Thursday, 11 January 2018

Bedduth

          I must admit I didn't fancy driving through the thick fog which suddenly enveloped my village last night but I'm glad I did, over The Wolvey Alps to Bedworth Folk Club. After I had plugged it and on a "live" interview which went out on BBC CWR at around 3.45pm, saying I was going I had little choice. And besides, any opportunity to see Bill Bates and Keith Donnelly peddling (or should that be pedalling?) their own unique brand of comedy needs to be taken.
            I'm sure that secretly, Bill must sometimes wonder about the fact that the excellently crafted  serious  songs he's written ( like "Miner" or "Over The Top Boys" )are often forgotten or overlooked amidst the mayhem surrounding his set(s). But the fact is that he is a natural comic talent. Added to which the symbiosis which occurs whenever he gets loose with Keith Donnelly renders the shared material is near genius. It's the closest thing to a Double Act on the Folk Circuit, a cross between Morecambe and Wise, Cosmotheka and The Chuckle Brothers. 
          This was a comedy vein Black Parrot Seaside mined happily for a few years, but it surely has to be so much harder work when there are only two of you to choreograph the anarchy? Technically of course, there's always only ONE of them, as Bill appears solo nowadays. However, (finger on lips, wink wink), it's remarkable how many times Keith is in the audience when Bill appears. He needs little persuasion to come out and assist/harass his mate. You cannot simulate or enact the relationship they obviously have. It is naturally, organically funny, whether the ad-libbing is from the stage, aside, or delivered deadpan from Keith sitting innocently with the audience. A running gag about a Dutchman and spontaneous bouts of sneezing for example. 
              Not all the comedy in the room was provided by these two however. Gremlins seemed to be nibbling away throughout the night. Watching Webby trying to wind a lead around a mike stand was comedy gold. So much so that Keith commended him on it. (I haven't seen such concentration since next doors cat stalked and killed a robin). I did wonder if Gill turning off the P.A. instead of an electric fire ( one which seemed to be annoying everybody on the far side of the room) was an accident or part of the act. Malc's reaction answered that. Later still he himself would make unscheduled alterations to the wall sculpture over there. His surreptitious attempts to readjust it did not go unnoticed.
        Illness and no shows meant Malc had to do some hasty rearranging of the floor spots. This had the advantage of giving us a chance to enjoy Maria Barham, so swings and roundabouts there.  Brian Phillips, the smooth old devil, had no technical  problems. He delivered two songs with the usual panache before embarking on an Odyssey about a televised combat between fighting shellfish which made me wonder what he puts in his tea nowadays. His Anker Folk  Poet Laureate Award is safe for another year. 
             Dave Fry provided the warm up for Bill's second half set. I settled down for some crooning and warbling from the Fry back catalogue,but his third one " I wanna be Bill Bates," really made me sit up. Cleverly written and masterfully delivered,it said everything all of us there present felt about the man. Keep it in your set list,Dave, it's a winner. A presentation of a special mug followed. Touching scenes. For a moment we could be on the red carpet in Hollywood.  
Dave Fry
       Bill's  25% grasp of things technical is legendary and he exploits it ruthlessly. ( Or does he..?) He clouted his beloved iPad with a guitar neck, lost plectrums,trod on several objects and nearly got stuck to the floor several times. He relies heavily on the iPad(no shame in that) and his dismay when it lets him down or Keith meddles with it is hilarious. He had so many problems with guitars that at times the far side of the room looked like an operating theatre, as Keith and Katherine Fear wrestled valiantly to resuscitate one which had developed what sounded like Rhinitis. Is this all unrehearsed? Keep it in, if it isn't! 
           Bill was genuinely suffering from the 'Flu which had already poleaxed others and yet this gave his voice an odd, gravelly timbre which was quite endearing. (Typical of the man that he brought along his own mike and stand so that he wouldn't infect anyone else). We were treated to some old favourites-tales of Car Boot Sales:Recycling:Man Flu (ironic) and some more recent ditties about Healthy diets.
         But the peerless highlight of the evening for me was their second half question and answer treatment of a Simon & Garfunkel medley. Keith was merciless as he piled on the gutteral barking out of staccato questions. Keith-" Where Are you?"  Bill- (rather nervously) "I'm sitting on a railway station," Keith "Why?" Bill  " Got a ticket for my destination," Keith "What noises are you making?"   Bill- " Hmmmmmmmm"  You get the drift. This had me in tears, and I'm not talking pathos. 
            As if this was not enough hilarity, Bill's encore was a self-penned  homage to Steve Knightley. (Poor Steve got stick from several quarters throughout the night but I don't suppose it will bother him much). This featured Bill singing along with a pre-recorded track providing accompaniment. It was outstanding. Proving that, the image of bumbling inefficiency and nervousness is actually a mask. It was technically brilliant and lyrically wicked. So much so that once again, I laughed until it hurt. And so did everyone else. 
            No exagerration to say that Bill has been to Hell and back,in several ways. Those who care for him are delighted to see him returned to public performance and on top  form. I'm sure those looking down on him last night would have thoroughly approved. 


Anker Delta Blues




















Nuneaton-based John and Anne Harris (better known for their appearances in Dragonhead) have recently been bravely pioneering a new project in the town. This popular couple are well known and respected in the local music scene. They were among those trying to keep Nuneaton Folk Club running well before NFC re-opened at The Crown in October 2014. 
            So far, pretty well every floor singer and guest appearing at the Anker sessions  has also been seen at all the local Folk Clubs: Atherstone,Nuneaton and Bedworth Folk Clubs and The Fox at Attleborough. Is that a recommendation? I think so.
            Blues Open Mic Nights are currently held at The Anker Tavern, Weddington Road  Nuneaton every second and fourth Tuesday of each month.They have been fairly sparsely attended so far and deserve a larger audience.. Admission is free, it's an informal, turn up and play venue and it doesn't clash with any other local events. It is on a bus route and within walking distance of the station. It is easily accessed,with a decent car park. No stairs and clean toilets. Real Ale and Meantime Helles Lager on draught. What's not to like? The staff are friendly and hospitable,audiences are enthusiastic and the pub is a big open plan building. Get yourself along there.          
         There is a a P.A. with a stage. John and Anne are welcoming hosts. But maybe the "Blues" label puts a few people off from attending? That's a misnomer nowadays. Yes some excellent Blues can always be heard there. Country Blues,Chicago Blues, Folk Blues and plenty of other variations. But all kinds of other music is also played. 
        Frankly, I thought this cross-genre thing was a battle already won. On the monthly "Anker Folk" radio shows we've played 235 different artistes representing Rock, Pop, Country,Cajun,Traditional Folk and Singer-Songwriter bedsitter angst. Everything from instrumentals by Morbid Angel to Show of Hands. From The Dubliners to Jake Bugg. From Ocean Colour Scene to Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys. It's all in the Mix.
      "Crossover"  just doesn't begin to scratch the surface of the types of music you can hear nowadays in most "live" music venues. Certainly in Coventry and North Warwickshire anyway. And as generally happens elsewhere,besides the blues of Robert Johnson or Muddy Waters, you can also hear new or old arrangements of original work by many other artistes.  
     Specifically regarding The Anker sessions-the key question must be:is the music there any good? The answer is Yes. Categorically, "YES!"  Those appearing there so far there have included Dragonhead themselves,(obviously),Sarah Bennett,Dan Gascoigne,Pete McParland, Angus Ellis, Paul Moore, Jon Harrington,John Kearney,Max Wright,Greg Daffern  and yours truly. It's worth going along just to admire the guitars. Telecasters,Gibson Les Pauls, Martins,Dobros the lot. Mandolins,Banjos,harps bass guitars accordions and percussion items have all been employed, also. 
Paul Moore
       On Tuesday 9th January 2018 as well as Blues standards which we all  know and love we also had covers of classics originally by Travis, Steve Earle, Tommy Tucker,Bill Haley,Elvis,Buddy Holly, U2 Jimmy Knox, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. We had Bobby Womack,Hal Ketchum,Creedence Clearwater Revival and Townes Van Zandt.  Singing along becomes infectious,and the occasional hand-jive has been seen.In the past,at previous sessions, we've been treated to covers of classics by Tom Petty,AC/DC. 
     Something very popular in our area is collaborations where musicians from various outfits jam together on extended mash-ups. Thus (for example) Dragonhead, Nunc and Blues Monkey did an absolutely storming version of "Bring It On Home" last night. Even the pub dogs enjoyed it. (Did I mention those? 
NuncMonkey on stage at The Anker
                    On 29th January 2018 the Main Guests will be Nunc Monkey. That is: Flossy,JK and me from Nunc, plus Jon Harrington,Paul Moore and Dennis from Blues Monkey. It would be nice to see you there in numbers, especially as quite a few Nuneaton musicians have yet to show up there. 
        

Friday, 5 January 2018

NFC Wednesday 3rd January

        Several times in the all too frantic lead-up heading towards the first NFC session of 2018 at The Crown, I felt (again) at times like just walking away from it all. To say a small crew of us moved mountains to ensure that another very successful night took place is only just an exaggeration. We only made it, literally, within minutes of opening time. Dave Smart, Mags and I were at work by midday Wednesday, setting the sound up,preparing posters,helping to clear the room and getting the stage ready. 
       Least of our worries beforehand was the ever reliable,value for money entertainer who was our Guest-the very talented Geoff Higginbottom. Making his second visit to NFC, he is an organiser's delight. Funny,professional, with voice projection that would reach all corners of a big room like ours,amplified or not, he is a safe bet. The end of 2017 was not always kind to him but we kept in touch so I knew well before Wednesday that he was still coming and raring to go. Despite travelling from (and back) to Stockport,he was there well in time for a sound check, kept to time  and kept our audience thoroughly entertained and amused.
            There was a little bit of excitement among the other performers beforehand, with rehearsals cancelled,re-arranged or hastily reconvened.  Yet a whole host of flexible and supportive musicians co-operated to make sure that the various collaborations which had looked good planned out on paper, finally  for the most part,actually happened.
       As NuncMonkey will be featured guests at The nearby Anker Tavern later this month, we thought as an opener, we could share part of our set list with the audience. Flossy was
unfortunately poleaxed again by illness,so we had to hastily rearrange what we had planned. We did manage to assemble four of us :Jon Harrington (harp) and Paul Moore (guitar) from Blues Monkey, supplemented by John Kearney and myself from Nunc.  
NuncMonkey.  Howlin' The Blues
         With no prior rehearsals,  together we just managed to scramble on stage by 8pm We did “Bring It On Home,” “Knocking on Heaven's Door” and “How Long Blues,” sharing the vocals and choruses out in Flossy's absence, and with some sterling vocal support from a sizable audience.
             Jon and Paul then stayed on, as JK and I took our leave to thunderous applause. (Well..polite clapping, anyway).   Paul was booked to do the second floor spot. More harp blowing from Jon and excellent guitar work followed.
              Nuneaton's Dragonhead-in the shape of John and Ann Harris then arrived on stage and gave us a few energetic Rock and Roll songs including an Elvis cover. It  was uncannily like The King himself had it not been for the fact he seldom wore a flat cap. 
               Bob Brooker was also in excellent form and started his little cameo with an immaculate hornpipe which he had composed himself. That certainly got feet tapping,and Bob continued the nautical theme with a song about his beloved Whitby. He also wore a flat cap and we were beginning to suspect that some of our guests were under the influence of the Peaky Blinders. A rumour went round that Bob had a dangerous weapon sewn into the lining of his hat. A plectrum. He finished his spot with "That was before I met you." Bob later confided that, with it being such a jamming type of evening, he had previously accompanied Nunc on "Knocking On heaven's Door in several venues,and was halfway onto his feet before realising he was going to sit that one out. . He's quite right. We forgot to ask him up. 
Peaky Brookers
       Those mischievous imps Colin and Karen, aka KC Jones, followed on, maintaining the momentum with their delightful version of the achingly mournful Mary Black song, "Sunny"  One of my favourite KCJ numbers. One of Karen's own songs "Destiny" followed, before they sprang a nasty surprise on everyone in the room but me. A few days previously they had invited me to a rehearsal and suggested that I joined them as guest vocalist on the Carole King song " Will You Still Love Me?" .  We had a brief and secret run through on New Years Day, as, although it is a part of their repertoire, I've never sung it in my life before. A very game gesture on their part, I felt. So here's the proof. And I still had my hands in my pockets! 
The Old KCJ and G
      Well the audience were ready for anything now,and that was exactly what they got. Malc Gurnham. He started solo...but not for long. 
On his second song..up came John Harrington again. .And on his third number,,always keen on surrounding himself with The Ladies, Malc called up Karen Jones and Kathleen Fear to add harmonies to a new venture. And here they are.
      No wonder Malc was smiling

. The audience were  by now thoroughly warmed up and ready for Geoff's first set, the shorter of the two. He roared into his opening number and maintained a quickfire pace as he delivered songs,quips, puns, asides,stories, anecdotes and a few poems what he wrote. Suffice to say these made Brian Phillips and John B. Smith seem like W.H.Auden and T.S. Eliot. 

         There was barely time to catch one's breath, with a raffle and a beer break, before we were off again at breakneck speed with the same heady mixture. Out came Woody, the little dancing Man (and that's not a euphemism), as Geoff pounded away at his plank (and neither is that) whilst the pair of them gave "South Australia" the full works.
          We had "Copperhead Road"  "Vincent Black Lightning " and many more favourites. No wonder he got a fully deserved encore and a virtual standing ovation. His unique version of "House of The Rising Sun " featuring two Geoff Higginbottoms, was truly memorable.      
           It is a tribute to the success of Nuneaton Folk Club that in among the audience (as there often is) I counted more than a dozen quality musicians, scattered about the room. Not drawn in by a floor spot but they were there supporting a local Folk Club and just  determined to enjoy the fun. Dave Cook, Wes Hall,Kathleen Fear,Sue Sanders,Brian Jordan Alan Birkett,and Max Wright all there, for example.  Hopefully we'll  be able to entice a few more  up onto the stage during 2018. 
        Aye, it were a grand night. The photographs are courtesy of Ray Buckler,Max Wright and Sue Sanders.. Here finally, to capture the happy ambience of the evening is my favourite. Left to right,Bob Brooker,Malc Gurnham and Geoff Higginbottom in party mood. Or is it the remake of Last Of The Summer Wine? 

Monday, 25 December 2017

RAZZER’S LAST CHRISTMAS

a cautionary moral tale for all those who don’t believe….

      Timothy Razzell was not a very nice boy. Perhaps he had been, once long ago, at a time when most small children are sweet and good. But by the time he had reached Year Six at Misery Lane Primary School, he was a proper little stinker. In school he bullied younger children, cheeked the Dinner ladies, stole things and damaged other kid’s propertyjust for a laugh.
      Because he had somehow become a little twisted up inside, he did all this because he wanted the other children to like him. He thought it would make him a hero in their eyes. He was terribly wrong about that-it just scared them. This twisted him up a little even more, and so he spoiled their lessons, making their favourite teachers bad-tempered and grumpy. His mates called him “Razzer.” Except…well… he had no mates really. No-one liked him very much. He sat alone, most of the time.
        Razzer hated Christmas, and he hated it especially badly at this exact moment. He was stamping home from school in one of his “moods”. Miss Goodwater had kept him behind to nag him because he’d torn up all the paper chains and put them in the bin. And to tell him off because he’d threatened to batter his little sister Keeley-Jo at playtime. She was going to get it again anyway, when he got home. For grassing him up. And then she’d get it again if she told Mum about it afterwards.
          It was dark as Razzer got near his house ,but something seemed to be going on outside it. He couldn’t see too clearly, because some kids had bricked out all the street lights a few days ago. But some old bloke was lying on the pavement there, gasping. He was breathless and muttering to himself. Drunk, probably .
          As Razzer got close, he saw that the old man had a white beard and a jolly picture-postcard sort of face, with plump, rosy cheeks. Razzer wasn’t the sharpest knife in the cutlery drawer, so all this meant nothing to him, not even at Christmas time. Neither did the red trousers or the black boots.
- “ Ahhhh. I think I’ve sprained me ankle!” cursed the old Man.
So what? ” said Razzer. He was wary of Grown-ups. He didn’t like them very much. Only if they gave him money.
Oh come on son! Fair play! Give us a hand up here! Got to get up! Got a job to do!”
No way! ” said Razzer, carefully circling the old bloke, and opening his own front garden gate.
Oh. You’ll be Timothy Razzell then!” said the Old Man, struggling to his feet, unaided.“ The Timothy Razzell. From Number 12, just here. Oh yes! I’ve heard lots about you. And all of what I’ve heard seems to be true!”
The old geezer hobbled around, picking up some…what,exactly? Was it shopping he’d dropped ? Parcels and packages, anyway.
-“ So?”
Yes, I know all about you,” said the Old Man, sitting on the garden wall and rubbing his ankle.
     “Big Deal!” sneered Razzer . (He wasn’t a clever boy , remember ,and when he was frightened, he tended to keep conversation very basic. And for some reason he could not quite explain, he was quite frightened now ).
You don’t know who I am then? “ sighed the Old Man. “ I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, nowadays.”
         “ No I don’t. And I don’t care, either. But if you don't go away and get off our wall, I’ll tell my Dad, and then he’ll come out the house and batter your head in .”
But how did he know him? Razzer wondered. That was worrying. Perhaps he was a Wagman checking up on his attendance? Razzer bunked off occasionally, so he had a passing knowledge of Education Welfare Officers. But did they carry big sacks? Or stuff their trousers in their wellies?
        “ You’re treading a downward path ,Razzer! “ said the old man sadly. Even in the darkness. Razzer could see his eyes twinkling.
Am I ? Whooo! ” Razzer made ghost noises. I’m really well scared! ”
      But however hard he had tried to make that sound, he was scared, actually. Really, really scared. Of something. Had the Off Licence complained about him again?
I’m telling my dad about you now. You’ve had it! ” Razzer declared, not very convincingly. In fact, it came out as a bit of a squeak. He flounced angrily into his house, without looking back. His ears were hot. Someone was talking about him. And that was a lie about his dad. His dad didn’t live there no more. He hadn’t got a dad. Not one that he knew of, anyway. He scuttled inside, thrilled with his own daring at (once again) back-chatting nosey adults.
          Inside the house, Razzer crept into the darkened front room without putting the lights on. He almost fell over the Christmas tree by the window. Cautiously, he eased a curtain aside. Outside it had begun to snow. He could tell that, from the white reflected glow of it on the pavements. It was beautiful stuff, snow but it wouldn’t last . It never did, where Razzer lived.
       The old man had now faded to become merely an energetic silhouette on the other side of the road. There was a whistle and the clip-clop of hooves. A horse and cart or something, with bells on, began coming up the street. It stopped outside their house, opposite. The old man swung up onto the driver’s seat . It was all glittery and sparkling, like a....a..
Wow! Awesome! A sleigh!” breathed Keeley-Jo, having arrived silently at Razzer’s side , “Oh it’s a sleigh, Timothy!
      Her breath misted up the window as she craned forward eagerly to see it better. Razzer cuffed clear the misted-up window, urgently. But the street was now empty. He pushed Keeley-Jo away, roughly.
       “Loser! It was nothin’!” he snapped at her angrily . “ Nothin’ .”
Then it began to rain. The snow was melting already. Just as he thought it would. Keeley-Jo got an extra slap for that.

      Next morning, Razzer had inspected the droppings piled high in the gutter outside the house. Like nothing he’d ever seen before. Grandad said they’d be good for the roses,but they hadn’t got any roses. Razzer didn’t tell anyone what he thought he’d seen last night. Because they’d just laugh at him and tell him he was stupid.
    That afternoon, they sat on the carpet in the classroom as Miss Goodwater read them a story. Razzer eventually tired of kicking Tajvinderpal Singh in the back and began listening. Some soppy stuff about Santa Claus. Father Christmas. Whatever. Patron Saint of kids.The only Santa Razzer had ever met had a cotton wool beard and smelt of beer and fags.
But something about the description she was reading out in the story suddenly touched him like an electric shock. The boots ! The sack ! The red hat ! ..The reindeer?
On the way home from school he fretted about yesterday’s encounter outside their house. In fact, he fretted about it all the way up to that year’s Christmas Day. In case he didn’t get the Megadroid Death Ray Killer Gun that Grandpap had promised him. But it was all there, as usual ,on Christmas Morning.
* * *
     Razzer had forgotten that whole incident until another cold December night, several years later. It really had snowed then, heavily this time and it settled. Razzer's gloveless fingers were almost blue with cold. So cold that they were having some trouble breaking the lock on the door of the local corner shop. Razzer had put this coldness down to the sudden drop in temperature at first, but then there was a scuffling noise on the roof above him. He peered upwards, half expecting to see a black uniform there. Instead, a pattering of fluffy fresh snow powdered gently onto his upturned face. A familiar figure was beaming down at him.
     “Ho Ho Ho! It’s our Razzer again!” the old man chuckled. “ A bit taller perhaps and unsuccessfully trying to grow a moustache!”
         “ So?”
     “ And as talkative as ever, I see !” The old man tutted, and shook his head with mock sadness. Razzer could still only see him vaguely. His image was fuzzy like a busted television set or a buffering download.
Breaking into Mr. Datwana’s shop?” asked the old man. Razzer tried to quieten his chattering teeth.
It’s me uncle’s shop,” he lied, “ He’s lost his keys.”
Oh ho! And still fibbing ,eh? Badly,as usual! But you can’t lie to me ,boy! Don’t you know that?”
     Razzer squinted upwards.
      “I ain’t your “boy! An’ come to that, what you doin’ up on a roof at this time of night?”  Razzer challenged, accusingly.” Trespass, that is.”
Pahhh!! You mean you still don’t recognise me?”
       “ I seen you once before, yeah. You threatened me when I was a little kid. You want to watch it,mate. Old blokes can get put away for picking on kids. ”
So they can, Razzer and rightly so .But good children have nothing to fear from their Patron Saint,” answered the old man. “And you are still a child, Razzer. In mind if not in body. Look! I’ll tell you what! You’ll regret it if you break into there tonight. Go home! Go home to Keeley-Jo and your Mum.”
What?” Razzer squeaked, incredulously, “ You are gonna stop me ,are you? Er....duhhh!!...How does that work then? ”
Goodness me, no! I’m far too busy. I’m just offering you a warning.”

      “ Well I’m going in,” sneered Razzer.” I told you, it’s me uncle’s shop. I gotta get some, er... stuff for him,see? And if you’re still on his roof when I come back out here, you’ll get a right good seeing to. I can promise you that ”
The old man sighed.
     “ We both know I won’t be here when you come back out,” said the old man. He sounded like when Granddad used to talk about Grandma. As if he was going to cry. Just for a second , Razzer hesitated.
Look……I….I….gotta get me uncle’s coat,” he whimpered feebly .
Bahhh!!”
        A large whump of snow landed at Razzer’s feet as the old man rose and waddled back up the roof towards a chimney stack. Had he..had he thrown a snowball at him? Razzer half thought of chucking one back.
       “ Your Uncle,” echoed the old man ,mockingly, stepping nimbly across the ridge tiles and clasping a chimney stack expertly. “Your uncle! Another fantasy Razzer! You live in it permanently! And as you do so, why can’t you accept who I am then? Eh? Tell me that! Laddie, If Mr. Sarbjeet Datwana really is your uncle then I’m…I’m….”
Razzer’s hand was turning the broken door handle now .
      “ Yeah , yeah! I know!,” he muttered, as the lock finally gave, allowing him to enter the darkened shop, “ You’re Father Christmas. And I’m Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer .”
* * *
         All that too, had been quite a few Decembers ago now. Razzer had left home since then. He was now sleeping rough, holed up like an outlaw, in a shed on Grandpa's old allotment, He’d decided he wasn’t going to spend another Christmas in the Tower Blocks. He had collected a few bottles and some rags, and he planned on giving one or two people who had crossed him that year, a Christmas box they would never forget.
        Then he heard…what? Sleigh bells? Nahhh! Bull Terrier with a fancy collar on maybe. He buttoned up his jacket and reached for a fag to calm his nerves. But then he heard…..what…hoofbeats? Like a stampede in a cowboy film. And a whiplash. And loud, merry, defiant laughter, but way up high, way above the bristling Mobile phone masts on the nearest block of flats.
    “ Yah!” Razzer sneered, “ You again! Who believes in you! What can you do to me?”
       Striking the match in that confined space catapulted him through the flimsy shed walls with the flying debris. Aflame, like a Christmas Pudding soaked in Brandy. Keeley-Jo, Mrs. Goodwater, Grandpa and Mum all seemed to flash past Razzer,as he sailed over a disused cabbage plot and into the street.
      Lying there, on his back, in the rain, Razzer stared blearily up at the sky. He glimpsed .pretty, winking coloured lights. A low flying jet, appeared fleetingly through the breaks in the cloud. Bound for Heathrow. Or Gatwick.


                                            No...hold up! Was it....a sleigh?

Friday, 22 December 2017

Slayed by Christmas


Are you sick and tired of tinsel and balloons?
Are you driven to despair by awful tunes
about Holly, snow and reindeer,
sung by tired old millionaires?
-do they make you want to hide under the stairs?


Are you sick of “Ho Ho Ho!” and Fairy Lights?
Are you sick of bleeding pixies in green tights?
With your family all together
Getting off their face on booze,
do you want to put your head into a noose?


               CHORUS


So here it is , Say “Bah Humbug,”
Do not decorate that tree
Boycott each pantomime
Say “Christmas is for me, me ME!”


Are you tired of catalogues and Shopping Malls?
Would you like to crush old Santa's Christmas Balls?
Would you like to stick two fingers
Up to all those carol singers?
Or deck the postman rather than the Halls?


So here it is , Say “Bah Humbug!”
Do not decorate that tree
Boycott each pantomime
Say “Christmas is for me, me ME!”

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Hey! It smells like Christmas!

Hey! It Smells Like Christmas!

What’s that smear on Grandad’s shirt? What’s that stain on Grandma’s skirt?
What’s that steaming in the dirt?
Hey! It smells like Christmas!
Lots of cheerful festive booze, fighting in the shopping queues
Just disasters on the news
Hey! it smells like Christmas
Pine trees oozing pungent sap, Polar bears and penguin crap
Fido drinking from the tap
Hey! it smells like Christmas
Easter Eggs and Winter Sales, got a waistband like two whales
Body Odour, armpits stale
Hey! they smell like Christmas.

Where’s it come from? That’s the question,Flatulence and Indigestion
Christmas Trees and Christmas Bells,Lots of awful Christmas smells
Hey! It smells like Christmas!

Cinammon and Tangerines, Brussel sprouts and Christmas greens
Vampires on The Multiscreens
Hey! It smells like Christmas!
Same old rubbish on t.v.  Ants inside the Christmas tree
Rudolf Is that.... Reindeer wee?
(Hay? )... it smells like Christmas!
Pounding pavements, stinking feet, socks that whiff of rotting meat
Wheelie bins are full for weeks
Yuccch! They smell like Christmas!
Bird Flu, Plague and flies abound, Slush lies melting on the ground
Unwanted dogs and cats are drowned
Just because it's Christmas
Santa Claus has foetid breath, The News is full of war and death
My neighbour's Brewing Crystal Meth
Hey! it smells of Christmas!
The motorways and railways jam, my mailbox fills with dirty spam
Everyone hates Uncle Sam
It's definitely Christmas
Flu transmitted by the birds, carols full of empty words
Pavements cluttered with dog turds
Really smells like Christmas
Insurgents play with guns and swords, Norovirus shuts the Wards
The Malls are full of sweating hordes

-It must be Boxing Day!  

Monday, 18 December 2017

Hello Santa

Hello......Santa?

       Hello? Santa,Yeah?...Santa Claus? You up there? Father Christmas? Or St. Nicholas then? Him. The one off the John Lewis advert. Hello? ...Anyone there? I know you’re busy this time of year, but I’ve tried to be a bit good. Sometimes I seem to be better at being bad than good, but I do try. My mum says I’m very trying.
     Got a few favours to ask. See, I’m not sure whether you can still hear me now I'm older. I used to do this when I was little but no-one answered. Seems a bit silly shouting up a chimney but there’s no-one about: no-one but you to hear me is there? And you can hear me ……can’t you? I'm shouting up the gas fire. It's not on. I checked it. ( What do kids who haven't got a chimney do?)
      There are a few things I’d like for Christmas. I’m sorry to ask, but they’re mostly things you can’t buy. I know I’ll probably get some things you can buy. At least, I hope I will. They'll be from the Chazzers or the Food Bank. But I don't care. Are you still there? (Hey! It can’t hurt if there’s no-one around, can it?) I can ask. I can wish,can't I?. 
      So: the things what I want, they don’t cost much. Don't cost nothing,actually. Like, I just wish some of the kids in my school would stop being horrible to each other. I know: I’m horrible myself sometimes and I’ll try to be better. But you know; kids calling other kids stupid names. Nasty names. About their skin and their religion and that. And their eyes fill up with tears and they go all quiet and stuff... I just hate that. I wish they’d stop it. I don't tell my mates that. But inside,I hate it.
           I wish that people around the world, you know, them mad grown-ups with their bombs and guns and that, I wish they’d stop fighting over silly bits of land and whose God is best, and just start talking to each other. It’s always best to talk before you fight, what do you reckon? I try to do that, but it don't often work. I see these pictures on the news of ladies with babies crying ,and families pushing prams down roads with all their things in it. People in boats. Drowning babies. And all these soldiers in big tanks. Blokes in four wheel drives. In pick-ups like the one Shona's mum collects her and the other kids from school in, except these ones have a rocket launcher in the back, not a pushchair. Them men fire guns in the air and try to look dead hard and tough. What’s big about that? What’s tough and hard about scaring kids and women?
        And while we're at it Santa, someone keeps throwing trollies and junk in the river near me. It worries me.. What’s it doing to the fish and the baby swans and that? Can’t be good for them can it? It’s big kids doing it, I’m sure of it. I saw Mason Kerrigan do it once and said he'd chuck me in too if I grassed him up. Can you get them to stop it,somehow?


      Then there’s my Uncle David. He’s got to go into hospital for a big operation. On his foot I think. He used to play football with me, Uncle David did, but he can’t now. He just sits in that wheelchair and stares out of the window. Hope he’s o.k.
        Yo! Santa? My dad’s lost his job. Again. He didn't have this one very long. Mum was made up when he got it. Said we'd turned the corner. But I don't know where the corner is. It ain't down my street. I heard him and Mum talking about it when I was supposed to be asleep last night and not listening. It's hard not to hear when we're all squashed into a couple of rooms.
        “ What am I going to tell him ?” Dad says, and his voice goes all wobbly. I reckon he’s worried about not being paid and so he wont be able to buy the bike I’d asked for. I don’t really care about the bike, Santa. That was greedy. He just asked me once, when he'd had a few beers and I just said it, blurted it out without thinking. I ain't bothered about a bike. I just want him and Mum to be happy again. Like they used to be, before we got evicted and she lost the baby. Give him a job. Any job. He could come and work for you couldn’t he,Santa?
          And ( I know this is a big list. I'm sorry. But it's been a while. Could you help my mum give up smoking, please? You know why. That doesn’t cost anything, does it? It costs her a lot to buy them though. And it can’t be good for her. You should hear her cough. Can’t you have a word with her? Hide her fags or something? I’ll leave out two carrots and a jam doughnut if you can do something there.
         Then there’s my big sister. She won’t talk to me. So I won’t talk to her. We’ve really fallen out. Again. We’ve both said some really hurtful stuff to each other. I don’t know how to get out of this one now. I want to make it up but I don’t know how to. Give me some ideas. Give her some too. ‘Cos I really hate being like this. I love her really, even if she is ugly.
      Last Sunday, right, we were looking at the Lights in town, there was this bloke. With a dog. And a hat with coins in it. And a sleeping bag. He lives in a cardboard box, in a doorway Santa! He hasn’t got a house or nothing. That’s well out of order. You’ve got a house. Even I’ve got a house- well a bit of one. He hasn’t. It’s cold tonight. He must be freezing out there, sleeping in Debenham’s doorway. Can’t be right, can it?
        And those pictures of babies. Far far away. In hot countries. Starving. With all flies on them. And crying. That special sort of cry, you know, that one when you know you can’t do nothing about stopping it. Only food can save them and there’s not enough of that about in certain places,is there? Can you help us all to do something about that? Do a food drop from your sleigh? Bring them some rain? Make people care about them more?
       Santa? You still there ? I’ve nearly finished. I like the Christmas Story. The stable. The angels. The shepherds. The donkey. The idea of someone coming down to earth from the sky. Someone magical, like Spiderman or Batman, doing miracles. Saving us us all. The mess we’re making of the world, we could do with someone like Baby Jesus. I wouldn’t mind seeing him. A real one, not them plaster ones, like in the crib in the Post Office window.
So: gotta go. Mum's coming in. No killing no hurting, no fighting, no messing up the planet, no homeless, no starving. It’s not much to ask for, is it?