[ssf] uv :: v) d) the badon field :: the 'art of lightness

father brown adam at diamat.org.uk
Wed Oct 31 12:43:34 GMT 2007

[ a ]

  you know
  you can't hang a man
  with a wooden leg

  [ b ]

   can't you

[ a ]

  it's best to use a rope

   [ c ]

    why not just give him enough rope

[ a ]

  couldn't that be construed
  as aiding and abetting

    [ d ]

     rope can be used for many things
     mooring knots
     or a net for instance
     so it's how he uses it

     [ e ]


[ a ]


      [ f ]

       watch him ladies

       i've got the drinks

[ a ]

  oh ... thanks
  have you washed your hands

      [ f ]

       oh, don't be like that

       listen, i want to introduce you

       [ g ]

        i produce the budget
        for the rounds

[ a ]

  oh ...

      [ f ]

       well you did say
       i know you and you know me

  [ b ]

   can we get on with this please
   i do have a busy schedule

[ a ]

  why not consider this
  as time-off

     [ e ]

      as time-off what

[ a ]

  as time-off schedule ...

  ... listen,
  i going to have to tell you
  one of my rambling drainage stories
  feel free to interrupt ...

  i. untitled

  i suspect there's at least
   one tragic historian amongst us
   the world seems to be run by
  tragic historians

  zo, if only to bring in
  a little bit o'balance
  i present a story
  of a romantic comedian ...

  back in 92 / 93
  i'd decamped to a car park
  on broad lane
  tasked with resewering the high street
  church street, glossop road
  as part of the supertram works

  moderate rain on a drainage job
  can be a blessing in diskies
  for an engineer

  rain stops play

  the lads go home
  or to the bookies
  or elsewhere
  and the engineers tend to get on
  with their paper work

  now as then
  i have a tendency
  to be very critical
  of paper work
  to the extent that i do
  as little as possible

  battle of the forms
  most of it --

   'here's our form,
    you need to fill in the blanks' -- would say
                                       a contractors rep

   if you are unable to make this form
   an appendix to a contractual letter
   or confirmation of a verbal instruction
   then i have no time for your form' -- my reply ...

  i did tend to keep my diary though
  captain slog and all that
  to record the actual progress
  of the negotiation

  on a day of moderate rain
  the report was short
  i'd manage to squash most of it
  in to the top margin
  of an A4 duplicate book ...

  weather : moderate rain
  plant and labour : agent, labour off-site, engineer, foremen in cabins
  plant standing save 1 Nr 9", 1 Nr 6", 2 Nr 4" pumps, generators
  works : flumes holding, foremen monitoring stanking overpumbing
  fencing secured

  on brighter or darker days,
  i'd try still to trap the progress
  on to one side of an A4 sheet
  then weekly, what ever the weather
  tearing out the pages
  along preformed perforations
  posting the days via internal mail
  back to the main office
  at carbrook
  carbon copy remaining on site

  we had a heavy rain day
  on that job
  well we had a couple
  one off the beaufort scale
  a lot of properties got flooded

  i do tend to get one like that
  on every job i do
  i try not to let it freak me
  the beatles had
  number one hits apparently
  when ever there was a lot sun spots
  but at the same time
  it does makes me wonder

  i'd go knocking door to door
  soon after
  collecting my reports
  my forms

  always a far better reception
  and experience when dealing with households
  than with commercial properties
  even when i had caused the flooding

  on my phase of the supertram job
  the flooding was all commercial properties

  occupants hardened by many months
  and in some cases years
  to the supertram job ...

        now don't try to tell me
        you're not responsible for this
        -- began one particular trader

  am not

        then you admit liability

  for what

        the damage
        my loss

  what is your loss


  shall we quantify this

        how can you quantify this

  did any body get hurt


  have you lost anything
  of sentimental value


  well then
  let's count this up

        that barely covers it
        there's my time
        and my loss of trade

  your time doing what

        sorting this out

  what would you have being doing
  if you were't doing this


  well then trading
  and your time
  is the same thing:
  the same head of claim:
  economic loss

        they've taught you well
        haven't they

  who have


  why do you say that

        every thing with them
        is economic loss

  is it

  oh yes, it is

  the supertram act

        economic loss is limited
        in the supertram act
        very limited

  yes, supertram is very limited
  but this is not just supertram is it
  it is flooding

  you will only be able to claim
  what you can substantiate:
  do you have records
  of recent trading

        they have trained you very well
        how can you compensate

  for what

        my total loss

  what total loss

        supertram is taking away my livelihood
        my trade is down
        with all this work
        who wants to come near
        this building site

  i know,
  there is a petition ..

        don't give me that,
        what can *they* do

  they can try i guess
  but i know,
  it will get better though
  the plans look just grand

        don't give me that
        when complete,
        how ever pretty you leave it
        the tram will suck my trade
        to the big brands at meadowhall
        like the railway link
        there, and the two new dual carriageways
        there, don't tell me
        that i will prosper

  well i can't can i
  business is business
  the government has drawn
  a new tram in this city
  and who am i to argue
  i'm just building it

        that's what they said at nuremberg

        you lot are all the same
        give you lot a uniform
        and you're just like blakey
        off on the buses

  do you see any stripes on my jacket
  no, we're all the same here
  we wear bright colours
  fluorescence just to be seen
  it's a matter of safety

        yeah ..
        i bet you wear it at home

  as far as prosperity is concerned
  i have a problem with the c.s.a.
  and how the government's flogging off
  our housing stock
  so, we all have our cross to bear
  when it comes to government lines
  but shall we quantify your loss

        so you at least take responsibility
        for this shit, this time

  it is not shit
  it is water

        don't give me that
        i saw for myself
        raw sewage coming out of your manholes

  the sewer was beaten
  and so was the road
  not just here
  in loads of places
  we've mopped up outside
  and there weren't many solids
  not at this end any way
  and there were no solids here

        you got your lads
        to clear away the evidence

  i have photos of the solids
  in situ
  if you want copies
  or if you want a representative sample
  of the stuff we flushed away
  i can show you where to dip a bucket
  but i don't think any solids got in here
  did they, they did further down the road
  but not here, is that correct

        so you're not taking responsibility for this

  i am responsible for this
  this is why i'm here
  but i may not be liable for your loss

        but you may be liable for my loss

  so shall we quantify it

        what's the point
        supertram will never admit liability
        you're just spying for your bosses

  i don't work for supertram,
  i have responsibilities to them
  just as they have responsibilities to me

        for the water company then

  same deal
  i don't work for them either
  i work for the city

        well the city won't pay
        and even it does
        they'll just put up my rates

  i don't think the city will be paying for this
  the city isn't liable for this

        well why are you here then

  because the city is responsible for this

        and you speak on behalf of the city

  on this road yes
  i occupy this road
  and have occupiers liability

        so the city is not liable
        but you are,
        because you're in occupation

  but the city is responsible for me
  if you should have a complaint
  those are the folks to write to
  just as i am responsible for
  the staff on the road outside
  if you've got a complaint about them

        so you're responsible for the road
        and all the people on it
        but you're not liable for my loss

  probably not know,
  not as the city,
  but i am responsible for it

        what good is that to me

  would you like this to happen again

        are you threatening me

  with what:
  i am building the works outside
  replacing stuff that's not been touched
  for at least a century
  finding unrecorded culverts
  waterways, ash filled craters filled in fast
  in wars,
  percolating against clay, concrete
  and buried ashlars,
  alloyed pipes and even wood in places
  dating back to roman times:
  how did the water get in here
  anyway, not up your drains
  but through your walls

        they've taught you well
        haven't they:
        you offset your liabilities
        you blame the land
        and the weather

  i blame neither
  i am in occupation of the land
  and build to accommodate the water
  what ever the weather

        who is liable then

  your insurers
  at first instance

        don't give me that

  do you have insurance

        of course i do
       but there's an excess on the policy
      and they'll raise my premiums
     if i claim
      i don't know if it's worth it
       business is stacked against
        the little player

  i know
  it is the same with my car insurance
  shall we quantify your loss then
  in case i am liable

        couldn't you get
        those two back in
        who mopped up:
        they reckoned they could
        repair the wall in a day

  do they
  well i suspect they could
  but no
  not on my time
  i have removed the water
  i am no longer in occupation here

        i could make it worth your while

  could ya
  as fred dineage would say:
  don't answer that
  i have seen all i need to see here
  to estimate your material loss
  and i occupy the road
  so will be able to quantify
  your economic loss
  or at least the time element of it
  i will be in touch in writing
  in due course
  if i hold myself liable
  for this flooding
  if you wish to communicate with me further
  i ask that you do so
  in writing also ...

  ... i left the shop owner there ...

  ... the summer before we'd had one
  of the richter scale

  we were occupying the porter brook
  in the parks mainly, endcliff,
  whitely, bingham, forge dam

  i was being trained up
  it was my first site job
  and therefore
  all that was expected of me
  with respect to the land
  was codefency

  the job was quite straight forward
  replace the existing sewer now
  way under capacity,
  with all the surrounding build up
  of properties and hard standing,
  and all the waste water
  associated with twentieth century
  labour saving energy gear

  most of the job was offline
  or rather a crisscrossing track
  and a very large off-line tank
  and other structures
  to regulate the heavy weather

  manhole number one wasn't though
  manhole number one was right online
  just next to the cabins
  in whitely woods
  off rustlings road

  the day was beautiful
  beautiful blue sky
  the ducks and other water fowl
  seemed to be enjoying themselves
  in the adjacent ponds


  my welsh mate walks up to where i stood
  and informs me
  to the readiness
  of the new internal form carpentry
  of manhole one
  and asks a question --

        what's the dry weather flow
        in this sewer

  we were standing over
  the manhole excavation
  and i replied --

  this time of day
  it's what we can see

        that's very little
        why are we putting in a bigger pipe
        won't the hydrobrake
        keep back the storms
        there's no connections
        between here and the overflow
        we're replacing

  it's very flat though
  between here and there
  i'm using the pipe
  partially for storage -- my reply

        that won't store much rain

  no i know
  but it will store sum

        well the existing sewer
        would store three times this
        for days,
        if i stanked the incoming
        where would she spill first
         -- say mi welsh mate
            pointing to the incoming

  next manhole up
  -- my reply --
  then the one after that
  and then she'll pop the covers
  all the way up until
  her head beats the head
  of the existing overflow

        lets check the drawings
        and have some breakfast
        and we'll run it past the r.e.

  we checked the drawings
  had a brew
  and then my welsh mate continued --

        ... so the plan is
        we pour the manhole form now
        and strike the boat shutter
        end of shift

        if it rains,
        we flood the road

   -- the r.e. went next --
   i think we should wait
   until the overpumping is installed
   the contractors has programmed it
   to be here
   and in
   by the end of the week

        no -- my welsh mate interjects --
        you need to reject their programme
        they can't do this works in twenty-seven weeks
        i doubt whether i could do this work
        in twenty-seven weeks
        there's going to be big claims on this job
        you need to reject their fiction right from the start

   if they fail to install the overpumping
   by the end of the week
   they will have failed to meet their programme
   so how can they claim -- retorts the r.e.

        it doesn't work like that -- my mate states --
        i have read the contractors rates
        and i am aware of the subcontractors rates
        and this job is set up to fail:
        to fail on time:
        and i won't let it happen
        not on my time

        what do you think -- the question turns to me

  the weather's fine -- my reply --
  but the catchment's steep
  a short peaky storm
  and we flood the road

   no -- says the r.e. --
   if that happens
   we would brake the stank
   and let the flow through
   manhole one

        no -- my mate replies --
        i am not loosing this pour
        we are in occupation of the road
        we flood the road

   yes -- the r.e. went next --
   but we are in occupation
   of everywhere we flood

        so we flood the road
        are we agreed ...

  ... fifteen minutes later
  still not a cloud in the sky
  my welsh mate banks a concrete waggon
  back to the excavation of manhole one

  boat-shutter in place
  describing from above
  a Y shape
  the internal face
  of the pipes to be connected

  the old circular outgoing
  and both the old and the new
  circular incoming

  in section
  the boat formed from
  U shapes
  of slender gradients

  a character labelled sewer-rat
  who had made the boat
  stood astride it,
  holding a four-inch vibrator

       what if it rains -- enquires sewer-rat

  then we flood the road -- i reply

        why did you tell him that !
        -- barks mi welsh mate

  well that's what we agreed -- my reply

        agreed what !
        i have no recollection
        of us agreeing to tell him that
        he may just wish to flood the road

      no i wouldn't --
      states sewer-rat

  look -- says i
  pointing to the tiniest of white clouds
  way up and in the distance

      don't worry about that --
      continues sewer-rat

        shut your face you --
        barks mi mate

  well, it doesn't take long
  to pour and vibrate half a waggon
  of concrete, but the clouds
  and the rain just poured
  down the valley, from
  out of nowhere
  well from the west anyway
  from start to finish
  of that manhole pour

        my mate and me grabbed some folk
       and some road-pins
      and rapidly cleared
       some gullies out
        on rustlings road
         to keep the flow off the pavements

  the mini roundabout had a moat

  the bottom of the park
  lay strewn with solids
  of varying elasticity

  at regular time intervals
  my mate lambasting sewer-rat
  about the time
  they were taking to vibrate
  the concrete

  barking instructions
  to the folk
  on top of manhole one
  to cover the hole
  with visqueen
  and keep the rain
  of the concrete apparently

  and further dogging at sewer-rat
  to finish up quickly
  as their fat arse
  was needed further upstream
  to sit on a manhole cover

  quite a bit later
  my welsh mate pulls me to one side
  and says --

        did you wish for that rain

  no -- my reply

        are you sure

  but i didn't wish against it,
  what about yourself -- says i

        why would wish for that

  i don't know:
  but are you sure
  you didn't wish for it

        unless i did it sleeping
        and i think i was awake

        it must have been sewer-rat
        or the r.e.
        or those two in collusion maybe
        no one else knew the plan
        did they ...

  ... we had a far graver incident
  not much later
  it concerned the loss of a life
  the only one on that job
  apart from five trees
  in the valley

  i saw bits of the event
  i didn't see it all

  i heard bits of the event
  i didn't hear it all

  through my cabin window
  i saw a lady i recognised
  cradling something
  up the park path
  passed the cabins
  and site compound

  i heard a tracked excavator
  moving, then a scream
  from the lady --
  my baby, my baby

  i shot out the cabin
  and saw her dog trapped
  and lying squashed
  and dying

  what happened --
  the dog just jumped
  out of the ladies hands
  scuttled under fencing
  adequate only to demark
  safe boundaries
  and barked at the reversing

      it is my fault --
      says the driver

        no it is not
        -- replies mi mate --
        what happened -- query now turned to banksman

   just like the lady says --
   banks reply

        where we you standing --
        asks mi mate

   about here --
   replies the banksman

        report to the cabins
        you are off-hired

   you can't off-hire me
   i work for the sub-contractor

        well let us put it this way
        either they off-hire you
        or i off-hire them
        report to the cabins ...

  ... how can you compensate
  for the loss of a life

  i went round to the ladies property
  a few days later

  she was unable to see me
  i was told
  she was still unable to see anybody

  i met her fella
  he told me that he didn't think
  she'd be the same again

  i believed him ...

  ... i was there when
  the man who owned the subcontractors
  tried to bend first the sacking
  of the banksman
  and then the new fencing specification
  for the remaining works

  so was the suby's brother
  and a few of his in-laws

         not on my time --
         barks my mate

     it was only a dog -- responds the suby

         it doesn't matter
         not on my time

     what the fuck was
     that english women
     doing here in the first place

  her old-man's irish
  if that makes any fucking difference
  -- barks i

     listen -- quiets the subcontractor --
     with the new fencing spec
     i may as well pull off this fucking job now
     because i'll not make any money out of this one
     i'll not even break even

  i thought the fencing
  was down to the main contractor
  it's not up to yor lot is it
  -- my question --

        it doesn't work like that
        -- replies my mate --
        how many weeks
        are they in to you for

     two, maybe three
     i'd have to ask my daughter
     -- replies the subcontractor --
     but by the end of next week
     i'll be five weeks down at least
     and i'll still have to wait
     another two weeks
     for my first four weeks of payment
     and if i'm not very fucking careful
     i'll end up financing this fucking scheme
     and not be able to pull off
     because i'm owed so much
     and i don't trust this contractor

        neither do i
        -- states my mate --
        what chainage do you need
        on your drives
        where's your plans

     this is what i need
     just to break even

        you can beat these targets
        your brother is able
        to beat this target
        i've worked with him before
        do you think you can beat this

    if we have the engineers
    when we want them
    -- says the brother --

        i will chase the engineers
        and pull you back on par
        by week twelve

        are we agreed

     what about the banksman
     -- further queries the suby

        he is off-hired

   it was only a dog

        it doesn't matter,
        it will not happening again
        not on my time
        it could have been anything
        that it was one dog
        is enough ...

  ... i'll take a break
  from telling drainage stories
  they are tales of storms
  and the early nineties

  we had a sea change
  we had better weather
  and hailey-bob
  as i remember

  this is someone else's story
  from that time ...

  ii. and then there was jack the bodiless

  the soupy ball of organic matter
  slowly elongated and rose
  becoming a misty turbulent column

  the upper part engulfed the floating brain
  and the vapour swirled eerily
  generating a faint
  not unpleasant odour
  that paul's perfect memorecall
  recognised as the scent
  of a very young baby

  within moments
  the reincarnation intensified
  to the point
  that the ectoplasm
  assumed substantial human form

  beginning at the feet
  and continuing up the legs
  to the trunk and arms
  it solidified into an accurate representation
  of living flesh

  all that was lacking
  was the scars
  and other irregularities of natural bodies

  the head and face
  appeared last of all
  and jon remillard
  finally stood before his father
  like a normal man

  he was of medium height
  having dark wavy hair
  blue eyes with a disturbing luminosity
  and a high-bridged nose
  and square jaw characteristics
  of most of his family

  he struck a statuesque pose
  and smiled shyly --

     this body design
     is something completely different
     from the usual run

     usually i only do a detailed job
     on my head and my arms
     because clothing hides the rest

     how do i look

       paul kept his voice level --

        fine son

    are the sex organs proportional
    i modelled them on marc's
    but he's twenty-three cents taller than i am
    and outweighs me by more that twenty kilos

        they're appropriate for your build
        -- paul said heartily --
        they're perfect
        *you're perfect*
        you look like a goddamn
        apollo belvedere
        without the figleaf

  jack began to dress --

    funny thing about me and marc
    i suppose he's my closest male friend
    besides being my older brother

    we're ideal colleagues

    when we work together
    our minds sometimes slip
    into metaconcert
    with no effort at all
    like a pair of musicians
    playing an intricate duet
    in precise tempo

    he tried to talk me out of
    becoming a sexual entity

    he thinks it's a waste of time
    and vital energies

    he called me a fool
    for wanting to experience
    that part of human nature

        sometimes ...
        -- paul said briskly --
        ... marc is a paramount grandmasterly ass
        just you wait
        one of these days
        he'll fall head over heals
        and make a fucking idiot of himself

  jack laughed as he slipped
  into his shirt
  and installed cuff-links and studs --

    i sincerely hope so
    but his celibate mindset
    left me with a nice personal problem

    up until now
    the bodies i've fashioned for myself
    have been little more than hollow shells
    activated by creativity and pk

    their rudimentary internal organs
    merely imitate natural function
    to enhance the overall realistic aspect

    i never bothered with things
    such as extracephalic endocrine glands at all

       i didn't know
       -- paul sat down
          on the edge of the bed

  jack began to put on
  his stockings and garters --

    this particular body
    took me quite a while to design

    it's still far from being
    a faithful replica
    of the real thing
    but it does have a fairly complete set
    of sensory equipment
    blood vessels

    the male organs are as perfectly constructed
    as i could manage to make them
    and the gonads produce the appropriate hormones

    i got most of the function data
    i needed from reference materials
    including denis's book on operant sexuality

    but i still have to fine-tune
    the imaginative programmes
    for male erotic stimuli response

    and for that i need your help

        would you say that your brain structures
        and sensory network are typically human

    reasonable so

        i asked because normal human sex
        is largely mental

        the data you seem to require
        are concerned with integrating
        the ancient limbic system
        of your brain
        the part responsible
        for the sex drive
        and emotion
        with the more highly evolved neocortex
        that thinks
        and exercises imagination

        my redactive metabilty's
        not in the same class as marc's
        or your uncle severin's
        but i'm willing to give it a shot

    i'm afraid i haven't made myself clear
    the integration process you mentioned
    is already well established in me

    so are the hormonal patterns
    the mechanisms for erection
    and ejaculation
    and the pleasure pathways

    i'm still lacking in libidinous spontaneity

    what i need help with
    are the more subtle aspects of eroticism
    in both the male and female

    my new body reacts to physical stimulation
    but not to imaginative images
    or fantasies

    i'm still incompletely human

  ... paul frowned to cover his apprehension
  surely this creature didn't expect him to ...

    i'd like my first act of intercourse
    with my wife
    to be as transcendent as possible
    for both of us

    as uncle rogi's was
    with elaine donovan

    when he told me about their experience
    i knew i'd somehow have to find
    a way to emulate it
    with my own lover

  paul's silvery brows shot up --


        well i'll be damned

        the old roue
        never compared notes with me

    rogi also told me that
    he fell in love at first sight ...
    -- jack added quietly --
    ... and he never stopped
    loving elaine
    even though he's tried to put her
    out of his mind

    my own experience with diamond
    was nearly instantaneous too
    except that initial attraction
    was cerebral in nature
    an immediate apprehension of spiritual affinity

    rogi says that falling in love
    with elaine donovan was irrational

    that seems to be a common phenomenon

    but i understand that other natural human beings
    such as grandpere denis
    have experienced intellectual love first
    then have achieved mutual sexual passion later

        it can work that way
        i wouldn't know from personal experience

    would it be tasteless
    or impertinent of me
    to ask how you and mama fell in love

  paul stared straight ahead --

        as a young man
        i was rather inhibited sexually

        much like marc

        although i had
        at least
        an occasional unsatisfying adolescent affair
        while he seems to have kept himself pure for science

  jack grinned ...

        i first saw teresa in the stage
        at the metropolitan opera
        in new york in 2036

        i was twenty-two
        a wet-behind-the-ears politician
        with an excessive metaquotient
        and a fine reputation
        for running rings round the simbiari proctors

        she was only nineteen
        and that night she made her debut singing
        the title role in
        *lucia di lammermoor*

        at the end of the opera
        the audience got to its feet
        and screamed and stomped and applauded
        for nearly fifteen minutes

        a new superstar was born
        but she was more than that to me

        when i first heard
        that extraordinary voice of hers
        i was overcome

    do you mean libidinously stimulated ...

  paul winced --

        let's just say that it took all my self-redaction
        to keep my poor body under control

        it was my first experience
        of an aphrodisiac
        and the magic was all teresa's voice

        denis claimed it had something to do with
        her incredible creativity

        i don't know about that

        i did know that i'd die
        if i couldn't have her

    and so you were married

        five months later
        right there on the stage
        at the met

        the next four years
        were the happiest of my life

        we had marc
        marie and madeleine
        three magnificent operant children

        then luc was born
        with terrible physical deformities
        and there were other babies
        with lethal genetic traits
        that were stillborn or aborted

        it was a terrible time for teresa

        she lost her voice
        and her personality changed

        test showed that your mother's germ plasm
        had mutated
        probably some time just before
        the birth of our third normal child in 2040

    but madeleine *wasn't* normal

        there was nothing wrong with her genes
        -- paul said tersely

   jack now stared
   at his pair of antique lace-up shoes
   and spats in momentary bafflement ...

        better put the pants on first
        -- paul suggested --
        the spats go over the shoes
        and button up the sides
        with the strap underneath

  neither of them spoke for some time
  then --

    why did you and mamma stop loving each other

    was it because she tricked you
    into conceiving me
    and made you
    a party to a crime
    against the proctorship repro status

        not really
        i forgave her that

        we drifted apart long before

        she no longer aroused me

        our falling in love was irrational
        and so was the falling out

        perhaps what we had together
        wasn't really love at all
        at least
        not for me

        perhaps what i felt for her
        was only sexual magnetism

        a kind of enchantment

        i never tried to analyze it
        deliberately at the time

        one doesn't do that

    but you've thought about it since

        oh yes

        at this late date
        i've come to believe
        that true love has to be more clear-sighted
        and unselfish than i ever was
        with your mother

        if i'd really loved her
        i would have been more accepting
        when she changed

        i would have tried to evolve myself

        when teresa's erotic appeal faded
        there seemed to be nothing i could do
        to safe the marriage

        i found myself attracted
        to other women

        never to a singer though

        there was all kinds of aphrodisiacs:

        a lovely face
        perfect breasts
        an alluring body
        eyes with a provocative light to them
        tantalising movements
        the promise of sexual excitement that certain women
        can't help projecting

        my god jack
        there must be a thousand reasons
        why a man is attracted to one women
        and not another

        each of my women has been appealing
        in a different way

    your women
    but you didn't love any of them

        i enjoyed having sex with them

    and your enjoyment wasn't diminished
    by the knowledge
    that you were betraying your wife
    and the religious values
    you'd been brought up in

  paul exploded --

        god damn it jack
        don't judge me

    i'm not
    i'm only trying to understand
    but it seems so illogical ...

  the first magnate's anger drained away
  leaving only distaste
  and a terrible pity
  for this innocent
  cerebral being
  this prochronistic adam
  just a few steps below
  the sexless lylmik
  on evolution's ladder
  still determined to sample
  the forbidden fruit --

        and who ...
        -- paul asked himself --
        am *i* supposed to represent
        in this weired little biblical scenario

        -- he stared at the floor --

        sex is often illogical
        just as your brother marc maintains

        it's part of our animal nature
        but it's also evolved into more than that

        we don't just do it in order to reproduce

        we do it for solace
        and the relief of nervous tension
        and fun and even for the hell of it

        sometimes sex is only mindless fucking

        but it can be sacramental ...
        -- he paused --
        ... at least
        that's what they say

    i'd like sex to be that way
    for diamond and me

    perhaps not every time
    because that would make it too solemn

    but numinosity
    should definitely be part of it

    how does the old marriage prayer put it:
     with my body
      i thee worship

  the first magnate laughed
  without humour
  he still had not met his son's eyes --

        the wedding vows also say
        that a bride and groom
        are to forsake all others
        until death parts them

        but that's an ideal
        some people can never live up to

        i couldn't
        after i stopped loving your mother

        the basis for erotic attraction
        is obscure and capricious
        and it can vary over the years

        i know i've hurt a lot of my sexual partners
        by rejecting them
        particular teresa

        but i didn't act callously

        it wasn't done in cold blood

        i'm truly sorry that your mother's heart was broken

        but i couldn't stay with her
        when our love ended
        and i don't consider myself culpable
        in the matter of her death

    i don't either papa

        you know my reputation
        as a galaxy-class womaniser

        i'm not proud of it

        i realise that promiscuity
        and an unwillingness to commit
        to a stable sexual union
        are psychological flaws

        but it's the way i am

        i need sex
        and i'll have it
        and i'll do my best
        not to be deliberately cruel to partners

        and that's that

  jack finished fastening his spats --

    i think i know why
    most metapsychic operants are monogamous
    opening one's mind
    to a lover at the start of a relationship
    either strengthens the mutual attraction
    or destroys it rather quickly
    when incompatibilities become obvious

        in theory ...
        -- paul said
        ... that's true

        but marriage or a love affair
        can never be a linear system

        they're chaotic harmonies
        like all biological nature

        both lovers have to adapt continually
        to each other's changing needs
        to keep the truth and beauty alive

        but that's not easy

        especially when there's important work to do

        and you must agree
        that my work *is* important

   jack said nothing

   he had moved in front of the mirror
   to attack the tricky knotting
   of his silk cravat

   psychokinetic manipulation
   would have done the job in a trice
   but like all well-bred operants
   jack felt the casual use
   of that faculty
   while he was embodied
   would be declasse

   paul lifted his head and spoke calmly --

        can you understand me
        when i say that the sexual part of my life
        is completely irrelevant
        to my real passion

  jack nodded slowly --

    your true love
    is the galactic milieu
    isn't it

    not any human being
    not even yourself

        i've dedicated my life to the milieu
        and the consensus seems to be
        that i've been a good first magnate

        i'm damned proud of what i've accomplished
        but ..

  jack waited
  finally his father said in a low voice --

        .. but sometimes i wonder
        if i'm no the biggest fool in the galaxy

        you see jack
        i've never known
        the kind of sexual transcendence
        uncle rogi talked to you about

        i'm the last person
        you should take as a role model and adviser

        find someone who knows
        what real love is

    i have ...
    -- jacks voice was gentle --
    ... but i want to have
    a genuine sexual relationship
    in my love-life too

    you could make that possible

        how -- paul asked warily

    i need your memories
    of sexual arousal

    with them i'd have
    a truly human male paradigm
    a foundation to build
    my own sex-life on ..

  the first magnate was stunned
  to speechlessness

  share the most intimate aspects
  of his sexual fantasies
  with this grotesque mutant

        but he's human
        -- paul told himself --
        perhaps more human than i
        because he has the capacity
        to love a women without reservation

        this creature

        this son of his

  jack eyed paul obliquely
  as he put on his wastecoat
  of silver brocade --

   i know it's asking a great deal
   the sexual part of a parent's life
   is an intensely private thing

   leviticus even says:
    thou shalt not uncover
     the nakedness of thy father or mother ..

  paul's mind cried out --

        it's not old testament morality
        or inhibition
        or squeamishness
        that makes me deny you
        god help me
        i beget you by accident
        without love i would have prevented your birth
        i was revolted to the depths of my being at what you became
        i failed you even when you conquered the mutation
        rejecting you
        avoiding you
        letting denis and lucille and rogi and marc
        raise you
        i know i owe you reparation
        but ..

   NoPapaNO i don't need that
    i don't want to defeat
     or humiliate you
      it would be all WRONG
       if what you gave me
        was only to recompense
         for your guilt ..

  the first magnate stood up
  after a moment he regained his pose
  but his face was ashen

  jack was entirely dressed now
  except for his formal suit coat

  paul took up the garment
  and held it
  so that jack could slip his arms into it

  paul said --

        can you show me
        a mental precis
        of exactly what you require

    i could try
    but the problem is
    i really don't know what data i'm lacking

    all my theoretical knowledge
    of erotic responses
    is virtually meaningless
    without the mnemonic
    and imaginative framework
    that would enable me
    to personalise it

    a normal human formulates
    his individual style of sexuality
    all throughout life
    beginning in early childhood

    i wasn't able to do that

    i have pieces of the jigsaw puzzle
    but no hope of putting them together
    without help from a generous
    thoroughly experienced man

    one that i respect and trust

    one that i love

        your uncle rogi ..
        -- paul began

    he'd *tell* me anything i asked ..
    what he won't do
    is lower his mindscreen
    of his own free will
    so that i can absorb the body
    of specialised data
    that i must have

    and of course
    it would be unthinkable
    for me to invade him
    and steal his memories
    even though i could do it
    without leaving a trace

        your brothers ..

    marc was willing to open that part
    of his mind to me:
    but he told me quite frankly
    that is libido is anomalous
    and i believe him

    luc said he'd gladly volunteer
    if i thought diamond would be happy
    with a homosexual husband ..

   jack inserted a tiny spray
   of white miniature roses
   and baby's-breath
   into his lapel
   then reached into the flower box
   and held out a boutonniere to paul --

    please papa
    help me know
    what it is to be a sexual being ..

   the first magnate stared at the flowers
   then at his son

    if you can't ..
    -- said jack the bodiless smiling --
    .. i'll understand

        give me that ..
        -- paul took the small bunch of roses
        and poked it into his buttonhole
        then he surveyed the young bridegroom
        with a critical scowl
        and made a minute adjustment
        to jack's tie --

        .. there
        you look pretty damned good
        if i do say so myself

   shall we go
   -- jack was calm
       he picked up his top hat
        and gloves
         and began to move
          towards the door

          in the shadowed room
         his aura was visible
       to paul's mind's eye:
      a halo of gold and blue
     with twelve interior petals
    of flaming star-white

   it was more intense
   than any other vital-energy field
   the first magnate had ever seen

        wait  -- paul said
                 his eyes were stinging

   jack turned
    his father took a tentative step towards him
     then enfolded him in a sudden
      crushing embrace

        all right son ..
        -- he whispered --
        .. go for it
        your wedding gift

     [ magnificat :: j may ]

  iii. leave

  in the summer holidays
  when i was a teenager
  i'd play with my mates
  or be working
  or watching sport on the telly

  .. or in our passageway
  playing tennis wall ball
  with a beaten up racket
  a slazenger, as i remember ..

  i held it by its neck
  there only being a concrete gap
  of six or seven feet
  between our side wall
  and that of our adjacent

  i repeatedly hit the ball
  against the house
  volley and half-volley
  changing hands occasionally

  my hands and strokes
  resembling those of table tennis

     would go the ball
      hourly, weekly, monthly, yearly
     would go the ball

  the bat i held
  had warped in that
  its head declined to two o'clock
  or ten o'clock depending
  on which hand i held it in
  and upon the back or forward stroke
  the gut was taught

  i had another racket
  that had not warped
  but the web was polyplastic
  and could not maintain
  any useful restitution,
  it was slack, well
  as far as this game
  was concerned

  be'dang would go the ball

  steady state i --

   be'dang ..

   right side body
   right hand holding
   forward stroke
   two o'clock up warp
    scoopy concave uppercut racket

   be'dang mirrored ..

   left side body
   left hand holding
   forward stroke
   two o'clock up warp
    scoopy concave uppercut racket

   be'dang ..

  steady state ii --

   be'dang ..

   left side body
   right hand holding
   back stroke
   ten o'clock down warp
    bernoulli down slicing convex racket

   be'dang mirrored ..

   right side body
   left hand holding
   back stroke
   ten o'clock down warp
    bernoulli down slicing convex racket

   be'dang ..

  saving shots i --

   be'dang ..

   right side body
   right hand holding
   ten o'clock down declining
    bernoulli wrist flicking drop lobbing

   be'dang mirrored  ..

   left side body
   left hand holding
   ten o'clock down declining
    bernoulli wrist flicking drop lobbing

   be'dang ..

   oh ..

   steady state iii saving shot i ...

    be'dang ...

  saving shots ii --

   be'dang ..

   overarm ..
   left or right side body
   right or left hand holding
   back or forward hand playing
   ten o'clock down warp
   or two o'clock up warp

   fast stun or slow smash ..

   .. but there's little point
   smashing the ball against the wall is there
   it's not as though the wall
   is a competitor,
   that i want to get one past

   the wall is the game
   or rather, the game
   is to keep on
   be'dangging the wall

     be'dang ..

  .. small towns,
  ours had been a village before that
  the generation before mine
  called and call it still
  spike island
  amongst other things

  at the top of the village
  we had a place we called the tennis courts
  where us kids used to play

  the courts had been built
  for and by some landed gentry,
  on terraces of an old quarry,
  two generations previously apparently

  they were now derelict
  the rock cut steps spalled
  slippy in the wet, rusted
  flaking hollow banisters
  snapping brickle between brackets

  the council were infilling the courts as a tip
  fencing, threatening prosecution
  misrepresenting, fixing, selling
  crime image upon civil summons

  we use to play loads there
  down scree running the new deposits
  ripping through bin liners to expose the new quarry
  all kinds off stuff,
  the birds and the rats feasting on the organics

  jam jars to catch tad poles
  in the once ornamental ponds below
  magnets extracted from beat up tellies
  stamps ripped off sack loads
  of commercial correspondence
  soaked later, or steamed
  to better protect their phosphor

  metals, metal objects
  wire, bits of electronics
  money, always a surprise
  few coppers, some silver

  once i found this small pressure gauge
  i picture it in my hands now
  as six inch long, extending to twelve
  but us hands were smaller then
  i suspect it be nearer
  to four to eight inches

  i couldn't work out
  what kind of tool
  this was at first
  i'd not seen one before
  it had one bulbous end
  to fit snug push flanged against
  an exposed valve
  the rest was smooth
  heavy but somehow empty

  i held it up for group inspection

    let us have a go -- says one o'us mates

  i pass it over ..

    us mate holds it up
    looks at it,
    passing hand to hand
    forms a fist, and then starts shaking it

    the inner tube slides out
    exposing a numbered sliding scale

    we all look at the numbers
    and read psi

    pounds per square inch

    that's what it's for
    tyre pressures

    can i have it -- says us mates

  what for -- says i

    us mate pushes the tube back in
    then with right hand fist whips
    the inner tube out again

    fonzy ! -- us mate states --
    i want it as us flick knife

  fonzy dun't have a flick knife does he -- says i

    yeah, sure he does

  yeah but its a pressure gauge

        can i have it
        -- says another one o'us mates

  what for -- says i

        for mi bike -- says this mate

  sure -- says i, passing it over

        this mate pushes the tube back in
        then with left hand fist whips
        the inner tube out again
        this time pointing it
        at an isolated television set
        and exclaims --

        fear not ribina !
        they have managed to get us
        where we want them


        i will neutralise their little shenanigans
        with my sonic screw driver

  we laugh and pelt the telly with projectiles

  i stop laughing
  and look again at the gauge
  us mate makes to pass it back  --

  you keep it -- says i

     go on
     have it back
     i don't mind

  but you've got the bike

     i know,
     but i'm with you everyday
     i don't think i'll need
     to check the tyres
     more often than that

     go on
     you have us sonic screw driver ..

  .. the last summer
  i played against the wall
  i was seventeen,
  waiting the results
  of some a\s levels,
  and working as a chemist
  in a tar distillery

  sampling and checking the products
  road binders, weather sealants
  creosotes, pitch bitumens
  monitoring the bug-plants
  and the effluents

  it was my second year there

  between end of school and chemistry
  i'd been to wentworth
  with the n.c.b. on a training course
  two lads from each surrounding comp,
  pit villages, thirty strong and put up
  at a large house then labelled lady mable
  with three hundred and sixty five windows

  each lad with overlapping
  different yorkshire idioms
  forking accents changed with altitudes
  words of norse, celt, saxon, danish roots

  kitted up, and down silverdale
  rossington, intrinsically safe lamps
  and stories of canaries
  carboniferous drives

  someone came to see me there expectant unexpectedly ..

     be'dang ..

   .. and again a second time
   as i was playing with the wall --

     is this where you live then -- says my visitor

  yes -- says i lowering my racket --
  do you want to come in

     no, i can't
     we can't -- says my visitor

  my visitor then kisses me
  full on, and whispers --

     we can't,
     we must end this here

  i melt
  it is the first time we have kissed
  and my second only
  i look in to my visitor's eyes
  and say --

  shall we go for a walk then

     my visitor shakes their head

  i make to say something
  but i am kissed again --

     we can't
     this must be the first and last
     we can't continue
     because then i won't leave
     and then you won't leave

  but .. -- i make to talk again

     i am kissed again --
     yes, me too
     but we must not, not now

  we disentangle, and i say --
  can i kiss you back

     the visitors laughs and says --
     you were kissing me back

  i laugh too and state --
  i will be sponsored if i apply

     did you ask

  no i was told
  apparently they want me,
  we could ..

     i am kissed again --
     we must leave
     we must leave here
     ok, ok, say ok ok

  ok my love, i melt, ok

  we disentangle

     will you apply

  not without a raison d'etre
  i work to live
  and not the visa versa
  but we could ..

     no, you promised
     i am kissed again
     no, stay there
     you promised, we must leave ....

  .... and we did
  my visitor then and there
  and me the year after

  iv) league

  i heard this story
  when i was a kid --

   ...there was nothing around here
   before i went to war
   no work, well not much
   i used to wonder around the pennines
   with the tools i had
   doing odd jobs for scraps

   there were loads of us
   not just here
   all over the country
   the world really
   america was the same
   europe as well

   we considered ourselves fortunate
   if we ate twice a day

   i was thin then
   not just slim like i am now ..

  < the story teller used to stand up commonly
  at that point in the story
  to unbutton their shirt
  exposing a somewhat bonny chest
  covered with but a few hairs
  an big blue lion tattoo >

   .. look at me,
   i'm slim even now
   and i live in luxury

   i guess you just can't fatten a thorough bred

   but i was thin then
   painfully thin ..

   .. have you ever been really hungry
   no, i don't mean just ready for some snap
   but days and days without much more
   than cabbage and tattie-water

   i was famished
   i walk for miles
   getting my legs back to use
   i'd broken them both
   down a trench, and i'd walk
   and i'd walk and i'd walk

   sometimes, when i thought
   i was at the end of my tether
   i'd find a coin in a gutter
   or i'd bag a rabbit, or a pigeon

   but this one day
   i was so hungry
   and there was nothing
   nothing at all
   and i came across
   some horse manure

   i stopped

   it looked attractive
   and do you know what
   i was that hungry
   it even smelt attractive

   i picked up a lump of its reniform
   and i was just about to eat it
   when i thought --

    is this what i've been reduced to,
    eating shit

   i lowered it from my mouth
   although i still held it
   in my hand

   i was so hungry
   i was starving

   i walked along
   i was through wishing for work
   or a stray cabbage
   all i had now on my mind was
   defeating this thing
   inside of me that stopped me eating
   this horse manure

   and then it came to me like a flash --

    if i could just have some salt
    i'd be able to eat this shit

    i knocked at the next house
    i came to

    a lady answered
    i asked her for some salt

    do you know
    she cried when i told her what for

      she gave me an egg
      i cried then
      it was the first protein
      i'd had in a very long time ..

   .. some time later,
   weeks, months perhaps
   i was in a similar predicament
   horse manure in my hand
   caught between eating something
   and eating nothing,
   and i have an idea --

       i'll find a big house
       and ask them for some salt

       me thinking
       if i got an egg
       from the lady in the small house
       i may get a meal
       from a lady in a big one ..

   i walk across the pennines
   manure in hand

    i come across a track
    i've not been down before
    near ilkley moor

    windy, left turn
    after left turn
    and then opening out
    to a big country house

   there might be work here --
   i think, i knock on the door
   and ask --

       a man comes to the door --
       no work here, he says
       masters away, and has
       all the staff he requires

   what nothing -- i reply --
   i can farm, i can join
   i can labour ..

       no nothing --
       says the man at the door

   well then -- i say --
   could i have some salt for this,
   -- holding up the manure
   for him to see --

       wait here -- says the man as he disappeared inside

   i wait
   and i waited
   and waited
   and the lady of the house
   appears --

        she is as tall as me
        which was something back in them days
        she smiles

   i smile back

        she says --
        put that down

   i throw the manure
   down round some roses trellised
   climbing round her front door

        and she says pointing --
        see that path

   i nod

        follow it ..

        meet me around the back ..

   .. well
   i didn't know what to expect
   i'd read lawrence,
   and huxley, and was aware
   of a brave new world,
   but i just didn't know

   i imagined
   i imagined everything ..

   walking past the great french windows
   glimpsing oak and mahogany interiors

   the stone work, by itself
   testimony to years of slow labour

   around the back
    there she is,
     she's leaning
     one leg bending
    foot against the back door jam
   she points --

        see those stables

   i nod

        there's plenty of fresh manure there ...

  v. silver jubilee

  i got up early
  on the appointed day of celebration
  to help my old mate h
  take a stack of trestles
  and folding chairs
  from the back cellar
  of our local pub
  to the main road
  that cut through our village
  which we had permission
  to close for the day

  there were loads of us helping
  many h's relations
  if not, kids h had known
  for at least three generations

  we'd agreed to help
  but we didn't intend hanging around

  the sex pistols had infiltrated
  our tiny minds
  and at just the right time
  to agitate our none attendance

  we set up the stuff
  and began to slouch away

         h shouts --
         oy, where yor lot going

    one o'us mates answers --
    to the woods
    ta ra

         what do you mean ta ra
         aren't ya staying for the party
         -- shouts h

    no, we're not celebrating this
    you have a good time if you wish
    your generation seem to like her

         hold ya poppose you lot !
         -- barks h --
         i've never met her
         but i know i fought for her dad
         and if you'd have asked me then
         what i was feighting for
         a'd have told ya then
         what a'm telling na:

         days like theses
         exactly days like theses

         you don't believe me do you
         but it's true

         thee !
         when did tha last eat at my house
         -- h barks at one o'us mates --

            last wednesday -- the reply

         and thee !
         -- barks h staring at another one o'us mates

    week before last for mi tea
    but i med mysen a sarny for mi dinner
    one day last week
    when tha wa' out -- the reply

         and thee !      -- h barks at me

         tha never away  -- h lowers the tone
                            then turning to the crowd
                            continues --

         and then he eats at mi sisters

         and a bet he eats at home too ...

  ... all us mates start laughing
  as i start turning red

  i am very porky
  maybe twelve stone at the time

  h outweighs me though
  by at least another twelve

         h barks --

         can't we all be together
         for once !

         we used to this regular you know,
         when we were kids
         here, before the road was paved
         or in the top field

         we might have had a cricket match
         or some kind of pageant
         but we'd do somat like this
         at least once a year
         where all the village
         would get together

         and do you what
         we didn't have to ask

         we just did it

    well let's do it again then
    but not for her -- says one o'us mates

         her ! -- barks h --
         her !
         you've got a problem with her

         well let me tell you
         about a problem i have with my boss

   what mi mother -- says another

         no you silly bugger
         not mi boss at home
         i love her
         mi boss at work
         i dun't care for him much

         the countless times
         a've asked him for time off
         for the shop, to do something other
         that clock on and clock off

         no ! -- barks h --
         always the answer
         from the boss
         clock on, clock off
         says the boss
         time and motion
         productivity !

         producing what
         i say
         we've just become numbers

         and does tha know
         that's how they like us
         'cause all they are
         are number crunchers

         that's all the can do !

         but not today

         and does tha know
         my boss doesn't like it at all
         not one little bit

         he said -- i need a skeleton crew

         triple time
         and a day off in lieu -- my reply --
         and i'll see what i can do

         no ! -- barks my boss
         forget it
         not at them rates
         you'll bankrupt me

         ... bankrupt him,
         whose he trying to kid ...

         well he's not kidding
         the kid who's kidded thousands

         have worked there for ov'r twenty years
         i know all his rates and figures

         do you think he'd have granted
         a holiday today if he wasn't forced to

         do you think any boss would

         well, today we've got the day off
         and it's our day, as much as it is hers
         and just like any other day off
         it's up to us how we chose to celebrate it

         so am asking ya
         to do one last job today
         us old cocker muckers
         before we get started
         and that's to knock on every door
         and mek sure folk know
         they're invited

     it'll tek a month o'sundays -- says one o'us mates

         nayow it wieghn't -- rebuts h
         it on'y took ya
         a week o'school neights
         last winter
         to collect for young swaybe
         and then you went way up the valley
         and all round new jerusalem

         you don't have to go that far today

         they've got their own parties

         just stick to this hill
         this side of the pump house

         go on,
         there's enough of ya
         split up in to pairs
         surely there's no need for y'all
         to hold hands

         it'll on'y tek ya an hour

         go on
         split up
         go on

  what about them
  that din't gi' us owt for young swaybe -- says i


         it's all-our-yesterdays wi' thee

         well what about them -- h quizzes me

  well, should we invite them -- says i

         cause you should

         how much money did you get
         in your bucket
         when you went begging door to door

               four hundred and forty four pounds
               forty four pence -- says one o'us mates

         well i never -- quizzes h --
         what exactly

  ye i recounted
  there was half-penny more -- says i

         well i never -- says h looking askance --
         it sounds to me like somebody
         was rounding up the accounts

         well whatever

         but do yer know
         how much came in later
         after you got yer picture in the paper

         at least another three hundred
         from folks round here

         just shows to go ya dun't it

         some folk can only believe things
         if they see it in a paper

         go on
         treat everyone the same
         you're not begging this time
         and you never know
         they might just tek to ya ..

  .. we left h there
  and got on with it

  but still managed to slouch down the woods though
  much later
  to do the stuff
  that teenagers usually do in woods ..

  .. h and i became a regular fixture
  soon after that
  sitting on us form
  at the end of h's road
  half way up our hill
  sat chatting
  and talking to the old folk
  and whoever passes

  this is how the fixture began
  one day as i approached
  us village form
  looking for us mates ..

         .. tha's missed 'em
          -- barks h at me --
         they've gone to t' flicks
         they're birding it, i think

  oh -- says i

         din't the' tell thee -- says h

  ye but
  oh, it dun't matter

         what's up -- barks h

  naywt -- says i

         there is
         what is it
         int there anybody
         tha'd want to tek

  ye but
  i think anybody's gone with somebugger else

         well sit thee thisen down then anyway

         here -- says h
                 thumb ripping an apple
                 and offering me half o'it

  no ta h -- says i rejecting

         oh -- says h munching
               on his bit --

         tha sad arn't tha

  i remain silent

         arn't tha -- repeats h munching

  i remain silent

         it's alreight to be sad tha knows

  is it -- says it

         cause it is -- replies h --
         we live in a sad world
         tha bound to be sad at some point

         if tha sad just say so

  what's tha mean
  we live in a sad world -- says i

         se' thee here
         behind everydoor in us village
         there's sadness
         if tha'd on'y but look

         tha dun't believe me does tha

         but tha would if tha looked

         here -- shouts h
                 to a passing old timer --
         where tha going charlie
         has tha got a minute

         this lad's sad charlie
         and needs cheering up

         thy are sad arn't tha ..

  .. well, i didn't answer
  but well, it didn't matter
  i got it from both h
  and charlie, and then from all comers
  alternately cheering me up
  and making me sad again
  with strokes of their lives
  and that of us families
  neighbours and ancestors ..

  .. i didn't really want to go
  to the cinemas with us mates in any case
  well i did and i didn't
  the thought of it alone
  made us nervous ..

  us mates that went
  were in the same school year as us
  but a good few months older
  and far more physically grown

  i saw them naked often enough
  in the showers,
  their hair and manhood growth
  after games lessons
  or rugby matches

  and as their bodies developed
  their minds appeared to follow suit
  for me still hairless and small
  just holding hands
  would have blown us away
  still does i guess

  the summer before
  we got caught in a downpour
  a group of us
  on the way up to the courts

  we were trudging through
  a vast expanse of spare land
  commonly called the allotments
  hinting at its past use
  though left farrow for a generation
  grown over now with wild grasses

  we dove for cover
  between two trees with low branches
  a den we had previously decorated
  with plastic sheeting and carpet pieces

  we had many dens like this
  dotted around the village
  two lasses were there already
  playing house with their dollys

  we say our hallos and wait
  the spawl to blow over
  we spot an older mate cursing
  hair wet running
  carrying an early bird bag of swag
  back from the courts already ..

   tha soaked -- says one o'us mates

              a know -- says us older mate
                        ducking under cover
                        stripping off t-shirt
                        drying hair and face with it

  us older mate
  put the soaked top back on
  and says --

              here, se'thee

                  -- and tips the bag

  a box sheks out first
  containing neatly stacked
  hollow metal sounding objects
  domed and flat based like
  the shape of chocolate coated marsh mellows

   what are they -- says one o'us mates

              a dun't know reight
              -- says us older mate --
              a asked old jack
              and he reckons they're percussion caps
              off o'railway

              but a dun't know reight
              am gonna tek 'em hom
              and ask us fathers
              see whether they know owt

   percussion caps
   how's tha use 'em

              tha puts 'em ont rails apparently
              when its misty, listen
              they explode under wheels
              when't driver can't see signals

   what's tha gunna use 'em for

              a thought us'd use 'em
              for long range
              target practice
              wi' us pellet guns -- says us older mate
                                    passing one cap over
                                    to us mate who quizzed,
                                    them both now smiling

       did tha get owt else -- asks another one o'us mates

              the older mate pulls out
              a multicoloured knitted woolly hat
              and says --

              am gunna use this
              as bedding
              for us chickens

   why din't tha wear it
   you daft bugger
   to keep rain off
   when tha wa' running

              us older mate
              slants head slightly
              puts on the hat
              and says --

              well yor tell me

  we stare at us older mate
  in wonder
  one o'lasses says --

      you look like benny
      off cross-roads

  we all start laughing

              us older mate
              throws the hat
              to the ground
              in mock disgust

   passes thi corky -- says us mate with the gifted
                       marsh mellow
                       perhaps percussion cap

          another one o'us mates
          passes us cricket ball
          to us gifted mate

   us gifted mate
   puts the hard ball
   in the woolly cap
   and swirls it
   above us heads
   like an improvised mace
   and says --

   lets see if i can get this one
   to pop here

               nayow -- says us older mate --
               not here, cud go off
               like a fire cracker
               outside if anyw'ere

               but have thrown one hard
               against a wall already

               we'll need somat heavy

               passes two o'them bricks ..

  us older mate
    puts a marsh mellow cap
      about four yards out
        on top o'one o'bricks
          and pelts it down hard
            the hypotenuse
              with the other
                from overhand
                 three yards up

  no joy
  too sloopy
  however the weather
  is beginning to brighten
  am stood up now on the edge of the den
  watching with interest
  us two mates on percussion mission

  the lasses continue to play house
  using the hat as dolly bedding
  as some mates inside
  riffle us older mate's bag

  i move further out
  not too far
  there's still drizzle
  it stops little
  us two mates on percussion mission ..

              let's tek it
              to stone row
              to them old cellar tops
              we'll use them as the base
              but to pop it
              we'll need somat heavy

  i leave them to it
  and go back in the den
  where pulled out there's comics
  of an old fashioned skin pic kind

  it is my first experience of pornography
  until then
  am unaware even of its existence

  i had seen the occasional boob before
  on carry-on films
  but there was no humour in these photos
  i didn't look too much
  i averted my eyes
  it was the hair mainly,
  and the bright colours
  that turned me away

  i went back outside
  i went back in again
  i hear a dull explosion
  from the cellar tops
  of the old slum clearance
  stone row
  i go back out again

  us two mates come running back
  smiling saying --

           sounds like they're percussion caps

  we three bob back in to t' den

              ayop !         -- barks us older mate --
              gis 'em 'ere ! -- demanding the return
                                of the dirty mags --

              they're for us father
              not for the likes o'yor !

              -- us older mate
                 turned to the lass
                 that had attached
                 the benny label
                 and said --

              sorry luv

      it doesn't matter -- she replies,
                           back playing with her dollys

    the' thine aren't the'
    th'as got 'em for thisen -- says one o'us mates
                                to us older mate

              nayow -- barks us older mate --
              leave it out
              have got a girlfriend

  i nod ..

    but so 'as thi dad -- starts one o'us mates

         some o'us mates giggle ..

              a know -- barks us older mate --
              but tha knows mi dad
              and anyway
              th'as seen our lass

  i nod ..

    aye, i know but ... -- starts one o'us mates again

              watch thisen thee
              -- cautions us older mate smiling --
              to me she's as bonny dressed
              as she is stripped
              far bonnier than any lass
              in mi dads mags

  i nod ..

              why does thaa keep nodding
              -- us older mate accuses me --
              dun't thee be getting
              any funny ideas

  am not -- i rebut --
  i just think tha reight

         some o'us mates giggle ..

              reight how ! -- us older mate barks --
              th'as never seen our lass stripped

  a know
  a dun't want to
  but she's bound to bonnier than them
  she's normal int she

         some o'us mates giggle ..

   he didn't like looking at them magazines
   that's why he followed yor lot for a bit
   but the rain forced him back in
   -- says one o'us mates,
      the same one that started
      the mag ownership accusation
      and continued the cross drizzle ..

              well that's alreight then

              am off hom
              y' can keep the woolly hat
              -- us older mate departs quickly
                  with the mags, the percussion caps
                    and us gifted mate who went
                     through the soft rain
                      on percussion mission ..

    why din't tha like 'em -- starts us mate at me

  tha knows -- i reply

    no i dun't
    why don't tha like 'em -- us mate and water
                              persistently dripping

  tha knows,
  the hair
  and t' bright colours

         some o'us mates giggle

      its not all like that you know
      -- says the lass with the woolly hat
         as she pulls up her skirt
         and to one side her underkecks ..

          blinking heck -- one o'us mates exclaims,
                           head and body jerking
                           rapidly pulling from pocket
                           a tyre pressure gauge
                           some what like snoopy's mate linus
                           like blanket ..

  i was shocked too
  in fact from my following actions
  i think i must have been in shock

          i thought you came off the front -- continues us mate
                                              with old sonic
                                              apparently surprised more
                                              by where she lived
                                              when she went home
                                              than her state of undress

      i do -- she says --
      my dad has to deal with this

    ah -- says us mate that started
          the cross-examination ..

  us mate with the screw driver and i
  look at each other
  scrunched nosed in query ..

      look -- says the lass

      touch me -- she continues

  i touch her arm

      no, silly -- she says

      touch me there -- she continues

    what's up wi' thee
    are tha scared -- says us mate o'the cross drizzle ..

  .. i don't say so
  but i am ..

    touch her -- persists us mate

  i do quick
  but not with my hand
  but with a pointy stick

      she screams
      and then she cries

    what did tha do that for !
    -- barks us persistent mate --
    th'as hurt her now ..

    a' tha oreight luv

      she nods

  am sorry luv -- says i --
  a din't mean to hurt ya

    how could you not !
    -- barks us mate
       making to boot me in the balls --

    think about it !

  am sorry luv -- i continue --
  it wa' just,
  it wa' just ..

    just what -- barks us persistent mate

  just a thought,
  a thought ..

    thought what ! -- precipitates us mate

           he thought it was going to bite him !

           -- interjects pocket sonic mate

  all us mates begin to laugh

  i apologise yet again
  to the lass in question
  who assured me
  other than the shock
  it was just a scratch

  it began to brighten
  we left the den there that day ..

  vi. am munchen

  it was never my intention
  to stand so long in munich
  my plan was to go to lebanon
  i had had a job offered in west bakka
  learning maths and english
  in a school there

  but i didn't have a suit
  or the air fair
  for that matter
  and before the fall of the wall
  i'd heard
  there was a rake o'work
  for us active auslanders

  so i lent a tent
  and pitched it in the south
  one august, and worked the arbietsampts
  with us irish and us poles

  it was early doors at the arbietsampts
  turquoise dawns
  we wait in large standing rooms
  us leaning hours waiting
  eine chef to make the door open

  tor auf
  a chef and a shout --

          fleischer !

  i'd nudge the bloke next to me
  and say --

  what's that mean

   butcher -- the reply

  thanks -- says i
            and i'd put up my hand ...

         the chef would point
        or not pick
       i'd go
        or wait another one

  tor zu

  tor auf
  another chef shouts --

          anstreicher !

  i'd nudge the bloke next to me
  and say --

  what's that mean


  vas est das -- i'd continue
                 in wider whisper

     ist vies nist
     he calls vankers i dink -- says another

      anstreicher is painter -- says yet another

  oh thanks -- i'd say
               and put my hand up ..

  .. when i didn't get picked
  which was more often than not
  i'd go walking in the city
  knocking on hotels doors
  and restaurants ..

  'aben sie arbiet bitter -- was my chat up line

  it didn't work
  well not at first
  my appearance didn't help
  clothing thread bare

  i had no permit
  or fixed abode
  and could get neither
  with out a job offer ..

    the munchen catch 22

  after three weeks
  i got lucky
  i heard off o'us irish mates
  the sheraton was recruiting washups
  with degrees

  ich bin ein gut spooler me
  i went up the north, put mi hand up
  and sure enough, mi physics
  got me overalls and residency

  three o'us to a room,
  in a big block on wolfrathauser strassa
  ve slept,
  i switched to night shifts after the third week
  for enhanced pay and privacy

  then us flat cap went missing
  i missed it
  a group o'us had got each other
  caps at durham
  before we left
  as a laugh i guess
  but more
  post exam exhilaration, bonding
  the decadence of post war

  but a cap is a cap is a cap
  i miss it
  i miss it not
  i work nights, sleep mornings
  walk around after noon
  reading books, getting mi hair cut
  bettering mi wardrobe off the floh markets

  bum, thinks i
  i'll be a long time in munchen at these rates
  bum, what's to be done

  i hear there's a drug test paying gut gelt
  three thousand deuchies for seventeen days
  i go see the doctors
  off poxy strassa

     ya -- says the dr --
     ve have a place

  what's the test -- says i

     you vill be in a room ya
     with no vindows ya
     ve vill test your responses
     to the light and darkness

  is that all -- i query


  what about the food -- says i

     ya, that too
     we vill need to change
     your food intake also

  ya, but will there be enough -- says i

     ya ya
     of course
     ve vill you not starbe -- says the dr

  where do i sign -- says i

     medical is first -- says the dr ..

  .. i fall at the first hurdle
  the doctor measures my height
  then my weight,
  then looks at me and says --

     you are ..

     i don't know how to say this,
     you have too many kilos

  never -- says i --
  what if i take my shoes off
  and empty my pockets

     nein nein
     still too many kilos
     it is your herz
     your heart is at risk

  but you have not listened to my heart -- i protest

     nein nein
     it machs little

  i used to be taller -- says i

     the doctor laughs

  i laugh too and continue:

  but i did -- says i

  i roll up my jeans
  and shows mi knees
  different heights
  explain the breaks
  and the fixes

     also -- says the dr --
     aber nein nein
     it is your height now
     that matters
     it is a certain ratio ..

  .. no joy
  i left it there
  and walk back to
  the s-bahnhof
  smoking now
  in the fresh air

  chain smoking chain rolling
  on to the platform
  penned in by my own thought
  head low weak down smiling

  i am shouted at
  i startle, look up
  there's a big chap
  wagging a big hand in my direction
  turning to me all others' attention

  i am clueless
  i shake my head smile in wonder
  his shouting, wagging continues
  bouncing off concrete structures

  an other comes between us
  to me a beauty
  150mm smaller than me
  fiercely barking --

     nicht versteh

  the other is right
  i no understand

         rauchen verboten -- reshouts the big chap
                             pointing to a sign
                             on the white wall

     you do not smoke here -- says the other

  chewing gum -- says i
                 first nodding to the other
                 then to the big chap
                 stubbing my tab on the tiled floor

         rauchen zher zher bad -- barks the big chap

  ya ya -- says i nodding

         nein nein
         bad fur seina herz -- he continues

  do fuck off -- says i now barking

         vas ! -- barks the big chap
                  as the other starts laughing

  you heard me
  fuck off
  -- continues i
     in the same vein --

  vas do you versteh about mine fucking herz ..

  .. well the anglo saxon
  upset the big chap
  and my tone upset the many

     the other intervened again
     clenching their low fists
     to all comers red roaring ..

  chewing gum ..

  -- i back intervene
     nodding giggling
     to the big chap
     tapping the other
     gently saying --

  come on
  lets get from here

     the other looks at the wall clock
     turns to me declining

         the big chap chirps again

     the other turns
     stamps foot
     then bright faced let loose
     a string o'what felt like
     exasperated cool anger

  now i laugh big time --
  no no
  let's go
  let's go
  let's get from here ..

     this time the other agrees

  vas is los -- i query

     with me
     -- says the other --
     what is wrong with you ..

  .. we laugh
  find a coffee shop
  and exchange precises ..

  .. mine is easy
  am suffering big time
  lack of character
  i call speedy
  a co flat cap wearer
  engaged yet not engaged
  and us petitioned by a caring parent apparently
  to live apart at least twelve months
  perhaps indefinitely

  the other's story is similar
  engaged but not engaged
  to a detective with duelling scars
  attempting to flick their lives together
  and win parents acceptance
  of past present lives ..

      distance makes the herz grow fonder

  we kiss and break
  the other to austria
  to the sheraton ..

  ..the digs are noisy
  floor upon floor of ghettoed worker
  music bangs shouts laughter
  traffic air corridor under

  i sleep
  my dreams sometime wake me ..

  .. one afternoon in my cot
  next to a open window
  i awake to a 'the the' tune
  playing in my head
  'uncertain smile'

  in the digs
  cyndy laupa plays
  'true colours'
  from the radio

  the room is painted pale blue
  the sky is darker
  aeroplanes crisscross
  noises enter consciousness

  five yards distant
  gentle storing o'us irish mate
  in same bunk
  their german mate still sleeping

  ten yards distant
  a britton is asleep on the floor
  next to the third bunk
  occupied then by a reading pole

  i nod as i go to the bathroom
  flicking on the kettle
  on passing, shower nozzle broken
  drip drip dusche
  it is hot
  i nut the stuck bathroom window
  it opens

  '10:15 on a saturday night'
  is playing somewhere
  i dry
  and follow the cure piper

  up concrete stairs
  flights up another
  passed many doors
  some open revealing
  the one playing cure not
  i knock

  the door opens
  i recognise the person at the door
  r, an italian spooler off afternoon shifts
  past r, i see p
  sat on a bed
  cradling head

    why are you here -- r asks me

  the music -- says i

              thank god for that -- says p

  i hear a burst of laughter
  from the inside
  r laughs too
  and says --

    come in
    come in

  in the room
  sat on two of the beds
  are more italians
  some i've worked with
  in my first weeks
  of mornings afters shifts
  some i hadn't
  most of them
  avoiding national service

  p has an english degree
  and an english parent

  r's degree
  is in philosophy
  the rest
  other languages
  and ologies

    sit -- says r

  i make to sit
  on the third vacant bed ..

    that's m's bed -- says r

  oh -- says i
        as i jump back

  another burst of laughter
  erupting from the characters

  m is not there
  but i tend to keep out of m's way
  and had done
  since our first meeting ..

         a blunt barked exchange
         i mistook m's word
         as a name query
         instead of a warning
         to the state of the tray
         i was being given ..

  i smile and nod
  and make to leave the room

    no no stay -- says r
    it's ok
    sit next to p
    do you wanna drink

  i accept as p
  explains to me
  p's sorry state

              it is like this
              -- says p --
              they have been using me
              to translate the lyrics

              song after song after song
              i am tired
              i can't go on
              i need to rest
              you do it please

  the only bits of italian i can speak
  is the numbers and
  e'o parlo un porco italiano -- says i

    no -- says r
    we know what the words mean
    but we don't understand the lyrics
    you must translate the lyrics
    you must explain the lyrics

  i can only explain
  what they mean to me -- says i

    of course -- says r
    that is what we want ..

  .. r
  the philosophy grad
  i laugh
  we talk through camus
  and hesse for good measure

  before moving on to different songs
  and overlapping books
  new books,
  new lives

  the only music i have on me
  is a version of warsaw
  joy division
  taped copy of a vinyl bootleg

  i explain

  i'd bought it off
  one o'us miner mates
  for two squid in 84
  when strike pay
  was a pound a day

  we talked through some tracks
  and switched back and forth
  through cure and other stuff
  us all quite jolly surprisingly

         m came back
         and the mood altered
         in very low tones
         and with few italian words
         on seeing me
         cleared the room
         very cordially
         of all but its three
         main occupants ..

  .. a week later,
  i was in the staff cafeteria
  i'd got a lasagna
  and was after a seat

  were sat together

  r motioned me to join
  they were still on their starters
  i'd got an apple
  m had their back to me
  i was reluctant

    sit -- says r

  i sit and nod to everyone
  and start tucking in to mi main course

         m is first
         to finish the first course
         and first to start the lasagna
         just one taste
         and m brakes the plate

         the cafeteria silences ..

  r tastes the lasagna
  and says --

    it is pork
    we do not eat this

  i put my fork down
  and says ok

         m stands up

    we walk -- says r

  ok -- says i again
        and puts mi apple
        in mi pocket
        suit following ..

  .. we left it there
  they left me there
  me being on constant nights
  meeting on switch over
  around 22:00 or 06:00 hrs

  my shift:
  the first couple o'hours
  i'd work the machines
  the upper floor one
  at least ten metres long
  a conveyor belt
  washing crate after crate
  of dirty pottery and glass ware

  load them up one end
  5 or 6 at a time
  run to the other side
  stack them in the trolleys
  to sort later

  on the half hour
  or if called
  race below
  to the bottom kitchen
  back of the nightclub
  load six bespoke crates
  on staff instruction
  madonna's holiday
  it would be so nice
  blaring through
  the swing doors

  up again
  up to the big machine
  cleaning everything
  left over
  from the day shifts labour

  next the back kitchens
  full of steel
  and scrubbing
  more trolleys

  the turkish contractors
  would start about three
  jet washing the floors
  and the surfaces

  they'd smile at me
  running from floor to floor
  they'd move their arms
  up and down and smile
  in friendly mocking

  i'd hear tip tapping
  a nightclub waitress
  dressed to the nines
  would come get me --

      more sick in the urinals
      that was peace work
       i was paid out of tips
      then the sorting
      the maison plats

  everything in its place
  china were china belongs
  glasses were glasses belong

  empty bottles to the cellars
  loading bays, skip work
  on to room service
  clean up there

  say hello to the breakfast staff
  then back to main kitchen
  more hellos and pass over ..

  .. one week
  speedy came to visit me
  unfolding longer hair now
  from beneath flat cap ..

  ... my chef jp
  had said to me
  if i machen alles before four
  i could pick up
  off the front desk
  a taxi-shi
  free ride back
  to the digs

  i ran
  and ran the corridors
  one night i didn't make it
  but got a lift
  from an italian
  night porter ..

  .. later
  in november
  two incidents:

  * one/11

  i am walking
  through the city
  thinking walking
  i wear ski boots
  with no heels
  5 deuchies
  off a floh
  the leather creasing
  passed u-bahn baus
  head blinked
  private thoughts

  no time
  all time
  5 minutes
  5 hours
  5 years
  no matter
  same problem
  no want solution
  i walk
  i growl at waste bins
  kicking them for inspiration

  no way out
  no solution
  to my private thoughts

  i turn up to work
  i am late
  not much
  but i am late

  the after noon shift
  have been asked to stay
  just in case
  i no show

  i show
  i go to my starting station
  front loading top machine
  the after noon shift
  welcome me
  with mock applause

         shakes head at me
         and makes hand query

  i shake head back
  and leave it that

  us chef jp
  comes to the floor
  nods and states spater

  i nod and state vesteh

  10 minutes spater
  a glass breaks
  in a crate i am loading
  it is pretty
  it has a shamrock in its stem

  jp rushes over
  and questions --

                   why did you do that

  i didn't -- i reply

                   ya ya you did -- insists jp
                   you stacked it incorrectly

  i machen the machine zu

  i need to go -- says i

                   vo -- says jp

  away from here -- i reply

    r has moved near enough
    to hear

                    this is not possible
                    you have work -- replies jp

  not tonight -- my reply
                 i walk

                    you must -- jp insists
                                grabbing hold
                                of us beige all-in-one

  leave me -- i pull away

                    no stay
                    you must -- i am tugged again

  i must go
  i know myself
  if i stay jp
  someone will get hurt
  possibly you -- says i

                    jp releases me
                    and says
                    in a low whisper --

                    i can help
                    have you had bad news

  thanks jp
  but no
  not tonight
  you can't help me
  i am the bad news -- i reply ..

         bang smash
         we turn around
         m stands unmoving
         15 metres distance
         arms spread
         crate of broken glass

  i walk

  * two/11

  early one morning
  my shift fertig
  walking passed the turkish workmen
  street cleansing
  s-bahn bau
  back south
  i retire to us digs

  inside room digs darker
  than outside
  thin curtains
  shading out the dawn

  us irish mate
  sleeping one bunk
  in an other
  a character named serge
  with no place
  being there
  no more

  i tap us irish mate awake
  and whisper pointing --

  did you let him in

   us irish mate shakes head

  i shake mi head too
  and turn

   hold on -- says us irish mate
              putting on some shoes --

   i'll give you a hand

  try and stay out of it -- says i
  someone might get killed

   us irish mate giggles
   and states --

   he's a kickboxer

  i nod and call --


  wake up serge

            no reply

  i make the light on --

  wake up serge

            serge turns in us spare cot
            and swares at me

  wake up
  rouse serge

            serge stands up quick
            and says --

            leave me alone
            we can talk about this
            in the morning

  it is the morning serge -- says i
  let's talk about this now

            no talk now -- says serge
            i sleep
            or we fight

  am not fighting you -- says i --
  but we talk

            coward -- says serge
            making the light off
            and retiring to us spare bunk

  oh fuck it thinks i
  and curl us spare bunk vertically
  against a wall
  with serge upside down in it

  be'dang ..

  are you awake yet serge -- says i

  serge is quick
  up like a flash
  lashing kicks
  mainly mid body height

  block i
  steady state  i
  then a high kick
  at mi temple

  i catch the foot
  and flips him over

  he is quick
  he sweeps
  i hurdle
  he's up again
  lifts paws
  and states --

            we fight

  am not fighting you -- says i

            coward -- says serge
                      o'the more kicks

  block i
  steady state i

  us irish mate calls over --

   do him
   do him

  -- back seat
  shadow boxing
  the both of us

  another high kick
  i catch it
  this time i hold
  and pogo serge
  upon one leg --

  how did you get in -- i query

            more swearing -- the reply

  i bounce him
  against a wall

  up quick
  more kicks

  block i
  steady state i
  block i

   have seen enough of this --
   says us irish mate

   move out the fucking way

  he's mine -- barks i
               me distracted
               lets one through
               looses glasses

  that's better -- thinks i --
  just shapes and moving colours
  just like rugby
  i dance serge closer
  against a wall
  small personal
  jerky hand movements

   do it
   do it

   he's asking for it -- barks us irish mate

  well he's not having it -- i reply ..

  i have an idea
  drop back
  and catch yet another foot
  and pogo serge some more

  get us the mop will ya -- i calls over
                            to us irish mate

            cowards -- shouts serge hopping --
            you don't fight like men

  am not fighting you serge -- says i
  how did you get in

   the bathroom window's open
   -- says us irish mate
      coming out with the mop --

    you'll not do much damage with this
    it's too light

  i don't know -- says i
                  flipping serge to the ground
                  crashing down this time
                  on his back and neck ..

   what you going to do with it
   -- says us irish mate --
   passing the mop between their hands ..

  am gonna shove the sharp end
  up his backside
  and dangle him off
  the balcony
  like a lollipop stick

  passes it

  and open us that door
  will ya -- says i ..

            serge begins to squirm

            i will kill you
            when i get up -- says he

  you're not getting up -- says i

   it'll break -- says us irish mate

  there's bound to splinters -- says i

  are you awake yet serge ..

            serge squirms some more
            and calls me an animal

  i bounce his head
  off the tiled floor and say --

  we're all fucking animals aren't we serge
  you did parachute training dint ya
  it's only twenty foot
  about 7 metres ya
  you should make it oder
  are you ready teddy ..

   us irish mate opens the door

  i hook the sharp end
  between serge's bum cheeks
  and make to root him
  as promised
  and releases enough pressure
  on his back and neck

            serge is through the door
             on all fours
              quicker than quick mick
               bang goes his head
                against the balcony brick

  i shut the door
  and check the bathroom window

                    bang bang bang
                    goes the door

  i pick up mi glasses
  and make to go to bed

                    cowards -- is called from outside

   i'm not having that -- says us irish mate
                          going for the door

  leave him
  it doesn't matter -- says i

                    bang bang bang again
                    then neighbours call quite
                    bark quite
                    serge persists
                    bang bang bang again
                    then glass smashes
                    then quite

   us irish mate is up
   checks the window
   opens the door
   mop in hand
   pulls a funny face
   and says --

   you don't want to know ..

  .. and then two incidents in december ..

  * one/12

  there is a banquet
  five hundred covers for bmv

  the young chefs and the front staff
  have been chatting about it for days

  young peripatetic professionals
  globe trotting the cities
  enhancing their cvs

  i've been asked to turn up
  a couple o'hours early
  to help those on afters
  in the early evening

  i clock on
  and bump in to the second chef
  puffing on a fag

  how's it going -- says i

          he's doing my fucking head in

          we've only just got
          the starters back

          i wish he'd just fucking leave me to it
          instead of interfering all the time

          he's a fucking primadonna ..

  i giggle at this point
  as have heard the same accusation
  levelled at the second chef
  by some o'us mates at a previous party

          listen -- says the second chef --

          it wasn't me
          that put pork in the lasagna

          do you know how many meals
          i've had rejected

  i shake mi head

          five -- says the chef
                  putting one hand up --

          and i've been cooking
          since i was this height

          -- the chef motions
          with the same hand flat
          now at knee level --

          i best get back

  the chef leaves it there
  and races back up the back stairs ..

  i change in to mi beige all-in-one
  and go report to mi station
  top kitchen loading machine

  the chefs and the front staff
  are in a state o'nervous tension
  trapped between hare and hair trigger
  by the work and the head chef's bark

  us spoolers have little to do

    it looks like you are here all night
    we leave at zwolft
    -- says r to me

  i shake mi head ..

  and then they're off
  third course is called
  frantic in-and-outs of the front staff
  through rubberised double door flaps

  constant barkings of the head chef
  until the chefs have cleared the covers

  still little for us spoolers to do
  except watch the head chef collect
  and drink a belly full of bier-shi
  at the counter of the service bar

  then the plates come back
  work at last
  crating up, loading up
  through the machine and stack

  the head chef back barking
  waitresses silver service
  waiters in and out crossing
  then bang a collision
  broken plates
  small one tumbles
  shocked bruised tearful
  but otherwise unhurt

  i pick up mi mop and bucket
  to go clear up the mess

  the head waiter
  ph marches through
  the rubber doors

        you -- he shouts at me --

        clear that mess now

  i drop the bucket between us
  splish sploshing both mi boots
  and ph's patent leather shoes
  and reply --

  you machen

        how dare you -- shouts ph --

        i am not spooler

  i know -- says i

        so ..

        you clear that mess now -- barks ph

  you machen -- says i

        i am raged at
        ph informs me
        of their nationality and suggests
        that i had best clear up that mess
        or else ..

  oder vas -- says i
              looking at mi mop

        oder .. -- is the reply

  listen -- says i --
  i don't care what nationality
  you think you are
  but i strongly suggest
  you get back out front
  and do your job
  and leave me in peace to do mine ..

  ph retreats and informs me
  that i am in big trouble
  i tell ph that i am big trouble
  as i go clear up the mess

  where's jp tonight -- i ask r

    we have a new banqueting chef tonight
    but he's getting stoned elsewhere with fabio

         m moves
         and pulls the steel roller blinds down
         on the service hatch of the minibar

         keiner mal bier-shi
         no more free beers tonight

         m speaks to r
         few words
         no word to me this time
         and only the one word ever

  r nods and says --

    we sack the head chef ya
    follow ya ..

  i nod and say ca va

  it has already started
  before we get there
  a distance of 15 metres
  various spoolers shouting
  and mimicking the head chef

  the head chef barking even more
  the second chef telling us all to steady --

          woh, woh people
          woh people
          what yous all doing

  the noise gets louder
  and louder and louder
  until i can't
  hear myself think

  listen ! -- barks i
              at the top o'mi voice

  there is silence

  the head chef makes to speak

  listen ! -- i bark again

  there is silence

          listen to what -- says the second chef

  listen to this -- says i --
  tell him to fuck off
  he's no longer needed

  the head chef launches at me
  the second chef gets between us
  and says --

          woh woh woh
          we can't do this
          mid service

  cause you can tell him to fuck off
  -- says i --
  don't you know how

  i thought it'd be second nature
  to somebody from finglas

      tell him to fuck off -- says one of the commis

  the head barks at that
  and the competing noise
  starts again,
  multifarious multilingual methods
  of signing and wordage are sent
  to the head chef as suggestions to be elsewhere
  the front staff have began to join in

          woh woh woh
          we can't do this
          mid service -- says the second chef

  cause you can -- says i

          i can't -- says the second chef
          i need him

  what for -- says i

          i've never
          i've never -- starts the second chef

  never what
  you've done more covers than this
  in copenhagen
  i know that

          i know
          but that was cooking
          this is cheffing

  well you're a chef now
  aren't you
  and have been for a long time
  and there's a rake o'chefs
  here to help you
  the one stood next to you
  has done bigger jobs
  than this in zurich

  tell him to fuck off
  and then we'll resume service

           i can't -- says the second chef

              you can -- says the chef from zurich

  the head chef turns and stares
  at me
  i stare back

            you can -- comes in chants now
                       around the kitchen

        you can -- says ph

  the head chef turns and stares
  at the second chef

          the second chef turns
          their hands skywards

  the head chef turns back to me
  and says --

             no one tells me to fuck off

  he turns
  and then fucks off promptly in silence ..

  we resume service

  at zwolft
  the steel shutter goes back up

  by one we've cleared away
  all but the glasses
  and are having a party of us own
  in an adjacent conference room

  the leftovers being brought through
  champagnes, ports and lovely cheeses
  multicoloured cigarettes
  the first time i'd seen them

  there's dancing even
  the smaller front staff who had tumbled
  shows me the bruise on their bum
  beneath their black suspender belt

  they showed ph too
  well they showed a few

  r calls me over
  to where m is sitting --

    we've got something for you

  what is it -- says i

  r nods my attention to m
  and says --

    sit sit

  i sit down

         m reaches in to a bag
         and pulls out a flat cap
         resembling the one on m's head
         m raises it between us

  for me -- says i

         m nods

  i lost mine -- says i

    we know -- says r
               to a burst of laughter

    take it -- says r

  i make to take it
  and m pulls it back sharp
  and repeats yet again
  the only word that ever came
  from m's direction --


   i laugh as m throws the cloth cap over ..

  * two/12

  i turns up to work
  and says --

  hi jp
  wie ghets

       ca va   -- says jp
       and you

  ca va too
  i've decided jp
  i'm leaving
  do you need my notice in writing

       vas is los -- queries jp

  i'm just leaving -- says i

       you can't -- says jp

  course i can -- says i smiling

       you must not
       follow me ya  -- says jp

  i follow jp
  down labyrinthine corridors
  to a room
  an office
  occupied by the steward chef mustafa

  mustafa and jp chat
  in french
  jp pointing at me

      do you need a holiday -- i am asked

  i want to leave


  i need to be elsewhere

  mustafa and jp chat some more

       are you in love -- i am asked

  yes i am  -- says i

      stay -- the reply --

      you have this option

      another six months
      and be promoted
      you will be able to transfer
      to whatever city you wish

      you can follow your love
      where ever you wish

  but i can not
  i have responsibilities elsewhere


  mustafa and jp look at each other
  head shaking
  jp mutters something
  mustafa asks --

      does this concern a child

  it does yes -- says i

     of course

     well then of course ..

     well then of course you must leave

     at the end of the week if you wish

     you will be paid for december

  danka -- says i
           and leave ..

  vii. crimes and misdemeanours

  .. after the first silence
  the small man said to the other --

   where does a wise man
   hide a pebble ..

  and the tall man answered
  in a low voice --

       on the beach ..

  the small man nodded
  and after a short silence said --

   where does a wise man
   hide a leaf ..

  and the other answered --

       in the forest ..

  there was another stillness
  and then the tall man resumed --

       do you mean
       that when a wise man
       had to hide a diamond
       he has been known
       to hide it
       among sham ones

   no no -- said the little man
            with a laugh --

   we will let bygone
   be bygones ..

  he stamped his cold feet
  for a second or two
  and then said --

   i'm not thinking of that at all
   but something else
   something rather peculiar

   just strike a match will you ..

       [ gk chesterton ]

  * what is television for

   below is an edited extract
   from the mactaggart lecture
   delivered by jeremy paxman
   at the mediaguardian
   edinburgh international television festival
   on 24 august 2007 --

    .. but the most important change
    it seems to me
    is the philosophy that underpins what we do

    there are too many people in this industry now
    whose answer to the question:

           *what is television for*


               *to make money*

    there is nothing intrinsically wrong
    with the restructuring of the industry
    which the tories began
    and labour has continued

     the bbc was big and lumbering and arrogant
     and plenty of the independents are lean
     quick and creative

    but the dynamic shifted

    those reforms also removed from itv
    obligations to produce
    all sorts of programming
    which was once deemed
    to be a public good

    instead of great regional companies
    with distinguished records
     granada tv being a case in point
    we have one amorphous mass

    then came the retreat
    from children's programming

    one by one
    the public service requirements
    are being abandoned

    given the chance
    who seriously doubts
    that itv would abandon
    much of its regional broadcasting

    i'm not really blaming itv:

     once you treat television
     as if it's no different
     to running a fast-food empire
     of course commercial judgements rule ..

    there has been a catastrophic
    collective loss of nerve

    one of new labour's tricks
    was to commission polling evidence
    and focus groups
    to find out what people wanted

    and then to offer it to them

    television has gone much the same way

    too often it seems that
    the people at the top of this industry
    no longer ask themselves
    what they ought to be using
    this uniquely powerful medium for

    instead of seeking to enlighten the audience
    they set out to second-guess them

    in his speech
    blair admitted
    that a vast amount of the work
    of his government
    perhaps too much
    had been devoted to handling the media

    he justified this by claiming
    it was because
    the media pays little attention
    to what goes on in places like parliament
    because we're obsessed by impact

      in a choice
      between impact and accuracy
      -- he said --
      impact wins

    he went on to accuse us
    of using extravagant language:

     every problem's a crisis
     policies don't run into difficulty
     they end up in tatters

    we see everything in black and white
    and have given up
    separating fact from comment

      we are ..
      -- he said --
      .. all being dragged down
      by the way that
      the media and public life interact

    now we could dispatch some of these ideas quite quickly

      we do not need to take seriously
      complaints about the marginalising of parliament
      from a prime minister
      who could hardly be bothered
      to turn up there much of the time

      nor need we concern ourselves with
      complaints about trivialisation of cabinet government
      from a man whose cabinet meetings
      could last less time
      than an edition of ready steady cook

      we do not need lectures about cynicism
      from an administration which employed people
      who believed that september 11
      was a good day to bury bad news

      most of all
      we do not need homilies
      about destroying people's reputations
      from an administration
      on whose watch dr david kelly
      was driven to suicide ..

       [ jeremy paxman ]

   .. where does a wise man hide a leaf

   in a forest

   but what does he do if there is no forest ..

       well ..
       -- cried the tall man irritably --
       .. what does he do

   he grows a forest to hide it in
   -- said the small priest
      in an obscure voice --
   a fearful sin ..

  * what is t'internet for

                  < p > < q > < r >

           < n > < o >  < e >  < s > < t >

         < m > < d >             < f > < u >

          < l > < c >           < g > < v >

             < k > < b >     < h > < w >

                 < j >  < a >  < x >

                     < i > < y >

                        < z >


   every day seems like a new story

   a rolling story of suicides almost

   i wonder
   is suicide a sin

   maybe keep that question open
   at the min
   and concentrate on the type of suicides
   that like to take others with them

   is this type of suicide a murderer
   and if so

     is murder a sin

   no i know
   some folk can be confused
   by this type o'question

   for instance
   some folk
   are very cautious
   about there being notions
   of any such things as sins

   so rephrasing the question to

     is murder a crime

   and asking
   if the answer now
   feels easier

   i think it must:
   this principal underpins
   lots of jurisdictions

   and this principal is a truism

   there is the same truism
   in football

    a referee can not disallow a goal

    for what ever it is
    and what ever happened
    it is not goal
    if it is disallowed

    just like a killing
    is not a murder
    unless it is adjudged to be so ..

       .. the tall man
       faced round
       and stared at
       the little priest ..

   yours is a clean story
   -- cried father brown
      deeply moved --
   a sweet pure honest story
   as open and white as that moon ..

   madness and despair
   are innocent enough

   there are worse things flambeau ..

    .. i must divide this story
    in to parts ..

    imagine there are two doors
    or maybe just two artists
    painting the same door
    and that that difference
    between the representations of the door
    is merely a style ..

    there are many games called football
    lots where the ball is handled
    they develop practises change
    the hand is used

    in june '86 a goal was scored
    by the hand
    of a short man jumping
    and then a second
    by his foot

    both goals distracting
    the audience
    the cameras
    the lines men
    the referee

    they distracted me
    i watched them in a public house
    on lindisfarn
    i was on leave
    the match was on tv

    old school
    slight of hand
    reinforced by slight of ego
    a.k.a. words propaganda

    words crap bollocks also
    pain is a four letter word also
    those who lie well, well they tend
    to stick close to the truth also

    confidence tricks
    the goals allowed

    on september 11 2001
    over 5,000 people were killed
    i am informed
    by a group of men
    who conspired to bomb
    a number of occupied buildings
    deemed strategic to project america

    i am informed
    that a group of men
    were able to hijack commercial aircrafts
    armed with box cutters and a death wish

    i am informed
    that two of these aircraft
    were used to precisely bomb
    three buildings in new york

    i am also informed
    that in another aircraft
    the non hijacking occupants
    were able to regain enough control
    of this vehicle
    to suicide and crash it ..

    .. i am informed
    as a consequence of these bombings
    since this date
    in the order of 200 fold this number
    over 1,000,000 people have been killed
    in an war
    that a group of men
    started against an abstract noun

    are any of these crimes i wonder
    where are the few good men i wonder too
    i ask you

     is killing wrong

    i overheard a debate once
    when training as a novice
    out it the sticks
    that made me question this

    the story concerned a murder
    or rather
    an alleged murder

    but spiked up weeks later
    in the form
    of a bicycle fall

    the alleged murderer was hurt
    and limped for a bit
    nothing serious
    his front wheel badly bruised

    i was unaware
    until i eavesdropped
    on many conversations
    that the debate centred
    upon the use of land

    i had thought initially
    that the fall
    had been designed
    as some sort of comeuppance
    to the young man
    who limped away

    other than the alleged murder
    the chap had prior form
    recklessly riding
    his motor vehicle
    through kids playing

    but upon listening
    to the parents
    it became clear
    that the debate was indeed
    to do with land

    criss crossing
    an unused but extant bridle path
    access to multiple properties
    and a drainage easement ..

            .. you've got to do something about it
            -- said one parent to another
               after the first reckless ride
               squashed a toy
               kids jumping clear --
            he's just an animal
            you know what he did to his girlfriend

                     oh arn't we all though
                     -- replies another

            all what


            well i'm not
            and i don't think you are
            you've never done what he's done

                     well if you're not
                     and i'm not
                     what makes you think he his

            you know what he's done

                     no i don't
                     and you don't either
                     but i like you
                     have heard what he's done
                     and can form my own opinions

            -- silence
            and then --

            sometimes i think you are a coward

                    -- silence
                    and then a reply --

                    if you saw where i work
                    i don't think
                    you'd call me a coward

                    something's got to be done
                    cause i'll be soon asleep
                    and all these kids need to learn
                    how to cross roads
                    cause if they can't hear that motorbike
                    an hundred yards away
                    then there must be somat wrong
                    with their hearing
                    and they'll not last long
                    not even in this village
                    wi'owt checking
                    or a warning

            but it is not a road !

            and he's just brutal
            he just doesn't care

                    it doesn't matter

                    i've known kids who have killed here
                    and there's been no one to blame
                    let it learn 'em
                    and get 'em to tell all their mates ..

    .. well
    i heard this story
    being telt to their mates
    and was intrigued
    and formulated a question --

    what did he do to his girlfriend

            rumour has it -- starts one big kid --
            that he forced a form of contraception ..

                  contraception .. -- barks another --
                  what you telling him
                  about contraception for

            i was thinking of the morning-after ..
            -- begins the first big kid again

                  morning-after what mr spock
                  it wasn't morning after was it
                  rumour has it that
                  she was a few months gone at least

            ok ok .. -- the first big kid begins again --
            rumour has it
            that he forced his girlfriend
            to have an abortion

                  abortion .. -- barks another --
                  what you telling him
                  about abortion for

            ok ok
            but if it wasn't an abortion
            then what was it

                  does rumour say
                  she wanted him
                  to keep kicking her in the stomach
                  til he killed their kid


                  well then
                  we all know how rumour has it ..

    .. after the second reckless ride
    failed to squash a half brick
    the young man buckled
    kid jumping clear
    i attended the cross examination
    of said jumping kid --

       did you put that brick there

                 it wasn't a brick
                 it was a half brick

       did you put that half brick there


       silence, and then --

       he could have died !


       he !
       could !
       have !
       died !

                 i don't mind -- the reply

       well you should mind
         we've got a right one here
           did you hear what he just said

                         no i heard him
                         he said he don't mind
                         but why should he
                         the young chap on the bike
                         obviously doesn't
                         but i do
                         but not about the brick
                         there's loads o'bricks around here
                         and that young chap didn't do much damage
                         to that half brick in any case
                        you were told to listen
                       for that motorbike remember
                      didn't your hear it


                      close your eyes
                        can you hear it


                      can you remember the sound
                      it makes

                 tu'ta tu'ta tu'ta
                 rar rar rar

                      did you hear it ..
                      close your eyes ..
                      can you hear it


                      what can you hear


                      what nothing
                      no birds no nothing

                 yes birds
                 then wheels rolling
                 then no birds
                 no nothing

                      what wheels rolling
                      no tu'ta tu'ta rar rar rar

                 wheels rolling down like cart

                      and after he hit the brick
                    no i'm not bothered about that brick
                     close your eyes
                      can you here no tu'ta tu'ta rar

                 no tu'ta tut tut

                      what can you see

                 wheels stopping

                      you should mind

                      open your eyes
                      you should mind

                      there's far better ways
                      than this
                      you should mind
                      listen ..

    .. there was absolute silence
    in the dock
    and in the court room as a whole

    within thirty seconds
    of its commencement
    the cross-examiner who had mentioned
    the far better ways
    fell in fact sound asleep

    still silence
    i sat and listened

    older members of the court
    amused themselves with comic books
    later radio chatter
    and television

    hours past
    tea was drunk
    snacks consumed
    i fell asleep also

    i awoke to a shout
    outside the courtroom --

             i'm not having that !
             no one calls me that !

    i asked the person
    sat between me
    and the window
    in the gallery
    for explanation --

                        ah -- says the observer
                              prodding my shoulder
                              and me awake further
                              observer pointing states --

                        that's the father
                        of the motorbike rider
                        doing all that shouting

                        i suspect that lady
                        thought she was addressing him
                        with a friendly nick name

    what did she call him

                        sh sh
                        let's listen ..

    outside there are more voices --

        don't have a go at her -- says the ladies partner

        she dosen't know you
        by any other name

        it's what i've always called you

             well i'm not having you call me that !
              -- barks motorbike father

        well you don't have to -- replies ladies partner
        i don't intend to talk to you much
        have never seen much point
        in talking to you at all

                     steady -- came a call from a neighbour

             hallo -- says motorbike father --
             what are you doing here

                     i could hear you
                     from two streets away
                     it's enough
                     to wake the dead -- replies the neighbour

             well i'm glad you're here
             something's got to be done
             my lad's been seriously hurt
             he's lucky to be alive

                     is he -- replies the neighbour

             he most certainly is -- says motorbike father --

                     is he -- replies the neighbour
                              querying the wider gathering

      he most certainly is -- replies a prosecutor --
      the court's now in session

      what you building in your backyard
      what you building in that land you occupy

             what's that got to do with anything !
             oy stay out !
             that's my land
             cross that line
             and i'll have you prosecuted !

      and i don't need to cross that line
      'cause i can just about make it out from here
      'cause have heard you making it
      and i can smell the chemicals you're using
      it's some kind of work shop isn't it

             no it's not
             it's just a place
             to repair my lad's vehicle
             he has the makings of a fine mechanic
             you know

      you're not telling me
      it's taken you all this time
      to build a place
      to repair just one vehicle

             well no
             he tinkers you know
             we have lots of tools
             it is the modern world
             and maybe later
             much later
             we might trade from there
             if it's appropriate
             but if we did
             we wouldn't intend
             bringing vehicles along this path
             we'd intend taking them
             straight off that road
             and through the disused church land
             i'm already in negotiations

                   no you won't -- interrupts a point of order

             won't what

                   take vehicles that way

             who's going to stop me

                   am not having constant noise
                   and bad smells around here
                   it's bad enough at work

             what bad smells !
             that's just creosote
             i ask you
             just to weather the wood work
             and the noise is nothing
             it will quieten down
             when we finish building
             it won't be long now

      you've said that before -- continues a prosecutor --
      in fact once
      you said you had finished

             finished !
             i don't recall saying that !

      yes you did
      it was in the spring
      may i think
      you and a group
      of your mates were celebrating

                   weren't you patting each other
                   on the back
                   and saying
                   we've done it
                   we've finished -- harps in a point of order

             i know what's confusing you
             -- continues motorbike father --
             it wasn't really you
             that i was addressing
             but i remember that day well
             that was an important day
             we had indeed finished
             an important part of the works:
             the demolition
             we've come a long way since then
             i can assure you

      well the noise hasn't stopped
      it still sounds like demolition

             no no
             that's the sound of building

      well it sounds to me
      like you're using the same tools

             no no
             well of course
             sometimes we have to
             i grant you
             we've had the occasional obstacle
             but we've been building
             for a long while now

                   well whatever you've been building
                   for a long time now
                   you won't be accessing it
                   through the church land
                   -- states a point of order

             oh won't i
             who's going to stop me

                   i've a drainage easement
                   running along its border
                   am i'm not having you cross it

             well you're not telling me
             anything i don't know
             it is my drain too
             and my easement
             and that's a matter of public record
             and i can cross it when i want

                   you may repair that drain
                   if it brakes
                   and even clean it if you so wish
                   but otherwise there's a two yard strip
                   attached to the land i occupy
                   am i'm not having you across it

             you will hear from my solicitors !

                   will i
                   well tell them
                   when ever they're ready
                   they can view the deeds

             i ask you
             i ask you
             what do we have here
             not only has my lad been seriously hurt
             but other children
             but for the grace of god
             i ask you
             surely it would make a lot of sense
             to cross that strip
             i ask you
             if not
             these things are bound
             to happen again

     if your lad's such a good mechanic
     what was wrong with his vehicle today
     -- continues a prosecutor

             what do you mean

      why didn't he have his engine switched on
      why did he free wheel down the bridle path
      around that bend
      it's not like him
      to be so quite
      it's not like either of you
      didn't he know kids play here

             i don't know what
             you are talking about
             but if you are slandering my lad
             i'll have you in court !

      no maybe
      you don't know what
      i'm talking about
      but maybe your lad does
      if he's old enough to drive
      he's old enough to talk for himself
      let's have him out here

             no !
             he's hurt !

      he can still limp can't he
      let's have him out here !

             no !
             he's hurt !
             the doctor says
             he must not be disturbed
             and in any case
             it is my place
             to deal with him
             as i always have
             he is of good character
             be rest assured
             and rest assured
             if i thought he was responsible
             for any wrong doing
             i'd be down on him
             like a ton of bricks

             i can tell you
             he has more to fear from me
             than from any one else
             i have never spared the strap
             with any of my children
             and wouldn't intend
             to start now

      well maybe it's you then

             me then what

      you that's responsible

             responsible for what !

      kicking something in to him
      when you were trying
      to kick something out of him

                   if the lad's old enough to drive
                   he's old enough to talk for himself
                   let's have him out here
                   -- interrupts a point of order

                     steady -- came a call from a neighbour

             what is this !
             some kind of kangaroo court !

      beats me
      are you some kind of kangaroo

             i'm not having this
             i don't know what you've heard
             but if this is anything to do
             with what happened
             between him and that women
             then you can't have heard the truth
             and you can't have heard the full story
             because if you'd have ever met
             any of her family
             you wouldn't be concerned
             about anything that happened to them
             you'd think good riddance
             good riddance to the lot of them

                   then why did he go out with her
                   in the first place
                   -- interjects a point of order

      oh he liked her at one bit
      well he liked the family
      he use to give them weapons
      as christmas presents

             i'm not having this !

             my lad was seriously hurt today
             here !
             and we've all got a good idea
             who is to blame
             yet nothing is being done !

             but you're judging my lad
             about something
             that may or may not have happened
             miles and miles from here
             to some one that no one
             in their right mind
             would give a farthing for
             not one farthing

             and you're judging my lad
             on malicious rumour
             and slander !

             i'm not having it !

      neither am i
      tell him from me
      if he's riding any thing
      other than a horse around here
      he is to dismount and push it

             or what !

      you don't want to know

             yes yes i do
             it's a threat isn't it

             i didn't think it would be long
             everyone heard you
             you know

             i think it is becoming clear now
             what's going on here
             what kind of rough justice
             you and your kind deal in

             yes yes
             i want to know

             tell him to dismount or what !

      if you really want to know
      i suggest we clear this place
      of everyone here but you and me
      and i'll put you straight

                     steady !

             see see !
             what did i tell you !
             threats !

             i don't know why i expected more
             i don't know why any of us
             would have expected more

             i ask you
             no more than ignorant muck savages
             animals the lot of them

      animals are we
      well some say
      ignorance is bliss

             i'm not listening
             to any more of this
             i came here
             to find out who tried to kill my son
             and to try and avoid this
             happening again
             here to anyone
             before it is too late !

             and what do i get
             i ask you !

             threatened by some paddy come lately
             and told how i can use
             my land and property

             well i'm not having it !
             i have solicitors
             and friends in high places
             well able to deal with this !

             i know the law !

             and they will see
             my rights are upheld
             and the correct party punished !

                     enough !
                     killing !
                     you speak so lightly about killing !
                     -- barks a neighbour

             i do not !

             it's about time
             we got our priorities right
             about killing in this neighbourhood

             i don't think we can
             nothing i've heard here
             gives me much hope

             someone tried to kill my lad on purpose
             and what do you talk about
             past accidents
             or gossip about how he defended himself
             in a much crueler part of world

                     enough ! -- begins a neighbour --

                     no enough !

                     you asked me earlier
                     why i was here

                     i will tell you

                     i could tell you about cruelty
                     if you wish
                     but let me tell about killing

                     i have killed you see
                     not once
                     but many times
                     many times

                     on purpose
                     some would say
                     and i could say myself
                     negligently recklessly

                     and have killed because
                     i've been told to
                     and have told people to kill
                     i've even been decorated for it
                     by the land on which we stand

                     so if killing is on the agenda
                     in this neighbourhood
                     then consider me here
                     as a matter of habit

             you make a very good point
             -- interjects motorbike father --
             and i'm glad you're here
             i have many friends who fought
             for us too
             many friends like you
             who protected us
             and this land
             in its hour of need
             and we are truly grateful
             and i think they would agree with you
             that we are forever in your debt
             to deliver us from that evil
             that chaos
             that was brought upon us by mad men
             and i know my friends
             would say
             i've heard them
             that they are happy
             ney relieved
             that we again
             have civil justice here
             and the right to prosper
             in this land
             if we work hard
             god willing
             and for that
             we are forever in our armys debt

             but things progress
             if not overseas
             then at least here
             and i'd be very surprised
             if any one
             would claim that i
             or any one else for that matter
             should not have the right
             to pursue my very real grievances
             in the courts
             of this land

             isn't that what was truly won
             and the right to progress

             i heard earlier
             talk of this bridle way
             bridle way i ask you
             things move on
             you don't see many horses
             around here these days
             do you

             now i know
             some people don't like motor vehicles
             they don't like change
             but change is coming
             it's already here
             and i like you
             have at least the right
             to pursue a livelihood
             and what's more
             i would have thought
             this neighbourhood
             would have been
             foreword thinking enough
             to welcome the new skills
             and job prospects
             the change brings with it !

                     enough ! -- barks the neighbour --

                     enough !

                     you talk but fail to listen !

                   steady -- interrupts a point of order --

                   let him talk this time
                   this one i've got to hear

                   what job prospects

             isn't it obvious
             surely it must be obvious

                   even if you tried
                   and i don't suggest you do
                   i doubt whether you'd get
                   a reliant robbin even
                   down that bridle path
                   and as i said
                   am not having you
                   across that drainage easement

                   and i can smell more than just creosote

                   what you really up to
                   in that shop of yours
                   and what job prospects
                   have you got to offer

             oh i've had enough of this
             i don't know why i bother
             well i do
             never let it be said
             that i didn't try
             to work things out here first
             in this community
             but i won't be forced backwards
             by an unwillingness
             which appears all too common these days
             to accept logical progress
             my team
             my legal representatives
             will find a way
             i won't have money and time wasted
             at this late stage
             at this very late stage
             that would be ludicrous
             it is too late
             to stop this work now
             i ask you
             maybe at an earlier stage
             but not now
             that times past now
             and i have a moral right
             to complete this project

      and how are you
      going to get the vehicles
      in and out

             you will not stop me !
             i have many friends
             who know the ways of the world

             you know
             it wouldn't surprise me
             not one little bit
             if your stubbornness
             to compromise
             your reluctance
             to make logical progress
             will sooner or later
             cause a great deal of unwelcome disruption
             to this neighbourhood


             your stubbornness
             could be responsible
             for pushing me
             in to pursuing an option
             to find a safe route
             a safe route for all concerned
             from the other way

      what other way

             that chapel
             that tin hut !

      what !

                   -- the point of order began to giggle
                      which paused motorbike father
                      just a little --

             would you like that
             i must say
             it is of little consequence to me
             i do not know who they worship there
             but it is certainly not the god
             i worship in the services i attend

                   -- the point of order begins to laugh --

             what !

             is this you're game
             to push me
             in to doing something
             i don't particularly want to do
             which i know could bring some disruption
             to the nice folk of this community

                   no -- replies the point of order still laughing --
                   i don't think yor able

             what !

                   to get through that way
                   i don't think yor able

             don't try and tell me
             that you occupy that land too
             because i know all about that land
             i had surveys done a long time ago
             and it certainly isn't you

                   that's not it
                   i just don't think yor able

             able to do what !

                   to get through that way
                   to get through that church
                   and you can't get round it
                   can you

             i wouldn't intend to
             i would drive a path straight through it
             i could bulldoze that tin hut out of the way
             in just three days
             if i was so minded

                   that's it
                   i just don't think yor able

             do you doubt my word !

                   i have listened to yor talk
                   and i've seen you perform
                   and i just don't think yor able
                   don't get me wrong
                   i know yor able to start jobs
                   but i've yet to see you finish one

                   and i don't know if yor able
                   but i do know this
                   that i don't know who you worship
                   or if you worship
                   anything other than yourself
                   or what stories you've been told
                   about the kings

                   but there's one i suspect you know
                   about a lad who allegedly said
                   two thousand years ago
                   that he could tear a church down in three days too
                   and do you know what
                   they still talk about him now

                   i know you're a big man
                   and i know you've got friends in very high places
                   but as big as you are
                   and as big as you think you are
                   i doubt whether yor able
                   to be half the lad he was
                   or any of them lads they talk o'
                   because yor just a wrecker
                   and a noisy one at that

                   and i've had enough too
                   because you don't appear to mind
                   you just appear to talk
                   do you know
                   the way you're going on
                   it wouldn't surprise me
                   if you ended up with a life sentence

             gibberish !
             pure gibberish
             i've had enough of this !
             why should i listen
             when what you talk
             is such gibberish

                     enough ! -- stops the neighbour --

                     has everyone had enough then !

                     -- continues the neighbour
                        addressing the wider gathering --

                     then i wish to say my peace
                     and give you something
                     to remind you of what's been said
                     tonight between us

     < i lost my window view
       at that point
       pushed out of the way
       by the observer
       but i heard this .. >

             speak if you wish
             i shouldn't think
             it will make much difference

                     no neither do i
                     but you thanked me earlier
                     for defending you
                     against a mad man
                     and i'll thank you
                     to be quite now
                     while i say my peace

             is that who it is
             the great pretender
             i did thank you
             i've thanked thousands like you
             but that doesn't mean
             you can speak on behalf of the army

      cause he can
      he's spoke on behalf the army
      since the early thirties

                   at least in this village
                   -- interrupts a point of order --

                     no -- states the neighbour --

             yes yes
             some would say too early
             blood sweat and tears wasn't it
             how many men did you take
             from this community
             and how many men did you bring back
             tell us
             how many
             how many

                   i'll tell you
                   -- interrupts a point of order --

             well there we have it
             don't we

                   have what


      let him say his peace
      there was no press gang
      men followed willingly

             don't think folk back home
             weren't active during the war
             some of us were willing to go
             we wanted to go
             we were waiting to go
             and were refused and shattered
             but we accepted it
             there was plenty of work still to be done
             peaceful work
             and we did it
             without any high or peggy martin
             no reward other than knowing
             we were doing our level best
             and giving hope
             to our service personal
             that there was something
             to return home to
             something for the common man
             as well as just those
             with ribbons and bows
             who might have just got them
             because they were the sole survivor
             sometimes it is a folly to follow a old war horse
             if not then
             especially in times of peace
             folly !

                   no -- interrupts a point of order --

                   you misunderstand me
                   men followed him willingly
                   and he brought lads back
                   not just once
                   but many times
                   many times

                     no ! -- barks a neighbour --

                     i do not speak for the army
                     i speak for myself !

                   speak then

                     progress !
                     i speak on the behalf of death
                     i represent killing here !

                     listen !
                     i don't care about your shop
                     i never have
                     but i mind about killing
                     and you seem unwilling
                     to address it
                     even when it's your own kid
                     and i'm not having it
                     not for any kid
                     cause whatever i thought
                     i went to war for
                     and what ever i thought
                     i was fighting for
                     none of what i did
                     makes any sense to me
                     if the kids still think
                     they need to kill
                     if they know no better ways
                     and am not having it
                     am not having them do it
                     if killing's still on the agenda
                     i'll do the killing myself
                     it's just one more for me you see

                     have got something to give you
                     progress !

     < there was a considerable air movement
       like a gasping

       i formulated a question
       to the observer
       obscuring the gallery window --

        what is it
        what did he give him

                        sh sh
                        let's listen -- replied the observer

       i did listen
       it did not make much sense to me
       not at the time
       me being a novice
       out in the sticks
       still learning the vernacular .. >

                     when he wakes up
                     tell him
                     if there's a next time
                     it won't be a flat hander
                     we'll be giving him ..

               < p >             < r >
                       < q >
           < n > < o >        < s > < t >
                       < e >
        < m > < d >             < f > < u >

         < l > < c >           < g > < v >

            < k > < b >     < h > < w >

                < j >  < a >  < x >

                    < i > < y >

                       < z >



b iv) conceptualisation of the other ::
       a prototype parton state ::
       part one

      ... to be continued ...

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