In Search of My Father 2017 Writing Project

In Search of My Father 2017 Writing Project
In Search of My Father, 2017 writing project supported by The National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

I'VE GONE OFF WORDS FIRST THING IN THE MORNING





For many years, my radio alarm has kicked in with BBC Radio 4's Today Programme and some time ago it occurred to me that it is an extremely depressing way to start any day - bad news pours out, warnings are issued by 'experts', ex-politicians (failed) pontificate opinions, offering wisdom (whizz dumb) on the crisis of the day, current politicians answer straight questions with unconnected answers, many pointless surveys on this and that are discussed for ages, interviews (interruption-fests) are unlistenable and, sadly, any genuine nuggets of interest or any hint of an upbeat story are buried under a current of misery and gloom. I am heartily sick of words like Brexit, Trump, austerity and many more.

So, begone Today Programme, now I listen to Classic FM and joy has returned to my waking moments. I feel refreshed, uplifted, inspired to spring out of bed and do good, positive things.

I've gone off words first thing in the morning in favour of a jukebox of classical music delights presented by the calming tones of Tim Lihoureau, a wonderful broadcaster and perfect radio companion to start the day.

My oft-repeated favourite quote from the late, great Harry Chapin: "Sometimes words can serve me well and sometimes words can go to hell......."

Cue the music.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

WATCH, LISTEN TO AND READ LESS NEWS. IT'S ALL CLUTTER!

I may be naive. I may wear rose-tinted glasses when thinking of the past. But I don't remember feeling manipulated by the news as I grew up. I may be wrong, of course. As I recall, in my young Belfast years, if a bomb exploded, the news reported that a bomb exploded. If a riot happened, the news reported a riot. If death or injury occurred, death or injury was reported. A few expert journalists offered analysis and that was that that. Sometimes I felt fear and worry and concern. But I didn't feel that I was being manipulated. Again, I may be wrong.

Now, decades on, and I feel like a piece of putty being twiddled between the finger and thumb of whoever is in charge. I am forced by a curious mixture of truth, lies, facts, fiction, spin, bullshit, open persuasion, hidden persuasion, mischief and emotional strategy sifted through news that isn't really news, 'news' that is opinion, propaganda and agenda-driven.

Daily, we have warnings, surveys, forecasts, 'expert' analysis ands all sorts of other ingredients in the melting pot, a cocktail of stuff designed to maintain a simmering hysteria.

As a result, I watch, listen to and read less 'news'. Why do I need a headful of blether and blah? Very carefully and selectively, I follow a small number of columnists and I give myself space to make up my own mind. I don't need or want an Eeyore like Huw Edwards to give me 'news' in a hangdog, run-for-your-life fashion. I resist Fiona Bruce's glam-news style. Such is the presentation of 'news', especially on television, that I neither feel informed or enthused to 'get involved' by tweeting and interacting in all the other crappy ways that form the menu of social media, although I do weaken at times.

I resist a lot of the nonsense of current affairs. The world has grown obese on meaningless words. We are in a swampy era of a claptrap diet, exemplified by, but not exclusively, the clowns in the circus that we used to respect as the White House, with all its flaws.

I withdraw as much as I can from the ex-politicians who now claim to be wise, unlike their kow-towing time in power.

Keep the long-term faith, people. The cretins are only in power for a relatively short time. Well, at least until the next cretins arrive.

Where, oh where, is that truly genuine, sincere, inspirational leader to guide the new generations to a bright future? To dream the impossible dream.........

Can you think of a truly great political leader anywhere in the world?

Either way, watch, listen to and read less 'news'. It's all clutter.

I may be naive.








VALENTINE CHUCKLES


Sharing a few Valentine's chuckles.........




MAKING THE EFFORT

No road
Too long to walk,
No river
Too wide to swim,
No mountain
Too high to climb,
No building
Too tall to abseil,
No rapids
Too rough to ride,
No bungee
Too scary to jump,
No slopes
Too snowy to ski
-       That’s how much you mean to me.
But, to be honest, I’m knackered.




*
Roses are chocolates,
But if you eat them by the load,
I swear you’ll expand
And eventually explode.

*
Roses are beautiful,
Roses have thorns,
You’re losing your looks,
As the mirror warns.

*
Roses are red,
Diamonds gleam,
With my looks and your brains,
We make quite a team.


*
Cupid’s an archer,
Casanova’s a chap,
You’re the love of my life
After a bacon bap.

*
I love your face,
I love your lips,
But I especially love ketchup
On my fish and chips.

*
You’re the greatest,
You’re a winner,
Now be a love
And make my dinner.


12 (Plus One) Days Of courting

On the FIRST day of courting,
My true love sent to me
A gift box
With a small lock of her hair.


On the SECOND day of courting,
My true love sent to me,
Two nail clippings
And a gift box
With a small lock of her hair.


On the THIRD day of courting,
My true love sent to me,
Three tear-stained tissues,
Two nail clippings
And a gift box
With a small lock of her hair.


On the FOURTH day of courting,
My true love sent to me,
Four eyelash trimmings,
Three tear-stained tissues,
Two nail clippings
And a gift box
With a small lock of her hair.


On the FIFTH day of courting,
My true love sent to me,
Five laddered stockings,
Four eyelash trimmings,
Three tear-stained tissues,
Two nail clippings
And a gift box
With a small lock of her hair.


On the SIXTH day of courting,
My true love sent to me,
Six bitten toffees,
Five laddered stockings,
Four eyelash trimmings,
Three tear-stained tissues,
Two nail clippings
And a gift box
With a small lock of her hair.


On the SEVENTH day of courting,
My true love sent to me,
Seven toothpicks chewed,
Six bitten toffees,
Five laddered stockings,
Four eyelash trimmings,
Three tear-stained tissues,
Two nail clippings
And a gift box
With a small lock of her hair.


On the EIGHTH day of courting,
My true love sent to me,
Eight olive pips,
Seven toothpicks chewed,
Six bitten toffees,
Five laddered stockings,
Four eyelash trimmings,
Three tear-stained tissues,
Two nail clippings
And a gift box
With a small lock of her hair.


On the NINTH day of courting,
My true love sent to me,
Nine blobs of earwax,
Eight olive pips,
Seven toothpicks chewed,
Six bitten toffees,
Five laddered stockings,
Four eyelash trimmings,
Three tear-stained tissues,
Two nail clippings
And a gift box
With a small lock of her hair.


On the TENTH day of courting,
My true love sent to me,
Ten empty beer cans,
Nine blobs of earwax,
Eight olive pips,
Seven toothpicks chewed,
Six bitten toffees,
Five laddered stockings,
Four eyelash trimmings,
Three tear-stained tissues,
Two nail clippings
And a gift box
With a small lock of her hair.


On the ELEVENTH day of courting,
My true love sent to me,
Eleven ultimatums,
Ten empty beer cans,
Nine blobs of earwax,
Eight olive pips,
Seven toothpicks chewed,
Six bitten toffees,
Five laddered stockings,
Four eyelash trimmings,
Three tear-stained tissues,
Two nail clippings
And a gift box
With a small lock of her hair.


On the TWELFTH day of courting,
My true love sent to me,
Twelve effigies,
Eleven ultimatums,
Ten empty beer cans,
Nine blobs of earwax,
Eight olive pips,
Seven toothpicks chewed,
Six bitten toffees,
Five laddered stockings,
Four eyelash trimmings,
Three tear-stained tissues,
Two nail clippings
And a gift box
With a small lock of her hair.


On the THIRTEENTH day of courting,
I don’t know what she sent,
“Cos the strain and the stress
Made me change my address
And in answer to the choice –
Man or mouse? Mouse.
But at least a mouse
In a police safe house!