2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 620 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 10 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Advertisements

RAILWAY CITIES – short story by VL

This train is bound for London, an uninspiring, soulless city, where the sun drags itself along the crumbling pavement in a top hat and gloves. What people are is where they are. I must be London through and through. My lungs are infiltrated with smog. I am circling, forever circling, myself.

‘Why don’t you leave, then?’ Douglas had asked me some time ago now.

I can’t remember what I replied with, but it must have been good because he shut up right away. I’m a magnificent deflector; I guess I have London to thank for that. In case you’re wondering, old Doug’s shovelling earth and herding sheep now, not because he got demoted or anything, but because he left when he wanted to. His stupid corporate mugs are still in our apartment, taking up space where mine should be.

I come up out of the ground just as a lady passes by, she is forty, fifty, maybe? It gets hard to tell after thirty-five and most people will lie if you ask them. Anyway, she looks like a splendid story, with enough creases and ironed out edges to be a long and meaty one too, but the swarming horde smuggles her away before I catch up with her. I would have treated her real nice too, been a proper gentleman and taken her back to a time when scotch was classy and dancing was friendly, nothing more.

The steakhouse I passed two minutes ago is coming up again, and the rain washed awning is gone this time around. What could it take to get it back? Would a twenty do the job, sir? Fifty? I’m a vegetarian, but even an old steakhouse deserves to stay dry, don’t you think?

Things are always disappearing in this city, purses, cheques, people, and no one seems to know or care where they go, they just become sucked into this invisible vortex. If I wasn’t currently occupied with this terrific job, I would do it, I really would. I would stick on a deer-stalker and find a Watson to help me and hunt down the lost pieces of London.

There was a man who used to scowl at me from the coffee house doorway, and I’d kill to have him back too. Which is quite ironic, don’t you think? My morning latte and muffin would have done the job. There was no need for homicide back then. We’re suckers for making life harder for ourselves, we really are.

This train is bound for Paris, where my sixteen-year-old heart lies. My silhouette has faded into the seat of this carriage, but people stopped noticing years ago. Let me tell you something about Paris. Doug would have hated it, hated it with all his muddy heart.

But to me, Paris was the dream, the city of the Great Manifesto, with its eternal firefly lights and the scent of decency, on its glitter dusted pavements one could never truly die. I was going to speak French like a real Frenchman and live in an apartment near the Champs Elysees with a coffee machine. I had plans to marry a Marie or Jaquez with a bob.

Paris was flames and dancers and evening walks on the promenade, a dream for shallow hearts.

This train is bound for Italy. I’m sat here on the cold metal bench on the platform, gulping down scalding coffee from a cup that feels like sawdust, and trying to stay awake. I was saving Italy for when I got tired, tired of swirling crowds and hotdogs, for when I was old and travelled and smiling.

I would find some faded little diner and know the owner by his first name. I’d tell locals about the time I ran a circus in Brazil and the phantom girl who kissed me at the New York cocktail bar I liked at twenty-two. I would eat olives, garlic and sun-dried vegetables until I was a hundred-and-two then die in a striped deck chair, drenched in sun and ready for the moon.

This train feels as if it’s been delayed for light years. You must remind me to file a complaint.

 

RAILWAY CITIES BY VIVIEN LIN

QUOTES OF TODAY: WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

‘The earth has music for those who listen.’

‘The stroke of death is as a lovers pinch. Which hurts and is desired.’

‘Love me or hate me, both are in my favour.
If you love me, I’ll always be in your heart.
If you hate me, I’ll always be in your mind.’

‘And his unkindness may defeat my life, but never taint my love.’ (Othello)

‘You have witchcraft in your lips.’

‘For she had eyes and chose me.’

‘It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.’

‘She was false as water.’

‘I would challenge you to a battle of wits, but I see you are unarmed.’

‘Have more than you show, speak less than you know.’

‘I would not wish any companion in the world but you.’

‘My heart is ever at your service.’

‘To say the truth, reason and love keep little company together now-a-days.’

‘When I saw you, I fell in love and you smiled because you knew.’

‘I will have poetry in my life. And adventure. And love. Love above all.’

‘I do love nothing in the world as well as you: is not that strange?’

 

CHRISTMAS MAKES MONSTERS OF US ALL

As the most wonderful time of the year draws near and you prepare to gain 30 pounds in the space of two days, there are a few things to keep in mind.

It is cold. It is stupidly cold, the kind of cold that makes me jealous of the equator. ‘Ooh look, they’ve gone and set their pudding on fire,’ God said ‘let me extinguish it with an expensive British winter!’

To avoid leaving your toes in your boots, I suggest you eat some ginger. Don’t ask me why, but my mum always said that ginger keeps you warm and in good health, she even made tea with it once and I don’t mean ginger and lemon tea, I mean she made English Breakfast with ginger water.

Come wintertime, my kitchen becomes a bloody ginger wonderland. I tried to point out to my mum that the guy from Titanic chugged from a flask of alcohol in preparation for being plunged into the cold ocean and perhaps I should do the same before a Christmas dinner party, but she wasn’t convinced.

‘Tis the season to be grouchy, fa la la la la, la la la la. Oh bow down to the everlasting cycle of headaches  and streaming eyes and no, I am not talking about the family gathering. As the scent of gingerbread and mistletoe fills the air, so does the smell of Vicks and Soothers.

It is Christmas, and an overweight, child spying man is rolling into town on an oversized dinner tray, we must greet him like a tenor choir. If he’s lucky, we may even choke up a ball of phlegm and leave it on a dish for his reindeer. Make Santa feel welcome, kids.

Speaking of Santa, why do children find it magical that a stranger, with an unhealthy BMI and an army of slaves, plunges down the chimney and into their home without warning. The guys even eats your food, for crying out loud!

When my neighbour found me with a hand in her Rice Crispies and a huge bag slung over my shoulder, she threw a saucepan at me and called my mother. Yet nobody has called Santa’s parents, he skips away scot free, whilst calling out the name of a gardening implement and jingling his damn bells.

Now, let’s talk poultry. It’s around this time of year when turkeys begin to pen their wills, and we all feel bad about that, but what about the chickens?? They’ve been demoted, turkeys are bigger, better, more exclusive. Even turkey sandwiches are celebrated, hardy anyone thinks to Instagram their stodgy old chicken sandwich.

It’s not until January, when we find that we can only fit a single finger in our mitten, when we go crawling back to chickens to save us. Bye bye steak and beef, hello chicken, you beautiful, nutritious alternative! Well, let me tell you a little something! Chicken is sick and tired of being your rebound bird, watch out for salmonella.

Arson is always on the rise come Christmas time, electric blankets, candles, pudding. Pudding is a beautiful thing, sacred even. For any non- British people out there, Christmas pudding is this brown/grey gritty mound, composed of something that was probably fruit a long time ago. It’s bad enough that it looks like a pie made of a sack of mouldy tea leaves, but folk have taken it upon themselves to douse it in sherry and burn it to cinders, before scraping the remains onto party plates for people to flush down the bog.

This cruel, cruel practice has left me so disheartened that I often feel like dousing myself in alcohol and setting myself on fire too.

 

Happy holidays to you all.