I have never been a terribly political animal. Something about the whole business of politics and politicians just seemed to be unwholesome, so duplicitous and self-serving. But all of a sudden here in America my political conscience has been pricked. Why? A good question and one my sleepless nights in Seattle tried to solve. The first point to be pinned down was a recognition that the male nominee running for president of the United States was at heart a bully: that he is many other odious things as well need not clutter the page. I have a loathing of bullies – in every form – that goes back a long way. Continue reading
Today had a certain rebellious quality to it and bears sharing. On 6th November 2012 the state of Washington in the United States of America approved by popular vote legislation that legalises small amounts of marijuana for adults aged 21 and over, taxes them and designates the revenue for healthcare and substance abuse prevention and education. So, this morning it was with huge interest that I showed my ID to the amiable security guard sitting by the frosted glass door and stepped inside the Herban Legend store in downtown Seattle. Continue reading
It’s not often I come out and take a hard line on a subject being someone who likes to get all sides of the argument and then think it all through from what I hope is an unprejudiced wholly objective viewpoint: the helicopter as opposed to the worm’s eye view. But on one matter my mind was made up ‘pretty darn quick’, that moment of revelation coming in Tennessee whilst listening to radio station WKDF on 103.3FM out of Nashville when some poor misplaced hillbilly sang “Get your biscuits in the oven and your buns in the bed”. Continue reading
During my early years a framed picture hung on the wall at the top of the stairs: a deep blue lake backed by numerous rocky peaks swathed at their feet by a multitude of conifers. It was a place in the Canadian Rockies near Lake Louise that my mother had visited in the late 1950s when she lived and worked in Canada. Photograph albums from that time pictured her on horseback with Canadian cousins or smiling as she sat in sleek finned cars from that era. Continue reading
Clarksdale Mississippi has an abandoned, ramshackle air of neglect in the air. It is a place where that much over-hyped notion ‘The American Dream’ has not materialised yet and is unlikely to any time soon. When we first drove through the downtown area nobody was walking on the streets, just the odd car pushed slowly through the intensely hot and sticky air that wrapped itself around everything. But people do seek Clarksdale out as it is famous for being a focus for the extraordinary music that spread out from the Mississippi Delta: music forged in a cauldron of fear, cruelty and despair. The Blues, possibly the most sublime and pure synthesis of African and American culture that there has ever been and ever will be. Continue reading
The girl taking my supper order looked at me as though I had just asked if I could sleep with her mother.
“We don’t serve beer here Sir,” she replied. Continue reading
In the Orlando Greyhound Terminal all is hustle and bustle: a short young woman of astonishing pinkness is trying to coax a can of Coke from a huge vending machine: a small child is glued to her side literally riding on the roll of flesh that encircles her midriff. Seated across from us are three men who could step in as extras for a remake of ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ without a wardrobe change or recourse to a makeup artist. A man in baggy tracksuit pants shuffles from the ‘restroom’ clutching his groin: he needs to as if he releases the material the pants will fall to the ground, they barely cover his backside as it is. In the land where the car is king taking a bus might seem like a poor decision. Perhaps: perhaps not. Continue reading