28 July 2005

Half nAAked thursday

Left knee- but that's obvious.

22 July 2005

Buick City Complex

"They’re tearing the Buick City Complex down,
I think we’re the only people left in town.
Where you gonna move, where you gonna move?
Do you wanna mess around?"
Old 97s

(Short Version: Our livelihood is being demolished and we don’t care where we live. There's nothing left to do but fuck)

No, this is not a notice to quit! The inspiration for my blog name came from the song of the same name by the Old 97s. Inspiration for the song came from the demolition of a GM automobile plant.

A new blog emerges for a variety of personal reasons. A testing ground for literary skills, a confessional to unburden a heavy heart, a soapbox or a journal. A list of regular commentators establishes itself and links are forged. A community of like-minded souls evolves with friendships that would shame the real world.

But the natives are restless, maybe it’s the heat. Bloggers are feeling the humidity and it’s tough to breathe. Notices to quit are going up with alarming frequency. Buick City Complex is seven months old, yet already I have seen several authors with unquestionable credentials fall by the wayside. Understandable perhaps when you consider the punishing schedule followed by many:

Prepare a seven hundred and fifty word piece that will entertain, amaze and delight readers
Respond to comments left on your previous piece
Click through a blogroll of twenty or more
Leave insightful, witty and thought-provoking comments on each new post
Take digital photos, sort and store them for future blog use
Monitor your site traffic
Do all this several times a week
Find time for the real world, family and friends

I know why the seams are creaking everywhere you turn. The effort required to crank out readable material is immense. You daily posters have my complete respect, how you manage it I can hardly guess. To those struggling I say, “don’t give up, cut down!” I always read even if I don’t comment. Now you know why my posts have reduced to once or twice a week thank you for bearing with me.

This thought surfaced earlier in the week – ‘the life expectancy of a blog may be short. Some fizzle out when their purpose is served. Others continue to burn brightly. Whatever the lifespan, friendships can be made which may last a lifetime.’

Half nAAked thursday

JJ asked me to play, so I play.
Not a very inspiring pic I admit but I must hold something in reserve for future weeks!

17 July 2005

Floating at sea

The mercury had climbed steadily all day. By mid afternoon the shrunken shadows offered little refuge. Minor effort brought fresh beads to my forehead so I sat out the heat-storm and waited. Wafting a shimmering CD case I shut my eyes and thought of cool deep water.

By 5pm the intensity reached its peak. I peeled off my shorts and tee and wandered onto the patio in briefs. My verdant garden paradise was slumped under desert heat. Leaves hung lifeless, anticipating the sweet relief of evening dew. I should go now. I pad back through the house and step into swimming shorts. “See you, I’m heading for the beach...”

No reply so I kick on sandals and shut the door. My old Ford is an oven inside but I squint against the sensation and gun the motor onto the open road. Oakleys shield my eyes from the savage sky and I settle into the rhythm of the thirty-mile drive. Green Day crashes from the stereo as I roll the windows and feel that blessed blast of fresh air.

“Don’t wanna be an American Idiot...” screams Billie Joe to the pedestrians as I cruise onto the cliff top for an empty bay. I swing into one and kill the engine. Deafening silence descends and I buzz the windows up leaving a cigarette-paper gap. Opening the door I step back out into the furnace of the early evening.

The sea sparkles invitingly as I stroll the beach path, my eye taking in the sandy sweep of the bay and distant, miniature white sails. I chuck my sunglasses, mobile and car keys in the little bag with my shorts and drop it on the sand near a young family. Now I turn and run, splashing and jumping until depth slows me and I drop into the waves. The icy water slams around me and siezes my breath momentarily. I blow out a spout of salt water and start kicking lazily away from the shore, ducking my head through the breakers every few seconds and relishing the delicious cold.

After a couple of minutes I tread water and look back, rising and falling in the swell. The beach is one hundred yards off and the children’s shouts are lost. I swim slowly parallel to the beach. Rolling onto my back I close my eyes and feel the sea breeze across my face. The water is deep here and its solid, flowing mass feels powerful beneath me. Vaguely I consider razor teeth and black, soulless eyes fixed on my paddling feet from the depths... Gently I change heading and backstroke in slow motion towards the beach. I glance between the cobalt sky and the glittering horizon, feeling nature’s heat on my closed eyelids and her chill beneath my back.

My feet touch the seabed and I wade back through the shallows. I unroll a soft, blue and white towel on the burnished sand and pull my Oakleys from the bag. The lowering sun dries me in minutes as I stretch out and feel my tired muscles softening from the exercise. Two hours have slipped comfortably into the past and soon I must guide my old Ford back home.

15 July 2005

A future past

I scan the aged canvases, collared gentry staring stiffly from their hangings. I drift off the back of the group. Distantly the guide intones her rehearsed script but a quiet corridor draws my attention. I want to be alone to forget the modern world. I take slow paces into the shadows.

Red carpet gives way to polished boards. A long-case clock from a bygone era is ticking slowly, measuring long seconds in deep metallic clicks. A narrow shaft of pale light spears from a high window illuminating motes of dust to prove their existence. Panelling hangs heavily like mahogany skin, rich and brittle with age.

My feet tread in prints left by ancient men and my weight presses on the floor, squeezing centuries old bees wax deep in the timber. A bend in the corridor brings cool gloom. Behind me was an even halogen wash, now ivory candles hold their yellow puddles close. Creamy wax planted on iron hoops that hang from chains. This is surely light that will last, its anchors driven deep into petrified stone.

In the belly of the fortress now, tapestries of drab brown deck the cold rock buttresses. Squinting reveals meagre detail and rotting threads, the age-old scenes long played-out and nearly invisible.

The past is a benevolent notion luring the unwary into its murk. I visited this place to enjoy a connection with history yet I sense a serpent is stuffed in the dungeons of this castle, its fat coils filling the dank cellars. My breath is puffs of condensation that hang like smoke. I stand motionless in the dread dark. Far off through a labyrinth maze of green-slime granite walls a thousand souls screaming from the bitter stone.

A glimmer of light pulls me moth-like. A heavy black door yawns onto a dazzling inner courtyard of close cut green and brilliant sunlight.
“There you are! We’ve been hunting all over for you.”
Blinking, I find the words, “I think I was lost.”

08 July 2005

Jack the Ripper - 2

I am not aware of any contemporary account of these foul deeds but the sequence of events can be pieced together from police reports, newspaper cuttings, coroners reports and eye-witness testimony. Enough detail has survived 117 years to lift a corner of the veil of mystery.

In flickering amber gaslight she leaned back against the outer wall of Bishopsgate Police Station, feeling the London bricks cold and hard. She was still drunk and tired in her bones despite a long evening in the cells. Fingering her petticoat pocket she remembered the ‘Old Bill’ had at least returned her money. But two small coins wouldn’t stand a drink at the “Three Bells.”

Cheap lodging-house beds had bent Kate’s back and summers spent doubled over in hop fields had creased her face, yet still she turned heads in Whitechapel. Tanned street traders saw a slender frame and soft hazel eyes, and thought of their fat, unwashed wives. They noticed her auburn hair, washed daily in hand soap and spilling from under her faded pink bonnet. In a city of ugliness she stood out.

Black boots clicked on clean cobbles behind her. The cool night breeze revived her senses. Death lurked in these alleys, death by steel. The long shadows of Mitre Square ahead offered an opportunity to hide and draw breath. Five minutes from now her eyes would stare blankly at the night sky. Her soft entrails, warm and pink would glisten on the dirt, giving off tiny tendrils of steam.

Kate hitched her skirt and ran into the dark of the square. She crouched and watched her pursuer. He would hear her stifled panting for sure. She gulped back a sob and pressed her slim frame into the angle of two walls. His heels clicked louder as he headed straight for her hiding place. She threw back her head and screamed in silent terror as the flashing blade sliced through her throat. Virtually decapitated by the single ferocious swing, she sucked and blew though the gaping wound until blood loss brought blessed unconsciousness.

Working swiftly he hoisted her tattered skirts and plunged his blade deep. Intestines slipped out in grey coils, he swept them to one side and slashed open her entire abdomen. Briefly he looked away over his shoulder, retching at the hot stink. He hacked spleen, pancreas and stomach from the poor woman and tossed them behind him. A black pool spread around her in a fearful halo.

Frantically he drove his fists into the cavity and withdrew a plum coloured kidney. He thrust the organ into his pocket and rose to his feet, gasping lungfuls of cold London smog. Laughter echoed from the street beyond and he knew his time was short. Stepping over the lifeless remains he stooped to recover a long pin from her hair. He rammed it through the back of his own left hand and growled in agony. Grimacing in the dark he reminded himself the penalty for delivering pain was to receive it.

By the quiet he judged the hour to be around 1 am. Suspicious eyes glinted from every window so, walking just below a trot he put distance between himself and his savagery. Doubling back towards the East he reached the darkest lanes of all then ran hard and fast. His heart thumped loudly as he dropped to his knees in the blackness. Nausea welled in his throat and he vomitted hot bile into the gutter. With the floodgates opened, he spewed the contents of his guts in short, lurching grunts until his muscles were on fire with pain.

He blew long rattling strands from his dry lips and tasted the bitterness of gin. At midday he had poured half a pint down his neck and more into the Eddowes woman. Next time he would do unspeakable things to her, whoever she may be...

03 July 2005

An orange greyhound

I made the circuit of my blogroll today and stopped to read many of the links you all carry. I yearn to write something deep and sensitive tonight but nothing will come. A week of drifting, eating when hungry and sleeping when tired has slowed my mental process to a crawl. Eventually this surfaced...
I rode hard and fast today, confident now the juicy fat tyres have been scrubbed of their shiny newness. This evening I chased the setting sun along a narrow ribbon of tarmac, drifting from left edge to right edge, straight-lining the curves and hugging the radius of each tight bend. I let the motor sing loud and clear through the gears. As dusk fell I slowed to cruise the return leg.

During my week off I spoke to five human beings, both my sons, my wife, my sister and my friend. Tomorrow I will stow my real life and return to corporate drudgery. The sky will be lower and greyer.

Colleagues will drink coffee with me and ask “how was your week off?” Pleasantness will exude from my every pore, “Great!” I will lie. “I decorated the back bedroom, tidied the garden and caught up with my family.” Bollocks to them, the reality is I visited fascinating people around the planet on my PC, gunned my Yamaha along country lanes and thought about the future. That’s what I really did all week.

How do you explain to workmates, I would love to arrange the best parts of my life on a grassy knoll. I would grab the four corners and fold it all in half again and again until it fitted in my pocket. I want consistency, dependability and integrity. And I want it in my pocket where I can’t lose it.

I will surprise the DIY store salesman by asking for a selection of squares, circles and triangles. “I need geometric accuracy so just do as I ask, don’t question me.” He will back away in his orange overall shaking his head and frowning.

My wife wants a dog to go with the cat. I said, “If a dog arrives, I leave...” I guess a dog is unlikely to show up. If it does it will be a greyhound and my final act will be to paint it orange (using harmless natural pigments of course.)

I have been thinking with a white-hot intensity, yet I have lost a week somewhere without making a single valuable decision. Still waters run deep but I have always felt I am rather shallow...

"My brain hurt like a warehouse it had no room no spare
I had to cram so many things to store everything in there."

David Bowie – Five Years