Tuesday, 1 August 2017

English for Foreign Criminals


by Ines Gallic

B+B

In many tongues a ubiquitous Mr Plod lurks round every crook & granny, making a blasted nuisance of itself. If English was/were your first language, chances are you'd've dissected a little frog at school, and remember with fond sighs how être with its je not suis joking, elle est tête-à-tête avec un punter lorsque vous - mes amis - êtes un sac tres fragrant de plonquers, etc.. (En standard Inglish the protagonists are, of course, Ah ain't, she his, youse are – with differences too familiar for words.) Now the old Spanish lingua - a little forked number if ever there was - has two be's for the price of one: ser & estar – the trick of learning which is which; while olmak (your Toikish to be) somewhere on its sojourn from the steps of Mangoolia to the shores of Lake Wozname has picked up the trick of disappearing up its own frigging Jarvis. It never ceases to piss one off how the world's various to be's give rule-breaking such a lousy character ref..
This work, however, which advertises itself as a practical piece of kit for incoming forgers & the like, sets aside philosophy and kicks off by giving a quick rundown on just how the old been differs from just about every other doing word with its root on the block.
Your English be just don't got an auxiliary, see. Not even a half-frozen jet-lag, bailing out of his wheel cowling, hits the old tarmac with a, If you please, Mr Nice Friendly Aeroport Chappie, be so good as to inform me, in which state do I be?
Such talk will only get thee, new arrival, consigned to the very lowest grade of Reception Centre, with scanty access to pretty young social workers and vicars in loose cassocks. No, the mistake you hopeful dodger have made is deploying yr do/does where it hain't wanted. Act dung & note à la Benny, Matey, the English grammar scuffers are dub hounds at spotting poorly schooled ex-colonials with de slexic auxiliaries.
But (that useful but overused conjunctive term), doobie-doobie careful when conversing with natives on arrival. First impressions last longer than a miser's Polo mint. To speak pukka English, you have to be able to work your tongue through the eye of a camel-hair needle, which doubtless, not even the poor old queen has ever succeeded at. And I aren't joking now, am I? Woe betide me if I was/were, hung, drawn & quartered like the rest who've dared criticise the way the dear navvies of these terribly dear islands speak. Don't be a dumb bum-plug with thine hosts, it's better to err & splutter on the side of deliberate stupidity than to pull the silver spoon from the baby's gob.
Ah-hem, generally, as stated above, doing our best to avoid philosophical digressions... the verb to be is not all slugs & marrows. As any has-been will tell you, there's a helluva lot to get away with using only am/is/are, plus the odd was/were, tacking a coupla discrete -ings & -ens, deploying the full set of modals & giving it a sharp pat or two on its bare infinitive. A former citizen of Geneva made a dozen extempore appearances on the middle-brow radio talk show, Half A Mo, without using a single verb beside be. He was later done for verbals and spent six months in Dungeonness writing his “Confessions of a Swiss Cheese” with just the one doing word throughout. Magnificent economy. Here's a random excerpt, reproduced with the kind permission of Schikser & Goy,

Who on earth is in their right mind over this? And wherever would one be without that? Those of us who can't be Shaw, for example, or indeed any personal adjective, may be certain that there are few - if any – as time is short and, as it were, often, the expenditure of being is less nowadays than it has ever been. And I, furthermore, as I am, was and ever shall be besides myself with uncertainty over this. Oh! how all other possibilities being baseless, or as they may be, dubious of purpose, I would rather be utterly lost for words than even a trifle obtuse etc..”

Of course, pure philosophy of this type is something we have vowed to shun for the present. And we will continue to assert this, in spite of our little transgressions...



Listening Test #1

Now hear this.

And this.

Your first hearing can be a tremendous trauma for the un-deaf, so be cautioned, “You do have the right to remain silent.”

Flipping warrant officers are a pain in the speaking trumpet, like friendly taxi drivers and native hairdressers, the nosey so-and-so's. Should be included in a list of banned tortures. Don't be fooled by their chumminess, they are as sly as all comers. The trick is to say nothing, keep your eyes propped open with cocktail sticks, your ears sown back, and never be fooled into opening your greedy cake-hole. Even asking to go to the little boy's room can be misinterpreted. And don't say you want a lawyer. They'll go, “Wise move, that!” report you'd done a load in your kex and therefore must be guilty. THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO PRACTICE YOUR RELATIVE CLAUSE AND INTONATION SKILLS. Box clever and act dumb. It will help if you know the Masonic hand signals for asylum seeker.

Be ready for all manner of provocations. They'll impute the lifestyle of your dear mama, claim your bro's a tailor of suicide vests, or that your sis has swapped sides and is working in the canteen at GCHQ. Sonic attack should be resisted with nothing more than a few puzzled looks and the occasional raised eyebrow.


2B/-2B

The meaning of be is all-purpose and may be employed however, wherever, whenever & by whomsoever the fancy takes it. Note, therefore, the following statements: I am a right stickler. Botany and insanity are frequent bedfellows. Don't be silly, Billy, crap is brown & smelly. That post office isn't open any more. Hain't Arriet's andwriting arf-arted? I'm not all ears on Sundays. Our geese aren't all that hungry. And that so-called curry, btw, was pricey for a yellow chunder. His sandals were cheap plastic jobs made in France. The captain wasn't exactly onboard at the time. Weren't the Williamses mean with the sauce? Have you been here all along, you snivelling little twerp? What has that blasted cat been up to? If I'd been in your shoes, I'd've been furious. He should be on by now. It's impossible, she can't be pregnant again! For gawdsake, now you're just being awkward.
Also of note is the preponderance of naming and descriptive terms, the spacial and temporal location of things and states; the admixing of frequency & intensity adverbs; plus the tailgating of occasional phrasal particles.
What be don't mean, though, is harder to pinpoint as it's a bleeding auxiliary and has got itself mixed up with all kinds of cheesey gerunds and toffee-nosed participles - many of which are clearly action nouns and adjectives - but many more are just crying out to be pinned to the inside of your locker. I mean, what does “There's a gone chick!” mean at the foot of our stairs? Or, for that matter, “He's smoking hot!”
This kind of distortion don't just start and end with the hip talk of beatniks. Once Post-Modernism takes hold, all kinds of dodgy beings muscle in on the scene. But there's nothing new under the sun. You can thank that prince of wimps Omelet for bringing existence into question with his succinct turn of the infinitive. Nope, prefixing -moan, -wail, -smirch and -off in petulant whines, the Danish wannabe succeeds in nothing but his own belittlement. To be or not to be, chummy, make yr bloody mind up - before we're all becalmed on your celebrity a-sides, besides & - don't wait for it – seasides (eg let Bognor be buggered).


Writing Test #1

Never sign a statement, just claim you've momentarily forgot your silly name. Try to organise at least some of the words into sentences. If you are right handed, it goes without saying, write with your left foot. Use punctuation, apostrophes, inkblots and doodles to enhance your gist. Above all, appear to write like an over-educated three-year old with attitude. If you can't think of a word, draw its picture using abstract art techniques where necessary. But don't try to be Picasso, a cross between Raphael's early Vatican work and a David Shrigley will do nicely.
Don't be hog-tied by the intro/main-body/conclusion stereotype. Include a whole paragraph of topic sentences if the fancy takes you.



chapter two: "to have and have got"

Hemingway had his. Or put it another way, he almost did. Is it simply more U to stutter, I have a talent, than to say I've got it!? If the reverse is true, do you go, I haven't/don't have/haven't got/hain't got - or even - don't gotta time for one? And if you're really in need, do you have/have you got or simply have you any idea what we're on about here?
I mean, aren't alternatives supposed to be.... alternative? Wouldn't you expect these various options to offer some concrete nuances? I mean, do you get it? (And, whatever you do, don't get gotten on me.)
The fact is, the verb to have preserves some of the old school features of to be in its casebook. It can be used with or without the auxiliary do/does, or it can be deployed as an auxiliary with another verb entirely - get - to mean pretty much the same thing: possession.
Now, as any fool will tell you, ninety percent of the law is possession, possession & possession. That's roughly thirty percent each to stolen goods, illegal substances and the tools of the trade (that's any firearms, jelly, jammies, and/or the odd bot - for all you happy cyber crims out there caught with your red hooks on the boodle).


Sir Ronnie, the late left-footed train rotter, having served most of his sentence on the beach at Copper Cabana, presented himself to the crew of HMS Danae by asking if they ad Red Barrel aboard (there's taste for ya)...

Saturday, 1 July 2017

icing on the cack


 some hard knocks a god has sent 
 others folk brought on themselves 
 how remote the tribes have grown 
 out of control 




Buck Palace on hold

bit less wandering abroad for him
down the kitchen eats his humble spam
do-nots dunked in steaming mugs of gin
tramp's trouble ban

got the wife & kiddie in for free
all-inclusive residence such fun
bingeing House of Cards Reality
chump's catchup plan

cats can look at queens on live TV
who needs horse & carriage rides for spin
change the mudguards exercise free wheels
champ's double chin

chuck a spanner in the works old chum
Gatsby partied with as much aplomb
played roulette with the Russians & won
chimp's barrel bomb

armchair leaders do it all on-line
snooty safety shots & twos-in-one
turn the tables in their own good time
chap rambles on


peak death troll

where the need to tackle bigger trees
stumbles under the Hillary Step
brothers scramble over playground walls
preach from the top

education ain't what terror breeds
pale sarcasms quipped from lips to hips
mostly it's the drill of warning bells
gun laws of cops

if they want to level playing fields
Everest's the place to do the drop
make their marks from Tibet to Nepal
exes on maps

social climbers bigots thick with thieves
blow yourselves to kingdom come that's up
say yr prayers & get off straight to hell
reach from the top


a tax on freedom

only London Bridge ain't falling down
bowler hats are found on foreign folks
tourists swarming in & out of jobs
bombers get one

messages in bottles duck & bob
condoms dive or swim in greasy shoals
lovers drown their woes or buck the blonde
bombshell gets John

buses ponder trains express & car
sharing taxis über alles throb
under smog as cyclists waft & weave
Bombay gets on

Zepplins come & go while kiddies watch
doodle bugs exploding cats & dogs
Cockney sparrows live or die the same
bomb sites get sun

rue no words what's said is done get up
face the future mourn the dead get on
ride the turning tide by letting go
bombers get none


ignored to death

scores in London seldom reach a score
Mosul town in contrast counts its dead
weekly by the hundred though this news
breaks fewer hearts

Paris got its share the other year
plotting hits on websites over deaths
Kabul's totals show the same reverse
breakdown of hearts

Berlin Brussels Madrid & Marseilles
all have trended online & on air
while Aleppo Homs & Istanbul
break lonely hearts

life is cheaper there in Twitter shares
Facebook likes & global reportage
while attacks on allied tribes & friends
break bigger hearts

life is cheaper too in business terms
dollars get you more than local bills
when the trouble settles down let's go
break a few hearts


smoking chimney

not for me to call a minaret
phallic but that Mosul one the old
Turk had built has rent the warp & weft
cloaking this earth

bricks & mortar billowed out on faith
weaving arabesques & tearing silk
ravished maidens put up such a fight
scathing of myths

Buddha blown up vast on canvas flaps
mothers tied in sacks to die at stakes
legal minds struck off by men in masks
god ain't that great

flesh & blood by sticks & stones defamed
rich man poor man bugger-all man thief
those who killed their names in flames to score
thousands of wives

sling no more ye friends of caliph hate
idol-blinded effigies of breath
running scared or facing down your fate
worship ye death

- Archie Locost




Thursday, 1 June 2017

Nose-picking in the Adirondacks

with Cowboy Joe


scrap

dear everyone I used to groan
only people who were anti were
cool as if the pros were banging drums
braying for war

now of course we're fighting side by side
peace at any price is not too dear
all my friends agreed & no one cried
prayers for war

god don't listen any more she's sick
devil took her stick poor girl I swear
still she hardly misses much the trick's
learning from war




recession in lunch cart verse

the opportunity cost of language
when sales are artificially low
is the coining of emotional verbiage
which can leave the average Joe
on the lookout for a ham-free sandwich
with saucy waitress to go



most people shy away when making hay

deploy euphemisms & if they do
occasionally let it all hang out
flush the Polaroids down a Portaloo

it's not as though they object to display
in other walks of life they strut around
almost naked for inst on holiday

play volleyball lark about at the pool
barbecue England's bangers by the pound
convinced their muscle tones & tans look great

yet doing what comes natural in the round
though dressed as organ grinders shall we say
how many folks would make a single sound



poetry revolution

nobody is physically killed
in the poetry revolution
stood up against the lectern
and shot by readers in blindfolds

while Frost is kept out in the 
cold Lorca survives to write
of humble retribution
dipping his pen in the blood of
gay marriage and gypsy
divorce meantime
rhyme & rhythm are hung
up to dry on long lines of reason
except Whitman who according
to some traditions is strung out on effigy




MAD women

with the naked thrill bananas feel
peeled in bedrooms Peggies compose
jingles advertising ready meals
pens between toes



O’Donald care

& yet another take on
this fake president's
likes & dislikes
is

how they make out Cuba’s
one of the few countries
Rockefeller's little
finger isn't on the pulse of

as if a crummy little
island couldn't transplant
a heart better & cheaper
than a few strands of hair




ink from the old

is it a duck-billed platitude to ask
if George the third etched his plan
on the bum of a waiting lady
or am I a stark staring Dutchman

experts may be divided
bisected on the rack
in efforts to reach the truth
for what can be extracted without gas

Master Nothing has nowt to say
& Mistress Telltale uttered no less
but Mister Social has spilled his all
& Madam Such as voluble as a fish dish



untitled

the pied wisecracker
drunk on gunk rhyme
don't do twitter
which ain't such a crime




their daily bread

not feeding the ducks may be lame
a meaningless walk in the park

struggling to dig up a name
too busy hunting of the quark

this universe ain't obvious
& the god complex a puzzle

religiously irreligious
at times in need of a muzzle

I come to the overwhelming
answer never ask a poet

if they've ever given delving
fifteen minutes in the toilet

& forgive my not trespassing
on the water dwellers' diet

Sunday, 7 May 2017

My Potty Political Statement

So what do you get for your Brexit?

Cut to the crap
You get what you deserve.

In the 2014 elections for the European Parliament, the UK Independence Party (UKIP) increased their number of MPs from 13 to 24; which made them the number 1 UK party, with nearly a third of the 73 seats. The turnout was only 35.6%.

By letting UKIP dominate at the polls, the message the people of the UK were sending to the Europe Union was basically Bog Off. Anyone who has watched TV the antics of UKIP's MPs in the European Parliament should agree. The UK dissed the European Union to such an extent that had it been any other kind of club, she would simply have been bounced out - never mind given leave to slink off.

Actually, it's fair to question whether the UK ever wanted to be in a union of European states. In the 1975 referendum, the Brits were only asked if they wanted to stay in the European Economic Community (still known as The Common Market). There was some dissent, but generally they were OK with the EEC: the result was a respectable Yes (67% on a turnout of 65%). But what if the question back then had been Do you think the United Kingdom should become a member of a Union of European States? rather than Do you think the United Kingdom should stay in the European Community (the Common Market)?”? Would the UK have voted YES to having a European Parliament?


Of course, many of us would have preferred if the UK had remained in 2016. We should have stayed and fought for common sense and a return to the pleasant neighbourhood of the old Marche Commune – not some creeping federal system that mostly benefits big money, international corporations and the hegemony of a sinister Franco-German axis. But now the UK has voted out - by 52% on a turnout of 72% - the time has come to accept what the majority has decided for us. All progressives – remainers included – need to get behind our leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and fight for a fair and mutually beneficial withdrawal from this Union of European states.
Vote Labour!

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Eric Gill

Mother Of ABusers

Rameses II & Bent Anat
Sculpture, not just the most plastic of the arts, is the most political. In cahoots with its bedfellow, architecture, sculpture's vision has dominated human landscapes for five millennia. Colossal works by Egyptian carvers of stone – artists whose lives we can barely imagine - still haunt the human psyche. Try blowing up the Pyramids, Mr Taliban. Imhotep's designs are MOAB proof, they consign all other wonders to the trump of history.

Gaze on these tiny figures of women, queens and princesses, curling round the calf muscles of giant pharaohs - apparently their fathers, bothers AND husbands. Ancient Egypt used to be thought of as a matrilineal society, which explained why its kings had to marry their mothers, sisters and daughters: to keep control of the royal family. Actually, explanations are for the birds; all most of us can do is stare in disbelief – if not dismay – at images created by this distant human society. While Shelley, in his sonnet Ozymandias, quotes an inscription on the pedestal of a broken statue in the desert,

Looks on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

...no such text (had it existed) could have been translated by the time he was writing. But surely, it's fair to assume all the gigantic figures of Rameses II (Florence Nightingale's great hero) represent the dominance of men over women in ancient Egypt. While arguments supposing a historical struggle between matriarchy and patriarchy twitter on (Engels, for example, with his dialectical twist on lapsarian fall theory), the evidence for an enduring aggressive male trumping of human society is stark. Carved in stone, it has outlived all the destructive efforts of the Taliban and so-called Islamic State. (Not that their scholars – sic - deserve any points for history.)
Gill WWI Memorial vs. Assyrian Warrior
It is curious - maybe predictable - how the sculpture and reliefs of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and Anatolia came to inspire Western art of the early twentieth century. For example, how the triumphal art of Babylon and Nineveh is echoed in monumental works commemorating the First World War. The stylised human, animal and vegetable features on the clean lines of modernist buildings hark back to the starkness of figures seen at Mount Nemrut and the Meroitic Kush. The addition of these follies nowadays almost guarantees a building Grade One listed status. Moreover, the accessibility of such pieces (which Art Deco grew out of) meant that this type of expression achieved popular success – unlike Dada and Cubism. Since their creation, they have survived many changes of taste. They are even embraced by post-Modernists, fgs.

Why did barbaric, pre-Classical sculpture move artists to create pieces for modern churches, palaces of culture and the HQs of capitalism? Had the traditions of their antecedents turned moribund? Or where they simply reveling in the barbarism of the war years?
Gill's “Slaughter of the Innocents”
Gill, who never really went out of fashion, has survived revelations about his personal life that would have demolished him had he been alive now. Instead of tearing down his work and locking it up in some Vatican dungeon, he continues to be celebrated by curators and writers on art; and voices raised against him are muted by supporters and apologists. In fact, his acts of incest, paedophilia and bestiality are all seen as part of the show. This seems at odds with our post-Savile world, but it's a fact of life that Gill has been posthumously accorded artistic licence to rape his grateful, smiling children.

Does this mean the future may bring about a reassessment of child abuse? Sooner or later, may folks be saying it's quite alright so long as the kids themselves look back fondly and claim, well, it was just Daddy's way of loving us? Will the future gawp at us, shaking its head at our prudery? Will Allen Ginsberg's membership of NAMBLA (the North American Man/Boy Association) be lauded as the saintly act of a sexual pioneer? Notwithstanding the great archness of his poetry, wasn't he just standing up for men who wreck the lives of young boys?

Of course, all people are flawed. Even genuine saints have their peccadilloes to bear, along with their crosses. St Anthony of Padua, tripping out on acid, did take himself rather seriously. While preaching to the fish, he might have thought he was making a moat point, but at only 35 years old he was consumed with the very fire - ergotamine – that probably inspired his skill in the pulpit. Gill croaked on lung cancer before reaching old age. Maybe the gods punish those who abuse their powers? I don't think so. There are people getting away with abuse right now. At this very moment, the Jimmy Saviles of this world lurk in the lavatories of culture, snorting the finest cocaine and popping the cherries of youth. And some of their victims, I'm afraid, will never turn on their abusers. Many out of fear, yes. Others, like Ginsberg and Gill's daughters, out of solidarity. They just won't see what is done to them – and others - as wrong. Theirs is a special case. And this is how the blasted pharaohs live on, dragging their great hides into the 21st century to be reborn.

Just as Savile was cloaked in charity work and association with royalty, Gill is protected by a deep Roman Catholicism and - of course - that other old excuse, for the sake of his art. So when we admire the seductive curves of his drawings and sculptures, we mayn't connect their eroticism with incest & paedophilia. Not even the nude drawings of his daughters? Fie! Religion has a long history of shielding monsters while pontificating in sermons against the morality of the day. Let's not allow art to be subverted any more than it is already. Picasso was a misogynist, which is plain to see in Les Demoiselles D'Avignon. He was no friend to bulls, either.

Lion God of Meroë
And let us set religion's own scriptures against those they offer sanctuary. When Lot's family were escaping from Sodom, his wife was so loathe to leave their life in the fleshpots, she looked back and was turned to a pillar of salt. Thereafter, the daughters were forced to 'seduce' Lot and protect the family's blood line, creating the tribe of Moab. Later on, when hordes of Moabites invaded lower Palestine, they slaughtered the menfolk, while leaving the women and maidens.

Avast ye modern warriors of MOAB! Pierce the armour of the Savilites - but spare their victims and bairns.

Monday, 24 April 2017

The First Hundred Years

as posted on... the Cheese Wall of America

mad dogs & other men

by TS Idiot 

I

when the soul of Hamlet's father
haunting the walls at Elsinore
told the prince of his murderer

what Tudor audiences saw
in that ancient tale of brother
hate was fable enshrined in law

Cain & Abel in other words
though Hamlet's vengeance is perverse
to be or not to be he hurls

equivocations at the curse
from Yorick's skull a flock of birds
flies out to stay his hand from worse

but the mad dog of revenge is no more
than brother Seti killed Osiris for
II

with the entry of the French Horns
in the scherzo of Beethoven's
Eroica the world was told

sit up & have a care to hold
on to your pants Napoleon's
armies will drain the swamp of crowned

heads & the dogs who scraped & fawned
but Ludwig scratched to a great MAN
on the manuscript's outer fold

where Bonaparte was once writ bold
for as emperor the new plan
was replaced by the old reformed

& still like men to hounds those horns are heard
wherever music lovers have gathered
III

they may not be the choicest words
used by an emperor elect
sorry scratch that for precedent

but the style of all his content's
appropriate in this respect
on TV nothing sounds absurd

pure & simple was the contest
arcane the process what the heck
goes with the territory learn

from his example the intern
has four years to triumph or wreck
& this candidate was the best

mad dog sir it was the name that swayed it
mad dog yes he's the best mad dog he's great
Down Boy!