Well fancy seeing you here...

Hello and welcome to the rambling rollercoaster of useless ponderings, strung together in what the internet calls a "blog," and the voices call a waste of everyone elses time.

Please check your sanity at the door (along with your dignity, logic, principles, good taste and prejudices against daftness.)

"I am here to seduce you into a love of life; to help you to become a little more poetic; to help you die to the mundane and to the ordinary so that the extraordinary explodes in your life." -Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

Friday, 12 February 2010

Fame and Misfortune

Yesterday I was rather rudely woken by a phone call from the council. Usually this would be reason enough to throw the phone out of the window, refuse to pay my taxes, and chain myself to a local MP until they apologised for all the heinous crimes the government has committed. (Top of the list being the war, I know waking me up would only come a close second.) This time, however, the call turned out to be a rather welcome surprise.

Two weeks ago local poets were asked to contribute love poems to a special Valentines Day exhibition, to be displayed on a big screen in the town centre. I didn't really have anything that I considered to be suitable for a family audience. The first 'romance' poem I ever wrote was about a prostitute at the Moulin Rouge, and the most recent - which was published in an anthology just before Christmas - was described by the first person who read it as making an "almost pornographic" use of metaphor. So, not holding out any hope of it being accepted as 'lovey-dovey enough', I sent in a piece I wrote in the summer of last year. It was inspired by a photo of a couple on a moonlit beach, and indulges itself in detailing the soft, seductive glow of lunar lighting on young lovers. I heard nothing back, and assumed that it had been discarded, because subtle amour hardly ever has a place in commercial Valentines events.

When Craig (or to give him his full title, The Man From The Council) rang me, I was told that the piece would not only be included in the exhibition, but that the Big Screen project is run by the BBC, who had to approve all the entries put forward by the council. It was then that he asked me if I could pop down to the town centre on Friday, because the local newspaper want to run a little Valentines Day feature on the exhibition.

So once again, I have accidentally wound up with a little more than I bargained for!

This is where the poetry will be screened on Sunday 14th February between 12pm and 2pm.



Unfortunately, though a rather rag-tag band of poets turned up to do the interview, the reporter got held up. The photographs were taken, but in the absence of the article I suggested that Mr Council Man Craig get consent from the contributors to have their work printed in the paper. That way the News get their valentines poetry feature, and the council get some publicity for their big screen event. We'll see if it materialises...

The day wasn't a complete waste of time, however, as my Max Clifford coup aside, I also met a couple of people from a local performance poetry group that I'd stumbled across a few days ago. The group meet once a month in a local pub, and mix open-mic poetry readings with live music, which sounds great, and certainly warrants closer investigation at their next event!

I wasn't surprised The News didn't show up for the interview, as they've been busy all day covering the latest step to regenerate the High Street. Today was the launch of a new homewares store on the site of the old Woolworths, which had lain empty since the company went into administration. Now former-Woolworths employees have set up "Alworths" in its place, and my stepbrother - who is now working there - was on hand to help them out with the grand opening!



It's good to know they're equal opportunities employers, isn't it?

It's not only the local news which has been busy of late, as I was also deeply saddened to hear in yesterdays National coverage about the death of a remarkable man; the fashion designer Alexander McQueen. Alexander McQueen was one of the most creative people in fashion, certainly within his generation. His catwalk designs were a spectacle - and whether or not you liked his shows, his talent and imagination was undeniable. He was a really ordinary sort of man; quiet and unassuming until broached about a subject on which he was passionate, and once riled he was well known for being outspoken and reckless. That said, he was never a poseur or a pretentious diva like so many in the fashion industry - or the celebrity circuit as a whole. He was the sort of Londoner you walk past in the street every day, or hang out with in the pub.

Despite his earthy roots, his innovative approach to colour, shape and style within fashion completely redrew the boundaries for catwalk shows, and he created some truly beautiful pieces of "art". Many wonder why the death of a glorified tailor is such big news, but they underestimate Alexander McQueen's impact on British culture and style. With a list of revered celebrity clients, and a reputation for eccentric genius, he may not have made the headlines of every newspaper - but you can bet he's dressed many of the people who did, and his inspiring outfits were often the reason they'd made the news in the first place!

Had his medium been paint and canvas, or film and CGI he would be considered an artist. Just because he created his masterpieces out of fabric and leather, doesn't make the loss of his astonishing imagination and daring eccentricity any less great.

McQueen's life in pictures from The Guardian

Besides, the man made the kind of shoes I'd sell my soul for.



The news also provided me with another 'nanecdote' this week, when the teatime coverage of the woman who killed her lover by poisoning his curry, prompted the following conversation with my much-quoted Nan.

Newsreader: "Mr Cheema, known as 'Lucky' was left blinded and paralysed before he died..."
Nan: "What did they say people called him?"
Me: "His name was 'Lakhvinder'. They said his nickname was 'Lucky'."
Nan: "Why do they call him lucky?! He can't have been that lucky if he was murdered!"
Me: "Well I think they called him lucky before he was murdered. I doubt they've started calling him that since he died."
Nan: "Oh, well, it doesn't really matter. Poor man's dead now. ...I've never much liked the idea of curry, you know."

So there you have it. It's fine to have mental ex-girlfriends who try to poison you when you move on with your life, just steer clear of spicy food, for it will be your downfall.

While I'm scribbling this, I want to wish a very happy birthday to my other elderly friend, Anna, whose youth was finally ripped kicking and screaming from her clutches today.



Not sure what her excuse was before, but now she's hit her 'flirty thirties' Steve Thompson had better sleep with one eye open. ...And shower with the door locked when she's at Burnley's ground. Actually he should probably just have his kit on already under his clothes, and not shower until he gets home. To a place with CCTV. And lots of alarms...