Wednesday, December 29, 2004

So That Was Christmas

And so 2004 comes to an end. With an international disaster, the scale of which makes blogging and every day life seem rather insubstantial and meaningless. But we glean whatever meaning we can from our daily preoccupations and trundle along, being thankful, those of us who have plenty, for what we have. Our prayers going to the survivors and to the victims’ families and friends.

For Christmas I gave Jill a 10 track CD of love songs and poems. I intend to make it the basis of a full-length CD and book of poems. No doubt I’ll be testing a few out on this blog. Did lots of family stuff. My grandchildren came to stay which was wonderful. Favourite presents – a 4DVD Marx Brothers set – including my favourite three of their films – the new Bob Dylan book – Family Food, Heston Blumenthal’s book – and some interesting CDs.
How about you?

What did I do in 2004? Not as much as I’d have liked. I must get organised for 2005 and get a few projects finished, move a few things from the back burner to the front.

Over the next couple of days I hope to finish the Molecules’ album. I did a rough mix before Crimble but it sounded terrible and then I ran out of time.

New Year’s Eve at James’s – the Molecules’ guest lead guitarist then a very interesting start to the New Year. A visit to the A1 Wastepaper Company, and Michael, Hazel and Archie. I’ll keep you posted. As, no doubt, will Michael.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Season's Greetings to one and all. Posted by Hello

Roger, Jill and Judy Dog step into a snowy Breughel scene.

Not a lot to report. Jill’s shoulder is still bad, which is not good news. It’s been like it for several weeks now, since she slipped over on some leaves in London. It doesn’t seem to be responding to treatment very well.
Last night James came over and added the lead guitar to the Molecules album. Although we’re off that as a name. How about What Wanda Wants? Any good as a name? Spent today working on it. It’s nearly done. It’s a bit of a mess. I think it might be an anti-climax. Doubts, eh? I expect it was the same with Paul and John.
Other than that just general preparations for Saturday. This could well be the last blog until after Christmas - although hopefully I'll pay a call on my new blog acquaintances and friends in the next couple of days. Have a good one everybody.
Damn Right I Got the Blues Posted by Hello

After the country set we did our usual rocky-blues thing. You can just see me on the left in the rather fetching country-style shirt. The photos didn't come out very well in the dark.
The Country Band. Yeeeehaaa!!! Posted by Hello

As promised absolutely ages ago. Here are the country babes. Left - Jann, the birthday girl, and Marie-Claire who helped make it all possible.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

How Was It For You?

Maybe I should put up a Christmas poem. I’ll do that next. Hey ho... ho ho. Well, the house is all bright and sparkly. I’ve nearly finished the children’s story. It’s going well now that I’ve got a bit more time. The Molecules recording’s going well too. My mother’s gone home. Jill’s been in Nottingham this week but has returned – hooray! She's at home for the next few weeks now. Tomorrow - a friend’s birthday – we’re having a take away. Probably Indian. Talking of which - Jill has to visit the nurse tomorrow for her jabs in preparation for her Indian visit next year. I’m planning to finish the story by Friday. Then get the outline for the graphic novel finished next week. If I can do that and get the albums made by Christmas I’ll be well pleased. Meanwhile - Joe’s girlfriend’s family is coming on Sunday for a pre-Christmas dinner. Watch this space.

I was wondering. Do we, as adults, ever have a Christmas as good as the ones we had as children. Assuming we had a Christmas. Faith and privilege notwithstanding. Or do we just remember it being special? Was it rubbish really?


I am the tumbleweed
That rolls across the Western land
I am the shadow of a driftwood stick
Thrown for dogs
To fetch and chase
Upon command

I am a sea-born stone
Each layer worn away by passing time
I am an old man’s face
His joy and pain is read in each and every line

I am a lover’s letter
That’s always out of reach
That’s blown from eager hands
I am the dazzling strands of silver
Dancing on the rippling tide
That breaks upon the golden sands

I am a seagull’s cry
A crow’s lament
The rush of surf, the crash of that relentless call
The sands rendered in pixels on the virtual photograph
The sunshade and the empty sunscreen jar
That sits unwanted on the wall

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Christmas Comes Apace

Jill’s parents have now left and my mum (80) is now visiting. Sorted out a great part of her Christmas present list yesterday by visiting a bookshop in Hastings. Books for all her grandchildren. A job well done. And found Don Paterson's Book of Shadows – which I’ve heard so much about . Several people listed it as a favourite book of 2004 in the Guardian round-up. I’m reading it right now – very interesting – but have a member of the family in mind who will be getting it as a present. Aphorisms used to be very popular didn’t they? It would be a good blog subject I think.

Last night I put up the string for the cards. The Leigh’s card is in pride of place. (See Flobberlob) Also got the tree out of its box and this morning put the lights on. Our first present is ready to go beneath it. It’s also from the Leighs and is a CD or possibly two. Can’t wait to hear what’s on them. I’ve got a nice pile of tracks accumulating ready for our CD to them. A bit of a tradition this.

Other news. The Molecules project is progressing well. James is coming over next Friday to add the lead guitar. Meanwhile I’ve started adding some applause. Also we now have the Matt Harvey collection available from - Rabbit Press. Four pocket-sized booklets of his poetry. I’m really pleased to be selling it. I saw him in performance a few months back and thought he was brilliant. Really funny. And the great thing is – his poems also work really well on the page. A nice guy, too.

Okay – enough blatant advertising – even if it is Christmas! Time to dress the tree and put up the decorations. Not to mention recording my Mum’s contribution to The Family Album. But more of that anon.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Let’s Write Another Poem

Last school visit done and dusted. A clear run to Christmas.
The children’s book to finish and the Mighty Molecules CD.
Of course, things are bound to crop up. My Mum’s coming to visit for one thing. And we’re in the process of looking for and buying a flat in Brighton. This is for our old age. Although if 106 doesn’t qualify for old age I don’t know what does.

Meanwhile, why don’t we write another poem?
Think of something that you once said goodbye to. (Note – something not someone).
Make a list of that object’s attributes.
Think about the process of losing, leaving, throwing away or even selling that object. How did you feel about it?
Finally, remembering that poetry is more about rhythm than rhyme – lay it out on the page. Tinker with it a while. Then when you’re happy with it – post it below in the comments.


Farewell Ted, no more to sit upon the bed
Grinning at me, giving me the paw with your one good arm…

Farewell hi-fidelity stereo. I didn’t want to buy the i-pod but… farewell scratchy albums, and red-wine-stained covers…

Good luck!

Ringing Them Bells

He gazed at me
Looked down from the pulpit
Carved with God’s trigonometry
And said, My boy, you pulled the rope
You rang the bell
You hung the chime in the dead air
Now you await my blessing or my curse
What do you have to say?
I felt the blistered shapes
Moving outside the corners of my mind
And yet unmoved
I caught the dust motes, shadows and the spites
And wished the old priest well
I quietly closed the chapel door
And stole away
Along the grey-leaved late-November path
That briefly ran around the rim of hell