Thursday 28 April 2011


The holiday cottage has wifi, said  mrs ishmael, so you'll be ok, only it hasn't, it has the idea of wifi.  The owners are aware of he concept of wifi, it's just that it doesn't work and the Yorkshire libraries' broadband  is more  like slenderband.  Had really hoped to cybercelebrate the nuptials, especially since the Met's Commander Christine Dyke has warned us that "people have three hundred and sixty four other days in which to protest,  so we will take appropriate action against people seeking to spoil the celebration" - honest, not invent, step this way for Ruritania, or Bolshevik Russia.  Nest stop Leek in Staffs, from where we might be able discuss the Benefits cheats big fat gipsy wedding. Oh ,happy day.

Wednesday 27 April 2011



No doubt the tellydroids would urge us that a timely reappraisal of George Martin, Sir George of Beatlemania, is timely, and that Monday night's hymn of praise to him is a timely reappraisal, the fifth Beatle, he was, you know, and a great human being, aye, tell it to Pete Best.

With Martin's help, The Beatles destroyed rock'n'roll; that some poor numbskulls believe that recording cymbals backwards is a stroke of genius - how the fuck would anyone know, anyway, backwards or forwards, a cymbal is just a cymbal? - just shows the power of what we now call the Industry and its stooges, all across skymadeupnewsandfilth - Rolling Stone, Q Magazine, Radio One, all engaged in mutual masturbation with succeeding kings of the studio.

What the Beatles and their corporate masters did was consumerise disturbed teenage hormones, male and female and coincidentally rob much of my generation of what critical faculties they may have developed. Rowing with them, sad old men, over at The Guardian one can almost smell, through cyberspace, the inhaled heart attack medicine of silly old farts, duped and confused into thinking their silly teenages were part of a movement, aghast and outraged that not everybody thinks Strawberry Fields Forever sublime,

There is no question that much of the early Beatles repertoire is enchanting, magical, timeless music but if we look at the decades of tripe, progrock and concept albums, double and triple - mr mongoose can fill in the gaps, name the guilty - ushered in by the sorry druggy doggerel, the overblown bombast of Sergeant Pepper we see their real, corrosive impact on popular culture; I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in, to stop my mind from wonderin', where it will go, Jesus wept, what a load of old shite. Among many intolerably pretentious gabshites The Electric Light Orchestra, those prancing dummies, are down to Martin.

Guardian commenters misattribute, well, everything, really but specificallyNoel Coward, putting his words in the noisesome mouth of railways enthusiast and KylieMeister, Mr Pete "Pete" Waterman. It was Noel Coward, said that thing, about No one ever lost money underestimating the taste of the British Public, the sayings of StationMaster Waterman are, like his music, rather less acerbic but Noel was right. Millions, including, probably, these sad old gits above, pondered the meaning of Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite, even though there wasn't any and flocked, later, to learn the latest aphorisms of bullyboy, wife-beating, smackhead Lennon, pontificating from inside a bag or a bed, on peace and love, the horrible bastard.

One can imagine, four squabbling Scousers, stoned out of their gourds, one in the corner, thumbs-upping, singing a music hall tune, one chain-smoking himself to HareKrishna death, the dopey one at the back, trying to count his fingers and the vicious, angry peacenik with the stupid glasses - Hey George, you're the maestro, I wanna have a sound like, you know, like penguins, man, eating cornflakes, while riding motor bikes, only, like, they have to be ridin' 'em underwater..... you know, 'cos I'm a genius, Yoko says so, and like, she's an artist, she don't look back. No, problem, boys, what key do you want it in????? Er, like wossakey then, George, you takin' the piss?

Chuck Berry produced the definitive rock'nroll music. And even though he took our childhoods to jail with him, Phil Spector wrote the insane, joyous book on rock'n'roll production - then he asked me to be his bride, always be right by his side, I felt so happy I almost cried, and then he shot me. Holly, Spector, Berry and a host of US black groups, they informed the genius years of the Beatles, Martin helped them wank themselves dry, a novelty record producer, too pleased with himself to say No. Bob Dylan, the miserable, croaking, sourfaced old git, lacking the input of a trickster like Martin, still produces the occasional triumph, the occsional number one album; McCartney, meantime, fronts his own tribute band, Hey-Judeing his life away.

Time, of course, will tell, who has fell but all these people, investing so much of themselves in the frothy, lightweight and meaningless entertainment of their youth, making genius of over-indulgence seem to have the critical faculties of a lamp post; Please, Please Me, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, Thank You Girl, Things We Said Today, I'm Looking Through You, Eight Days A Week, these were truly great examples of popular song, if they want to hear harpsichord, they should listen to Handel, If they want to hear string quartets they might try Beethoven, but if they wanna hear some of that rock and roll music they should avoid Martin's dreary Sergeant Pepper like the plague. Thinking outside the box, Aye, right. That Beatlemania still dominates the lives of so many sheds some light on how it is that CallHimDave can so effortlessly march us back, whistling, to the 'thirties.

The rockumentary was as bad as one might have guessed in advance. McCartney and Martin reminiscing on their joint, inspired greatness, the mutant, Starkey, grinning, with Sir George at his percussive triumphs, although never onscreen in the company of Fab Sir Paul

As to the historical/social commentary aspect of this dreadful piece of fanshit, the most significant event of the early 'sixties was not the release of Love Me Do - as so many insist - or anything else but the introduction, in 1961, by Health Minister, Enoch Powell, of the contraceptive pill, that, now, was truly transformational. That was proper Baby You Can Drive My Car stuff.


I was in York Minster on Easter Sunday and his grace, Archbishop John, was glad-handing the pilgrims on their way out. Acting in my capacity as a member of the counter-press, I asked him if he was sticking to his pledge of not changing his underpants until Bob Mugabe had been lynched, boiled-up and eaten, Bless you, my son, he grinned.  I couldn't smell his underpants, even though it was a hot day and he was well wrapped up in archbishop clothes, so who knows, him and his Saviour, I guess. I woudn't be at all surprised if he was wearing underpants made of cloth of gold, handsewn by some scrubbed and shrivelled Anglican nuns, especially for him, fringed with diamonds, and had been hullshitting the Faithful all along, about him and Uncle Bob and his self-denial of bodily hygiene.  I mean, being an archbishop, he wouldn't expect to be walking around York, all greasy and shitty in the down below department. He certainly didn't look as though he hadn't changed his underpants for five years.  I missed his sermon but saw, instead, right afterwards, the Choral Matins, locked behind iron gates in the  Quire;  there were only about a hundred of us, virtually outnumbered by choristers and deans and precentors and crippled, old sidesmen demanding money.  I gave them a tenner, what his late revoltingness, the phoney reverend, Ian Sypillis Paisley, used to call a silent donation, and was glad to get out of there alive.  But the music was fantastic, I had never heard any of it, psalms and anthems in settings by Victorian devouts, as it was happening in the beginning, is happening now and will carry on happening, alleleuia, amen. And there were only a couple of readings by the dean and some other dude, short and to the point - Do as God fucking tells you. That'll do until Christmas, save to reflect that a life ordered by the Church calendar obviously has its leisurely attractions, its comforts, especially when the regular rituals are performed in such a setting, glass and wood and stone, its shapers' hands long coffin dust, its restoration and repair as constant as Time.

Wednesday 20 April 2011


 Captain Flashman, at military training college

 By the right, quick march into Vietnam-style disaster.
Right, right, right-right-right.

Adhering to his theme of cuts not being cuts, unemployment not being unemployment, inflation not being inflation and university fees not really going up, even though they are,  the unelected prime minister, Mr David Flashman  and his slaphead chum, Mr William Miscarriage Hague,  insisted today that British troops going into Libya weren't British troops going into Libya but something else entirely - they were British Troops Going Into Libya In An Advisory Role, it wasn't a question of them being soldier-type troops, fuck no, these were just officer soldiers, so not really soldiers at all, more like troops, but not really troops, more like social worker troops, peace troops, with pistols, but not the sort of pistols used for shooting people, well, not exclusively for shooting people, anyway. Asked what else you might use pistols for, the unelected prime minister siad that pistols could be used for humanitarian purposes such as knocking-in tent pegs. Yes, yes, hammers and mallets were the proper thing but they couldn't be used for shooting Libyan conscripts, not that the British troops, who weren't troops, anyway, would be doing that shit, at least not unless they had to, in about a week's time.. Or whenever.  


The late Field Marshal Lord Paddy "Paddy" Pantsdown PC,  former Leadet of the Dogshooters, former UN Supreme Excellency in  Bosnia Herzegovena and all around arsehole, emerged from his crypt, yesterday, to say that the Tories shouldn't be cunting Mr Clegg over the referendum which isn't on everybody's lips, other than when they say, as most people do, if that worthless, shiteating, pussywhipped, mommasboy cocksucker,  Clegg,  is for it, I'm against it, whatever it is.

I was only unfaithful to my wife the once; alright, it was for seventeen years, but we've got over it, especially now that I'm dead.

Emerging from his tomb in the SAS regimental cemetery, Lord Pantsdown said that he had never heard such low jibes as those which the No campaigners were making about his leader, Mr Nick Cunt.  Even in the grave, he said, his piercing blue eyes  squinting  and staring into the distance, I can hear them, those fucking Tory cunts, making personal remarks about Nick Cunt, it really is too bad for those public school wankers, like that snooty cunt Osborne,  to be making personal remarks like that. When I was leader of my party I wouldn't have stood for the brownhatter, Simon Hughes, slagging-off Peter Tatchell for being gay when the fucker was gay himself,  the cunt, even though I did.

Asked about Mr Cunt's future, should he lose the referendum, which he will, Field Marshal Ashdown fixed his piercing blue eyes at a point far in the distance and  squinting against a Sun no-one else in the Any Questions studio  could see, said,  Well, I was a soldier y'know, so I know everything, and if I were him I would resign and spend more time with my filthy Dago family, leaving the party in the safe hands of an elder statesman, an old soldier who knows the ropes and can provide a steady pair of pants, I mean hands. Anything, after all, is better than being buried six feet below ground, as I normally am.


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Sunday 17 April 2011


I went shopping for an Audi Avant estate. My old Volvo V40 estate is creaking a bit and needs changing and  I was  fed up  pushing the Smart Car in the snow;  it's only light, but heavy enough to cause a heart attack.  So, a 4WD was the thing.  I tried a Mitsubishi Outlander, but it was as ugly as sin, and a big bastard,  and silver, like most cars.  I don't mind living in the future but I draw the line at having a mobile phone or any of that stuff  and I couldn't possibly have a big silver jelly mould of  a car.  It was OK, the Mitsubishi,  had one of those tectronic, is it,  automatic gearboxes and fair roared along.  But all my life, whenever I have heard the word Mitsubishi it has been followed, in my head, by the word Zero.  I wasn't even born in the Jap war, but I have met people who had a frightful time as POWs and  I just didn't fancy having anything called a Mitsubishi hanging around the place.

  I once had an old Audi 80 sports, bought for a song, and I loved it, so I was well disposed towards a newer Audi but there weren't any to be had. I had Googled them and found they enjoyed what they call in CarWorld strong residuals, they held their price.  Too fucking right they do, ten year old models with a hundred thousand on the clock fetching eight grand, more; I could have bought a stonking big BMW for that.

I needed a new car for an upcoming shopping trip to England and although the SmartCar would have done the journey in speed and comfort, I couldn't have got the  shopping in it.

My plumber, David,  has been promising to sell me his old Land Rover as soon as he can get round to sorting it out and so I thought, winter is some way off, I can press him to sort it out over the summer and in the meantime buy a non-4WD;  I'll just keep the Landy parked up when I get it and use it if I need to, I don't even need to tax  or insure it as the snowy problem areas are all on my own land, I'll just tow another car up the lane and Bob's your uncle.

And so I decided on  a used Ford Focus. Haven't had a Ford for thirty years, but they couldn't still be a pile of shit,  starter motors poised to jam,  Bendix gear chattering on a frosty morning, McPherson struts aching to pop through the  rusty wing, clutches failing as regular as clockwork, bulbs popping, radiators freezing, hoses blowing,  alternators burning-out, Jesus,  I hated those fucking things.  Seemed alright,  though, this one,  low miles, full service history, aircon, boring as Hell but never mind, OK, Mike, I'll have that one, it'll do.  Er, d'ya wannae just tak a wee look at this other one, it's a C-max Focus, and a hell of a car, ye can lift oot all the seats, d'ye ken.  Aye, Mike, but it's fucking silver..... But they're nearly all silver, the noo......Meantime,  Mrs Ishmael had spotted  a strange looking yellow car, down the line. What's this, Mike?  Well........ and so he told me.

This is a Citroen C4 VTS, 2 litre, 16 valve, 180 bhp, 145 mph, three-door coupe, it does nought to sixty in eight seconds.  It has traction control, variable power steering, automatic braking assistance, ventilated discs, twin, separate  aircon for driver and passenger; it has directional headlights which follow the steering, the wipers come on automatically when it rains, the lights come on automatically when it gets dark, the JBL hi-fi has nine speakers and the volume increases automatically with the speed of the car,  there are nine airbags,  the speedo is digital and mounted on top of the dash in the centre, visible even in the brightest sunlight,  the rev counter is digital, too and mounted on the steering wheel boss, it turns  red as you approach maximum revs, all the controls are mounted  in a central boss which remains fixed as the steering wheel turns around it,  there is a speed limiter and cruise control;  the side mirrors retract themselves when you lock the car, popping out as you re-open it, you can also  retract them with a button from inside the car;  there is a Europe-wide Satnav system,  the internal mirror dims itself if dazzled from behind,  the hazard lights come on if you brake hard, switching off as you re-accelerate,  there is an onboard computer calculating trip distance and mpg,  there are front and back parking sensors with a visual display on the screen and a tyre pressure indicator for each wheel and there is a microphone by the mirror for something called a Bluetooth.  And that's just the half of it.

The car has done 43,000 miles, had one owner and has a full main dealer service history.

After I bought it,  I Googled some reviews, they were all good, even the oaf, Clarkson, having burbled along, in his Times column, about some actress, Kirstin Somebody, listed all the features and said You'd think I was talking about a hundred-grand S Class Mercedes.  But You'd Be Wrong. It's a French hot hatch and it is simply tres magnifique.

This'll be the sixth or seventh car I've bought from Mike  and they've all been ok.  None of them, though, have had this battery of electronics. We'll see what happens.

This is absolutely the highest spec in the range and cost   a private buyer   nearly nineteen thousand pounds five years and forty three thousand miles ago.  Clarkson and everybody else said that the depreciation on it was frightening.  I bought it for three and a half grand.  How can that be, what demented  actuary works these things out, that an expensively maintained  vehicle can shed three quarters of its worth in less than half of its life? Surely, this, too, cannot be Labour's fault.


Way back, before before, there was a cadre of respectful, if not always respectable British blues players - Alexis Korner, Davy Graham, Bert Jansch, John  Renbourn, guitarists all, and cool jazzheads like Chris Barber & Ottilie Patterson, trad jazz men, like Lonnie Donegan, scuffling around for a gig, a record.  All these people saw themselves as ambassadors of the Blues, some of them setting up UK tours by Uncle Sam's  finest sub-humans, Big Bill Broonzy, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, Howlin' Wolf,  Muddy Waters, and  Sonny Boy Williamson.  Many of the great US bluesmen were dead - Blind Willie McTell, Lightnin' Hopkins, Big Joe Williams and of course Robert Johnson, and could only be heard on scratchy acetates;  it's true, nobody can sing the blues like Blind Willie McTell. Or Jimmy Reed or Little Walter or Elmore James;

  there were legions of country and urban bluesmen, and some women, picking and sliding and slashing magically at cheap guitars, thumping rolling twelve-bars from out of tune pianos, rasping bent notes out of tiny mouth harps, summonsing the mojo of the grateful dead, their slave parents, passed over to Beulah Land, no more auction block for them, no more masters' whips. Heavy shit.

These people were just poor nigger trash, busted flush sharecroppers, no 'count cottonpickers;  the great,  the divine  Mississippi John Hurt,  the most fluid, enchanting and original of country fingerpickers, was recorded in the 'twenties and then consigned back to  the Delta's poverty stricken, racist  oblivion, before being rediscovered  in the 'sixties, by white college boys  like John  Sebastian and Country Joe McDonald, who plagiarised his double-timed Corrina, Corrina, his Candy Man, his Make Me A Pallet Down On Your Floor;

  Nearer My God To Thee, he sang, on his handful of Vanguard albums, and so it was - those who've suffered the most have to be better connected than those who are most content.  But those early British players, anyway, intuited the grace and the power of the Blues, electric or acoustic,  and proselytized it, as best they could, an  act of devotion, almost.

Those  early, Mississippi Delta  blues were tunes shipped across the Atlantic in  slavers, played originally on fife and drum, gourds and bamboo, songs originally to other gods and then adapted to a new misery, a new, endless,  manacled sorrow, relieved only by the slave masters'  foreign God - Jesus, gonna make up my dying bed;  Meet me, Jesus, meet me, meet me in the middle of the air.  And with the partial passing -  the sanitisation -  of slavery came songs of grinding poverty and cruel, smirking AnafuckingBaptist segregation - Me and a man was workin' side by side, it didn't make no sense, They was payin' him a dollar an hour, they was payin' me fifty cents, they said,  If yous White, yous alright, If yous Brown, stick around, but if yous black, Oh, brother, get back, get back get back.  Leadbelly and Broonzy sang of a different reality to that of formal slavery,  but it was no less shameful.  As the  white twentieth century lurched between recession and world wars, the nigger music became a little more risque, If you don't want my peaches, honey, don't ya shake my tree;  I am the little red rooster, too lazy to crow for day;  Good mornin' little schoolgirl, can I come home with you;  but lamentatious or salacious,  the cultural nigger  product of Uncle Sam's great experiment with freedom was powerful Juju; while Robert Johnson was down at the crossroads, dealin' with the Devil,  in England we had George Formby, leanin' on a lamp post, at the corner of the street, in case a certain little lady comes by.  No wonder that 'forties and 'fifties musos gazed longingly across the great divide. No wonder that Donegan, a largely tuneless, nasal  excuse for a singer created  a bastard singalongablues and called it skiffle, singing US prison songs, railroad songs, in a high , white whine to a crude, amateur accompaniment of guitar, washboard and one-string, tea-chest bass;  such was the dire state of UK popular music that Donegan was a runaway success, happy, eventually to abandon  his Limey blues interpretations for novelty recordings about chewing gum and dustbins, no, as we never tire of saying here, no  business like show business.

But then came the insufferable John Mayall, Britain's self-styled professor of the blues and in his wake, under his tutelage,  a whole slew of grasping wannabes, like Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page, posturing, absurdly, their heart-on-sleeve identification with the music of the slaves,  their like, total, man, immersion in the culture of, like, blackness, man. Just gotta get my shit together. Arseholes.

There were thousands of them, tens of thousands,  into the blues, man, really into it,  paid their dues, they had, not exactly on the road gang, or in the county farm or down on that killin' floor but in the wardrobe  mirror, in their Surbiton or Stourbridge bedrooms.  It was the biggest,   most maladroit cultural misappropriation of the twentieth century, as though the Welsh had claimed bullfighting as their own; Eric Clapton's facially contorted,  tedious stringbending seen by gullible teenagers as divine, bendingness is next to Godliness. And there was the rot - hairy,  white middle class boys, bearing the new WhiteMan's Burden, stealing the BlackMan's Blues, and selling it back to him, all in the best possible taste.

I read a few years back that Eric was feeling  really down, his new Ferrari was six months overdue, what a bummer, woke up this mornin', my sportscar still hadn't done arrive;  still, he was able to advertise those gaudy Rolex watches, or timepieces, in Time magazine, musta eased his troublin' mind no end, that.

And at the end of the 'sixties so-called Blues Boom, from the squabbling ruins of Page's awful, pretentious  Yardbirds came the clunking, sybaritic behemoth that was Led Zeppelin, managed by the loathsome bullyboy and racketeer manque, Peter Grant,

 a twenty-stone fuckpig and dyed in the wool moron who would nevertheless  guide Zeppelin to Devil-worship, to orgiastic, underage rough sex, to fatal drug overdose and to fortunes almost beyond the dreams of avarice.

I never went for that androgyne stuff, so popular back then, David Bowie and  Lou Reed were at the head of it, so to speak,

I thought it was unwholesome, nothing to do with me, gender benders,  can't stand them, one thing or the other, anything else endangers the spacecraft, nothing to do with rock and roll, nothing to do with music, even, dragging-up and queening all over the shop. Buddy Holly never did shit like that, that'll be the fucking day   and maybe Phil Spector did wind-up shooting folks and taking our childhoods to jail with him but he never dressed up  as  a  woman.  The great Little Richard is as bent as  a nine-bob note - or a forty five pence piece - but you wouldn't ever catch him faking fellatio on his guitarist.  Bowie hanging out in Berlin, acting as if he was Isherwood on amphetamine, he and his mental Mrs,  banging the same poxed-up rentboy,  what a load of old shite, pretentious art school wanker. And while I could understand young women  being turned-on by  Led Zeppelin's vulgar, bombastic,  ostentatious and meaningless cock-rock, I could never figure out why so many young men in greatcoats had a hard-on for Robert Plant.  Although, on the strength of last night's evening with Plant, on BBC 4, the biggest hard-on in town is the one he has for himself.

Mark Radcliffe is a stupid as deejays can get, not as universally, unequivocally fawning as Paul Mr Pretentious Gambuccini, for instance, but certainly as mindless as Tony Blackburn in his prime, as insincere and jumped-up as Simon Bates, Radcliffe is an affront to anyone interested in music, rather than in "the industry."  I heard him once before and only once,  he was interviewing the great John  Prine, on Radio Two.  Prine,  the gentle songster,  has more talent in his little finger than Radcliffe has in his entire charmless, epsilon body, save that of patronising  a quiet, unassuming artist of great stature, a typical BBC celebrity wanker, is Radcliffe, and he was obviously thrilled to be interviewing the great rock god and cock-waving numbskull, Robert Plant,  about his lemon-squeezing life and career.

Even by the abysmal, pathological standards of showbusiness, Plant emerged as  almost uniquely self-obsessed, seeing himself as, I dunno, rock catalyst, Svengali, mover and shaker  but mainly as just, well, great,  his greatness being the vocal icing on the dodgy battenberg of Page and Jones and Bonham, his co-Zeppers,  them all being great together,  their greatness, collectively and independently, greatness, like Handel or Beethoven, really, truly great. Almost, like the cunt, Clegg, third-personing himself, Robert was all, There I was,  doing this, with so-snd-so, it was incredible. I was incredible. I was a new incredible thing, a new greatness.

I wouldn't have gone to see them if they were playing in my back garden,

but I heard a few of the albums, back then, histrionic rubbish, noisy, vulgar and flashy, twin-neck Gibsons, guitars  played with 'cello bows,

wow, man,  and drug-crazed, interminable drum solos where a couple of bars would have done,  and Planty, bare-chested, shrieking and howling, a cucumber down his kecks, a study in pointless homoerotic excess.

His Zeppelin drummer, wotsisname, Bonham,  had been his mentor, had got him the gig and so, when the stupid fuck had drugged himself to death,  he and Pagey and the other clown just couldn't, you know, couldn't....

And so Stourbridge's greatest son has  proudly gone his own, irrelevant way, forming  bands and closing them down, disappointing legions of poor Zeppheads, all bleating for a reunion between Plant and the ridiculous Page and the other one.  Doctor Bob Dylan has been unable for forty of his fifty career years, to  carry a tune and is the sort of out of tune, out of time, wrong key  player who, if he wasn't who he is, nobody in their right mind would want in their ensemble, not even if he was playing outside in the carpark and yet he is never short of sidemen and women.  Plant's career highlight has been howling lonely lonely lonely lonely lonely lonely with all the finesse of that other great entertainer, Tom can you  lower your voice to a shriek, you fucking moron, Jones. And he, too, seems able to at least brush shoulders with people whom you wouldn't suspect of giving him houseroom, much less of sharing a stage or a studio with him. He has had several bands of often competent and original players but none have lasted. He's tried the African connection, too, both with Page and without him, but to no effect; greater talents, proper musicians, rather than cock-waving shriekers, people like Maestro Ry Cooder and the ever accomplished and tasteful Paul Simon have made fabulous albums with local musicians, Cooder with Mali's Ali Farka Touree and Simon with loads of them,  South Africans, notably Ladysmith Black Mombasa;  Nick Drake went to Morocco and came back with a feast of new tunings, novel arrangements  and an album still highly regarded;
Plant's adventures have resulted in video clips of him waving his hair around rythmically, man, and of a Moroccan  ensemble busking along, for the cameras, bemusedly,  with Whole Lotta Love.  It's a sign of his greatness, perhaps. 

Plant's latest project, however, his new Band of Joy, is to recruit a load of grizzly,  boringly competent, sixty-year old players, like himself, and crunch out a few limp covers;  their concert, of the album, screened last night, at the Roundhouse, featured songs by Richard Thompson, Townes van Zandt, fragments of early  Bob Dylan  interpretations and a typically shamefully unacknowledged version of an Incredible String Band arrangement of I Bid You Goodnight. We finally found  the perfect song to close the show, he smirked, never mentioning that the IBS, often an inspiration to the creative desert which was Led Zeppelin, had arranged that piece to close their own concerts, way back in the nineteen sixties.  Man's a cunt.

As well as the white-haired old guys in woolly hats, with banks of expensive instruments, there's a desolate looking bint, too, upstaged by Percy, Patty Griffin, a harmonising country singer and songwriter, Jesus, how many are there, but in the perfectly predictable solo breaks, where she should properly be doing a bit of coloured girl bump and grind, Planty himself is, after a fashion, dancing vainly around the stage, flexing his OAP arse, but mainly standing, rocking cross-legged, in his cowboy boots, like some gross  chanteuse naive ancien, his snuffler's beard not quite hiding the jowls, the turkey neck, Christ, he's revolting. Nothing wrong with being old, it's just his being old and acting young. Never mind rock god, more like a nightmare Kylie Minogue. The industry, of course,  loves it and will probably "award" the album a score of Grammies, just like it did with  Raising Sand, the truly great,  handclapping  extravaganza he recorded with  the great Allison Kraus and  the great T-Bone Burnett. Just all great people, great musicians, doing greatness together. If you saw a bunch of old geezers doing this down the pub, you'd say, well,  fair play to them, it's not half bad.  But as full-price, new music it's shit, really it is.

The long hair, why do you keep it, enquires Radcliffe,  fearlessly, towards the end of this orgy of Plant worship and self-worship. Ah, well, we old hippies made some really nice and profound changes to the world., and so we keep the hair to remind us.  Right, Robert, changes, groupies, smashing up hotels and bad example, fatal drug use.

Finally, listing all the incredible and great musical directions he's hollowed, I mean followed,  since he first heard the blues, listing all his personal greatnesses, Mr Plant, wriggling in delight at himself,  enquires,  of the air, How many Mes can there be? One's enough, Robert, plenty, perhaps even one too many.

The choir, the new Stratocaster, everybody's doin' it,
Ray Davies, Mumfords, Manic Street Preachers,
Even this silly old fart.

Monday 11 April 2011


It really is intolerable  that - for the third time -  the nonsensical position of Deputy Prime Minister has been created to satisfy the ego of some snivelling,  traitorous, hysterical  nincompoop - first the screeching arrriviste, Heseltine,  then the bloated ignoramus, Prescott, the gibbering pig, and now the ghastly, toilet-dwelling, dogshooter, Clegg, good for fuck all, never done a day's work in his worthless life, now granted bogus status, office, salary, pension  and title, in order merely that the unelected tosser, Flashman, can front his way into a role which he was unable to win conventionally,  a role he could not legitimately secure without creating capos and stooges who would buttress his bluff -  that, somehow, mystically, in an  unconscious, collective, nation-wide act,  people had voted for a poisonous dogs' breakfast of spivs and shiteaters,  had freely, consciously transmuted  their own will,  the  will of the people,  into the breathtaking effrontery of impudent, incompetent wankers  like Danny Alexander.

Let us remind ourselves, daily, that Cameron was unable, even with the blind, slavish assistance of most of skymadeupnewsandfilth, to conclusively defeat a fatally tarnished party led by the most unpopular, most reviled, hated and ridiculed  politician in living memory and that now, as he robs us of out futures and trashes our pasts, giving our assets to SpivCorp, slandering millions who have worked their lives away, honourably, for a pension of sixty pounds a week, now, as he  steals our money and gives it to the  robber barons nouvelle of MoneyCorp,  the financial terrorists who brought us here, now, as his smirking, frothy public school insouciance remains untouched by the successive shit-morphing of his flagship policies, reversed, abandoned or paused for thought, now, as, triumphantly, inflation and unemployment leap to their traditional Tory bidding, as standards in schools and hospitals decline  even further, as the wheelchairs are confiscated and the libraries closed, now, he owes it all to the overpromoted officeboy,  Clegg,  the man who seriously told us that the nation's poor old bastards survived on, Oh, about thirty pounds a week, isn't it.  Now, the man who had not the faintest idea of what pensions were, helps lead the chorus calling for their forfeiture. Edgar Allan Poe couldn't write macabre shit like this.

Even though he in no sense whatsoever deputises for Cameron  - not even gormless Dave would trust Clegg as far as he can ejaculate - the self-styled Deputy Prime Minister  is free to meddle noisesomely  with our rights and entitlements, to falsely represent us abroad and from his bully-pulpit to seek to ensure a constitutional abortion which will secure lucrative, eternal office for he and his ilk. And as if that was not enough he reveals to us, via the Totty-Journo, Jemima Khan-Goldsmith, sister of poor little rich boy,  Zac, Cameron A-list Tory MP and utter fucking bastard, and  daughter of the bullying shitbag,  Sir Jams Fishpaste,  that his children ask him, Why,  Papa, does everyone call you a cunt and that - as though it tempers his pushy, vaunting,  moron ineptitude -  he cries when he hears Coldplay or  James Blunt or whatever shit he listens to, whist maintaining his work-life balance,  the fucking repulsive hypocrite.

Not content with an influence billions of light years beyond his miniscule, can just about dress himself without help capabilities,  this gabshite, dunderhead, patently stupid, shallow, tongue-tied, unimaginative, cliche-bound, over-privileged nitwit cravenly invites us to sympathise with his archly absurd, contrived common humanity; even if I am a cunt, he infers, surely we can all unite around David Bowie and forget our differences, share a quick , secret fag and get on with dragging Britain back to the 'thirties? You know, I'm just a normal millionaire bloke, who inherited his money and was eased into jobs by his father's friends.  Just like most people.  Now, open wide,  while I shit in your mouth.  I promise to cry, afterwards.

Saturday 9 April 2011


One of Whitehall's finest brains, sorry, liars.
No, my pension will be thi-i-i-s big.

Following confirmation that Mr Rupert Murdoch and his filthy slags are a cancer in British society, Mr Cameron's official spokesman, also known as the Cabinet Seckatry, Mr Gus O'Slag, has issued a statement clearing Mr Cameron of any stupidity.  

Just because Mr Cameron employed Mr Andy "Andy" Coulson,

Don't worry, Andy, just remember
that we're both working for the same great cause, Mr Murdoch

who employed thieves and gits and arseholes as journalists and put him at the very heart of govament does not reflect badly on Mr Cameron.  On the contrary, the statement continues, Mr Cameron is to be commended for his position that Mr Coulson should not be punished twice for the one thing, even though he never even done the one thing, never mind the two things wot he never done, and never even knew about, even though that's impossible and  which is why he resigned from skymadeupnewsandfilth (of the world) and did so very honourably, considering how he thought he had bought-off all of Scotland Yard, even though he had only bought off most of it. Mr Cameron's point is that while many so called liberals are calling for prisoners to be given the vote, he, as prime minister,  goes one further and says that cerain serious criminals shouldn't even go to court, much less prison.  By this he clearly refers to Mr Coulson or indeed anyone employed by Mr Murdoch.  Including himself.

Mr Cameron is said to  be very angry about things and worried that Mr Murdoch might sack him from his job as unelected prime minister.  Just because everybody in the country, including his employers, knew that Mr Coulson's hacks were  filthy slags, is no reason for him to have known.  That is why he is such a brilliant editor and communications expert and no reason at all for the prime minister's  former right-hand man to go to jail. No reason at all.  I mean, the statement concluded, what would happen if it became clear that Mr Flashman had appointed a rotten filthy, lying, thieving, shit-eating cocksucker as his  foremost aide de camp?

Ms Rebekah Slag, CEO, skymadeupnewsandfilth UK
No, they don't hack mine. Just everybody else's.

Asked if skymadeupnewsandfilth's permanent employment of  her former husband, the wimp, Sgt Ross Kemp, in an endless succession of wog-shooting, gang-busting,  he-man roles was an in-house pisstake,  the rotten old crow said No, it was just to stop him blabbing to the other tabloids about their bizarre marriage,  it's easier than having him killed, although that might change.

 Sgt. and Mrs. Slag in happier days, but not very.

One of Mr Murdoch's former prime ministers.
My Name Is Death.

 Look, I simply say to you, that when Imelda and I were figuring out how to make our fortunes, Mr Murdoch was extremnely helpful to us and now I'm grown filthy rich on the corpses of infants, Hail Mary. I mean, just look, I won three elections with his help and Gordon didn't win any without it,  goes to show,  that's rock'n'roll. I think everyone has much to thank Mr Murdoch for. Me especially.

Monday 4 April 2011



Altogether, now, we are scrapping Mr Andrew Spivsley's Health Service reforms not because they are shit, which they are, not because they were dreamed-up while he was drunk in the bath, even though they were and most definitely not because people realised that I hadn't a fucking clue what was going on in my govament.  No, we are scrapping them because they are too good. And people don't deserve them.  So there.  Just because the doctors and the nurses and the midwives and the occupational therapists and radiologists, yes, and the patients, too, so everybody, in fact,  says Mr Spivsley's proposals are unworkable, unthought-out, ruinous rubbish doesn't mean they are right.  I mean, what do they know, compared to Mr Spivsley? When I say we are scrapping them, what we mean is that we are postponing them for three months whilst we listen to people. And then we will scrap them. Or, better still, just forget them.  Like our election promises. I can always blame wotsisname, Clegg,  the thicko.

It's rather like the woods, or the forests or whatever it was.  Just because Mrs Spellman is a useless, expenses-fiddling, shitbrained,  gobby airhead didn't mean that she had it wrong on the woods, or forests, even though she did.  Mr Spivsley, oh, I have every confidence in him and will sack him at the earliest possible opportunity.

 Mr Andrew Spivsley.

Whilst shadowing the health department in opposition, Spivsley  insisted that his moonlighting in the private sector, at fifty grand a year, kept his feet on the ground.  Shame it didn't keep his head out of his arse. Cameron will announce this morning that he is temporarily shelving  Spivsley's lunatic plans to destroy the health service and sell the good remaining bits to his mates.

Sunday 3 April 2011

WOTSONTELLY, RUSSIA TODAY. UNCLE SAM, DARKNESS VISIBLE. Dr Cornel West on post-election Obama vs campaign Obama

This isn't it but the Max Keiser show, on Russia Today, just past CNN, channel 85, I think, is the sharpest, funniest, boldest analysis of global financial terrorism. Been meaning to mention it for a while. This is something else, though. Russia Today is well worth a look. Even for the weather forecast.


 Buster, the blog dog.
Sentinel and friend.

Sixteen years, sometimes it's just like the blink of an eye, for some - for little Buster - it's a lifetime. It is certainly as long as many a marriage and it's as long as we used to nurture children, before Consumerism  turned us into perpetually concerned, indulgent, overprotective, blackmailable  parents and worse,  grandparents,  hostage to  others' spawn, connected to us only by the tendrils of fretful narcissism. 

It's all so furiously relative, the passage of time;  when you're a kid a year is stretching away, impossibly forever; now it seems   that general elections come around every fortnight. And on the other hand  you can watch a butterfly live and die in a day or two, yet it is  the creature's whole lifetime,  to them as crucial as ours  to us, as clung-to, as lengthy, as futile; Life, in its chronic pattern

Although his grunting TeeVee persona is hard to take, I've been reading Neil Oliver's excellent A History of Scotland, best part of England,  and quietly raging at life because even if I live to be two hundred I'll never see any events in geological time - just seven thousand years ago the British Isles were connected to Europe,  the blink of a geological eye, but my life, my miserable span, it is as though my life is  utterly meaningless,  and it is. Relative, all of it, you live and die and that's it, that's all there is to it, scurrying about, 'twixt Heaven and Earth, bumfluffing, irrelevant,yet all we have.

For a  little bloke, Buster had a big life,  he had lots of stuff, lots of routines, lots of places, he wouldn't just flop down, any old where, he had special places in all the rooms of the house;   canny, hideaway places, under sideboards; and he had naughty boy, impertinent sofa places, my-side-of-the-bed places,  he'd leap in there the moment I was absent, sometimes he would beat me to it and stare resentfully at me as I asked him if I could get into my own bed, he wouldn't like it if I colonised any of his five beds, would he? And I'll tell mrs narcolept and Ms Lilith that you're a bad dog; of course he didn't know that he was the blogdog, known on all the continents of the world, but i told him anyway. He and Barney used to sleep in the laundry, warm and comfy-cosy, snuggled-up together, but he was wretched when Barney died and thereafter slept upstairs, snoring away, like a proper old gent. He knew some words to respond to, and he could bully me dreadfully, looking at the fridge, looking at me and then at the floor, time after time, until I opened the door and dropped him some chicken.  Maybe he sensed my own illnesses, for he would always come to me for treatment or medicine when he was poorly,  even though, usually, he wouldn't piss on me if I was on fire.  He loved car travel and strolled around hotels like a monarch on Royal Progress.   As children matured, disappeared into Holy Deadlock,  and as the other dog boys passed away, all the dogging duties fell to him and at the end he was the best boy who ever did any dogging for me. I never went for that owner stuff with the dogs, we were kin. And species be damned;  I would have run into a burning building for Buster; no, honestly, I would.

We travelled a lot together, well, he went everywhere with us;  only went into kennels the once and he wasn't at all impressed,  neither he nor Barney, standing bedraggled in the rain, reproachful, on our return. We packed for him,  his food, his medicines, his garments - he was only a little chap and it does get cold, here in the North - we arranged his car spaces -  he liked the whole of the back seat together with a cushion just to the rear of the central console, so he could put his chin on it -  and fleeces, his tinkle stops,  the Moray Firth, Inverness Tesco, Killiecrankie, Stirling, Westmoreland.
Obviously, we only stayed in dog-friendly hotels. He loved the ones with automatic doors which opened at his approach, couldn't figure out why that didn't happen everywhere, with all the doors in  peopleworld, when we returned home he'd stand at the door, willing it to open automatically.  His life was full of stuff, things, visitors, places, journeys, sticks to fetch, squeaky toys to kill and faces to lick.

Like many do with dogs, we treated him as a child, not nurturing his mind, like a child force-fed his parents' ambitions, to make us proud at his graduation, but just coddling him., who's the best boy-ing.  I remember, years ago, seeing an elderly housekeeper buying a brandy from the hotel bar, it was for her ailing cat; twenty or so, I mocked her.  No point having them, Mr  Ishmael,  sir, if you are not going to look after them.  Now,  maybe the brandy was wasted on the cat but the sacrifice she made was not, not in her scale of values.  It took years but eventually it wasn't wasted on me, either, and I often think of her, Margaret,  ostensiby a right old battleaxe, a no-nonsense, Ena Sharples type,  but profoundly devoted to the wee animal in her care. 

And I had a friend once, later,  Felix, and one night he didn't turn up for a board meeting - we were involved with a prisons theatre group - and sent apologies, he was detained on deathbed watch with his beloved cat, Sampson. I mocked him, too. Only a fucking cat. Felix was Oxbridge, wrote speeches for Merlyn Rees in the Northern Ireland Office but jacked-in his position in the  mandarinate to become a probation officer, do some good, instead of some shit. You'd think anyone would listen to Felix, but I didn't.....'sonly a cat, Felix, I'll buy you another one.

Even though Buster  had a walled acre here, to call his own,   I would take him to town to walk the streets, so's he could log-on to the canine urine web,  keep in species-contact,  sniff-sniffing, raising his leg endlessly, he loved it.  I always felt a bit weird, as though I was taking a prisoner on day release, but  meanstreeting, he perked up, ears and tail at attention,  a city dog, for a few minutes. Back in the car, where, once, he'd clawed the windows, seeking an opening through which to thrust his nose, he promptly went to sleep, old age its own harness.

As he grew older we checked on him constantly, as though in an invisible, undeclared contest.  To any fair-minded referee the protective game would have been mine, for I dwell in an infinity of paranoid possibilities,  where dark things stalk, each worse, more irresistible than the previous -  tyres shot-out, water run out, out of ammo, out of oxygen, flames licking,  cannibals, vampires and headshrinkers besieging   in overwhelming numbers, each constituent of the limitless horror complex  vying with the next, Catastrophe's domino effect,  Nightmare's compound interest, unstoppable.  But then, as we Zen-Presbyterian-Marxists know, we should all  go and set a watchman in the Tower, for shit does happen, it just happens, without warning, introduction or apology,  that's why we call it shit happening.

A cyberfriend lost his dog 'neath his wife's tyres, in the driveway, just like that;  imagine that shit. I'm so sorry, darling. I just didn't see him. No, no, of course you didn't, it's not your fault. .......Although I always manage to  check for him........ The paranoid possibilities do materialise. If Buster strayed into the adjacent  fields some mad,  vindictive, suicidal farmer might shoot him, they're all mad, you know, farmers, doesn't matter how much money they get subbed to them  for fucking about with cows and spuds or sheep, they're just not right;  Ruth and David Archer, instead of running off for a good rogering with Sam the stockman, Ruth returns, instead, to the po-faced, wanky David, where her marital crescendi are bitter arguments about when to vaccinate the herd,  who's gonna do the milking. I see them, here, fairmers, huddled together, speaking out of the corners of their mouths,  as though crop rotation was a state secret, the stupid bastards, they're like a misogynistic  fifth column, stinking of cowshit, and clogging the roads up with those huge tractors,   with tyres as big as houses, pulling evil slurry tankers,  blasted off their stupid  turnipheads on rum and rage.  An old boy, here, Willy, used to come and visit, before they put him in the care home and he died,  he used to say, Fairmin' ? Mercy me, Ishmael, I fuckin' hate it, d'ye ken? I wanted tae go tae sea, and none  a this fairmin' bollocks, wi' beasts an kine an shite, but they made me stay on the fairm, I hated it, d'ye ken? I did ken, no job for a man, fairmin'. Weather, incest and madness.

And so I worried that if Buster got in the fields - and he did, the wee devil -   we might  see him come spraying out of  a combine harvester or a mower, my little warm brown friend, cascading through the air in bloody threads. The house would ring to cries of Where'sBuster? I have said a thousand times, Don't let him out of the grounds on his own, he's not safe, he's an old man with a bad heart. and cataracts.....and on and on. I simply had to know where he was at all times, and quite right too, he had no chance, alone in this world of men and their doings. Especially not fairmers.  Fucking loonies. It may be apocryphal, anecdotal, the shotgun-happy farmers thing  but from the farmers I have seen and known I would wager good cash money that a wee dog within half a mile of some sheep would set their trigger fingers to itching and their horrid, bloated  sense of manly superiority, of being under siege by townies would do the rest, a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. Jesus fucking wept, country living, you have no idea.

When we visited Dundee on the Silv'ry Tay I could never leave Buster alone in the car;  the town was full of street people,  homeless  junkies, guided  by Want's catechism, outside not only the law but outside Decency's seer cloak,  street-dwellers who might steal a little old dog and use him as the beggar's prop, or use him, as the young people do now,  heads and hearts fucked by vile, blood- spurting  cyberhorror, far more cruelly. I mean, look at what happened to Jamie Bulger. And he was a human.  Christ alone,  in his mad  passions, knows what they might do to a little, old dog, yapping at them.   I felt really messed-up about this, I was at war with myself, everytime  I thought like that, sometimes berated myself for a suspicious misanthrope, even thinking such things. Aren't junkies just misunderstood cowboy angels?  No, that's the stuff of the 'fifties, the mythology of the Beats, of  mr verge's literary heroes, of William Burroughs' limitless self-absorption;  no, Ishmael,  today's druggy is  more mugger than mystic. As likely to shit in your fridge as write you  a haiku.

I mention the Shit In The Fridge reality because once, 'twas in another lifetime, I interviewed a baby burglar,  about seventeen, a cherubic little fucker, trying to find something good to say about him to the Court, maybe find him a job. It was like this, Mr Ishmael, I was on a bender anyway - a suspended sentence - so I knew that if I was going back robbin', from people's 'ouses, like, it had to be worthwhile, seein' as how I'd definitely be going down if it came on top. Well, I broke in through the kitchen window, they was out at work, like, and I ransacked the fuckin' gaff, turned it right over,  and there wasn't nuffin there worth shit, no telly, no jewels, no fuckin' video, fuck all, they was right poor bastards.  This is takin' the piss, I thought, Mr Ishmael.  I mean, I was on a fucking bender, riskin' me liberty for sure and there wasn't fuck all of any value in the whole fuckin' gaff.  So I opened the fridge an' there was a butter dish, sittin' in there, nearly empty like, no fuckin' butter in it, and so I shit in it, and put it back in the fridge, that'll teach 'em to be poor cunts, with nuffin worth robbin'. He was rock solid in his determination, he was a robber, but poor people were shit.

From that day to this I have wondered how that couple reacted, maybe arriving home together, finding their home turned upside-down, distressed, angry, shocked. I'll just make us a nice cup of tea, love, nothing like a nice cuppa. And opening the fridge for some milk.

I don't know if burglars'  butterdish defecation is widespread but I saw it enacted, recently, on the Shameless programme.  I have written about it before, elsewhere, so maybe it's been urban mythologised, but I had seen the papers on this lad and it did happen, in at least this case.  Perhaps it happens all the time, like priestly paedophilia. Anyway, I have never, in my adult life, felt easy about leaving any creature in my care unprotected, and nothing this side of the grave will still my fear. Buster was a worry to me.

He grew older in years and infirmity  of course but he didn't mature,  they don't grow older, dogs,  they stay trusting infants, or, as  in Buster's case, wary infants. He never really became dog-streetwise, anyone determined to do so could have stolen him from the car, just for badness, those are the kind of people we have bred, Thatcher's and Blair's  Godless, heathen bastards, sleeping on the streets, thieving in Threadneedle Street, lying at the bar of the house of commons, buggering each other around the vestry, kicking Iraqi hoteliers to death, for yer mates, for the regiment.

My friend,  who also died  last  year,  more suddenly than Buster, I had known him for forty years and although he was born careful and sensible, with an eye to career and pensions, anxious for - and receiving - the Rewards of Obedience, probably a pain in the arse to his schoolmates, - if they were anything like me -  he still changed and matured over the years,  he was always still the same, bless him, but older, more considered, annoyingly magisterial, like people become, an urban Phil Archer, he'd say things like I am not persuaded and On balance I think it's about right, a proper servant to Obedience, emasculated by career, moderation; he was definitely older, his death, therefore, shocking as it was, seemed to end - albeit prematurely -  a process of growth; little Buster, until the day he died, was  pointlessly chasing the cats, just as he'd always done.  It's true that they sensed his weakness and took the piss a bit, but he could still make them flee for their lives;  in his last year he had learned how to headbutt his way through the catflap into their byre, so, when he was in the mood, the cats had no hiding place;  he'd bust in there, woof-barking, and piss all over their dinners, like a  good boy does, little different to the boisterous young dog of our first meeting, when he pissed all over my shop. It seemed to me that he lived and died an infant, my infant.

The older I get, the more infuriatingly pious Buddhism  intrudes.  I was waterproof painting outside, just before the snow came and there was a moth, down on the floor, by my knee, and it seemed to be dying, couldn't hardly move, was struggling,  a half inch at a time.  I'll kill it, I thought, 'sthe right thing, it's too late for it to be here, anyway, be a mercy.  No, fuck off, it won't, won't be a mercy, be a fucking murder, insecticide, just like any other sort of -cide. But it's cold, and it might be in pain. Doesn't matter, you're in pain, aren't you?   Too fucking right I am. And you wouldn't want some thoughtful, sympathetic, I-know-best bastard killing you, would you, stepping on you, squashing your life all up to fuck,  as though he knew deeper and better truths ?  Fuck, no.

I knew, all along, that I wouldn't step on the moth.  But I just had to go through that rigmarole, backwards and forwards, went on for about a quarter of an hour, kill the moth, don't kill the moth, it became gigantic.  In the end I took him indoors, put him on a workbench, in the warm, let him die in his own tiny footsteps, I thought, warm.  Don't even know if moths feel cold. Or anything, for that matter.  But I wasn't gonna kill him, fuck that,  there's enough sins in my account.   It created a huge paradox because recently I have taken to wholesale insecticide;  there's fucking millions, trillions of woodlice, eating away at my verandah, it'll fall down if I don't stop them and so I have been squirting all their places with some deadly powder and now I only see the odd dead one and I dread to think what horrors are going on in the foundations, what tiny screams I can't hear, what gaspings, retchings, blindings, what terror I cannot sense.  If I met the woodlice one at a time, like the moth, I could never harm them.  Seems like every time you turn around there's another hard luck story that you're gonna hear;  I try to avert my eyes from insects these days, mindful of Professor A C Grayling's dictum that If all the animals in the world got together and formed a religion, we would be the Devil. Grayling used to be the house philosopher at The Guardian, the world's leading, liberal, rightwing shitrag, home, now to David Whining Mitchell and Charlie Brooker, TV criticism's longest serving one-hit wonder. And Thick Nick Clegg. But I always treasure that little nugget, from one of his  Saturday back-page opinion pieces;  we'd be the Devil. Shit, sometimes reading can really fuck you up. In the Summertime,  I feed surplus grass clippings to the cows in the field, over the wall, and hope that when they look at me they don't see horns and a barbed tail.

The time came, though, that I had to kill little Buster.  I went through all the same stuff as I did with Mr Moth. And this time, in the end,  I sent for the vetbastard and signed the consent form, consent to his killing.   My friend, Dick, and I, for forty years of drunken nights,  used to walk his dogs;  he did it whether I was there or not, of course, but I always liked to join him, when I was there;  a Midnight Ramble in the urban woods across the road from his house - Warley Woods, sitting smugly middle class, right between ethnic Bearwood, and grasping Quinton, pretentious Victorian terraces and between-the-wars semis, teachers and social workers and nurses and arseholes from BBC Pebble Mill and   more teachers - muttering to Bridie or Henry or Lucy or Woody, profound, inter-species,  drunken verisimilitudes.  One time we were walking Henry and Buster and Dick mentioned being in the same old quandary -  Henry had developed painful dogbloke arthritis in his paws and that same old Kindest Thing To Do Monster was raising its head higher,  Quality of Life, growled Dick, exasperated, How do I know?  I wouldn't want to be put down because I had sore feet.  Dick had kept dogblokes all his life, yet never mastered their killing.  In the end though, of course, Henry, too, went, dispatched by vet's cold, clever  needles.

Little Buster might have gone on a bit longer; well, he would have,  but he would shortly have been in pain and maybe fear. He'd been anxious all his life, you see, mistreated as a pup, and never happy around men, tolerated me, I suppose, but only just, and he was easily frightened;  I don't know what they know or sense of death,  the dogboys,  but a time would have soon arrived when his cancer would have been all he knew.  It was  a judgement that I, not one of those manly types,  am ill-equipped to make but I felt then and I feel now, most of the time, anyway,  that I erred on Mercy's side, grim and heart-wrenching as it all was.  Backwards and forwards I went.  Please, let his heart fail in the night, spare me this, another betrayal,  to smile at my little man, good-boying, and kill him. No, it's the best thing for him,  dohwannimtasuffer.  Yes, but his life is all he has, it's not mine to take away. If Buster could talk he would quote Churchill,  the spirit is a transcendant pilgrim, which the body will carry, gasping, willingly, to the very last.

He was walking  around the house, just  a few minutes before he died.  But there was blood, from his mouth cancer. And we didn't know if it had spread,  inside him,  as promised, in the biopsy report. What can you do? Even the Wisdom of Solomon shits itself at times like these.

We  have objected here, in the past, to Debbie Purdy and her gobby, pushy, look-at-me insistence on the right to an assisted,  legalised  killing of those dying undignified or in pain, on what they call mercy killing and  now her ghastly demand is echoed by Ian ....McKewan, is it.... Banks? ...some writer of tosh, adored by those without imagination of their own. Listen, he says, I entertain millions,  therefore I can be a patron of things, and I patronise this Right To Be Killed Club, so there.  Jesus, I detest Writers at the best of times but this maggoty little creep, him and Pratchett, with their whining, heathenbastard  demands, make me want to set a bonfire of  their trivial, o'erblown books and burn the authors thereupon, alive.  I don't think there is a contradiction between despising the Right to Deathers and my decision regarding little Buster, robbing him of a week or two, yet sparing him pain and horror seems OK to me; painful - for me - but OK, right, in fact, and I would do the same again.  Setting aside the idea of the incontrovertible sanctity of human life, however, is another matter, blurring humane with human, opening the door to a million Nick Cleggs, dissembling, gobbing at us with  their spurious, I-Know-Best righteousness, enough to curdle the milk of human kindness, they are.  If people would their own quietus make, with relative or doctor, then what business is that of mine?  Good luck to them and God Speed. Involving the state, though,  the state is quite bad enough without giving it further license. Purdy and her cohort are vain, selfish imbeciles, let them open their veins, ingest their poisons, let them plunge, like Ophelia, to a watery death, let them  electrocute their feeble bodies, let them self-strangle, Jesus, if they are so fucking clever, surely they can kill themselves.  Little Buster, though, couldn't kill himself.  And so the job fell to me, the vet my agent, licensed to kill.

I live in the country  and  on the shore;  I see roadkill everyday, rabbits, hares, hedehogs, low-flying gulls, raptors circle the garden,  everynight I hear cries of terror as beast preys upon beast;  sometimes the morning shore offers  a dead whale, often a dead seal;  in the summer the fields are grazed by pretty, curious cows, being fattened for the kill, sometimes the Eyeties arrive in parties, to shoot the geese, for fun; a shoreside graveyard lies en route to town,  the mini-excavator or the hearse or the flower-laying relative mock the thoughtless  living, as we drive past, Mr Death and his sergeants are hard to avoid, here at World's End. But organised, premeditated death in the sitting room, that was hard.

As these things go, it was very good, a good killing.  He was in his own house, surrounded by his own things, close to his own places and sat on his adored Mum's lap and he suffered - as far as I could judge - neither pain nor distress.

He looked the same, pretty, little chap dead as he did alive.  But I had to clean him up, just a little,  and wrap him in his fleece and after twenty minutes or so, even though he was still warm, he had gone  all floppy. Oh, Buster, Buster, my dear, little warm brown friend. Warm and brown, still. Warm and brown and dead.

In the morning I put on my funeral suit - well, why not? -  and drove his body to the Vet's for cremation  and return, in  a wax-stoppered earthen jar, marked Buster.  He had driven tens of thousands of miles with me but in this, our last journey together, he, of course, was only present in my heart. And that is where he lives, now.  Time will come, I know, when we will laugh at his foibles, his woof-barking at creatures ten times his size but for now it's all muscle-memory, turning at the door, flexing, making sure he's not about to run out, arm outstretched in the car to secure him as we go around bends. And him not there.  I cannot get accustomed to just leaving the house without a moment's thought for Buster, do you wanna come for  a ride, son, or would you rather just kip? Sixteen years, it hardwires the precautionary muscle memory.

It might be, some would argue, that the anthropomorphisation of dog is a retrograde development, impelled by stupid sentimentality, unfair to dog and man alike;  we have been together at least ten, fifteen, twenty thousand years, no-one knows for certain,  why, now, do we make treasured companions of what were mere symbiotes?

I don't know.  I do know that they teach us a great deal, not least about loss and sorrow and recovery.  I remember, twenty years or so back, seeing an episode of Sharpe, the Napoleonic Wars rifleman;  he'd been absent from some siege at which his men had volunteered and returned to find them dead, his Chosen Men,  the fiddler and the teacher who could read French, All my good boys are gone, he sobbed.

Summer's nearly here, now, long days of work and projects in the garden and for the first time there will be no barking, no flash of blonde fur through the willows. When I came here, ten years ago, from Englandshire, I was IshmaelWalksWithThreeDogs;  now I walk my lane and my garden, climb my stairs and walk my corridors with only ghosts at my heel, all my good boys are gone.

With my belated thanks to all for their kind words on Buster's passing, across the seas of Night, to the bright shores of Morning