Oscar at the Oscars

You know when someone at a party or in the supermarket says your name, suddenly all else is silent and you tune in. I no longer go to many parties but I still have a name. This time of year is of course Oscar season. Every time I put on the TV or the radio some celebrite is talking about the Oscars. I feel how a dog in the park must feel with dozens of canine managers calling out “Here boy!”. By the way, if you have not seen this little clip of a hapless dog manager calling his pooch I do recommend it.

One of the most compelling names of course is “Dad” or “Mum”. I wonder how old you have to be not to turn round when a child calls out for the parent.  As an old guy you have to be so careful not to smile at or acknowledge kids. I mean this in a really serious way incidentally. What would happen to an old bloke who approached a lost distressed child? It would be risky – particularly if you fled into a church as the mob attacked.

So, the Oscars are upon us. Who will win the prize for the Best Screen Poet of all time? Probably no one, because the category does not exist. All the same I am poised to reveal my own stardom on the silver screen – OK, just the TV really. I’m not sure if you get this show in the USA these days but in the UK it is called  “Midsomer Murders”. In Europe it seems to run as “Inspector Barnaby”.

A couple of years ago, the poet’s mate  spotted an advertisement for film extras. All that was needed was a bicycle. We set off on a frosty morning to a portion of pretty Downland. We mingled among the Greats munching bacon sandwiches served from a huge caravan. Thespians ate as if they were people just like me. They smoked cigarettes and practiced riding bikes. For every performer there seemed to be several hundred assistants with loud-hailers (bullhorns), clipboards and luvvy chat. One unfortunate actress had clearly never been on a bike in her life. On the first take she crashed painfully. “Looks like her big break in the movies” quipped an old sweat  cyclist. “CUT!” bellowed a bullhorn. All day we cycled about. At one point we all had to appear to be chatting and looking at the view. We all had to mime because you have to an official thesp to speak. Later they dubbed in mumbling chat done by professional mumblers.

We had a huge lunch and at the end of the day we all received a decent wad of cash. Fortunately for you poor bored patient readers a clip of my starring moment does exist. It is dubbed in Polish but this does not affect my role. I am the old bloke in the black hat and fluoroescent green coat cycling behind an actor at the 30 second point. I do make several other cameo appearances amongst groups of other cyclists. In a whole day we filmed about 40 seconds of programme. As the ceremony unfolds and the gasps and gushes reach a new crescendo of controversy, revealing dresses and thanked mothers I will sit back in my cave nodding sagely as one who knows the inside of the business.

Only Here For the Beer

I do not spend my life in supermarkets. However, the loving poet’s mate has a very busy life and the canned fish aisle is as poetic a place as any. Today I went on an important retail mission to buy anchovies and beer. A guy has to prioritise. You can buy a can of anchovy fillets for about 90 pence. It is an admission ticket to a world of Mediterranean sun, olive oil, swarthy leather skinned opera singing artisans  and the salt of centuries and oceans. They are also handy on a pizza.

For £7.50 pence you can buy a cardboard box containing 24 bottles of “Continental” beer. I figured this was a good way to spend my lifetime’s royalties as a poet – although I did have to add a heavy subsidy from my real wages.

As I waited at the checkout I fretted that the rather taciturn female at the scanner would scowl at me for being an alcoholic/anorexic. I was prepared with a witty biblical repost about loaves, fishes, water and wine. I recognised her as being the matriarch who had once rejected my basket of cold cure powder and ibuprofen tablets as being excessive medication and against Ministry of Sickness health guidelines.

As I lifted the beer onto the conveyor, the universe intervened with the perfect diversionary tactic. The bottom of the box collapsed and about a dozen bottles shot out, hitting the floor, the bar code barracuda and the conveyor.  Why do big swallowing cracks in the ground only happen in disaster movies? I stood there shrugging and smiling in my sweet/pervy old man deaf mute way as broken glass, beer and foam coursed around my ankles. I became someone else – perhaps a wandering poet uninvolved in a mob of screeching mop carriers. I considered trying to explain. No one seemed interested. Not surprising really.

Poet’s cave

I have been giving myself away on KDP. When they told me about this, I thought it was something to do with peanuts but I suppose it has when you think about it. Last time I offered myself I had few takers. This time I shifted about 90 copies and for a few moments was the world’s Numero Uno poet, even getting ahead of the dead ones – and that is tough. And that, of course, brings me on to the French Foreign Legion.

In the novel “Beau Geste” the brave legionnaires prop up dead comrades to fool the enemy into thinking they are facing an army. In my Kreative Blogger post I set out 10 “facts” one of which was not true. Yes – I never actually applied to join the French Foreign Legion. I got married and never sent off the forms. It was one of the biggest military set-backs  my mother in law ever suffered.

Dear oh dear – back to the cave.

Things That Go Pump In The Night

February 14th 2012. Yes – it is St Valentine’s day – although seemingly no one knows who he was, what he did or why he is associated with love. You know – it is rather British of me to see a sombre side to all the red velvet hearts and roses. My guess is that for each loved and delighted recipient there is a disappointed and lonely figure making the best of it somewhere. There are those who love the wrong person or who found the right one too late. There are those who love the shallow and the cruel and are trapped in their suffering. There are those who cannot love because they were never loved. There are those too wounded to love again and those who wounded cruelly, grown old now and surveying the withered loveless crop they sowed, those bereaved and those abandoned. Today will bear as many tears as kisses. As a poet, I have never written a proper love poem. I did write one about the crime of love. I used legal and criminal terms to reflect the sense in which love can often be seen as wrong and how the ruthless words of law freeze dry its passion.. Here it is:


No choking by chocolate
No cruel cut of flowers
For these would be treason
Against our State.
With counterfeit notes
Demanding honey with menaces
Loitering with intent to adore –
These be my petty love crimes.

A great favourite poet of mine is Robert Graves. In his poem “Man In The Mirror” he surveys himself and reflects upon his quest for the female. I checked him out on you tube and was amazed to find him performing this poem with video. Just catch that clipped British accent!

I can never let Valentine’s day go by without thinking of poor old farmer Boldwood who was so deranged with love for Bathsheba Everdene in Thomas Hardy’s “Far from the Madding Crowd”.  When she teased him with a Valentine’s card she set in a motion events that would lead to his destruction.

I am very loved in my own life. I reflect upon this sometimes remembering Ovid’s poem “Remedia Amoris” (the cure for love). He advises catching the horse while you can before it gets into a gallop. Then treat (the disease) early and fill your time with war or law. If all that sounds a bit active there is always the advice in Wendy Cope’s poem:

Two cures for love
1 Don’t see him. Don’t phone or write a letter.
2 The easy way: get to know him better.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-1022230/Love–Poems-straight-heart-Wendy-Cope.html#ixzz1mNE5qzTz

What a miserable old git I am! I hope you are having a love filled day. If not – I hope my little dose of cynicism cheers you up. You are not alone.

If you fancy a few more dances around the bonfires of traditions check out  ” I Threw A Stone” which is my current collection available on Amazon Kindle. You will find learned masterpieces dealing with Erectile Dysfunction and love in the  “bargain bin consume today” department at Walmart. It has an MP3 audio download (which also plays on the Kindle) and tomorrow on the 15th IT IS FREE on Amazon, worldwide.


Amazon USA link
Amazon UK link
Amazon Germany link
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In The Belly of The Wail

I’ve rather been in the poet’s cave, like some old catfish under a stone. I would love to have emerged brandishing the final Truth in poetry. What winkled me out was a subject that arose in Emma Calin’s blog where she mentioned the enmity between her parents. I always tell folk that I emerged from an egg like a turtle and scurried for the surf. However, there is much poetry about parenthood and I have contributed to it a little in my own poor way.

My favourite parent poem is by the English poet Philip Larkin. No one could ever have viewed him as cheerful. I think many Brits of my own generation will still be very aware of him, but poetry still had some kind of main stream potency in those days, a bit like an express steam train. Here is his poem “This Be the Verse“.

I’m sure that cheered you all up. Looking back I think that my awareness of this pessimistic poem while I was bringing up my own kids, at least made me aware that I was getting it wrong. Judging by the tracks in the sand, they should be competent turtles.

And talking of sand, I have been walking on it. Living near the coast, I’m sure I take for granted my opportunities to see the ocean. I managed to scramble under a pier and took the featured photo. There is something darkly sinister about pillars and dark water.

Comrade poets – unite with me and enjoy a poem by the American poet Jo VonBargen entitled “The Garden”. If nothing else check out the last 6 lines. Her style in this poem is rich and sensual and will inject some complex passionate irony back into your veins. At once Pre Raphaelite images  flooded my mind. Pure overdose my dears.