COURTESY COMBUSTION

He knew the value of manners and what they maketh, but he also knew they can overspilleth. In such a case, he asked the person who asked him if his meal was ‘going ok’ to fucketh offeth.

The waiter resigned and they ran away together to run an ashram in North West Derbyshire.

BREAST-FED®©™

Like all ideas that arrive at 3am, this one is awful.

Nevertheless, let us make the business case for it.

Mother’s Milk as an organic certification scheme to equal that of the Soil Association, if you forgive the association with soil for just a second.

Run with the logic and you soon find breast fed babies may be smaller and uglier but they are less likely to grow up to be serial killers.

No more evidence m’lord.

See you again at 3.06am for another awful thought.

VETO = VOTE

Do you ever pretend you are one another and not tell us?

GEORGES ANGLADE & OTHER LIVES

Haiti has left us all numb. We cling to hope and occasionally hope delivers as it did today when Wismond Exantus was saved after 11 days beneath rubble.

For many others, we mourn. Tonight I heard that the founder of PEN Haiti, Georges Anglade and his wife Mireille Neptune were both killed in the earthquake. I had the great honour to exchange stories with Georges last year as part of the PEN Free The Word Festival. In memory of this astonishing man, I give you his story in its original form that sparked our written discussion.

Should you feel like donating before you read, text GIVE to 70777 and the Disasters Emergency Committee will donate £5. If you’re in the US, text CERF to 90999 and the UN will give $5.

Les Nourritures Célestes by Georges Anglade

La première image à me venir de l’association du ciel et de la terre est celle d’un marchandage  qui plonge profond dans le catéchisme de mon enfance. Nous vivions et survivions par le troc au village de Matanzas et c’est sans trop de dépaysement que nous étions passés du terrestre au céleste dans la prière par excellence de la chrétienté à genoux, le Notre Père :

Que votre volonté soit faite. Sur la terre comme au ciel. Donnez-nous aujourd’hui. Notre pain quotidien.

Cette enfilade n’était certainement pas le quatrain le plus désintéressé qui soit. C’en était même indiscutablement le plus proche de nos pratiques marchandes. Du donnant-donnant. Aussi, c’est sans surprise qu’une fois de plus, en fin du XXe siècle, après quarante ans d’interruptions, le ciel et la terre reprirent leurs négociations dans la grande île.

À Jean-Paul II, il manquait un fleuron de diable à ses campagnes d’évangélisation et à Castro, il fallait un signe d’ouverture du bon dieu pour conjurer l’étranglement.

Derrière les pompes de cette double campagne de charme d’un peuple ravi d’être enfin courtisé, il y avait en coulisse des moments d’âpretés boutiquières dans lesquels les sherpas des leaders se disputaient les moindres retombées. C’est ainsi que courut le bruit dans tout le pays que ça discutait ferme, comme marchandes de poissons sur la grève, du prix de cette rencontre.

Déjà que pour la précédente visite à Castro, celle du Premier Ministre canadien, six mois plus tôt, un frisson perceptible annonçait que quelques étaux allaient se desserrer. Cran par cran. C’était au tour du Pape d’obtenir en échange une amélioration de l’ordinaire des Cubains.

Le rationnement en ces temps durs de chutes de toutes sortes, murs berlinois et rideau de fer, était de un poulet par famille et par mois. Ce ne devait plus être qu’un mauvais souvenir tonna l’illustre visiteur qui demandait avec insistance au moins cinq poulets par famille et par mois, afin de dépasser la poule au pot du dimanche des paysans français que réclamait en son temps Henri IV. Le pape ne pouvait décemment aller plus bas que le Vert Galant sans se déjuger.

L’argument porta. Adjudication à cinq. Cette priorité au relèvement de la diète fut acceptée avec, en plus, le retour de la messe de minuit à Noël, pour célébrer la naissance de l’Homme-Dieu, et une procession sans entrave le jeudi de la Fête-Dieu pour faire le compte. Même ceux qui savent à quels marchandages se livrent les hommes de pouvoir une fois loin des caméras, tiennent cette passe d’arme pour un cas d’école. Un bijou de troc.

Le courant était continu entre les deux hommes d’une même génération, l’un et l’autre en fin de parcours, et l’on sentait bien qu’ils ne se quitteraient pas sans quelques secrètes confidences d’État de dernière minute, comme gage d’estime réciproque. Elles eurent lieu, comme souvent, au pied de la passerelle de départ. Chuchotées. Têtes collées.

Le Pape se pencha : Tu sais Fidel, Dieu n’existe pas et ce dernier de lui répondre : Tu sais Caroll, les poulets non plus.

Georges Anglade 1944-2010

SNOW FOLLOWS GULLS

Listen. If you are in the thick of it, listen. Now look. The gulls are where it’s at. The snow is on their tails. If the Met Office hooked up with the RSPB, they’d get it right. If they were here, they’d understand. At every window birds are singing. Three days back, one flew straight at the glass as if to impersonate a snowball. This is what snow does. It plays with the minds of birds, and birds with it. The drifts form nests and lay Siberian goose eggs that contain only the whites.

Yokelessness.

This is the saddest I’ve felt for a long time.

DEAR HAITI

Mother Earth is one cruel bitch

UPSIDE-DOWN-NESS (# 74,943)

I am on my back with my mac above my head and my legs above my mac. It is an experiment in the weight of thoughts. I want to know if ideas sink to the back of your head and take on more substance. I am slightly worried about the mac falling off my upright lap and smacking me in the teeth, so I breathe in and jam it under my ribcage. It’s all very nose bleed-ville.

Verdict: Upside-down thoughts weighs more, each one on average about a bag and a half of sugar. Better go now before the haemorrhage moves in.

DEATH OF WRITING (# 74,944)

Google’s debut phone takes dictation. You talk, it writes. Clever huh. My fingers suddenly started asking me questions:

“Hey, we’re worried about our job. You gonna fire us?”

I couldn’t answer. Then the words themselves spoke out:

“We’d like to take voluntary redundancy. You won’t need us in a year or two. We’d like to cash in now, go on a cruise and swing with some numbers.”

So, this got me jumpy. Maybe we won’t write in the future. We’ll just speak like every other walking gobshite and hope to hell that it sounds good enough to read. But that threatens the very livelihood of reading. I mean, it’s such hard work. Why not just listen. Or maybe that’s asking too much of our ears. Shortcut the whole shebang and just jolt the central nervous system with a feeling. Yes, that’s it. We’ll all turn into telepathic jelly and wobble our species forward.

Time to drink the ink.

SNOWSFIELDS NEWS, SE1

There is a small local store on Snowsfields, London Bridge run by a wonderful man called Mr Pandit. He has a soft spot for Spurs and his wife has a great laugh. I’m sure he won’t mind me saying, but the shop itself ain’t up to much – his heart isn’t in it after all these years. It doesn’t help that it’s under threat from developers and usual supermarket mob. So pop in and buy something, anything, a paper, bin liners, milk, ciggies, some Monster Munch or maybe a lottery ticket. You see, he’s lucky. You have a 17% better chance of winning. Ask any bookie.

THE WORLD IS HAVING A BABY

We’re all on the right track with climate change, but really, we don’t know what we’re talking about. Not even those scientists. We might as well ask star-gazers. As luck would have it, Justin Toper and Shelley von Strunckel popped by earlier for a cup of hot chocolate and they have some wonderful news for us all for the year ahead. The world is pregnant. Yes, pregnant! They think they know who the father is. Or rather was. He died on conception. Anyway, sod him. Mother Earth has an orb in the oven, so we can all relax – there will be plenty more space and natural resources to go round. So go easy on the guilt and crank up the thermostat, it’s gonna be a cold week.

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