Don’t do it –

April 12, 2020

Don’t do it – the supermarket have had a fresh delivery of toilet rolls!!

“We did not think that it was brilliant enough, so it was sewn all over with real green beetle wings…”
– Costumier Alice Comyns-Carr, on the dress designed for Ellen Terry’s portrayal of Lady Macbeth, 1888

When you come to carrion,
with your long braids and blood-won crown,
you may glitter in this way again:
the shields of beetles
your glassy armor, a thousand green eyes
in your flickering skin.
Sewn in rows to the neck,
to the wrist, to the hem that sweeps aside the dirt
dragged by strangers’ feet,
safe in your glory
of shed things, dead things, charnel like jewels,
chips of bone, ropes of pearls.

They will find you broken
on the flagstones, your fall a shriek that tears
the smoky air;
blink-quick, shame-hushed,
they will cart you away, circle you with candles,
chant you down into the dark.
There your new subjects
will swarm, with their needle-thin legs and gnawing jaws,
eating away each love and crime
and stain, their gleaming shells
a skin that takes the place of yours: a brief, burning siege
before the last scrap is gone.

Jacqueline West

Dunne looked gloomily out upon the sea. “So damned lonely…as lonely as death itself. Would she have come up here in the middle of the night to jump off into the roaring black surf? I don’t think she would have. Not at midnight. There’s something about midnight, something gruesome.”

D. B. Olsen
Something about Midnight

Monday blue

October 22, 2018


Monday. From the old English mōnandæġ: the Moon’s own day. In England and Wales more people commit suicide on a Monday than any other day of the week (Look it up on Wickedpaedophile if you don’t believe me). A melancholy day, then, a dull end to the high-jinks of a fun weekend, a full-stop the size of a full moon in the minds of some, who then reach for the pill bottle –

This morning outside in the garden it feels as if the chill is stripping you down, layer by layer. It’s like winter seeped into your bones before you knew it was happening. This is a cold that grips firm and goes deep. It’s Monday cold –

Time for a glass of the breakfast brandy and a quick poem from Seidel:

“Sii Romantico, Seidel, Tanto Per Cambiare”

Women have a playground slide
That wraps you in monsoon and takes you for a ride.
The English girl Louise, his latest squeeze, was being snide.
Easy to deride
The way he stayed alive to stay inside
His women with his puffed-up pride.
The pharmacy supplied
The rising fire truck ladder that the fire did not provide.
The toothless carnivore devoured Viagra and Finasteride
(Which is the one that shrinks the American prostate nationwide
And at a higher dosage grows hair on the bald) to stem the tide.
Not to die had been his way to hide
The fact that he was terrified.
He could not tell them that, it would be suicide.
It would make them even more humidified.
The women wrapped monsoon around him, thunder-thighed.

Frederick Seidel

Taking the risk

July 22, 2017

13th May

All good art is subversive either in form or content.

I have in mind, for example, Andres Serrano’s ‘Piss Christ’, a photograph of the crucifixion submerged in the artists urine which outraged critics back in the 1980s: it was (is) considered disrespectful to those of the Christian faith, a blasphemous work that led to debates about the issue of public funding of artistic projects. Twenty-four years after the work’s first showing, a print of the photograph on display in Avignon was destroyed by French catholic fundamentalists. No one understood that the photograph depicted the cheapening of Christ’s image; and the ongoing hypocrisy of those who misinterpret or twist the words of Christ for their own ends. The artist, Serrano, is a devout Christian.

And what about Tracy Emin’s Turner-nominated instillation ‘My Bed’? Sold recently for four million quid, complete with an ashtray full of fag ends, used condoms and the artist’s dirty knickers. Many, probably the vast majority of people, feel the work meaningless and the artist’s success illegitimate. Me? I think it’s worth the four million for Tracy’s knickers alone! Although in fairness, the bed is representative of a bad period in the artist’s life, depicting the four days she lay in bed contemplating suicide. It is a work about life and death; life in the balance; it is Hamlet’s famous soliloquy ‘To be, or not to be…’ It is a four day lay -in, a long sleep – sleep, death’s sweet counterpart.

Then we have Hans-Peter Feldmann’s The Hugo Boss Prize instillation: exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, he’d cashed in his $100,000 honorarium, pinning it to the walls of the gallery in rows of dollar bills, some crumpled, some folded, some not – much to the outrage of the many who viewed it. Oh, ‘money, money, money…’A fresh blasphemy, but this time against the ‘new’ God of plenty and his royal court of austerity, poverty, hunger and ignorance.

The Guitar Lesson by (Balthasar Klossowski de Rola) Balthus from 1934, created outrage and controversy when it first appeared and still has the power to shook today. This painting of a young girl pulled backwards by her hair across the lap of an older woman, both fascinates and disturbs: the girl has pulled free the breast of the woman who in turn plucks the girl’s naked, prepubescent genitals like the strings of a guitar.

Then we have something like the Mona Hatoum exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Sarah Kane tells us: ‘In a tiny cylindrical room I watched a projection of a surgical camera disappearing into every orifice of the artist. True, few people could stay in the room as long as me, but I found that the voyage up Mona Hatoum’s arse put me in powerful and direct contact with my feelings about my own mortality. I can’t ask for much more’ (from a work of art).
(Sarah Kane, Drama with Balls, 1995).

Again, take William Holman Hunt’s painting The Awakening Conscience (illustrated above). Controversial or not? In its day (1854) it caused consternation among critics and the viewing public alike. Here we see a young woman rising from the lap of a bewhiskered young man. Critics were uncertain as to the subject of the painting. The fact the artist had painted the carpet’s pattern with as much care as the young woman’s face, many felt the work to be simple ‘illusionistic imitation’.

But then John Ruskin in one of his letters to the Times newspaper explained that what we were viewing was a ‘kept’ woman and her lover:

‘there is not a single object in that room – common, modern, vulgar…but it becomes tragical, if rightly read…the torn and dying bird upon the floor; the gilded tapestry…the picture above the fireplace, with its single drooping figure – the woman taken in adultery; nay, the very hem of the poor girl’s dress…has story in it, if we think how soon its pure whiteness may be soiled with dust and rain, her outcast feet failing in the street…I surely need not go on?’

Outrage followed. ‘Not only had the artist famed for his religious conviction dared to portray a mistress rather than a prostitute – prostitutes were non-threatening to families, mistresses were terrifying – he did so with compassion.’

The face of the woman we see today is not the face these early Victorian viewers would have seen. The model, Annie Miller, Hunt’s fiancée, was prone to infidelity, and when Hunt found her out, he removed the expression of guilt-stricken horror for which the painting was most noticeable when first exhibited. The new expression on Annie’s face has far less impact ‘than the painting’s contemporary reviews show’.


The weather has been pretty shit the past couple of days. Warm and wet. God bless rising levels of humidity, especially when accompanied by falling rain. Horrible. Hopefully, today will be drier?


If your eyelids aren’t sticky after giving a woman oral sex, you didn’t do all you could to please her…


Diary 25th May

Mention last night of L C R. I said it must have been three or four years since I’d seen her, but then realised it was more like ten years! How time flies. I remember standing in her kitchen one autumn afternoon, shortly after she’d split with her husband. She looked over her shoulder at me, and asked, ‘D’you want to have me here?’

Before I could answer she bent forward over a worktop, raised her skirt and said, ‘You can use my backdoor, if you like…’

She wasn’t wearing any panties.

That was the same week as V’s half-hearted suicide attempt. She’d been drinking all day and arguing with S, her new husband; to round things off she’d downed a couple of bottles of pills just before teatime. Pills and vodka a winning combination. Unfortunately V’s bedroom was a veritable pharmacist’s cornucopia.

S and I bundled her straight into his car and drove her to accident & emergency – not the local one. V was a nurse there. She didn’t want it known what she’d done.

After pumping V’s stomach, the doctor decided she should stay overnight and have a psychiatric assessment in the morning. S and I went to the pub. L C R was there and came over to say ‘Hi’. At some point, I agreed to see her the following Friday afternoon.

L C R was an attractive woman, bubbly, vivacious, fair, with short shapely legs and large breasts. She was eight or nine years older than me, I’d guess, and we’d first met when she was working part time behind the bar of the TLK on Sunday lunchtimes. She had a truly winning smile and a wonderful Welsh accent which I thought very sexy.

I remember that Friday afternoon in her kitchen, and later in the bedroom. L C R saying, ‘Hold me down, yeah. Tell me how good it feels…How you love how wet you’ve made me. Go on. Force me open. Ram it up hard as you can…’

There are chapters in every woman’s soul that few will ever get to read. Pages that lay hidden away. Sentences left unspoken. L C R was like some deep ocean, the depths of which were unknowable. She was a maze that could easily entrap the unwary…

Sexually she was without inhibition. She knew what she wanted and told you in no uncertain terms. But beyond the sex…?

Who was she really?

I once actually asked her; came right out with it. And she was like some medium who falls into a trance, so damn deep you could fuck her to death and she wouldn’t notice. She made no answer, as if the question was far too complex for contemplation.


Memories are ghosts that haunt us…They are quite implacable.


So much nonsense being claimed about a UK exit from the EU, by the Prime Minister and the IN-campaign. World War Three will probably happen! Economic Armageddon is a definite! House prices will fall (not such a bad thing!). My Aunt Mabel’s mangle will rust. It’s pathetic…

Face it. When the PM was trying to wheedle new terms and conditions for UK membership out of the EU, he publicly stated he would vote to leave if he couldn’t get his own way. He would vote for World War Three, for Economic Armageddon and the erosion of house prices? That makes sense, don’t it?

And at the end of the day – who decided to go ahead with a bloody referendum of the UK’s membership in the first place?

Answer: Dangerous David Cameron, Prime Minister and Prophet of Doom, that’s who! He it was said he’d stand by and watch the fall of Nineveh, this to combat the incurable wickedness of the UK Independence party and their growing popularity amongst the great unwashed. To appease the more base elements of his own party, too, he would risk the wrath of the EU – he’d have the UK population face the ordeal of EU retribution and the great and terrible “end of days” that would follow a UK exit!


On the plus side. I find listening to Dangerous Dave a much more effective way of moving my bowls than a suppository.


Diary 1st May

Sunday, bloody Sunday. The 1971 film directed by John Schlesinger and written by Penelope Gilliat who died, sadly, from her alcoholism. She was a fine writer, but is today almost forgotten.

Triangles figured prominently in Gilliat’s fiction, commencing with her debut novel “One by One” through to the playlet “Property”, a devastating portrayal of a woman caught between her two ex-husbands. The script of Sunday, bloody Sunday explores the relationships of Daniel Hirsh, a Jewish doctor and a middle-aged woman, Alex Greville who are both having affairs with the same bisexual male artist, a sculptor named Bob Elkin. Not only are Hirsh and Greville aware that Elkin is seeing the pair of them, but they actually know each other as well.

Poor Gilliat had to give up a promising piano career as a young woman because of a bout of anorexia; she attempted suicide at least once in her life, and her drinking became so bad that she was unable to look after her daughter. Eventually, of course, it killed her.


I love vulgarity and kitsch. The bathroom at the old house was decorated shocking-pink and canary-yellow and everyone without exception said how vile it looked. So what? I loved it and that’s all the matters.

Although I must confess, I’m nowhere near as bold now days…


Novels aren’t sociology textbooks, nor are they history or language books, either. The goal of learning through observation, questioning and research is to draw a character that is a product of such influences, without making the reader feel they are reading long passages of background narrative…


Or then again you could do a Sinclair Lewis and faithfully record reams and reams of “overheard” conversation for inclusion in your novels.

Lewis, of course, was another author who died from advanced alcoholism…


And Peedeel has a hangover this morning…


As often happens, while sitting on the loo this morning, I find myself beset with difficult questions. Was Teflon nonstick coating worth the billions of $s spent on the US space programe? What about super glue?


Like S. She climaxed quickly and often, but was never ever fully satisfied. Sex for her was an unending chase from one exploding bubble of intense pleasure to another…a plateau of sensation to be maintained, not a series of crests to be climbed.


January 15, 2016


i got it from the kitchen
i cooked your dinner

i got it from the drawer
i baked your cake

i cut the onions with it first
i washed your dishes

i just sliced it across
i know what you want now

but now
my wrist

Tiffany McDaniel

(Tiffany McDaniel is a poet and novelist. Her novel The Summer That Melted Everything, will be published in Summer 2016 by St Martins Press (USA), Scribe (UK & Commonwealth). The quirk and magical realism of her writing is inspired by the greatest magician of them all – Ray Bradbury. She credits her earthy prose to her habit of eating mud pies as a child, and for all those hours spent listening to the plants in the garden).