Category Archives: Overheard Conversations

Something About a Hacksaw, in Shanghai

I recently had the pleasure of helping out with this, for the awesome Shanghai based music site Layabozi. The site has been one of the links in my sidebar for a while. The variety of articles on Layabozi is great – it’s eclectic, open-minded, rich in mental and visual stimulation,  has no genre boundaries and is written by true music lovers, who take music seriously but still have a sense of humour.  They describe it better:

“Layabozi is a web magazine about music in Shanghai today, with a sprinkle of the extra-mural and a tart sassiness—without ever being cloying. We take our inspiration from the snack which is both exotic (to us) and down home, and from which we take our name: Spicy Duck Necks. We are led by an exuberant, but discerning, Chilean amateur flautist with a strikingly handsome, yet humble, American bass player in support. We strive to provide writing that nourishes while piquing the intellect, and knowledge of music all over Shanghai, from Classical to Nouveau, from the Shanghai Grand to the neighborhood Chinese Opera house.”

And there’s a cool article on there right now, by ed, about funky Afro-Peruvian Music! You don’t even know what that is, do you? so go find out!

Continue reading Something About a Hacksaw, in Shanghai


all of which…the spirit suggests



The Orchard is still white,
the President is seven.

It was absurd for a man
of his standing,
sitting down,

to be the subject of
such spite
behind green shutters.

Even George Douglas Brown
would gossip with Countesses,

before mixing a great cocktail

of his jealousy,
for the Provost.


Anchored one end of
the great slaughter,

the Dinwiddie Colored Quartet
asked what precisely
a Dinwiddie was,

for they had never seen one.


A doughy man from Saxony
avoids the sun
like Edison.

A grim mystic from Danzig,
sleeps the Empire
through his head.

He has an elaborate toothache,
and spits three times,
on his left.

They talk through an interpreter;
he says

his grandfather never existed.


that’s quite enough of this nonsense.

But do read the article.

Two Dogs

In response to a Totally Optional Prompt for “Three Dogs“, though my canine mathematics is wrong.


two dogs outside,
I am in a pantomime
dressed as “The Wrong Tree”.

I say my important piece
I sway gently in the leaves,

the barking of dogs,
and the rain,
disrupts my poem.

I say my important piece
I sway gently in the leaves,
my leaves are falling
out of fear

and then,
in scene 4 –
the character of “Rain”
falls upon the pavement
and makes a claim for compensation.

One of the dogs
skips a scene,
brings back a drum.

the other holding it in place,
while a drumstick plays between his teeth,

(because, after all,
is it the drumstick that plays
or is it the drum?)

and then my branch
grows out of the window

and I say –
“stop that noise!”
though my voice is feeble.

turns out,
as a tree,

I have no lines
in the play.

On The Occasion of My Birthday

A selecton of imported beers

and the autobiography of Peter Falk.

I ask you,

who’s arguing with that?

Of course that is not a proper poem (or is it? no.) but every birthday has it’s colours, waves its own flags, the flagpoles dug into sand and, around them, sand castles with their own moats, bridges and sophisticated pulley systems

and little rocks, which we’ll call milestones.  

“Gee”, he said, “I never expected a milestone to be so small. I can hardly see it.”

“well, son, thats a pebble you’re holding.”


The Moral of The Story Is (Not) – some things that have made my birthday and by extension my life:  



28th of July, 1866 is Beatrix Potter’s birthday. Beatrix Potter created Peter Rabbit, whom the hare must surely owe some alegience to somehow – yet another of his mystical kinships of which I am not am not fully aware.


The Dark Knight 

A fine lesson in the archetecture of nightmares. It is unleashed, it has broke free and now we can all see it, and should.  humanity’s Mr. Hyde is unmasked and stripped bare, and we left the cinema speechless and in awe. Heath Ledger’s performance seems to emmerge from some deep, dark well of the uncanny. Almost from nowhere, or somewhere too evil to contemplate.


“Just One More Thing” by Peter Falk (aforementioned)

He is a wanderer, who follows every whim, with wisdom and stupidity/naivity. To me, he’s not “Columbo”, I don’t really have that point of reference so much as others might. he’s a wiseman, who writes with great energy and carpe diem . In this book is life, lest we forget we’re living it. Not just a life, it’s that too, but the energy of life. Peter Falk crossed over to Yugoslavia, which was then behind the iron curtain, purely out of curiosity, and wound up helping to build a railroad.


music, music, music.

reggae, very cheesy and commercial, but great to get a party started, from a budget compilation from the supermarket.

and 1950s rock n’ roll songs and songs of a similar texture,

found a dark, subversive veign that i had not noticed in that music. cos it’s not all elvis, is it? Bo Diddley is finally getting his dues.

And Link Wray’s sound terrorism. “Jack The Ripper”. Jackson Pollock.


And I’m out,

I would say “Over and out” but nothing infuriates CB radio enthusiasts more apparantly.

Over — I have finished talking and I am listening for your reply. Short for “Over to you.”
Out or Clear — I have finished talking to you and do not expect a reply.

And so, “Over and Out” does not exist, you see.

Over and Out!


In England, We Say “Toilet”, While In Paris They Say “Love”

“I haven’t got much to offer you, you know, my house is a toilet”

“You mean you don’t tidy?”

“No I don’t. I’m big on honesty, and to tidy my toilet before you come round – should you wish to visit, which you won’t – would be disingenuous.

But let’s be “country simple”, as they say. I do live in a toilet. It’s my bathroom and my restroom. I have a modest selection of boardgames, magazines and a Gameboy Colour. The screen in slightly scratched, and I only have Tetris.”

“Tetris? I like Tetris”

“Everybody likes Tetris.”

“Yes, but its really irritating.”

“It is, but addictive. It has quite an interesting history

“Oh really? I’m not the slightest bit interested.”

“Oh, that’s a shame ‘cos my toilet is shrouded in the kind of  grim romance that one enjoys in ex-Communist countries. It’s a good place to sit and think.”

“Do you think that maybe, like so many bricks in so many games of Tetris…if we fit together, we might disappear?”

“Oh no…I shift colours and you change shape”

“I see, that might be uncomfortable come nightime”

“You don’t know what uncomformatable is until you’ve slept in the Water Closet.”

“I don’t know why we’re having this conversation. This is just a silly videogame.”

“Yes, and you’re distracting me….Do I win?”

“‘Course not, you’re a geek.”