Dry Sailor Boy

Teaching diary: Finns & Italians

midweek drafting, no time, still a bit oddly – sandwich episode spins out in the draft – from one sentence to an entire life of sandwich horror :) editing down…

A heatwave and midweek: I am worn noddy, teaching up at the big school and jumping, splash diven into the sea at lunchtime. My sandwich, he watches me from the pebbles. I wave, and he waits…for me.

I sun dry, manly, and say ‘I shall never get rich in this business,’ I say to sandwich, and rub this arm with only a grey sock. I say to sock ‘and know, my dear, I fear…we shall never even become a properly pair, and are only properly poor, in our one single lifetime together.’ [what...]

White, sliced weakling I made: he is held.

‘Why fear me sandwich? heh heh heh, heh heh,’ I growl, and am top doggerel of the beach.

Yes, yet, for me, in this business that is the me philosophy, there remains an afternoon thrill to come, when back in classroom 2B, I catch a bright one in this, my line of sight hooks.

The young fella comes from Helsinki – and crackles, his mind like a rocket: such wit and dry with it, subverts everything that he sees and hears –

The Rabbit’s Bride is a god damn metaphor,’ he says, and lesson done, he scraps his way out to the sound of my whistle in his ears, to the playground arena – where he is stocky, punchy…a combat jacket brother who hangs with the girls. He is brooding from under a flick.

Later we play ‘Rich Me 2025.’ However, my atmosphere becomes raucous – so I cool proceedings with a douse round of ‘Terrible Life Futures’ where students have an opportunity given…to detail a catalogue of horrors from some point in their distance time, kind of like:

‘I live in a tree in Gotemburg park. I eat trash with my pigeon brothers. We am slave to criminal mastermind.’

‘That is a perfect future, Alicia,’ I say.

With Finns and Swedes I also teach rote diction – some version of:

‘Young people, pleased repeats after me:

the elves were left to defend the chickens by themselves…repeat the elves, by themselves eat the chickens and some girls…from the shelves…these elves…they should behave themselves.’

etcet etcet maybe…

When playing ‘Rich me 2025,’…wow…Laurenzo from Rome, tap-types those long fingers upon his jaw; he is very dramatic, and says –

‘Ia hava noa needa fora moneya. I composa ona mya violina the greatest synphonya in the worlda.’

‘Wonderful Lawrence, you are our, my inspitration, but remember please, my boy’ I say with these palms, these yellow teeth, my anger mountain: ‘pull yourself together, boy’ I remind him to his face. ‘It is…recall, my English language – remain flat now, for you musta controla the bounca of your wordsa…at all times.’

Ciao x


Some flaws

Erotica storytelling, 18+ please

Give him a break, it’s his first attempt…keep that head still next time xx

Amazing Achieve

‘Dahling, dahling…I have 300 followers…’


‘I love you.’


‘Well. 250 nutritionists and fifty people with blogs.’


‘Onwards and upwards. I think you may have put on a little weight. Have you considered “Army Workout” with payment spread over a convenient 12 month cycle of pure fitness, go go go.’

‘Go fuck off.’

‘Catch, the remote control.’

‘Yes, yes, yes.’

More ELT Lesson Plans


ELT Lesson Plan


Requiring a short text I goggled ‘the short story’ and up popped, from some loathsome comic, ‘the greatest short stories in the English language.’ I think it was the Atlantic Quarterly and these tales – or riddles, were actually, in fact ‘American’ short stories..? Naturally I persevered in the belief that the students might benefit from the simpler language, structure and general, more basic sense of ideas, emanating from the ‘folks’ across the pond. [haw haw haw, haw haw haw]

I chose only the stories that were labelled as ‘4 minutes’ or less [the link] and yes, goodness knows it is challenging enough to listen to my own family for thirty seconds – let alone some nasal bore pen lick with his IQ and wild pubic beard eyes. Yes again. The first story was called ‘The School by … …….’

This was my favourite of the stories, much preferable to that barrel chest Hemingburg, or the Atwood woman moaning on about the human condition and men wanting sex all the time and women having dreadful lives. I wanted to scream:

‘Have I not read you, your Prisoner Cell Block H Maid Tale…and is that not enough…for you? Go roll…you, away you, you…clever dick.’ [what..?]

Anyway Maggie was tipped into the rejection, ‘ha ha slusher ha ha you,’ pile. Yes…

The School, a wonderful little tale where everybody dies – in a funny way, it is funny, although LLarsson – in class – became extremely agitated, frustrated:

‘But, vis is tragic, no?’

‘No, it is funny: it is called, they call it…homor. Read it properly, they are all dead,’ I said.

Also, next I spoke to the kids, in my voice, spoking: ‘If you can get through this next one, you can say for the rest of your lives that you have read Ray Bradbury books.’ Which they did – read the extract. I lost the back page of my copy so never found out what really happened at the ‘End of the World,’ though tried asking several of the students, but none of them was none the wiser.

By far the greatest success had been the day before – for narration and comprehension, I recommend the Brothers Grimm story about the girl sitting on the rabbit’s tail. It might be ‘Clever Gretel’ or something else. It has the lines

‘Come sit on my tail, girlie,’ said the rabbit.

‘No, no’ said the girl.

‘Come sit on my tail.’


‘Sit on my tail.’

‘Yes, yes. yes,’ which was a true crowd-pleaser, both inside and outside in the corridor where the prefects, and all the other teachers, had gathered.


The girl marries the rabbit. She misses her mother so builds a straw version of herself to fool the bunny. The rabbit beats the straw girl, and believes that he has killed his wife. He has straw on his hands. Gretel never returns to clear up the misunderstanding.


The Rabbit’s Bride

There was once a woman who lived with her daughter in a beautiful cabbage-garden; and there came a rabbit and ate up all the cabbages. At last said the woman to her daughter, “Go into the garden, and drive out the rabbit.” – “Shoo! shoo!” said the maiden; “don’t eat up all our cabbages, little rabbit!” – “Come, maiden,” said the rabbit, “sit on my tail and go with me to my rabbit-hutch.” But the maiden would not. Another day, back came the rabbit, and ate away at the cabbages, until the woman said to her daughter, “Go into the garden, and drive away the rabbit.” – “Shoo! shoo!” said the maiden; “don’t eat up all our cabbages, little rabbit!” – “Come, maiden,” said the rabbit, “sit on my tail and go with me to my rabbit-hutch.” But the maiden would not. Again, a third time back came the rabbit, and ate away at the cabbages, until the woman said to her daughter, “Go into the garden, and drive away the rabbit.” – “Shoo! shoo!” said the maiden; “don’t eat up all our cabbages, little rabbit!” – “Come, maiden,” said the rabbit, “sit on my tail and go with me to my rabbit-hutch.” And then the girl seated herself on the rabbit’s tail, and the rabbit took her to his hutch. “Now,” said he, “set to work and cook some bran and cabbage; I am going to bid the wedding guests.” And soon they were all collected. Would you like to know who they were? Well, I can only tell you what was told to me; all the hares came, and the crow who was to be the parson to marry them, and the fox for the clerk, and the altar was under the rainbow.

But the maiden was sad, because she was so lonely. “Get up! get up!” said the rabbit, “the wedding folk are all merry.” But the bride wept and said nothing, and the rabbit went away, but very soon came back again. “Get up! get up!” said he, “the wedding folk are waiting.” But the bride said nothing, and the rabbit went away. Then she made a figure of straw, and dressed it in her own clothes, and gave it a red mouth, and set it to watch the kettle of bran, and then she went home to her mother. Back again came the rabbit, saying, “Get up! get up!” and he went up and hit the straw figure on the head, so that it tumbled down.

And the rabbit thought that he had killed his bride, and he went away and was very sad.


Serious – for intermediate and up – Rabbit’s Tale/the School/ Bradbury. The Atwood is too heavy – there’s Hemingway too – worth a check: Narration, comprehension, reading, speech…I asked students to transform 19c fairy to 21st grit – (follow the stages of the tale, like steps) great results with their bloodthirsty CW, lovely…

Drugs and Literature

Literature Special

Once upon a time I would happily agree with you – that there’s nothing more dull-tedious than the old stoner books: Junky, Trainspotting, Mr Nice. Been and gone, been it, seen it, done it, yawn, yawn, roll over, roll your own Lou, wait your turn, you’ll get yours, your morphine sulphate, on the ward, come the day…


I knew about the Lee book, and along with many others had read the morphia extract, lifted and printed in Howard Mark’s book of dopey stories. However, for visual thrills and pure reading (probably is a male pig thing) ecstasy, the opening chapter to James S Lee’s ‘Underworld of the East’ is delightful, delicious, hilarious. [Mat, you ponce] – racist, completely against the grain of acceptable values etcetera…

Lee is a 22 year old mining engineer. The year is 1898, and in the far north east of India, there is a clearing overlooked by a guard tower manned with gurkha soldiers, and a thick jungle inhabited by hostile nose bone type tribes. Deep below this clearing lies the mine. Lee travels underground in the mine, steps from the main underground coal highway into a dark cavern where women are mining coal with picks:

The chamber was hot, and the women had loosed their “serais” and tied them round their middle, and from the waist upwards and the knees downwards they were bare. Their skins were moist with perspiration, and glistened in the lamp-light like polished brown marble.

I always felt uncomfortable among a crowd of coolie women; they eyed me with such curiosity, and made personal remarks, a few words of which I was beginning to understand. When the remarks are lewd and obscene, the Hindustani language can be very expressive. There were more women in the mine than men, because they were better workers and cheaper. Many of them were young girls of sixteen or less. Morality was very low amongst them, and sometimes I was almost afraid to go along some of the far parts of the workings; I was little more than a boy and I had heard tales of lone men being carried off into disused portions of the mine by three or four women, some of whom were under the influence of “bhang” or “ganja.”

“Oh Sukie. Here is the young sahib come to see you,” called out one of them to, to a pretty little girl, who answered with a shrill laugh.

One bold young thing, with glittering eyes and a grin showing ivory white teeth, advanced towards me with a mincing gait similar to that sometimes adopted by comedians on the music hall stage, and without bothering to cover her breasts, she stood before me, a beautiful image of symmetry, and then she started to wriggle her body in the manner of the Nautch dancers, evoking a scream of laughter from the rest.

Another girl, whose mouth and lips were blood red with chewing betel nut, or “pahn,” as it is called, came up and offered me a chew

James S Lee Underworld of the East, Green Magic press

Oh, hello, heh heh hmmm heh hang on a minute, yes quite, one is reminded of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness:

‘the horror, the horror…’

or even my own narrations at the Brighton Arts Club that time, if you recall, narrations of my ‘Lady Red Hot Electric Midnight Collection.‘ This is the central problem – with the ‘National Tour Erotica’ project, the possibility of – I fear for my safety, or even duplicating [thank you] the experience of the Welsh singer Tom Jones, who during his Netherlands concert suffered a head injury – when a clog was thrown from the audience, by these women, absolutely losing control of their feet, uuum, stop.

Drunk on Friday


I celebrated my return to planet Zog with a bottle of Swedish vodka. There’s nothing wrong with that, is there? I mean, I’ll probably buy another one tonight, and maybe, well, give myself a night off on Sunday, or Tuesday, or Wednesday rest day – like the Tour de France.

That’s one of the great highs of steady employment – this guilt free purchase of Absolute vodka down the corner shop. Tommy the Tamil, he spotted my gait up the back of the shop and gave me a the nod, the regular’s wink – and I responded with a wobbly thumb’s up, and being as I’m the kind of customer who wears a shirt and collar was escorted to the fast stream counter:

‘Swedish vodka, please.’

‘With cherry flavour, lime?’

‘No, headache is best.’

‘Ha ha, ha ha ha.’

‘Ha ha, ha ha ha.’

So home with my trophy, but this night it did not work its magic – she just kept going – like the chick babe in Raiders of the Lost Arc, at the beginning, in the bar, and I was like the Mongolian loser. I think I finally keeled over with a pair of knickers on my head round about 3am. She took a few snaps to celebrate – heels on the spine kind of thing, and stuck them on the internet, as usual.


I set a few of the rambles to private. I get all precious if my word order ain’t right. I’ll return and fix em up pretty down the road.

Week off next week. Wish we had a little bit more cash and could go to Lisbon. I love beach side cities – San Diego I’ve been and oh, umm Brighton, of course. Down at the beach in Lisbon it’s a bit scruffy but you go see the guy who rents the surfboards – he hands you a plank, doesn’t want your credit card, he thinks you’ll bring his board back – and then plunge: huge waves like a washing machine, all the brown boys in the water, hundreds and me, the giant anglo. My brother always got into fights with his surfing, I never did. Well, I am a massive gorilla, and remember teasing the Spanish men off the peak down in, well goodness knows where. They swore at me in Spanish and I scarpered straight up the sand, gathered the children – like a hero, took the family home, that kind of thing.

The teaching leader said the kids thought I was a good guy, so nice, eh. Better get some more teaching work, hell :)

new tefl freshy error horror

wip, get some sleep, more terror tomorrow

Finally, I suffered the ignominy I feared:


Four lessons down – in the day, and just the clever lot to endure.

I was spotlight sweaty, stood there, swayed, dripped, blobby pink, fat arse and collar, stood there before the 20 kids, the goths, the emos, the jock and the gender guy. Half an hour left on the clock. I had nothing to say.


A kind of mounting panic, the self-inflicted wound was me – that rushed through these hideous tasks I had well-mastered in the morning session, yet by the afternoon I was a bloody bored with myself version: this task that at nine o’clock had filled an hour, by three I raced through the ‘murder game,’ in ten minutes, burned:

I didn’t say we should kill him.’
‘I didn’t say we should kill him.’
‘I didn’t say we should kill him.’
‘I didn’t say we should kill him.’
‘I didn’t say we should kill him.’
‘I didn’t say we should kill him.’
‘I didn’t say we should kill him.’

I burst. ‘Kill the pig,’ I screamed at the classroom, and maybe chuckled, but they only squirmed in the seats. Somebody sneezed.

‘Settle down, ladies.’

With the intermediates, well…we had had some fun before lunch with this forementioned classic of intonation rote – but these intellect guys, in my face with their brains, well I could feel the heat of their enormous minds, they read Wuthering Heights and the Guardian ffs. We, they had simply spun through the seven killers like sugar, and now I clawed alone, a Snow White in snow, turned to stone, mind bank in blank, hardening, treacled on the ropes, at Beachy Head.

‘How bout we revisit the Bukowski poem?’I said.

‘Is weirdo shit,’ said Gothenburg guy.

‘Shall we read extracts from your diary?’ I said to the skinny Finn.

‘Are you sure?’ she replied.

‘Do we do catch bus?’ said Erik.

‘Catch the bus,’ I said, and watched the crew trail away in their pastels and backpacks, then kind of melted in a window frame, solo, disappointed. Once I was inspirational, now I … fart.

Two beers down I have recovered, yet shall embrace the text book, silly fool. I don’t care if it’s guppy rubbish, time to swallow the biscuit and toe the lino.


I am completely Uundraft, euh euh euch

I swiftly grazed the Writers’ Forum – during this dizzy, this free ten minute slot, after our gold standard bout of intercourse, still very sweaty, I began ‘speaking in tongues’ this time, a situation I shall have to monitor, also having become so much more vocal over the years and can pretty much say anything into her ear these days, only the occasional retractions, it’s an age thing, this boldness, this growl tiger me, not like those early days when it was really only the apology at the end, solo or in company, not even Catholic and my responsible employment duties. What? What am I typing? Every edit, it gets worse. I’ll never get any sleep. It’s brilliant, my new life is brilliant. Things just feel somehow better when they are earned. I am as the metaphor says not just cycling to the leisure centre, I am biking to the office. If I can see myself in Halfords next Saturday morning, the entire week appears, this life seems, worthwhile.

Oh, the forum, my old life really – there’s a new thread where everybody states their proper occupations. Responses seem to veer toward the Electronic Systems Administrator Maintenance Chief Engineer type of roles or – otherwise there is a baker, a plongeur/pot wash pro….also a doctor, who shall be along in a minute or two, ha very good. I always prefer a forum with a doctor. She turns up when she’s not doing plastic hands, free-spews a wedge of medical speak jargon, and is like top clever, cheers everybody along on cancer, charity and stuff.

A fair few of the writer crew seem to be managing their mental health breakdowns, professionally. I did try all that, never quite made the grade, ran away from the surgery after I told the nurse I was ‘pissed off’ one time. She’d have stuck a needle in my throat, Tramadol, allsorts probably. A couple of the writers live with hoovers, sort of thing, there’s an Iranian. Most people are nice to him, tho occasionally Kentucky wife turns red, white, blue on-line nutcase and beats him with her…something something, her shoe, old woman, ‘get back in the house’ I say.

There’s an accountant. He shows up, unless I show up: then he fucks off in a huff. I am that kind of popular.

Mainly it’s youngsters. I wanted to join the fray, tell everybody about my interesting life, but it’s bumptious to list all the Military Cross, St John’s a Baptist ambulance first aider type achievements on the online community web.

Still, one does get weepy-eyed about the old jobs that were so loathsome back at the day in time – back ’92 I worked for this Camden entrepreneur:

‘Fifty a day…’ he said, then ‘you’ll be alright round here,long as you can put up a shelf.’ he smiled kindly, left me to it.

Eight hours later he returned to find me covered in planks and blu-tack, I think I used.

The firm’s lorry driver was gay. He was the first tough guy gay, lorry driver I ever knew.

I was mainly left down the warehouse, on my own, to construct the eighteen foot square scalextric diorama for the corporate events. I’d crafted from polystyrene a mountain circuit for the little slot cars and popped down the car shop for the meadow green spray paints. I sprayed the set and watched all my mountains melt, a total disaster that was, three weeks work ruined, and had to turn the set all Utrecht, Holland grand prix afterwards, although it didn’t really work at all, with the electricity problem. I always had to tell the kids at the events that it was broke, ‘you’d better do the treasure hunt instead,’ I’d tell them. I think it was ‘hunt the key ring.’ So many life skills acquired over the years.


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