In defence of unhappiness

In defence of unhappiness

“Happiness is a warm gun” – John Lennon

As the cuckoo grabbed a nest
and crushed eggs to death
blackbirds sang

As hurricane winds blasted
and tree trunks fell
wood beetles sang

As mayflies starved and died
exhausted swarms collapsed
hover of trout smiled

As meteor crashed to Earth
the sun went black
jellyfish smiled

As serfs and slaves revolted
blue blood was spilt
beheaders sang

As Job tasted pestilence
a hunger reigned
Almighty sang

As foetus died stillborn death
a mother wept
a hope was born.


Note: Audio recording is here

 All is not yet Lost

The white man with the toothache complained

“The death of truth”
“The demise of fact”

as if One Truth ever lived.

He wore red hair,

“Subjective trumps objective”
“Trust lost in slipstreams”

as if post- modern chatter
arose blind from ignorance

and there was the matter of his nonpliant feet.

“Authorities pushed aside”
“Authors born at every corner”

and no more news swallowed kosher,
we’ve seen gods sit on cracked toilets.

The white man’s ears were bent

“Let us respect disrespectors,
honour the heralds of doubt.
smash panes of glass with Apps and axe,
shatter the gorgon’s mask,
inhale medicine of liberation,
assassinate a holy trinity,
mend faith in next generation
of wordsmiths, dentists, and fools.”

The red man cried.




Easter Passover & Resurrection

I rose from the dead 

We’d all love to rise from the dead
and snatch a second chance
from the teeth of history.

Which of you would refuse resurrection
and leave the stones in place
until the winter breaks?

My death was cold
and stank of feces
left by swallows fit to glide away.

I never knew how long my death would last
until I rose again from the jaws of a mystery made
before the stars exploded

and the universe was saved.


Eulogy for our mum

Our mother doesn’t believe in death
Our grandma doesn’t believe in death
Our great grandmother doesn’t believe in death.
Even after everyone knows she’s passed away
she doesn’t believe in death.

She believes in sign-posts
and the sort of markers that say
you’ve entered a new townland.

Our mum believes in evolution and re-cycling
and believes she’s back with the love of her life
the man she married for thirty years
her husband forever.

Our mum believes in the journey
The journey with people, the journey for people,
the good life.

Our mum is …
Our mum was ready.
Oh, she told her family a long time ago
that she was ready.

She lived her day-to-day with love
as generously as any creature.
She reached out to the widest family of humanity
and she believes that’s the only way to live up,
to live the good life.

Our mum doesn’t believe in death
she believes in Resurrection,

She believes she’s moved on
her work on Earth is done
her work among us is the best she could do.

Our mum believes she’s no saint
she has sinned
she’s made her peace
she is forgiven.

Our mum is in love
a love deeper that the lover who feels
they’ve found the one they were meant to find.

Our mum doesn’t only believe in God
our mum knows her God is love
and love endures for ever.



Moses never led his people to the promised land

Magellan never sailed his ships home

Puccini never finished his journey to Turandot

I’ve never reached my daydreams.

I led up to them,

talking and walking

barefoot on  moss,

across streams

to the other side.

I reached for them on tippy-toes

never let go.

That’s my trouble

I’m no Michelangelo

and so I watch those daydreams

grow and grow

into memories

–  elephants in  my room –

wondering  what Moses felt

as he watched the people

leave the desert

their daydreams shining.

Maybe it’s a feast to simply daydream

and trek on

until I lose the breath for daydreams

and ‘in that sleep of death

dream on.


Binkie Braithwaite RIP

This morning – sipping coffee in Cafe Beva – I heard he’d died. News came via text message from my younger son.

It’s about 13 years since I’ve seen Binkie.


I didn’t cry.  He’d have taken the piss out of me if I had.

He lived on the edge
all his life – aware he could be dead before he finished his latest project (or so I imagined ever since we knew each other in Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire, UK.)

No one’s a perfect fit to deliver the oration in memory of Binkie – he had so many sides. But I wish, I wish I could be there to stand in honour of his presence.  (He never entered a room without making an impact.)

It’s fitting that this is the first prose piece I’ve written on this blog.

Binkie Braithwaite funniest inventor I ever met.

He invented Gut Barging.  None of you have ever heard of gut barging – but many have in Japan, UK & North America (many “mad raving fans”).

There was much more to Binkie than Gut Barging.  He was an arch conversationalist, centre-wing stand-up comic, beard-grower and a host of other spirits.

No one’s ever met another Binkie – a true snowflake.

Let us celebrate the Life of Binkie (I’m not sure when this movie will go on general release.)

Thank you Binkie
for all  the smiles you brought into my life every time I was in your company, and every time you dwelled in my memory & imagination.


World class media reports
on success of the sport Binkie invented/revived from Sumo.

(1) The Sport of Belly Jousting (2001 by Wertperch)

“…a contest of skill and controlled violence…” – Binkie Braithwaite, The Independent

Honestly, I couldn’t have made this up. This is one of those sports which seem unbelievable, made up for April Fools’ Day. Imagine two ahem large people in a ring, using only their ample middles to oust their opponent – it seems too far-fetched for words. The truth, however is stranger than the fiction would have been.

According to Binkie Braithwaite, founder of the World Gutbargers’ Association, it is “…borrowing from the traditions of Japanese Sumo. Basically it gives fat, drunken people the opportunity to excel…” Some have tried to place the origins in mediæval jousting tournament sideshows, but there can be no doubt that it is growing in popularity in this 21st century.

The rules seem to be quite straightforward. The two combatants, stripped to the waist (male or female – there are no barriers here) face each other across a mat twelve feet by eight, and with bellies well oiled, attempt to force one another off the mat using only their gut. There are a number of moves which attract points. Two of the more colourful are the Full Johnny Turk (a single thrusting blow which propels the victim off the mat) and the Shunt or Full Blubber (a full-strength push over the line), each of which scores 15 Points. No contact is permitted other than the belly – arms are held out at the sides for balance, but no wrestling is involved.

The sport is taken semi-seriously by the athletes, the first championships being held in Trowbridge in 1988. Scotland seems to like the sport, and it has made its way into some Highland Games events, although perhaps viewed as less traditional than tossing the caber. Australia too, has organised events. ‘Binkie’ has even been called on to organise an event at the Royal Albert Hall, as part of the support for The Stranglers 20th anniversary gig.

There are already traditions, borrowed, as might be expected, from sumo wrestling. The combatants hurl Bombay mix (a spicy snack food) into the ‘ring’, face up and shout insults at one another, before being told to prepare for battle, with a cry of ‘Guts Up’ by the Balou (referee). At this point, the contestants adopt a position of readiness, their knees bent, shoulders back and guts out. On the command ‘Meet’ the contest begins, they meet in a cataclysm of blubber, grease and sweat, before one is hurled from the ring in disgrace. At least it is more exciting than darts.


(2) Games: On the trail of the abdominal showmen

From the pages of `The Independent’ to the stage of the Albert Hall, Binkie Braithwaite – `the Gutfather’ – explains the finer points of Barging to William Hartston in 2011.

Fourteen months is a long time in Gut Barging. Just over a year ago, few of us had heard of this ancient British recreation, but yesterday night it completed a remarkable return to prominence with its first high- profile international contest, “The Brawl in the Hall”, which formed a weighty part of the 21st anniversary concert of The Stranglers at the Royal Albert Hall… (read a lot more here and gut barging Royal Albert Hall)



gut barging ‎(uncountable)

  1. (Britain) A sport (or slightly mock sport) in which two men with big fat guts (ie. their bellies) try to push each other off a mat, pushing only with their guts.