Thursday, 27 March 2008

Brian's Modelling Career

Last night good friend and former ex of mine, Brian popped round with the most incredible present - my very own mid-19th Century Chicagoan skyscaper! And he hadn't even seen my previous posting The Poet Laura-eate's Adopt-An-Heiress Scheme!

With his droll sense of humour, Brian had incorporated both my name and the fact I have a qualification in Interior Design into 'my' commercial empire.
Ah, what might have been!

And though you can't see it in these photographs, it boasts a streetlamp and flickering fireplaces inside that light up at the flick of a switch!

I couldn't believe it. It wasn't even my birthday!

Prior to starting on 19th Century commercial architecture and warships, Brian previously crafted an extraordinarily painstaking battle scene diorama of The Inkerman Battle From The Crimean War among many other models.

A lovely and talented guy whose work deserves to be seen by a far wider audience than me anyway. When we dated I was always terribly impressed how he turned old chemists' medicine cabinets into diorama presentation cases and made anything he was unable to buy himself including intricate brass fittings on a mini-lathe in the lounge! His flat was a cornucopia of skipjack delights put to innovative use and charming eccentricities such as a bedroom door striped to match the dressing gown hanging upon it.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

'You've Got That Cat in Bed, Haven't You?'

'You've got that cat in bed haven't you?' calls the accusatory voice up the stairs.
'Nooo.' you lie, desperately trying to stop Katmandu from squirming under the bed sheets.
'Oh yes you have!' insists the voice. He's not down here. You must have.'
'No, I haven't.' you plead. 'Honest.'
'Hrmph! I know your brand of honesty!'
The ominous tread upon the stair. The amber eyes glowering unimpressed beneath the bedsheets. The bedroom doorknob turning slowly in the fashion of a Hitchcock film.
Katmandu sensing he is about to be forced to keep utterly still snuggled against your chest grows jittery, rebellion gleaming in his saucer eyes. The long shadow looms over the bed.
Katmandu starts squirming downwards and tickling your nightshirt-bare legs with his fur. You try not to giggle while worrying about possible claw-work if he doesn’t get his way. Suddenly he makes a dash for it, finding an escape chink in the bedsheets and a thump is heard on the bedroom floor.
‘I knew it!’ exclaims your bedtime jailer triumphantly. ‘Your foot just moved all the way to the end of the bed and jumped out of it.’
‘I’ve got restless legs’ you protest, moving a leg quickly and unfeasibly under the bedclothes by way of unconvincing illustration. But Katmandu has betrayed you by scuttling under the bed and making a break for the door with a final miaow to indicate his displeasure at the ignominy.
'He knows he's not allowed up here, so you've got no excuses! He could have fleas or anything! One more incident like this and there'll be no pocket money for a certain someone on Saturday, young lady.'
Your mother turns toward the door, but in the half-rays of the yellow landing light, you could swear you detect a smirk.

How many times this little scene played out in my childhood from the ages of about 3 to 15, with only slight amendments to both script and cat! Does anyone else have an oft-repeated little childhood scenario they would like to share?

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Thursday, 20 March 2008

The Poet Laura-eate's Adopt-An-Heiress Scheme

An appeal to all well-heeled would-be Patrons of the Arts at that youthfully-challenged stage of life who may be starting to worry about their posterity.

Fallen out with those greedy, ungrateful middle-aged kids?

Not too keen on cats?

Fed up with that Donkey at the Sanctuary that never writes back?

Want to be more than a park bench when you depart this vale of tears?

Sponsor the Poet Laura-eate to live a life of wild poetic abandon (ie give up the day job) and she will use some of that time to visit and entertain you at least once a week and be the dream daughter you always wished you'd had and can proudly boast about to all your friends.

Should you one day decide to leave her all your money, she will then;

A. Pen your biography - beautifully. In iambic pentameters, if you wish.
B. Erect public fountains, gazebos or statuary in your memory - all three if finances permit!
C. Ensure your castle or manor house is not bulldozed in favour of a new Supermarket, bypass, airport or housing estate.
D. Look after your dog for the rest of its life & water your plants.
E. Cherish your garret or turret tower as her own.
F. Take your Library books back.

Naturally owing to limited supply of Poet Laura-eates, this offer must be made on a strictly first come, first served, basis!

I'll even throw in a free Easter egg for the duration of the Easter hols!

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

The Third Worst Poetry In The Universe

Could be written by you!

Check out the Vogon Poetry Generator I stumbled upon.

* For the benefit of non- Douglas Adams' afficionados, 'Vogons' were aliens famed for penning the 'third worst poetry in the universe' in The Hitch Hiker's Guide to The Galaxy - poetry so bad that all their enemies fled rather than hear the Vogons reciting it!

Luckily no mass exodus has yet fled from any of my readings, but the woeful tale of the Vogons acts as a sobering reminder that we poets should never get too smug.

Monday, 17 March 2008

I'll Go No More a Rover-ing!

My beloved Suzuki Swiftie was getting a little less nifty
So reluctantly I set aside a Saturday to look for another car
Turned the corner from my house and there you were.
An almost-immaculate looking Rover in my price range
I went to pick up a male friend and though I had arranged
To see other cars, we returned, I had a test drive and he couldn't disagree
That you seemed like the car almost waiting for me.
Careful lady owner, taxed, MOT'd, mileage fair,
Basic checks passed, paperwork in order, I bought you then and there.
For the first week you were wonderful, like an ocean liner on wheels
Your door actions were pleasing, your array of luxury extras seemed unreal,
Then you decided to play up starting, not first thing in the morning
But when the engine was WARM, after many miles of driving.
Your favourite trick became stranding me at petrol stations
But choosing to start again just before the RAC arrived for resuscitation.
Off to the best Oxford Garage you went, two, three times
Coil, battery, starter, alternator, fine
The cause of the trouble they couldn't divine
But they re-shod the brake, replaced three tyres
You behaved for a while and then blew a gasket!
I nicknamed you the 'Money Pit', and boy, did you live up to it!
But I was in too deep to trade you in again.
Another car was another risk,
and I really thought you were starting to like me, when…
Several weeks later, out with a friend on the road,
You refused to brake completely and into a Land Cruiser you sloughed.
Now your bonnet is buckled and your grille has lost its smile
Or perhaps it was a cruel sneer, all the while.
Farewell, my Money Pit minx,
With your driver-beating jinx.
Let's hope my bad car-ma is over,
My late, ill-starred, unlamented Rover!

© LS King 2008

Actually 'Money Pit' may yet have the last laugh as the insurers have yet to declare him 'economically irrepairable' following my crash on Thursday night. But since fairly small dents seem to qualify for writing cars off in these (green?) days of ours, I’d be surprised to see him back in my driveway somehow. You don't really expect to have an abusive relationship with a car, do you? Yet in our five months together it often seemed that way with me nervous to step inside his portals and find out what he was going to do to me next!
I only thank goodness neither myself nor friend Paul were hurt on Thursday night, bar the inevitable shock and touch of whiplash, and that the family in front were just shocked with a loose bumper and a few dents to show for the impact. Ironically it transpired my crashees' first husband had been killed in a car crash, so I also met the first Land Cruiser driver with a genuine excuse for driving one that night plus enough kids to actually fill one. And bless her, she was as nice as she could be under the circumstances. Her second husband swiftly turned up and was a great help aiding Paul in getting Money Pit and the debris off the main road while we awaited the rescue services.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Ducks Admitted to Oxford

A cute little incident which took place the other evening.

Female American student: 'But how'd they get in here?'
Me: 'I blame the erosion of entrance examinations myself.'
Maurice the Porter: 'It's dumbing down gone mad!'
Me: 'Or even 'ducking down!'
(general groans)
Paul: 'Didn't you know? It's part of the new University strategy to encompass diversity and minority groups.'

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

A Few of My Favourite Things...

Have just discovered I was tagged by London journalist Rachel North several weeks ago for a meme on the subject of 7 favourite things (apparently to counter all the negative pet hate lists that are the usual fare of we bloggers!)

But how to get away from the cheesy long walks in the country, cute furry animals, open hearth fires, chocolate, making love, everyblogger list! Ah well, here goes;

1. Candles – I’ve got into the habit of lighting at least a couple every evening when home as I find them unbelievably relaxing. Candlelit baths, even better, though sadly the bathroom in my current abode is a little cramped to take any fire safety risks!
2. The Seaside. Although I don’t live by the sea, I find I often long for it and when I see it, it’s like being able to breathe again. I particularly adore historic seaside resorts with piers.
3. Beautiful Architecture, particularly Victorian or Regency, though I tend to rate anything up until the 1930s, when it all went downhill in my view! Except for my one concession to post-modernism - the rather thrilling Arkitecture
4. Jokes that lead you to expect they are going to be incredibly rude, but turn out to have a surreal/silly ending that subverts your expectations completely!
5. All Television Bonnet & Period Dramas, except for bad re-makes.
6. Good Design. In everything from buildings and towns to clothes and household goods. Why does it always have to be a choice between functional and beautiful? Good design should fulfil function, aesthetics and last at least as long as you do (also very green!). Good design is so rare, despite the fact designers are ten-a-penny these days, it makes my heart leap when I see it!
7. Mystique – not enough of it left in this world, and I’m as guilty as anyone for exposing it to the harsh light of writerly revelation. The only thing as sexy as mystique is talent. To know someone you’re still finding out about and who still surprises you after ten years of friendship is a joy.

I'm guessing many bloggers have probably already covered this theme, but I'll take a risk and tag Reluctant Blogger just in case! Anyone else who fancies this meme and hasn't had it yet, let me know and I'll link to you!

13/03/08 The Sagittarian at More Canterbury Tales, you're hereby tagged!

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Monday, 10 March 2008

Former Colleague

Cheryl The Peril

Unsolicited teddy bears and texts
Sinister stuff.
Of her Parish Priests' unrequited love
She cannot get enough.
My former colleague from the bank
Stares out from the national newspaper
With all the dignity she can muster
For a Priest harasser.
Bound over to keep the peace
Her amorous advances must now cease
(or he'll call the Police).
What happened to pastoral care?
Was he really so scared of a teddy bear?
Or was watching him potter shirtless in his kitchen
The situation his diocese hadn't sufficiently trained him in
From her widowed mother's bedroom across the road?
No mercy for this lovelorn miss, Christian love be blowed,
For he loves Jesus, Cheryl, and you're a mad woman
To think you could compete has only left you a sad woman.
Isn't it time your love life stopped making the national papers?
Like that time you tried to sue the bank over your disastrous liason with a manager?
I remember, even when I worked there,
You'd just had six months off for depression from another doomed affair.
You were the Receptionist and had to smile your 'trust me' bank face all day long
And Lizzie covered for you when you sobbed in the staff room.

© LS King 2008

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Friday, 7 March 2008

My Town

Every Poet Laureate must pen at least one civic poem as part of the job. Here's mine, but in the spirit of civic shareware, I decree this poem to be copyright-free, so you may adapt for your own town or city, or perhaps do a cover version if you're a musician.

Save Changes

Customise your town. Edit urban decay
Knit your own community, have your say
It's Oxford ‘Talk To Your Neighbours Day’
United, we stand for a better (not third) way
Let’s clean up this town, sprinkle green onto brown
Polish the jewel of Oxfordshire’s crown
Build better density housing that won’t offend the tourists
Keep the conurbation special, serve cake (with icing) to the purists
Tell the druggies and alcies, it’s time to pull their socks up
Or next time they pass Bonn Square, there might just be some stocks up!
Let's revert the prison from posh hotel to its proper use
And never refuse to collect refuse.
Then there's doubling up the lonely
To be greener and more friendly.
We could reclaim the streets and alleys
From the crims, scammers, scallies
Treasure our noble architecture
Design out corporate, brave or car-chitecture
And merge town and gown
Into a social model of world renown.
Why wait or emigrate for Paradise?
We could all make this place nice.

LS King 2008

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Monday, 3 March 2008

The Poet Laureate Of Oxford!

While other cities and towns such as Birmingham and Warwick are busily appointing their own Poet Laureates, I noticed that Oxford (the city with the largest number of writers-per-square-mile in Britain), has been woefully remiss about keeping up with the times.

Having missed out on Poet-In-Residence of Oxford Bus Company, I have therefore decided to redress this shameful civic oversight by appointing myself; Poet Laureate of Oxford.

Henceforth you shall address me as 'Your Worshipful Odemistress of Oxenford City'. Courtesy curtsey lessons will be available in the Town Hall - to be announced by the Town Crier.

So if any of you other local poets want it, you'll have to fight me for it - quills at dawn! Hand-to-hand Haiku's! But I warn you, ink will be shed.

Mwah ha ha ha!

They'll never take me alive!

Now, where can I buy a white long-haired cat and an evil OdeJob henchman?

On the subject of Laureates, Gloucestershire Poet Laureate & top poetry slam champion Peter Wyton has written an excellent poem for another Laura of his acquaintance (another???? Can there be such an outrage?) - evidently with kindred world dominational aspirations, which I reproduce below with his kind permission.


Every Laura ought to have a Laureate. They owe it to their name.
And they’ll proclaim their Laura-ness this way.
Starting today, the League of Lauras will employ a Corps of Boys
Who’ll glorify, from cradle to all-night rave,
The extra-special aura of every Laura on the planet
From Andorra to Zamora, signorina or senora, each troubadour will chronicle
His Laura’s life from maidenhood to wife or paramour.
He’ll celebrate her slightest trait because there’s so much more
To Lauras, they’re impulsively impetuous, voluptuous and valorous
And mischievously humorous or so their toy-boys chorus. If the old conquistadores
Had chanced upon a continent of Lauras just west of the Azores,
Who’s to say they’d not have stayed and lost all interest in the notion
Of transiting the ocean to discover all those North and South Americas
Full of…Ericas! If you’ve savoured being favoured by a Laura,
You’ll be aware that she won’t care, if you strike up a good rapport with her,
Indulging in a tug-of-war in Baltimore, or sailing off to Singapore aboard
An Albercore, or doing a marathon for charity upon a penny-farthing bike.
She’ll hike up Everest for you if she thinks that’s what you’ll like.
That’s how it is with Lauras, once they’re for you they will utterly adore you,
Yet, when their seed of love is planted, you must not take them for granted.
The Laura you ignore will kick you out the bedroom door
Before your feet can touch the floor, but if you compare her, say,
To the aurora borealis, she’ll promote you to the A-list
Of her ‘kiss-me-please’ celebrities. You may even be permitted,
If your face has really fitted, to unpeel her like a peach
On some desert island beach. And then you’ll find your Laura
Sun-worshipping on her back and in the words of Cilla Black,
You’ll see a lorra, lorra, morra Laura than you’ve ever seen before.
In case your natural euphoria at this point gets the better of you don’t forget
That Laura’s Laureate will be squatting right beside you
On a deck-chair or a lilo with a very bland expression and a notebook in his hand.
And he’s not rooting for you, what he’s going to do is score you!
If he holds up 9.9, that’s fine, but should you dive below a 5,
You bet your Laura will abhor you and her laureate will have some terse verse on Romantic etiquette, along the lines of STOP! You’re not a bull. She’s not a china shop.
That’s Laura. I implore you to employ finesse. You must caress her
To impress her. Think Dresden shepherdess, not sumo wrestler,
Oh, for goodness sake, you masculine mistake,

© Peter Wyton