Monday, September 19, 2005

Enjoy Sea Anemone

was on the Central Line on my way to a gig on Friday night and there was this woman sitting across from me with a see-through flask of something.

It looked a bit a piece of scientific; it had measurement marks down the side and a top a bit like a baby’s beaker. Swilling inside the flask, in brown water, was what looked like a sea anemone. The ‘tentacles’ rolled as the train lurched and there were small, pale, bunched up things that looked like nerve endings or the interior of a snails shell on what I presumed was the ‘under-side’ of this commuting sea creature.

Now I’ve had some strange pets in my life, when I was in the infants at primary school I took my pet rock into school until one of the many bullies there threw it against some concrete, smashing it open to reveal its crystalline interior. After that I had a pet Dog Skull that I tired to carry around during a ‘music and dancing’ lesson until the, probably deeply freaked out, teacher suggested I put the dog skull down in case I break it.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is humanity’s taste in non-human companionship is as wide and deep at the ocean that this little thing may had been plucked from and if this woman sitting across from me wanted to take her pet anemone out for a trip on the tube, so long as the container was suitable for a sea-anemone, then that was fine by me.

Then she took a swig out of the flask. Sea-anemones are poisonous; they trap fish in the tentacles and sting them into submission before ingesting them. The only creature that can put up with them is the sinister clown-fish that can quite happily frolic among these tentacled killers.

She kept swigging the brown water, the narrow mouth piece of the beaker preventing the whole ball of feelers touching her. I kept staring, wondering if she were mad, suicidal, super-human or something other than human.

It really was a horror story moment, probably partly provoked by my re-reading of the 'Pan Book of Horror Stories Seven' at the moment, and when I saw this creature-ingesting woman getting ready to get off the tube, full of anemone venom and probaly a little freaked out by my staring at her I plucked up the courage to ask her what the heck was in her flask.

“Green tea” she said, “it is a bit unusual.”

Now I drink green tea a bit and it certainly doesn’t look like sea creatures. Clare thinks this person was consuming Chinese Medicine tea, she’s shared houses with people who’ve used it in the past, which may well include lion fish, angler fish, sturgeons, sea anemones or something else.

Or perhaps I’d seen something on the tube that wasn’t one of us, something that feeds in ways that we don’t feed and expects the humans around it to pay it no attention. I saw it and it had an excuse ready for its strange habits before skuttling off to be with it's own kind (Bond Street Station). That’s what I like to think, anyway.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Wedding Play List

Clare and I were at a wedding on Sunday 4th September, my mate Tim Chapman was marrying his fine bride Ro at the socialist stately home Wortley Hall, Wortley, about twelve miles from Sheffield.

It was a good and fine civil ceremony and the bride and groom were the most relaxed couple I've ever seen during a wedding. Good day.

Tim and his best man DJ'ed and played a selection of songs that would be perfect in an indie disco, never mind a wedding reception. Pleasing the elderly relatives was not an option.

I've been to weddings in the past when The Buzzcocks and X-Ray Specs have been played but the the set list included new, noisly greats like 'Bang' by the Yeah, Yeah, Yeah's and 'Johnny Cash' by 'Sons & Daughters' and played 'Toxic' by Britney Spears (twice) as a concession to the pop-tarts, though I suspect the songs appearence in a recent episode of Doctor Who may have helped too.

Other than that, if was straight into early to mid-nineties indie disco and bedroom pogo greats including:

Add it Up - Violent Femmes
Freakscene - Dinosaur Jr
Turning Japanese - The Vapours
Too Drunk to Fuck - The Dead Kennedys
We've Got a Bigger Problem Now - The Dead Kennedys (which is the lounge-jazz/thrash version of 'California Uber Alles' which I've never heard played in public before)
Touch Me I'm Sick - Mudhoney
Hit the North - The Fall
Girl from Mars - Ash

There may have been others there, I want to say 'Another Girl Another Planet' by The Only Ones and 'Echo Beach' by Martha and the Muffins but they may have just got in there as songs that MAY have been played. I danced myself to near-death and there was a late-night, drunk busting buffet of pizza, chips and onion bhajis which distracted me.

I also ended up talking to a cat outside. I was cooling off and there was a black cat slinking about and I followed it, it walked beside me, not getting too close, and I said "meow" and the cat said "Mrr-oww-ow" so I said "Mr-OWW" and the cat replied, walking all thew time, "Nr-oww-ow".

Clare was a witness to that too, I didn't dream it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


It's just occurred to me that I've seen quite a few kingfishers in the last twelve months. I'd not seen any at all, ever, until September.

Clare and I were at The Letoon, a sacred site in Lycian Turkey that contains temples to Leto and her two children, Artemis and Apollo. There's submerged buildings there, broken columns and foundations, two thousand years old, that peer out from water that is populated by turtles, terrapins, ducks and dragon-flies.

Flitting about the place where kingfishers, they’d grab something from the water (the terrapins would poke their head out of the water in their slow outrage at the trespass) and glint past in flashes of metallic blue.

The next time I saw a kingfisher, he or she was perched on a fence post at Keyhaven nature reserve by Lymington on the edge of the New Forest in Hampshire. It’s a salt-flat on the edge of the sea, with the Isle of Wight looming, on that day, out of the storm clouds like a fat Daily Mail reader looking for something to tut at.

We were there early March this year, trudging through the sleet and had already twitched away by the Turns, plovers and oystercatchers but to see a kingfisher in the UK; I had thought at the time, is a rare privilege.

Then we was walking along the rubbish strewn river Don that runs through Sheffield. The red brick industrial past was rotting around us, pallets and shopping trolleys were tangled up in the weed of the river and Sheffield tried to smothered the river where it could, it seemed.

Then I saw the metallic blue flash, it skimmed the river and disappeared under one of the bridges. The river must have life for the bird to live on it, must have been cleaner than I thought, despite the crap people had thrown into it and despite the cars grinding past it.

A kingfisher lived here, too.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Jason Godwin - Crime Fighter!

My alter ego
Originally uploaded by Jayce.

I’ve got a mate called Jason Godwin who lives in Holland and is the proud owner of ALMOST ALL of the original Star Wars figures.

I've got a bit of a rubbish comic habit. It started when I realised that Book & Comic Exchange where selling off comics for 10p a go and I've been steadily loading up on them.

They vary from nineties Marvel and DC to good indie comics like 'The Badger' to silly comics such as Warp to very, very bad comics that never got past their first issue.

Once comic features a superhero called 'The Messenger', a scientist named Jason Van De Win (I think) who was developing an adrenalin-enhancing formula to create super-strong soilders.

This being the world of comics the mob get involved and hold De Win and his fiancée hostage until he completes the formula for their own evil purposes but, of course, De Win over-hears a monster saying “Once we have the formula, we’ll kill De Win and his missus” (or some American equivalent, ‘broad’ or ‘old lady’ probably) so De Win take the formula himself. “Must save Kitty, Must…save..Kitty” (or whatever his wife’s name is) he says to himself as his new muscles ripple and he lifts a table for no other reason than he bloody well can now.

De Win defeats most of the mobster and the FBI arrive just in time for shot the mob boss to shoot, and kills, Kitty.

De Win is inducted into the bureau and given a new name, Jason Godwin, and, grief-stricken, he finds a jet-pack from somewhere and fights crime as THE MESSENGER.

He’s rubbish at it, too.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Down the tube

Yesterday I passed a chap at Baker Street tube whom I recognised from such esteemed gatherings as London Earth Mysteries Circle. He didn't see or recognise or want to say hello to me and that was fine but I remember thinking "There's psychic-questing Simon, I wrote a story about him once."

Well, not exactly about him, it was about a jolly nice and friendly but slightly-scatty chap who got wrapped up in, what he thought, was a powerful alignment between certain parts of south-east London, Herne the Hunter, the god of the Vine and an off-licence that has extremely neat bottles on its shelves.

And when I say "wrote", I mean, I wrote a lot of it but certain sections has things like [EXPAND] and [MAKE WORK] where paragraphs and descriptions should have been. My point here is that here I am, blogging away, when I've got some quite interesting story ideas moldering in a draw in my bedroom and in the ever-eroding archive of my head and this thought makes me feel a little sad.

It makes me wonder why I do this, why can't I keep a diary or something for myself and concentrate on what I want to write publicly instead, which is fiction and on folklore.I think that quite a few people I know write blogs so I read theirs and think "I should get me some of that blogging action" and it's ludicrously easy to get one of these and, once you've started it seems a crime not to update the thing.

But I would like to write other stuff more; I got that feeling that I have things living in my head that need telling.