Sock It To Me Babushka.

I grew up in the shadow of the nuclear bomb and the cold war. A common form of conversation in the 1950’s was what would you do in your last four minutes of life. Many young people said “Sex” but I was a bit too young to know what that really meant. Nowadays 4 minutes would just about get me out of my poet’s overalls. The proposition was that 4 minutes was the length of warning we would have of Russian nukes arriving at a town near you. No one knew why they would be launched and we only knew that our boys were ready to do the same to them. I did not know where Russia was. I was very conscious of Cuba in 1962. When I joined the Metropolitan Police in 1977 we had to receive nuclear war training from two instructors who were dubbed “Nuclear Ned” and “Roentgen Ron” who explained to us about shooting starving looters and dealing with the thousands casualties beyond help. It was at about this time I began to wonder if the world controllers were necessarily the best guys for the job. The 1986  film “When the Wind Blows” which looked at Civil Defence in time of attack makes salutary viewing.

So, let us look at the Eurovision song Contest. The Russian entry has been chosen. As I reported to my American readers last week, the UK has chosen Eurobert Humperdinck (75yrs) to represent this Sceptred Isle, this Mother of Parliaments etc. We may as well give up. The Russians have won and for sure have my vote already. At first the choice of a band of grannies in traditional costume singing in Udmurt and (I think) some English may not have seemed calculated to win. However, their performance is so genuine and full of love that it will sweep the board. Check out the clip and at the beginning look at the old lady on the far left. A younger stronger woman next to her has an arm around her and they exchange a glance which is beautiful. It is about friendship and support. Seeing other cultures, their loves,comedies and struggles is the end to War. Ladies and Gentlemen here is Buranovskiye Babushki singing “Party For Everyone”.

I don’t know about you but I found that quite emotional. Look at those socks and remember that we were all going to annihilate each other a few years ago.

At this very moment my collection of poems “I Threw A Stone”  is free on Amazon KDP. Come on guys – just click on it. You do not have to read it. This could be the first time a living poet has got into the charts! It comes with MP3 Audio. Here are the links:

Amazon USA

Amazon UK


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.