March 26, 2020

I read mythology, folk lore and fairy-tales voraciously, yet certain tales felt inappropriate and even irritating long before I was capable of analysing why that might be. They annoyed me in the same way Barbie dolls did. These were the stories featuring passive girls, usually born or destined to become princesses, like Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella. Girls whose physical attractiveness was the sum of their identity; girls who were not so much protagonists as prizes.

I yearned for heroines I could identify with and aspire to be like. Girls who DID things. Who underwent hardship and suffering and overcame the odds by use of their own wit or courage. And I found Gerta in Andersen’s The Snow Queen and the brave sister in the Grimms tale, The Six Swans. I found Gretel in Hansel and Gretel; Janet in Tam Lin; and the redoubtable, splendidly named Molly Whuppie – the female Jack who bests her giant. Molly may marry and disappear into ‘happy-ever-after’, but you know she will go on dominating life just the same.

Ellen Renner

Yes, ‘I’m Happy’

February 1, 2020

I went looking for someplace to hide
the ocean. Selfish girl.
Trying to shut my eyes in a wave.
Line all the walls with water.

The ceiling keep screaming at me.
Dad too. Who knew
there was a continent called Zealandia
hiding in the Pacific
with a crust thicker than the ocean floor?

We live on top of plates
growing all our bodies and fir.
Blood oranges and hills.
We live like a pack of roads
howling over the earth.

I let my mouth open for language.
Siwihtâkanâpoy. Ocean brine.
Sometimes we pay for the things
we know. Soap in the mouth.
I’ve been told to expect damage.

Here’s an earthquake warning from the government:
Learn the Risks. There’s a 1 in 4 chance
you’ll be happy or shaken.

Selina Boan


December 18, 2018

ugly or grotesque

January 6, 2018

I believe when I am in the mood that all nature is full of people whom we cannot see, and that some of these are ugly or grotesque, and some wicked or foolish, but very many beautiful beyond any one we have ever seen, and that these are not far away when we are walking in pleasant and quiet places. Even when I was a boy I could never walk in a wood without feeling that at any moment I might find before me somebody or something I had long looked for without knowing what I looked for.

W.B. Yeats
The Celtic Twilight

Poetry leads to the same place as all forms of eroticism – to the blending and fusion of separate objects. It leads us to eternity, it leads us to death, and through death to continuity. Poetry is eternity; the sun matched with the sea.

Georges Bataille
Eroticism: Death and Sensuality


October 1, 2016


You’ve got that eternal idiotic idea that if anarchy came it would come from the poor. Why should it? The poor have been rebels, but they have never been anarchists; they have more interest than anyone else in there being some decent government. The poor man really has a stake in the country. The rich man hasn’t; he can go away to New Guinea in a yacht. The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all. Aristocrats were always anarchists.

G.K. Chesterton
The Man Who Was Thursday, a Nightmare


Diary 17th March

What changes will we witness over the next fifty years in our burial rituals, d’you think? We have inhumation, obviously, and cremation currently. Will they remain our methods of choice in corpse ‘disposal’?

What about liquefaction?

The deceased is simply inserted into a purpose built “liquidiser” , zapped for a few seconds and turned to a sort of smoothie…which can then be poured down the drain or over the flowerbeds or whatever.

Instant plant food is a great idea…
In the West Country the powers-that-be recognise we have a growing problem with people “sleeping rough” on the streets of towns and cities; these bods are also known as “Homeless People”. They are life’s unfortunates, and there but for the grace of God go you and I.

In Exeter the local authority has decided action must be taken. They applied for an order to enable the police to confiscate the few belongings these unfortunates might possess. This would only happen after the police had asked them to move on, and they remained in the same place.

In the first instance the Police would direct these individuals to “shelters” (most of which will be full) where they will be told they have to “prove” their “homelessness” to Social Services to receive help. This process takes feckin’ weeks.

So what do they do?

Either return to their ‘patch’ and risk the confiscation of their few meager belongings, or piss off to another town. Which is called ‘pass the problem’.

All very feckin’ humane…

Homeless people have strongly criticised these new police powers which would see a crackdown on begging and rough sleeping in the city centre. Suprising that, eh?

Reverend Tom Honey said: “Simply, people with serious issues that need to be addressed are being driven out of the city centre towards parks and churchyards on its outskirts. I feel Exeter City Council’s agenda is to make the city centre as friendly as possible to visiting tourists – essentially sanitising the area.”

“We don’t do it for fun,” said ex-squaddie Richy, 46, who said he has been forced to live on the street. “Instead of moving us on to be somebody else’s problem, they should use common sense and help us.”

He arrived in Exeter from Weymouth four weeks ago, and said even he could not believe the number of homeless people there are in the city. But he still believes it is “dangerous” to move homeless people away from the cover of the city centre “especially at this time of year”.

“I’m not too old myself, but some old homeless men you see really struggle in the cold weather,” he said.

Perhaps it’s time Exeter City Council funded a ‘focus group’ to fly out to Brazil and see how they rid themselves of their undesirables…?

Over 3,000 people, down-and-outs, were murdered in Recife, Brazil in the past year. Incredibly many of those doing the killing are police officers. Eduardo Machado, one of the organisers behind this cleansing operation, had this to say on the subject:

“It’s a perverse kind of killing. I call it social cleansing because the people being killed are normally black, they’re poor and they’re from the slums that surround the city. They have become what I call ‘the killables’.”

Exeter City Council could learn a lesson from this?

What, one wonders, were the Labour-led City Council thinking 18 months ago when they started their draconian crackdown on the homeless? The council has confiscated the tents, rucksacks and other belongings of nearly 60 homeless people.

Life in a plastic tent in the woods must be pretty harsh at this time of year.

But imagine the devastating impact if your tent, sleeping bag, warm clothing and food are removed, leaving you with nothing but the clothes you stand up in and a draughty shop doorway for a bed?

The council defends itself by saying that it offers advice to homeless people on finding accommodation (yeah, yeah, see above). Perhaps so: but clearly the advice, the accommodation – or both – are inadequate, or we wouldn’t be seeing all these people living on the streets.

So, is it now time for the City Council to ‘man-up’, ‘grow-a-pair’ and issue firearms to police and concerned citizens alike? Let’s face it, a bullet to the back of the head is much more efficient then waiting for these poor devils to quietly freeze to death in the open…And with summer fast approaching, there’s less likelihood of “these problem people” developing hypothermia and shuffling of this mortal coil.

The City Council could sponsor ‘Terminate a Vagrant Day’…There could be prizes and bounties…

Or on the other hand, they might like to look for more humane alternatives? (Yeah, yeah, that’s a big feckin’ “might”!)

Just before Christmas, the Government announced a £30million emergency aid package for Ethiopia, which is facing drought. Just a fraction of that amount would make a world of difference to our own destitute and homeless people…

But, perhaps, I’m being silly?



August 7, 2015