In the age of the obscure.

I have this morning spent hours trying to perform relatively easy computer transactions.  Well, they should be easy but they are not.  They are not because they are structured in ways that are unfathomable to the ordinary man – not to say man over 50 – 60-even 70!

Airlines reward programs are particularly prone to making the customer give up, it is patently obvious to a donkey that British Airways, for example, do not want their clients to benefit from their reward program if they can possibly avoid it.  The reward program becomes not a loyalty earner but an aggravation which has the opposite effect.

In my case, enough was enough so I thought I’d take my Avios and invest them in the Avios company.  Guess what? This company is, even more, obscurantist that the airline.

After hours of phone calls and so-called live chats, I was driven to despair and abandoned the fight for another day.

Is this the way it’s meant to be?  I think not.  It seems the evolution of computer geeks and misguided marketeers has conspired to self-destruct what was once a good idea. Add to those low-paid correspondents who chat remotely, they are exactly that, remote and largely disinterested in anything other than automaton like responses.

Where has all the real brand loyalty gone?  Yes, it’s tough to make a buck, but should formerly well-regarded companies like BA join the race to the bottom.  Not only that they are using devices that are deliberately obscure and customer unfriendly.  Wake up this is NOT the way.


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Poetry – harbinger of joy or tears.

Looking back at some of my  poems, none I may add, acclaimed by anyone, I am surprised at the ups and downs reflected there.

There are many who find poetry a balm and sometimes a boost and even a spark in the darkest of places. This piece tries to identify with the darkest places, unlike some poems it offers no solace, just a recognition how bad things can be. There is ambivalence about the subjective ‘us’ victim or persecutor or even observer content to sit on our hands

 –    There’s black in every heart‘      is one of those where I try to share the deep hopelessness and sadness that can prevail  in the most difficult times and moods. The reason I wrote the poem is still vivid in my mind, I have since been overtaken by happy and glorious times .  But the goings on in Myanmar remind me of the darkness we can all feel. I pray that those who suffer will be delivered from their earthly hell.  Please can we all help – in any way at all.



  There’s black in every heart, it spins like the sun

  There lurks the antimatter to our joy.

  It spins and pulls the light away

Sending hurtful splinters

Anywhere, even at the things we love,

things so fragile.  Too late, – we realize

Another hateful arrow finds

a random target and despair surrounds us

It spins and pulls the light away.

Looking out we can see nothing

other than that loathsome pity for ourselves.

There’s black in every heart, it spins like the sun.

Who cares what hurt that we have done,

what flower cut down, what trust betrayed?

There lurks the antimatter to our joy.

They talk of hope, they have none.

Not while this black hole burns coldly in our souls.

It spins and pulls the light away.

There is no light,

We choose to blind ourselves and turn away,

There’s black in every heart, it spins like the sun

Alone in our individual anguish,

misery and icy loneliness.

There lurks the antimatter to our joy

Don’t pity us,

We are below deserving.

It spins and pulls the light away.

Fear us for we can

spoil and smear and desecrate.

There lurks the antimatter to our joy.

Don’t give us love

We don’t need it; We shall hide,

here in the blackness of our hearts.


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Thick-skinned writers.

Let’s face it we’re not all great writers.  In fact very few of us are.  Nevertheless, we persevere and produce labours of love in whatever form we think we are good at.

When our major work, which has sometimes taken years to complete, is done there remains an almost universal desire to seek the approbation even admiration of our friends’ colleagues and readers. How then are we to react when our work is considered poor?

The reasons why our readers find it so are many and various, some deserved some perhaps not as valid as others.  Nevertheless,  criticism can hurt.  There’s no use denying it.

Is there a defense mechanism that can help us ward off the hurt?  Probably not, but what we can do, is go again.  Write some more, but when we do we should if possible take yesterdays’ criticism as tomorrow’s guideline, at least to some extent.  If we are to write anything worthwhile we have to believe that one day someone will read what we’ve written and say: “Hey, that was worth my time.” That’s possibly the greatest compliment of all, we filled their moments with words that exercised their minds and made them think,  enquire, cry, laugh or even be amazed. This is the challenge every writer faces and very few writers achieve.

I hear you say, that’s ‘baloney’.  I don’t think it is, but equally, I believe that the business of writing has become a very tough place to be.  The commercial mainstream demands excellence in well-trodden genres, yet there are still astonishing breakthroughs.  However, it remains true that the readers enjoy the hero rather than the anti-hero,  that readers have habits and areas of comfort where they are comfortable.  Do we, as writers, want to follow or lead. That is the question each one of us has to answer.

The thing is, we’re all storytellers, and some stories are better than others. It is the unpredictable that makes us tick, the ability to wander around in the frontier-less expanses of our minds.  No one has been there before, and no one but us can tell where the stories will lead. Good for us, let’s write another one. Somebody somewhere might like it.

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Aung San Suu Kyi

Why?  We thought we had a truly democratic leader who above all believed in the rights of all people. Yet Aung San presides over one of the most blatant acts of ethnic cleansing seen for many years.  This woman was an example to us all, a Nobel laureate of worldwide renown, a colossal human being who had shown us that peace and patience can win the day. She was much respected as a diplomat and as leader of the National League for Democracy.

I do not know why this ghastly episode of Rohingya persecution is being carried out under her reign as the Prime minister of Myanmar.  Is it because she is a puppet of the Military rulers?  Is it because she is afraid of confronting her Buddist followers who by and large loathe the Muslim minority Rohingyas?  Is it because now that she has achieved her role as the first minister of her country she is too comfortable to care?

In the seventy-plus years, I have spent on this planet this is for me one of the great disappointments of my life.

Please, Please Aung San Suu Kyi, make me eat my words.

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Why? What’s the point of hate?

All these crazy jihadis running around and murdering innocent people are trying to prove what?  That they’re crazy? Well yes, they proved that but not much else.We all weep as the world bleeds once more.  Surely there are enough natural disasters without these sins of pure hatred.

What the world has is a bunch of fanatics who do not apparently fear death and take pleasure in killing random men, women, and children. It is beyond all our rational thinking. The world weeps for this deliberate sin, surely there are enough natural disasters to deal with without these needless acts of hatred.  How do we stop it?  How do we persuade these jihadis that what they do has no purpose what so ever?

I haven’t a clue.  Maybe it’s pulling out the West from the Middle East where all these nuts seem to come from, however in this modern world that would hardly be enough. Putting more foreign troops into Afghanistan seems self-defeating in that this place has been at civil war for about a hundred years and it’s not about to stop now, indeed more foreign intervention is likely to exacerbate further tribal response.

The West has long argued that its job in the global scheme of things is to export democracy which is intrinsically good. Well sadly for us that view is not universally shared.  We’ve been at this since at least the sixteenth century exporting our Christain values and beliefs many of which were of course really evil, i.e. inquisition and many other regimes.

Hate is also reappearing big time in the USA fanned by the POUSA Trump.  This is dangerous stuff and U.S. legislators need to wake up fast. Get rid of that vicious half wit.

What the good people of Boston have demonstrated, is that the majority of my American friends are just that, friends.  Good people who tolerate and embrace many faiths and ideas from all sorts of diverse backgrounds.

Who would I like most to embrace? An easy answer, The good folk of Boston.

Trump is proposing to increase the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, of two things I am sure, it will be the wrong idea and the wrong result. Many foreign troops will perish and we will call them heroes.  They will be brave young men and women sent to a hopeless war by a misguided leader.  All this is predictable.  More killing – more hate.  Where does the so-called free world stop?


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Cowardice no substitute for leadership.

The President of the U.S.A. refusing to condemn right wing extremists after the foul altercations where peaceful counter-protesters were killed is a disgrace that the US does not deserve.  Surely now, this venomous clown is shown up for what he really is, an ignorant bully.

It is my fervent hope that all the US electorate see him for what he is.  By keeping him in office the GOP dishonour the United States and all it stands for. The Vice-president has spoken out in an attempt to lessen the ignominy, but brave as his gesture might have been it is too little too late.

Trump – Go you are a disgrace.


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Love’s a bind, love’s a burden

It’s like heroin, there’s no doubt

Each day we need our fix to live on,

Every day it’s agony – without.


         Our fix comes, not through the needle

         But through forgiveness or new giving grace,

          The shaking stops, withdrawal assuaged

          Make me warm in love’s embrace.

                   Love you then, as my good habit

we mustn’t fail to indulge and tame it

I must keep you always flying

Pray we don’t start love denying.


Like all those who are addicted,

it’s for ever, an eternal mix.

You and me, who’d have predicted?

We know no bounds to get our fix.






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