LEADERS - not followers

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

WI Outrageous


You could have knocked me down with a feather
The first time my Gran mentioned LSD
I think you know just what I thought she meant
But did you know it means money?

Back to the time when we were small children
The ‘Olden Days’ were approaching past tense
Decimal currency hit the UK
Goodbye to (L) pounds, (s) shillings, and (d) pence

Penny for your thoughts? That’s twelve for a shilling
And two hundred and forty for a pound
Bargain basement nostalgia of times when
Lsd made the world go round

Bus fare to town was less than a ‘tanner’
‘Saturday Club’ at the old ABC
Sometimes the Odeon showed better pictures
If you had enough Lsd

Beano and Dandy, Topper and Whizzer
Catapults, cap-guns, balsa-wood planes
Upstairs at toy stores for hours at a time
How much Lsd for the trains?

‘Conkers’ was seasonal, ‘alleys’ as well
‘Footy’ was played every day, to a crowd
‘Ticky’, ‘Red Rover’ and ‘British Bulldog
No Lsd! No girls allowed!

Five Park Drive tipped and a book of matches
Change from a ‘bob’, four Mojo’s, a bubbly
Sweets were my cut, the ‘fags’ were my brother’s
Back in the days of Lsd

Just as Gran used to say, ‘those were the days’
Childhood memories that won’t fade for me
The addictions of children everywhere
Nothing to do with LSD

Monday, April 28, 2008


TOP Conversations


‘Was that the last bell I heard, just then?
Or are my ears as dodgy as my leg?
Whose shout is it? I’ll have a pint of mild
While you’re at it, I’ll have a pickled egg’

‘Why don’t you try some of those new fish snacks?
They’ve all the protein, vitamins as well
You never go for anything different
Try some of the other stuff they sell’

‘Hurry up; you know I’m spitting feathers
I’m not the man I used to be, these days
You know I’d go myself if I could manage
And anyway, I’m not stuck in my old ways’

‘Oh yeah? In that case, tell me something new
About the kind of things you get up to
With all that cash you save from your pension’

‘I’d keep my big mouth shut, if I were you
What about microchip technology?
You know, computers and the internet
I just bought one of those PC thingies
That’s ‘personal computer’; latest yet’

‘Don’t you mean ‘politically correct’?
But no, that isn’t you, on second thoughts’

‘I’m talking about communication
In binary notation, one’s and nought’s
I haven’t got an email address yet
When I do, I’ll let you have the pass-code
Then you can take a look at what I get
Mates of mine will send me stuff to download
They can get hold of all sorts of goodies
From Scandinavia and the Far East
Stuff they won’t show in mags, or on the telly
We’ll check it out; our eyes will have a feast
There’s no problem giving you my password
Just like sharing a toothbrush with a bird’

‘Sounds more like sharing the girlfriend
There’s laws against all that; have you not heard?’

‘You’d think I’d asked you to share the condom
You shouldn’t look a gift-horse in the gob
One day you’ll thank me for my kind offer
Don’t offer me advice, that’s not your job’

‘I wouldn’t pass it on if I were you
You never know where it’s already been
Or whose filthy hands it might have passed from
Think about it a bit; don’t be so keen
You have to watch yourself these days, my friend
And wash yourself, before and after use
Don’t ever give the boys in blue a reason
Don’t get caught up in strife; there’s no excuse
Think about the shameful consequences
Of getting caught with that stuff at your age
Then where would you be, if it went to court?
Mum’s the word, or you’ll end up in a cage.’

‘Would you say this is the face of concern?
I’m eighty one years old, if I’m a day
They don’t put old men like us in prison
We’d die before we got there, anyway’

Saturday, April 26, 2008



A good mate of mine, called Charlie
Once taught me one smart rule
You see, Charlie was a drinker
But Charlie was no fool

“A good drink,” that’s what Charlie liked
“Requires ‘MCD’
That’s ‘Minimum Crawling Distance’
Back home, from hostelry.”

I took him up on his advice
Although I couldn’t drink
Like my good friend Charlie could
At least, I didn’t think

One night, when I was in there
I took an empty seat
“Don’t sit there!” An old man cried
“That place belonged to Pete.”

“Before Pete, it was Arthur’s place
Both regulars until
Old man Arthur kicked the bucket
Then Peter went downhill.”

“Not six months passed between their deaths
Pete only passed last week
A good turnout, to see him off
His wife did bubble and squeak.”

“You might not be superstitious
In here, we all are, mate
So no-one will ever sit there
For fear of tempting fate.”

“You don’t come in here that often
In fact it’s very rare
But one thing that you have to know
For God’s sake, don’t sit there!”

Friday, April 25, 2008


For TOP 'That's Funny'

My best friend, Charlie, always liked a drink.
When pints or shorts were lined up on the bar
He’d down them faster than most men could think
It almost killed him and it left a scar

Each Thursday lunchtime, Charlie took his pay
And spent the weekend in the local pub
He’d drink those crazy weekends clear away
By Sunday afternoon, he’d need a sub

Pints of lager, shots of rum and black
Purple moustache tattooed to his top lip
Charlie often finished on his back
He’d lose control, but couldn’t take the tip

Friday nights, I’d meet him for a few
A pub near home, he’d call it ‘MCD’
Minimum Crawling Distance – that’ll do
Hope he comes out this time with his key

And then, one night, I started on my way
Through road works, cordoned off with orange tape
Some poor, blind-drunken soul will hit the hay
That lines the bottom of that ugly gape

I couldn’t chase this thought out of my head
As I approached the pub that crazy night
“Charlie’s pissed again,” a good friend said
I didn’t need to look, I knew alright

Now Charlie had been downing pints since noon
As was his habit when the weekend came
For Charlie, paralysis came too soon
Almost unconscious now, out of the game

He failed to notice me when I arrived
But got up from the table, spilling beer
Smashing glasses as he ducked and dived
“Where’s the bathroom, mate? I’m out of here”

When he returned, he looked at me and said.
“I think I’ve had enough, I’m going home
One more for the road won’t help my head
I’m gonna hit the street and have a roam.”

He grabbed his jacket, walked towards the door
Eight ‘o’ clock and already worse for wear
“You’re never gonna make it home, I’m sure.”
I tried to tell him, but Charlie didn’t care

But he’ll be back again tomorrow night
Tomorrow afternoon, as well, no doubt
He’ll leave the pub behind, without a fight
When ‘time’ is called and Charlie gets kicked out

By half past ten, I knew I’d had enough
I said ‘goodnight’ to all my other friends
I’d had four pints, and I was feeling rough
“When morning comes, I’ll wake up with the bends.”

I walked the short crawl home, without a sound
But stopped just once to light a cigarette
Tossing the empty packet to the ground
A ‘last request’, smoking will kill me yet

I noticed orange tape that had been breached
“Just as I thought,” I whispered, with a breath
And almost lost my balance, as I reached
“Some drunken bastard’s tumbled to his death.”

To my surprise, or perhaps, I might have known
I recognised the ‘body’ in the ditch
There was Charlie, lying all alone
“You crazy, drunken, blind son of a bitch.”

Fast asleep, angelic baby face;
I called to him, but Charlie didn’t stir
“That’s what you get, when you can’t take the pace,
I’ll bid you a good evening, kind sir.”

Guys like Charlie, who can’t take their drink
Will say they just don’t ever make mistakes
But surely this will make him stop and think
“Never again!” He’ll pledge, when he awakes

The best night’s sleep he’d had in several weeks
Could not deter the craving he can’t hide
An alcoholic, Charlie always seeks
Consolation from the bottle by his side

But please don’t pass harsh judgement on his kind
Come pay-day, he can barely find his feet
But through the week, ‘till Thursday, you will find
The nicest person you could hope to meet

I once asked Charlie, “Mate, why drink so much?”
He said, “Just to forget what makes me drink.
It must be working, memories don’t touch,
‘Cause I am drunk, therefore I do not think!”

Thursday, April 24, 2008

TOP - Late Spring

Dreaming Of Springtime

Humidity level racing off the scale to
Saturation point, provoking thirst it can’t quench
Gasping for life’s breath, like a fish out of water
Sucking fiercely; syrup-sticky scents of morning,
Huge moisture-laden mouthfuls of hydrated air

Overnight minimum of ninety Fahrenheit
Sun’s rapid rise, announces, ‘morning is cancelled’
Insipid cherry-pink, transforms to tangerine,
Lemon-yellow, molten-metal-white, in seconds

Water seems so foreign, yet so familiar
Shower-outs, a testament to dried river-beds
Power-outs, resulting from the lack of hydro

Yet you could drown in your sleep from the sweat of air

Just for a moment, a dream; nostalgic nonsense
Give me a misty-mountain, cool English morning
Overlooking valleys, steeped in shrouds of silence
Dew-dappled daybreak, evaporating slowly
Cock-crow to consciousness; time to re-live reverie

Reality bites, with the sound of alarm bells
Back to ‘beat thy neighbour’ and vanity culture
Landscape gives way to the industrial townscape
That skyscrapes the starscape; invites a ‘great escape’

Take excesses of climate, lock them in a box
Throw away the key. Live forever, in Springtime
When blissful bird-song beckons each day, in greeting

Leave unpredictability to weathermen

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

TOP - Mythology

The Nong Khai Naga

The seven-headed serpent of the Mekong
Breathes fireballs known as; ‘bang fai paya nak’.
For centuries, this legendary ‘Naga
Has haunted Isan with its ‘S’ shaped track

Late autumn, full moon; the end of Buddhist Lent
Location: the heart of Nong Khai province
The sixteenth century temple, Wat Paa Luang
Provides the setting for our vigilance

A ball of pink light reflects on the river
Followed by more, with similar features
Without a sound, they hurtle ever-skywards
Up to a height of hundreds of metres

The ‘Nong Khai Naga’, like the ‘Loch Ness Monster’
Inhabits the depths, rarely seen or heard
An existence which is disputed by some
But photographs ‘prove’ the witnesses’ word

Like all good myths, this one’s fiercely contested
Legend claims a monster breathing fire
“It’s folk-lore, and however deeply rooted,”
Science counters, “Legend is a liar”

“Merely Mekong Methane,” agree professors
“Ignited by the natural forces
Of pressure, heat, gravity, oxygen, and
Proximity to Sun’s UV sources.”

Believers hit back with their words of caution
To those who would put nature to the test
“Don’t ever doubt the power of the Naga
Don’t make him angry…if you know what’s best.”

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Top Transformation


I saw a programme on TV
About the gifts of man
Most gifted individuals say
“I do it ‘cause I can.”

But these were no ‘normal’ geniuses
They’d suffered coma, all
Long periods of unconsciousness
Awakened by the call
Now, things they’d never done before
Seem more than possible
They’re all now experts in new fields
It sounds improbable

Two years ago, on a motorbike
I had an accident
Unconscious for more than a week
Don’t know how long I spent
Recovering from the trauma
They said it was ‘touch and go’
In hospital; I don’t know where
I guess I’ll never know

When I came round some time later
I found I was confused
Too many concepts filled my head
My memory refused
To guide me through this new darkness
That shrouded some things past
One question that I asked myself
How long’s it going to last?

But I was able to use ‘gifts’
I never thought I had
Never an artist, but I painted
A portrait of my lad
It hangs upon his bedroom wall
Taking pride of place
Among all his long-gone heroes;
There but for the grace…

It’s not all glory, however
My temper’s very short
My eyesight’s deteriorating
And things I never thought
I could do, like Quantum Physics
Didn’t get past the stage
Of borrowing a book, or two
And reading the first page
In fact, I don’t know what it is
But I am very keen
To go and look it up – one day
And learn what it could mean.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Seven Ages of Man

They would call us the children of the damned
Our mother died when we were very young
Soon after, our father left, to be with her
We know how to say ‘good-bye’ to loved ones

At school, the teachers tried to educate
Work, rest and play, eat your food, wash your hands
Why couldn’t they understand our wisdom?
We already knew all there was to know

Gainful employment earned our daily bread
Promotions swiftly took us to the top
As employers, we could dictate our terms
We knew how to influence with standards

Only two of us ever got married
Honeymoon, anniversaries, children
We were blessed by offspring of both sexes
They grew with us and made our lives complete

Healthy pensions ensured our happiness
In retirement, life was good for a while
All the time we counted on our blessings
Our lives under control, until

Old age came quickly, followed by illness
Doctors and nurses; time in hospitals
No recovery, no second chances
Get it right first time, or die unfulfilled

But our lives didn’t end without meaning
Our time had come and we were well prepared
Children, grand-children, mourned at our graveside
Said ‘good-bye’ to the children of the damned