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Logical Lunacy

March 15, 2011


“I followed his argument with the blank uneasiness one might feel in the presence of a logical lunatic”Victor Serge, on Konstantinov, the examining magistrate of the Cheka, 1920

I know how Victor Serge felt. Speaking to a cousin last night, we exchanged a lot of dark laughter over the situation in the Gulf. His laughter was perhaps darker, what with him being resident in the Gulf, but we were both amused. Not so much by developments (although, God knows they’re amusing enough) but by the ‘analyses’ offered by foreign ‘experts’.

“Can you believe” said my cousin, a very senior official in the Kuwaiti government, “those Bahraini idiots?”

On reflection, we actually found it easy to believe. The Bahraini ‘royal’ family have invited Saudi security forces to come and prop them up. The Al-Khalifas, who rule Bahrain, are failed Kuwaitis. We sent them packing 200 years ago because they were too short, too fat, too dim and too spineless. So they ended up on Bahrain, an island the size of Hyde Park, diving for pearl oysters while men like my great-great-great grandfather lashed their jelly-like arses with whips made from stingray tails. Useless fuckers. They always were and still are.

The current ruler, Hamed, has taken to calling himself the ‘King of Bahrain’. This is like calling yourself ‘The King of Underpants’. Not all underpants, you understand: just the underpants you happen to be wearing.

“What were they thinking?”, said my cousin. “The Saudis will eat them alive”. And they will: but that’s by the by and anyway, who gives a shit? It’s a joke country run by clowns–fuck ’em.

More interesting (to me and my cousin) was the outpouring of ‘expertise’ from ‘think-tank’ (sic) twits and assorted politicians (for whom failure is a way of life). The endless blather about ’causes’ and ‘effects’ and ‘potential problems’ etc etc was, I thought, a perfect example of Serge’s ‘logical lunacy’.

They reckon ill who leave me out;
When me they fly, I am the wings;
I am the doubter and the doubt…

You said it, Ralph.

What the ‘pundits’ (was ever a word more abused?) leave out is the operation of fate, luck, chance…call it what you will.

Take my recent near-fatal crash: I don’t propose to dwell on it because other people’s pain is rarely interesting. But it is interesting, I think, as an example of the operation of chance–a roll of the dice that landed me on a snake and not a ladder.

Were I a less sanguine man or a man given to self-laceration, I might detect the hand of fate; of Nemesis and divine retribution. After all, in addition to a lifetime of enthusiastic sinning, I’d stopped at a pub half-way down Charring Cross Road to have a drink with a book-dealer friend. We had exchanged a great deal of gossip, (some of it, I regret to say, malicious) about mutual acquaintances. Had I not done so, I never would have hit that black cab…but this sort of speculation is foolishness.

The notion that one might, by changing a single strand, alter the pattern that has woven you into the right here, right now is nonsensical. Change a single thread and you change everything. Trying to tease out the possible permutations, the potential knock-on effects of a single changed strand, will surely drive you insane.

Mind you, it could have been worse: I could (in theory) have passed through a rent in the fabric of space/time and been blown to fuck by a V2 flying bomb, the last victim of WWII. I might have fallen down a wabbit hole into an un-Wonderland, where Herr Prof. Rosen, perpetually poised on his toes, Bologna-bound, recites his magnum opus Little Rabbit Foo Foo in a loud, nasal whine, like a bluebottle trapped in a jam-jar. I could have suddenly found myself ‘socially prominent’, appearing in The Tatler and smiling inanely beside corpulent ciphers and haggard, blank-eyed women. I could have been run over by a bus.

But at my back, I always hear, time’s winged chariot hurrying near…of course, what nobody ever mentions is that time’s winged chariot is heaving with dice-men, card-sharps and coin-flippers.

Best to accept that life is a game of chance. Sometimes, anomalies in the game allow you to predict (to a greater or lesser degree) the behaviour of variables. At other times, the table hates you, the dice are deader than Vaudeville and the cards know you not.

The remedies are those Joyce prescribed for artists (after all, is there any greater gambler than the artist?): silence, cunning, patience and exile. The dice will warm up; the table will smile on you again; the cards will fall your way…eventually.

The popular t-shirt icon Albert Einstein once said ” God does not play dice with the universe”. Sorry, Albert: not only does God play dice with the Universe, but the Universe plays right back…and I’m damned if I can ever tell who’s winning: sometimes, I even think it’s me.

So, let’s have poems about chance, luck and fortune. Here’s mine ( I know you’ll bear in mind that this is the work of a one-legged, one-armed, one-eyed man with half a brain. What the hell…you’ve got to get back on the damn horse a some point: why not now?

Pound Shop Prometheus*

I’m not the life
nor the resurrection
but torn untimely
by Caesarean section
and hurled down the road
on two wheels
and a frame
keen in pursuit
of a sinuous flame.

Push down on the pedals,
much harder, go fast;
swooping through light
and swerving through shadow;
weightless, in flight,
like a bird, like an arrow:
there is no tomorrow–
now outrun the past.

a wind-caught bag
(Portuguese man-of-war)
rises rapid and empty
it billows, exhales;
what had it held
and what was it for?
blithe disconnection
as upward it sails.

And then it all stops:
the film slips from the cogs;
again, it’s the rocks;
again, it’s the chains;
the eagles that strut,
that tear and that mock;
the old indigestion
the old liver pains.

I don’t know the burned man;
I don’t know the drowned man;
but the gone and returned man,
the pain-brought-him-round man:
him I know.

The man dropped from a high place,
the man stopped like a clock,
the man with the changed face,
the man bound on a rock:
him I know.

Now, mark you the reckless man,
now, mark well the speedy man,
the hot flame that danced
and that beckoned
disguised a black wall in the road.

*for non-UK readers, ‘Pound Shop’ is the equivalent of a US ‘Dime Store’.

  1. March 15, 2011 9:04 PM

    One of your finest essays, Sah; a spot of chit chat with the Void has done your muse good. Maybe I should take up cycling… (but then, no, it did fuckall for Mitchelmore, so I’ll stick to wormwood)…

  2. March 15, 2011 9:05 PM

    (pome’s not bad either)

  3. mishari permalink*
    March 15, 2011 9:24 PM

    Thanks, Steven. It’s funny, being smashed to fuck..not ‘funny haha’, although there is a bit of that, but funny peculiar. It’s as though you become estranged from something that you took for granted…to the extent that your own body freaks you out and amazes you. Obviously, the ability to heal, recover and rebuild is pretty fucking miraculous but the actual design of the thing…I was marvelling over my right hand (just out of plaster) and thinking “fuck me…what an elegant design solution…sinew, bone, a minimum of flesh…and the stuff it can do…I doubt I could have done a better engineering job myself…” I dunno…maybe it’s just the drugs.

  4. March 15, 2011 9:53 PM

    The Al-Khalifas, who rule Bahrain, are failed Kuwaitis. We sent them packing 200 years ago because they were too short, too fat, too dim and too spineless. So they ended up on Bahrain, an island the size of Hyde Park, diving for pearl oysters while men like my great-great-great grandfather lashed their jelly-like arses with whips made from stingray tails. Useless fuckers. They always were and still are.

    Priceless. I’d love to know what your cousin thinks of the Al-Thanis. Then again, perhaps not: I don’t want to fall foul of the Ministry of the Interior for reading seditious material.

  5. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 15, 2011 10:58 PM


    One-eyed and one-armed, our stalwart captain
    reminds me of another naval chap
    who stands gazing sternly from his column
    covered in glory and pigeon crap.

    An excellent tactician on his day,
    he directed his force with matchless verve,
    the Jordan affair was his Aboukir Bay,
    Dr Michael Rosen his Villeneuve.

    His resilience and poise are much admired,
    and just as much that hint of vinegar:
    we thank God he survived his Trafalgar.

    However, if there’s another accident
    and a biddable Hardy is required;
    sorry, I have a previous engagement.

  6. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 15, 2011 11:05 PM

    Bit of a Rosen coincidence there.

    Top poem and interesting article.

  7. mishari permalink*
    March 15, 2011 11:05 PM

    Give us a kiss, ya cunt….

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      March 16, 2011 12:00 AM

      Not on a first date. Shouldn’t you be in bed, enjoying some restorative sleep?

  8. hic8ubique permalink
    March 15, 2011 11:08 PM

    It’s a marvellous and rightly horrific poem. The man-o-war billowing up was your Ka temporarily separating from your body, yes?

    (The ‘Five and Dime’ has become the ‘Dollar Store’ in the intervening 30 yrs since you lived here.)

    Now, I see a possible typo… did you mean ‘cogs’ as in photographic film losing the progression of its narrative? That would make sense to me.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      March 15, 2011 11:08 PM

      well, I just meant to italicise Ka .

  9. mishari permalink*
    March 15, 2011 11:20 PM

    Yes, well spotted, hic…cogs was what I meant. Thanks. Yes, the jellyfish-bag…it’s something I remember seeing just before the accident and thinking “…I know what it is…but what is it, really?” I guess it only becomes significant in retrospect…

  10. pinkroom permalink
    March 16, 2011 12:29 AM

    Have you been introduced?

    Meet hubby,
    quite the bastard.
    He oft’ beat me to fuck
    – and stole
    what little I’d put by,
    “So greedy,
    weren’t you duck?”

    Molested both our daughters,
    our son too
    came unstuck;
    whilst neighbours, friends
    – the whole wide world,
    to him were
    so much muck.

    Then came
    the “cerebrovascular”
    – as if hit down by a truck.

    Entirely mine
    to care for


    – what a huge great stroke
    of luck.

  11. March 16, 2011 11:32 AM

    I’ve had a few diabetic situations where you watch yourself succumbing to the symptoms in a detached way whilst being unable to stop those symptoms taking hold.

    One of the first effects of very low blood sugar is not being able to talk sense ( you might reasonably I ask if my blood sugar is permanently low.)

    When that first begins to happen you also hear a kind of inner voice saying “This isn’t right, I’m talking complete rubbish” but it’s helpless to stop you passing out. The consciousness feels like water in a sink when the plug has been pulled out.

    I’m really fascinated by the balance between your body chemicals and your consciousness. How when your mind invents a dream-story to “explain” why you’ve suddenly woken up with a jolt. It’s purely a physical reaction to a position you are sleeping in but your mind insists on telling you that it’s down to you falling off a ladder or missing a step on the pavement or wrestling with a large toad.

    It’s that old Paul Merton gag isn’t it? Sitting with his dad under the stairs during the Blitz ” don’t worry son, the only bomb you have to worry about is the one with your name on it” Good news for the father and son but really bad news for the next door neighbours Mr. and Mrs. Doodlebug.

  12. March 16, 2011 11:36 AM

    The last paragraph in my Epistle from Bury refers to the concept of fate btw.

  13. mishari permalink*
    March 16, 2011 11:58 AM

    Hello, Ed. How’s tricks? I noticed that the Whalley Range All Stars got a plug in The Graun the other week (one of my boys pointed it out to me). There was even a photo of our beloved Giant Inflatable Euro Pig. Hurrah!

  14. Reine permalink
    March 16, 2011 1:13 PM

    Super poems people… you are certainly firing on all mental cylinders Mish.

    Lucky Strike

    I’m a fairly logical lunatic
    Never rush in where sane people tread
    If the prevailing wind is north westerly
    I move my position in bed

    When the moon is full, I go crazy
    “ier” perhaps I should say
    But normally I’m far from hazy
    When matters moon-partial hold sway

    I can discourse on all kinds of issues
    From Olympic sports to Ayn Rand
    My fountainhead’s never found wanting
    And I’ve always an atlas to hand

    My first wife left me in shatters
    Said it was not normal to cry
    When my dog left my slippers in tatters
    Or to think that a rabbit could fly

    My second left me in a coma
    Hit me over the head with a hook
    I believe there’s a scar near my hairline
    But I’ve hardly the courage to look

    When recovered, I married the nurse
    Who had lovingly bandaged my head
    Logic dictated that wives were a curse
    So now I’ve a husband instead

    • Reine permalink
      March 16, 2011 1:28 PM

      Too many tatters, damn.

    • Reine permalink
      March 16, 2011 4:20 PM

      Edit to …

      My first wife left me in shatters
      Said it was not normal to cry
      When my dog left my slippers in tatters
      Or to think that a rabbit could fly

      Much obliged Mish.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      March 16, 2011 11:01 PM

      Nice one. An extra tatter doesn’t matter.

  15. March 16, 2011 1:16 PM

    Yes the Pig was at the Barbican a few weekends ago.

    It’s always interesting/amusing when a high status venue such as the Barbican “discovers” something that others have been booking for years. It went well though.

    Next week we travel up to a big rehearsal space in Cumbria to start putting the new show “Imaginary Friends” together. 10 performers with 10 life-sized puppets – there will be singing. Christ knows why we’ve decided to do something like this ( organising 10 people ) but artistic needs must.

    Come the end of March I’ll be on tranquilisers most likely.

  16. mishari permalink*
    March 16, 2011 3:50 PM

    Nothing Up My Sleeve

    Cut the cards and roll the dice,
    to win a bundle would be nice;
    how I delight in (just between us)
    taking suckers to the cleaners.

    Good pomes, PR (I devoutly hope that isn’t autobiographical) and Reine (you can revise, re-write the excess ‘tatters’ at your leisure and I’ll fix it).

    I’ve been reading Iain Sinclair’s book about Hackney [Hackney, That Rose Red Empire]: it’s a cracker and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Here’s the opening of a chapter entitled ‘The Triangle’:

    Jayne Mansfield, Hollywood Babylon siren, mammal superstar, Catholic/Satanist porno pin-up decapitated by guillotine windscreen, in the early hours of the morning of 29 June 1967, on the road between Biloxi and New Orleans, swayed into the low church hall and community centre of All Saints, Haggerston [part of Hackney], to declare open a convention of budgerigar fanciers. September 1959*.

    That’s about as Fortean weird as it gets: the mechanics of movement, the dietary and cultural improbabilities. Yes, the local bad boys, George Raft-fancying Bethnal Green hoodlums, liked to import American photo opportunities, screen and show biz automata at the end of their tethers; out of favour, on suspension, in hock to the Mafia. Indigent. Tax-busted. Dope-hungry. Punchdrunk basket-case palookas. The mute thrush, Judy Garland. Joe Louis with the wrong kind of shuffle. The monolithic malevolence of Sonny Liston, holes in his dead eyes: as if he were wearing the black pennies before they laid him out in the Palm Mortuary, Las Vegas. Billy Daniels. And Raft himself, trying to remember how he did it, shot the Look across white tables with too many bottles on them. A private wax museum of sleep-walking self-imitators acting out a twilight existence as their own body images.

    *JAYNE AMONGST THE BIRDS. Glamorous American film star Jayne Mansfield visited the East London Budgerigar and Foreign Birds Society’s show at All Saints Hall, Haggerston. She presented the prizes and had a rapturous reception from crowds of local fans–Hackney Gazette, 25 Sept. 1959

  17. mishari permalink*
    March 16, 2011 4:35 PM

    One of my informants on the Isle of Wight passed along this video clip of our friend Mowbray cutting a techno rug…get down, d00d…now get back up again…please.

    • reine permalink
      March 16, 2011 8:50 PM

      Ah, you can see where the quarter tree would have gone too, positioned on its own special doily.

      My father dances like that once every five years.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      March 16, 2011 10:43 PM

      I can’t believe that clip is still doing the rounds after 20 years.

  18. March 16, 2011 5:09 PM

    I heard this today, which I’ve written up for tomorrow’s blog, but because I like you all so much you get a preview:

    Justice, Qatari style

    There we were, last class of the day, and I’ve made the students work like slaves for four hours. Time to ease up a bit, so we sit round in a circle and they tell some anecdotes. Abdullah, who owns six Arabian geldings, and has a penchant for taking photos of his innumerable Filipina girlfriends, regaled us with this story, which I shall share with you.

    “Fifteen years ago a friend of mine, who was 14 at the time, drove out into the desert with a guy who had promised to let him drive his pickup. He was a beautiful boy: long hair, smooth face, and the guy wanted to fuck him.

    “No, no,” said my friend, but the guy was drunk on whiskey and had a gun and his way. When he stopped the pickup to have a pee my friend grabbed the gun and shot him five times, then ran over the body. He came back to Doha in the pickup and with some of his friends went back, drove the body to a remote spot and buried it in the sand, throwing the whiskey bottle in the grave with a curse.

    Unfortunately my friend liked the pickup too much, and was stopped a few days later while driving it. The story came out and he was brought before the court on a murder charge. Maybe it would have been a lesser charge, but my friend’s father, to save the family’s شرف, insisted that he say only that the guy had wanted my friend to fuck him.

    Well, the guy’s family knew what a scumbag he was and would not have asked for the death penalty, but his son insisted and my friend was sentenced to death, with his accomplices in the burial getting one or two years. Fortunately the Emir commuted the death sentence, and my friend is still in prison. Perhaps he’ll be out in a couple of years, إن شاء الله

  19. March 16, 2011 6:07 PM

    Owsley Stanley the infamous producer of the finest LSD back in the day died recently.

    He got busted in the 60’s and claimed that the 350,000 tabs the cops found in his possession were for his own personal use.

  20. March 16, 2011 7:41 PM

    At the same time
    I fell fast asleep I awoke

    At the same time
    I swallowed food I began to choke

    At the same time
    I escaped I was caught

    At the same time
    I was teaching I was taught

    At the same time
    I walked on grass I flew in the air

    At the same time
    I was kind I was unfair

    At the same time
    I was sad I started to rejoice

    At the same time
    I kept my peace I raised my voice

    At the same time
    I straightened up I began to bend

    At the same time
    I started I found myself at the end

  21. mishari permalink*
    March 16, 2011 9:42 PM

    Do Not Pass Go

    I broke a sharp mirror,
    a mirror that lied,
    (more years of bad luck:
    a life on the slide)
    now I must hawk
    and spit at the moon:
    for seven whole years,
    for seven whole years.

    Clasp an albatross
    hard to my breast,
    it pecks and it tears
    at my tight, heaving chest;
    but it’s bad luck to kill
    this bird of ill-tidings:
    I feed it, I groom it:
    my life is still sliding.

    I bet on a horse
    that had three broken limbs,
    it went over fences
    like God’s grace through sin;
    it hopped to the finish
    then died on the spot;
    luck rains in abundance
    and then it does not.

    I spat and I shook salt,
    I knocked hard on wood;
    I begged baby Jesus for luck
    (mostly good);
    stroke the dice for me,
    no snake-eyes, please Lord;
    but snake-eyes it was:
    and I’m stuck on the board.

    • Reine permalink
      March 16, 2011 10:39 PM


    • mishari permalink*
      March 16, 2011 10:44 PM

      Ah, go on with ya…you’re just being kind to a broken-down old hack…

    • Reine permalink
      March 16, 2011 10:51 PM

      Au contraire, I will be celebrating St. Mishari instead of Patrick tomorrow.

      Clears throat, sings scales and takes a deep breath…

      Hail glorious St. Mishari, dear saint of our blog
      On us thy poor children, stamp with your left clog
      And now thou art high in the mansions of drugs
      With our humble offerings, we send love and hugs

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      March 16, 2011 10:54 PM

      True, but it is very good.

  22. reine permalink
    March 16, 2011 10:18 PM


    I met a man with kindly eyes
    He spoke few words
    Though they seemed wise
    I tried to read between the lines
    Discern his meaning
    Feel the tines
    Prick my perception

    He smiled at me
    And pressed my hand
    But said
    “There is no magic wand
    My dear to predict what may come
    But of comfort,
    Here’s a crumb…

    You make your luck in this world
    Nobody goes unscathed
    Follow your instinct, love your friends
    Even if you feel betrayed
    Two wrongs will never make a right
    Turning the other cheek
    Does not mean you surrender
    Or that your will is weak

    What goes around will come around
    What’s for you will not pass you
    Your life may not be perfect
    But if pain does not harass you
    And you are loved and walk upright
    Then dear, you’re rich in blessing
    Steer clear of vapid people
    Whose egos need caressing”

    That was all he uttered
    I waited for the rest
    But all he did was kiss my cheek
    And into my hand pressed
    A rabbit’s foot.

  23. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 16, 2011 10:48 PM

    Vagaries Of Weather

    If Boney had made it across La Manche,
    how differently things might have turned out:
    the sporting spirit rudely shown the door,
    our sense of humour torn out root and branch,
    discourtesy made a habit, and, no doubt,
    we would have conceded the Second World War.

    Enfeebled by the incontinent need
    for diverse types of sexual intercourse
    would our hearts of oak be undermined?
    Perhaps a new renascent Frenglish breed
    could reach back to its common Viking source
    and find its chill libido redesigned.

    Yes, there might have been some compensation,
    a change in menus would have been best,
    likewise a makeover in underwear,
    and culture still needs a transformation:
    Les Citoyens De La Fin De L’Est
    probably wouldn’t have made it to air.

    Lower standards in personal hygiene
    would likely be welcomed by some of us,
    as would more attractive physical forms,
    but no point musing on what might have been,
    a mild plus or a decided minus,
    let’s just be grateful to the Channel storms.

    • Reine permalink
      March 16, 2011 10:54 PM

      Jesus, what are ye all on? Send me some, would ye?

  24. mishari permalink*
    March 16, 2011 11:00 PM

    Yeah..this is an unwelcome development. Brilliance is unwelcome here (unless it’s mine of course but Christ knows, that’s in short fucking supply). Kindly confine yourself to limericks, MM

    There was an aged beardy of Wight
    who said ‘though my sphincter is tight
    its wrinkled penumbra
    will admit a cucumber
    and lettuce: my diet is light’.

  25. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 16, 2011 11:19 PM

    There was an old1 bloke from Kuwait
    who wanted to masturbate
    his penis was small2
    he couldn’t find it at all3
    and when he did it wouldn’t reflate4.

    1This is a vile calumny
    2This is almost certainly actionable. My lawyers have been alerted.
    4Reflation has never been a problem. This whole limerick is a tissue of innuendo and libel.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      March 17, 2011 11:51 PM

      I sought counsel’s opinion on your charges over lunch:

      1. ‘Old’ is currently defined as ‘over 25’ . In Georges v Neck, 1975, Justice Mike Rosen declared ‘… twenty-six? That’s, like, old, man.’

      2. ‘Small’ is a matter of opinion. Had the defendant said ‘… his penis is 2cm long’ (pardon my exaggeration) then a case might have been made.

      3. The plaintiff’s alleged inability to find his penis could be said to follow from the previous statement of opinion. Since it is based on an alleged phallacy, sorry, fallacy, then it is probably not actionable.

      4. This is an unprovable assertion.

      In short, this is an insignificant brief with a tiny chance of success, one of the smallest I’ve seen.

      That will be £10000, payable in cash.

  26. mishari permalink*
    March 17, 2011 12:08 AM

    Chances Are…

    Flip the coin
    heads or tails
    it lands on edge:
    the future fails.

    Life hangs on this:
    how will things fall?
    this way: nothing;
    that way: all.

    Load the dice
    shave the cards
    weight the spinning wheel
    turn your heart to shards of ice
    and right your spine with steel.

    Luck is what you make it
    and if it ducks you: fake it;
    we’re all dead a long, long while:
    you might as well go out in style.

    • March 17, 2011 9:06 AM

      M, go get yourself a songwriting partner and a seasoned singer and start working on an album of torch songs and winsome, world-weary ballads, man, you’ve got just the right touch. If the above text isn’t a Peggy Lee lyric from an alt universe, I don’t know what is. This is not a “compliment”… this is sincere professional advice.

    • mishari permalink*
      March 17, 2011 9:29 AM

      Thanks, Steven. As a lover of torch singers in general and Peggy Lee in particular, I’m especially taken with your description ‘…Peggy Lee lyric from an alt universe…’.

      I could be very happy writing ballads, blues and torch songs for the likes of Blossom Dearie, Sarah Vaughn, Dinah Washington and Peggy Lee…fact is, I would rather have written ‘Is That All There Is?’ or ‘The Way You Look Tonight’ than ‘Ulysses’ or ‘The Wasteland’…

    • March 17, 2011 12:07 PM

      Next step: an advert in the NME…

    • hic8ubique permalink
      March 17, 2011 4:54 PM

      I agree with you Steven, except… that I don’t (ever) hear Mishari’s lyrics in a female voice, and who’s to say he couldn’t do them justice himself? Well, we know he’d demur…

      I’m sure everyone knows this, but I’ve loved it so long, I just can’t help but post here:

  27. Reine permalink
    March 17, 2011 1:14 AM

    Luck be a Leprechaun (for the day that’s in it)

    I met a dancing leprechaun
    As I roved out one day
    He said he’d make me wealthy
    If I let him have his way
    I said “I’ll give ya wealthy
    I don’t need your pot of gold
    Amn’t I Irish, ya randy munchkin
    Now kindly me unhold”
    “I’m Irish too” he said
    “Didn’t I star in Finian’s Rainbow
    With dancin’ Fred and other folk
    Many happy years ago?”
    “Look, pet, I don’t care who ya are
    You won’t be getting laid
    And if you will excuse me now
    I’m off to the parade”

  28. hic8ubique permalink
    March 17, 2011 1:18 AM

    Well done everyone. (I always appreciate a nod to Nordic prowess, MM; the Nornir smile on you.)

    I’ve just revisited December of ’09, since this (I think my first PH offering) was tickling my recollection.
    It was before Reine’s arrival here, so as I’m slightly stuporous this evening, please indulge my re-posting of it…

    Phineas Roy : a Cautionary Lay

    All heed the tale of this winsome boy,
    his father’s hope, his mother’s joy.
    Charm and beauty may be cursed,
    as I shall relate to you now in verse…

    The chappie learnt manners and shared his toys
    he garnered sweets with plausible ploys
    his parents hearts were all aglow,
    and he never heard them answer “No”.

    He became adept at marionettes
    and featured them in blithe vignettes
    enjoying the art of pulling strings
    and applause, which notoriety brings.

    Pretty girls followed wherever he went
    He offered them fruits and savoured their scent.
    They always let him run the show;
    they none of them ever answered him “No”.

    If weather made him kind of blue
    he’d other gifts to resort to;
    he’d improv on his saxophone
    or work his Andalusian roan.

    Some kids dream of running away to the circus.
    But PR knew that sort end up in the workhouse.
    In hearing his calling he chose not to shun it:
    he started a circus in order to run it.

    He discovered a passion for lashing a whip;
    his entourage danced to its stinging tip.
    That soft gaze turned to a diamond stare
    as subordinates hardened to watch and ware.

    Roy challenged the simple mahouts and roustabouts
    in elephant-mounted games and jousting bouts,
    but since he never knew when to stop,
    there came a day the axe would drop…

    Drusilla was dozing alone and defenceless
    when up strode his nibs, afire and relentless.
    He grasped an ankusha and smote at her haunch!
    She started and trumpeted, then gave a launch

    to our hasty ringmaster who took such a wallop
    he dropped in a crumpled-up body-bag dollop.
    Poor Dru pulled a long face in shame, hopped it, bustled
    (to save her own skin) to join up with a household.

    Thus ends the sad tale of young Phineas Roy,
    his parents’ best jewel, their only boy.
    The darling was felled by a fatal blow,
    for even the thick-skinned at last get to “No”.

    His family, in mourning, adopted the credo:
    “Fortiter in re, suaviter in modo.”
    (For those unfamiliar, the translated banner
    read: “Strongly in deed, gently in manner”.)

    Though favoured with beauty and brains and pluck,
    be mindful not to push your luck.

    Do try to compose some semblance of sense
    when dealing in realms of elephants.

  29. Reine permalink
    March 17, 2011 1:29 AM

    That is excellent Hic. Had I seen it, I’d never have come in from the cold. x

    • hic8ubique permalink
      March 17, 2011 2:22 AM

      ! and we’d all be the poorer for that. No, you’d have been drawn in as I was by the adorable photo it was inspired by. Luck of the fey folk bless you every day, love. x
      A bit weird in hindsight to have scripted a crush injury, but if I were able to distinguish ideas of probability and odds and chance, it might not be so far-fetched. ‘In all likelihood’ ;) my dad could whip out his old slide-rule, apply a formula, and quantify it somehow.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      March 17, 2011 11:54 PM

      Adorable? You should consider an eye test.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      March 18, 2011 1:41 AM

      20/15 with lenses in, 20/900 without, puts me at heightened risk for detached retinas, ergo
      no bungee jumping.
      [hastily scratching off bucket list]

  30. hic8ubique permalink
    March 17, 2011 5:01 PM

    {Disclaimer: sophisticated readers should skip the following nonsense}

    Flotsam and Pet

    The Pirate Captain’s never maudlin
    when luck’s given him the slip,
    perceives with merciless resolve
    when to forthwith blow up his ship.

    But, when Lady Luck is faithful
    (notwithstanding peg, hook, patch)
    the Pirate Captain comes about
    engages, won’t concede the match.

    Bright guano dropping on his mantle
    clings his stalwart psittacine
    emerald-feathered; there’s the magic:
    charmed by wearing of the green.

    • Reine permalink
      March 18, 2011 1:02 AM

      … stalwart psittacine emerald-feathered, love that.

      Speaking of psittacine, my cousin and her husband who live in London have a parrot named Bertie whose birthday it was today. She put me on to him on Skype earlier to wish him a happy birthday; most disconcerting as is the fact that he echoes her laughter with absolute precision. We hadn’t much to talk about so after he had said hello about 40 times, she came back on. They have a backpack, like a baby carrier, so they bring him on outings and what not. I’m still waiting for her to tell me it’s all a joke.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      March 18, 2011 1:34 AM

      I wonder why he needs a backpack?
      Our lovebirds, Tango and Delia are beauties and effervescently communicative, but it’s Fiona (or Fionn) the tangerine dove who laughs when we do.
      She/he also announces the day like a cockerel, and makes a hooting/cooing sound which has often prompted phone-callers to ask whether we have an owl.
      Skype eh? I’ll have to see into that sometime…
      Skype and scandal-broth… imagine that.

    • reine permalink
      March 18, 2011 12:22 PM

      I content myself with a painting of two lovebirds on the wall facing the bed.

      I’m not a fan of Skype to be honest; gives all conversations a kind of constipated aspect. Still, we could give it a go sometime if you give me plenty of notice so that I can do my makeup. Scandal broth is delicious.

  31. March 17, 2011 9:27 PM

  32. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 18, 2011 12:16 AM

    Lucky Man

    This morning I fell out of bed
    and squashed the family moggy,
    then I went and cracked my head
    when I tripped up on its body.

    Here’s a tip, don’t shower too fast
    and jump out on the bathmat,
    then don’t hobble into breakfast
    carrying the corpse of a cat.

    Once the screaming had died away
    I thought I’d nibble on some fruit,
    I could see it wasn’t my day
    when banana slathered my suit.

    I missed my bus, the tube’s on strike,
    the car has met its Nemesis,
    some bastard’s nicked my bloody bike,
    I had to walk to the office.

    I think I’d better draw a veil
    on the rest of the day’s events:
    it’s a very depressing tale,
    an occasion for private lament.

    I won’t go into my arrest,
    or being rescued from that tree,
    why I stole Peter Andre’s vest,
    or the visit(s) to A&E.

    I went to bed in some distress,
    and after disappointing the wife
    again, I lay there in the darkness
    thinking about my lousy life.

    Every part of it seemed to suck,
    and I let out a mental howl,
    it’s often said you make your luck,
    mine’s created in the bowel.

  33. Reine permalink
    March 18, 2011 12:41 AM

    Bon mots monsieur. To whose photo does Hic refer (Mishari’s?); don’t tell me I missed one of you!

  34. Reine permalink
    March 18, 2011 12:52 AM

    I’ve just looked, answered my own question. “Adorable” doesn’t seem to do him justice. The girls look marvellous.

    • reine permalink
      March 18, 2011 12:17 PM

      I have 20:20 vision MM, he is and was gorgeous!

      My late night posting obviously left you all in my head. Had a dream that Mishari invited us to a book club meeting and asked us all questions about the book to see if we had really read it. I can’t remember the title but my question was what was the name of the butcher shop which I answered correctly as Blood Brothers. MM, who told me his real name (which I will not reveal), protested that his question was too easy.

      Mishari was a most genial host, laid on a range of dishes for our delectation (including a platter of bacon and cabbage). His house was magnificent, a series of art adorned rooms around a central cube, walled entirely of glass. We had coffee in the garden and MM sat on a bench which left a questionable damp stain on his chinos. Hic and I giggled girlishly throughout; the boys – Simon, Steven, Ed and Exit were there; Steven wearing a fetching pair of orange jeans (from H and M), Simon and Ed their hats and Exit a floral shirt. I was very sorry when the alarm went off, things were just hotting up…

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      March 18, 2011 12:30 PM

      As I probably said at the time, it’s Damien out of The Omen who springs to mind for me. That cap of black hair may well conceal the Mark Of The Beast. Perhaps I’m overcautious, but I always wear a silver crucifix and chew garlic when making contributions to this site. You never know when a manifestation from the Other Side might make an appearance, and my new hi-kwalitee broadband connection could make it arrive with catastrophic speed, before I have time to get to my pentacle. †

    • reine permalink
      March 18, 2011 1:31 PM

      Funny, in the dream you said you always carried one on your person taking advantage of your ready-made ring hook.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      March 18, 2011 2:45 PM

      It’s 8′ x 6′ so getting round the house would be problematic. I could probably squeeze it into the toilet, but I would have to micturate with my face pressed into the cistern. In that undignified position, of course, I would be an easy target for Satan. No, the portable pentacle is still in the future.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      March 18, 2011 5:13 PM

      Giggling, Re?! Well, I’ll allow it; it is your dream after all.
      If the alarm hadn’t interrupted us, I’m sure you’d have spotted me down the garden path ascertaining the Moon phase.

      Speaking of imagery, MM, do you still have one of those Victorian pull-chain toilets? If so, how quaint.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      March 18, 2011 5:14 PM

      Ha! maybe they’re still the bog-standard.

    • Reine permalink
      March 19, 2011 3:27 PM

      I’m not normally a giggler Hic, more a filthy laugher. I had come over all coy in the dream for some reason.

  35. mishari permalink*
    March 18, 2011 1:45 PM

    Well, MM’s indifference to beauty is well known. But a hell-hound is on his trail, I assure you. I have been whiling away my convalescence by improving my various dark powers.

    The latest update is Geo-Necromancy, which involves Ordnance Survey maps, Sat-Nav and Satan.

    Imagine MM sitting down to an evening’s televisual stimulation–he reaches for a Twirl; he unwraps it and inserts it into the hole in his beard but, what’s this? ¡Ay, Caramba! Instead of rich, flaky chocolate, it’s the scabby, oozing, pustule-encrusted penis of Satan! How we laughed…that’ll learn the bastard.

  36. March 18, 2011 2:26 PM

    I’m trying hard NOT to imagine this scenario Mishari but by God it’s difficult.

    I’ll need some mental floss to remove it.

    Plus a fortnight in a Swiss sanatorium.

  37. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 18, 2011 2:32 PM

    Meh… couldn’t taste worse than a Twix.

  38. March 18, 2011 2:49 PM

    At least you’d know what was in it.

  39. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 18, 2011 3:31 PM

    What, in the Twix? Portland cement, cornflour-thickened pus with a coating of dried slurry is my educated guess. At least Satan’s wand has a touch of magic.

  40. March 19, 2011 12:13 AM

    That Ken Loach is such a Pollyanna…

  41. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 19, 2011 12:11 PM

    Ingerland, Ingerland, Inger… euuch. I’d completely forgotten about Lansdowne Road 2001 until reminded of it by the G this morning. Not a happy memory. I’m a little concerned. Perhaps Damien could extend his malefic influence to the guts of the Irish team. A collective attack of the squits would make the job that much easier for Our Boys.

    • Reine permalink
      March 19, 2011 2:50 PM

      I will not curse your countrymen sir but hope that my seven rosaries and various invocations may make My Men gird their loins, not in the way you intend.

  42. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 19, 2011 4:03 PM

    I appreciate your restraint, madam. Scotland – Italy is a bit on the dull side, but I’ve managed to stop myself rushing out to do some gardening.

  43. hic8ubique permalink
    March 19, 2011 4:25 PM

    Giggling men we most abhor.
    Championess of hearty roar
    knows what mirth her lungs are for
    leaves us laughing on the floor.

    Paragon of indolence
    looks after pounds, ignores the pence
    wastes no effort on the fence
    believes this to be common sense.

    • reine permalink
      March 19, 2011 10:14 PM

      She knows me too well!

    • hic8ubique permalink
      March 19, 2011 10:38 PM

      …the second bit was for MM who stuck to his post, not sure I made that clear.

      We’re in the midst of stages of henna application to L’s hair. It’s curing now, much ado…
      I’ve never done it before, but grateful she’s settling for a non-toxic adventure.

    • mishari permalink*
      March 19, 2011 10:47 PM

      I don’t mind a woman who giggles,
      who pouts and who sulks and who wriggles;
      But the ones I abhor
      Are the ones who will bore
      About ‘lifting the seat’ and such niggles.

    • reine permalink
      March 19, 2011 11:14 PM

      I don’t mind a fellow who titters
      As long as he when he has the skitters
      He uses the brush
      Before pressing the flush
      A streaky bowl gives me the jitters

      – – – – –

      Henna is a messy job, Hic, as I recall. I had dark blue hair at her age; I am surprised I have any left. Hope she loves her new look.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      March 19, 2011 11:32 PM

      The new look has yet to emerge…

      The problem’s the other way round
      We wish you would put the seat DOWN
      Or in dead of night
      a shocking great fright
      ensues as our nether bits drown.

  44. March 19, 2011 7:20 PM

    Looks like the seven rosaries and various invocations did the trick. Well done the Irish. First the cricket and now this. I look forward to the English hurling team’s victory 0-20, 2-13 next year…

  45. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 19, 2011 8:31 PM

    Bloody Damien cursed the wrong team, but full credit to the Irish chaps. Back to the drawing board for Johnners.

  46. reine permalink
    March 19, 2011 10:13 PM

    Let no one knock the rosary. I vacated the house myself to avoid any potential noisy interaction with the television, which still alarms me after all these years. Listened to match on the radio as I went about my business and ended up going to a film called Submarine (didn’t float my boat majorly) and running the gauntlet of post-match revelry on the way back to the car.

    Well done our lads and better luck next time to yours.

  47. hic8ubique permalink
    March 20, 2011 3:05 AM

    You’ll be Lucky

    Few beaux can resist a pensive pout
    (over the years I’ve found this out)
    and a wistful sulk won’t daunt your lover;
    it gives him the chance to win you over.
    Gentle weeping can be charming
    (frequent bouts grow less disarming)

    but, my dears, whatever the situation,
    refrain from rage and recrimination…
    Even when he spatters the floor
    best swab it up and say no more
    Spray and mop the tell-tale sprinkle;
    never demand he sit to tinkle!

    It’ll get worse before the end
    so learn to pardon; he won’t mend.
    This is the price of long-wed bliss:
    squattee vous whilst your bare feet swirl in piss
    ‘Think of England’ as they say
    then sponge your soles in the bidet.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      March 20, 2011 11:21 AM

      That’s very good, hic.

      I’ve taken to sitting myself in recent years (I notice that Larry David recommended the practice on Curb Your Enthusiasm). There’s no much in it in as far as time taken goes (according to my stopwatch): the fly fumble can sometimes last longer than the trouser tug. Winter does pose a problem, as more skin is exposed, and neither of my privies is heated. Doing away with the casual I-happen-to-be-near-the-bog-so-I’ll-have-one mentality and holding on until bursting point has proved a resonable solution.

  48. March 20, 2011 1:37 PM

    Sits back and lights pipe.

    I toured with a company 30 years ago whose home-base was a huge unheated textile mill with no indoor toilets The wood-burning stove heated about 5 cubic feet of air around it.
    ( by heck it’s grim up north etc. etc. )

    You had to go outside and the winter of 1981 was an especially cold one. Bad enough for men but brutal for the women.

    Therefore everyone stopped drinking anything after 5.00 to ensure we didn’t have to get up in the middle of the night and go outside.

    Kids today blah blah blah.

    Off to Cumbria for a week or so.

  49. hic8ubique permalink
    March 20, 2011 4:18 PM

    Always gratifying to have a nod from you, Vicar.
    Any resemblance to actual persons…purely accidental &c…

    It sounds as though you perhaps live in a summer cottage year round, as do we.
    Originally (late Victorian) there was a central hot air flue for ‘September heat’ to augment the fireplaces. Then that was floored over and air ducting installed throughout. That was inadequate, so somebody added electric baseboard.
    When we arrived, we ripped out the lot and put in forced hot water, which paid for itself within a few years. If I were doing it from scratch, there’s nothing better in a New England winter than radiant heat in the floor. (Imagine heat rising all around you as from sand on the beach.)

    I’m not sure about male bladders, but I know that ‘holding on til bursting’ is not the best practice for women.

    Balmy weather for your sojourn , ET~~

  50. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 20, 2011 11:28 PM

    Good luck in Lakeland, ET.

    Draughty Victorian villa, hic. I can’t see much point in having a radiator in the wc. It just encourages lingering. We were reminiscing the other day about having to break the ice in our respective toilets when we were children, a hardship I’ve often mentioned to my children when they went on endlessly, as they did, about how cold our house is. The white, pinched little faces of the friends they had round used to bring a rare joy to my heart. Their houses were like ovens, of course. No wonder this country’s going to the dogs.

  51. mishari permalink*
    March 21, 2011 11:36 AM

    In retrospect, the financial crisis of 2008 was a missed opportunity. Yes, the White House succeeded in passing significant new financial regulation. But for whatever reason, it failed to change the terms of debate: bankers and the disaster they wrought have faded from view, and Republicans are back to denouncing the evils of regulation as if the crisis never happened.

    By the sheer craziness of their attacks on Ms. Warren, however, Republicans are offering the administration a perfect opportunity to revive the debate over financial reform, not to mention highlighting exactly who’s really in Wall Street’s pocket these days. And that’s an opportunity the White House should welcome.–Paul Krugman, The NYT, today

    Which just goes to show you that even a Nobel-winning economist can be as big an idiot (or as disingenuous a waffler) as the the most spineless politician.

    Has Krugman not noticed who Obama appointed to his team?

    He’s surrounded himself with Wall Street bankers (many of them parasitical alumi of the odious Goldman-Sachs), civilian and military hawks (many of them coming straight from the arms industry), corporate lawyers (the vast majority of them enemies of regulation) and pro-Israeli zealots (most of whom are flat-out crazy): how exactly did Krugman think that was going to pan out?

    Obama is just another in a long line of Wall St. errand-boys. Why doesn’t Krugman have the balls to say it?

  52. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 21, 2011 3:40 PM

    A Fresh Prince

    When Willie takes his Katie up the aisle,
    and I’m watching it on my TV screen,
    it won’t be out of envy or through bile
    but I’ll be thinking of what might have been.

    If William’s taste had been for older men,
    and assuming a gay polarity
    was shared by myself and HRH, then
    there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be me.

    How nice to have one’s civil partnership
    in the Abbey, with all those macho kings
    scrabbling fruitlessly for the horsewhip
    while the Chippendales dance and Elton sings,

    then emerging to see the sunlit crowd,
    the girls all gloom and the boys all screaming,
    blue sky unsullied by a single cloud:
    but of course I know that I’m dreaming,

    I’d probably fall foul of a certain Greek,
    and find myself dead on the Péréphique.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      March 22, 2011 1:03 AM

      Inspired, MM.
      Craft we expect of you, but the imagery here is exceptionally vivid. Cogent narrative too.
      (I’d better not say ‘brilliant’.)

      fruitlessly !

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      March 22, 2011 11:04 AM

      Thanks, kind of you to say so. It should be a gruesome enough spectacle, even without my involvement.

  53. MeltonMowbray permalink
    March 21, 2011 3:48 PM

    Blimey, Spring’s here already.

Comments are closed.