Thursday, 27 December 2007

The Love Story Of Ralph And Edna

Ralph and Edna were both patients in a mental hospital. One day while they were walking past the hospital swimming pool, Ralph suddenly jumped into the deep end. He sank to the bottom of the pool and stayed there. Edna promptly jumped in to save him. She swam to the bottom and pulled him out.

When the Head Nurse Director became aware of Edna's heroic act she immediately ordered her to be discharged from the hospital, as she now considered her to be mentally stable.

When she went to tell Edna the news she said, "Edna, I have good news and bad news. The good news is you're being discharged, since you were able to rationally respond to a crisis by jumping in and saving the life of the person you love. I have concluded that your act displays sound mindedness. The bad news is, Ralph, hung himself in the bathroom with his bathrobe belt right after you saved him. I am so sorry, but he's dead."

Edna replied, "He didn't hang himself - I put him there to dry. How soon can I go home?"

A friend emailed me this joke some time back and prefaced it with these words: 'Just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to, doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have.' Like all good jokes, it is funny and wise and black as the ace of spades, and every time I read it, I laugh.

Presents From Past Lovers

I read the verses he sent, a birthday gift; kind, coded, full of longing. I recall him fondly, a faint thrill coursing through my loins; the passion we shared remembered. The jewellery box hides rings, earrings, necklaces; past loves declared in precious metal more permanent than desire. The bouquets have died, the chocolates have been eaten, only the lingerie lingers with its lacy gauze of memory. Intimacies caressed, secrets shared, loves lost but only half forgotten.

Monday, 24 December 2007

Seduction IV

In front of an open screen, a couple make love face to face on a bed. They are naked and their white flesh contrasts sharply with the bright blue bed clothes.

We’ve gone farther with the child from Wu.
Her eyes fell on me, and now I’m losing sleep.
Clouds and rain, a dream of love with a goddess,
And on waking the branch glistens like an orchid.

Li Su

Seduction III

A woman bends over a rock and slips off her trousers so her lover, who is pulling himself off, can take her from behind.

Her black eyebrows are the envy of spring,
crashing waves of her eyes vex the autumn moon.
Graciously she glides amidst the flowers
and when the breeze passes, her sleeve billows.
This slender body never could endure an autumn
and she mournfully drags on interminable days.
What moves her above all else?
A bamboo’s shadow shuddering over clear water…

Zhao Yong

Seduction II

A man sits naked on a chair, a woman, naked, too, stands in front of him, ready to mount and fuck him.

Her body is made of snow
Her limbs of jade…
A few willows that a spring will vanquish…
Sitting dejectedly, I contemplate her dishevelled hair
And on my bed my desires overflow.

Slender as a plum tree
And frail as the willow…
The silk curtains drawn up.
Come forth, my club shows interest all a-quiver…
My eyes on her soft breasts, I am in seventh heaven:
Come, let us yield to the madness of love

Yu Fumen

Seduction I

A series of late sixteenth/early seventeenth-century paintings by Wang Sheng adorn the gallery wall. Each delicately coloured image is accompanied by a poem.

A young Chinese woman straddles her lover who lies on an ornate rug under a willow tree. Behind them, a cherry tree blossoms.

The Milky Way sits low on the horizon;
two spirits are anxious to cross it…
Filled with desire, they have embraces but nothing else,
and could never survive separation.


Sunday, 23 December 2007

Supermarket Sweep

After a brisk walk, I step into the bight lights of the supermarket and am confronted with chaos. There are people everywhere, most with huge trolleys full of orange shopping bags, or groceries waiting to be put into orange shopping bags. Each checkout sports a line of shoppers who appear to believe there are food shortages ahead, a boy or girl scout to assist with packing, and a harried-looking till operator young enough to still believe in Santa.

In the face of all this bustle, I am calm and cheerful, cruising the aisles with my basket and Lee Morgan’s Sidewinder. Time after time, I look for an item and find there’s only one left on the shelf, one for me. And between the harried families with their heavy, clumsy monster shops, I glide, patient and smiling, glad to be free of the responsibilities of Christmas. It seems grotesque and comedic, this mad dash to gluttony, but I am light as an angel because I am alone.


I'm a Wes Anderson fan. I'm also a Sigur Ros fan. The climax of The LIfe Aquatic With Steve Zissou offers a piece of superlative film making; the perfect use of music to communicate the wonder and the grief and the love and the magic of that scene. Every time I watch it, I cry. It is beautiful.

On my way to bed, I notice the film is on TV. I stay up to watch the beginning, enjoying the richness of Anderson's work - the characters, the acting, the sets, and the fabulous soundtrack. Bill Murray is outstanding as ever. But I'm too tired to watch the whole film, so I wonder, is my favourite scene on YouTube? It is. I watch it. It is beautiful. I cry.

Friday, 21 December 2007


A morning thick with fog and frost; the trees have aged visibly, their silver limbs twisting in the cold. Jack Frost is everywhere, the pedestrian crossing included, and I am inadequately shod in a pair of crimson shoes. Late again, I offer the empty morning my best girly run as I try to make the 8.24 train. A man and his dog stare at the clatter of heels on icy pavements, but I run on regardless, across the road, past the churchyard and into the path of a man in an anorak with the hood pulled tightly up. ‘Be careful down there,’ he says, indicating the pavement ahead, ‘It’s really slippery.’ I thank him sincerely, smile my cutest smile and trip away – carefully.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Batman Smells

Everywhere I go I hear ‘Jingle Bells’ and can't help but sing along with the alternative lyrics. It’s playing in one shop after another, the Salvation Army brass band in the station are playing it, and I even hear it on the street as a mother sings it to her small child in a pushchair. She sings the verse in a thin voice filled with love, and the small boy sings the choruses, slowly, deliberately and rather off key. As he does so, he scratches his forehead with a mitten-clad hand and his woolly hat wobbles.

Seasons Greetings

I distinctly remember buying amusing Christmas cards in the sale last year, but can I find them? Can I fuck! But I’m not worried, I know that, knowing me, I will have put them in an intuitive place, a place they can be easily found. And so I have. After only an hour of fruitless searching, I find the cards at the bottom of a random box, covered by a stack of papers. Very intuitive of me.

Sunday, 16 December 2007


There is always so much to say, but on this bleak morning of burnt toast and broken friendships, I am dumb, numb, silenced by the shattered shards of amity that slink around me tauntingly. And then I read this. Tears form, then flow. Released,words follow.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Overhead V

Standing in Blockbuster perusing the rows of rental DVDs, I find my view suddenly blocked by a man in a hoodie. He's one of those browsers who stands directly in front of the shelves, thereby preventing anyone else from browsing whilst he does. I sigh and step to my left, preferring an overview of the shelves myself. After a few seconds, the following exchange takes placce:

Mr Hoodie: "Jedi?"

Jedi: "Yeah?"

Mr Hoodie: "Come 'ere." (A girl of six or seven appears at his side with a smaller girl - Yoda? Stormtrooper? Death Star?) "What you doing?"

Jedi: "Nothin'. We wanna watch X."

Yoda: "Yeah! We wanna watch X."

Mr Hoodie: "I've seen it and I think it's too adult for you. You won't like it."

Yoda: "Adult is good."

Jedi: "We can do adult."

By this point, my view of the shelf is completely obstructed by one chav and two small girls with deeply tragic names, so I move on - sniggering, of course.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007


As Robyn cuts my hair, the stylist tending the woman in the adjacent chair asks "How open are you to product?" I catch Robyn’s eye and we laugh at the turn of phrase – how pompous it sounds. Later she tells me a story about her children that has me crying with laughter, and when she asks me how the Burlesque is going, I show her some of the pictures on my ‘phone. She coos over them, is delighted, and shows her colleague, he of the ‘product’ comment. Clearly impressed, he tells me I have a lovely figure, and I feel a little guilty for sniggering at him earlier.

He finishes his client’s hairstyle and she is picky and difficult to please. I say to Robyn, "Well, at least I’m easy, I just let you do what you like."

"You’re not ‘easy’," she replies, "You’re a lot of fun." And I feel a certain pride that my fondness for her is reciprocated.

Overheard IV

Walking up the High Street in Tunbridge Wells, I see a couple with a large Newfoundland dog – no more than a pup really. They have stopped and are chatting to a woman with a profusion of long, grey hair, chunky thighs encased in red corduroy, and a matching fair isle jumper and hat. The woman is gesturing enthusiastically and as I pass, I hear her say the following:

“I mean that dog, to me, is beautiful. That dog, to me, is a child. I mean you can get close to it like a child.”

The canine in question lies prostrate on the pavement, oblivious to the woman's words, which is just as well; she sounds ridiculous.

* Click on the fair isle link - it's worth it.