Monday, 31 August 2009

Pub Golf




The things you learn on an afternoon/night out...

1. Binge drinking is not cool, it’s not smart and it’s not to be repeated. Until the next time. Having said that the whole British heavy drinking thing does worry me. If only everyone was a happy drunk then it would be fine, but alcohol fuels a whole set of issues that costs this country a fecking fortune. ‘Nuff said.

2. Pub Golf is not cool, it’s not smart and it’s never to be repeated. But just in case you were wondering, how it works is this...you set up a round of pubs. Each pub is a “hole” in a golf course. Each hole has a par. Par in this game relates to the number of sips you are allowed to take from your drink. Under par and you score low in the game – over par and you score high. The person with the lowest score wins. If they are still standing and if anybody else still cares.


3. Health and safety note - I am not recommending that any one out there tries this game.

4. But if you do...you’ll find that almost everyone drinks their glassful down in one. With the inevitable results.

5. Drinking lots does not make you sound any better when singing karaoke.


6. Drinking shots does not make you sound any better when singing karaoke.

7. Drinking everything in a one-er gets pretty boring so you end up with an extra drink in each round that you can sip while chatting (talking pish) with your pals.

8. Whisky burns twice as much coming back up the way it came down.

9. Walking home is Not A Good Idea when you live four miles away from the last pub. Especially when it is raining.

10. Drinking LOTS of water is A Good Idea before you go to sleep.

11. Getting up in the middle of the night because your head is spinning and standing out in the back garden with no clothes on, arms wide, mouth open to catch the raindrops also comes into the category of Not A Good Idea.

12. The next time I allow myself to be talked into such a night out I will prepare for the morning after by having the correct foodstuffs in the fridge to make a monster fry-up.

13. I read an article ages ago which mentioned that a few notable writers (e.g. Dylan Thomas) used to be wrecked when writing. It seems they wrote lots of good stuff while soaking their oesophagus in alcohol. I learned that this does not work for me. My characters all ended up talking like Yoda. “Innocent I am”, “A lovely day I am having.” This experiment is not to be repeated.

14. Sometimes you NEED to let it all hang out.

‘Nuff said.

Friday, 28 August 2009

fathers and sons





It’s a strange sort of Friday evening. A long hard week at work and I’m feeling tired, but relaxed. Well, I say relaxed. I’m veering more towards somnolent.

As I was chilling on the couch, wondering what to eat for dinner...wondering if I could be arsed eating anything for dinner – so not like me – I like my grub – I was watching the repeat of last week’s X-Factor.

First off, I’m not joining any pseudo intellectual queue to slag off this programme. I’m an unapologetic fan of all this stuff. Blame Hughie Green. I was brought up on talent shows and I’m also a sucker for the story. No, not the my wife died and this is for her, kinda story. More the, I’m just an ordinary guy/ gal and I have an uncertain amount of talent and a huge dream, kinda story. ‘Cos basically I am everyman and I want everyone to succeed. And I’m there cheering with all the family members when their son/brother/ daughter/sister gets a row of yes’s.

As usual there were those who were deluded, those who were clearly just there for a laugh or a bet and those who frankly shouldn’t be let out in public on their own without a bell to ring and an armed guard. Call me old fashioned but I have to say I prefer it when the programme makers engineer a situation where we have someone we can laugh with, rather than someone to laugh at.

Interestingly, the wee fella doesn’t like programmes like the X-Factor because only one person out of all those thousands can win. The rest of them, he says, go away with their dreams ruined.

He has a point.

Anywho, there was the guy at the end, Danyl Johnson, teacher, 27. He was soooo good I got goosebumps. I’d pay to see him in concert tomorrow. He could sing, dance and engage the audience. As I write this, I believe his audition has become the next big thing on youtube.

Another young fella turned my ear. Can’t remember his name but he was about 19 and he had only sung karaoke and “in front of like a hundred people”. That’s some karaoke, dude. His song of choice was “Dance With My Father”. This was a song that won Luther Vandross a Grammy and one he was quoted as saying it was the high point in his career. It prompted a memory...

...my son and I were in the car in a shopping mall car park. Dance With My Father was playing on the radio. This was about a year ago and at that time he wasn’t really into music, but something about the song made him stop what he was wittering on about (WWE probably)and he listened...

- what’s that song about, Dad?

- It’s about a man remembering his own Dad and how he misses him. His Dad died a long time ago. But when he was a wee boy his dad used to pick him up and dance him around the house. He’s singing that he would love to have just one more dance with him.

Suddenly, we are both gripped by the emotion of the moment. He turns to stare out the window.

- You ok, son? I just manage to ask.

- Don’t say anything, he answers, or you’ll make me cry.

We sit in silence until the last note faded.

- Want to go for a coffee now, he asks.

- Since when did you like coffee, I say surprised.

- Since never... but you like it, Dad.


So there’s me on a Friday night, with a tear in my eye and the whisky bottle not even open.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Kreative Blogger Award





Bill Kirton, crime writer extraordinaire, man of excellent taste and all round good guy (is that obsequious enough, Bill?) has nominated May Contain Nuts for a Kreative Blogger Award.

This is an award which comes with strings. These strings follow....

1. Thank the person who nominated you.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting – or that they don't know.
5. Nominate 7 Kreative Bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.

A couple of things occur to me...this is a blogging version of a chain mail email...and it is designed to generate more of an audience for other bloggers I enjoy.

Cool, I can deal with that.

I am happy to comply with the strings, mainly because I’m terrified that if I don’t my computer will get a virus, my teeth will fall out and I’ll grow even more hair out of my ears.

I’ve already thanked Bill with a fulsomeness that is frankly overdone and almost deserved. The link to his blog is on the right of this posting. No. The other right.

Mmmm. Seven things...seven things...I can hardly think of one thing...seven things

1. I used to do Highland dancing when I was a wee boy. I danced in town halls throughout Ayrshire and even on the back of a lorry that was going through Irvine. I think it was called a float and it was a festival of sorts...I wasn’t going cheap or anything.

2. I can’t stand intolerance of anything or anyone. Life presents enough challenges for us all without automatically despising someone because they hold a different view from mine. Love and peace to all, man.

3. I am a qualified Life Coach. Can’t you tell?

4. I raced at the Meadowbank Stadium in Edinburgh in 1973. Age 11. This was one of the best tracks in Scotland at the time. Spongy. I was running for the Ayrshire Boy Scouts. I was the fastest boy in the area and the stupid bastards entered me in the Egg n’ Spoon race. Which, to compound matters was run on the grass. The waste. This has haunted me every day of my life.

5. I spoke with a pharmacist today who thinks I have blepharatis. This is a chronic condition which involves dry eyes and a swelling of the eyelid. Basically, I look like shit and I will continue to look like shit for the rest of my life.

6. I am the eternal optimist. Aside from point 5, every upcoming event in my life I expect to go well. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. That’s life, innit. But the positive expectation certainly helps. See point 3.

7. I was born at seven minutes past the hour, seven minutes after my sister on the seventh day of the month. If there are any numerologists out there, can you tell me what this means?

So...the blogs I enjoy and would like to nominate... (I know I’m supposed to do the linking thing, where the reader can just click on and get taken through to the blog, but if I had a thing 8 to write about, it would say that I lack a certain technological expertise)...in no particular order

Marley Delarose is a cool lady and read more about her at http://marleydelaroseauthor.blogspot.com/

Sara Bain is another cool lady who frankly needs to blog a little more and I’m hoping this will encourage her - http://lifesanidiom.blogspot.com/

Declan Hughes talks about Irish Crime novels at - http://crimealwayspays.blogspot.com/

Estranjera is a Finn living in South Africa with a hilarious take on life and a wilful ability to procrastinate. Count the number of times she says fokk - http://utterlyunpublishedauthor.blogspot.com/

Rachelle Gardiner is an agent who talks a lot of sense at http://cba-ramblings.blogspot.com/

Nicola Morgan is a crabbit old bat. Her words not mine. More good advice for writers at http://need2bpublished.blogspot.com/

Another excellent source of advice for writers at - http://howpublishingreallyworks.blogspot.com/

I’m now off to leave messages on the blogs of all these good people. Visit them yourself and see whatcha think.

Laters,
M

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Reading with Obama




See me and Barack Obama? Picture my right hand up with my index finger and middle finger crossed. We are that close. Not only does the name Obama have the same number of vowels as Malone – this is a known scientific method of checking the strength of friendships - but we have similar tastes in books. Proof positive!

According to one of our newspapers, Barry’s (I can call him that ‘cos we are close) summer reading list includes Richard Price’s Lush Life and George Pelecanos’ The Way Home. Both books were given rave reviews by yours truly on the pages of crimesquad.com. Two excellent writers. Two wonderful novels. And whisper it David Cameron...two crime novels. Oh the shock of it.

Regular readers of these pages will know that I blogged recently about the holiday reading that some of the British politicians admitted to and I can’t help be impressed that Barry is so confident in his intelligence that he doesn’t feel the need to pander to the snobs and critics who would have us all read political memoirs or university treatises while digging at the hot holiday sand with our toes.

FYI, Bar, I’ve just started reading Michael Connelly’s next book, Nine Dragons. Next time you and Michelle (more proof, if it’s ever needed – his wife has the feminised version of my name) take a break, pack that in your suitcase. Well worth a read. Here’s a thought. You can have my copy. You’ll be too busy running the free world to have time to shop on Amazon, so I’ll just stick it in the post. Hey. We can swap. You know my taste so well, what would you recommend?

I’ve just taken that too far, haven’t I? When should I have stopped?

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Summer what summer?




I’m suffering from Sundaynightcan’tbearsed-itis. Should be doing certain tasks to get ready for the week ahead, but ...I’ve been on the settee pointing the remote at the TV watching nothing in particular.

I would like to posit the opinion that I am suffering from Seasonally Adjusted Disorder. WTF, I hear you cry, in the summer? Absolutely. Our summer officially ended at the start of July and my neighbourhood is beginning to resemble the set for Kevin Costner’s Waterworld. If the leaves weren’t stubbornly hanging on to their trees I’d be convinced this was October.

The silver lining to this particularly persistent sky full of cloud is that if it’s raining I can’t cut my grass and this is A Good Thing. I have a similar attitude to cutting grass as I do to housework. I am now paying a cleaner...maybe I should find someone to pay to cut the lawn?

I was in Glasgow yesterday. Buchanan Street to be precise. For those of you who don’t know this is one of the busiest shopping thoroughfares in the UK outside of London. Looking down the length of the street from the top end all you can see is a monster mass of bobbing heads. I overheard a tour guide talking to a bunch of Italians. This woman had an astounding grasp of the obvious as she pointed down Buchanan Street in one direction saying...in this direction we have shops. She then pointed in the other direction and said...and in this direction we have shops.

I hope the Italians got their money back.

At the far end of the street sits the Royal Concert Hall. A man was singing on the steps in front of the hall to a gathering crowd. Man, he was good. Nessun Dorma et al were given an airing. His name was John Craig Innes and he calls himself the People’s Tenor. Apparently he goes round the country “bringing opera to the people” singing in shopping centres and the like. Certainly, the people of Glasgow enjoyed him yesterday, cos he sold a shitload of CDs.

I’m not happy with myself today. I’ve written very little in the last week. Work has been a tad draining and I find it difficult to sit in front of a laptop and write at the end of a work day. Enough with the sob story, dude. This coming week WILL be different. An hour a day can’t be too difficult can it?

Had a lazy afternoon with the wee fella. I planked myself in the bookshop and leafed through the latest Greg Iles while sipping a giant cappuccino. He read a Horrible History. As I used to work there a number of people came over to say hello. Which did not please my son.

- Eeesh, he says under his breath, you’re worse than a girl.
- I know a lot of people, son. I can’t ignore them.
- You’d say hello to Hitler if he walked in here.
- If Hitler walked in here I’d phone a TV station.
- See if someone got their throat cut, he asked after pausing for a beat, would there be a mess?

I’m not worried at how the conversation turned out. He has this thing about asking about nasty events and their consequences. For example...
- If I fell from that building would I die? Depends on what part of your body you land, I answer trying to think of a more gruesome reply. He is into gruesome these days. If you land on your head, I go on, you would die. If you land on your feet the force would push your legbones up through your ribcage and yes, you would die. Cool, says he.

- Would someone die if they lost their legs? If they get to the hospital in time, they might be able to stem the flow of blood, I answer running out of energy. Where gruesome is concerned I have my limits.

- If a man...he paused to think of something that might embarrass me. He gets a wee glint in his eyes...if a man had his penis cut off would he survive? Probably, I say. He might just wish he hadn’t.

Laters,
M

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Nut News






An Aberdeen man had his day in court this week for wasting police time. It seems that he presented himself at a local police station covered in cuts and bruises saying he had been mugged on the way to work.

After further questioning the chump broke down and admitted that he had inflicted the cuts on himself with a small knife and the bruises by bashing himself with a brick. The reason for this clever subterfuge? He couldn’t be arsed going in to work.

WTF fella? There’s a lot of that swine flu going about. Why didn’t he call in and say he had a sore throat, a runny tummy and he could fill a bucket with phlegm? Works every time.

------/-------

A report just published says that the NHS needs to look after its staff better. Apparently throughout Britain there are on average 45,000 of their staff off sick each day. Now, I’m not going to jump on the Let’s Slag the NHS bandwagon...as it happens I’ve had excellent service any time I’ve been in their care. Apart from the superbug I caught after my nose job. And the swab they left in after the vasectomy. In any case the swab doesn’t hurt and it gives me a fetching lobsided look.

-------/---------

May Contain Nuts can’t help but feel sorry for the South African athlete, Caster Semenya. The poor woman won a gold medal at the World Athletics competition only to have a queue of people claiming she was more male than female. Envy is a terrible thing.

An IAAF spokesman, explained yesterday that “the extremely difficult, complex” gender-verification process involved “an endocrinologist, a gynaecologist, an internal medicine expert, an expert on gender and a psychologist” and would take a matter of weeks.

Apparently, there are between 20 and 30 different types of “intersex” conditions, each of them affecting the body in different ways, and it is for the medics to decide whether, if Semenya is found to have one of them, the resulting hormonal balance gives her an unfair advantage.

Now the whole world is waiting while the scientists check out this poor 18 year old’s “package”.

------/------

A man was working on his motorcycle on the patio, his wife nearby in the kitchen. While racing the engine, the motorcycle accidentally slipped into gear. The man, still holding onto the handlebars, was dragged along as it burst through the glass patio doors.

His wife, hearing the crash, ran in the room to find the motorcycle, the shattered patio door and her husband cut and bleeding. She called for an ambulance and, because the house sat on a fairly large hill, went down the several flights of stairs to meet the paramedics and escort them to her husband.

While the attendants were loading her husband, the wife managed to right the motorcycle and push it outside. She also quickly blotted up the spilled gasoline with some paper towels and tossed them into the toilet.

Some hours later, after being treated and released, the man returned home, looked at the shattered patio door and the damage done to his motorcycle. He went into the bathroom and consoled himself with a cigarette while attending to his business.

About to stand, he flipped the cigarette butt between his legs.

The wife, who was in the kitchen, heard a loud explosion and her husband screaming. Finding him lying on the bathroom floor with his trousers blown away and burns on his buttocks, legs and groin, she once again phoned for an ambulance. The same paramedic crew was dispatched.

As the paramedics carried the man down the stairs to the ambulance they asked the wife how he had come to burn himself. She told them... they started laughing so hard, one slipped, and dropped the stretcher...The husband fell down the remaining stairs, breaking his arm in the process.

He has apparently given up cycling and now sells lucky white heather.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Chavtastic Too!




Pocanhontas McSeveny needed a role model. All the best talk shows recommended it. Here she was fifteen and the wee yin, Burberry would be off to pre-school shortly and out from under her K-swiss trainers.


What should she do next? She needed direction in her life. School was rubbish; the teachers got pure stroppy if you said the f-word. Work was rubbish cos you had to – well, work. What should she do? Fifteen years-old and Life was passing her by.


She needed a role model. She switched on the flat-screen 52incher leaning up against the wall. Jeremy Kyle should be coming on. Mandela McConnachie got the TV for her. Says it fell out of the back of a Vauxhall Corsa SRI. Says he wants to help with the wean. What's that all about? He gives you the bobby and thinks that makes him a faither? Dream on. She made the L-shape over her forehead with spread thumb and forefinger.


Now his Da was different class – Mahatma McConnachie. Always ready with a joke and a can of Carlsberg. Mind you she sees less of him since he got broadband. He's pure become an internet shopaholic. Says it would be rude to ignore all these nice people sending him messages offering to sell him stuff. The last time she was over at theirs he had watches running up and down both arms, a 12 foot high pile of loan applications to use to pay off other loan applications – and permanently engorged erectile tissue. It was making him pure humphy-backit. And bless him, he got a reddy when she noticed.


Jeremy Kyle was brilliant. Some ugly dude failed his lie-detector test. He WAS having an affair with the uglyfat wummin. The uglyskinny wummin was about to sink the heid on her. They then tried to rip the hair out of each other’s head while the ugly dude looked on, pure amazed that he could get one woman let alone two. Jeremy then helpfully pointed out to the women that their problems weren’t with each other. So they turned on the fella. Pocahontas almost felt sorry for him what with the crowd boo-ing him, Jeremy shouting at him and the two women trying to re-arrange his genitalia with their footwear that just had to be bought out of Primark.


Once the credit rolled she decided to go for a walk –chill out with her mates down at the swings, innit. She was pure down with that idea. And she was getting confused with the American/ ScotNed slang.


An older lassie was there. A big mac in one hand and a mcdonalds breakfast in the other. A large coke by her feet. She was sitting on the ground between the swings, cos her fat arse wouldn’t fit on the swing-seat.
- You hungry, hen? The other lassie asked.
- Aye, said Pocahontas.
- Well, McDonalds is just round the corner, she laughed so hard she choked on a mouthful of soggy roll.


Pocahontas sat on the swing beside her, just managing to fit between the chains.
- What’s your name?
- Pocahontas, she answered.
- Nice one. I’m Chardonnay
- Breakfast? Pocahontas nodded in the direction of the food.
- And lunch, Chardonnay smiled showing a piece of lettuce was stuck to her front teeth – it’ll keep me going till elevenses.
- You not worried about getting fat...she looked at the pillow of fat around the other girl’s waist and the swell of her thighs. Looked like she not only ate all the pies, but she ate the piemaker and his wife and weans.
- Nah, says Chardonnay. Eat as much as you like. Get as fat as fuck then they give you the op. Stomach band. The weight pure falls off you.
- Cool, says Pocahontas mentally counting the loose change in the pocket of her tracky bottoms. Enough for a couple o’ doughnuts?


(Just in case it isn't clear - humphy-backit is a scots word for hump-backed.)

Thursday, 13 August 2009

On the treadmill...




...something just as embarrassing as the Scotland football result against Norway? Surely not.

While watching the first part of the first half of the game, it wasn’t Caldwell that cleared the ball from the penalty box. It was me. In my head at least, it was I who gave the ball a quick punt up the park, keeping it out of the danger area.

The problem was that the TV I was watching the game on was mounted on a treadmill at the gym. I took an imaginery swipe at the ball. Forgot to tell my leg I was only pretending and missed my footing. Have you ever tumbled on a treadmill? Not a good look. I was saved from falling arse over tit by the safety cord attached to my t-shirt. A stumble. A quick look around me. Thankfully nobody caught my foolishness and I went back to running myself into a standstill. Which to be honest, takes all of ten minutes.



The wee fella was watching TV the other night. Well, he was copying what his father does and was surfing the channels, watching nothing in particular. He caught two seconds of Doctor Who – which is now considered to be lame, because someone at school said so; and Torchwood –he hates Captain Jack because he sacrificed a wee boy to save millions of other children. Every single life is important, he told me. Captain Jack is a loser. So there. Anywho, he stops, thinks and looks at me...


...see if you ever go back in time, Dad? Don’t touch yourself.


...wha...? Was my considered response. My first thought was a Nun wagging her finger at me and telling me I would grow hairs on the palms of my hands and would almost certainly Go To Hell if I ever kept my hands in my pockets. All I ever had in there was a penny, a half-chewed toffee and a bogey-ridden paper hanky. Why would I want to keep my hands in there?


....when you go back in time, he repeats with all the patience of someone talking to the village idiot, don’t touch yourself because it causes ripples in the future.


...what, like feelings of inadequacy and a guilt complex, I ask.


...weird. He shakes his head. Just weird.

Monday, 10 August 2009

the one about the man who ran into the beauty salon and shouted...

WAX THIS, BABY






It's easy to slag off someone like this...but in a weird way, it works.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

A Day in the Life of...




You may recall an earlier blog where I mentioned that two of my poems will be posted on toilet doors throughout the Shetland Islands. For a screen dump of my poems go to - www.shetland-library.gov.uk


Weeellll, the local newspaper got wind of it and decided it would be a blast to run a pee-ce on it.

The editor arranged for a photographer to come to my house to take a photo. He wanted me sitting on the toilet with a book in my hand. The photographer mumbled something about the fact that it might be funny if I had my trousers round my ankles. He added I could position a book to preserve my modesty...

...this is where somebody in the back shouts , what book would you use? Tom Thumb? Little Men? Oor Wullie?

...I declined his kind offer to expose myself to the good people of Ayrshire. Who do you think I am, I ask? Think of my dignity. Think of the damage to my reputation Think of the column inches it would use up.

Unless, says I, there is much dollars. I am not averse to prostituting myself for my art.

He actually snorted.

Now... that is another blog altogether. Me prostituting myself for my art, I mean. Did I tell you about the time I was the Poet Laureate for an adult gift shop? Much dollars and my lips will be unsealed. Contributions in brown paper bags please.

Laters,
M

Thursday, 6 August 2009

How Big is your Smile




A comment from a reader made me think about what I’m doing here. I spew all kinds of stuff from my grey cells and hopefully somebodysomewhere smiles.

‘Cos that’s what it’s all about.

Smiling.

There’s so much Bad Stuff out there. We get it stuffed (pun intended) down our throats everyday in every way and we need to remind ourselves that there’s Good Stuff out there as well.

I’ve blogged about this before: how the purveyor of news have decided that “news” means exclusively “bad news”.

There’s a truism that says whatever you focus on in life is what you get. Ergo, focus on the shit and guess what you end up neck deep in?

Put a black box in front of you. Stare at the black box. Put all your focus on that black box. It grows until the world around it shrinks. There will be nothing but that black box.

Ok – that’s a basic metaphor. I’m tired. Stay with me. Black box/TV/Bad news...see where I’m going with this? But the black box could stand for anything negative that you worry/ focus on...a bullying boss, a spare tyre, the shadows under your eyes, the way you hit your head when you were 18 and all your hair fell out (no, I’m joking. I’m a straightforward case of MPB)...etc etc etc etc etc etc – I’m sure you could give other examples.

The problem, as you are no doubt aware is that by blocking out everything but the black box you block out all the Good Stuff. All the colour and the shine passes you by.

It’s time to change our focus, people. As the song goes, let’s accentuate the positive.

Let’s start an online movement.

And I’m now about to go all Pollyanna on your ass...

Here’s a challenge for you. Tomorrow, the first stranger you see give them a smile.

Or...go out of your way to find something positive in your day. Can you make someone else’s day brighter? Ease someone else’s load even for a second? Another truism – help somebody else and you help yourself.

And do me a favour? Leave a comment later on and tell me how you got on.

I’m now going to post this blog before I’m tempted to go all vanilla and duck back down under the parapet of negativism.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Stuck on Stoopid





It’s holiday season which means journalists think we are all gagging to know what the great and good of the land are taking on holiday to read. One newspaper listed the favourite books in the House of Commons this summer. Which was a yawnarama. All the MPs, who just weeks ago were queuing up to tell us how sorry they were for stealing our money, were elbowing each other out of the way to name their favourite books du jour. I’d tell you but I prefer you to go on reading this blog rather than have you tumble into snoozeville.

Then at the weekend we had Glasgow’s Sunday Herald listing the must-reads of a Scots ensemble. And after each of these notable Scots’ choice we had the literary editor’s comments. Which was a great big sofuckingwhat. What these articles are really notable for is how these people try to outdo each other in the-look-how-intellectual-I-am stakes. Pat Kane(of Hue and Cry) so needs to get out more. Give the man his dues, he has an outstanding voice but I’m surprised he has the elbow room to read, what with being so far up his own arse. I gave a wee cheer for Ron Butlin who didn’t bother to join “the gang” and stated that he was taking the latest James Lee Burke with him.

This is me saluting your willingness to cock a snook at the literary snobs, Ron.


Saw a pigeon going for a walk the other day. For real. I was in the car outside a friend’s house and this pigeon walked past, doing the whole head-butting thing. It walked towards my car and then down the hill for about another 200 metres. Whassat all about? Didn’t even have the good sense to hop up onto the pavement.

It’s amazing the odd wee facts you pick up in crime novels, innit? According to one such, since 1958 over 400 people in the US have died from an allergic reaction to sperm. I’m hoping that their fella let them get theirs first, so they died happy.

Down the left hand side of this page – sorry, the other left – their is a widget that you can go into that tells how and where the people who read this blog come from. It showed that just the other day someone visited May Contain Nuts from Italy after putting in the search legend, sexi scotchman showing nuts.

Mmmm. Wondering if I should change the name of this blog...

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Pees, Pies and Poetry




Last night the Makar Press Poets (that would be Sheila, Rowena and moi) were live in Kilmaurs. Doesn’t quite have the ring of Edinburgh, Stanza or Wigtown, but you would be mistaken if you thought that was A Bad Thing, because the good people of Kilmaurs rock.

We had an audience of over 30 people and such was the reception we received that we left wondering – how come we’re not famous? Basically, cos we don’t come with a bass beat, we’re not “Hello” worthy and none of us have inflated our tits. Let’s face it, poetry just isn’t sexy. Correction, it isn’t widely perceived as sexy, because it can be that and more. Think of any adjective that relates to the human condition and poetry can take you there. The trouble is that most folks just don’t want to put in the effort.All it takes is a little more flexibility of thought. How difficult can that be?

Anyhow...get off your soapbox, fella. The reading was part of a week long annual fete. The local community work hard at keeping a community feel to the town and each summer they organise a series of events to bring the local people together to do things like treasure hunts, 5 km runs and a pub quiz. Oh and a certain poetry reading with yours’ truly billed as Pies, Pees n’ Poetry. Hats off to the organisers. They do a cracking job.

While speaking to one of the organisers, she explained that the previous evening they were trying to drum up some more attendees during the quiz. They were largely met with blank stares and comments like, sorry, poetry isn’t my cuppa tea. An elderly lady beside her then piped up to explain what had brought her along. The organiser had explained to her that it wasn’t like the poetry she had learned it school - it was fun, about real life and we used the occasional swear word. The old lady grinned and said that was what did it for her.

So during the reading, just for her, I threw in a few fucks. Bless.

The M.O. of the M.P.P. is to hand everyone a sheet full of the topics of our poems. Then they shout out a topic that they fancy. It means we don’t choose the poems – our audience does. And this means that no two readings are exactly the same. It also means we get audience participation and an energy flow that goes back and forward between poets and attendees. Know what? It only works.

Modesty prevents me from detailing the feedback we received from people at the end of the night. Modesty and a memory that has all the recall powers and storage capacity of a cigarette. However, one guy did say that it was the best night he’d had in ages that didn’t involve women or booze. Can’t say fairer than that.


What was extra cool about the evening was that a good few of the people in the hall had been there the year before and made it feel like we were reading to a bunch of friends who had brought their pals along. (Apart from a couple at the back: she looked like she was struggling to remember what colour her underwear was and why it pinched so much - and he looked like somebody has just pissed in his pint.)

And what was extra, extra cool was that before the night was over, we’d been invited back to do it all again for 2010. Sing along with me...go Makars, go Makars, go Makars.