Change and How to Negotiate It.

“September was always the annual period of change. Countryside fields previously swaying with blankets of wheat were now barren stubble, views begin to emerge between the branches shedding leaves, while evenings tucked in more effectually than my oversized school shirt that I’d only grow into after Christmas.”
Loved this – please do go and like the original post 🙂

Idle blogs of an idle fellow

“Blue-bore”, “blue-borie” – when the weather is gloomy or stormy, an opening in the clouds through which clear blue sky can be seen (Scots). Metaphorically, therefore, a glimpse of hope, a hint of the imminence of coming change. – Robert Macfarlane

Idle blogs were never intended as a diary. To be honest it’s hard to know my intention of regular blogging beyond growing a readership so large that I might then flog my own range of gold-plated trainers (guaranteed to burn twice as many calories).  Instead I appear to have written an online diary, the secret blogs of Tom aged 44 3/4s (ish). Looking back I can see how these sporadic and hopefully entertaining thoughts on why everyone is a twat, apart from me, actually mark my life, like sweets trailed behind Hansel and Gretel.

And September is the month for looking back. Forget the forced-celebrations of New Year; September was…

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The Things We Don’t Tell People…

“Our lives don’t have a plot until the end, and you’re left asking who the hell was writing it, why were they so obsessed with tea and sex and could you have a refund?”

Idle blogs of an idle fellow

“If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.” – George Orwell

Apologies to people arriving here in the hope of some dirt, some unadulterated drunken admissions that upon waking deliver you into a fresh world of unrepairable fury and decimation. It’s not a confessional It’s too early in my life for that.

There’s so much we don’t tell people, and frankly it’s probably for the best. I’m not just referring to first dates when you neglect to mention your favourite past time is lying passed-out on the sofa in front of 24hours live-feed of World Golf tournaments. I’m referring to all those bits of us that tick-over in our heads unbeknown to anyone. Our lives are like that John Arnold quote about war as ‘long periods of boredom punctuated by short moments of excitement,’ only the excitement is not spilling take-away coffee over yourself on…

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How to Avoid the Perils of Modern Shopping…

If the intro immediately sends you to YouTube like it did me, make sure you come back to read the blog – always worth it.

Idle blogs of an idle fellow

We’re S.H.O.P.P.I.N.G….we’re shopping. – Pet Shop Boys

Shopping used to be so easy. When I was a boy (oh, here we go Grandad), we went grocery shopping once a month and made it last 28 days. February was the only month in which we failed to run out of provisions. It was a day trip ending in playing with boxes on the lawn.  Anything lacking was grown on the allotment, which sadly didn’t grow chocolate biscuits, or Kellogg’s Frosties.  Shops were windows for pressing noses up against.

Despite this I thought I lived in the future, which is a strange prism through which to see the 1970s, but in light of my father’s wartime experiences it was Disneyland. But compared with today we lived in Eastern Europe, when towns would hang out bunting and hire a brass band to celebrate arrival of the first washing machine. Our local toy shop…

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Two Divided by Zero

the curse of a mind that analyses, questions, wonders, speculates

and wanders down paths it should not

wanting everything to stay the same

and everything to change

sounds deranged

but what was enough isn’t anymore

or maybe it still is, hard to tell

when your thoughts are stuck in a self-made cell

what should be mine is not

even though it is – somehow

there are some things you shouldn’t look into

don’t disturb the surface, don’t stare into depth

wise advice, easy to say, hard to obey

what could have been is pointless

what will be matters more

yet I can’t see the shore

I’ve strayed too far

others are knocking at my door

simplicity lies that way

meaningless things which wouldn’t cause sleeplessness

and a possible trip to the funny farm

alas I am blind and deaf

can’t see, hear anything that’s not my semicircle

my Bermuda Triangle

the one who makes me want to crawl

on a filthy floor

littered with shared deviant fantasies

and depraved tales better left untold

or push him against a wall

to place a collar around his throat

masters and servants is a game best played

when one is eager to swap roles

I want both, I want all

in any case, in life

only a handful of times

at most

can you find another mind

that perfectly aligns with yours

and never, not once

can two be divided by zero

so my problem has not been solved

writing, following a winding course

what to do now… I still don’t know

Dark

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I have gone back to my roots, no more bottle blonde for me. Although the decision to go back to dark was kind of spontaneous, it had been at the back of my mind for a long time.

As the world turns away from reason in favour of emotion, the false prophets proliferate – it is more important than ever to be as authentic as one can possibly be. This blog that at one stage meant so much to me has taken a backseat, as some of you may have noticed.

People I thought I had an understanding with, people I interacted with on the basis we shared the same love for words, and literature, and art…those people who pride themselves on being tolerant have been anything but…and clearly unable to separate the ‘art’ from the ‘artist’ – an attitude that’s prevalent in today’s society.

I will never apologise for having an opinion, for the ability to criticise *everything*, for the fact my heart doesn’t rule over my brain. I do not believe it is a creative’s responsibility to pontificate and tell the masses what to think and what to like. I do not believe in demonising and ostracising based on political opinion alone. Unfortunately the majority of creatives feel differently. More’s the pity. But I won’t be bullied and I won’t be silenced. Without free speech, an individual  simply isn’t free. Deplatforming is an abomination, shutting down any kind of speech is abhorrent.

I can be dismissed and discarded by hundreds of people I have everything in common with – except for one seemingly crucial thing – and I still wouldn’t change the way I am and the way I speak.

If we share the same interests but you decide to pull the plug on our friendship because I don’t believe in open borders and uncontrolled immigration, because I believe ALL religions should be subjected to the same level of criticism, etc…then fair enough and so be it.  Your loss, your narrow-minded view of the world – contrary to what you preach. I won’t mourn you and I won’t miss you.

So I have been unfollowed on here by quite a few people, which is fine. Everyone is entitled to do as they please – what has massively pissed me off is that some of these people before unfollowing felt the need to tell me what a nasty human being I am. Obviously I’m going to object to that, especially when the stench of hypocrisy surrounds them. Nobody has the monopoly on kindness or pain – hence why identity politics is total bollocks and incredibly divisive. You can’t rewrite history and you shouldn’t want to. Virtue signalling is getting old, to be quite frank.

Progressives? Nah, regressive (s)

I’m a natural brunette and I’m back to dark. Some people will say it matches my soul – fuck them.

(The selfies… because I was in one of my exhibitionist moods – I could blame the new hair but…nah.)

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How important are Daily Rituals to Writers..?

Idle blogs of an idle fellow

Dare to be complicated – be the child’s robot that sings sweet Child O’Mine. – from notes in my phone.

‘How d’you find time to write?’ has to be one of the most common responses to any writer announcing they are starting another novel, as though they’ve found some secret stash of time under the stairs in that strange old chest that glows after midnight. It’s not a football match, there’s always time, although you may not necessarily be around to see it. Life is simply how you choose to spend our time. Cooks like to literally chop stuff up while crime writers enjoy chopping stuff up literally. Besides, having time to write doesn’t automatically mean you’ll do any. In fact, give someone unlimited time and they’ll achieve nothing, beyond the ability to mumble mañana beneath their breath.  As we know, nothing fuels invention like necessity.

Writing is like grabbing…

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What makes a writer..?

The latest from Tom, go visit him and show him some love since “it didn’t come home” but went to France instead #WorldCup

Idle blogs of an idle fellow

It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way. Ernest Hemingway.

What attracted me to writing was the idea that writers were respected. With nothing but a pen as their weapon they seized upon life itself and wrestled it into tight-knitted prose, for the pleasure of adoring hordes. I intended to observe the world with a louche and insightful eye beneath the slow purr of ceiling fans from the corners of colonial cafes still stained with ancient tobacco smoke, political discussion and illicit liaisons. Annoyingly this is not the life of a writer.  The life of a writer is spent finding increasingly-intricate ways in which to stop checking your Amazon sales rankings and not getting into arguments on Twitter. Despite this, many people still aspire to being a writer.

I still blame JK Rowling. Since her success everyone still wants…

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Billy Idol – Brixton Academy

Best gig I’ve been to in AGES. Billy Idol keeps on ruling. Needless to say, I adore this review. Nothing to add – it’s perfect.

Idle blogs of an idle fellow

Last night a little angel came pumping on the floor
She said, come on baby, I got a license for love – Rebel Yell

It’s unclear what Sir Billiam Of Idol made of his Smash Hits magazine nickname, but it was always a sign of respect. The Bromley boy is back on his home turf; although it’s unlikely he brought his shamelessly self-promoting Billy Idol tour T-shirt at the Glades shopping centre. He’s in Brixton for a sold out intimate gig and it’s clear he’s making no apologies for the sort of cock-rock orgy that would bring Radiohead out in hives. It’s so uncool that it’s immediately cool, as he belts out Shock to the System with the enthusiasm of a groom on a Billy Idol karaoke machine. He looks like he was always going to look; like a rock star that’s offset good times with yoga retreats and good…

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Is camping REALLY a good idea?

When writers go camping, they’ve got one advantage over other campers, they can write about it when they get home – which proves once again that writing is the best therapy. Please go like on Tom’s blog 🙂

Idle blogs of an idle fellow

“I can’t sit still and see another man slaving and working. I want to get up and superintend, and walk round with my hands in my pockets, and tell him what to do. It is my energetic nature. I can’t help it.”

Jerome K. Jerome – Three men in a Boat.

I’ve been camping with two under 6-year old boys for a few days and I’m shattered, like I’ve been sleeping in the bass bin at a Leftfield gig. It’s a unique type of tiredness that suggests you missed an entire night’s sleep and have been covered in a layer of sweaty glue and smell of a bonfire.

Any self respecting idler should listen attentively for suggestions of camping, and be ready with excuses at the drop of a bent-tent-peg that’s impossible to hammer into even the softest ground yet remains in the equipment bag. Nothing has ever looked better…

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Smalltown Boy

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“Smalltown Boy” is my favourite 1984 song. The year before that it was “Relax” by Frankie Goes To Hollywood but they (and that song) deserve a post all of their own…so, Smalltown Boy: the haunting voice and lyrics spoke directly to me.
My English teacher who was very fond of me because of my ability for the language and my love of all things British told me the song was about the pain and struggle for acceptance of a Scottish gay boy. I may have been a precocious child in many ways due to my love of books, but I knew very little about the gay community or even about what being gay actually meant. There were no “gays” in my village or if there were, they were in hiding. Gay rights would have been an alien concept in this rural area. My teacher and I looked up Glasgow together which is where the singer Jimmy Sommerville came (and had escaped) from. It looked desolate to my eyes and very different from my sleepy Burgundian village. And yet…

I guess it was the first time I properly understood the fact pain was a universal concept whatever the reasons behind it. When I heard the words “the love that you need will never be found at home“, I identified completely and felt that the gay boy from Glasgow and I were the same, united in this yearning for something and somewhere else. He suffered in a big city and I among the fields of wheat. We “never cried to them but to our soul.” By the time the song was released, he had already left with “everything he owned in a little black case” and so would I years later, but in 1984 it gave me hope to know he had escaped, to realise you didn’t have to put up with misery, that it would get better, that there was a place somewhere where acceptance was possible. Funny that it turned out London was Jimmy Sommerville’s destination when he ran away, because that’s where I ended up too. 

Years after I had left, there was a big scandal in my village because my English teacher who had been so pleased to teach me about Britain was caught in a compromising position with a male student. It turned out he was gay, no wonder he had known so much about the gay community. Of course, I had not suspected anything at all, as I said I was precocious in some ways but still very naive in others. To this day, I cannot listen to Smalltown Boy without being transported right back to that time, it’s a song that I still love and it still means so much to me – it made me feel understood and infused me with hope. 

*This is an extract from a personal essay I wrote last year. I am going to an 80’s night on Saturday and the shameless selfie is the outfit I selected this afternoon for the occasion. Sadly, I do not own a smalltown boy t-shirt so I decided to go with ‘Frankie says’ out of my 80’s t-shirt collection – yes, I have one, I still love 80’s music. And always will.*