to take them.

two_black_cats_in_the_garden

This is the painting I did of the ‘Two Black Cats in the Garden’. It was sold a couple of years later. I miss it . . .

The piece below is what I wrote at the time.

There are cats; there are things. Sometimes cats are the things and sometimes the things are cats. Two black cats came into our lives. The big one disappeared for a week, then came back for food and wouldn’t come in or near us. So I trapped it, like a man, with a wooden compost bunker, a broken bamboo and a length of blue nylon string that my wife bought on Carmarthen market when she was thinking about making spinning wheels for a skills lesson on a teaching course last November. She settled for mini pompoms in the end, in fluorescent coloured yarn.

When I trapped the cat, it mauled me – bit through to the bone of the little finger of my left hand and left me with a cluster of deep scratches on the back of my right hand.

I held the beast tight against my chest and got it into the house, proud of my hunting skills – it was a macho affair. The cat pissed on me and hid under the kitchen units. The next morning she was still lurking under the sink and I decided she could have her way and her freedom; so I poked her out with the handle of a brush and shooed her out of the back door. I relaxed, thinking I’d never see her again.

I’ll never forget the images of that cat collected over those few days – a vicious feral beast, terrified and terrifying, with hard white teeth and crisp sharp claws – the smell of the piss, the fur, raised and dirty with cobwebs from under the sink, the eyes pleading, frightened, threatening. The lope as it ran down the garden path, and its teeth piercing the flesh on both sides of my little finger.

Then suddenly, two weeks after she left and immediately following the installation of a cheap cat-flap for the benefit of her sibling, she came back and called me from the living room with her meows because she wanted food. Then she padded around the house, soft and friendly as if she’d never been away.

The other cat got freaked out and they hissed at each other, so we coaxed big puss outside for the night and locked the cat flap.

A few days later, just as the cats were settling down at last, my wife got a massive allergic reaction to them that required steroid injections at the hospital.

Sadly, I took the lovely vicious felines back to the RSPCA.

PS: A few weeks later I got a phone call from a vet’s practice in Blackpool telling me that a black cat registered to me had been found on the loose in the town. She’d been recognised from her ID chip.

Click here for another post about the Two Black Cats

Related Posts:

Making Money out of Muck

cow

Are you really going to eat me?

When I was thirteen I worked on a farm for the whole of the summer holidays. I milked the cows, cleaned their shit up, baled the hay, and dodged the advances of a sexually abusive co-worker. I worked from early dawn to late dusk for seven days a week. The people in charge of the farm were known as Boss and Missus. Missus spent all her time in the farmhouse, cleaning, washing and cooking, Boss spent all his time in the fields or in the milking parlour. We ate three meals a day, as much as we could eat of wholesome home-cooked food . . . hold on – what’s wholesome about tinned peaches in syrup, buckets of chips and white bread spread thick with heavily salted, full-fat butter? And the rest of this farm crap is bullshit too.

What actually happened was that a 13 year old boy was exploited and abused by a well-to-do family and expected to work at a job that involved doing evil to animals for 12 hours a day in exchange for mounds of fried potatoes and buckets of sugar-based treats.

To be fair, once a week the Missus would sidle up to me and slip me four shillings, ‘Don’t tell the Boss,’ she’d whisper, dropping the pair of two-shilling pieces into my pocket. Four shillings! That’s just twenty pence in today’s money, and it was a complete pisstake even then. Although because I worked every waking hour I didn’t spend a penny that summer and put every coin into a post office savings account. I think that must have been the first and last time my liquid assets were in the black.

But it would still have been better if I’d spent the summer helping my uncle in the scrap-yard; I might have learned something then about making money out of muck, instead of being a virtual slave to a greedy exploitative bastard.

Related Posts:

Just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you’re right!

I found out it was International men’s day yesterday so I dug this piece up. It was written over 9 years ago and already seems dated and a teeny bit silly.

I am a man and a feminist, and no, I’m not a woman trapped in a man’s body; truth is, I love women, in all respects – they are magical and beautiful beings, but it’s bloody hard work being hitched up to one. They expect you to operate on the same telepathic level of communication that they do. They don’t like long, rambling analytical speeches about the origins of the universe; they don’t like miserable ponderings on the injustices of the world’s political systems – they just know these things instinctively and get on with it.

Women want long walks on a beach at sunset; they want to marvel at the beauty of a cathedral; they want to cuddle strangers’ (and strange) babies; they like to be given flowers (what the hell is that all about?) and they’re always right. That’s not meant to be sarcastic, they ARE always right and we men know this, perhaps that’s why we are so afraid of them. We know that the biggest problem women have with this life is the existence of men. It’s men who cause all the grief: wars, glass ceilings, debts, leaking taps and the overgrown weeds on the patio.

giving-flowersTalking about women, the queen is 80, and what a bloody fuss – she’s been given ‘endless bunches of flowers’ according to Channel 5 news. I guess that makes her the happiest woman in the world. I imagine she gets to visit cathedrals too, but probably has to decline the strolls along the sands in case suicide frogbombers emerge from the sea. Still, even the queen can’t have everything. Anyway, I don’t get it, this false fondness when commentators refer to her highness – “isn’t she wonderful”, “isn’t she strong”, “let’s give her another bunch of dead vegetable matter to show her we care.” Would a king be patronised in the same way? Continue reading

Related Posts:

Quantum Relativity

One of the projects I’m working on has the physical attributes of a book. It looks like a book and it reads like a book (or will do when it’s finished). In its present state it contains about 80,000 words all typed up in the same Word document. The content is snippets from diaries, journals, and scraps of paper going back to when I started writing such things half a century ago when I was twelve or thirteen.years old.

I’ve got a few more bits to type up – say a couple of thousand words. When that chore is complete the real work will begin and I reckon it will take about a year. The idea is to then superimpose a story over these seemingly random unconnected scribblings, so the end result will be a kind of meta-fiction-autobiography-fantasy type of thing. So far it looks like there’s a Magic Elf and a thirteen-year-old Alien girl involved in the plot. Continue reading

Related Posts: