The One-Hundred-Year-Old Man…


Little blue books are becoming a thing with me. It could be a newly-found addiction. Next week I will try something that is already read.

I read this book a while ago. No, that’s not quite right. I started reading this book a while ago and finished it sometime later. My book reading is strange and  I can often put a book down for years whilst in mid-read and come back to finish it off much later. This book was not like that, but it did take some will-power to see me over the rump of its initial appeal.

I happened upon the novel by way of my neighbour and former cycling companion. He had started reading my blog and was interested in some of the stuff that I had been reading. He never gave me any feedback on my own writing, but I expected as much (or as little). The Hundred-Year-Old Man came as part of a bilateral book exchange. He got Graham Swift’s Waterland and I got this. At first, I thought he had the best out of the deal. On second thoughts, I think he got the best of the deal.

This little blue book is knowingly amusing. It plays with the genre of the ageless protagonist not only living through world-shaping events, but also playing an unwittingly major role in those seismic changes. It is amusing and annoying in turns in the same way that Forest Gump was. It does, however, keep its true soul to the end when the author speaks, Jonas Jonasson, and this left me with a rather enjoyable bitter-sweet aftertaste.

It’s not something that will live in my memory for all time, even now it is fading, but it was worth the read. I am, however, looking forward to getting Waterland back and must build a bridge to reestablish contact after a number of very quiet months during this endless winter.


Now, to work…

Second Sitting For The Last Supper…

images-544 The Sopranos

The second coming of the Holy Ghost
We need a pocketful of miracles
Two thousand years and he ain’t shown yet
We kept his seat warm and the table set
The second sitting for the Last Supper


As life has rolled out, I have moved further and further away from thoughts about God. However, I do like a Christ figure.

Christ is everyman and woman and child and everything else that thinks (dolphins, chimps, cats and dogs). He was a nice guy who occasionally had a nasty side; I’m thinking the stalls in the temple. Perhaps he was too nice though.

I didn’t and still don’t like the self-sacrifice that he performed to save mankind. Man and womankind are grown ups who just act like imbeciles. Life for them is a matter of learning right from wrong and then forgetting that wrong is wrong and not the right thing to do. On the other hand, some know that wrong is wrong, but decide to do it anyway as it is normally the fastest shortcut to where they truly want to get. People do wrong because it is the right thing to do for them, at that particular time.

Two thousand years and he ain’t shown yet…

Do you blame him?

Arrive in the world with a good, basic, simple to understand message (love fellow man, woman, dolphin, chimp, cats and dogs) and then get strung up before you’ve reached your mid-thirties. Not a healthy career choice.

And then, as soon as you are dead, people start to take that message and make it into something that can be useful to themselves in their personal search for power, wealth, and divinity. Another case of knowing that it is wrong, but seeing that it is the right thing to do for oneself and one’s shortcut to whatever one desires to possess.


The (yoke) yolk is on us.

Another Guru in the money
Another mantra in the mail…


Mighty Blue…


new-dawnSun is shining in the sky

There ain’t a cloud in sight

It’s stopped raining everybody’s in a play

And don’t you know it’s beautiful new day, hey hey…

Electric Light Orchestra


Before anybody starts to think that my blog has been hacked, or that I am undergoing some serious 1970s form of personality disorder, I can assure you that all is well. Well, all is well in my world, and that is fairly relative.

In the year of our Lord, 2018, on the 21st March at 7.13 in the morning, I am seated at my computer, looking out onto a world that has changed.

My black cat has just disappeared up a tree, a wood pigeon is sitting watching her with cruel indifference, and the skeletal fingers of the night’s frost are receding. Despite the fact that I am to participate in my daily round of mummery (me teaching, me as teacher), I am feeling strangely optimistic; perhaps the drugs, that I failed to take for almost two weeks, have eventually started to kick-in.


Or perhaps the sun is playing its magic upon me.


Molly Bloom And Her Dirty Tongue…



I heard myself talking today. I was discussing the gratuitous sex in the early Game of Thrones series.

Being one or its original converts, I have recently felt a little aggrieved that the wagon that I was travelling on, with but a few, has now become a bandwagon. Every Wight Walker in the Seven Kingdoms is now a Game of Thrones fan.

Well, here is one man of the north who says,

“Tis mine and my like’s. The final season is coming!”

So back to a conversation that I was having about the ridiculous nature of modern day culture that confuses television with actual culture. The conversation started with an outpouring of sadness for a television presenter who just happened to crash into a car with a three year old girl inside. The line of the narrative went, “I think the public really feel sorry for him.”

My line was different.

Anyway, back to Game of Thrones which is not television but a documentary of immense importance. I was bemoaning the fact that the documentary makers had included earlier scenes of such a robust sexual nature that they existed merely as titbits for an audience incapable of following an epic narrative; fisting has no place in fact-based fiction.

And then I got to thinking about Molly Bloom and her monologue at the end of Joyce’s Ulysses (his little blue book).

“…when hes like that  he cant keep a thing back I know every turn in him ill tighten my bottom well and let out a few smutty words smellrump or lick my shit…”


This was high art in my day and I loved it.

The years have censored me.

Hold Your Breath…


A busy weekend that started with a carpeted church, moved on to an orchestra rehearsal, before finally finishing with a full day in the pool. The pool was the public one and into this, on a freezing Sunday morning, the collective youth of Yorkshire were plunged.

Let’s get this straight, this is not a mass baptism; it was a swimming gala. This type of event roughly translates into a baptism of boredom for all those adults not anointed with the perfumes of parental competition. A day’s races including front, back, breast, and four-stroke. Some of the kids seem to have outboard motors attached to them as the race through the water.

We had come to an an agreement; I would do the morning stint and my wife would do the afternoon one. Mine was one hour shorter than my wife’s, but in gala terms that equates to three weeks and four days. Still, it was set to be an ordeal that even Hercules may have struggled with.

“You need to take off some of those layers,” Sonya advised me.

“But it’s freezing outside.”

“Up on that balcony is like being a sauna.”

She was right.

I had taken a small library of books in a rucksack and at the last minute decided to read C J Sansom’s Dominion. This was rather apt as it was a tale of what could have happened if the Germans had won the second world war (rather than Coca-Cola). I always think that sporting clubs for kids become organisations for adults to practise their dreams of running the world.

Anyway, I sat down next to a guy who shares the first name as me. This makes it easy to remember each other.

“Hello, Mike.”

“Hello, Mike.”

I then exchanged a few pleasantries about a recent operation he had undergone and, after an appropriate amount of time, I started to read.

With all of the goggles on, it is quite difficult to tell one ‘bug-eyed’ Martian swimmer from the next, so I relied upon Mike (the other Mike, not me) to tell me when my daughter was up next. As the race started, I suddenly became aware of how much noise a group of fearfully competitive parents can make. The sound of:  “Come on Hayley!” “Go for it Kirsty!” or “Push yourself” tends to reverberate around the cramped and steamy conditions. Just a short blast of this set my nerves on edge.

There was one woman sitting behind me who had the lungs of a dairy herd and boy did the use them. I looked around trying to understand the collective madness, but then returned to my book. 


Nazis in Britain was far more preferable.