Sunday, December 23, 2012

Best Wishes for a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year in 2012/13


With gratitude I wish to thank those people who visit this site. Sometimes I write in a sketchy abstract form, which I do not profess to understand myself. My hands may tremble as I write and type, but they are innocent. As innocent as my most mysterious thoughts.

I wish you, and your families, a life that evokes admiration and emotion in each person you meet. And that your days are rich in beauty, vigor, and filled with delightful moments of astonishment. Moments that linger in the memory, make you happy, and glad to be alive. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cardboard British Police Plan Strike


Cardboard British Police have announced their forces may go on strike during the Christmas and New Year period. Pulp Carton, a Cardboard British Police spokesman, said: "Cardboard police are forced to work 24/7 with no pay or allowances for unsocial or irregular hours. It doesn't help that the government said that savings must be made through the disposal and recycling of over 85% of cardboard police officers, cardboard police motorbikes, cardboard police cars, cardboard police dogs and cardboard Police Stations in the next financial year [2013/2014]. 

"It's disgraceful that Cardboard police do not qualify for paid leave, training, promotion, a pension, public holidays, maternity leave, maternity pay, parental leave, or statutory sick pay. Unbelievably, they are not entitled to rest or toilet breaks. Even during the winter cardboard police cars and motorbikes are not provided with anti-freeze, windshield washer fluid, petrol, or 'tangible' lights and indicators."

Attempts were made to ballot Cardboard Police on whether they want to strike for full industrial rights and equality. However, given that 'Cardboard Officers' are unable to see, to read, to write, to talk, to listen, to remember, to experience emotions, to identify activities involving bullying, dishonesty, deception and criminal activity, or engage in intelligent receptivity, is causing great distress and tension for their families, friends and supporters.

Talks are currently taking place between the Cardboard British Police Federation, cardboard union officials and cardboard government officials ahead of strike action planned to start on Monday, December 24, 2012. It's believed that one major sticking point is that cardboard police officers do not have powers of arrest.

A recent public opinion survey has confirmed that the public find 'cardboard' police officers more approachable than 'real' police officers.

*
This afternoon I sent an email to a dear friend in Oxford, England.

I've fallen in love again. This time with a human being. She's beauty personified, wealthy, and fluent in German. I know what you're thinking? I can't speak German. But I'm besotted! I know! I know! Even when the sun shines at its brightest, the rain runs down her face, and her voice is sometimes lofty. I've made an appointment with a doctor to diagnose her condition. However, believe me, she is like no other. She's teaching me to 'Goose-Step' to 'Achy Breaky Heart'. I know this may sound simply-minded, however, every time I mention Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit she gets hot under the collar. Any ideas?

Reflections: I feel a sense of sadness and despair for those who surmise the need to look down on others through an injudicious sense of superiority. Some workplaces are populated with so many bullies, pimps and thieves it's hard to breathe air that has clean hands and a clear conscience.  

Don't be surprised if a figure of authority turns out to be more crooked and immoral than anyone he, or she, condemns. They may deny the charge, and show a double face. Someday, however, they will be held to account for their violation of the truth and fundamental ethical principles.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: I Look Weird From All Angles


I admit to being socially maladroit. The last time I shook a person's hand it belonged to my wife Ingrid at our wedding in a Bleecker Street playground. When she chirped, 'There's nothing in the world we can't do if we stay together' I felt the onset of a migraine attack. Suddenly Ingrid looked different; her facial features began to blur; she looked almost feminine. She raced about the playground like a crazed weasel, 'My whole body is tingling! Let's stay up all night, every night, until we evaporate!' 

Her mania drove me to Distraction: a small town on the upper floor of a shopping mall in North Carolina. When my mind seemed clear I changed my name to Olive Pickle, and walked the streets 'trying to be, rather than to seem.' Occasionally I shouted at gulls circling overhead, 'Slow Down! For God's sake, slow down!' Two birds landed on my shoulders, pecked at my fake toupee, and screamed for food. I've barely slept since it happened.

My 'unsound sanity' is still intact, at least. Ingrid? Probably guzzling her way through a large box of chocolate éclairs in South America. However, I realise she may be in the Far East meditating on the memory of her youth with envious suffering, while checking a restaurant bill she can ill afford to pay.

*
My current girlfriend Lorna is preoccupied with her body. She continually 'undresses and dresses' when the mood strikes. Whether it's in a private or public location is immaterial. Indeed, Lorna has perpetrated the performance in front of work colleagues at CIA headquarters. I see nothing inherently wrong in such behaviour, but when it's a guy at the deli?! ... well, the curiosity value tends to fade rather fast, like making love without enriching either your own or your lover's existence.

Nothing alters the fact that Lorna hasn't a clue where the CIA building is located. Each morning she is bundled into the trunk of an automobile by a man wearing a black turtleneck, and a white baseball cap which covers a wart on his left buttock. She is then driven to a bedsit in Cuba and is dropped down a large isolated tunnel by way of Jay Leno's chin.   

Lorna's grandmother, Tallulah Methadone, worked in the CIA K-9 Corps. Tallulah left when her human partner, Officer Bonio Bowser, had an affair with her younger sister, Gabby (a black Labrador from Las Vegas), whom Bonio wished to marry and raise a family. 
*
Reflections: Lorna considers the left side of her face to be 'less attractive' than the right side. She favours the right side: less wrinkles, softer lips and the skin is less tense. Whenever we dine Lorna insists on sitting with the left side of her face towards a partition.

This preoccupation with the 'least attractive' side of her face extents to walking, travelling in cars, trains and aircraft, and chewing gum for a couple of minutes then sticking the gum in her left ear. I don't share Lorna's dilemma. I'm acutely ugly, and each time I blink in the bathroom mirror it confirms I look bad from all angles.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Girl Talk: Aimee and Lily Kerrigan


Lily Kerrigan was born on June 22, 2012 to my daughter, Emma Kerrigan

When I was one week old I thought I had lots of mothers too. You only have one. Anyway, where was I? I know. My name is Aimee, I'm a girl. Your name is Lily and you're a baby girl. Girls develop in all sorts of ways faster than boys. Don't ask me how, or why? I just know.

Everyone seems to talk to babies in high-pitched voices and shake noisy rattles and toys in our faces. Just play along with them, smile and raise your eyebrows. Then there's tickling our toes and playing 'This Little Piggy.' Look happy and put on a brave face.

I don't remember nodding my head as much as you do? Your face expressions make me giggle. One minute you're smiling, then frowning, then surprised, or wide-eyed and a bit frightened. You don't like loud noises, that's for sure. I like watching you smile when you're asleep.What can you be thinking about? Probably your mummy, milk, and beautiful lights and sounds. I do hope they are happy thoughts.

Sometimes you can be quite noisy. No one knows if you're stomach is full of bubbles, if you're teething, hungry, or just plain grumpy? When I don't get my proper sleep, or someone wakes me up, I get really grumpy.

My favourite colour is pink and you're covered from head to toe in it except for those big white booties. You can't wear those to school! Everyone will laugh. I can tell you will be a sensible girl. I've lovely blonde hair and I'm pretty. Everybody tells me so. And you're beautiful too, even if your hair is a different colour to mine. I can't see you needing a haircut for a while, but I want to be there when it happens.

I love nursing babies, especially you. I'd like a baby girl when I grow up. I'll buy her lots of dolls, teddies and soft toys. I've lots of cuddly toys that I like to snuggle and rock to sleep. The trouble is I've run out of names. You're tiny nails are sharp. I'm going to ask your mum to cut them or buy you a pair of mittens. They'll be pink, of course. 

Did I tell you that boys are disgusting? They like getting muddy, bite their nails and pick their nose and eat it. They also get nose bleeds if they climb up trees. Most boys are really cheeky and don't know good from bad. Horrible boys. Except for my brother, Joshua, of course. Though he does have his moments. Just treat all boys as half-wits and silly billies.  

I know lots of words. I expect you'll soon say your first word. Probably something like 'Mama,' 'Dada' or 'Ba Ba' like in 'Baa, Baa, Black Sheep.' Whatever that's all about? A disaster down a lane, I think. At the minute you tend to 'coo' and stare at everything with your beautiful big blue eyes. Remember to cry to get attention and tilt your head when you really want something. It's a girl thing, but some boys try all manner of tricks to get attention too.

Did you know you were born under water? Was the water nice and warm? Nanny says that babies born in water are calm and cry less than babies born in air. That sounds just like you, Lily. Calm, happy and clever. In fact, that sounds just like me, too. I'll sing you my "favourite" song. I'm going to be a singer and a dancer when I grow up. Maybe you, me and Becky will start a girl band. We'll call ourselves . . . Let's see . . . 'Sparkles'! Now listen and watch me singing. And try to remember the words.

*

Reflections: Lily Kerrigan was born in a birthing pool at the Ulster Hospital, Dundonald, two days after the funeral of my father, Robert John Kerrigan. I wish to thank my wife, Sylvia; sons, Richard and Philip; and daughter, Emma; for their love, understanding, support and steadfast compassion.

My heart has been warmed by Lily, Aimee, and Rebekah (Becky), who, with heartbreaking simplicity, bring an emotional charge of light and joy to my life.

I am deeply grateful to Bobby Weatherhead, a special friend, for his thoughtfulness, benevolence and valuable wisdom in a time of unforgettable grief, amid the emotionally charged arrival of a 'new life' into this world.   

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Writing with Courage, Truth and Integrity: The Bravery and Determination of Malala Yousafzai


Sometimes for a writer to resonate in modern culture the narrative requires courage, truth and integrity; a commitment to freedom and justice. Many writers, bloggers and journalists throughout the world have been murdered, or brutally beaten, because they wrote about crime, corruption and the right to freedom of expression. 

What about the acts of suffering and violence occurring in the world at this moment orchestrated by those in power and in control of information, knowledge and the media? What is their agenda? One of their many objectives is to distort the truth about those who do not have power.

I greatly admire the bravery and determination of Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old schoolgirl, who committed no crime, but was shot at point-blank range in the head by a Taliban gunman for her campaign for girls' education in Pakistan and for speaking out against 'Taliban oppression'. I hope she makes a full recovery. Given the extent of her injuries, however, it will be a long, complex and tortuous journey. I hope that the 'Taliban cowards' who ordered, planned, and carried out the attempted murder of Malala, are caught and receive sentences befitting their crime.

Writing with conviction and truth is not without danger. Sometimes police and employees of local administrations are implicated in the attacks on writers, bloggers and journalists. 

No police force in the world is above the law. Any alleged acts of corruption, racism, torture, incompetence, indifference and collusion must be investigated, and individuals arrested and brought before a court, where necessary. People must be convicted for the crimes they commit on writers, irrespective of the perpetrator's position in society.

It follows that this should apply with respect to all violence wherever it is perpetrated on this earth. No one should remain unpunished for senseless acts of violence no matter how deluded their motives may be: patriotism; loyalty; nationalism; religion; economic and political power; money; drugs; greed.

We live in society. But to say we all live in communities gives a sense of false security. This not only stretches an acknowledgment of reality, but demeans the law and the life and memory of those people who have been murdered. Meanwhile their attackers bask in freedom, go unpunished, and in some quarters, are hailed as people of distinguished courage, and are rewarded for their despicable actions. 

Indeed, some perpetrators of violence no longer seek anonymity, but live with impunity, and are constantly in search of the limelight. Just don't expect some individuals to voice contrition for their criminality, for many carry a bitterness towards humankind which endorses their deluded sense of superiority.

Some people in positions of great political power rarely want the truth to be made readily available to citizens. They are on a collision course with death and destruction, and look upon fellow human beings as insignificant, dispensable, a meaningless statistic. A serious and harrowing situation; criminal in itself. 

(2012)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Dawn of Woman and Other Pleasures


This afternoon my wife heaved me onto her chest for our weekly trundle around the shops. I was happily nestled in an 'outward facing' bushbaby cocoon front carrier. The 'cocoon' has a pull out sun and rain shade. So if it rained, it rained. The only way to travel. Am I bone idle and/or a shirker? Well, both. To be hoisted aloft on the strong broad shoulders of a comely woman is one of life's jubilant pleasures. Has there been anything more valuable and greater in this world than the dawn of woman? I believe everything else pales into insignificance.

We descended upon the main street. 'Let's have lunch,' I said, smoking a cigar, contemplating whether, indeed, Joseph K. is guilty or innocent, and if he has a favourite joke or party piece. A waitress, wearing a Zadig and Voltaire Sequin Top that barely concealed her breasts, served us French teas and pastries. 

When she looked at me with her sweet mocking eyes, a sharp sensuous wave of desire shot across my face. I bit my right ear lobe to remain conscious. I wondered if such an elegant, powerful lady could be attracted to a person who is docile, weak, wears Khaki Brown elasticated waist shorts (52 inch, I kid you not), and with a face no plastic surgeon could conjure an inkling of magic upon. My wife squeezed my hand and smiled. She was cheerful and relaxed. A few minutes later I boarded the 'cocoon'. We headed home with a delightful feeling of giddiness.

 *
I am sitting in my back garden swigging Fybogel: a remarkable, lemon-flavoured drink which promises to relieve constipation without undue straining. The fact it causes thunderous flatus which - in my case - attracts sightseers from parts of the world yet to be discovered and clouds of mocking bloated pigeons, make it hard, nay, impossible, to express my feelings in simple or complex language. 

This is what's happening. My shed has been casually migrating from my back garden since its construction. Is it an expression of unhappiness, hurt, disengagement with other wood constructions? Difficult to tell. I accept that my shed may wish to move to a more congenial setting. A neighbouring backyard, to be precise. 

My neighbour came to visit me: loneliness can make people do extreme things, unless they can afford high-class hookers. He advised me that my 'migrating garden shed' was scarring him both emotionally and physically. Moreover, he attested that the shed knocked on his back door each night when the light of the moon replaces the light of the sun. I, having no wish to quarrel, told him the shed was culpable, not I. He wept, of course. I, bereft of sorrowfulness, offered consolation in the form of admonition. 

'For your own peace of mind put some clothes on, and never let that sanctimonious shed into your home. If you relent, you will be condemned to slavery. In brief: repairs, repainting, and reading the wretched shanty "sea-faring" poems at bedtime. The damn thing has been indulged in an unbelievable manner and still craves attention.' 

My neighbour walked away holding on to an invisible wall, disappearing, finally, like a ghost engulfed in fog. I thought I heard the garden shed shouting, 'Wait for me! Where are you going?! I can't see a thing! Wait for me!'

*
Reflections: My wife has a wonderful speaking voice. In fact, I remember hearing her voice before I first set eyes on her features. Her voice coiled gently around me and wandered into my senses. Time ceased to be relevant. I do not possess a vivid voice. Most of the time it fails to ignite and seeks out dark corners.

She is blessed with nobility of thought, benevolence, a wisdom born out of intellectual curiosity, and firmly believes that instinctive gestures come before words. Unfortunately, on certain occasions, words tend to be destitute and ignorant of the true depth and complexities of life. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Obituary: Robert John Kerrigan who has died on 17 June 2012


My father, Robert John Kerrigan, died early this morning following a long illness. He was predeceased by his beloved wife, Matilda (Tilly) on 23 March 2004. They are together again in their grave and I am separated from them definitively. A double absence.

Rest

The memories and love they leave behind
Are mine to keep
They have found their rest; they have turned their faces
To the sun, and now they sleep.

Some people forget their parents were once children, toddlers, teenagers, young adults. Something other than a parent. A unique individual with dreams, fears, their own view of the world, with long vanished emotions. Nights of dancing, laughter; believing they, alone, knew life's secrets.

Perhaps they faced periods of uncertainty and insecurity and, conversely, the gentle wind of success and fulfillment. Most of all, they had an individual and unique relationship with their own parents, siblings, grandparents, teachers, friends, and contemporaries.

They had their favourite hobbies, games and played pranks, of course. How can children ever know of their parents experience with life? The depth of the obstacles and trials they faced to comfort and protect them? To provide security, shelter and love? We can learn a lot from each other - both parent and child - but only if trust, honesty, understanding, reciprocation, and genuine love are present.

In a blink of an eye the baby becomes a child, goes to school, shouts and rebels, goes to work, goes out socially with friends, and on romantic dates, then announce they are leaving home.

*
Reflection: They grow no older. It is I who have changed, grown strange to what I was. (Wendell Berry from A Meeting.)

In memory of my father and mother

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Mystery of Van Gogh's Left Ear


The mystery surrounding Van Gogh's left ear shows no sign of abating. The Ear still refuses to talk about events in 1888. Primarily it was believed the Dutch painter cut off his ear with a razor after a row with Gauguin. Van Gogh walked, hopped, or ran to a nearby brothel, and presented the severed ear to a prostitute called Rozamond. She advised Vincent Willem that she only accepted cash or payment by PayPal for her services, and told him to stick his ear. Where? According to certain observers' Rozamond imparted, "... [where] suns and universes ceased to be."

Some believe Van Gogh's left ear ran off to Milan to become a successful opera singer and that the present ear is an impostor. The French police have announced that investigations are ongoing concerning the whereabouts of Paul Cézanne's hair, Claude Monet's beard, and Edgar Degas' nose which hasn't been seen in Paris since 1917.

Harsh times, indeed, for connoisseurs of the art world, and suppliers of Earwax Removal kits.

*
All evidence concludes that the brain and the body are intimately involved with each other. Today as I was eating my ninth large watermelon (it is believed the fruit has a 'viagra-like effect') I witnessed two neighbours, Hans Faraway and Constance Compass, in what can only be described as an electromagnetic clinch.

His brain and her body danced in a trance-like state. Faraway's brain was wearing the large head of a donkey with long ears. Constance's body - which was facing north - attempted a bungee jump without the requisite elastic cord. She was last seen waving hysterically from a hot-air-balloon using unfamiliar sign language.

*
I'm considering names for the characters of my next novel. Working title: Life Isn't Fair It's A Brunette. A character's name should proclaim their nature. I'm toying with Shirley Koalabear as the husband and Friedrich Sniffer as his wife who suddenly announces (while chewing on a perfectly cooked roast male leg) that she is a cannibal.

Friedrich Sniffer is recruited by the army with a mission to reduce troop numbers. Her weapon: a bottle of HP Sauce. Objective: to reduce the army's basic pay, benefits, redundancy and severance pay budgets'. I've written the end of the novel first to gauge how long the story will be. I estimate about 60 meters if the weather holds out.
*
Reflections: I purchased my current house because of its name, Deep Roots. This morning I rose late, and the building is nowhere to be seen. It even had the audacity to take my black laced boots, thin summer jacket, and collection of church bells. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Night At The Opera


I remember one evening attending the theatre with an old friend, Anders Pedometer - a small, round-faced, short-sighted man. When the curtain went up a strange sound welled from the orchestra pit.

Anders had fallen from the balcony and was sitting on the shoulders of an oboe player. I was left holding his well-groomed black moustache, white eyebrows and left hand. The audience applauded under the false impression that Anders' acrobatics and severed hand were part of the show. He never again set foot in a theatre. I was told he once threw a bus timetable at a theatre door in Paris due to a train arriving late at Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

Following that episode poor Anders hurtled headlong into a mire of alcoholism, drug abuse and chain-smoking feather mattresses. I'm under no illusions; Anders is somewhere, dying slowly. I wish I could say his future is uncertain, but friendship demands openness, a passion for honesty.

*         
I've kept diaries my entire adult life. Not my own, of course. I confess they have provided me with welcome distraction and untold pleasure when I desired calm day or night. The excitement of reading and pondering another individuals account of love, desire, embarrassment, meetings planned that did not happen, and synopsis of dealing with demons, rootlessness, anxiety, were engaging and enlightening. The diaries reminded me of my failings and weaknesses, and why I constantly felt bewildered and lost.

The life the diaries portrayed was not exhausted by sleepless nights or indecision. Each page described the fulfilment of dreams, successful conclusions and the need to make sense of one's existence. The remarks were neither blurred nor ambiguous.

This morning my home is less warm, my vision blurred, my movements motionless. I was foolish, or absentminded, not to recognise the chronicler of such dubious passages was myself. Suddenly my dreams were drowned by waves of devastating, tangible reality. I retired to the sitting room to play Ravel's Concerto for the Left Hand with my right foot. Somehow it seemed appropriate.

*
 This year, I have read and reread Guy de Maupassant's short story The Necklace. I remain dazzled by its brevity, ironic plot, and thought-provoking brilliance. Many films, novels, stories, plays, operas, are overly long for no other reason than poor editing.

A case in point. During a recent operatic performance of Hamlet the lovely Ophelia took so long to die I wept with dismay. Her expressions and gestures (never mind her singing, wailing, giving and throwing flowers) made me mumble in Chinese, eat a stranger's handkerchief, and tear my shirt, trousers and stockings to shreds. In a moment of madness I approached the stage. With Ophelia in a trance I filled her ears with pansies, each nostril with violets, and placed a garland of fennel in her mouth for good measure. Anything to help her on her way, so to speak.

The scene ended abruptly. Surprisingly the audience roared my praise. I bowed, embracing a sustained ovation. Was the opera finished? The rest of the performance cancelled? No. Just shortened. It ended just before midnight just as I collapsed with a migraine.

*         
Reflections: One should choose wisely which books to read as one's lifespan is limited. Since I was twelve or thirteen years of age I've borrowed books from libraries. I'm glad I didn't have to purchase most of them. On reading a few of the novels it was a triumph to get past the first chapter. Does anyone count the money they spend on wearily written novels that swim to the public on a slick sea of marketing, advertising, and chain-book store and supermarket placement?

The choice of downloading thousands of ebooks to an electronic reader is a choice for many readers. While outlets still exist I enjoy browsing, exploring, reading and purchasing books at local bookstore chains. Also, on the internet when the price dictates. In the present economic climate my first port of call is the library, unless I discover an unforgettable book that does not have to plea to join my personal collection.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Darkness in the Afternoon - Part One



I was sitting in my office cleaning my handgun when it accidentally fired narrowly missing a flea on the head of Mr Alfred Rukelhaus who was having his hair cut in “The Hair’s Progress” across the street—a business run by a man with large black eyes that squinted intensely called Stravinsky. I immediately leapt from my chair, closed the venetian blinds and crawled on my knees back to my desk. I was on the floor when someone entered my office.

"That sounded like a shot?"

"It was my new coffee percolator. Buying a 'twenty cup' was a blunder. It flew out the window. Probably in Shoreditch Park by now."

"Are you a private eye?"

I slipped back into my chair and shuffled the one piece of paper on my desk. When I glanced at the source of the voice, I saw a beautiful woman with fine black hair and piercing dark eyes. Normally I stand to greet clients, but decided—for her modesty, and mine—to remain seated. I gestured to the lady to take a seat.

"My name is Elina."

"Sounds Greek?"

"I’m from Tooting."

She looked at me with a mixture of intensity and pride.

"Are you an investigator, or not?!"—Elina glanced at her watch—"I’ve no time to waste!"

After checking I was breathing my two eyes met her two eyes. "You have a face that cries – NO, SHOUTS (I leapt from my chair) MELANCHOLY!" Then softly, "And just a little anxious, no?"

Peculiar sounds emanated from my body. I made a mental note to modify my diet. "I’m—an explorer—a prober—a sleuth." I started to ramble.

"What was your most recent case and the outcome?"

"A kidnapped halibut. It belonged to a dentist who performed a shoddy deep-root filling. The kidnapper sent a ransom note to its owner with a photograph of the fish holding the Hackney Post. The fish was returned unharmed. I’m sorry to say the dentist was later found dead—battered to death with a haddock."

"How did you recover this fish—this hellibute?"

"Halibut! Basic, professional detective work. I’m sworn to secrecy about the details—" I made a note to obtain analgesics; my gums were still markedly sensitive.

"What’s the book?" she asked, pointing to my desk.

"Gustave Flaubert by Madame Bovary. I’m not usually a fan of female writers, however this is exceptional."

Elina had lost her husband and was fearful he was in danger. I stayed quiet hoping she would volunteer information.

Finally, I asked, "Did you murder your husband?"

She half-closed her beautiful eyes with a weary grace.

"I said—"

"—I know what you said. Why would I?"

"Money, pleasure, the excitement of amorous adventures—?"

"NO! You're insane." A perceptive and intelligent lady.

My instinct told me she was telling the truth. "OK. I believe you. Tell me about your husband. How you met him—" As I listened I looked at her face. I could sense uncertainty beneath her enticing self-confidence.

End of Part One (to be continued during bright daylight)