Saturday, 14 December 2013


I had a terrible time last night.  I don’t know why, but it all began with Aborigines.  I had been reading “The Golden Bough” by James George Frazer; all about how acts have consequences and how the Aborigine’s customs are just as absurd as ours.  Standing on a hill with a lighted candle to be sure the sun rose next day! 

All of a sudden, there was someone creeping up on me in a pair of socks.  He had a sack on his back and admitted he had come to rob me.  He came in by the bathroom window.

I remember being scared; I asked him what he had stolen: Silver, my mobile and the computer – all in the sack.

I said to him – you can keep the silver; I don’t need the phone much either, but please can I have my computer back, all my family photos are stored there?

He seemed to grow taller, bit like the genie in the lamp.

He said “OK”, opened the sack and gave me my computer back.  

When I plugged it in, the hard disc and all my memories were wiped clean.  It was quite a pleasant dream really.

Saturday, 3 August 2013



"Hello pelican. Hello pelican. Are you a prince? Shall I give you a kiss and shall you turn in to a handsome prince? Am I silly chattering to you? Everyone's drowsy. The others are all drowsy. They're dozing off 12 to the dozen and I'm bored, and self-conscious. They're all in the shade after our picnic. Umbrella is Spanish for shadow. Imagine carrying a shadow around with you wrapped around a stick, and opening it when you wanted to plop a shadow down on your head - if it was hot or you were shy, or had said something embarrassing. Will you stop still to let me tie this bib on you? I'm frightened to. Should I? They've all nodded off and the shadows are being placed like tablecloths on to the light and the day's going out to sea. Our wonderful wished-for day at the seaside's slipping away and it's not been what I thought. Let me tie this bib on you, will you. shan't you, and I'll feed you this piece of my fish finger sandwich I saved. If I were to kiss you would you bite me or would you become my betrothed?"

"Silly girl. A pelican can't talk. GIVE ME FISH. GIVE ME FISH"

Thursday, 25 April 2013


A while ago Andrew Motion judged a BBC Manchester competition A Poem for Manchester: you were asked to write a poem that summed up the history and architecture and people and essence of Manchester. I wrote this.

 What are you fuckin lookin at?

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

ESPRESSO SHOT 57: APRIL 2010, by Anthony Sides

April sunshine stark through the thin hedges - scribble of bare trees - 

Heel-ball-toe and the flex of his calves. Tire-marked banana smell in the gutter - less chemical than banana Nesquik as a kid -

he'd noticed he said "when I was a kid" to distance himself from an attitude or taste - it might mean 1970 or something he was embarrassed about that he'd done half an hour ago.

Carol, darker-haired, with her bike - the cool touch and cool book smell stepping inside the library -

It would be memorable not to sound like Hemingway, but, Norman Mailer wrote. 

Aldi. Holding up a polo T. Beep beep beep of the scanner reading the bar codes - 

did Keats's dog bark odes?

Some things can not be forgiven - 

the Keats thing was when I was a kid -

he was really a kid in 1969 photographs in a fringed cowboy outfit - the same eyes as now.

Along past the cafes and then houses and the house in which he was conceived - his mother's friend still lived there and on a visit his mother lifted her arms wide and said, "Just think. This is where you began."

She said, "Don't worry, love. It wasn't a kitchen in those days."

Sideways shortcut on to the next road, straight and bussy in to the distance, clock on the job centre still set to winter time - slow-walking, tired, awake always most of the night - skin tight round his eyes - less elastic - 

a walk in the sun - he'd gone back for his coat and then it got warmer - 

smell of Greggs vegetable pasty -

that Joyce desire to make the world new - pie crust to piss pot - the sound a cat makes and the taste of tea - to write to a reader you have to let some things be taken as read - 

Carol's partner's song - It's taken it's taken it's taken as read - taken as read

crust carrots blank potato.

Does David Millipede dream of electric sheep?

Does David Cameron have to agree ahead of the election to commit to invade Iran, the way Blair in opposition had to sign off on the Dome?

Monday, 22 April 2013

ESPRESSO SHOT NO 56, by Anthony Sides

There are 2 sentences that only misogynists ever use. One of them is, "I'm not a misogynist." The other one is, "I love women, I love all women." 

Sunday, 21 April 2013

ESPRESSO SHOT NO 55, by Anthony Sides

Misogynist is one of the most overused and misused words these days. The other one is slag.

Friday, 19 April 2013

ESPRESSO SHOT NO 54, by Anthony Sides

"People who believe in  politics are like people who believe in God: they are sucking wind through bent straws."
- Charles Bukowski

People who believe in politics - who think there are universal solutions - who think there is a solution to life - to make it neat and formulate it and keep every one of us from the cracks - these people are the kind of people who started as Catholics and joined the Communist party because they still needed to belong to an authoritarian organization that would give them a simplistic view of life and tell them what to think. Communists believe rich people are sinners and the poor are virtuous. They insist people put aside their individual desires and work for the greater cause: corporate multinationals insist on the same selflessness.

Politics is a game played by people who want to get power over other people to make themselves feel better. People who believe in politics are the kind of people who want the easter holiday to be the same date every year because life isn't boring enough and basing easter on the shape of the moon is not rational.

Political correctness is a religion: if you disagree with it you are not expressing a different opinion, you are a bad person and need to be punished until you believe the right things. They would burn us if they could.

People who believe in politics believe in politics because it stops them having to think for themselves, and I don't blame them. But I don't want to have to hear them tiresomely ranting and regurgitating rhetoric.

Rigid ideologies make life look simple and make it seem easy to grasp and easy to improve, instead of the maze of mirrors and seesawing scales and curtains and tricks and top hats and trips and stumbles and dances and disasters and yawns and ecstasies and slaps and tendernesses that it is (or seems to me to be).

Saturday, 23 March 2013


"On the other side of the glass, the evening traffic spun by in ringed webs of light; it was raining again."

Stone's writing is wonderful not only for perfect, atmospheric snapshots like that: he gives you the look and feel of cities and irony and understated compassion, and the consequences of politics and commerce, and the tightening inner winding of quiet desperation getting louder.