Saturday, 20 October 2018

Saudi explanations for deaths

In an official statement released today, the Saudi regime have revealed that deaths in Yemen are caused by civilians leaping into the air and colliding with Saudi defence systems.

It's emerging that Kashoggi died from a condition known as 'Interrogation'. With this condition, no matter what is done to them, by whom or how, it's the patient's fault if they die.

And it's now emerging that so-called 'beheadings' in Saudi Arabia are caused by outbreaks of people running very fast towards an axe. The British Government sends condolences to the Saudi regime.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

A spam email I just received: Dear British people

I know that this message will come to you as a surprise. I am the person in charge of the country of the United Kingdom. I hope that you will not expose or betray this trust and I am confident that I am about to repose on you for our mutual benefit.

I need your urgent assistance in transferring a sum of money from you, who are the nearest persons to our deceased welfare state who died in a banking crash in 2008, into the account of some extremely rich people within 10 or 14 banking days.

I don't want the money to go into government treasury as an abandoned fund. Please I would like you to keep this proposal as a top secret.

I am expecting your urgent response as soon as you receive my message.

Best Regard,

Teresa May

Sunday, 14 October 2018

You don't want to end up like the Michaelsons

If my mother or father thought we weren’t

working hard enough, or we weren’t that

bothered or we didn’t appreciate how hard

it all was back in this place they came from

but where we never went, this place called

the ‘East End’, one of them would say,

‘You’ll end up like the Michaelsons.’

Who were the Michaelsons? We never met

the Michaelsons. It didn’t matter. If we weren’t

working hard enough - out it came: ‘You’ll

end up like the Michaelsons’.

‘I’ve never seen poverty like it,’ my mother

said. ‘They had bed bugs. There were bed

bugs in the tenements. The Michaelsons

had bed bugs. That’s how poor they were.’

So we didn’t end up like the Michaelsons.

My Mum and the Flower

My dad said that my mum

had some secrets.

‘One time’, he said,

‘when she was a girl

at school they said that

it was ‘Harvest Festival’

and all the children had to bring in flowers.

'Well, remember,’ said my dad,

‘your mother’s family were very poor,

they couldn’t just go out and buy flowers

and they didn’t have a garden

they just had a back yard.

Now all this made your mother


She didn’t want to be the kid in the class

who didn’t bring in flowers.

And she wanted to fit in.

So, do you know what she did?

She slipped into the Park,

the one just in front of the

Bethnal Green Museum

and she nicked a flower.

Now, don’t tell her I’ve told

you that.

She still feels bad about it

but you see she was so worried

about going to school and

being the only one who didn’t have

a flower that she was desperate.

So she nicked one from the park.

Now don’t tell her I told

you about it.

And don’t ever tell anyone about it,

will you?’

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Yiddish and the Tower of London

My mother said that she wanted to take me
to the Tower of London. She often took me
places. I think it reminded her of how she
thought she had bettered herself. She used
to spend hours in the Bethnal Green Museum.
She told me it was her university. She went
there, she said, so she didn't have to listen
to the meshpukhe (relatives) who came over to 
play cards in the back room swearing at each 
other in Yiddish. My father liked swearing in 
Yiddish. They argued about it. My father would 
mutter something like 'Chaddich im loch.' 'Don't 
say that!' my mother would say to him. 'What did 
he say?' I would say. 'Don't tell him, Harold,' 
I had to wait for her to die to find out what it 
meant. I don't mean that the day she died I 
asked him what 'Chaddich im loch' meant. I 
waited for about 30 years. He told me then.
And I was glad to know.

But maybe she took me to the Tower of London so 
that I wouldn't end up swearing in Yiddish. 

I loved the Tower of London but one time we 
went there was a man with greasy hair, stripped
to the waist who asked people to put him in a sack,
tie him up with chains, stick two swords through
the chains and leave him on the ground to see
if he could escape. He seemed so brave and
dangerous. You could see him riving about inside
the sack. Mum said that we should move on, we
hadn't been inside the White Tower yet but I 
pleaded with her to stay to see if he could get
out of the sack. I was sure that he wouldn't be
able to and we would have to unlock the chains
for him. But he went on rolling about on the ground
inside the sack and bit by bit it all got looser and
out he crawled. He was even more greasy now
and he came round with a hat, breathing on us
and I pleaded with Mum again, this time to 
give him some money but she wasn't sure she
should but in the end she gave me some and I put
it in his hat. And I was glad because he had been
so brave and dangerous he deserved it. 

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Disability is us

And at some point 
we are all disabled. 
Maybe from birth. 
Maybe a bit later. 
Maybe for years, 
maybe for months. 
Maybe for weeks. 
Maybe for days. 
Maybe for hours. 
Maybe for minutes. 
Maybe for seconds. 
All of us. 
It's us. 
All of us.
Disability is us. 

Every time you read....

Every time you read,

you learn something. 

It may be obvious.

It may be mysterious.

It may be seeing something new.

It may be that you're reminded

of something in your mind.

It may be the possible.

It may be the impossible.

Does that sound good?

I think it does.

Monday, 1 October 2018


I was on New Cross Gate station and

it was late, trains were being cancelled,

there weren’t many of us waiting, some

people had given up, gone back upstairs

and looking for night buses, the lights from

Sainsbury’s were being switched off, and

I noticed some rats, they were coming out

of a concrete ditch next to the platform

and on to the platform itself, people said

that’s what happens when people chuck

their take-aways away, they end up in that

ditch and the rats feed off it, and soon there

were as many as ten or even twenty rats

all over Platform 5 and some of them were

bold enough to come right up to our feet

as if our shoes were good to eat, and then

this guy with coloured trousers standing next

to me said he was starving, and I said, me

too, though I’d just had a houmous wrap

from the Beirut and he was staring at the rats,

like he was jealous of them that they had

plenty to eat and still no train came, and

he groped inside his jacket and took out

a kind of toasting fork, a long spiky fork

thing and before anyone said anything he

speared one of the rats. The rest of us

looked a bit startled but covered it with shrugs

and smiles and then he knelt down and killed

it with a little penknife. He took a flattened

tin can thing out of another one of his pockets,

laid it down on the platform, filled it up with bits

of stuff that I couldn’t quite make out in the dark,

but he lit it with a lighter and laid a kind of grille

over the top of it, and just as quickly and neatly

put the rat on top. He was roasting the rat

on platform 5 of New Cross Gate Station. The

little group of us standing there were staring

and there was one guy saying over and over

again, ‘I don’t believe this...’ And still no train

came and you could smell the rat cooking.

I was wondering why he hadn’t skinned

it before he put it on the grill but he had

other plans because after a while, he used

his fork to pull the rat off and he laid it down

on a paper plate he had pulled out of another

pocket and he started to skin it. Just then

we heard the train coming and though I wanted

to see whether he really was going to eat it

I was pretty keen to get home, I had an

early start in the morning and so I got on

the train and as it pulled out, I thought I

saw him, pick a bit of the rat up towards

his mouth, but I can’t say I’m 100% sure

of it.