Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A hard rain

I go on holidays to Florida and spend a week with my family doing Orlando.
Week two, we are miles away at a beach where we expect to relax and recover from last week's awesome rides.
Except, we grow weary of blowtorch sun and lizard-like seeking of shade, after a while.
We will take an all-day trip back to Orlando to see something we missed the first time.
At dawn, we pile into an air-conditioned coach and travel to a large car-park to meet other coaches where passengers and coaches are swapped with the frenzy and enthusiasm of a key-party of blessed memory.
We are approaching blast-off when a small man presents himself at the foot of the stairs and asks our driver if it's going to rain?
He gets our attention. Rain?
The driver says no; the man asks where the driver is going?
You see, he says, I have been here for two weeks and wherever I go it rains.
We whisper to the driver to close the door; shun him, the rainmaker.
But the man is at the wrong coach.
He boards another and it pulls away. We make signals to the passengers on that coach to get out now.
It's going to rain, we signal.
But they think we are mad.
Maybe it's the sun that makes people mad, we say, as we lash on the sun barrier cream.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Old clothes

I buy a waistcoat that was old when I was born. I consider buying a hat to match but think it might be seen as pretentious.
Besides, few men wear a hat that does not say they may be bald underneath, to some extent, or, thinking of going bald. I am not, though I have a high forehead since childhood.
So a waistcoat it is, that piece of men's clothing the Americans call a vest, whereas for Europeans a vest is an undershirt.
But few enough people are wearing waistcoats these days as straightforward clothing; mostly they are statements.
Some men with ponytails and ugly noses wear them to show they still believe; after all these years.
I decide a badge or two might change the lie of the garment. I see a few protest badges for sale for a single coin each.
Perhaps the Ban the Bomb one would look well; but then I realise I will be answering questions to younger people as to which bomb I mean.
Nuclear Power No Thanks is a nice combination of yellow and frightening red, made before we all woke up to the delights of Chernobyl fallout. It seems redundant somehow.
So I settle for a single button , made by Anne, before she left us.
It says:
Just Peace, Please.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


People keep ringing me up to say nothing.
The phone rings. Who does not pick up with some anticipation: be it of fight, flight, frolic, or fantasy?
Or, wrong number. Failure.
A new system sets up a cold sales call while the caller is ending the previous chat.
You are queued for a buying conversation you did not ask for.
It's like being asked to wait in line on a street to be processed by the beggar at the head of the line who badly needs a bed for the night, a cup of tea, or, assistance to get to somewhere else.
You can tire of the silence and break the connection; but then you miss bonding with the caller who is intent on getting you to buy something from him so he can have a bed for the night, a cup of tea or his taxi fare to the airport of his choice.
I've given up waiting for human response when I say hello to silence.
It might be a wrong number from a fool seeking random conversation with a voice on the other end, not a sales call at all.
Hang up.
Storytelling here

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Man not found in wardrobe

I tell a story in Barking Mad, Tales of Liars, Lovers, Loonies and Layabouts about a married lover almost caught by the husband he has cuckolded. The husband arrives home from gaol early. The lover hides in the wardrobe until the man greets his wife and leaves the bedroom, after a while.
I would never say who the man in the wardrobe was, though he told me the story himself, when he was 84-years- old; one day when we were sitting on a wall.
However, since the book came out: no less than eight men were positively identified as the man in the wardrobe. None were correct.
Now, two women have begun to befriend me and ask me where I found that story. They have assured me they are not the wife in question.
I never said either of them was.
Am I missing many more stories here?
Or did the 84-year-old get around a lot in his earlier decades?
I don't know; for he passed away in a bed not his own, with a smile on his face, last year.
I cannot now sleep for want of knowing.
Storytelling here

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

So shall it be written

I miss the tactility of a subscription magazine falling through my letterbox, once a month.
I miss the excitement of seeing my name on the address label even though I paid to have it there.
Someone has sent me something, someone is thinking about me, even if it is a machine. Do machines think, do they have feelings? I don't know but I would not like to hurt their feelings just in case, so I say nothing.
Wrappers changed over the years, so in the end you could read the front cover without unwrapping anything; but so too could anyone else in the human chain.
No private hugs of knowledge when the old brown paper wrapper came off.
No wonder at the news from afar from the welcome mat in your home.
Now, no physical pages to turn, no flicking at speed from the back forward, no seeking the favoured page. No glimpsing for the first time.
It's online now and who cares what the content is or what a time-filling designer has decided today's site will look like.
They have missed the point, the new marketers.
They have swapped my physical relationship for an online image that fades when the new machine is unplugged.
Can machines feel that; being cut off?
I hope not.
Storytelling here