West sent East

Cameron would like to export our fancy goods;

Land Rovers, Jaguars, Aston Martins, Rolls Royce

jet engines, heavy weight freight. Sometimes we do.

 

More often we ship out container after container

of crap. Precious cargo of scrap wood, scrap paper,

scrap metal and millions and millions of rubber tyres

 

It all sails East.

 

We ship our surplus worthless jewelry;

engagement rings once given in genuflecting

affection now prized from dead mothers fingers.

 

Wedding bands once blessed by priest worn out

from the effort of staying together through thick and thin

rather than through excessive handholding.

 

Silver trophies once handed over for sterling

achievements in acknowledgement of sacrifice

scooped from shelves of long gone sons and daughters.

 

It all sells by weight.

 

Container after container of crap. Western detritus

sailing East piling high in toxic dumpsites.

Our noxious effluvium better off polluting

their Eastern Air.

 

February 5th 2011

Antwerp

I love this city…

Left the windy hill at 8.30am Friday and arrived in Antwerp at about 4pm. Checked in to the beautiful T’Sandt, a little treasure in a jewelled city. Managed to get a couple of hours shopping in before closing and bought some wonderful work samples from the gorgeous Kids on the Dock, even though the shop assistants were very grumpy and just wanted to go home. My room is pretty… and spacious…

We had a heavenly meal at one of our favourite restaurants Der Kleine Zavel. I had scallops to start on a pea and cauliflower puree, Lamb cooked four ways for my entree- a casserole, a baby boned lamb shank, liver and medallions in a rich gravy, or jus if you wish me to be less prosaic, with spinach- yum yum yum, and we shared cheese for dessert. All washed down with an excellent bordeaux. Delicious.

 

 

Found a window full of Barbie…

There were hundreds of her all lined up waiting for something amazing to happen. I could sense her communal expectation- all dressed to kill with nowhere to go.

Saturday- windy wild and wet. Undeterred by the elements we soldiered on- lots more shopping- found some treasures for myself too- a lovely soft, soft tan leather jacket that will be perfect for spring days worn with vintage prints or lots of white. It has huge covered leather buttons and reminds me of a jacket my Ma had when I was a little girl. I can vividly recall the feel of it as I reached up and held onto her arm. It has a half belt at the back just like Ma’s too. She actually gave hers to me when I was a teenage fashion junkie and I promptly lost it on some drunken night out- left it on the parcel shelf of a minicab. Now I finally have a replacement, my 33 year search satisfactorily brought to a conclusion. Also acquired a pair of kingfisher blue suede ankle boots with gold laces that will match nothing but therefore go with anything and an ankle length midnight frock which I wore out this evening. Fab Salad Nicoise for lunch with caper berries- I’d never tried them before. delish!

Back to hotel where we photographed all our purchases- work ones, not my own- they covered my bed… twice over. Lots of lovely inspiration and ideas for everyone back in the office.

Off out again for another splendid evening at a super glam restaurant/bar called Lux in old 19th century shipping offices near the docks. Wonderful food- Lobster croquettes- and a bar that permitted smoking… I thought I’d fucking died and gone to heaven! Much vino and several baileys later we staggered into a taxi. Slept like the proverbial…

Off to Paris Sunday morning… Times like this I love my job.

February 3rd 2011

Check out the land of giants… Thank you Isaac Crutchley… http://isaaccrutchley.wordpress.com/

Very beautiful…

http://www.designboom.com/weblog/cat/9/view/11155/choi-shine-architects-the-land-of-giants.html

So… I have a new blog. It’s much more sophisticated. I can post things and you can find things… more easily… I hope.

It seems to be better on the poetry front anyway. It’s definitely better for my diary.

I’m exhausted. Brings to mind a little ditty my Ma has always quoted to me since I was a young teenager:

Edna St Vincent Millay- Figs from Thistles

My candle burns at both ends;

It will not last the night;

But, ah, my foes, and oh, my friends-

It gives a lovely light.

Off to Antwerp tomorrow- early doors. I’m driving. Need to pack. Need to sleep. Need to write. Is there a name for a magician who can extend time- stretch it- without one ageing in the process. I need that magician. 6 more hours in a day would make such a difference.  Would I sleep a little more? Who knows, I am an incompetent judge. I really want to write more of my story but I know that if I start I will find it difficult to stop and tomorrow I am not only driving myself, but am in charge of two others. Plus I have to pack- and remember stuff like passport, phone charger, Hotel addresses, Tunnel crossing details, clean undies- you may mock but they have been forgotten before. Hey- European knickers are gorgeous… so what the fuck- I’ll write…

February 2nd 2011

Just discovered this via Twitter… Love love love them.

Poems by Thomas Lynch- just ordered his latest volume.

Read and weep (and smirk a little too)

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/archive/poem.html?id=179101

Just got home from Trouble Writing, which is the one thing I’m not having any trouble doing at the moment.

This week we read and discussed The Overcoat by Nikolai Gogol Very interesting. I enjoyed it and it’s something I’d never have read if it weren’t for this class.

Getting to know everyone on the course now- we go for a drink after. Seeing as our class is held in the upstairs room of a bar it would seem churlish not to… such a cool bunch, such great writing, so varied. I find it fascinating that we are all inputted with the same information and we go off and compute in our own way. We cogitate, interpret and out pops this wealth of wondrous and very individual stuff. Cool, exciting, inspiring. Love it! I find Polly, our teacher, unusual, so unprescriptive, enthusiastic and very inspiring. I really enjoyed my writing this week and it seemed to strike a chord with the group. Very exciting I will finish it this week along with this weeks homework! Phew- if I don’t post much in the way of new stuff, bear with me… please. You’ll get a glutt in a couple of weeks. I want more hours in a day. I’m so looking forward to my week of writing. It’s so long away though… April :+(

FILM

Had a great weekend. Took many boys to see Black Swan at the Phoenix Square. It was good. I enjoyed it. Sumptuous, gorgeous aesthetically, sexy, very dark, but the story was light. However, there was enough going on visually and emotionally to engage me. The teenage boys who accompanied me all loved it which interested me… I wondered at certain points whether they would find it all too esoteric and intense, but they didn’t seem to. I give it ***

Sunday afternoon took same bunch of boys on long dog walk through soggy, awakening woods. Wonderful. Walked to the chimney stack wreck which Fergus climbed up, and got stuck on, and we all laughed and left him to find his own way down. Bruce found stiff, old, very dead, headless rabbit, half of which he consumed. Must have been rank for it to have been only half. Otto has had stomach upset by proxy ever since. Wish I’d studied dog psychology. Maybe if the writing fails that should be my next challenge. Good subjects to practice on that’s for sure.

Cooked lovely late Sunday lunch and a good friend popped round. Was in the mood to make an effort so it was only a Turkey short of a Christmas Feast. Sociable, tasty, relaxed, stuffed, just what the best Sundays are all about.

Mmm, sometimes I do so love my life. I suppose it would be silly to wish I always felt that way and maybe, because sometimes I don’t, the times when I do are all the more defined and rare and appreciated.

WORK

Tuesday was taken up with an all day course for my management team, the second day of a two day adventure. SDI- we’ve all been profiled and worked on and have been given a set of tools to decipher ourselves, each other and everyone we will ever meet in the future. Flippancy aside, it was really good, very positive and I think it will make a difference, so hopefully a good investment.

We ended the day with a slightly touchy-feely excercise which worked suprisingly well. We had to spend 3 minutes with every team member telling them which three of their strengths we most appreciated, which one of their overdone strengths (that’s weaknesses to you unenlightened folk) we would prefer them to modify and describe succinctly why we valued them as a person.

It was very life affirming. I found it really interesting as, being the boss, I never have an appraisal or get any negative (or positive for that matter) feedback. Mmm- nourishment!

My overdone strengths: I can be- Abrasive, Stubborn, Subservient.  I concur.

My strengths: I can be- Self-confident, Supportive, Fun, Good with people, Knowledgeable, Patient, Tolerant, Decisive, Creative.

Thank you! Lot’s to both build on and work on there.

 

January 27th 2011

Gosh- I’ve been so busy writing, writing, writing… and a fair bit of living too…  I’ve not had time to keep this up to date.

Where do I begin…

WRITING:

Trouble writing, my Wednesday class, is interesting and very inspiring.

Our homework was to write a short piece in the form of a letter to ourselves inspired by the short story

Canaries by Yasunari Kawabata which we had read and discussed in class.

The subject was to be love but not necessarily a love-letter. I enjoyed it- found it very cathartic. I had attempted to write a poem around the subject a while ago but it was proving unweildy. The intense and densely layered format worked well and the end result is neither poetry or prose. A hybrid- a prosem?

Wife,

Please forgive me, although you cannot forgive her.

I know you loved her, in a way, your shopping and gossiping girlfriend. You felt sorry for her very English body and her stretch-marked knees, derided her shallow life and the desperate ways she tried to please. There was no hint of her duplicity.

But she saw all and laughed in the face of your pitiful arrogance. When she came to your party, dressed unsuitably, swept down the stairs and couldn’t care less, that all the guests stared at her too much young flesh, embarrassed, you looked away, missed the thinly disguised deceipt and guile in her smile. Everyone noticed desire in her eyes, but you.

There was a time when you were my muse, provided manna enough to satisfy all my appetites. Contempt and boredom blew inside a marriage through doors left carelessly open wide. I closed my eyes and mind, ignoring all the warning signs, too busy to think, too blinded by living to see. As your green-eyed gaze turned away from me, albeit briefly, she seized her moment, forged a chasm through a chink.

While I was cutting loose you were braiding the noose with which she’d later hang you. You handed her your whispered sweetmeats on a plate. Deformed in her manipulative grasp she fed me her mendacious morsels and, open mouthed, I devoured, hungry for those half-truth tit-bits. Flattered by her youthful side, I allowed her to apply sweet unction to my wounded pride and later, salve to my urticating culpability.

Thereafter she gave chase, armed with a weapon honed on her sharp-witted bitching she deftly cleft forever what was one, into two. Her guilt-edged sword cut keenly through, leaving a parasite that grew until it entirely obliterated us both, hid us from each others view. Immunity blown, defenceless, weak, your forgiveness then, proved an ineffectual remedy for such a disease ridden soul.

I was unready to accept your remorse-coated gift. I no longer cared to look at you, with your wasting bones and shrinking flesh, you were disappearing rapidly. When I by chance, casting my eye about, met yours, shrouded in your mirrored cloak of invisibility, all that was returned to me was censure. I felt diminished by this hideous anamorphosis.

I dug a deep moat, erected huge walls to surround and protect me from your supplicant pleadings. They grew wider and deeper, taller and steeper each year, until I realised you’d given up trying to reach me. Our marriage sat crumpled in the corner, sullied and worn, a discarded item on the bedroom floor as we lay apart staring up at the ceiling, the cracks in the plaster echoing the increasing crevasse between us, growing too large to be bridged.

Was it a lack of due care and attention or criminal negligence or dereliction that caused such a catastrophy? Why did I not take up arms and fight to protect what I knew was mine by rights? Deafened by pain, blinded by rage, my impotence reigned supreme. I recognise my culpability and ask again, will you, even though you cannot forgive her, forgive me?

Your husband.


We had read and discussed in class My Mother by Jamaica Kincaid. An allegorical tale heavy with metaphor and surreal imagery. We then went on to discuss size/scale and prisoner/jailer situations. We worked in class on some exercises around these and our homework was to write a short piece either inspired by the Kincaid story or written as if we were either being held prisoner or holding someone prisoner in a doll’s house.

I wrote the following which I want to carry on with and use to explore the changing relationship with my Father as he becomes older and ever more dependent on me.

Diminished

‘Pa… Pa!’ I struggled to make myself heard. Not only had I shrunk to less than a tenth of my former self, the power of my vocal chords seemed to have diminished proportionately, unsurprisingly, I suppose.

‘Pa! PAAA!” Oh, it was no good. I would just have to wait until he chose to pay me some attention of his own accord. I paced the floor for a while, sinking into the carpet, the shag pile itching my shins, feeling as always, like I was wading through tall, coarse grass. Patience, never having been one of my virtues, was certainly not coming easily to me this morning.

I busied myself by sweeping up my own pathetically small piles of crap with the help of an old mascara brush and a guitar pick… How the mighty are fallen.

‘Hello? Hello… Lindsay… love?’ the net curtains shook as he bellowed, thrusting his huge silvered head into my sitting room, knocking askance my most recent arrangment of crude ugly blocks that mocked the very description of the word ‘furniture’.

‘Pa, don’t shout! I’m here… obviously… Where have you been?’

‘Oh, Sandra and John turned up for coffee. I couldn’t turn them away. You know how they like to check on me every now and again since Ma… since Ma…’ His sentence tailed off dejectedly. I really was not in the right frame of mind to bolster anyone today,

‘Check, smeck, what the feck… Pa…?’

‘Lindsay! That is unnecessary. I know you’re not happy with the current…”

‘NOT HAPPY?’ I interjected aggressively. ‘No, Pa, I’m not bloody happy. Not bloody happy at all. You got me into this mess, this place, this… this…’

It was my turn to tail off dejectedly and it’s not often that I’m lost for words, but how do I describe where I am? I’m trapped in my fucking doll’s House for God’s sake… and… I fit! How do I find words to express what my life has become, or begin to come to terms with the weird occurrences of the past weeks?

Twenty six days ago I awoke in a strange room on a very hard lumpy bed- and no- I’m not acting the princess- believe me, it is hard and it is lumpy. What’s more- I’m small. I am, in fact, minute; I measure precisely five inches and seven eighths. We measured me against Pa’s wooden biro-ingrained ruler. The bed in which I awoke is the sole item in the ugliest emptiest bedroom in any house in any world. My unfortunate home is a scaled down replica of a rather utilitarian 1950’s army quarters we once inhabited in Aldershot forty years ago… so I am told. His choice of army barracks, never having been known to be the prettiest of domains, has since forced me to question, big time, Pa’s taste in many things.

‘Lins, Lins, don’t be cross. I’m sorry. Are you hungry? How about a pomegranite seed? I know you like them- they’re a super food don’t you know? I read about them in the…

‘PA! Please! I’m not hungry! It takes me a day to munch through one of those. Have you any idea how tough the skins are?’

Calm… calm… breathe… focus…

‘OK… sorry Pa… only… I get so lonely Pa. I don’t even have any music. I need music. Oh!’ I had a sudden light bulb moment,

‘I  could have music. I could have my Ipod in here. I could turn the wheel myself I’m sure- shoulder against the play button. I could do that… yeah… ipod…ipod… Pa?’

‘Ipod? Sorry? You’ve lost me. Is that your music machine, that tiny black thing with a little screen? Where is it?’

I’m so excited now- why didn’t I think of it before?  Perhaps because I wasn’t thinking about a diminutive future, eeking out the rest of my days as a living doll. I was hoping all would suddenly, miraculously, revert back to normal.

“It’s in my handbag, wherever I left it- I think on the work top in the kitchen next to the microwave- go look Pa…’

Ten minutes later Pa returned- with Ipod. Oh My God… the monolith from 2001 A Space Odyssey. Where are the crimson skys, the desert winds, the tumble weed, the orchestra complete with kettle drums?

He breathed and wheezed with the imagined effort of it all and leant the small black thing against my sitting room wall, carelessly shoving aside various balsa wood flotsam (I bit my tongue,) and plugged it in with a cable as thick as my neck. The huge black speakers he set up on the table next to my house were the same height as my bedroom and looked like a spaceship that had just landed from some far off dark star. I would have decibels to die for. I’d always loved the feeling of being rooted to the floor by a bass line, pinned to the walls by a wailing guitar, nailed to the ceiling by a sinful melody, knocked down by the boom of words…  what should I listen to first?

I sent Pa off on an errand to find a cutting implement I would be strong enough to handle in order to trim his wayward eybrows- a chore that had always been mine since days of yore. They were fast encroaching, dying to entwine with his eyelashes. While he was gone I managed to turn the scrollwheel using both hands and all my weight, feeling like I was navigating the spaceship through the sheres and discovered a good Karate kick activated the menu and play buttons. I pondered my choices and decided on The Rolling Stones… (I can’t get no) Satisfaction. I deemed it appropriate as it was fairly jolly and seemed to sum up my enforced captivity- ie  celibacy- to a tee.

I dragged the remote over to the coffee table, levered it on top…  Mmm, a definite improvement to its pitted ugly surface… quite sleek… selected aux, depressed the on button, hit the volume and Shit! that fuzz box guitar riff nearly knocked me off my feet! I felt suitably moved to dance and leapt maniacly amongst the thigh brushing verdant hair that is my dance floor… feeling happy for the first time since my spaceship steered my life and I on to it’s new course.

Pa returned, grumbling and immediately turned down the music, knocking the Ipod off balance. I leapt out of the way as it came toppling towards me, only just missing me as it landed in the middle of the room, taking out the sofa on it’s way down.

‘What a racket!’

I was immediately transported to those long ago days as a fifteen year old when I seemed to spend my whole life feeling churlish and misunderstood, hopelessly attempting to make Pa see that my music was not rubbish and the reason the radiogram had a volume control that turned up to number nine was so you could hear it over a whispered conversation in the next room.

I sat down in a sulk and sneezed- a stray strand of the axeminster tickling my nose.

‘Jeez, life’s a bitch…’

To be continued…

Last night’s class involved cutting and sticking- interesting… We have to write a piece connected by disconnected headlines and random passages cut from newspapers. Looking forward to getting started.

We listened to everyone’s homework and there was really imaginative and brilliant writing. I really enjoyed hearing all the stories.

Thursday brought with it the Leicester Writers Club and I very nervously read out the first half of my story Rabnatt and the Lost Art of Communication. hoping beyond hope that all the members wouldn’t think me a completely incompetent jerk. The criticism I received was so constructive and I was really pleased and surprised by the positivity the piece was met with. I have made many of the changes that were suggested and the story is so much better for them. Very happy and encouraged. I feel really lucky and privileged to have the chance to be part of such a group.

MUSIC

Had the best evening on Saturday with my Sis in York at a fabulous wonderful I am KLOOT gig. Oh it was good… I stood rooted to the sticky boards in the black painted low ceilinged tatty cellar and as the notes floated like glistening dust motes all around me I wept. Bought the first album that’s been remixed by Guy Garvey. Fantastic… or ‘Sick man!’ as my eldest would say. My favourite song of the mo:

Twist

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5O9WgFEevzAJanuary 15th 2011

A very dear friend of mine, Joe Little,  who I’ve known since he was two days old, has a new band -Peyote

Click on the link to listen to an amusing interview and one track. The whole radio show is on the link but Peyote come in 4 mins 35 secs into the recording.

http://soundcloud.com/spaliferadio/spa-life-radio-5January 15th 2011

 

January 15th 2011

MUSIC

I’m into The Secret Sisters in a big way- just ordered their CD from America. Harmony’s to die for, heaven in that slide guitar, voices echo… enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2QKWePyS7w&feature=related voices echo…

Spent a great afternoon In Waterstone’s Market Harborough for South Leicestershire Stanza, a poetry discussion and workshop. Really interesting and worthwhile. Took along one that’s been bugging me for a while and got some great feedback. I look forward to the next session in February. Will remember to go for a pee first as Waterstone’s hospitality does not extend to lavatories.

http://www.poetrysociety.org.uk/content/membership/stanzas/leics/

 

January 14th 2011

January 14th 2011

Oh I had a lovely day today. Off to London early and Market Harborough Station was unusually quiet so I parked up painlessly, hopped on my train and arrived in the city in just over an hour. I had a meeting first thing which I had been dreading for an age and procrastinating for even longer but which went surprisingly brilliantly, so all boded well and from then on it just got better and better.

ART

First stop The V&A for the Shadow Catchers Exhibition.

http://www.vam.ac.uk/collections/photography/shadow-catchers-camera-less-photography/

I had visited this exhibition before Christmas but did not have as much time as I would have wished or to do it justice and I really wanted to re-visit. I really found every piece moving, beautiful, magical. It was one of the most wonderful exhibitions I have ever been to. For me, the fact that they are photographs, even though they are camaraless, made them more immediate, captured something in a way I felt a painting, drawing or sculpture could not have. I also like the serendipitous nature of chance having it’s hand in everything. Amazing. Profoundly affecting. Uplifting. I spent several hours there.I am going to transpose my notes as I wrote them. Feelings and emotions of the moment. Not all comments apply to the images shown- some are inspired by other exhibits by that artist. I bought the book so it will mean more to me. Sorry.

Floris Neususs ‘Be Right Back’ 1984/87

There she sat, old woman, ankle boots, laces in bows, wool serge frock. a shock of wire wool hair, I know she sat there, I see her shadow. Even though she is long gone and all that remains of her is her presence and the chair, old oak ladder backed chair, school chair, conker brown, charcoal shadow, I feel she was relaxed and animated, in conversation. A moment captured.

Pierre Cordier ‘Chemigram + Photogram 1958’

Dazzled by the white, atomic explosion, elemental, primal, fundamental, light, essence, being, emergence, spacial, depth, achromatic, accutely detailed, absorbing, a journey, glow white.

A quote from Pierre Cordier that I loved:

“like the messages hidden by spies in the dot of an i…”

Garry Fabian Miller ‘The Night Cell’ Winter 2009/10

Glowing luminescent, spiritual hole into the unknown, punched through to another world, an observation of a mind map, peaceful, tuneful, ethereal spheres, diamantines, brilliantines, crystalline, deep ultramarine, a birthing, a breath.

Susan Derges ‘Arch 4 (Summer)’ 2007/8

Water at the core, connecting everything,

I see a sound, I feel a light.

Dappled sunlight in shallow waves captures micro moment, stillness in flowing river.

Adam Fuss ‘My Ghost (Christening Robe) 1997

Absent moments, innocence, loss, spiritual, serpent within, immortal sin, tracery of lace, ladders… the route by which angels ascend and descend to and from heaven as in jacob’s dream… explore. Moving away from earth to the cosmos.

infinitely spectacular dynamically random act produces utterly ordinary ordered perfection. Nature copes.

Butterfly signifies the brevity of life, it’s flight stands for the passage of the soul.

Next on to the Barbican for Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion

For a fashionaholic such as me this was truly fabulous. I have been amazed, awed and inspired by this collective, especially Rei Kawakubo- Comme des Garcons, since they exploded into my world when I was a fashion student. I particularly loved all their early stuff- ‘the bag lady look’- it turned my head and my world upside down at the time and it’s influence is still the strongest and longest lasting since Dior’s New Look in the 50’s- in my opinion… It also led on immediately to the whole deconstructivist movement with the Belgium contingent’s emergence, Martin Margiela and Anne Demeulemeister et al, which I think is the most interesting movement in fashion ever! If you think fashion at all interesting- Go! Go! Go!

http://www.barbican.org.uk/artgallery/event-detail.asp?ID=10771

FILM

Day rounded off perfectly by visit to the Phoenix Square, my favourite Leicester Cinema to see

‘The King’s Speech’ *****

which I really enjoyed. A tale that encompassed love, passion, humour, pride, anger, fear, and the consequent conquering of, failure, and consequent success, all life really. Excellent. Having been the opposite of a royalist all my life, for the first time I feel vaguely predisposed to like and admire them? Shit! I adore Colin Firth so was biased from the outset, but he did not disappoint. I feel that his now slightly sagging cragginess only adds to his appeal. Is anyone with me on this?

 

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