Public Transport – No Way, The Man, by Poncington von Dick


Poncington contemplates writing an ode to his testicles


Although poet laureate, Poncington von Dick, always saw himself as a man of the people, it was only when his chauffeur driven Silver Ghost Rolls Royce broke down that he took on the challenge of mixing with the working class and taking public transport.

This fool-hardy escapade almost cost him his sanity. Recovering in Richington’s Private Hospital for the Financially Comfortable, he told ‘Blimey! Facking Poets Everywhere!!’ magazine:

“It had to be done. One felt, to really empathise with the chip butty and whippet brigade, that one had to gird one’s mettle and head into the bull-pit that was public transport. I took both the train – which is no longer steam driven, unlike in those charming Harry Potter books – and the bus, which was nothing but a haven of depravity and oikishness. I am, however, a better man for the adventure. Although mentally more fragile.”

Out of this nerve-shattering experience, he wrote the following horrific screed:

“Howling faces, screaming at me from the mist,
With cor blimey cockney knees up horror, they crush me from all sides,
Smelling of the mines from which they must have travelled,
Or the greasy cafes and dog-fighting clubs they visit,
To gamble away their farthings for a bellyful of mother’s ruin.

Oh, calamity, why dost though beat upon my sensitive breast,
Why dost fate seek to procure me a glimpse of the fresh pit of hell?
The Queen’s English – nary a whiff;
Instead, an endless tirade of ‘fack this’ and ‘bollocks that’ and ‘cant the other’,
My ears cannot be far from death.

But hark, through the sweaty faces of the great unwashed, the wall of plebs break,
For there, the Groucho Club, where Squiffy and Snotty and Two-Arses Toffy will be,
The bus spews me – sweaty, panting and almost driven lunatic by its machinations,
Into the warm embrace of my fellow travellers.
Thanks, Squiffy – I’ll have a large one.”

Dante himself could not have penned a more nightmarish ode.



The Spooky Art by Norman Mailer

spooky art

The Spooky Art by Norman Mailer

A book of two halves, one part a digression on Mailer’s own writing habits and ideology, and the other a catch-all ragbag of articles relating to other media and writers, collared from 800 articles and distilled down to 190 before Mailer expanded/redacted sections with the help of J Michael Lennon.

The first half is pretty good, as it’s Mailer, and Mailer is a very muscular writer, so sitting down to pen some of his prose is not just the act of writing, but a titanic struggle with the muse of creativity. He spends a lot of time making analogies to sport, as is his want, and talks of the struggles, trials and tribulations which came into knocking out books like The Deer Park and Barbary Shore, and how relatively easy pieces like The Naked and the Dead and The Executioner’s Song were, and coming across like the curmudgeonly, bombastic titan of literature he was.

This being Mailer, there’s an awful lot of crap as well, which takes up the second half of the book. His treatise on Last Tango in Paris is a paragon of bollocks, but an interesting look at his viewpoint on cinema nevertheless, and the expectations certain pieces of art hold and how they can be destroyed by critical hyperbole. He’s also a big fan of Tolstoy, who crops up relentlessly in this collection, and has less time for Any of That Modern Crap, casting vague aspersions on The Corrections by Franzen, but openly stating that it’s probably because he’s an old fart and doesn’t quite get it.

The problem with a lot of modern literature, he states, is that it lacks any depth or range, and seems content to piddle about in the middle ground, serving a half-arsed collage of mimsy personal tales about people whining, and anyone’s who’s read A Little Life by Yanagihara or City on Fire by Risk Hallberg will be aware of – both books of varying quality (well, Life was a pile of shite and Fire was ambitious but overlong) – and both seemingly under the impression they were saying something important about life and society, but both too busy naval gazing with varying degrees of self-absorption to be anything more than vague meanderings through boring lives.

Mailer is wrong about The Corrections, which does contain the requisite naval gazing to some extent, but rips through the artifice of society with some wicked humour and pin-sharp satire on the obsessive middle-class, and age, and families, and much more besides. It would have been interesting to see what Mailer would say about Lincoln on the Bardo or The Sellout – both works which actually have something to say about the human condition, but approached from diametrically opposite viewpoints. Then again, he’d probably hate them, as this was a man who despised the satire of American Psycho, and never saw past the surface level of the book.

For me, Mailer was a literary giant, which I equally admired and mocked for his pretensions which led him down some shite-laden polemical alleyways. Not everything he wrote was gold, and a lot of what he wrote was total crap, but even the crap was worth reading, purely for the fact that he wasn’t afraid to take his boots off and wade waist deep into the issues he tackled. Ancient Evenings and Why Are We in Vietnam are stunning works, and The Gospel According to the Son and An American Dream were self-involved wank, but it’s this lottery of ambition which makes him so readable.

The Spooky Art reflects this dichotomy. Half good, half bad, all involving.


Civilisation title logo

It was all over the news. Top Russian defector, Sergei Gorbachov had been run over by a tank in the small village of Madeupname where he lived. There were no witnesses and no sign of the tank. Sergei’s situation was described as ‘stable, but flat’.


“We cannot let this espionage continue,” said the Prime Minister, Theresa Green, as she addressed the House of Commons. “For too long the reign of Pootin has laughed – laughed, I tell you – at our Western, democratic ideals. He may have his lackey in The White House, but I can guarantee you, THIS WILL NOT STAND!”


“Do not alarm yourself, comrade,” said Corby Trouser Press, the Leader of the Opposition, from across the chamber as he sipped a glass of vodka and fingered the Hero of the Russian Federation gold star on his lapel. “We hyav no evidence to byack thyis up.”
“I have my sources,” whispered Theresa, as she turned to the ovoid lump under the silk sheet on the table between them. “Remember, we all know what happened to the last person, WHO TRIED TO POISON OUR COUNTRY!”
She whipped off the silk sheet and picked up the decapitated head underneath, thrusting it towards the cameras.
“Be warned, Pootin! You’re days are numbered!”
The House burst forth in uproar.


In the Kremlin, surrounded by half-naked nymphs and performing Cossack dancers, Pootin reclined on a chaise lounge made from the skins of his enemies, picking the last, meaty shreds of an orphaned kitten he had personally strangled for lunch out from between his teeth. At the other end of the room a live feed was coming in from the secret transmitter hidden in Corby’s gold star.
“Ah ha ha haaaah!” boomed Pootin, his voice echoing through the building and making the mice tremble in the rafters. “The poor fools! Even now they are unaware how we watch them like hawks. Hawks… dramatic pause… ready to strike!”
“What do you recommend, oh esteemed leader of the free world?” asked his second in command, Eddy von Meddy, from the shadows where only his eyes could be seen.
“Call my poodle!” boomed Pootin. “I have… a suggestion.”


In the White House, Ronald Drumpf grabbed for the set of keys the Secretary for Defence, James Motty, was dangling in front of him as he sat on the floor, surrounded by toys. He liked shiny things. And money.
The phone rang and Drumpf heaved himself onto his feet and scrabbled for the receiver, his tiny hands fighting to get a solid grip around the handpiece. After a titanic struggle he finally brought it to his ear.
“Waaaah!” he shouted.
“It is your old friend, the Russian Premier here, Mr Ronald. I have a bribe – excuse me – a suggestion for you.”
“I WANT PIE!” shouted Donald. “BEST PIE! EVER!”
“You shall have your pie,” said Pootin. “The usual arrangement – stuffed with unmarked Lincolns in a non-sequential number. But first, you must do me a favour. We need to… dramatic pause… eradicate one of the opposition. A certain leader of the ‘United’ Kingdom. It seems our plans for destabilisation with the Brexit are not going as smoothly as I had expected. I suggest… something more robotic.”
“No pie!” snapped Pootin. “It’s time for – ROBOT FIGHT!!”


Theresa was reclining in her bath made of rainbows and good will when the bathroom door burst open and Gav the Chav, the Secretary of State for Defence, ran in, breathless.
“It. Is. ORN, bitches!” he yelled.
“Calm yourself, Gavvy,” soothed Theresa. “What is on?”
Gav took a deep breath, shut his eyes, held his arms wide, tilted his head back, and yelled to the roof, “ROBOT FIGHT!!!”
Yes, reflected Theresa. It was, as they say, definitely on.

Poetry Balls: An Honest Tale of How I Started Doing That There Poetry Nonsense


A typical port, yesterday


I never liked poetry growing up, for the simple reason that it seemed like a pile of old whining shite balls. Growing up in Scrote Towers probably didn’t aid my appreciation of the art, as it was seen as dishonest and afraid to get to the point. If you picked up Prelude by Wordsworth you knew it would have no relevance to your life. Or at least, that’s what I thought back then.

There were several other reasons why poetry seemed like the poor man’s bag of shite. For a start, when I hit my teens the only people who were into poetry had their heads firmly jammed up their arses, and would pen the most excruciating prose this side of William McGonagall, but stricken with the teen-angst navel gazing bollocks and ‘nobody likes me’ cak which afflicts so much deathless prose pumped up by people whose hormones are fucking them up. Then I hit my thirties, and the only people writing poetry were tedious, beardy and blousy middle-class fucks with big houses who banged on relentlessly about how much of a bastard their ex-wives and husbands were. The self-absorption of the average poet was my major turn-off to even approaching the art. Plus, most of it was shit.

I had not developed the temperament to see through the cak and get to the good stuff, or even appreciate the good stuff. Plus, my in-built resistance to all forms of self-aggrandising toss acted as a shield to project my fragile mind from tepid reams of anal bollocks pumped out by egotistical sods wrapped up in their own reflected misery. If you add the final nail in the coffin – that a lot of the dabblers in poetry I knew refused to accept that song lyrics or rap could be poetic – then it explained why poetry could fuck off back to the pit which spawned it.

Still, I dabbled. I read some Simon Armitage – very good – but never got beyond his Selected Poems collection. Something still didn’t gel with me. I even went on a poetry course to try and discover what I was missing, but came up against the same old reactionary views to modern forms of poetry. I even had a go myself at knocking out some missives, but they were all massively cak. I just couldn’t find my voice, and couldn’t find a form which I was comfortable in, and kept coming across too many beardy, jumper wearing knobends who were convinced on their own genius.

Then Mark E Smith died.

I’d never been a big fan of The Fall, but it made me go back to some of his old lyrics from Code: Selfish, which led me onto some of his other lyrics, and something clicked in my head and I realised I didn’t have to be restrained by what the old bastards who taught in dusty rooms told me was the accepted norm, and I could jump into the poetry quagmire with my boots strapped on and fuck around with whatever form, rhymes, rhythms and stanza lengths I fucking well wanted. The result may be shit, but at least I’d be happy with it.

So, I’ve set out to write a book of poetry, and it’s chuntering along at a reasonable pace. A lot of the poems are mainly critiques of the government, social problems, arseholes like Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. Even if I never get the bastard thing finished I’ll have had fun writing it, and at least I will have finally got over the restrictive hump that poetry is a baking tin full of crusty dog’s bellends.

Renegades by Mark E Smith


Renegades by Mark E Smith

I’ve never been a big fan of The Fall. The only album I had was Code: Selfish, and the only tracks which made an impression on me were Birmingham School of Business School and Free Range – the rest disappeared into a fug. I liked his sark-over on I Want You by the Inspiral Carpets, but still preferred the original. Outside of that and few curmudgeonly interviews in Melody Maker, the modern myth of Mark E Smith never focused on my radar.

Then he upped and copped it, and for some reason I couldn’t stop pondering about him. This was probably because the mags released a swathe of ‘Mark E Smiths Last Ever Interview’ pieces where Smith would bang on in his typically contentious fashion about what a bunch of shits everyone was, why the world was a big pile of bollocks, and why Noel Gallagher was a bucket of talentless wank.

And the autobiography is exactly the same, and because of it, it’s fucking genius. Whether it’s his genuine personality or whether he’s cultivated this ‘grumpy old bastard of music’ legend I’ve no idea, but his reason for existing seems to be to come across as antagonistic as possible, banging on about voting Tory during the Thatcher era and how most bands are all crap and how his ex-members are ungrateful shits and how Bowie was bollocks, and mainly complaining about how people are soft these days compared to when he grew up.

The book reads as though his ghost writer, Austin Collings, has simply plonked a tape recorder down in front of him and let him burble on, and for this reason it has the voice of authenticity. Typically, the blurb on the front and back go into paroxysms of treacly bullshit about how hilariously genius the book is – which it isn’t – but if you can ignore the hyperbole it’s a bloody amusing jaunt through someone who gives the impression – carefully cultivated or not – that he doesn’t give a shit what you or anyone else thinks, and he’s going to tell you facts, anyway.

Spaced out in a reasonably linear fashion, and splintered by short sections of stream-of-consciousness or cut-up chapters, Renegade runs through his life from fucking around on bomb sites in Manchester to making a shit-load of records. There’s not much in the book if you want to know about his music noodlings – maybe a few paragraphs about what inspires him (hint: it’s basically just stories about people) and a few ‘tours from hell’ anecdotes, but Renegades is mainly about Mark E Smith’s view on the world, and why everyone else can fuck off if they’re not 100% straight with him, which makes it more honest than the usual self-aggrandising bullshit you get from the bog-standard autobiography.

Saying that, there’s still a shit load of “I was great, and everyone was else was shite, and I invented the moon and breathing” in it, but it doesn’t matter because it’s Mark E Smith and he can say whatever the fuck he likes.

Definitely recommended if you laughed like a drain at the self-absorption in the Morrissey autobiography.

The Corner – 15/03/2018 – Comradeski Corbs

We’re back in the seventies again, kids! And we’ve Labour being equated of tugging the Kremlin forelock!


There’ll be Russian tanks in Whitehall before you know it!

The Daily Mail go one better, having their ears bent by their Blairite insiders.


This all goes back to the ‘Corbs was a KGB spy’ routine the tabloids have been dragging out since they realised he chatted to some Czek agent back in the yesteryear, but it gives the poor dears something to put on their front covers now they’ve stopped banging on about how shitty the EU is, how rubbish migrants are, and how the sun shines out of Theresa May’s bottom.

Tomorrow’s headline – Corbyn was Satan stooge!


So, We Meet Again, Mr. Bond – the New Russian Probe (Ooer)


bond villain
Putin’s new look


This won’t be the last time Russia knock one of their turncoats off under the wing of MI5, and as everyone who’s read a bit on security agencies will know, an agent never leads the fold – they just go on leave until they’re activated again. Therefore, the poor sod who got a dose of Gerhard Schrader’s finest could have been a sleeper agent, or legitimately running from his fur-hat wearing overlords, but considering the man and his daughter are currently in a dodgy but stable condition under the watchful eye of the NHS we can probably assume it’s a revenge attack, as Russia are quite capable of poisoning the shit out of someone, as we’ve seen with Litvinyenko. Unless, of course, it’s a sleight of hand to make the UK security forces more open to believing he’s not a sleeper agent, allowing him to activated into their inner sanctum to mind-fuck all their secrets. On the other hand…

All this is beside the point, as the facts are that a foreign body has encroached upon the sanctity of UK soil to poison the shit out of one of their own, and revealed a Whitehall farce worthy of ‘Yes, Prime Minister’, but with more bumbling idiocy.

For me, the most interesting fact of the case is how various dogsbodies in the Tory party have acted like the UK possess anything like the world-stage presence they obviously think they do to have any serious effect. You’ve got May banging tables and insisting that the Rooskies explain themselves to the headmaster within 24 hours or the UK will get ruddy cross with them. You’ve got the threat of retributive sanctions being dangled in front of Putin, as though cutting off the UK-related funds to a bunch of oligarchs and chucking a few ambassadors out will have much of an impact. And most pointless of all, you’ve got the threat of the bandy-legged donkeys that make up the England football team pulling out of the World Cup.

It’s also shown how indicative the Trump-era bullshit flinging media bare-faced denial machine has taken over international politics, with the Russian ambassador stating that claims concerning Russia’s involvement into turning Sergei Skripal into one of the X-Men was ‘rubbish’, when it’s obvious to anyone with even the barest inkling of common sense that they’ve had their sticky fingers in the espionage jam jar.

The common concept was that, when the Berlin wall came down and Gorby decided to let the IMF have a bang at fucking up the Russian economy, the KGB and MI6 and CIA would all join hands and sing songs about loving each other, rather than carry on the same old game but with easier access to each other’s secrets. Espionage, knocking off double agents, stealing company secrets and fucking around with election results always has been, and always will be, a part of the international diplomatic world. When people bang on about Russia’s involvement in the US election they seem to forget America’s relentless anti-democracy purges of Central America during the 80s, which is why you know Old Man Kremlin is tinkering with the cyber-bullshit in US affairs, the same as the US are using their own cyber-spods to tinker in Russian affairs. It’s just the way things are, have been, and always will be.

Each side can deny it as much as they like, but that’s their role in life. To lie. And the world will turn once more, and another set of tit-for-tat expulsions will make fuck all difference in the great scheme of things, and life will go on. Still, it gives people in suits something to feel important about.