Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Good News!

After two months of occasional throwing on the wheel, I made the first pot I like, in the shape I wanted. If I don't balls it up putting a handle on it tomorrow, I'll post a picture.

Other news: I've been in a strange mood recently. I've been too up for my own good for weeks now - but irritable and black ups more than anything. Hiding in the shed playing with clay seems safest. But makes me feel like I'm back at primary school (or art college) (delete as applicable ha ha). No I've never been to art college - what do you take me for? :-)

But this mood - everyone says I'm detached and distant - well if so it's because there is too damn much flying around my head. It's not me that's doing it. It seems like a natural safety-clamp-down imposed by some guardian angel of the valves. I am silent and taciturn because one word too many would broach the dyke. It's doing K's head in, but I can only shrug and apologise.

La has given me an idea for a post. I don't know when I'll write it. But it'll be on the good and bad of being a so-called responsible adult with a family, and how it helps and hinders this stupid moronic mind I've inherited. I will try and write it, but I wince at the cons. Though the pros are good too, but not good enough to outweigh the cons.

As for me, I'm drifting, floating, my troubles seem demagnified at the moment - I'm too high up, and I'm in that universe where I am untouchable. It's like that feeling in one of my very first posts on here, without the visceral hallucinatory experience to go with it. It's like the strength - (negative strength?) - that that careless, devil-may-care, untouchable, safe, nothing can harm me because I am gossamer and nothing feeling gives.

As for oink-lurgy - and for all of you freaking out over it - I hate to say it - but part of me (as always) looks forward to a complete disaster. A very selfish part of me of course. But fear not, I'll volunteer to get it first with all my pretty chickens and their dam.

Take care all,


Monday, 27 April 2009

I'll Never Forget

My psychiatrist's face when I ferociously scribbled the note "FAMILY MURDER" on a great-grand-parent in the already dubious family history.

Since then I have discovered another of that generation from that branch who "Died of a broken heart." (She went to bed, and was found dead in the morning). Pathologists were kindly people in those days. She wasn't old.

Not to mention Budge, on whom I have already posted. Nor my mother's father who did several stints in Coney Hill, the local Gloucester asylum.

Is there a genetic basis? I don't know. Is there a mimetic basis? Probably. Are they entwined? I suspect so.

My extended family greeted my diagnosis with love and oodles of affection. It was very touching to be honest. But I think all the nutty ones nodded their aged heads and found a certain validation.

I'm not knocking the love and affection that sprang out of that dry well. Not at all.

When I Was Three or Four

During my mother's first divorce, I led my 1 year old toddler brother by the hand into the living room, and asked: "Is it me and M. that is making you unhappy?"

During my mother's second divorce, when I was 15, I plied and tried every emotional trick in the book to keep her and my stepdad together.

It ended with a long walk along the Sidmouth beaches, him sobbing his guts out, and me picking up the pieces.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

The Joys of Spring Cleaning

We're moving everyone to different rooms. The boys have ours, we've gone to the spare room, and what was the boys' old room is now full of all the shite that was hiding under the beds etc. But funny the stuff you find:

Did this about ten years ago. Perfectly awful - the only saving grace is the way it looks as if Eve has just pooed that crab-apple out. Well. It makes me laugh.

This I was messing about with earlier:

Oh well, must go! Head is fizzing merrily today. Take care all. D x

p.s. Edit - I thought I destroyed this ages ago - K tells me she rescued it from my destructive self-criticism a number of times. Looks rather pleasant - river, sun, blanket, wine, warm skin... mmm come on weather, warm up!

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Commissariat of Silly Hats (i)

For Alex


Under cloth, my bodyarmslegs folding,
My coat around me snatched and remolding,
Over metalled, petalled, clover-banked weir
Of a dead fort, four thousand old years
Older than me by far, in my reckoning mind.
I move and shiver through the ramps unwind,
And out again, stumbling as the wind yields,
To see soil, dank-sponging, across a field's
Scudding day, it rains on witch elder, the gales.
And on the spatter-spat hills, grey whales,
Drops wild-falling; clay-wet, plough-serried strokes,
Trammelled my feet to naked, nearby oaks.
Roaring storm by my face heavily crowned,
Fronts the wind's affront, and stares around,
At the nearest rage-bent tree of black glass,
My eyes fixing and I move through wet grass,
In great striding with tired foot strokes ploughing.
Huge hands like giants hands joined dwarf-body bowing
Seize the tree and seeking shake to break or
Make a death fall to the grey soaking floor.
But no tree yet made by green convulsive
Has fallen or snapped to my repulsive
Urge to shatter, strain wood, to make for me
A victory, conquestering a tree.
But is this truly wrong to eye and throng
My strength against a bale-blank long
Trunk of thick bark? or to attack the stares
Of a glaring, far-older thing, that cares
Not for me? and still man's supremacy
Makes a war on all that can better we.
We better what? nothing: our devices
And our best game, make-believe, suffices
Not to lift us one notch higher than they,
Green oak and brown oak, black and old grey.
They are as old, older; we think, and thought,
We angrily discover, is where we wrought
Our standing, our standing-trumpet sounding
Folly of reason: it is thought, mounding
Upon instinct, mounding upon instinct,
That makes us fools: we forget, our ranked
Upbringing has many years advantage,
Over this mind that minds only itself and its stink.

(in my defense I was 18 or 19)

For Robert Graves Lovers

Lament for Pasiphae

Dying sun, shine warm a little longer!
My eye, dazzled with tears, shall dazzle yours,
Conjuring you to shine and not to move.
You, sun, and I all afternoon have laboured
Beneath a dewless and oppressive cloud--
A fleece now gilded with our common grief
That this must be a night without a moon.
Dying sun, shine warm a little longer!

Faithless she was not: she was very woman,
Smiliing with dire impartiality,
Sovereign, with heart unmatched, adored of men,
Until Spring's cuckoo with bedraggled plumes
Tempted her pity and her truth betrayed.
Then she who shone for all resigned her being,
And this must be a night without a moon.
Dying sun, shine warm a little longer!

I've always found this poem flawed, yet extremely enigmatic, and the lines come to me at odd moments. The fact I find it flawed yet it keeps announcing itself probably means the flaw is in my self. The sentiment is perfect, but the poem perhaps a tad too personal. Oh bollocks. I love this one.

It is the title that always makes me scratch my head and colour my reading of the poem. If it was untitled then I would have nothing to worry on (and I have worried on this one for twenty years now). But with the title everything is turned on its head, and it keeps sending the mind out questing for meaning.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Kafka, The Silence of the Sirens

Proof that inadequate, even childish measures, may serve to rescue one from

To protect himself from the Sirens Ulysses stopped his ears with wax and
had himself bound to the mast of his ship. Naturally any and every
traveller before him could have done the same, except those whom the Sirens
allured even from a great distance; but it was known to all the world that
such things were of no help whatever. The song of the Sirens could pierce
through everything, and the longing of those they seduced would have broken
far stronger bonds than chains and masts. But Ulysses did not think of
that, although he had probably heard of it. He trusted absolutely to his
handful of wax and his fathom of chain, and in innocent elation over his
little stratagem sailed out to meet the Sirens.

Now the Sirens have a still more fatal weapon than their song, namely their
silence. And though admittedly such a thing has never happened, still it is
conceivable that someone might possibly have escaped from their singing;
but from their silence certainly never. Against the feeling of having
triumphed over them by one's own strength, and the consequent exaltation
that bears down everything before it, no earthly powers could have remained

And when Ulysses approached them the potent songstresses actually did not
sing, whether because they thought that this enemy could be vanquished only
by their silence, or because of the look of bliss on the face of Ulysses,
who was thinking of nothing but his wax and his chains, made them forget
their singing.

But Ulysses, if one may so express it, did not hear their silence; he
thought they were singing and that he alone did not hear them. For a
fleeting moment he saw their throats rising and falling, their breasts
lifting, their eyes filled with tears, their lips half-parted, but believed
that these were accompaniments to the airs which died unheard around him.
Soon, however, all this faded from his sight as he fixed his gaze on the
distance, the Sirens literally vanished before his resolution, and at the
very moment when they were nearest to him he knew of them no longer.

But they--lovelier than ever--stretched their necks and turned, let their
cold hair flutter free in the wind, and forgetting everything clung with
their claws to the rocks. They no longer had any desire to allure; all that
they wanted was to hold as long as they could the radiance that fell from
Ulysses' great eyes.

If the Sirens had posessed consciousness they would have been annihilated
at that moment. But they remained as they had been; all that had happened
was that Ulysses had escaped them.

A codicil to the foregoing has also been handed down. Ulysses, it is said,
was so full of guile, was such a fox, that not even the goddess of fate
could pierce his armor. Perhaps he had really noticed, although here the
human understanding is beyond its depths, that the Sirens were silent, and
opposed the afore-mentioned pretense to them and the gods merely as a sort
of shield.

(for Tempest)

Fifty Consecutive Words by Association


Tuesday, 21 April 2009

It's a Dog's Life

Too haphazard to analyze, to zoomy to reflect. Here are some photos in lieu of me gabbling about how I feel.

MIL's dog.

Small raku bowl by K.

Small raku bowl by eldest boy (with a little help).

Nice set of jugs, gone for bisque firing. I seem to have a jug-fetish at present.

Keep safe all, hoping sleep works tonight. Dx

Monday, 20 April 2009

Polluted Fountain

This constant fluctuation is tediously horrible. Sometimes it's a genuine relief at first to fall or rise unambivalently down or up, but this internal tug-of-war is just exhausting and a bloody pain.

A nerveless marionette pulled prancingly by an idiot shaking the strings.

I've been trying not to define my mood for ages. But currently low mood, agitated, and too many thoughts are raising havoc in my brain like the end-hours of a party that's turning ugly. Oh, and anxious - unreasonably, stupidly anxious, just to put the icing on the turd.

Sleep has been packing her bags again. I think she's had enough of me and has gone for a holiday.

In a nutshell, I'm up but have a lot to be glum about at the moment. I have a lot to feel happy about too. I should remind myself. It doesn't help, but it makes me feel cross with myself and puts an end to pathetic maunderings such as these.

Self-observation one thing, self-pity is verboten.

A fountain polluted with oil. A bursting rosebush caked with careless slurry.

Verboten! Enough! Take care all.

Nothing to post, so have this.

A Grin

There was this hidden grin.
It wanted a permanent home. It tried faces
In their forgetful moments, the face for instance
Of a woman pushing a baby out between her legs
But that didn’t last long the face
Of a man so preoccupied
With the flying steel in the instant
Of the car-crash he left his face
To itself that was even shorter, the face
Of a machine-gunner a long burst not long enough and
The face of a steeplejack the second
Before he hit the paving, the faces
Of two lovers in the seconds
They got so far into each other they forgot
Each other completely that was OK
But none of it lasted.

So the grin tried the face
Of someone lost in sobbing
A murderer’s face and the racking moments
Of the man smashing everything
He could reach and had strength to smash
Before he went beyond his body,
It tried the face
In the electric chair to get a tenure
In eternal death, but that too relaxed.

The grin
Sank back, temporarily nonplussed,
Into the skull.

Ted Hughes

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Dylan Thomas

La Specola posted this tonight: superb.

I've read it out loud three times now, and the pleasure increases each time. Say what you like about DT, he knew how to craft a line for reading.

Today Has Been Better

Just on the scale of ups and downs. I feel on a tightrope, or split through the head, and could bounce up to the stars or fall to the toothsome rocks below. But I'm getting all sorts of recent behaviour in perspective, and am healthily back to regarding it as sane :-).

But no, the sense of dread has abated. I'm not going to get stuck in a thought-vortex by worrying that confidence is a bad thing. I was worried. But now I'm not. It either means I'm getting worse or getting better. But it's a positive sign that I can see it and see both routes it could take.

Take care all you lovely people. D x

Friday, 17 April 2009

Narky sarky continuation explication enough

Well, no I'm not. No I'm not well. I blame the damned Inspectorate of Fiscal Bastarditudinous Cockfields.

Anyway, I'm up and posting, and make of that what you will, maybe I'm coherent, maybe I have six grains of sense, maybe the may blossom and the may tree and may please may I stop repeating the word may - oh happy day - don't go there boyo.

T Y P I N G V E R Y S L O W L Y to try to calm down.

I'm ok. No I'm not. But I'm ok on the record. And off the record I'm awful. But heck I can still type shite. Does that mean I'm ok? Or just ok? Or not ok? What does ok mean? I can't bear to look up the mundane explanation.

The picture is just another from the series of "Why are men scared of nude portraits?"* Don't worry about it.

Bare forked animals etc. We are what we are. That's me. Pretty pathetic to publish it on the internet but I'm cold so don't want to go out and get caught, and there seems to be the morning traffic on the roads, and heck, who knows, someone might raise a chuckle at the sight of that horrid carcass. (Thirty second exposure (tho felt like longer (everything always feels like longer (and brackets (and brackets)))) so that's why it's blurry - I thought I held quite still tbh.)

Finally finished all the tax returns today. Money is a different matter, but I have friends. As soon as finishing, I wanted to fight the bastards physically and for every penny. I like to pay taxes. They pay for people like me for a start, and the fucked-up and disadvantaged all over the shop. But the way the taxman treats you... I want to make a complaint. Go to the press. Make it hurt. But then he'll probably investigate me to get his own back. I have nowt to hide. (Obviously.) But I can't stand the thought of the extra stress. It'll take me a month to get back to anything if I know myself. "Know thyself" said Socrates, the old hemlocky suicidal bugger. But what I mean is I want to hurt the taxman and make a noise a fuss a big shitty stink, but I don't have the resources at the moment, and probably never will, but want to.

Oh enough. I disgust myself.

p.s. Thanks to Loopy for the kind remarks on the last.

p.p.s. What is it about modern life that makes taking your clothes off feel like a cleansing?

* They're far more scared of nude portraits when women are in control of the camera, naturally. There is a lot of catching up to do in western art. (And I was referencing a typical female nude pose when I posed for that a few days back. [edit - it was a picture I saw in the Musee d'Orsay (sp?) back in 88... they had a lot from the Louvre on loan due to the renovations... but I had a bad head that day, and was disgusted at all the pink flesh and gilt frames... ho hum] Perhaps I should start calling myself a performance or piss artist?)

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Self Indulgent Narky Narci Ning Nang Nong

I repaired to my seat in Wales for a few days, therefore to chastise the flesh with flame and cold water and hard drink and the joyful antics of three extremely exhausting small boys plus the demands of a delightfully tiring and tired wife. The taxman thing has lo and behold sent me up (fighting) and down (despairing) = mixed. Sing while the May is on the bushes, I say.

Picture means nothing about me apart from a general pose of shittiness. In fact it was prompted by a discussion I was having with Kate on the way back from the Diana and Actaeon exhibit at Compton Verney (sorry can't be arsed to find links! Google!) There was no male nakedness, and she was wondering why not - we decided it was intentional to highlight the inherent sexism of looking and nakedness in the history of art... yawn... and I said "I shall redress the balance." I could have been bolder, but didn't want to frighten the horses.

What else is new? Home again, some form for the incapben to fill in, another taxfine, more shit of a bureaucratic nature, but spring hath gentle sprung, and what that aprille with her showers soote the droct of march hath perced to the roote etc so goodnight

Thursday, 9 April 2009

As For Me...

It's been an interesting week or two, and still continuing. The taxman is threatening immediate bailiffs and ignoring his own guidelines with regards to dealing with people i) on benefits ii) with young families iii) with health problems.


I am coping rather well considering. I've finally got all the figures I need sorted to fill in the damned forms. I owe them less than I thought. About 7.5K instead of 10K. I can even go in with my figures and force those bastards to do the forms for me if my head explodes too much to do it. And the damned bailiff won't be let in if they 'neglect' to tell him he's not needed, or on any other pretext or account either! Gits!

Took the kids to London on Sunday - fine day out. Natural History Museum was good, apart from the dinosaur section, which was cattle-truck hell. I stamped on the toes of the people behind me who were kicking my heels, and whispered "Fucking fuckers" in the ears of anyone pushing past in that claustrophobic shithole.

Now I should go to bed, but who knows? Damned moon.

R D Laing Film

Just watched all of this at Marian's. Linking here for the sake of wider dissemination.

Sunday, 5 April 2009


I was watching Macbeth played by Ian McKellen earlier - not bad, but not great.

Got me thinking about various Shakespeare related things. Most trite, I took the facebook quiz about which Shakespearian character are you, and of course, came out Hamlet.

Was also thinking about Paul Scofield, because he was such a superb actor, so good in fact that the general public don't know him.

Found a quote about him playing Hamlet, which I find very true to me.

"No living actor is better equipped for Hamlet (Phoenix [Theatre]) than Paul Scofield. On him the right sadness sits, and also the right spleen; his gait is a prowl over quicksands; and he can freeze a word with an irony at once mournful and deadly. He plays Hamlet as a man whose skill in smelling falseness extends to himself, thereby breeding self-disgust. He spots the flaw in every stone, which makes him either an idealistic jeweller or a born critic. He sees though Gertrude, Caludius, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Polonius and Ophelia--what remains but to see through him self." Source.

Amleth btw is the original of the story. Shakespeare (or someone before him) transposed the final h. I have a book somewhere, stolen from some library somewhere, though I've not seen it for ten years, so perhaps someone has stolen it from me, poetic justice nein? which gives the complete background.

I'm steadfastly ignoring imminent pauperdom. Off to London tomorrow (today?!! Sunday) to take the kids to the Natural History Museum.

Take care all, D x

p.s. Why do I feel like a lamb being led to the slaughter?

p.p.s. Must finish with my favorite quote from Macbeth:

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing."

— Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5, lines 17-28)

p.p.p.s Was going to make this a post, but realised it fitted in here better:

Poets and Ages and Elements

If the Anglo-Saxons were the Stone Age, then Chaucer to Spenser would be the Bronze Age. Shakespeare and Jonson and the editors of the King James' Bible would be the Iron Age (a malleable form). Those boring fuckers like Dryden, Milton, all the way up to Pope etc are the The Leaden Age. The Romantics I suppose are the Lithium Age (oh god, what would I give for laudenum). And the Moderns are the Plutonium Age (for want of a crueller word).

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Just Meh and The Collector of the King's Coinage

I seemed to have left my last substantial post as a reply on the last post. Scroll down to the last by me.

edit - no forget that, relevant bit quoted here: "I'm actually in a bad mood, but capable of writing. Tax man sent formal notification of bailiffery - technically called a Notice of Distrait. Which funny word also means distress. Good eh? I have til April 10th to find 10K - oops I mean 7K - I paid them all my emergency money last week."

Friday, 3 April 2009

Incomplete Precis for Another Book I Won't Lower Myself To Write

(I'm thinking a grand synthesis of autobiography, self-help, instruction manual, and general moral warning). (This post will be updated when I think of the answers to the questions, and all the answers may grow in one way or the other. It might be entertaining.)

How To Become.

How to become a happy child who will grow up to be a decent and submissive member of society, not.
How to become a survivor of a broken home.
How to become a survivor of two broken homes.
How to become a supreme irritation of teachers.
How to become a good rock-climber.
How to become nearly dead on several occasions i.
How to become someone who has left home at the first opportunity.
How to become a writer.
How to become a tramp.
How to become a lover.
How to become an expert lover. (It doesn't take that long. Couple of years.)
How to become a better writer.
How to become suicidally depressed i.
How to become a luthier.
How to become married.
How to become suicidally depressed ii.
How to become a conservation gumby.
How to become a conservation foreman. (Two months of being competent and bullshit the rest.)
How to become your own business man. (Bullshit and testosterone.)
How to become a cathedral abseiling conservator. (Supreme conjunction of expertise, experience, and nous plus chance.)
How to become suicidally depressed iii. (Tits up.)
How to become nearly dead on several occasions ii.
How to become truly mad. (etc)
How to become a manic depressive. (Lose it to the degree a concerned family member calls a doctor.)
How to become nearly dead on several occasions iii.
How to become a crap blogger.
How to become a potter.
How to become almost bankrupt. (This could be inserted all over the place.)
How to become the next new thing.
How to become an almost-ran.
How to become an aficionado of cheese-sandwiches.
How to shuffle off this cortal moil.

Any input welcome. I've only filled x answers in so far. Of course I have the answers. And I'm sure they're not in the perfect order yet. But perhaps for all you internet types there is a meme in here lurking. I hate memes. Are they MeMes or memes as in Dawkins? Or are they both and just a pun that makes you want to gas yourself?


Semi out of the shithole. Enough to apologise to anyone to whom it's owed.

My head is killing me. It's that sensitized thing - constant burning - turns into flash-fires everytime the hint of adrenaline is involved. IF ANY DOCTOR OR NEUROLOGIST HAS A CLUE THEN FUCKING EMAIL ME!!! I blame beating the head on the wall back in Feb 08 personally. That's when it started. I've gone and bloody brain-damaged myself.

Done squiddly fuckall to the tax returns - I would have been just as likely to set fire/wipe bum/eat tho not in that order I hope.

I just am so grateful that I have the family support that gives me peace and quiet when I need it. Correction: WHEN I NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED IT. They never give peace or quiet otherwise, and neither should they.

Oh well... not out of the gnarly woods, but can hear the birds singing, the rook, the jackdaw, heard larks yesterday, soon be cuckoo time. Take care all.