Monday, July 31, 2017


Have added part 25 to the autobio and also altered parts 21-22. There's so much editing to do and so much digging into the pile of old diaries, photos etc. that I can only proceed at snail pace and in short installments.

One of the difficulties is to decide how confessional to be and I'm hopeless at making up my mind about this. How to be a censor/editor of one's own life? Any advice from you writers out there?

There are links to each installment on the starting page so you can click on wherever you left off, if you've been there before:

Sunday, July 30, 2017


The following incident took place on 25th July. I described it on Facebook where it elicited quite a few kind comments, concerned that this might mean I was having a stroke, or a detached retina, or some other variety of disaster. They urged me to get to A&E asap. All of which was perfectly plausible and sensible but instead I went to Google and found an explanation which fitted my experience precisely. I had witnessed an Entoptic Phenomenon  and fascinating it was too. I have had similar visual experiences before but never as startling as this one.

Couldn't sleep last night, drank coffee after dinner, foolish. Stayed up writing until 3 or 4 am then went to bed. Pulled the sheet over my head to hide from daylight, closed my eyes, couldn't sleep. Opened my eyes. OMG what am I looking at?

A dense black and white pattern, like and unlike flowers or insects, slowly moving, pulsating, not going anywhere but contained, like something observed under a microscope, thin fronds around the edges gently swaying. I'm looking at this with my eyes open, not asleep, lying on my right side, right cheek pressed against the pillow (thin pillow, better for the back) left hand under the sheet. I move the hand to see if the 'vision' will disappear. It doesn't. But what the hell is it? Sort of beautiful but also scary. Why is it moving? An optical illusion, a trick of the light? I bring my hand closer and now the hand metamorphoses, turns into a pulsating pattern of dark and light layers, the solidity of the hand is gone, as if it was never there, but the moving, floating layers of plasma remain. 

I'm astounded,  I raise my head up and look around the room - full daylight, everything normal. After a while I manage to get a few hours sleep. When I wake up, I put my head under the sheet to see if the phenomenon is still there but more like a reconstruction of light effects.

Here's a Youtube video explaining the phenomenon scientifically in great detail which is probably more than we want to know but interesting nonetheless.

Friday, July 21, 2017


I'm working slowly on updating the autobio. But meanwhile, nuggets of poem-like things suddenly pop into my head. I might or might not illustrate them. Here's the latest.


That one
wears his heart on his heart
like a badge.
It says

But if you believe it
and turn away
the badge stabs
its sword
into his heart
and he cries.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


You gotta love a man
who brings you flowers
little white ones
cut from a neighbour's hedge
with nail scissors
he carries for this purpose.

A passing taxi driver
saw him doing it
and he was ashamed.
You gotta love a man
like that.


Internet connection went down for nearly 48 hours and it was like having a limb cut off.

No it wasn't. That's a wild and foolish exaggeration. It was a damn nuisance and of course I assumed it was all my fault, my computer's fault, and everything was going to crash. Moreover there was spectacular thunder and lightning last night.

So I backed up everything to my external hard drive, just in case apocalypse was at hand. Hard drives survive apocalypses, right?

Back to normal now.

Sunday, July 16, 2017


Some sounds I made can be heard here.

And some moving pictures, already posted before, are assembled here.


A non-sequitur occurred to me. Here it is, for want of something more relevant.


When couples break up
it's often because of an in
or a whole list of ins
for example:


And when they look for a new love
they simply delete the ins
so their wish list
looks like this:

Optional in-laws


On Thursday night upstairs at the City Pride pub Katy Evans-Bush and friends celebrated the launch of her truly marvellous poetry pamphlet Broken Cities. She is one of the winners of this year's Poetry Business competition and Astrid Alben and John Clegg joined her to read from their own new work.

I was happy to be there and to meet a few faces I'd only seen on Facebook before. Unfortunately the roar of trains outside the pub window blurred my already dodgy hearing and I had put the aids away because wearing them makes the world invade my head like Genghis Khan's army.

Never mind - I read the poems live on the page and the poets' voice spoke to me.
And I took some photos.

Katy Evans-Bush

John Clegg
Tom Deveson in foreground. I don't know the others' names.

Astrid Alben

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


Ramshackle, unpretentious, seriously attentive ambiance and audience at the legendary Torriano Meeting House on 9th July. Grateful to have been theret to hear my friends and colleagues, excellent poets Dick Jones and Dave Bonta, reading from their respective books: Ice Mountain by Dave Bonta and Ancient Lights by Dick Jones.

Their publisher is Phoenicia, created, animated and independently run by writer-artist Beth Adams and photographer Jonathan Sa'adah from their studio in Montreal.

Dick Jones

Dave Bonta

Thursday, July 06, 2017


Today at a local garden centre, surrounded with beautifully chattering plant life, a tiny moon-coloured cactus type of thing humbly asked for my attention. It was named, the label said, Echevaria which sounds Paraguayan and reminds me of Mexico and I love the pale moon colour and it was only £3.99 and weighs almost nothing so I took it home. I can only offer it a kitchen windowsill but I think it will be happy.

I'm taking up my online autobiography again, after a very long hiatus, and hope to have a least another chapter up very soon. If anyone wants to browse previous installments of The Burial of Mickey Mouse, they're here.

Saturday, July 01, 2017


Writing backwards is not as easy at it looks.

Neither is the fact that you only ever see yourself backwards.


Life-enhancing evening at the British Library on Thursday in honour of Gwendolyn Brooks.

See George Szirtes' page for full description. He was one of the 20 poets who ran up to the stage and made the air vibrate with the music and passion and integrity of their words and their personalities.

I was a spectator but it was impossible to be an outsider in such an atmosphere of belonging. And the fabulous colours! I took some photos.