Saturday, November 29, 2008


First taste was in the dark
with the sound of crying echoing off the walls.
Your crying.
You have every right to cry.
You’re only 9 weeks old and the virus in your chest burns like hot coal.
Outline of sleep-deprived parent appears over the cot,
a fierce voice barks hot breath into your face.
Hands grab your little arms a bit too tightly.
There’s a heavy pause, followed by unrecognised words,
“Sorry… I’m sorry… It’s OK…”

Sin and repentance.
Simple and quick.
Sour and sweet.
It won’t always be so.
By the first sound of the school bell sin has struck more times that you can count.
This is the world that makes all Victim.
This world turns all Offender.

Close fleshy lids and recall the times you’ve been scorched
by lies and scams,
by names called and rights revoked,
by property taken, identity mistaken,
your body used, trust abused.
Coerced and compromised.
Even if you resist its name you know sin’s forms
the way Adam knew Eve.

Now look about.
This talk of sin occurs on the salt plains where
there is no topography of differentiation.
Dirty fingerprints are on us all.
Beauty and beast find empathy in their scars.
But who invited this?
This life?
This world?
This injustice?

Tell me how an innocent bush-boy becomes a stoned-soldier;
how in a twist of fate the victim becomes the perpetrator.
His broken heart becomes cold and calloused.
And with every crime he tells our story.
For we are all enlisted, young.
Now our grown-up minds store toxic pools,
our tongues razors.
Cats claws have grown in our paws
and the truth sags through lack of exercise.
Actions provoked reactions and it happened.
Sin found a host, a home.
A soul to shame,
a name to blame.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Manchester Congestion Charge - which way to vote?

Today I got my Manchester Congestion Charge ballot paper through the door. Now I face the dilemma of which way to vote. Let's face it, Democracy = Compromise, there's never a black and white answer. Here's the tension I find myself in: On the one hand I absolutely hate traffic jams, they're so high on my list of things I hate that when I once found myself on stage with David Cameron in front of a huge crowd and TV audience and he asked me "What would you change if you were Prime Minister?" I responded, "I'd get a gadget in my car to turn traffic lights from red to green." Seriously, I did. He was expecting a profound statement about social policy, I was thinking of the glory of the open road (I did come up with a proper response shortly afterwards). Then on the other hand I hate injustice, and I consider the T.I.F. proposals to be fundamentally unjust at the core. No investment in roads, but all the cash drivers pay goes to subsidise other people's travel (I generalise), that's just wrong.
So it's a dilemma, whichever way I vote I'll be compromising on some level. I do of course have my own ideas about how to sort things out, based on my own deeply considered opinion about what's wrong. Clogged arteries. That's the problem. Like an old heart Manchester's vehicle routes in and out are just too narrow. The A6 coming in from Stockport is useless, those ramshackle old shops through Levenshulme and Longsight need bulldozing to make room. Then we need to get some of those elevated roads, they're proper cool, look at any great city around the world, Skyways they call them in the states, we need lots of them, fpr starters all the way from Cheetham Hill to Victoria Station, swooshing in like a Reticulated Python. Then we need to fly in a whole load of those traffic cops from Madrid, have you seen them in action? Nothing stands still when they're on the case. Combine this with a properly funded Oyster card system like London and a bunch of cameras zapping the idiots who block all the city centre box junctions and you're sorted!
But back to the ballot. Sadly I don't have the option to vote on my own proposals, I have to vote on theirs. It's gonna cost me money that's for sure, about £20 a month based on my typical movements. Will I feel the benefit of reduced jams? Probably not. The only people likely to benefit at all are those who travel by train or those who've been waiting for the Metrolink coming past their house for years. I'm not in either of those categories. The question really is, What are the implications of a No vote? Will the city centre die a slow painful death? Probably not. It's knackered either way, after all who would want to site a business there if all the staff and customers have to pay for the privalege of trucking in? Maybe it will be good for the flagging city centre property market though? People currently driving in from the suburbs might decide to relocate. Or they might just get another job. One thing's certain, a No vote would be a huge embarrassment for the city, we'll be the butt of all the jokes. And if there's anything I dislike more than traffic jams it's embarrassment. Maybe for that reason alone I should vote Yes?

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Music and motivation

It's fair to say that I've been struggling a bit with motivation the last few weeks. The fact that my blog's suffered is just one little sign of this. My life moves at such a pace that from the outside looking in it's unlikely that anyone else would notice anything's changed, but hey, I'm just being honest. So what moves me to hit the keys now then when I've been unable to do so for weeks on end? Well, it's nothing short of the pure, undiluted power of music. Yep, just window-shopping in cyberspace I stumbled across a music-geek type blog, not the sort of place I'd usually hang out but on it I found a link to a mashup of one of the greatest club tunes of 1990 (which was a stunningly good year for club tunes) - the acapella version of 'Everybody Everybody' by Blackbox.
When I was 17 and at the peak of my raving career (ponytail - puffajacket - the works) my parents dragged me off for a holiday in Florida. I remember sitting in the back of a people carrier on Daytona beach while the sun scorched outside and tourists tanned their pale bodies. All I wanted to do was listen to this song at full blast with the windows up and the aircon on. My mum, dad and sisters thought I was proper wierd but in my mind I was back on the dancefloor (this one!) with a sweat-soaked t-shirt tucked in my jeans and the smell of Tiger Balm in my nostrils.
It was literally half a lifetime ago but behind my eyelids I'm back there again.
This is motivation.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008


In case you hadn't noticed I've become a bit bored of my little blog.
Maybe I'll get a second wind.
Maybe I'll wrap it up at Christmas.

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