Peril Poetry

A poem

*And the pencil was sharpen’d,
Sharp it was.
Like a spear
Piercing the snowy white paper.
It’s sharpness making mortals quake,
And grown men cry.
And badgers were overcome,
With terr’ble, terr’ble

*Originally posted here*

About Me

Drawering To A Close

*WARNING: this post is quite long, having a goat-slayingly impressive 700 words. This equates to roughly 0.3 londonmarks.*

My desk at work has two drawers. The top one is quite shallow, and the bottom one is deep.

The bottom drawer is not of much use to me, as it is full of boxes that used to contain wireless network access points, PCMCIA network cards and suchlike. At some point I will throw all these out of the window, but in the meantime, I have to fit my stash of flapjacks into the top drawer.

This top drawer can get a little untidy, so today I decided that it was time to take everything out, and put it back in, observing a more refined packing algorithm in order to optimise the usage of the space available.

Gingerly I placed my mobile phone, the fascia for my car stereo, my flapjack stash etc into the drawer, all neat and perpendicular with 1cm padding between them all. And I was reminded, for the first time in years, of the magical mystical astronomical phenomenon that was my bedside cabinet at my parents’ house.

My old bedroom was converted to a study some time ago, but a lot of the furniture remains. The bedside cabinet and wardrobe are still there, albeit with significantly different contents. The desk unit, which formed the third part of the matching set, had been damaged somewhat ((this desk was very fragile, being supported by two hinges at the back and a couple of slender metal arms. I once attempted to detonate a whoopee cushion by placing it on the desk and sitting on it. Unsurprisingly, the whoopee cushion remained unexploded, and the desk bore the brunt of the force. The screws holding the slender metal arms remained securely in the wood, but the bit of the wood that they were connected to parted company with all the rest of the wood.)), so became the source of a wonderful bonding moment between my dad and I. We had realised that carrying it downstairs was going to be a lot of effort, and once we got it outside we were just going to demolish it anyway. So we demolished it there and then, on the upstairs landing, with hammers, screwdrivers and roundhouse kicks, showering the house with flakes of chipboard.

Where was I? Ah, yes, the bedside cabinet.

I used to keep all sorts of interesting things in that bedside cabinet. It held a deck of Top Trumps and a deck of adult playing cards. It held handkerchiefs and a piece of the Berlin Wall. It held a walkie talkie (my sister had the other one in her bedroom) and a filofax with pictures of rally cars pritt-stuck on. It held spare electric plugs and a calculator. It held all this and much, much more. It was the accumulation of items acquired between the ages of 5 and 18, none of them larger than a kitten.

The continual opening and closing of those drawers meant that the items would all slide and slip around, bouncing off of each other and generally causing a helluva mess. Especially before I was a teenager, when I still had boundless energy, and if a drawer wasn’t opened quickly and noisily, then justice hadn’t really been done to the whole global drawer-opening concern.

Every once in a while, I would slide those drawers all the way out, and invert them over my bedroom carpet. This was especially dangerous in the days before I started bringing girls home, as the junk tide mark around the edges of my small bedroom was much higher than in later years. Subsequently some small items would be liable to fall into the sea, and contribute to the gradual rising of the junk levels.

Then I would gently place all the items back into the drawers, maintaining orthogonality, and neat piles with small things on top of larger things, and so forth until Mr Hanoi himself would nod approvingly.

Then I’d put the drawers back in and slam them, in the only way that I knew how. Everything would slide to the back and form an amorphous mass.

Ah, memories.

*Originally posted here*


Neighbour Confusion

As I got home just now, with the bag of chinese takeaway in my hand (which, I should add, is sat beside me, looking rather “dishy”… heheheheh…), my nextdoor neighbour, whom I have never met before, was just leaving his house.

Momentarily, I forgot that he probably had no idea who I was. I gave him the kind of “Hello”, avec smile, that one normally preserves for one’s nextdoor neighbour of eight years, or a coworker whom you don’t particularly like, when you bump into them in the town centre on Saturday.

Well, either he recognised me, or he’s not the Who the fuck are you? sort, because he responded in kind.

As I walked past his front gate and through my own, I looked back to see whether there was a visual epiphany. I have to credit him, none such was apparent.

My crispy shredded beef looks lovely.

*Originally posted here*

Displeasure Music


I wish Amazon would stop suggesting Groove Armada albums to me.

Currently, it thinks that I like Groove Armada enough that I should own every CD that they have ever released.

There is a reason that it thinks this. I told it that I own Lovebox and Vertigo, and I like both of them. Which is true. But that’s enough. No more Groove Armada thanks. Let’s try something else.

So I tried clicking on “Not interested” for the recommendation that was at the top of the list.

Oh, said Amazon, Well, perhaps you’d be interested in THIS Groove Armada album instead?

(click) Not interested.

Oh, said Amazon, Well, perhaps you’d be interested in THIS Groove Armada album instead?

Clearly a new tack is called for.

So I went back and changed a few things. Told it that I didn’t own Lovebox or Vertigo. Removed all traces of the trail. That’ll sort it, surely.

Oh, said Amazon, I see you don’t own any Groove Armada albums. What kind of a person do you think you are? EVERYONE should own some Groove Armada albums. Amazon (that’s me) recommends their entire back catalogue.

le sigh.

*Originally posted here*


The Game

We used to play the game endlessly in the coffee shops of New York.

I still remember the last time that we played, and I beat all of our previous records. It’s a memory that I know will stay in my mind forever, and it gets triggered at the strangest of times, and by the strangest of things.

It was her turn to measure, and my turn to smoke. We were sat at a metal table, huddled together for privacy.

Are you ready? she asked me.

I paused. Composed myself. Took a last deep breath, filling my lungs with the conditioned air and exhaling every last molecule.

Go! she whispered.

I performed the motion fluidly, just like we’d practised between us hundreds of times. The cigarette was out of the packet and in my mouth within about 0.3 seconds. A flame was licking from the spout of the lighter about 0.2 seconds later. By the time 1.1 seconds had elapsed, I was breathing in the deep, foamy smoke.

I dragged and dragged, the tip of the cigarette glowing like iron in the foundry. I breathed out through my nose as I breathed in through my mouth, my head shrouded in the clouds, my visibility reducing to nothing.

The seconds went by like hours. Everything became nothing, and nothing became even less. I didn’t falter for a second. This game wasn’t a cross-country race. It was a sprint. A long, hard sprint.

A voice was heard to say Excuse me – you can’t smoke in here.

…and stop

I stopped and removed the cigarette from my mouth. A ruler was produced.

She measured the length of ash hanging from the tip of the cigarette, and looked me in the eye with total adoration.

Very impressive, Pete. You win.

*Originally posted here*