I have a confession. My beliefs about nature are absolute. I nurture it. When apples fall from my trees they are left on the ground as winter lunches for birds. When rabbits found a safe home, years ago, in my garden I left them to enjoy it rent free. When I sit outside surrounded by my natural insect comrades in life, I am content. I see the most minute of creatures exercising itself along the bench by my seat. What is it thinking? It scurries at great speed this way and that, not going anywhere in particular, a bit like politicians, but having a damned good run. I bless the little creature, for All is One. We are brothers in survival. But...
There had to be a but. My kitchen was invaded by flies. Very fast flies, urgent, demanding, balancing on my ears as I ate breakfast and so forth. I never saw one still, so I can not confirm whether they were wearing alien uniforms. They might. So to the unforgivable. I was having breakfasts and using my arms, not to eat, but to whirl about at the flies in formation diving. And I gave up. My principles were abandoned. They had to go. I bought a fly killer and, with heavy heart, sprayed and as I sprayed, I prayed that I would be forgiven. The flies rushed about angrily, shaking themselves vigorously. I exited, door left. I mourned for them elsewhere. And you know what? I have sprayed that dam'd kitchen a dozen times now and I am still beset by the same number of flies.
I can only think that whoever produced the spray had the same guilt complex as me. He, or she, did not, in completing the mix, intend to kill but only to give a stern warning. I am a victim of organised crime, but that discovery has left me pure in my beliefs: If All is One, to kill is wrong. Only time will tell. Amen.
Ronald Carter, blacksmith
Violet Carson (Ena Sharples)
"The magic of Shakespeare swept me off my feet. Then I'm back to 'Ee, by gum' in the Street. It trapped me. It made me, if you like: it has gone all over the world. But it has destroyed me, because nobody sees me or anything about me."
Dame Gracie Fields & me
(Railway Children)L S Lowry (above)
"You're not getting your ball back," she used to shout. "You'll kill somebody, you lot."
The crucible (climbing)
copyright: Geoffrey Mather 2017
(collected in one spot) On growing old So there they were - Hollywood dominating the world with its Clark Gables, Jean Harlows, Spencer Tracys, Garbos and Bogarts, tears in its eyes, inventive, vulnerable, blessed by climate, limos and money but tormented, insecure and edgy as fledglings in nests. Bennett's art is to take the apparently trivial - his mother's views of "her betters" and so on - and make them meaningful in much larger ways. Miss Shepherd tested all his beliefs and inhibitions one by one. The two of them existed together, but in worlds apart, like aliens. And yet, I suspect, it was the sameness that reached furthest into the writer's psyche. His long essay on Miss Shepherd is superb. Even on the second reading, I was laughing out loud, to the disgust of the dog,, and in the next sentence feeling for Bennett's own agony. So you have this magic formula, where the relationship between two people over 20 years can match the life experiences of us all.
"I am all for the unusual on Page One. I do not read stories of the type headed ' Bandits gag, tie up woman' very much nowadays because people are always gagging and tying up women. Such incidents are as common as gas-oven suicides."
became editor of the Daily Express in October, 1933, a position he held for 24 years until 1957. During his editorship sales peaked at two million in 1935, over three million in 1944 and four million in 1949. Each day he wrote a bulletin. It was compulsory reading for members of editorial staff. Here are many of those bulletins.
+ Molloy of the Mirror + Clive James + Churchill + Big-ego words + Vanishing language + Noam Chomsky's words + Great words of great events
In spite of his own eccentricities, he wanted the world to behave as he expected it to. Big companies, shops, waiters and hotel managers were his normal fodder. He terrorised them. When he snagged a coat on something protruding in Woolworth's, he said to the manager, "This is an expensive coat." "I can see it is," said the manager. "I noticed it when you came in." "Right," said Brian Duff, "I expect you to pay for it. And I don't want it invisibly mended because you can see it."
Sir James Scott Douglas (gossip columnist)
When an editor complained of his booking into an expensive London hotel - the Dorchester as I recall - at the firm's expense, James merely said, "Where else can one entertain one's proprietor?" and the matter was hurriedly concluded, since no-one was prepared to phone (the late) Sir Max Aitken, who bossed the place at the time.
I asked Jim (I always called him Jim, to be perverse, though it was obvious that he was entitled to James) to find out something one day - on the phone, I emphasised - and he said, "Oh yes, I shall ring" - go on, guess - "...Uncle Essex." It made me wish I had an Uncle Oswaldtwistle
James had a habit of living extravagantly and encountering hard times, which is how he came to be a journalist. Both conditions were once almost fundamental to the job.
Pub Talk with Peter Thomas
Dudley Doolittle (comic),