Monthly Archives: December 2020

Open letter to Boris Johnson

Boris, Boris, Boris

It is time this whole thing came to its inevitable end. Your cocks-on-the-table let’s-see-who-can-be-Prime-Minister thing with the equally unlovely Cameron – although at least he is prettier – has done the job. You got it. You fooled and bribed and bullied enough people to get through that door. You history of lying, cheating, blustering, bullying and gaslighting your way into jobs which depended largely on the money your family threw at getting you into the various places that would help you to do that has been cruelly exposed by the attention you craved and which has let us all in on the poorly kept secret of your inability to do much at all. If you had stuck to writing uninteresting fluffy pieces and books that by and large regurgitated things found elsewhere you could have made your pots of money for little effort and got by. But the ego has it.

When I think of you – mercifully rarely – I see a Giles Coren without the charm. Oh, hang on, that job is taken by Giles Coren. But you get the idea. Able to chuck a few words together, usually in a meaningless sort of way that just covers the required word count in order to get paid, a few chums in the right places to enable entry to some sort of workplace that needs very little effort to find a job, although keeping those job seems to have been a challenge. Understandably. Let’s face it, you are quite simply not very good at much at all apart from keeping yourself in the spotlight and earning money doing things that mean nothing. Oh, that and being unpleasant and venal. Other opinions are available, but you will have to search hard to find them.

So. Let it go. You got the job and proved, if only to yourself, that you could equal Cameron. It has always seemed bizarre to me that anyone would want to do that but hey, it’s your life. Aspiring to mediocrity and failure would not be everyones choice but it is, still, barely, a free country.

What I am trying to say if you haven’t grasped it yet is: resign. Go and play somewhere else on someone elses dime. Go and begat more sprogs (I think that’s your language?), write some more piffle, spaff some more of someones money up the wall. Just do it somewhere else where you won’t allow people to die of your ignorance and bigotry. Don’t let’s hear any more of your offensive, racist, misogynist waffle. It’s so last year.

PS – take Gove with you.

The sense of it all

Most days I think we skitter along the surface of life like the smooth hard pebbles that skim across cold deep lakes and oceans, pitched from the hands of young boys and men in competition with themselves. We dip without sinking, lift without flying, never taking enough water to be wet or enough air to be dry.

Some days, though. Oh some days. On those some days every sense pulses and quivers. Every memory lunges to the front of the head and bursts out singing. A car door clicking shut is Dad coming home late after the pub bringing chocolates, bread and cheese as a sorry, with hugs and the smell of tobacco clinging to his clothes; a mist on the windows is the fog of cigarette smoke in the pub when Dad took us to watch him play darts, the sweaty sweary shouts of the men, the whispers and hisses of the women gathered in the corner gossiping and sipping tomato juice and the odd shandy so they can steer the men home when their man-bellies have been filled with beer and whisky, chicken sandwiches and scotch eggs; an antiseptic smell is the first day of motherhood, lying exhausted, scared, thirsty and overwhelmed with love for the scrap of humanity that just fell out of you, brings with it the violent sting of stitches you can still feel, the savoury smell of blood, the sound of a woman weeping. It’s you, crying with an impotent love that understands that from now on this is it, you will always be that mother whatever happens. the breeze from the window is the sea breeze from those interminable seaside holidays with Mum and Dad who could never understand why you didn’t want to change on the beach and never emerged from the beach hut, why you hated the sand, why the best thing about those days was the sea, the smell of it, the feel of it’s cool rhythmic throbbing on your legs and the way the water changed the shape of everything inside it. The smell of grass is those wonderful days when Dad took you golfing, the walk between holes, the way he played so well and you were always rubbish and it didn’t matter because on those walks between holes it was possible to talk without looking at each other but reaching down into things that would never be mentioned off the golf course. That time you were so tired you wandered back to the car and he found you asleep on the front seat and he just drove you home. Rain, oh that cool, mind clearing rain that is the first day you walked in the rain with the man you would love for more than forty years but did not yet know it, the smell of him as he put his arm around you, the tremble in your belly as he looked at you, the walk back into the dry and out of the clothes and into the next forty years.

The smell of old cats, young dogs, bird seed and hamster hay. Shitty nappies, clean bathed children, baby talc and sweaty feet. Rain on the window, the hiss of a frying egg, the dread weight of the phone ringing, the crackle of the phone line from far away. Turps and oils, the rustle of paper, old books, new canvases, blunt pencils and sharp images, rounded tapestry needles and pointed dressmaking pins, a piano in another room and the sweeping lines of the sheet music on the table.

Oh those days, those glorious days, when there is a memory in every corner, every shadow, every sound, taste, shape and scent, these are days to cling to and put in your pocket and to remember when that smooth hard pebble is skimming the surface again, neither wet nor dry, neither in nor out. Curl your fist over those days and push them deep into that pocket and never let them go, because they are life.

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