......................................HOME.................. .......... SEPTEMBER 08    

You can grip me  ANYTIME...

....You can grip me ANYTIME!


No, you grip them like THIS!

.....No, you grip them like THIS!





4-decades on...

.........4-decades on....

Yep, four whole decades. This shot was taken on the one hot day we had this year, which was a week or so ago (well, the almost one hot day).

The shot above me, of the posing kid, isn't an old one of me (yes, I know that's obvious) - for one thing I don't remember having rippling muscles like that... though I might have had - I wouldn't have noticed; in those days I was less vain even than now. And for another thing, I was never one to pose.

Now at nearly bloody 60 it's pretty clear I have precious little to be vain about. Instead, as ever for me, feeling good easily takes priority over looks.

So what else but to lament on a lost past...? And who doesn't have regrets? My principle regret is not retiring earlier... I mean: remaining a slave so long!

If only I'd realised sooner - not only that escape was possible, but that it would be simple to put into effect!

Anyone young reading this, take note. If like most people you don't even know you're trapped then you're truly stuck. If you do realise, but don't know how it's possible to escape then you're also stuck. But once you DO KNOW how - then you're free... TA-RAH... and it really IS simple.

But just think yourself sodding lucky to be in a country where we have the option - that is, where not many people are trying to bomb your brains out, and where missiles aren't endlessly raining down, tanks mowing your house to rubble....

While you're a slave your taxes are paying for the military hardware that's doing that to people in Iraq and Afghanistan. So think yourself lucky...

so long




The Big (non?)Edit

(or 'getting gripped')



If I had the wit and experience, I'd write this item as an allegory (like 'The Fabulous Fruit-Machine'). As it is, a straightforward version will have to surfice. It’s always my intension that what I write on this site should grip... When I look back at stuff I wrote ages ago and get instantly hooked, scarcely recognising it as mine, and finish it without flinching... then I think: now that's Achievement!

Too often the opposite happens - and I think: “....for want... of an editor... the story is lost!...etc.”

I’m not suggesting you actually bother to, but if you click on this Clive James link and select his video interview with Julian Barnes (whose work I’ve never read, though I do have a couple of his books – 20p library chuck-outs), you’ll notice they mention the problem of editors who fail to proof-read.

So when Mr B sees his work in whatever publication, with all the grammatical and spelling errors intact just as he (carelessly) submitted it: ambiguities, poor punctuation, clichés, repetitions and over-wordiness, etc, then next time he'll check it - because to find one’s work presented like that for all the world to see, one is bound to feel a bit of a prick! (Don't ask which bit)... And so too, I guess, is the (negligent) editor.

But here I have no editor – and being an amateur who has at his elbow at most a mere embrionic version of Hemingway’s proverbial ‘shit-detector’, I’m rather more a victim than Mr B (who probably has a proficient 'detector' for several common literary transgressions).

The point is, it's usually only well-experienced writers who have the skill to spot faults in their own work - that is, without having to shelve it for several weeks between-times. Otherwise - as with sex - vast improvements are possible if another person (or two) is involved.

Rod won't offer (to become editor, that is) - and who can blame him with a whole load of demands on his time, and having to Work. But who else is going to volunteer? Which is why there’s more than a few items on this site that fall short of what might be hoped.

‘Over-wordiness’ is probably the most obvious and frequent offence. ‘Big Delusions’ suffers particularly from this – I must fix that soon."Cut, cut, cut." said the great Dostoyevsky. Next comes ‘repetition’ – and the need for even more cutting... especially of the almost paranoid (though perhaps laudable) ramming-home of certain political perspectives. At least, that’s how it looks to me when I browse around the site; it is a condition, an attribute, so endemic that to eradicate it I hardly know where to start... so, as befits a true idler, I think I’ll let that particular shortcoming stand (and readers can use their own built-in 'bigotry filter' - I'm sure most people have one... in contrast to a rather more useful propaganda filter of which most people seem permanently to be lacking).

Between you and these pages then, there's only me: arch-amateur, self-taught (or rather, untaught), fumbling, garrulous, arrogant (in writing - not so much in life), and lousy at correcting and sprucing-up inferior prose.

Yet in spite of it, please note, all two or maybe three of you joyful lucky readers out there - I continue undaunted. I refuse to be proud or hypersensitive enough to worry about the innumerable flaws in my work. There's a character in Camus’s ‘The Plague’ who spends decades attempting to write a book but is permanently stuck on the first page, writing and re-writing the first paragraph over and over which he just can’t get right to his satisfaction. No-way, I resolved yonks ago, will I end up like him – better to churn out dross. And that's the principle trouble with having no editor: one can never quite tell if it's dross one is creating, or a sensational, amazing, GRIPPING work-of-art! Though if no-one reads it (or virtually no-one), who'll ever know?

Every month I’m tempted to write a blog: my weird opinions on whatever topical issues lurch into the limelight. I'm one of those strange people who has views on EVERYTHING. But I decided long ago to spare readers such sources of tedium, and stick instead to BIG ongoing perennial issues (and in future maybe not too many of those), because, after all, the site is supposed to be about 'Weirdshortstories'... if I could generate them!

In the meantime, you might find my weird and gradually expanding travelogue refreshing:

American Travel Files...


............................Phil .- 1st Sept 08