Archive for the life and modern times Category


Posted in Biographies and Inside Stories, Blogging, life and modern times, mental health with tags , on July 14, 2014 by leovineknight

“Hello, there.”
I swivelled 90 degrees and observed the svelte figure of Carol weaving through the coffee tables towards me. She had clearly spent the morning in the bathroom as usual, with freshly tinted hair, sparkling teeth and the intermingling aromas of shampoo, anti-perspirant and patchouli oil intoxicating all in her wake. But as momentary eye contact was lost, my visceral admiration wavered, and I detected that her bonhomie was far too extravagant for the circumstances. She always performed for new audiences like Betty Grable at a big break audition, effortlessly switching her binary personality from 0 to 1 for maximum effect, but this time something was different. As she sat in front of me ignoring everything I said and beaming sideways at perfect strangers, I noticed an extra special esprit in her manner which I hadn’t seen for many years. After 15 minutes of unreal politeness, awkward vacillation and routine fencing, I looked at the right ear which was turned towards me, and enquired:
“Where are the kids today?”
“Sorry?” she said, pulling her attention away from the pink-shirted charge nurse at the end of the room.
“Where are the kids today” I repeated.
“Oh, one of my friends from work has taken them to see Star Wars XXIV at the Ritz.”
“I see. Is it Andrea?”
“Sorry?” she said, abandoning her non-verbal rapport with a tweedy young doctor in the doorway.
“Has Andrea taken them to the cinema?”
“Oh no. It’s one of the others – nobody you know.”
“It would have been nice to see the kids.”
“It would have been nice to see the kids!” I insisted.
“For goodness sake, there’s no need to shout!” she shouted. “I just thought it would be better if they enjoyed themselves for once. It’s no fun for them in here.”
“I didn’t choose to be in here.”
“Didn’t you?” she sneered. “ Quite a few of your work-mates seem to have been in and out of places like this, just so they could cop out. Why not you?”
“For God’s sake, I had a genuine breakdown! It was because I was having to cope with all that low grade corruption and filth and endless stupidity that I couldn’t take any more.”
“Well, in the end it doesn’t make any difference whether it’s genuine or not. You’re still here.”
“It doesn’t make any difference?”
“No not really. “
“But I was fighting for something that was right and fair. Something less wasteful and less rotten…..”
“If the world’s as mad as you say it is” she interrupted “the only sane thing to do is to adapt to it, otherwise you’ll be driven mad yourself.”
“You’ve always been anti-social Steven. That’s your big problem.”
“Well……. if society means a collection of performing narcissists, mindless bureaucrats, animalistic thugs and shameless freeloaders dancing together over the cliff – yes, I’m very much against it.”
“Anyway” she said “I’ve got to meet Bil ….er…my friend at 4 0’clock to pick up the kids.”
“Bill who?” I enquired.
“Look, I can’t explain now” she said “I’ll write soon, but I’m going away for a few days break.”
“I’ll write soon.”
“Take care then” I said, no longer wanting to hear the truth. “And have a nice time.”
For a few moments she looked shaken and contrite, her eyes shining like mine, shared memories holding us in our seats, but then she was gone. And gone for good (or bad), I could no longer tell the difference. Only the perfume, and the image of her catwalk back remained.


Solipsism or Bust

Posted in Biographies and Inside Stories, Blogging, life and modern times, mental health, social work and social policy with tags , on May 23, 2014 by leovineknight

On my way down the street, I noticed the old lady brushing the pavement in front of her house again, while the two post-punk wastrels were once more spending their valuable time taunting the old dear with monosyllabic insults and girlish tittering. Without further ado, I arranged for these fine young people to be escorted to the public toilets by four nightclub bouncers, who carefully supervised them cleaning the urinals with cotton wool buds, before enlisting them in the army. I then marched steadfastly on towards the council estate – ready to face my greatest challenge.
Happily, my super powers did not fail me, and I surged through the streets erasing graffiti, repairing fences, replanting shrubs, replacing broken windows, and sweeping up seas of glass shards and rubbish, like Robocop on a mission. The blue police lights were again illuminating the sky above the pubs and shops in the centre, and I observed an embattled young constable trying to control a mass of braying half-wits by wagging his finger at them. It was time for real action, and I transported the policeman to a safe position outside the estate, replacing him with a battalion of seasoned commandos who easily rounded up the gurning thugs and took them away in cattle trucks for a year’s moral retraining on Dartmoor. One jug-eared oaf temporarily escaped, and complained:
“This ain’t fair! They must be breaking some law doing this!”
Pointing out his hypocrisy in seeking shelter from the very law he had flouted with contempt all his half-life, I sent him spinning towards his whining chums with a contemptuous flick of my finger. The last truck moved off with shrill piglet screams emanating from the back, and rousing applause echoing down the streets as grateful residents reclaimed their lives for the first time since 1991. Handing my garlands to a young girl with large green eyes and raven ringlets, I then quitted the estate like Elvis Presley leaving Hawaii, and set sail for home at last.
A heady combination of fairground lights, perfumed air, and the stentorian boom of my own heartbeat, propelled me along the roads of Edwardian houses and down the gentle slope to our little ‘neighbourhood watch’ retreat. I put pink spots on the matching silver cars, introduced the workaholic man to his workaholic wife, and changed our three bed-roomed house to a four bed-roomed villa so that the copyists across the road would have an interesting experience the following morning. I strode into the house, found Carol waiting patiently for me in her dominatrix outfit, and gratefully accepted a glass of vintage claret which she handed across to me, whilst winking a welcome at my hump-fronted trousers.
“Welcome home esteemed husband. May I give you succour?”
“By all means, my dear.”
I settled back and watched the hypnotic grind of her athletic white flanks, while Motorhead played sweetly through my headphones, and a Cuban cigar sat snugly behind my right ear.
“I’m going to discharge myself, in a minute” I said.
All was well with the world; and perversely I slept.

“Wake up” said a distant voice.
The problem was, I couldn’t. I really couldn’t.

The Seaside Cafe

Posted in Blogging, life and modern times, poetry, satire and humour on April 3, 2014 by leovineknight

Down the cliff path, overgrown,
Around the lawns rarely mown,
Towards a gold globe on top of the bandstand,
Victorian echoes of sweet England

Summer sweat and old people talking,
Prodigious farts and tramps hawking,
Scruffy young men eat crisps and sweets,
Their world is now, they talk in tweets

A social addict stares at the weary,
His stories endless and breath beery,
An ancient lady sips her tea,
She’ll still be there at half past three

The expensive new door traps another child,
Operation unfathomable, a mother goes wild,
Dogs bark at a man with dropped trousers,
While absent parents ignore kids on brousers,

Silent couples watch those with loud voices,
They mingle together as a bingo winner rejoices,
Curling sandwiches vie with cakes,
But it’s the backs of necks which the sun bakes

It’s winter now, and a gale is blowing,
The room is empty, high tide flowing,
Staff still have a friendly word,
But in the toilet – floats a lonely turd

Looking Back

Posted in Biographies and Inside Stories, Blogging, life and modern times, mental health with tags , on May 27, 2013 by leovineknight

My next-door neighbour was a very interesting man, and also a member of a dying breed. He had a domed head which towered above a horseshoe of wispy white hair, a time-worn wrinkled face, ill-fitting clothes and big army boots. Handicapped by a hideous curvature of the spine and a pronounced limp, he had a grotesque appearance, yet he was a kindly, tolerant man who would help anybody out, and he always wore a smile. He was nearing retirement age, but still worked at the university, 50 miles away, where even his colleagues knew him as ‘the mad professor’.
The professor had a keen sense of duty, and never missed a day at college, always climbing the hill to the railway station at 6.30 a.m., in good time for his train which departed twenty minutes later. His limp was the product of an old war wound coupled with latter day arthritis, and as the pain gradually worsened, his daily climb became a grim struggle.
One winter morning he found the hill covered in snow and ice. He was weak and very unsteady on his feet, so he dropped to his hands and knees and crawled to the top of the hill, where an astonished stranger showed pity and helped him to the station. The professor was lathered in sweat, and deeply distressed. For the first time in thirty years, he was going to be late.
It was 6.55a.m. when he finally limped onto platform 3.
Yet, the train was still there.
The guards had delayed its departure, for the man who was more reliable than a clock. The man who was a proper standard.

He’s dead now, of course.

A Balanced and Objective Account……

Posted in Biographies and Inside Stories, Blogging, life and modern times, mental health, satire and humour with tags , , , on January 16, 2013 by leovineknight

The sun is in your sign and nothing can stop you. Venus turning retrograde may cause snags and hold-ups. Property prices are set to rise 5% over the next year. Property prices may crash next year warns academic. Weather conditions are rather changeable at the moment with showers and sunny spells in most parts of the country, but with some exceptions. Most people hope to retire early and enjoy the good life. Unemployment in your 50’s can double the risk of strokes and heart attacks says recent study. Too many cooks spoil the broth. Many hands make light work. Older couples are now often forced to stay together for financial reasons. Many over-50’s feel empowered to divorce their partners and start a new life. Parents should ensure that all children eat five portions of fruit or vegetables each day. Pesticides found on all fruit and vegetables in schools says health watchdog. Avoid stress. Keep busy. People will be flooding the sun hotspots this weekend. Skin cancer toll rises.
Circularity, conflict and contradiction.
The dope of our times.
We believe everything and trust nothing.


Posted in Blogging, jobs, careers and work, life and modern times, mental health, satire and humour with tags , on January 10, 2013 by leovineknight

I would have liked to put some coins in the plastic R.S.P.C.A. model dog outside the butchers, but I didn’t have my gorilla suit with me and there wasn’t a T.V. camera in sight. Nor did I particularly want my head shaved, chest waxed, or buttocks submerged in baked beans before parting with my 50p, so I left it all to the experts, and thought about the old Philips screwdriver I used to rake out dog cack from my hiking boots.
Pear-shaped people with pear-shaped lives jostled each other off the pavements, determined to be first in something, while the 18-30 group capitalised on a half hour break in the November clouds to model their shorts, T-shirts and sun hats, amidst the midday frost. An airship appeared around the corner, arms and legs set at 45 degrees to reduce friction, and from the opposite direction rumbled a stocky harridan bent low over her personal empty supermarket shopping trolley with elbows surgically attached to the handles, like a Dalek without the clothes on. This was the clash of the Titans, the irresistible force meeting the immovable object, and the rematch of King Gong and Godzilla all in one side show. I stood well back as a massive crunch echoed down the street, and a baying crowd gathered. No need for the dancing bear these days.
Roll up. Roll up. Look at each other…….

At the Pub

Posted in Biographies and Inside Stories, Blogging, life and modern times, mental health, satire and humour with tags , on September 24, 2012 by leovineknight

Pictures of Edwardian cricket teams hung lopsidedly along the walls and obese young men played darts, while their girlfriends giggled for Britain, and a mongrel farted in its sleep, next to the blazing Yule log. A series of snorts, coughs and honks emanated from the snug, where several shrivelled septuagenarians removed mucous from their sinuses, with well-practised ease……

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