the claw of doom

Posted in how about? on April 15th, 2010 by george

Two days ago I opened my mandolin case and a clawed birds leg tumbled out. Surprise doesn’t begin to describe my reaction. Right away my fevered brain started throwing up possible explanations.

The first and most likely story seemed that someone put it there at my last gig while my attention was elsewhere. A little strange, but then what would you do with it if you found yourself holding such a thing? If this is the case, I’m wondering if it was someone I know, and whether their intentions were playful or malevolent?

Next the voodoo option occurred to me. A week or so after Easter I took a tumble on my bike and injured my knee. Could this severed limb be part of a fiendish spell that brought about my distress? Who could foster such urges toward me?

I then got to thinking about who or what might have been playing my mandolin while I wasn’t looking. I enjoyed the mental picture of a group of birds picking some bluegrass tunes, hanging out with a jug of liquor, raising hell. Still it would take one hell of a drunken brawl to explain why one of them might have left most of their leg behind.

A lot of questions and no answers. Now I have the bizarre thing and must decide what to do with it! I don’t want to dispose of it just yet as I might never then know how it came to be where I found it. But I don’t want to keep it indefinitely. I don’t like it. There is something creepy about it.

Well, I never asked for a boring life.

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make babies

Posted in how about?, journal, opinion on March 27th, 2010 by george

This morning, in the early Saturday quiet, I saw a young father, carrying his very young child in a snuggly, wrapped inside his coat. Instantly I remembered how it felt carrying my own child in this way. From there my mind went to young people I know who have recently had babies, and in particular to dear friends who are expecting their first child in July.

How blessed we parents are! Over the years I have heard all kinds of reasons put forward for not having children….’the world is overcrowded’…..’we haven’t the money’…..’its downright irresponsible’….’I don’t think I’m ready’…’my work will suffer’….’its not for everyone’….and so on. If you are lucky enough to become a parent, in an instant, all these things become utterly meaningless.

I recall, in the flush of fresh parenthood, wanting to persuade everyone to make babies of their own. How insensitive and foolish this was. We are all blessed in different ways. Years ago, with the great Mumbo Gumbo, I recorded a song that light heartedly addressed this.

The saddest thing in our world is orphaned or unwanted children. If you have the means, please consider supporting SOS Children’s Villages, perhaps the most effective international organisation today caring worldwide for abandoned children. Johnny Cash, Angelina Jolie, and Nelson Mandela are just some of the distinguished believers in the SOS Children’s Villages mission.

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whats in a hoody?

Posted in how about?, humbug alert, rants on November 22nd, 2009 by george

sunday am hoodyLast night I listened to my 57 yr old brother, and my 17 yr old daughter, bemoaning the armies of hoody wearing youths who prowl our urban landscape, terrorising the innocent. They even referred to them as ‘hoodies’.

This has to be the last word in senseless, prejudiced generalisation. The hoody is a very practical, affordable, modern garment. Large numbers of teenage boys wear them. Some of these boys find themselves going through an antisocial phase. Duh! Teenage boys have found it hard to stomach society ever since there’s been a society. Does this mean that anyone who wears a hoody should be treated as a dangerous criminal? Most of these ‘disaffected youth’ also wear trousers, have teeth, and sleep with their eyes closed. Are these characteristics we should view with more suspicion? Read more »

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just say no

Posted in how about?, humbug alert, journal on November 14th, 2009 by george

santaLast night I spent the evening watching the tube. November 13, and already TV ads are working their dreadful sorcery. An endless list of gift options and food and drink items for the feast, now a mere 6 weeks away, are paraded before hapless viewers.

Why does this still affect me? Its not that I want to rush out and buy all this crap, but rather that I feel guilty because I don’t want to. The arch winks and sly grins of a high sheen cast of glamour cats and kittens, would have me give in to their blandishments and START SPENDING MONEY!! Read more »

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sorry prince charlie

Posted in how about?, opinion on November 11th, 2009 by george

7989185Poor old Charles and Camilla. Hauled off to Montreal to present new colours to the Black Watch of Canada, they were confronted with more than 100 anti monarchy demonstrators.

Julien Gaudeau, a spokesman for the militant nationalist group Reseau de Resistance du Quebec which organised the protest, said: “The prince is important as a symbol of power given by the blood. We don’t want this kind of symbol in Quebec, more than 80% of the population in Quebec is opposed to the monarchy.” Read more »

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peace and quiet

Posted in how about?, opinion on September 2nd, 2009 by george

luna lake

We have got used to a constant soundtrack in our lives. Until recently, while working my way through the daily list of tasks, I have either had the radio on,  tuned to Radio 4 and its endless chatter, Radio 2 and its saccharine music and talk, or occasionally Radio 3 for a little classical respite; or I have had music from my collection on the turntable. My attention would drift in and out of whatever noise was being delivered, but this didnt seem to matter. I blithely imagined I derived some comfort , or even company, from the sound.

I have now taken to giving silence a try. Read more »

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lets have artists rule the world

Posted in how about? on August 18th, 2009 by george

I’d like to suggest that the business of government is far less crucial than they would have us believe. In Britain, where the ‘Mother of all Parlaiments’ holds sway, you can now watch on TV the honourable members in the great chamber, slouching on their benches, shouting and jeering at each other like schoolboys, while they jostle and manoeuvre for position in their struggle to get re-elected.

Much of the real work is nothing but housekeeping on a grand scale. Providing, cleaning, adapting, improving and struggling to balance the books. Every family does this in their own domain outside working hours. If they are smart, they get it done as efficiently as possible to leave time for more creative or enjoyable pursuits.

Might not artists be the most natural people to run things? Often blessed with abundant energy, they would be inclined to swiftly perform their duties, and solve the problems of the day, so they could turn their attention to something more interesting. Read more »

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tax evasion

Posted in how about? on August 17th, 2009 by george

Large numbers of people in our western democracies habitually drink alcohol and/or smoke cigarettes. Although governments pay lip service to campaigns to stop smoking and drink in moderation, it is hardly in their interests that we do so. The lions share of the money we hand over for our preferred poisons goes to the taxman. Even the weakest math students can grasp that this adds up to a very significant sum of money.

It occurs to me that apart from the obvious health benefits, a very compelling reason for millions of us to stop spending our money this way is to hold our governments to ransom. For those of us who are less than happy about the way our taxes are spent, this might finally provide some bargaining power. If enough of us quit drinking for say, one month, our feckless leaders might be obliged to listen to our concerns a little more carefully than they currently do. During which time, we would all sleep more soundly and be better off!

In Britain at the moment, where the drinking classes are an overwhelming majority, it is not inconceivable that the money earned from all this partying is paying for the health service that must then treat the consequences of all this abuse. That is a very discomforting equation.

So, if you need more reason than just personal integrity to control and reduce your bad habits, think about exerting your democratic muscles. The less you drink and smoke, the less taxes you pay.

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