Nov 29

6fish battles a dementor for the second week in a row, whilst wanderers triumph! 6Fish and muscles fall off the edge of the earth!

It wasn’t the ball rolling, life sucking dementor from last week but rather a different kind of dementor a “Sloth Dementor”. The Sloth Dementor needless to say plays veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeery slowly, first looking then lining up then looking again then stepping back then looking then reaching for his beer and then looking again, he lines up the shot and then steps back and looks again before finally pushing a ball towards a hole. But I’m getting ahead of myself again.

As usual we sent in Frank the Zebra to get us an early lead and rather unusually he faltered and was beaten. As the match continued he disappeared to the shops apparently (more to come later).

Our very decent super sub Big Unit stepped up to try and repair the damage and did just that! Nice job Big Unit.

More walking around the table, lining things up, practice strokes, a sip of beer, steps back, steps forward, pauses..

Time to throw Muscles in, the match is tightening up by this point and Muscles showed the way pinching a crucial win.

frank-the-zebra-and-flourMeanwhile Frank the Zebra returns with his shopping which turns out to be some perverted sex thing, a bag of flour apparently makes all the difference and considering the size of the bag he seemed to have high hopes for the near future. He wouldn’t reveal details about how its used and so you’ll have to use your imagination.

Time for 6fish versus the dementors part two. Something of an epic game lasting an hour and a quarter largely due to Sloth Dementor finishes with 6fish swerving to pot his last ball only to somehow have the white ball cross the table and deflect into a hole. Would appreciate not playing a Dementor next week please.

This left the match down to Mr Angry and he dispatched his man comfortably. A good win that gets the team back on track.

A cold wind blew and suddenly Muscles and 6fish where drinking with Antelope and Muttly. A swirling wave of laughter and booze overcame them and the edge of the earth passed underneath them as they flew off into the boozilicious hinterland.

Nov 22

The Mile Oak Dementor

frankIt’s been a long night already, Mr Angry 2 is last up and he doesn’t know it yet but he’s about to play The Dementor. Break. The Dementor begins the process that defines him, sucking the life out of the game, out of Mr Angry 2 and the pub and its surroundings. Cover the pockets is his game and relentlessly he does just that. Never attempting to pot a ball unless it’s absolutely necessary.

But, I’m ahead of myself, the evening started so well. The Toddler confirmed that he is indead going to have a Tiddler. We’re still not convinced that this isn’t just a sham to cover his gayness but we’ll say no more about that. Sadly this means the end of The Toddler as a force for the team but hopefully he’ll put in the odd guest appearance when needed in the future.

The Dementor rolls another ball over the hole.

We send in Frank.. I mean the zebra as usual and as usual he comes up with the goods after a little bit of a struggle.

Ball, hole, role over, The Dementor, life being sucked out of us.

Next up is Muscles but this is not his day and after such a good start to the season he finally falters.

More ball rolling over holes.

Bravely Mr Angry stepped up and took on their best player, but the gods were not with him and he fell.

The ball could feel itself rolling and it wondered where it might finish up, when it finally stopped it opened its eyes and found itself blocking some kind of hole.

Time for The Toddler to make his final official appearance with the game in the balance we needed him to win and he didn’t let us down. It’s going down to the decider.

Mr Angry 2, steps up, still reasonably bright eyed and bushy tailed and breaks the balls. He’d wish he hadn’t soon enough. The old style of pool, blocking pockets until you’re certain to be able to clear up is supposed to be in the past but The Dementor of Mile Oak proves there are still corners of the County where dark figures lurk that can suck the life out of you and the game.


Nov 09

Why I’ve joined the Green Party

I haven’t been a member of a party since the early nineteen eighties when I joined CND, I imagine about the same time as Caroline Lucas did. We were supporting the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp alongside other things but I was too much of an individual to stay a member and so quietly let it lapse. I’m still too much of an individual to join a party but ‘the times they are a changin’ and so today seems like the right day to throw my hat in the ring. In recent years I’ve tried to prioritise my politics towards the environment and sustainability (I’m not very good at it personally but all of you should do it (see, too individual)) before other issues and as a result have been voting for the greens for a number of years having been a Labour supporter (though not a member of course) previously. I’m very lucky to live in the one place in the country where my vote can actually elect a green MP (Brighton) and I’m happy to continue to do that. I’ve joined the party because it is time for all those on the left to unite. I want a world were we have a living wage, a sustainable planet based on renewable energy and public services restored to the public for the common good. I’m not much of a political force but you’re welcome to my hat greens.

Nov 08

The stars, the stars aligned

Sometimes, when you’re not looking the stars, they align. All the omens were bad, we had three players and a big unit, we’re talking the Alamo. But, don’t underestimate Big Unit because he produced attack as if out of his pocket suddenly we had attack playing for us. Mr Angry would not be swearing if he saw him play, no sir, he’d have loved that relentless attack at all costs, no holds barred, attack. But I’m getting ahead of myself, the quality in the team showed up when those with lesser characters faltered. The three stood firm, on foreign fields, shield next to shield and fought for honour and glory. First, our only fly boy (The toddler is having trouble getting it up and Mr Angry is bottom of the individual league so inconsolable) Zebra, used all the luck we had and scraped home once again. I threw big unit in at this point and he fought hard but was slain at the last minute. I then chucked attack into the fray and he attacked, relentlessly without thought and blind to Mr angry’s spirit cursing his very existence. We lead. Time to throw in our new star player Muscles (aka puff the magic dragon). He was too good and the job was done. 6Fish, plays the last game and despite his opponent being unbearably classy he grinds her down and casts the dust to the wind. We don’t know how we found five players, much less won 4-1 but the stars, they aligned.

A little more beer/bourbon smoothed out the edges and there we are, winners once again.

Nov 01

Oh dear, Oh dear, Oh

I send flyboy one on first as usual, he likes it that way (so the ladies tell me), job done, he’ll be fine at the pearly gates, apparently god doesn’t mind if he’s white with black stripes or black with white stripes and since we’re from Brighton, we don’t mind either. To be fair he scraped it and so will have to buck his ideas up next week. Time to sacrifice the gurning magic dragon that doesn’t puff anymore, boom, he does it again and wins, this is gonna be easy, I’ve held my two main fly boyz back to kill them off and stuck myself in the rear as a last ditch punt if they fail which frankly they can’t. Up steps The toddler, he’s brought his fancy this week and that’s always a bad sign, for a start she’s waaaaaay out of his league and you can see the pressure he’s under to perform. Bam, he goes down like a sack of potatoes, performance issues, which he’ll now have to work out with his fancy, be gentle with him fancy. I’m not worries because I’ve been holding Mr. Angry in reserve, I’ve given him someone beatle(Hey Jude, don’t make it bad, Take a sad song and make it better, Remember to let her into your heart, Then you can start to make it better, Hey Jude, don’t be afraid, You were made to go out and get her, The minute you let her under your skin, Then you begin to make it better, And anytime you feel the pain, hey Jude, refrain, Don’t carry the world upon your shoulders, For well you know that it’s a fool who plays it cool, By making his world a little colder, Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah, Hey Jude, don’t let me down, You have found her, now go and get her, Remember to let her into your heart, Then you can start to make it better, So let it out and let it in, hey Jude, begin, You’re waiting for someone to perform with, And don’t…)able. All will be well, bosh, my star player (The Toddler told me on week one he’d be my star player this season) falls to the drunk. Its a wobble, worry not, we’ve got a womble for just such a wobble. 6fish, the star of last week steps up, all concentration. He fights with the existential inner self thats held him back since Sartre and the eighties, where, I say where, is Camus when you need him, even Genet could have stopped this fall but no, there is no stop, we all fall.

Beware of darkness,it can get you, and it can hurt you and what is more that is not what we are here for. The wanderers, beaten, cut to shreds on the battlefield, too many weak links in the shield wall. Team building is perhaps only a week or two away, cross bow practice seems the best option. The creature (we mis-named him last week (the Beast)) will come to save us next week. He is on the team sheet and we don’t care if our enemies know in advance.

The Bourbon kicks in, calm, smooth, soft fall to earth. It will all be ok.

Oct 31

Brighton 5 v 0 Norwich

2016-10-29-16-42-15You don’t get to see a 5-0 very often in your life and as an Ipswich fan I’ve been lucky to experience that against the old enemy Norwich, 21st February 1998. So to experience it twice was a joy, a spy in the Brighton camp I am never the less a supporter and of course especially so against Norwich.

The game swung on an early goal at the opposite end to us. An opportunist piece of work from Glenn Murray, stealing the ball from the keeper and slotting it in. I didn’t celebrate the goal because I thought the ref would blow at any moment but he never did and that was that. In a tight first half where Norwich impressed the goal helped settle the Seagulls and their supporters and beer at half time saw a discussion about how good Norwich looked and how we’d do well to hold them today.

2016-10-29-16-47-32Murrays second got the fans going (it being in front of the North stand) and suddenly Norwich looked shaky at the back and Brighton began to attack them from all sides. Four minutes later Dunk sailed above the defence and bang 3-0. The Norths getting up for this now and even I’m celebrating the goals like its Ipswich (if only). Murray scores the fourth, his hatrick and this is where we crack, furiously jumping around hugging strangers just because its that kind of moment. It feels significant and so we photograph the scoreboard just to say we were there. But that’s not the end and my dream to see five against Norwich again is given to me by the Seagulls. Knockaert scores a wonderful chipped goal right in front of us and we all go wild again, crowd singing lets go fucking mental. We photograph the scoreboard again and the moment is complete. Thank you Seagulls, it was great to see Norwich go down 5-0 for a second time and brought all the memories of 1998 back to life.

Oct 25

Fly boys break the ground but oldies bring it home.

Once again we’re going to have to carry Mr. Angry, he’s a nice fella (well actually he’s not but we try to pretend) but he can’t play pool for shit and so was the only loser once again. We sent the fly boyz (Zebra and The toddler) in to get us a good start and they duly obliged 2-0, tactically we knew (thanks to Mr Angry, that they would send their best player in next to keep the game alive and so we decided to sacrifice the magic dragon (he doesn’t puff anymore). Only magic dragon managed to beat his man despite being pissed (it was his 50th birthday) and so game over with two matches to go. Mr angry was cut down by youth just as 6fish has been in recent times. This meant there was one remaining match to play, 6fish lined it up so The Beast could play his first match for the team in many a year but he wasn’t quite ready to fight tooth and nail for glory and so 6fish stepped in. What followed was a lesson in pool, style, panash, joue de vivre, its hard to describe it. For some reason everyone thought I’d won 2-1 (something to do with the awful, grinding nature of my 2-0 win) but no, 6fish brought slaughter to the battlefield and his enemy fell with sword in hand, set to arise in Valhalla and drink with the man who killed him and sent him to the halls of death. A 4-1 win against a very good team, excellent start to the season.

We crossed the rubicon from the castle to POW and immediately the magic was flowing like the blood of life, sustaining us. The beast cursed the world because he had to catch the last bus home and that’s a burden suitable for a beast to bare. 6Fish, magic dragon and the new man who must remain nameless, drank a little and saw magic dragon over the edge into oblivion (happy 50th birthday magic dragon!), Antelope showed us his new dog muttley, a wonderful reason to live, the fluttering ears being his speciality. Antelope told me about his early years (the rock star that he is) and promised me a story about another team member who shall for now remain nameless.

Our shield wall held and no man stepped back, death and glory await!

Aug 28

Georgia O’Keefe – Fiercest of warriors

379px-O'Keeffe-(hands)The Georgia O’Keefe show at Tate Modern is perhaps an alternative view of the most famous female painter in history. Traditionally we think of her as someone who paints flowers, not just flowers of course, they mean much more than that but flowers never the less. This show balances all her styles and subjects on one plate to give us the fuller view of her oeuvre. The outcome is a clearer view of this fierce warrior painting on the edge, abstracts, skulls, cityscapes, night paintings, it’s all there.

Composition is key to her decision making often perfectly balancing a painting down its centre point with contrasting sides of one object (see Calla Lilies on Red 1928). She stares sharply and then paints that sharpness often bringing things to a literal sharp point. Her colour is always perfectly balanced and reminded me of Caspar David Friedrich slowly shifting down from the full colour to paler and paler versions. She also paints a perfect gradient using the same colour shift, blending the colour as if it had been airbrushed.

My personal favourites were a beautiful nightscape of New York City (New York Night 1928-9), the beautiful Calla Lilies on Red 1928 and Horses Skull on Blue 1931.

2016-08-26 12.56.58It was a hot day in London with my friend Millie. We had a light lunch around Borough Market and found shade under a well placed tree. I took pity on a scrawny cat and fed him some of my gourmet Sausage roll, he seemed grateful. We then walked along the South Bank of the Thames towards our goal of Tate Modern. Received poor service from London Travel Inn Capital Southwark, better service from Swan connected to the Globe Theatre. Having spent two hours going round the exhibition and then re-hydrating in the cafe afterwards we took a peek at the new extension at the back of the Tate on our way out and then walked on until we got to Giraffe on Southbank Centre. The food was adequate without being spectacular but our compliments to the staff who were excellent in challenging conditions.

2016-08-26 17.12.42To finish the trip we had to sneek me all the way home without a train ticket having lost mine somewhere in london. But we’re old hands and got the job done nicely. Lovely day.

Aug 19

Jazz, Neil Young and Pink Floyd

In my experience there is life and then there is none. This post is about life. A pleasant evening with Ric, first we listened and the subtleties of Jazz washed over us and then we discussed it. Beer and then bourbon helped and then we drank more bourbon and discussed other things and the barman wanted to hear us tell him that Georgia O’Keeffe was the meaning to his life. Ric, still fierce, a warrior who must be slowly brought back to the fight. Time came and Ric runs for the last bus, I on the other hand fall into the clutches of POW, my favourite pub where sometimes time stands still and this night time stood still. Many more bourbon, wonderful conversations with dutch Vikings who wonderfully love the British and are happy to know us despite #brexit. Then Zebra and 6fish regale the boy who is a living saint with tales from the seventies and eighties, drugs, booze, shagging, break ins and death defying accidents. We’ve done it all. The bourbon flows until time loses all meaning and finally Pink Floyd comes into focus.


Talk of Networked Doom and offices re-arranged for fun only. We did it all and Pink Floyd was the sound track to our lives. It’s better to burn out than to fade away. It was 19:00 pm when I left the flat, it’s 02:00 am now, to ruin and the worlds end.

Aug 07

A Perfect Day

Attending someone’s funeral isn’t usually a good sign if you’re looking to have a perfect day. But this day was the perfect day and the funeral was perfectively part of it.

I walked in the sunshine through the sleepy village of Needham Market to the train station heading for my old friends funeral thinking of him as I walked. On the platform I looked across the countryside while I waited for the train and I knew that Dale was with me, he would stay all day I realised later.

The train pulled in and I scanned the passengers on board, there was a small chance another old friend of mine might have got my message and be on board. I couldn’t see her and so decided to board. As I sat down and wondered whether to check the train properly I felt a tap on the shoulder and there she was, the perfect girl for my perfect day.

We grabbed a taxi at Ipswich station to ensure we would be on time and had fun chatting with our driver who’s broad Suffolk accent was a perfect accompaniment to our journey. He got us where we needed to be and we laughed as we left his company.

Fearing an austere funeral ceremony our fears were allayed immediately and it was clear this would go well and when Effervescing Elephant by Syd Barratt came on we all relaxed. Dale had sent his messenger to ease our fears.

The call came out for people to speak and mistakenly I faltered. Unprepared as I was I did not want to spoil peoples last goodbye. But, I had something to say and here it is. Dale and I discussed many things but we always came back to one thing and that one thing was ‘it’. We couldn’t define ‘it’ and so we called it, ‘it’. We felt that we had ‘it’ and that everyone should strive to achieve ‘it’. Later, I found a better definition of ‘it’ when reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig described it as ‘quality’ and quality defines Dale Mann. 

We said our goodbyes, briefly meeting Dale’s son, it was like looking my old friend straight in the eye.

I had planned to walk down the cemetary as we left and this proved a good decision, there was nothing depressing about walking through the cemetary and workers chatting as we went combined with dog walkers and joggers made the walk pleasant. We strayed only slightly before perfectly finding the bottom of the cemetary and so the top of Cemetary Road. A short walk down, passing the place I lived for a short while back in those old days and then we were at the bottom of Hervey Street. My brothers old house where too I had lived in those days. Across Cobbold Street and we were at the bottom of Bolton Lane. I lived on Bolton Lane while I was at art school and so it was nice to see it again.

And so to my goal, Christchurch Park. Tea with the perfect girl, looking across the pond where my old friend Tony and I came to feed the ducks in our first year at art school. Tony too is lost but not forgotten.

2016-08-03 13.01.24My next goal was to walk up the hill to where the childrens playground now exists, it wasn’t there when Dale and I and our other friends used to hang out there. On the crest of the hill there you will see a single large tree, I call it The One Tree. It was our tree, many days spent drinking under it, shading from the sun, talking, always talking. If you go there, you will find Dale and some day me. The perfect girl shed a tear and as usual I didn’t know how to console her, but the tear was perfect and the moment slowly passed. I told her the story I have of Dale and the one tree..

When Dale and I were friends I was like a puppy that gnawed at his ankle to begin with. Slowly he brought me up to speed with George Harrison and others. But in the beginning I was still a schoolboy and so still delighted in school boy jinx. We were hanging about under The One Tree one day and I did something to upset him, I can’t actually remember what it was but he quickly had fire in his eyes and since I’d not seen that before I legged it down the hill heading north across the park. Being tall and in those days young I was confident I could out run him, I was wrong. Dale was lythe and ran fast and so he chased me across the park, I turned this way and that but could not shake him. Eventually I headed back to the hill and The One Tree and an idea came to me. I slowed my pace very slightly and allowed Dale to get as close to me as I dared, as I ran around the hill I suddenly turned to run up the hill, just as Dale was about to bring me down I deliberately fell to the ground and scrunched up like a ball. Because he was so close to me he had no time to adjust his step and so fell over me. I jumped up and ran up the hill to The One Tree. Puppy had triumphed and the old dog had cooled the fire in his eyes, accepting his fate. Because I won the battle that day I never forgot it of course and would give anything to have the fun of Dale chasing me across the park again.

It was time for the perfect girl and I to leave and we walked down the slope musing at how on earth I had managed to run up it once!

We passed through Ipswich and ended up in the Town Hall cafe/gallery. While we had coffee and scones we saw the Jackson Pollocks Paul had spoken about. As we left I saw Mannings on the left and since it was an old haunt of Dale and I we stopped by for a drink. Wonderful to see that it has not changed at all, a very rare thing these days.

And so to the train station for the journey home. It was hard to leave the perfect girl but circumstances meant we had to part quickly and before I knew it I was on my way back to Needham Market.

Goodbye my old friend, our connection was strong and stood the test of time. You held to our pact and sought quality all your life and so shall I.


The Perfect Girl


The Puppy

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