Like sex and money, food can be the highlight of your life or the cross to which you are nailed. Famine to feast; we live on see-saws, tipping between what we want and what we need. Where necessities are scarce, innocence truly is bliss. In the webless world of 1960’s Glasgow, kids like me had no idea if any part of their home life was ‘normal’ or ‘average’. I lived in a tenement flat with my parents and my older brother. Every family I knew lived in a tenement flat. Our home featured zero bathroom facilities, but we had the use of a toilet cubicle -outside on the ground floor down twenty steps- which we shared with five other families. In my street this was perfectly normal.Continue reading “Mince, tins and appetites”
I’m not waving goodbye to the year 2019 so much as crumpling it into a ball to throw at the basket. There’s a tide in time, and some years -like the one just ended- my tide is out. Out of sight. Wishes out of reach, plans out the window, and things running out; like my patience. I’ve become very impatient with the years, particularly since they started flashing by without bothering to wait for me. I began last year daydreaming on a beach and for all I have to show for 2019, I might as well have stayed there.Continue reading “2019 just left, by the way”
The surveillance expert listens to your moaning orgasm, and pushes the button that starts the secret camera in the lamp beside your bed. As your lover groans in ecstasy, the agent removes his headphones and reaches for a beer: the microphone hidden in the picture-frame on your bedroom wall has done its work. The evidence of your infidelity is now conclusive, unarguable. You will be exposed for a cheat and a liar.Continue reading “Will Spywoman Catch Spyman?”
One book? No contest – it’s got to be Moby Dick. This 19th century masterpiece remains (in my humble opinion) one of the finest works in the English language, and a ripping good yarn to boot. You don’t need to be seamen obsessed (spellcheck please) to love this hymn of praise to life on the ocean wave. There’s something for everyone between these pages. Don’t believe me? – ask the Guardian newspaper : “The book features gay marriage, hits out at slavery and imperialism and predicts the climate crisis. 200 years after the birth of its author, Herman Melville, it has never been more important.“Continue reading “You Stole My Soul”
In the year 2000 I was new to the internet. Up to that point I had resisted its charms because I instinctively distrust new things. But then -by sheer luck- I was invited to write for a national newspaper. I understood that like it or not, I would have to go online. I heaved a sigh, bought a computer, plugged wires into holes, read the instructions and soon learned how to waste whole days wandering the web. I loved the process – immediately. I’d always been a book nerd and now the ultimate library was parked on my desk.Continue reading “Enough machines already”
By the summer of 1999 I knew I would be leaving London for ever, after twenty-five years. Excited to be heading into the countryside, I was determined to squeeze one last jest out of the tragi-comedy of urban life. The south-London council estate where I lived held an oddball collection of ageing hippies and layabouts, most of whom were stoned most of the time. I’d embraced the community in the spirit with which it embraced me, and done my share of self-medication. I’d altered my moods with so many different substances I was nearing saturation point. I was almost too bored to bother getting high. At various times I had been addicted to amphetamines, cocaine and nicotine, but had gone cold-turkey on all three. For a good five years my intoxication had been self-limited to booze and cannabis, and I was now weary of consuming the same old black hash.Continue reading “Green Fingers”
What a huge space the word freedom opens. “I’m free” conjures images of jailbreak, chains snapping, statues smashing, tyrannical empires collapsing…or perhaps the opening of a small window and a glimpse of the world outside. It’s in the mind, after all. What is your freedom worth? The loss of your partner? £1000 a week tax-free? (Spoiler alert – nothing is tax-free). Slaves in ancient Rome could buy their freedom. Freedom always came at a price and that’s why wealth is a form of slavery.Continue reading “If it’s free it’s worth paying for”
Relief, that’s what we should be feeling. Getting over the fear, past the shock. Yes, you are a sexual creature : enjoy. It’s time to stop behaving as if every sexual engagement is still a matter of life and death. We are the fortunate fornicators -the new model humans. Put the inconveniences of morality to one side for a moment (something we’re all very skilled at doing) and accept that sexual indulgence ain’t what it used to be. Sexual indulgence has been civilised. It’s much easier to find, better understood, relatively unlikely to to kill you and a lot more sophisticated than you think.
We take our share of photos, but this one has a frisson of special for me. Easter found us up in the heights of the Welsh hills and a blaze of unexpected sunshine fired us into the great outdoors. As far as I’m concerned, outdoors is great in itself, but the sight of your woman posing for your pleasure takes the experience to another plane. We burned a good hour or two of that lovely afternoon feeding the hungry camera. I was delighted with this pic, and had no wish to alter, trim or enhance it in any way. The composition emerged as neat as I’d hoped (about a 500 to one shot) and the focus defined exactly as planned. May’s soft-shade bum cleavage quietly commands attention, while her outstretched arms point to …a knot in the top plank of the fence that stands between she and the viewer. The corrugated iron of the shed roof ascends to the heaven in my silly head. I was kneeling on warm, green grass and smiling as I shot. A moment to treasure.