Am I the man you wanted to become
 In all your wildest dreams at break of day
 When world was green and summer still to come,
 The ball in hand and everything to play?
 Time was when hopes were high and every hit
 A winner bound for glory. Only I
 Can see that curve-ball coming in a bit
 To leave you thrashing empty air and sky.
 I cannot climb like Alice through the glass
 To show you how to laugh away your tears -
 This one-way mirror lets no signal pass
 To tell you I'm the stronger for your fears.
 Alone you'll keep a vigil through the night
 To stand with me this morning in the light.


Inspired by the photograph above I started to write this sonnet but struggled with it until this morning when by chance a facebook friend posted the magical clip below. I’d seen it before but forgotten it.

Serendipity*, you might say, but how could I not finish the poem after seeing it again?

*If you want to read my earlier post on Serendipity, please click on the link in this sentence.






26 reasons to watch Alan Partridge

Now this is something I can’t resist sharing. There’s only one reason for doing anything, they say, but I never do anything other people tell me so here is more than one. Yeah, people, suck on this!

I’ve shared this clip because (a) it mentions the word ‘Nomad’ (b) I like the scattergun satire of Alan Partridge (c) it’s clever (d) it’s funny (e) I can’t be bothered to think of anything original (d) it questions the whole concept of self in line with my previously stated intention to post about who I am (f) I like to share good stuff (g) it’s a handy filler while I’m composing the post mentioned in (d) (h) it’s a well-made little film (i) I like the colours (j) I don’t like Game of Thrones (k) I wish I’d thought of it and can bask in the glory of its creation as if I was a part of it (l) it contains schoolboy humour (m) it’s quintessentially British, whatever that means (n) the silent bit at the end is well worth waiting for (o) it sends up the idea of self-publicity (p) I like the unintentional self-revelations (q) it mocks snobbery and silly one-upmanship (r) he’s an even bigger loser than I am (s) I’m interested to see what others think of it (t) I enjoyed it (u) there is real truth behind the humour (v) (for American readers) there is real truth behind the humor (w) I do like to see a man in a cravat (x) there are obscure local references which will annoy foreigners (y) there is much in it for the international community to appreciate despite its somewhat parochial perspectives (z) we all need to laugh at ourselves but, failing that, let’s all laugh at Alan Partridge

Warning: this link may take a few moments to load up but it’s well worth the wait!

The Swinging Blue Jeans : Merseybeat Kings – The Hippy Hippy Shake, You’re No Good

Just read this wonderful labour of love by Thom Hickey and got so misty-eyed with nostalgia for the decade we came of age, I just had to reblog it. We were so spoiled for choice it’s easy to forget some of those bands. One thing’s for sure, we won’t be sitting around in old folks’ homes singing Vera Lynn songs …

The Immortal Jukebox

Some Other Guys 2 – British Beat Groups in the shadow of The Beatles

As the 1960s dawned winds of change were blowing not just across the colonies of the British Empire but also whistling through the great provincial cities of England.

A generation of young working class men, now that military conscription had been banished to history, no longer had to shudderingly look forward to years of endless spud peeling, square bashing and boot polishing.

Now, if they had the imagination, the will and the courage they could march to the beat of their own drum. And, if along with the drum they added two guitars and a bass they had a beat group!

If you’re looking for the great provincial city where the new call to arms was most resoundingly answered you have to sail down the River Mersey to Liverpool.

Liverpool was a great port city. And…

View original post 1,166 more words

Away With The Fairies

                                  by our Bafflesby Echo special correspondent, Trend Hunter

How often have we heard it said that Bafflesby is out of the loop when it comes to crazes? Remember that burning mountain of hula hoops, unsold because their target audience had grown too old and arthritic to use them? And who can forget how thousands of Davy Crockett hats would have suffered the same fate if their late arrival had not coincided with the onset of male-pattern baldness?

But now our town is at the forefront of the latest mania to sweep the nation. ‘Ungh,‘ I hear you gasp as you snuggle a little closer to the sad and soggy remains of your beloved Care Bear, ‘whassat you say, sleepy old Bafflesby ahead of the curve?‘ But don’t get too excited. The new craze is all about plucking tiny mythical creatures from thin air and collecting them in little boxes.

Sound familiar? Yes, Bafflesby has finally cottoned on to the late-Victorian fad for finding fairies at the bottom of every back garden. Suddenly, fairy-hunters are everywhere – just open your net curtains and you’ll see two or three of them lurching around like zombies. I wanted to know who started the craze but engaging these deeply entranced ones in conversation proved impossible – I was lucky to get a grunt or two.

Determined to find Mister Big, I entered pop-up shop Majik Momentz to confront owner Luke Shifty and his sinister moustache. Far from accepting responsibility or admitting exploitation, he just shrugged and said: ‘We are here to serve our customers and if they want extremely expensive ectoplasm-proof containment units, well, we’re happy to provide them.’

He pointed to a huge pile of what looked like old wooden school pencil-cases dipped in silver glitter. ‘Each and every one has been handled by a magus,’ he added, perhaps confused by my beard and beanie hat into thinking I was a prospective buyer. Highly insulted, I turned on my heel but not before he’d pressed a card into my hand. ‘They’re selling like hot fairy-cakes,’ he shouted after me.

Outside the streets were full of glazed-eyed people holding Majik Momentz fairy boxes. I glanced at Mr Shifty’s card. You had to admit it was the spitting image of him.

At this point, I was barged to the ground by a gangly young man whose eyes never left his box. He seemed not to notice the collision but someone close by shouted: ‘Never mind gawking at business cards, you wanna watch where you’re going!’

It turned out to be the youngster’s parents, following him around to prevent him from walking into the path of a truck. ‘We got him a road-safety app for his last birthday but he’s not even looked at it,’ his mum explained. ‘Oh well, we’re just glad he’s getting some fresh air at long last. He’s not left the house since we got him Grand Theft Auto for his eleventh birthday in 1997.’

I told them it was a lucky 30 year old whose folks still looked out for him in this day and age. They beamed with pleasure so I asked them why their son was such a keen collector of fairies. ‘Oh,’ said his dad with a careless shrug, ‘he says we gotta marshal the forces of goodness and light against the powers of evil darkness or summat.’

His mum nodded. ‘He’s always on about this Armadillo business.’

‘Armageddon?’ I ventured.

‘Yeah, whatever … anyway, it’s always Us and Them with him.’

‘Not us, though,’ added his father with a face like a sucked lemon. ‘He says we’d be about as much use in The Final Battle To End All Battles as a couple of blocked peashooters.’

‘Never mind,’ his mum added, ‘we’re just happy he has a hobby.’


Postscript: I later found out that the photograph on Luke Shifty’s card was in fact the creator of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, posing with real fairies. I mention this fraudulent act of impersonation in case you are thinking of patronising Majik Momentz any time soon.



What if?

My recent trawl through stuff I’ve copied down unearthed this little puzzle:

What if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: “This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence – even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!”
Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus?… Or how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to crave nothing more fervently than this ultimate eternal confirmation and seal?

from Nietzsche’s The Gay Science, s.341, Walter Kaufmann transl.

Nietzsche doesn’t make it clear whether you’d begin your new life knowing you’d lived it before, Groundhog Day style.

If you did know then it wouldn’t be exactly the same, would it? You’d be able to tweak your actions and responses like Bill Murray did to come up with a different outcome. If you didn’t know then it wouldn’t matter how many times you lived it because it would always come as a complete surprise. Also unexplained is whether the demon allows you to go on living some more after he’s told you of the eternal recurrence, thereby giving you the chance to make your life one worth reliving.

Maybe I’m overthinking it. What if? is always hypothetical, releasing us from the deadly grip of realism in our daily lives. Nietzsche came to reject all supernatural and metaphysical beliefs but he was open to the idea of heaven on earth, the possibility of which his imperfect but thought-provoking little scenario above seems to signal.

Me, I haven’t a clue what my reaction would be … gnashing and cursing … grinning and craving … who knows?

How about you?

From the Archives

Over the years, whenever I came across a wise saying I wrote it down. I have lists as long as your arm and the other day I blew the dust off and started to read through them.

Blimey, as that great cockney music-hall star Ian Dury used to sing, There Ain’t Half Been Some Clever Bastards!

Hmm, not sure about all of those but here are some sayings that really struck me second time around, loosely organised by theme …

Who am I kidding? It was like trying to herd cats!

I haven’t credited the authors but if you want to know any and can’t find them on Google, let me know and I’ll try to oblige.

  1. Honesty, courage, kindness, humour, wonder – the essentials. In laughter all evil is present, but sanctified and absolved through its own happiness. Active successful natures act, not according to the dictum ‘know thyself’, but ‘will a self and thou shalt become a self’. Become what you are. Invent new values. Re-enchant the world. Seek apotheosis.
  2. What then? No then.
  3. The cause of death is not disease, but birth. Where death is, you are not; where you are, death is not. Death has no place in all the meanings of an enclosed, circular world. Be faithful to the earth. Live each day for the common good as if it is your last. A life lived in fear is a life half lived. Life is neither good or bad – it is original. Nothing is true – everything is permitted.
  4. If not now, when?
  5. I is another. As if each illumination was a waking dream, as though the vision were in the beholder and the beholder in the vision. We know more than we can tell. First thought, best thought. Liberty is the mother, not the daughter, of order. Life is an art form. No artist tolerates reality.
  6. Don’t just do something. Sit there.
  7. Never criticise a man until you’ve walked two miles in his moccasins. Unity – the two that is not two. A true team is greater than the sum of its parts. I, we, all together in you. Unity in diversity. Only connect. Life is a series of successful mistakes. Compose into one and bring together what is fragment and riddle and dreadful chance. Each of us bringing himself together unites the world.
  8. If not you, who?
  9. Thought shall be the harder, heart the keener, courage the greater as our might grows smaller. In dark times the eye begins to see. The owl of Minerva flies at dusk. When the heart weeps at what it has lost, the spirit laughs at what it has found.
  10. Love is all you need.

Brexit Or Bust?

Your up-to-the-minute round-up of what’s been going on in Bafflesby since the referendum


A post-referendum opinion poll of Bafflesby residents has revealed a surprising level of ignorance about what’s going on. People were asked to say which of the following statements was least false:

  • I know what’s going on
  • I know what I know about what’s going on
  • I don’t know what I know about what’s going on
  • I know what I don’t know about what’s going on
  • I don’t know what I don’t know about what’s going on
  • I don’t know what’s going on

If the poll shows anything, says pollster Poli Putaketelon, it’s that asking the wrong questions can make it more difficult to find the right answers.

Gore King, the director of Bafflesby Art Gallery, has suggested the answers to the conundrums of life are to be found in paintings. ‘Stare long enough at a Jackson Pollock,’ he told us, ‘ and your brain does the rest.’

Let us know if it works for you. And while we’re asking for your opinion – hell, everyone else is, why shouldn’t we? – we’ve whittled down the choices for the new Bafflesby Town Song to these three, so which do you think it should be?


Meanwhile the battling campaign manager of Bafflesby Bremain, Innis Best, isn’t about to throw in the towel. He has unearthed an ancient borough by-law that appears to allow the town to ignore any decrees “devis’d by public deceivers or impos’d by mob rule”. Brexit, according to the indefatigable Mr Best, qualifies on both counts. ‘We are hoping our brave example will encourage parliament to throw out this upstart nonsense and start up a sensible discussion about what’s really going on.’

One early casualty of the business downturn following Brexit is the The Bafflesby School of Satire which is closing its doors for the final time. Founder and Principal Burl Esk explained that the real world has become so strange that it’s now sending itself up without expert help. ‘The situation out there is beyond satire,’ he added, before shooting himself with a comedy gun.




Images:   ly