23 August 2005

Free Drinking Radical

Oh a spare moment. Late afternoon, chained to a desk - a shameful admission for somebody purporting to be a free thinking radical - there you are...even I have to earn a crust occasionally.
Spent a lovely weekend in the Cotswolds at the country retreat of a successful musician. There are some. I expect you can guess which one. I only know one who could afford more than two weeks in a rusty caravan in the Cotswolds. So there you have it. What record sales can actually achieve.
Had some of you been quicker to part with your cash for 'Half Awake', I might be lookin for a lil' place down that way myself. Still chained to the Kilburn fortress, which is even more secure with it's tasteful new UPVC front door. I can dream and plot. Obviously wealth for wealth's sake is a fairly vacuous concept, but waking up each morning to a view of gently rolling hills and the sound of a heaving bank account, filled by prancing round on stage a bit for a while, is something I'd entertain. 'If I was a rich man da da da da da' Topol I believe.
Any way, must dash. The factory whistle is about to blow, and I mustn't work for the man for a second more than necessary. In a very Lionel Bart way, I shall dance out of the office, waving a hanky, and kissing the lady market traders, juggling fruit and whistling all the way home.
Ta ta me Cokney Sparras

18 August 2005

The Offficial Secret's Act

A balmy summer's evening with a storm threatening to break. No smell of electricity yet, but it's not far off. I've consumed a bottle of white wine, while contemplating the sunset, and am now about to retire.
As some of you might already know, I had the pleasure of being a guest on the Alex James radio show last night.
Half an hour of talking nonsense to the ten people in the country in posession of a digital wireless.
I think Alex wanted me to discuss musical matters, advertising me as somebody with insider knowledge. I had to quickly explain, that owing to my stomach ailment, and general complete lack of interest in music, I was ill qualified for the task. That's not to say that I was not prepared to talk at length about it. Lack of knowledge of a subject, should never hinder an in-depth analysis on the radio. I don't imagine it will be repeated, so whatever I said has passed into historty and rumour. To tell the truth, I was extremely articulate and succinct and may well be nominated for a radio award.
I've been writing songs again...just the odd bit here and there, but something is definitely taking shape. It's a bit of a shame really, because if I hadn't, I might be able to get on with something else a bit more lucrative. I think I''ll call the next record - if it gets that far 'The Official Secrets Act'. Obviously, I can't tell you what's going to be on it, and I won't be able to talk about it in this country....still, I reckon it has a ring to it. Quite mature. Like 'No jacket Required' by Phil Collins.
It's about time I had a holiday - I hate holidays, because they suggest a necessary escape from everyday life, which is how I've tried to design my existence anyway. Be that as it may, in some shape or form, be it physical or spiritual, I feel the need to remove myself temporarily, and have a bit of a think. Weekends in Devon, Reading or oblivion aren't enough. It's got to be a good few days. Enough time to extinguish all hope of otherness, and yearn for a return to the cage. A weekend pass isn't good enough - I'm going over the wall. A walking holiday perhaps. I did consider buying a compass, then walking back to my mother's house cross country - if there is any between here and Reading.
Just been reading a book about ancient English travel - before roads. Very exiting it is too. Whoever it was that first tried to cut a path from one village to the next, has a lot to answer for. See what you've done you fool. Speed cameras are all your doing.
Imagine a country where even five miles away would be another world, different customs, dialect, language.
If I yomp through Kilburn, Hammersmith, Chiswick, then down the M4 corridor past Slough, Maidenhead, Wokingham etc, I can recreate the thrill annd danger of ancient britain. If I get fed up, I can hail a cab...or visit an inn.

17 August 2005

I Fought the Church and the Church ( almost) Won

I'm just back in the land of the living, having fought an heroic and monumental battle with the Catholic Church. I emerge bloody, yet unbowed, with my daemon and dust still very much in tact...albeit rather vomit splattered.
On Sunday morning, I had a showdown with The Almighty and the Consistorial magisterium, at the Catholic Church in Lynton. The Christening.
Had rather a hangover from the night before, but managed to get myself and Ava washed, dressed and in the pews by 10.30. I can't remember going to a catholic mass before - that's not to say that I haven't, it's just that my memory doesn't register much at that time of the day. As only a few hours have passed, I can still recall the nuns - one bearing a terribly close resemblance to Tubbs from League of Gentlemen, which could have proved problematic, had I not had my mind on other things.
As I mentioned before, I was a little peeved at the prospect of having to renounce my favourite fallen angel - for one thing, it's bloody rude. 'Do you renounce Satan and all his works and all his false promises?' - a bit petty if you ask me. 'False Promises?' pot and kettle. I must point out, that I am not a devil worshiper or anything that involves heavy metal, drinking blood or defecating in inappropriate places - except when absolutely necessary - or by accident.
Don't catholics sing loudly. It's slightly frightening to stand next to somebody belting it out to the man upstairs...I must be extremely thick, but I finally started making some connections between Catholicism and Islam. Hijabs, habits...duh, give me a biscuit - or holy wafer. This in no way passes derogatory judgements on these or any religions - still hoping for that C of E primary School place...
Well amidst this splendid setting, Ava was remarkably well behaved at first...at first. She clung to me and watched quietly. then something very strange happened as we moved to the font for the church to claim another scalp. In a loud perfectly clear voice she said 'Daddy, I don't like this. I don't like it here, take me away Daddy.' over and over. As everybody answered "I do, I will, three bags full sir" to the Priest, Ava's head covered my mouth, so I didn't have to answer anything. It was an embarrassing solution to a moral quandry, but highly effective none the less. I got away with it. At least...Hooray for howling children.
Of course, we didn't get off as lightly as all that.
At a quarter to four in the morning, Ava cried out. Then she vomitted - mostly in my face, hair, and bed...and all over herself. I took her to the bathroom and washed us. She did it again. I washed us again. We went to sleep in another room - She couldn't possibly be sick again could she. Two beds to clean then. So much too. Pretty colours though.
Just like the Excorcist, the evil spirit left Ava's body and entered mine - probably through my eyes, nostrils and mouth.
I have been very well acquainted with the lavatory and the bucket for the past two days. Finally, I feel recovered enough to tell you about it. Still, all things considered, it was a lucky escape. I am Henry's God Father...in a non chained to the church kind of way, my and my daughter's demons are still in tact ( read Phillip Pullman ) and I weigh an awful lot less than I did before the weekend. Wicked.
Oh by the by - I'm on the radio tonight. 8 O'clock BBC 6Music. guest of my dear pal Alex James.

10 August 2005

Corrections and False Gods

According to my mother, I am talking out of my arse. That's not exactly how she put it - although she's quite capable of bad language. Apparently, the laws of god parenting are: for a girl - two godmothers and one god father. For a boy, two godfathers and one god mother. Been this way for centuries - she ought to know... Looks like I might have been incandescent with rage for nothing. I do seem to remember Ava having two godmothers - I'd assumed this was so as not to cause offence to the ladeez in question.
To add to this night of revelations, I am informed that Mr Rogers was not my godfather as I'd assumed. I have two godfathers - both uncles. What's the bloody point in that? They are wonderful as uncles of course...no complaints on that account, but really...as far as I remember, no booze, early cigs or visitations to houses of ill repute, let alone religious instruction. What were my parents thinking of?
My birthday is two days before christmas. Presents were scarce enough as it was, without wasting two major potential donors. Joint birthday and christmas presents were the curse of my childhood. Double the value?..do me a favour. Couldn't my beloved mater and pater have farmed out my religious instruction to non family members, who'd drunkenly stumble into Hamleys a couple of times a year to purchase something for Little Jonathan? By my reckoning, I must be down a Hornby trainset, Scalextrix, sportscar and motorbike - at the very least. And - I've named my teddy bear after a false god. Still nice to know that tradition has been preserved.

Too Many Godfathers Spoil The Broth

In my day, a child had one god father and one god mother. An expedient move in case of untimely parental demise. I have a wonderful god mother, who I see from time to time. My god father snuffed it years ago, but had fallen off the radar long before that, when he and my father fell out over a 'small' business matter. His only memory - and it's a good one, is that my teddy bear bears his name. Mr Rogers now perches on my daughter's bed, casting a distainful eye over the younger soft toys - exerting a calming influence and air of quiet authority...and menace...anyway, that's not the point. One god parent of each sex...sort of like the biological parenting arrangement...as God intended perhaps?
I have just learned, that there are to be many god parents for Henry. At least two of each. It's a bloody God commune. Perhaps I'll challenge my counter part to a deio-paternity test.
Really, everybody in Devon this weekend will be a god parent. Bus loads will be travelling down the M5 bearing gifts...we can form a religious cult. Either it's modernity creeping in, with it's desire to make everyone feel good, and special and fluffy, or it's a fatalistic precaution, to ensure that at least one survives. No wonder Kid's birthdays and Christmasses are such an avalanche of tat. I shall have to announce to the little fellow, that I am off to explore deepest darkest Africa, and may be away for many years.
Anyway, I've purchased a Christening gift which I hope will be appropriate, and bring hours of joy and wonder to Henry throughout the years. It's a Chrystal Ball. Not sure if this is quite what the church would recommend when renouncing old Nick, but it'll have to do. I've been reading Phillip Pullman so I'm a bit obsessed with the mysteries of the occult. I doubt you could buy an aleithiometer on Portobello Rd though.
I'm off to Reading/Yorkshire/Devon in the next 48 hours on various missions. Ave the Rave is coming with me to Devon, which will mean a certain responsibility and lack of excess intoxicants.
'Drink to the Devil 'cause the Devil is Best
Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of rum'
I'll never desert you Nicky Old Boy

09 August 2005

Apologies to Beelzebub

In a piece of rank hypochrisy, I shall be renouncing the Devil and all his works this Sunday. I hope the horned one understands and doesn't get offended. I have been asked to be the Godfather for young Henry JOHN Hodgkinson, and his christening is this Sunday. Obviously, I am delighted and honoured to be asked - even though it's taken three children before finally getting to me - mustn't quibble of course...it's a privaledge,and a responsibility I shall accept with relish.
I look forward to giving him his first beer, fags, advice about ladies and driving lessons; and should the unthinkable happen, and his parents expire in an organic vegetable or Arga accident, I shall bring him up as my own, and share my table with the little lad. I've looked into chimney sweeping apprenticeships, and there's plenty of employment for orphans these days.
Anyway, back to this service - I'm not too pleased about renouncing Satan...it seems like such a pity - we've been good friends over the years. Of course I will have my fingers crossed and desecrate the altar somehow. I will carry a picture of Aleister Crowley down my boxer shorts and will no doubt slaughter a lamb and deflower a virgin during the weekend to make up for it.
It's not that I don't believe in God - actually I don't...well I might a bit - this is not the right place for theological self doubt. I will believe in God, if, and it's a big IF - Ava gets a place at a decent C of E primary school. I need to witness a miracle and time is running out.
Also, I have to purchase a present that Henry will cherish forever - which will probably cost a few quid. Something silver. A roll of tinfoil is not an option. Any burglars reading this, who might have some shiny items to offload, do get in touch.
I've got a lot on at the moment - I don't mean clothing wise...things going on. Up and down to Yorkshire, Devon, Reading on family business. I've been asked to do the soundtrack for a short film,
as well - and, I think it's time to start making a new record. I had a burst of songwriting the other night...chanelling the spirits, or whatever it's supposed to be. I am eager to record these songs as I feel that there could be some loot in it....oh, and artistic fulfillment - whatever that is.
I don't think I'll put the next record out myself - unless forced to by total lack of alternatives.
Should any record, publishing or managerial moguls be reading this, come on. Don't look a gifthorse in the mouth. As of Sunday, I'll have God on my side.

02 August 2005

Incapability Moore

I've been busy. Gardening, lifting, mowing, digging...consequently, every muscle and bone in me old wreck of a body, is complaining bitterly. Stiff - in the wrong places, aching, scratched, and with mud in places that only major surgery will reach.
It's that time of year again...Ava's birthday. I spent the entire weekend clearing the garden, to safely accomodate her new climbing frame. This involved removing paving slabs...We had a crazy paving path that cut right across the garden. These bloody slabs of concrete had to be removed...twenty of the bastards, to reduce the possibility of 'infant skull split syndrome'.
This took hours. Then of course, how to fill the holes? Not to mention the ants' nests underneath each one. I am afraid my blossoming budhist values were replaced with a more pragmatic Himlerian final ant solution. Ant Auswitz. Well actually, ant tsunami. The hose pipe of destiny washed away their beach huts, hotel verandahs, market stalls...thousands perished in the biblical ant storms. I justified this ant genocide as all warlords must - they are invaders who must be wiped out...no right to be here, less than human...obviously.
Ants are the insect embodiment of Thatcherism anyway. Hard working little nothings that never stop, never sit down and have a fag. Industious because they're too thick to stop...or learn to swim....Oh bugger, I'm preaching hate on my website. Mulla Omar-Anti Ant. I actually used to have a pet ant called Janey-Elizabeth when I was small, but I imagine Hitler had Jewish school friends, Hutu's once played with Tutsis and Serbs and Muslims used to be best pals.
Anyway, enough of this. Filling in the holes required soil. Acquiring soil requires digging. Time for a pond I thought. Dug a hole all afternoon. Hard work. Tree roots to saw through....bastard builders rubble buried inches beneath the surface....laws should be passed to prosecute builders years after they've 'completed renovations'. Send them, to jail for every child that cuts themselves open on their broken glass, old slates and bricks...which they covered with an inch of topsoil and swore they'd taken to the landfill. Hang the bastards....even old retired ones. Drag them from their rest homes and hang them upside down in the streets. better still,..Lapidation with their own rubble....I like ths extremism. I can see why people get into it now.
Well anyway, I've dug a pond. I imagined the neighbours might be rather concerned. It did look like a grave at the bottom of the garden. The family having gone away for the weekend and all....They would have fitted in there perfectly. Be warned family - daddy knows how to dig a hole. Be kind to him. Anyway, the bloody thing leaks. Pond liner is my next purchase. It looks good though. I've built the edges with the paving slabs - I hate waste. It looks almost like an ancient greek swimming pool, albeit, with crazy paving and bin liners. Still, not bad for a first go.
The climbing frame and slide took an entire day to construct. I hated mechano as a child. A lot of bars that need bolting together...to look like the spanglish instructions. Brain fried, body wrecked. Close to death. Oh did I mention that I had to move the washing line carousel, which was embedded in a concrete block the size of a block of flats? Then heave it out, and dig another hole to put it in...don't you dare mention ants.
Ava's birthday party was a great success of course - even though it rained and everybody stayed indoors...until the last bit. The rain stopped, the tiny monsters ran out, went beserk, churned up more mud than Glastonbury, destroying pink party shoes....like kids are supposed to... The climbing frame and slide will keep our children from becoming fat little monsters...exercised, strong...able to go out into the world and conquer other species. They loved it. Nodoby fell off, nobody got hurt. I am expecting a few bills for ruined footwear, but I shall fight to the highest court in the land.
I suppose I'd better stop ranting now. There's laziness to attend to. TTFN


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