What this blog isn't

It's not a Leeds-based exploration of the joys and challenges of shaping the mortar between house-bricks so that the rain runs off without undue damage.
Nor is it about looking at, achieving, or maintaining erections of the male variety. That's what the rest of the internet is for.
It's also not about drawing peoples' attention to the beauty of the Aurora Borealis by indicating it with an extended forefinger
It probably isn't SFW[Safe For Work] either (especially if you work in a church) thanks to the liberal sprinkling of profanities, heresies and blasphemies.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


I don’t usually cover that sad vale of tears we know and love as reality; indeed I do my best to avoid the bloody place/state like the plague. I love the abstract. One day I hope to retire there, to a fractured cluttered bungalow on Alzheimer’s Lane.

These following images, however, are of that realm…and some other place inside someone’s mind - conterminously. I took them on a mobile phone, so the quality is not great. I make absolutely no apologies for their size; in fact I wish that I’d had a better camera with more pixels. If you can’t see them properly, then click to view them on their own, or save them with a right click and zoom in with your chosen image viewer.

This was once the Havelock Hotel in sunny Sunderland. Passing through one day, I spotted its demolition-in-progress. I’m glad that I did. I made a cursory search on the net to see if anyone else had caught this moment, but it seems not. I ought not to keep these to myself. They are truly oddbeautiful.

Inside the Havelock1

 I don’t know whether it was a shabby B&B, or a bail hostel, or something worse before it closed, but whoever occupied these half-rooms above and below left his or her mark. It’s odd because it was an insane ranting jumble that hadn’t ever been painted or papered over. Beautiful because it was only revealed to the daylight (and my mobile’s camera sensor) for a short while. Fanciful, I know, but I saw parallels between the half-wrecked state of the building, and the psyche of the unknown author.

Inside the Havelock2

Like I said, these may only exist here, and in some demolition company's records. Probably not though. The chance image is almost universal in these days of the dea( r )th of the word. I just couldn’t keep them to myself any longer. I wonder what was on the walls already taken down, what it was like to stand in those rooms, and how it felt to write those words.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Birds Eye Mystery Fish Fillet Adventure

My mam (not mum – I’m an unashamed barbarian, and I storm from the north) gives me food parcels regularly. I do not discourage this; she likes to look after her children, and I like to eat. Sometimes these care packages contain surprises. These are often pleasant - like the Cherry Bakewells that I foolishly wasted in the previous post; and sometimes not - salad cream (that I quietly use as tile grout) comes to mind.

It is not often, though, that she provides me with confounding mysteries that require investigation as well as scoffing down like a starved wolf. Until this week. When I found these lurking near the bottom of the carrier bag.


On the surface all looks well. She likes a bit of fish. It’s good for the brain. My curious (the bong one) eye was drawn, however, to the circled (alright. ellipsesed ellipsified ell-oh, fuck it, never mind – you know what I mean) areas.

i) Where the hell was the captain? Usually he gazes down upon the serving suggestion – either with the bearded sagacity of the older man, his kindly smile belying the tattooed hairiness of his unseen matelot’s arse; or with the handsomely chiselled mum-friendly features of the younger man, who you just know could choke the life out of you with one strong hand (if he knew that you only bought a fish product once a month) while simultaneously pleasuring your wife to a degree you never thought possible with the other…AND…

ii) What? What kind of fish? What kind of fish fillers fill this captainless rectangular unseaworthy vessel? Fugu? Angler fish? Those frightening fucking creatures that lurk on the Discovery channel at the bottom of some trench that hasn’t seen daylight since the first rains fell upon the infant Earth?

My curiosity, if not my appetite, was suddenly aroused. Perhaps I would find the answers on the back of this now slightly defrosted puzzle box? You would think so, wouldn’t you?


Oh, come on! It’s not as if I spend my days trying to track down Chinese sleeper agents or cracking codes for the military! All I want to do is find out what kind of fish is in here, Birds Eye. You occlude the path to the truth, sirs.

1) That’s twice you’ve told me about the cheese and herbs. Are you trying to hide something? And don’t go trying to jokingly tell me that they’ll be our nutritious secret from the family; I am neither amused nor deterred by your chummy familiarity.

2) Aha! Ingredients. Here’s where we get to the…oh, you have to be kidding me! An asterisk? Look, Birds Eye – it’s only the fact that all my wanksocks are in the wash that keeps me on this quest, and well you know it. Alright. I’ll play your little game, my frozen friends.

3) It took me twenty minutes to find my magnifying glass, you bastards. If it says ‘caught off Sellafield’ down here then I’m suing. [Here, dear imaginary reader, I will reproduce the tiny, tiny text that had me peering myopically under a rare and valuable 150 watt bulb for a donkey’s age]:

*Depending on season and catch area we use one of the following types of fish. For our fish dishes these are either; Alaska Pollock ( A ) from the North Pacific, Hoki ( C )  from the South-West Pacific, Hake ( D ) from the Pacific Ocean or Basa ( P ) farmed in Vietnam. Each of this whitefish species has an aromatic, mild taste  and a tender texture and is therefore an excellent choice for our Birds Eye Fish Fillers. You can identify which type of fish we used for this product by the letter printed  after the best before date (see side of package/side flap).

Jesus! This food container is turning into a Dan Brown novel – except the english is slightly better here. Like an Indiana Jones of the kitchen, I turned my prize over to reveal the final clue…


So! I finally get to the bottom of your little mystery, and fortunately I haven’t starved to death in the process. It was Pollock all along. Given that I’d spent this long on the damn things (and the dryer hadn’t finished yet) I decided to cook them, if only to justify the effort that I’d put in.

They were fucking horrible.

He’s got Cherry…(sorry Kim Carnes)

I had to lie down to do this. It took fourteen goes, and and a box of Mr. K’s finest (most of which were lost to the floor) – and I think one of my contact lenses is now round the back of my eye…

But it was worth it to lift me out of this foul Friday mood.

I give you my interpretation of the last line of Kim Carnes’ chorus most popular…

Thanks_Kim & Kipling

My next target today is the late Captain Birdseye. This time I won’t be so reverential.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The swansong that wasn’t

This, my argent tongue


This, my argent tongue, distilled

of rough mercuric thought;

acerb dagger tang instilled,

forge and foundry wrought


These, my agile wits, enclosed

steel facts and silver lies;

tributes paid to king reposed

above, behind these eyes


But oh, this argent tongue,

is bitten, swollen, stung;

and my, these agile wits,

are spun of starts and fits


The king is long deposed,

usurped by ague violent;

the forge is cold and closed,

the foundry fallen silent


Now this, my argent tongue,

is stilled; and I am done

My incalculable fortune lost in the crash, my loyal retainers dispersed to the wind, my teeth sold for pasties – it was the worst of times…but now I’m BACK. From Outsize space (please continue making up your own lyrics to disco classic ‘I will survive’ from this point while I try to get a broadband connection to this cave complex in the Maldives up and running. and WATCH PAY SCANT AND DILATORY ATTENTION TO…THIS SPACE.

I thank you.