Rude Words

I used the terms ‘shit-biscuit’ and ‘fuck a duck’ a lot in my formative year. In the same but opposite way as I tend to say that everything is ‘awesome’ now*. In my short stint in teaching, I worked these expletives down to single innocuous expressions. Regularly you’d hear me shout ‘duck’ as a child dropped a table on my foot or ‘biscuit’ as an errant piece of school play scenery flew towards my nose. Eventually the kids worked it out. The jig was up. I walked through the playground at lunchtime to everyone cussing water fowl. It takes a fourteen year old, privately educated girl to make ‘mallard’ or ‘bourbonstion’ a swear word. Kent was swept by a curse wave of indecipherable slang. Time to get out of teaching.

Insert Sardonic Title Here

I never knew that marriage would be so lonely.

When I calculated how many years there would be, I never included division in my sums. Logic has so little to do with the equation. In the early days, I was always squaring triangles.

The contrivance of any relationship – what the world reads; what you compose in your head if you are honest with yourself – is set in the narrative premonition of the conceived modality of ‘happily ever after.’ Anchored in reality, the walls of words – insurmountable, mountainous paraphrases of intangible unmentionings – become fatiguing. Brave new worlds that take vigour and courage to unravel into navigable maps, exhaust even the most pioneering spirit. So, instead, tonight we will settle in with gin and tea and tv. Onward voyages through treacherous seas can wait another day. Here be monsters.

My vows said that he was my ‘it.’ Not the scary Tim Curry’s clown of Kingian horror – cue polite laughter from congregation – but the unicorn to my griffon, cool, unworldly wise. Together we would set our roots in the deep earth and brave the coming winters. We spoke in mythic terms of love and laughter, us versus the universes. I don’t remember silence and hollowing doubts being part of unmanaged expectations. This separate togetherness.

When did looks of longing turn to concern; in which season did the belove’d male gaze close the shutters of his eyes, turning to blank appraisal?

The affairs are unforgivable. Unnatural paradigms to the suppose’d solidity of our nuptial state. My mind rewatches all the nights in bars; foreign business trips carnivalesque in their permissive rites. All pressing flesh, and then pressing flesh. 

But our Sundays were sacrosanct; print in hand and filtered coffee wafts. Duty-free cigarettes and dutiful declarations of affectation. Casual updates on the fluctuations of days recent passed, and nimble discussions on the benefit of building ‘close client relationships.’ Navigating the future, working week by working week, into sterility.

These things consume you. Chunks of firm young flesh stripped from your core at bloody intervals. The malign worm inevitably consumes the slowly rotting pink lady. You’re welcome to ‘them apples.’

“I think we should try therapy.” The construct of conversation defying accusation. “I feel.” “I hear.” “I will repeat back what I think you said verbatim and acknowledge your point of view while quietly maintaining your wrongness to feel that way way you do. You’re a crock. A liar called. Feel my pain, in waves, crash around you, just as they destroy me daily.” How infinite are the oceans of sadness, and how deep. The life raft isn’t enough to sustain a pairing. There’s only so long you can bale water, before your arms tire.

The problem with being in the wrong, I feel, is that you got there through your own solipsism. A path well trodden, riddled with twists and turns. At any moment, you could turn back. Maybe take the path dappled with light and shade? Or maybe the possibility of finding the witch’s house or the enchanted castle remain too tempting. Rejecting the safe, you side with the un-necessity of risk. All for the kicks. By the time you realise the thorns have scratched out your eyes, you’re already blind.

The worse thing is that he wants to stay. He believes the fairytale. Ephemera of fine spun gold, whispered in sleepless dreams, in darkened quietude. “How much happiness was ours…” is murmured into my taut shoulder bones. Halcyon daze.

Maybe one day I will forgive him for the neglect. The de-unification of our church and state. His maintenance of the mirage of the whole; while life continued independent of the other’s existence; while dependance on the perceived presence of the being lived parasitic lives.

Maybe one day, he will forgive me for all the many, many men. Taken with impunity.

Or maybe, it’s all gingerbread and circuses. My clownish daylight nightmare. To speak the myth out-loud, would prove it’s very fiction.

Marriage is for the many. Communion, the few.

The New Year…


So, as I sit here on the verge of going back to work, revved up on a come-down from pethidine and a shit-load of codeine, I’m am hitting hard a whole “what’s the craic?” thought process. For the first time since giving up teaching, I am asking myself what the hell is going on with me, with you and with the world in general? Googling for pointers and tips about how to rescue a new year, there’s loads of advice out there. The above ‘gem’ from someone called Brad Paisley (I am not even doing him the service of Googling him) particularly makes me want to set up a group of hand picked super heroes dedicated to taking out anyone who believes pithy be-meme’d advocacies of behavioural change are either helpful or effective. If they were, the increases in mental disorders among the young (who are seeing an increase in the number reporting mental health problems) would have been somewhat stymied purely by Facebook sharing. Show me a human who has been saved by Tiny Buddha, and I will happily eat my way through my library of totally pointless self-help books. Yes, I have self-help books. Clearly, none of them are working.

Now, last year contained some obvious markers, both culturally and personally, but all that has done is left me with a strong sense of futile injustice and a heavy malaise towards everyday-life. And I don’t think I am alone. Being part of a middle class, bleeding-heart cult-ural sect means that any knock back to the ideals we all hold dear – be in ownership of our bodies, ability to choose who we snog/marry/avoid and the right to cheap long weekends in Europe – means that swathes of friends, colleagues ‘n’ acquaintances have been left sprawling on the metaphorical bathroom tiles the tropological morning after the allegorical bad night before.

Now my own personal weltschmerz could be pin-pointed to three things that I am immediately aware of: lack of people, lack of projects that appear to be going anywhere, which may also be down to the human vacuum (which is a combination of self-imposed and circumstantial) and finally lack of meaning. And I honestly thought it was just me. You know, 35 any day now, moving from one tick box on surveys to the other one with the ‘grown-ups’ so I thought I would do something revolutionary and talk to people. And you know what I discovered? I am probably the only twat in the world who needs a full time arts project, probably involving multiple disciplines, on top of a full-time plus job, in order to stay sane. Which in itself is almost certainly not sane.

But wanna know what else I discovered? Nearly every one of my talented, wonderful and clever friends are FEELING THE SAME AS ME. Even the breeders with babies and partners and mortgages. In fact, especially the ones with babies and partners and mortgages. It’s not just whiny Millennial, either. My friends span a huge range of ages and experiences, and increasingly, they are all telling me the same thing. They are lonely, and don’t know what to do, and in an age of uncertainty, what’s the point?

I would like to tell everyone I have a magic bullet. I don’t and modern life takes it’s toll on me every day, but I’ve started to a do a few things that I’m finding helpful:

  1. Read. Use to books to inform and escape. I am writing a list of books I recommend and why here. It’s my project to build it up as the year goes on. Please feel free contribute.
  2. But not the News. At least not more than once a day. I genuinely believe that way madness lies, and before you know it you are arguing with the trolls on the Guardian comments section. Set a specific time to check the main headlines/read the paper (yes an actual paper Paper), just do not deviate from that. Turn off notifications from apps. Stay informed, once a day, but don’t disappear down the rabbit hole. News travels slowly, spin travels fast. David Bowie will still be dead. Syria will still be up shit-creek sans paddle. Trump will probably still manage to maintain presidency, despite the nuclear apocalypse. You can just read about it tomorrow. Which leads to…
  3. Do a social media detox. It’s hard. Really frickin’ hard. Especially if you life revolves around doing as much obscure London-based stuff as possible to fill the gaping voids of love and affection in your life. However, this can be compensated for here or here. Worried you will miss your peoples? Go through the list of friends and followers, note the ones you genuinely want to talk to and SEND THEM YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS. I know. It’s genius. Wanna go old skool? Send them your home address and re-live your pre-teen era pen-friend obsession. Getting actual handwritten letters is really bloody exciting. You can thank me later. But honestly, I can tell you from personal experience, the internet is such an diverse ecoverse of things, you can avoid social media for three months and never once regret missing that picture of your mate’s dinner, or musings from an ex on the state of the FA Cup. Want to keep yourself honest? Start a social media Swear Box with a hard-hitting minimum payment. Write on it something like “Get off Twitter Twat-Face” or “Get the Fuck off Facebook Fatty McFatterson.” Then give all resulting cash to charity.
  4. Stop dating and definitely stop “dating”*. If you are single, obviously. If you are happily ensconced with the love of your life, then jog on. This is not for you. For anyone else, sort yourself out before tackling other people. Other people are easily as fucked up as you are, and if you are going through the ‘mean reds‘ the worst thing you can do is have two souls in the same state of disillusionment at the same dinner table. Never has a G&T tasted more bitter than when the human next to you is bemoaning Brexit and Becksit (the witty name for their ex’s departure) in the same breath, while your internal monologue quietly laments the death of dance hall romance and your loss of direction (“My thirteen year old self would be looking at me with pity and asking why I choose to do ‘adult stuff’ instead of paint pictures and play lacrosse.”**)
  5. Also, avoid dating apps. You are hard wired to get excited by games and the immediate rewards of “goal-directed behaviour“. A great article can be found here from a real-life, goddam addict. I agree with everything he says. Though the motley collection of men who now get harassed by me in real life situations might not agree.
  6. Travel. It broadens the mind. Sometimes, you just have to escape the city. And that’s not bad thing, if it’s just for a short time. Inspired by this awesome blog, I wanna do 12 new cities in 12 months. Gothenburg for New Year was January, and I have a terrifying ski holiday with work people booked for March. However, if you find yourself not wanting to come back to your life, then you have to ask what you are running away from. I have a list from my last holiday. And, I totally fed that shit to my Worry Monster. Hellyeah.***
  7. Look outward. It always helps. And I don’t just mean in your circle of friends. The best people I know channel their energies, negative or otherwise, beyond their own flesh sacks****. Whether that’s art or altruism, I think getting out of your head to make something or make a difference is important.

That’s my penny’s worth from this year so far. It’s just stuff I am finding useful. It’s not advice from an expert, or mantras for a new you. Cos, you’re probably already pretty new. After all, most of the cells in your body regenerate every 10 to 15 years. So I am actually barely a teenager. If anyone reads this before Sunday 15th January and wants a good place to start, I will be here for Sunday Assembly. I started going last year and it got lost in the melange of 2016 crappiness. But it’s one of the most joyful, lovely experiences I know. A group of people who meet for talk and singing of songs at top of lungs. Like church, but without God and more beards. Yes, ok, it’s a bit hipster but sometimes, you just need people. Because “People who need people/ Are the luckiest people in the world.”

*My mum may be reading this, but you know… “dating”, yeah?

**The correct answer to this is I don’t know but I’ve definitely backed myself into a corner at this point in time. I definitely miss painting. Lacrosse, not so much. Too much circuit training and early mornings in the cold. I never used to get cold as a teenager. Then I went to university and have been perpetually cold ever since. I am convinced that there is a correlation between education and ones ability to divert blood flow to outer limbs. I assume it’s a trait to secure the life span of essential organs and an arts degree convincing your brain to protect itself over things like fingers and toes. I am not grateful for this.

***In my head that sounded kooky and cute, but retrospectively it just comes off as demented middle-aged mad-woman. Possibly the 21st Century evolution of ‘crazy cat lady.’ One days someone will find my shrivelled husk under a pile of fugly cuddly monsters full of post-it notes all reading “oh-god-oh-god-oh-god I don’t want to die alone under a pile of hipster cuddly toys.” If this was an Alanis Morrisette song, she’d suggest this was ironic. She’d be wrong. However, if you would like a monster of your own get then here. Mine is called Flint, is brown stripped and has an eye patch. He’s awesome.

***Apologies, that sounds grosser/kinkier than intended, but I’ve said it now so shan’t take it back. You’re welcome.

#BRnR (Books: Read ‘n’ Recommended – Work in Progress)

Below is a list of books I love and have read (in many cases re-read.) Some have shaken my world and some have just provided an escape. Some are just fun or interesting. All have (or will have) blurblings hyperlinked to this page. Please check back for updates. Oh, and feel free to contribute!

  1. The Master and Margarita (Russian: Ма́стер и Маргари́та) by Mikhail Bulgakov.
  2. Anything by Douglas Adams. And let me know if you have solved the conundrum with the sofa without looking at the solution at the back. You will be my new hero.
  3. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell.
  4. Grimm’s Tales by… well, you get the idea.
  5. Happiness by Darren Brown. Read it before you judge me.
  6. Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill.
  7. The Highway Code. No I am not joking.
  8. Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbins.
  9. Death and The Penguin by Andrey Kurkov.
  10. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.
  11. Animal by Sara Pascoe. The best books clarify what you already started to think. This is one of those.
  12. Get It Together by Zoe Williams.
  13. The Antidote by Oliver Burkeman.
  14. V for Vendetta by Alan Moore, illustrated by David Lloyd.
  15. Born Standing Up by Steve Martin.
  16. A Greedy Man in a Hungry World by Jay Rayner.
  17. Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley.
  18. Agatha Christie.
  19. Conan Doyle.
  20. Terry Pratchett.
  21. The Handmaids Tale.
  22. A Series of Unfortunate Events.
  23. The Last Battle.
  24. The Hobbit.
  25. Harry Potter.

NYC Midnight: Strikes Again

“Bad writing is more than a matter of shit syntax and faulty observation; bad writing usually arises from a stubborn refusal to tell stories about what people actually do― to face the fact, let us say, that murderers sometimes help old ladies cross the street.”
Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft


Sometimes though, bad writing is all you have. NYC Midnight is a weird love-hate obsession of mine. I (pay to) enter, then resent myself for doing so; deciding not to participate well in advance of the competition kick-off. What’s money versus sanity and the opportunity to get some washing done? Then, I get the clunk of an email notification and check the assignment. Not that I’m going to participate. I’m embracing #JOMO (Joy of Missing Out) after all. But you know, I’ll just take a look. See what I could have won. Then it gets stuck in my head and then I write something in the last hour before submission is due. I’m not saying the timeframe is why the writing is terrible. It’s more the determined self-sabotage tied in with a horrific need to approval/having my homework marked. Oh well, personality hey?

For the first round, my first assignment was a short screenplay based on the following limitations:


A botanical garden

A paint roller

So here’s the horrific, pretentious waffle the assignment inspired. Stephen King would be awfully disappointed.

Anyway… “Enjoy.” You’re welcome.

                 "Woman in the Garden"
Surrounded by the tranquil botanic gardens of Monet's house
 at Giverny Vernon, a mute young handyman tries to stop a
hauntingly beautiful woman from destroying his life's work,
only to find himself confronted with a dead end and a force
                   beyond his reckoning.
Monet's house in the lush green gardens of Giverny Vernon. A
wall at the shaded side of the house. ANDRE is up a rickety
wooden ladder. He is a handsome young man with an earnest
face. He is wearing a blue boilers suit, splattered with
paint. He has a roller in one hand and is carefully
whitewashing the side of the building.
The sound of plants being trodden underfoot. Heavy
breathing. Plants being pushed aside by a chubby hand. Andre
comes into view on his ladder.


MADAME VERNON, a rotund middle-aged woman in a floral dress
covered with a tabard embroidered with the Giverny Trust
logo, erupts noisily through the plants to the bottom of the
ladder, slightly out of breath. She is carrying a canvas bag
full of food. Andre jumps slightly at the sound, turns
carefully and looks down. Madame Vernon sheild her eye to
look up at Andre.
                         MADAME VERNON
                   (in French with
                    English subtitles)
             Hello Andre. Come down.
Andre goes to put the roller into the bucket hanging off the
ladder, but misses. The roller lands on a plant below. Andre
scrambles quickly down the ladder. He grabs the roller,
hanging it on a rung of the ladder. Andre then bends down
and carefully cleans the white wash off the plant with a rag
from the pocket of his boiler suit, gently arranging and
fixing the leaves. Finally, he is satisfied he has done the
best he can and wipes his hands on the rag. After poking the
rag back into his pocket, Andre turns to Madame Vernon.
                         MADAME VERNON (cont'd)
             It's fine. I don't think anyone will


Andre does an exaggerated wipe of his brow to indicate
'phew'. Madam Vernon gives a little chuckle.
                         MADAME VERNON (cont'd)
             I know, I know. You are always so
             proud of your work here, keeping this
             old place spick and span. Well, it's
             such a beautiful day. I thought you
             might like an early lunch.



Andre nods. Madame Vernon offers him the canvas bag. She
gives him a substantial grin in return.
                         MADAME VERNON (cont'd)
             Must get back to the pantry. Can't
             stand round chatting all day. Enjoy!
After Andre waves at Madame Vernon as she wades back through
the bushes. Andre is left standing alone. He looks sadly
down at the dead, white-splattered plant.


Andre is sitting on the grass under a tree eating a
sandwich, watching a group of tourists being lectured by an
overly-enthusiastic American GUIDE, holding up a Giverny-
branded umbrella.
             This is where Monet created the
             beating heart of impressionism. Some
             of you may recognize this vista from
             'Woman in Garden 69'. If we move over
The voice of the Guide fades as the group move away. Andre
notices that a woman is left standing alone gazing in his
direction, at the tree. She is wearing a white dress, with a
straw hat, white lace parasol and matching shawl. The WOMAN
IN WHITE looks like something out of a Monet painting. She
is exquisitely pale, with a rose blush to her cheeks and
red-stained lips.
Andre holds up a hand and waves at her. She does not
acknowledge him. Slowly she turns walking away from Andre,
and starts walking towards the bushes of the garden. Andre
finishes his sandwich, brushing the crumbs off his boiler
suit as he stands.
Andre notices the brown patch of dead grass from where he
now stands up the tree. He starts to walk then runs over to
examine it.




Andre reaches down to touch the grass. It crumbles under his
touch. He waves furiously at the Woman in White, agitated
that she has destroyed the grass. She continues to walk away
from him. Andre jogs to catch up with her. He doesn't notice
that with every footstep she takes, the Woman in White
leaves a patch of decayed, brown grass in her wake.
The Woman in White turns down a path, deeper into the
Giverny Gardens. Andre pursues her.
Where the Woman in White brushes past a plant with her skirt
or lace gloved, delicate fingers, it rots almost instantly.
Andre notices this as he staggers after her, increasingly
blind with fury.
Andre slows to catch his breath, suddenly aware of his
surroundings. He notes the increasingly tall trees around
him. It's getting darker as he goes down the path, the thick
canopy above him inducing an early twilight. His breath can
be seen fogging the air. He shivers despite the sunny day
above him. He returns his attention to the path only to find
the Woman in White is not there. He turns in all directions
searching for her, confused as to where she could have gone.
A loud snap in the distance. Andre starts, before pelting
towards the sound.
He turns a corner to see the Woman in White is standing in a
small clearing forming a dead end to the path, surround by
dense shrubbery. She is looking at a small rose bush, with a
solitary pink rose reaching towards the light. The Woman in
White bends down to smell it. As she does so, she delicately
snaps the rose's stem to bring it up to her nose. She
Andre looks in horror at what she is doing. The Woman in
White snaps her head sharply towards Andre, before slowly
straitening to standing.




Andre is furious. He walks briskly up the path, hands
clenched. He grabs the rose from the hands of the Woman in
White. She doesn't react.
Andre looks up at the Woman in White, eyes wide suddenly
The Woman in White leans in slowly to Andre. Her breath
sounds like one long sighing exhalation. She places a kiss
on first one of Andre's cheeks and then on the other. She
drifts backwards from him slowly. Andre puts his hand to his
cheek. His mouth falls open. Under his fingers a brown patch
starts to spread, the skin withering where her lips fell.
Andre lets out a silent scream. The patch on his cheek
spreads, to his fingers, down his knuckles and then over his
hand. Meanwhile his face is mummifying, drying up to
premature decrepitude. The rot spreads over his whole body,
polluting the air with the sound of rustling skin and
crackling, brittle bone. Andre collapses at the feet of the
Woman in White. He looks up at her, withered mouth moving in




So, 2016…

We need to talk. It’s not me, it’s you. Definitely 100% you. You’ve behaved disgracefully, if we’re honest. You’ve treated me like a page-a-day calendar. I’ve basically been thoroughly disposable. Out of sight, out of mind. You keep year-splaining to my friends, making excuses for terrible decisions and errors in judgement. You promised you were in this for the long haul, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year; but if we’re honest here, and I really feel at this point we have to be, you’ve totally dropped the ball on the most important days this year. Where were you when I needed you, 2016? Totally no where to be seen. And every time I thought we we’re ‘working through the issues’, you’d have another ‘off’ day, and we we’re back in the dark ages.

And, another thing: why is it you hate all the celebrities I have even the vaguest admiration for?

So, 2016, I’ve been thinking. I’ve come to a decision. We’ve given it a real go. Twelve months is really respectable, no one could say we didn’t try. At times, we even gave it real welly. There was even the odd glorious, carefree day. It’s obviously not all been bad. But I’ve had enough. I’m calling time. I would be grateful if you could get your things and clear out by the end of the month. I said now go, walk out that door; don’t turn around now. You’re not welcome anymore. I will always remember you, maybe even fondly eventually. Now, however, I can’t even look at you without feeling a bit sick. Maybe use the time left to think about what you’ve done and how we got here. You know, just so we don’t make the same mistakes. So… yeah…

Esme and the Silence

Esme studied the puddle of silence between them / unlike the harmony of the old silences / the discord jangled across her nerves / and shredded her gut-strings / shattering her quiet soul / as it continued to pool around her / the silence  took all the language / drew it into its dark depths / drowned in unsound / Esme began to study the silence/ interpret the noisless murmurings / in order to understand it / Esme decided to study all the silences / every silence humanity had to offer / soon she launched a PHD in silence / monastic hush of library shelves / a mute of intellectual prayer for salience / Esme researched the silence of birth / before the primal scream / the silence of death / when grief has robbed meaning / the silence of thought / or the vacancy therein / silences of dissatisfaction division and sin / the silence of love / adoration beholden / the silence of sleep / the golden hours embolden / she studied the silence of heartbreak / the loudest silence she found / Esme travelled the world in quiet horror / driven to understand the eloquent voids humans construct / never connecting or communicating / Esme had the secrets of translation in a book /  a heavy bound tome of all she knew / all she could teach humanity to understand / not noticing the silent ocean nipping at her own heels / exspanse widening as she forgot those she had left behind / and as they turned their backs on teh silent ocean between them / they in turn left Esme stranded / by the time Esme realised / all was lost / her voice was nothing in the roar of the waves / so she took her paper and pen / and bottles that she found on the streets / when she  ran out of paper / Esme ripped up her work / on each page she penned a note / spidery hand writing on universal bond / ‘I’m sorry’ / Esme sat by the sea and waited / for the tied go out / and the answers to arrive

The Brain Dump

I am exhausted

She said

As she turned out the contents of her mind into the bog-standard-government-issue-trash-disposal bin

“Hazardous marterials”

I am tired of the fight and the struggle

Of people not caring enough or immobilised by caring too much

Of being being so scared to be honest to-say-what-they-see-what-they-think-and-feel that eventually we all become our own worst terrorists

It is suffocating to stand on a platform and watch the collisions happen over and over again

A whole world derailed in one moment by nothing more than a roll of a dice

And closing your eyes fails to appease the fighting visions news reels past segueing into infomercials for an intolerable future

With no love for fellow human from fellow human with human where is the love

Bulk disounted in a warehouse remainder aisle

Discontinued for profit and loss

Lock her up

F**k her

Make America Great Again

Sleep no more

Shibboleth is murdering sleep

I will sleep no more

I will relinquish myself to the ones-and-zeros bread and circuses tip my hat to the past and ride into the digital frontier


Once her skull was evacuated head and shoulders deep laid waste laid to rest

chemical heart poured double gun-shot wounds of irony and bitterness soul-worn-through

She floated away

A smile and unfocussed eye
A hollow laugh and mortal sigh

Nothing more than a moist cavity breathed

And I wished to my very base I had used my art spoken up delayed the inevitable vacancy grief imparts but I too had dumped my brain and emptied my heart

Esperanto Libro de Tagoj

Bonŝancon hieraŭ

Mi ne plu timas

La rememoro pri eterna jaroj

La ageless malaperon de edroj

Dum doloro ankoraŭ kapitulacigas

Freŝa ondoj kiel via rekomendo
Bonŝancon morgaŭ

La pezo de la estonteco

Eluzita kiel vesto

Poŝoj ŝtono-prirabita

De la potenca pezeco

De espero kaj senutileco
Kaj adiaŭ hodiaŭ

Rigardante vin piediri for

Jen ĉiuj vi diris al mi