Dry Sailor Boy

How to be a witch

First time witch?


Lots of spooky


Poor fella


Acid MAn

Dear Planet,

Fixing cup number two this morning and was feeling pretty good. It’s half-term you see so no irritating parents outside the window, none of the usual:

‘Look at that twat, what’s he doing having a toddler in his mid-forties? He should be in prison.

Why is the idiot wearing a flat cap and a scarf? Hey, hey baldy…

She is going to hit him. Yes, bingo and a total meltdown. Call the police. A child is loose.

They’ve parked on our drive, they’ve parked on our drive. HE’S PARKED ON OUR DRIVE!!!

Here comes the headmaster, gurning under his brolly.’

“Good morning, morning, morning, well hello Ethan and Avon, how’s your Mummy today, euh euh, huh huh huh, mmm.”’

Although it is Autumn and the leaf blower brigade will rampage along the street soon enough. I fear they shall disrupt my ‘aural landscape’ as the hipster (first use) on the radio was saying. You stick on a song, it is your aural landscape and as listener you are the ‘curator’ of your musical selection. Some shit from Iceland, no doubt. Must tether misanthropic tendency.

For many now is the mushroom season. Personally I can think of few things more terrible than a middle-aged person poisoned with mushrooms, LSD type situation. You need to be twenty for that kind of rubbish, surely I’d be door knocking in a sari or wrangling pussycats, just on the writerweb somebody was quoting the latest chemical messiah and asking all the questions to which I have none of the answers.

‘Tell me all about it,’ he said. So I tried:

Several hours into his trip he discovers the meaning of absolutely everything. He discusses this revelation with his peers, befriends a stain on his t-shirt, has a wonderful time and such great confidence now that he has all the answers to everything. However, in the instant of contemplation he can’t quite put his finger on the truth any more and as the hours pass he is dispirited how he has allowed the answers to drip through his fingers. By way of recompense there is pleasure at this point actually viewing the truth, because it drips through his fingers. He wanders the field showing everybody his true hands are dripping in truth. But do not touch my fingers he says. Don’t steal my truth. Some fool touches his finger and brings the sky crushing down on his mind, he can hear the clouds shouting his name. Finally he is able to raise his face from the dirt and rocks gently back and forth.

Across the field another chap rocks on his haunches. He is determined to establish theirs must be a cosmic bond, and skips towards the old man and they embrace each other in a rush of love even though the other chap’s drug of choice was in fact cider but this does not seem to matter so much. Then he remembers he wrote the truth down on paper at half past three in the morning. He finds the piece of paper, on which he has drawn an enormous series of concentric circles and underneath written:

‘The frog king is jumping.’

He has no idea what this means.

…I was going to write about the isolation of writing, though all the trippy stuff makes me think of ’89 and I might return to that kind of story, always cautious with droggy writes because it attracts idiots of both colours. Also I checked out the dozen drafts I had sent a month ago, pretty much half had newby errors like that last line you were trying to fix…you fix by writing the same words as you had written two sentences before, incredibly it rhymes, shame. I just would like two pieces to succeed and I can springboard off of that and approach the festivals and such. Though mainly I have this 80 000 words of short stories – and have discovered a little publisher. I shall draft on it for two weeks and then send it to three places – big, middle and little and see what turns up. Find myself ruining the prose editing every ‘got’ to ‘received.’ ‘Whilst’ is everywhere and must die. Also ‘entirely’ and, oh, ‘me.':)

Old tune




There is probably about a week left to watch the BBC4 Cosmonauts documentary on iplayer. The footage is fabulous and the Yuri Gagarin sequence brings a lump to the throat.

Vy dolzhny byt’ pervym chelovekom v kosmose!
‘Hey chap, how about we secure you to a V2 rocket and hurl your bones into space?’

Po moyey chesti ya gorzhus’ sluzhit’ sovetskomu narodu!
‘Yes sir, sounds like a tremendous adventure.’

Natsiya gorditsya . Otkrytiye grad bol’shoye videniye master raketnykh inzhenerov Narodnoy Respubliki!!
‘Good boy. Are you sure you are actually an orphan?’

V beskonechnost’ i daleye.
‘My parents live in a tiny willage.’


Four days later he does it, flies around the moon and becomes (and is very beautiful too) the greatest human in the world although Soviet text books to this day ignore, white splash entirely the fate of a Cuban bonobo strapped to Sputnik 1 . I baulk every time I see those rare re-entry photographs revealing a hideously seared monkey. Pink torso, a face blasted like Chuck Norris loose with chap-stick. How he perished to death.

However, tragically too, less than a decade after orbiting the sun Yuri flies a jet stoned out of his mind apparently and crashes the jet into a ploughed field. The vodka in his system igniting the parachute, a ghastly tragedy and the Communist free world is plunged into mourning. Yes.

But refecting, and I say to you, why can’t today’s generation fly jets stoned out of its mind? Who are these people in control of our jets? Seems Prince Harry can always fly what he wants. My only memory, a mere memory of space adventure – began on the M4 in a Fiat Panda, the sister aside of me and Lynard Skynard on the wireless, when we literally took off for something like four seconds. I couldn’t feel my legs or feet or anything. For a moment I forgot the concept of ‘steering wheel’ (whilst) crossing the heights of Salisbury Plain. Moving on swiftly. Of course I didn’t do that, ever. Nothing.

Yet my brave auronauticals there is hope, salvation in the form of drones. The newspaper at the weekend reported that some admiral of the skies says that in twenty years we’ll all be flying drones. Naturally armafeddonists among you picture a terrifying world of random terror strikes. Pakistani gamers 7000 miles away pilot a dynamite stick through the lavatory window in Kansas and you, you struggle, trousers around your ankles, discovered the next day with only half a stick of dynamite up the passage, yes.

‘I forgive him everything,’ says your daughter at the eulogy, ‘Even if he makes me sick…’

All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small.

So, to space. For conspiracy theorists among you I’d check out the legend of the Lost Cosmonauts. Seems it was all Bermuda Triangle type guff, but those stories with the voices from space and heartbeats, wow, all that David Bowie kept me blowing at the brain for quite a night flight, many times, might set you off also with the creative juices and pen, all the best, my authors.

Definitive Recording 1940: ‘England, my England.’

Diary Dragon War 50 000 BC

Diary Dragon War 50 000 BC dr -1: d-i-p

Battlefield arrived and I stroded before my brave legionnaires,

‘Are we not, are we not all men in our tiny short skirts and breastplates,’ I said.

‘We are all men,’ came the proud response of my thousand brave warriors.

We faced two thousand angry dragons mounted upon military boars. The pigs squealed, chewed on their battle bits, reins held in the fists of the dragons.

‘We shall charge the dragons, kill the dragons then kill the pigs… share roasted pig with all the women prisoners caged in the sties behind of the dragons. It’ll be great.’

My voice tired with the oratory yet before I had the opportunity to further motivate the team, an entire herd of dragons on pigs charged down the hillside. I swung my sword high above my head, ready for death, glory or a bowl of soup and turned and ran away, overtaking even some of my own troops who had fallen. I did not stick around to watch. Let’s just say that the dragons suck out the eyeballs of victims, use man eyes as some kind of primitive currency. How disgusting.

We raced to the riverside and swam across the river in our armour. Once secure on the far bank we jeered at the enemy and the vast spread of flared nostrils. One dragon taunted with an open claw. Its contents, the fresh eyes of men, still rooted on their stalks.

‘Ha ha ha,’ said the dragon. ‘Again tonight we shall copulate with your women and dragon babies shall inherit the earth, ha ha.’ The dragon stepped from his pig, waved his huge dragon penis, and balls that slapped upon his chest and wings.

That night we held our breath, until at the river’s low tide we slithered on our bellies through the mud, dried in the long grass and finally circumvented the dragon encampment, approaching from the rear and within scent of our caged ladies. We could hear the orgy of dragons surrounding the camp fire. Some kind of dragon jester performed upon roller skates. The dragons laughed and passed naked women between them. Each woman was tickled in a dragon’s claw until completely exhausted she was passed to the next dragon and the agonising process was renewed.

I held my knuckle in my mouth, afraid I might yell out and give away our position. We waited, waited and heard it rising, a chorus of snores: the bass vibrato of the dragons and the high pitched whinny of the pigs, dangerously indistinguishable from the snores of the women. Like an army of ants we crawled among the dragons, their talons glinting in the moonlight.

‘Death to the dragons,’ I cried and we plunged blades into the heaving scaly bellies of sleeping dragons. Others awoke, and startled reached for their dragon swords, jousting with the men at their flanks. However, I had calculated poorly and as I slayed a baby dragon in its pram I saw how the seniors overcame my men, pummelled lads with their heavy jaws and finally blasted the bodies with that firey breath typically reserved for these moments of intense irritation. Men flamed and ran as berserkers through the night, their heads on fire. I reached for the horn at my waistband and called the hornpipe of retreat.

English Austerity Diet 2014 (NEW VOICE series)

English Austerity Diet

Now that the children have fled we do occasionally struggle in the nutritional stakes. Thursday I was forced to eat risotto.

‘I feel like a Chinaman,’ I said to my wife. Meanwhile and kitchen side she prepared our ‘meal’ by holding a green bucket in the one hand and a saucepan in the other.

‘Have you got the flu?’ I said, and ‘my glass is empty.’

‘Look at me!’ she said, ‘I am overcome by the heat.’

‘If you insist on wearing your pink jersey at the hob you should expect nothing less,’ I said and must say that with the addition of parmesan, peas and four pieces of chicken the meal was enlightening, at least. I really can’t recall if she used to wear fluffy jumpers quite so much in our courting days. I will monitor the situation.

Friday she suggested pasties.

‘Pasties,’ I cheered, ‘and chips, and peas.’ A tiny squeal erupted from my lips and I suffered the domestic joy, a multiple fart, involuntary.

‘What did you say darling?’ she said, ‘I thought I heard you grunt.’

‘Not me honey, I am watching the wrestling.’

‘Yes,’ she said, ‘I visited the butcher for my meat. When I asked for skirt he brought out an entire cow side, how about that?’

‘Ummm. Which butcher?’ I said. ‘The convict, beautiful boy or… not, not…’

‘Yes, it was him. Twinkle Eyes today. He said he [once] visited Cornwall once.’

‘I bet he did. Anyway what pastry do ye have? It better be shortcrust pastry.’

‘No, no darling, puff. I looked everywhere, Asda, Co-op, Marks and Spencers.’

‘But did you visit the specialist pastry boutique? Why ever not! Stop crying.’

My wife enjoyed her pasty and I consumed my four pasties. That night sleep became elusive and before I could even try I forced myself to cook an egg and bacon sandwich at 4am. Something liberating about this time of night, alone in the kitchen with the butters, oils and a rolling pin almost waiting in the drawer. I bit my lip, skipped to the sofa, and viewed the ITV night screen.

The next day I set a new seasonal endurance record for the South coast and accompanied by my wife as spotter, splashed in the enormous waves wearing only trunks. There was quite a crowd gathered. How they must wonder do I possess such endurance in my rugged soles? I have said this before that I have thick soles evolved for walking across pebbles, very masculine.

Back to sofa headquarters and the argument escalated in its intensity.

‘What do you mean you’d be satisfied with crackers and fucking cheese? I want a steak, even a supermarket steak would do, just very big. A steak, chips, gravy,’ I said.

‘No, no, no,’ she said.

We compromised, ordering two-point-five doner kebabs from Lucien the Cypriot. They arrived after eight minutes on an incredible new scooter.

Sausages, cooked this morning. Some fool had purchased brown bread. I ate mine breadless with mustard. And then finally tonight a Stroganoff.

‘But we ate rice on Thursday, always vegan with you,’ I said. ‘How about, have you ever considered stroganoff and chips?’ Cooking is always best as a pool of ideas, new flavours constructed as a team.

Stroganoff and chips and a lettuce shared, delicious – although as I type my skin feels taught like a beach ball. Crackers later possibly.


Sometimes to reconnect with the ancestors I buy a newspaper.

Back in ’94 it would have been the Guardian and ‘Saturday Jobs.’ Today, rather weakly I settle for my the a soft sweater prejudice and read the Times of London. Front page, headlines of Armageddon. Reassuringly however, when I peek inside all the old faces are still there. A faded Matthew Paris reflects upon our national bigotry. I reach the midway mark of his reasoned, reasonable wit, yawn, flick the page. No monkey stories today, flick flick, Business flick flick, Money flick. Obituaries, my favourite. A nice selection follows the pattern of ‘beautiful, died too soon,’ followed by my heroes the geriatric brigadiers:

‘After sea flight tests with the Supermarine Spitfire, Gerald marshalled the dwindling Chindit units of north west Sarawak punishing the Japanese with a series of bold frontal assaults: utilised coolie militia for which he was awarded the VC. In civilian life spearhead in Pedigree Chum’s failed cosmetic venture before assumed a glorious career advertising with Saatchi and Grubb.’


‘Tommy Flint, the celebrated spy and bon vivant of Kensington blah blah blah, ladykiller, four wives, elephant charity…’

And finally the magazine with a front page photo of Billy Idol at ninety.

‘Look at that prat,’ says the sub-editor. ‘Cover and centre spread. This should give Bono a run for his money.’

Readers across England choke on their toast, although Billy’s hair is very nice, all spiky blond.

Flick to Caitlin Moran’s zany lifestyle piece about Twitter, kerching. My mind remains a hollow vessel whilst tiny flecks of glitter pool at my spine. A long line of spittle spreads upon the page. Euch, flick, flick, wheelchair lady, poor woman, flick…

Catherine Hardwick chief executive ftse 100

‘My three hour power sleep I attend the gym eight times a week with my SAS bunny Peter, a personal instructor and assassin. I rise at 3.45am. I have no time for weaklings going forward in business and eat salmon slither at 11.30 projecting worldwide sales in pipe….pffffffffffff

Never made it to Billy’s bio

Road Roy

A terrifying journey to Coventry. Driving in eponymous driving rain at 55 miles per hour with the articulates screaming past my mirrors

‘Fuck you!’

‘Fuck you cock wheels,’

and no thanks even whilst for 200 miles I played strictly to the rules of lorry commando: flash, flick, flick thank you, resume, nothing, not one trucker assumed I had dropped the container and swapped vehicle. It’s a game like life when nobody plays on the highway so with a CD I rock(ed) out to the Peter, Paul and Mary gang, (and) hammer time.

Coventry arrival, drop kid, no kiss,

‘Piss off Dad I’m home thank fuck, you hippy.’

‘Bye baby, I always love you thinking, bye bye darling, bye.’

But now I go crazy, seventy, seventy five down slopes, no time for coffee and am home returned in one. Two hundred miles in three hours. Average 150 miles per hour if you work it out.

Today does not compare for thrills. Asides the rejection where I followed simile after simile on the opening paragraph, what a prick, I wrangle horror poem alone at desk: fat frog, he drips his greasy puns and rhymes until, no success, till at lunchtime am (is) almost there, palm sculpting enormous plume of hair, but by six o’clock it is ruined messy. Not saved, not saved draft. Writing is a waste, why not paint in grey, photograph even, my bum.


Legion, dr1, ch1. Still bumpy

Nobody would believe me, except you believe me because I have told you all about how I trained, swam many lengths, and finally as Autumn approaches I have made this journey that shall change the course of my life. Perhaps I may appear ridiculous shivering in my tight shorts here at the trucker stop yet I have twenty euros and the satisfaction in knowing that I have swum the channel solo. The first crossing from Brighton to Cap Nez Griz – winking at me once every twelve seconds. I winked too for her, my Marianne future that beckoned like a comfortable woman. What does this mean? I don’t know. I mean only a lighthouse winks at me these days. However, at last I am baguette nourished and a magnificent continental. Once Primark St Jean opens at eight o’clock tomorrow morning I shall purchase an entire wardrobe and stride into the Legion’s central recruitment depot in Paris.

Goodness knows I have said so much in this first extract. Time for a cigarette.

‘Asseyez-vous,’ he said.

‘Dankevel,’ I replied, careful not to arouse his suspicions and watched his eyes behind the desk that he had surely carried through many fields of combat. His eyes like slits and glinting he stared toward and through me. I responded in kind staring back with my beautiful espresso dark smouldering eyes till he looked away and spat on the concrete floor. Most certainly I knew, I had passed the first hoop of initiation, reclined upon the stool, and scratched through the hairs sprouting from the throat of my floral shirt. This first warrior in a kepe had made a great impact upon me until ten minutes later another trooper arrived and saluted his superior,

‘Folgen kamarade,’ he said.

For the last time I crossed the drill square as a civilian and we entered the gymnasium. Below the beams arranged along every wall I saw the plastic seats and seated on each was a recruit such as I. In all one hundred desperadoes had arrived for a life of adventure and masculine brotherhood, (and)(.) here, in the centre of the gym, hung a single rope. Motioning me to take a chair the soldier marched toward the two other NCO types stood aside the rope.

A whistle blew.

‘Vous,’ the command echoed and a derelict Belgian in a shabby tracksuit approached the hemp obstacle. He gripped the rope and began to climb yet before he was even halfway he grimaced, cursed, lost his grip and tumbled down to the boards. Handled roughly by the soldiers, he was thrown him out of a rear door and into the street, never to be seen again.

The same arduous process was repeated. This time it was an Arab chap who clung bravely to the rope. Indeed he had achieved an ascent almost two thirds of the way to the top.

‘Non, non, non,’ said the soldiers.

But the recruit would not budge, and as he swung alone my neck ached with his endeavour. Almost a minute had passed. The tension became unbearable until the soldier below him reached into his holster and shot the man down from the rope. If not the bullet in his thigh then the fall most certainly killed the man. The whistle blew again and a finger pointed my way.

The key to success was a lateral thinking process. Cleverly I removed my shoes and socks, and barefoot climbed like a monkey commando, slapping the roof of the gym with my palm.

‘Oui,’ came the cry and I shimmied back down to the ground atmosphere.

The soldiers all smiled militaristically, and each one shook my hand. I had completed level two of the legion induction and was guided towards a far door marked Le Canteen for a nourishing stew and next section of my training, which I shall detail at the earliest opportunity.

Whale Attack

Withdrew ‘Minicab’ fiction after my wife read it. All I have by way of replacement is this. Strike me down if I ever draft it up. Oh my gott.

Whale Attack (Novel in draft)

Matt was happily cooking noodles in the kitchen. He had a thing for noodles and had decided to explore all the various taste avenues available through soy, ginger and fish sauce when he heard the Whale of War trundling across the hillside. Barnacle encrusted this mother of pearl tank contained a crew of three whales each taking turns at the porthole to squirt a deadly geyser of water toward any unwary human being who was then scooped up and eaten. Although to retrieve their dinner the whales had to emerge from their watery tank and collect their dinner it themselves. This was a major flaw in whale tank design and whale engineers were working hard to resolve the problem.

Matt watched from the kitchen window as the whale flopped past the hedgerow and scooped somebody’s grandmother in its jaws.

‘More pepper,’ he said tbc tbc


Sitting here at the desk and none of these editors have replied. Of course I know if you post in August your reply is most likely to arrive in November. I must reassure myself of the fact. Also my boy rang, a midnight telephone call that shook the duvet:

‘You’re right Dad, seventeen to twenty-four are the hardest years,’ he said.

Thinking as much and in my drowsy state all I could do to cheer the child was post him some funny books down the Amazon pipe. I sent him ‘Just William’ for a cuddle, and why do I like that book? Treacle I suppose and nostalgia. The Guardian’s list of the greatest comedy books was disappointing in its guidance by the lap light. Most of their entries being books you are familiar with if you lived the tip of the twentieth century. The great ‘Pooter’ is included and ‘Augustus Carp Esq.’ ‘Confederation of Dunces’ I shall give a second go. From the olden days there was ‘Tristan Shandy.’

I also sent son old ‘Lucky Jim’ because he likes the posh guy stuff, a Beryl Bainbridge to try and a famous mountaineering farce of which I have forgotten the title.

Meanwhile – and returning to my own backside and fluffy – my pal J says pursue publication with the ‘life writing’ stuff but I always struggle to see how. These writes have energy straight off the top of the head but when I draft them up I fear they lose something – always imagining that a sub seeks his hook; sometimes I think to insert a quest for a missing sock or some mystery, confusion with the salt and pepper.

What my boy needs is softies. Stuck in the Midlands playing rugby and living on a depressing estate he rings me when he has to walk past a crowd and their dogs, and shaves his head to look mean. It’s all too masculine and can make you ill. He needs a room full of Simon and Gfunkle, ponytails and braces. Like I said I advised him to seek out softies – drama, music, book types…umm girls. He is a guitarist for goodness sake.

Here’s one of the old life writes, dr2, a couple of polishes to remove repetition (upon, I, dead verbs) to come, rhythm:


For the first time this year the sun shines at the weekend. My wife and I stare at each other in total confusion and hide below our quilt until masterfully I stand, close the bedroom curtains and we relax with our cigarettes on our lips. By ten o’clock she is sprawled across the bed’s end whilst I sit alone at my desk zone. I press f5 on the computer inbox thirty-five times, ha ha ha – this is an old joke of mine which gives my wife such immense pleasure,

‘Look, look at me, my chopstick,’ I say.

‘Not now,’ she replies.

You see my wife turns her face away from me. Instead she focuses all by herself upon a mature, Swedish, crime, chiselled dickhead from Stockholm who chases killers – from the comfort of her duvet throne.

By the third day of killing – Monday, all of my masculine anxiety has spilled over and stepping out the front door I inhale fresh air and embark upon my solo – a voyage far beyond the off license at the corner. I pedal the bicycle past all the stiff couples nattering outside their cafes and the B52 speccies who browse the junk shops windows and notice too that there is a sound system hereabouts what with the festival being in progression. I see the street performing beggars and monkeys with beards and the atmosphere is very irritating. Dull, not quite the stand up dull of comedian dull, more a jugular grey; anyways there is no time for digression and I hit the beach.

(I) Call it a beach, the south coast has no bumps on her crest. Still I love her enough and once free of the lanes Brighton promenade is as pretty as any poem. The colours are vivid here and the crowds relaxed under a blue sky with the wind splashed on the cheeks.

I lock up the bicycle along the promenade and for a moment share the heat amongst the families and the gangs of Slovak peasants grouped atop the pebbles. The men hold beer bottles, the ladies hold the babies at head height – the pebble risk is tremendous for baby choking. The barbecues curl a smoke and sausages sizzle on the frames. I sit below the sea wall, my trousers at half mast, the breeze tickling my thigh. Naked eventually I cross the busy pebbles entirely uninhibited in my display and immerse with the ice to my waist until I hop and plunge a racing dive, crawling long, slow strokes to sea. I breathe to the right side, stretch my hand, grab handfuls of liquid and pull the rolling water the length of my body. I swim past the yellow buoy and beyond.

At first there is a flutter upon the surface then the pressure drives me deep towards the depths. A most unwelcome interruption; I cannot swim and struggle with a shiny boot in my face.

‘You fuck off,’ I scream.

‘Come on Charlie, in the chopper,’ he shouts.

I stroke but still manage to raise a fist and thump it into his groin pad and his military features twitch into the radio at his collar. Again he bounces on his string and when he grabs me by the hair I bite the forearm of his suit. He calls me a blasted whore and is reeled high away.

The helicopter is the new coastal variety, patched the white and red, you will see them soon enough and the rotors drive all sound to the edge of your mind, frankly – dreadful for a fisherman, and here at sea there is a stand-off between me: a man – and a machine with its claws ten metres above my head. A package is hoofed from the turret/open doorway and the helicopter ascends under a darkening cloud. This package pops open on the surface and I climb inside to find a survival suit, food and a clutch of flares.

The feds, as outlaws say, they give me about ten minutes by myself for personal recital. Yet at this point I hear the diesel engine and see the inshore lifeboat skipping toward me over the water. It is an inflatable, of course. I lie flat on my raft’s deck whilst their boat circles and finally see a hand’s imprint on the canopy. I pull my cracker: the flare gripped in my teeth and stand, clambering on to their rib, glorious and nude with a firework smoking from the lips. The three fellas squawk like cop squaws and one by one they reel over the side.

Triumphant against the odds I spit out the rocket, take their wheel and throttle away. The sun sets to the west, I steer east toward France and my freedom.


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