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It’s been done

It’s been done

And it will be done again

A crime will be committed or revealed

A word of love returned or cruelly spurned

A day’s work done or avoided

A masterpiece poorly imitated or surpassed

Somebody will unexpectedly fall pregnant

Someone will finally die

A lie will be told and believed

The truth will be heard but ignored

A boy will hurt himself and may be consoled

A girl might change her mind but still feel bored

We strive to be original, find or create something new

But the world continues turning much longer than me or you

JPF’s Revenge!

This week, without any warning, the BBC took no less than £37.62p direct from my bank account, without any warning! None that I remember, anyway. No doubt they will claim that this was a quarterly payment toward ‘their’ notorious licence fee, at a time when, ironically enough, I don’t possess a television.


So, my revenge for this inconvenience is to pinch a movie off them and post it here, with a link which the Beeb says will only be good for the next three weeks, the cheapskates!

This 1946 Hollywood film itself seems a cheap option for the BBC to broadcast, though as ‘Falcon’ pictures go it’s a mite above average, with unusually tight and witty scripting by Paul Yawitz and direction by Ray McCarey (never heard of either of them; is the latter any relation to Leo?). Elisha Cook Jr is in a key role – which demonstrates that if he wasn’t an early exponent of the intense style of acting developed by Montgomery Clift, James Dean and so on, then he really was quite a nutcase!  Cook plays a DJ, and I’d love to find a soundtrack album of the ‘hep’  score which at least name checks Gene Krupa and the Cole Trio and includes a couple of bouncy songs performed by Jane Greer , the same who took a cameo role in ‘Twin Peaks’  years later.

All right, I do view on line, and there’s several BBC tv and radio channels to pay for, but – at a time when ‘Auntie Beeb’s’ swing to the right is such that it has made a media star out of the likes of Nigel Farrago or whatever his name is, shows a shocking bias in favour of  World War One among others and has up to now failed to report fully on the miserable suffering and deaths caused by recent welfare ‘reforms’ – one has to ask: is the licence fee good value for money, and exactly what are we paying for?  Please comment and let us know what you think.

At least we get a chance to catch up with little pictures like this, though regular readers might wish I spent more time writing poetry. Apologies to you all for my deficiencies in that respect; I’m blocked by distressing incidents such as the above. Perhaps, now I’ve given them a little publicity, the BBC could repay and compensate me by returning the favour. In the meantime, my revenge is complete.




JPF’s Characteristic Meal

This scene from A Poet’s Life reveals some of the secrets of the one dish I have ever dared to claim authorship of, in a lifetime of gourmandism.

It is a substantial and versatile dish, easy to make and, at least potentially, tasty and economic – enough to help at least one aspiring poet through financially constrained times.

The film sequence is spoilt for me rather, as the playing of my reciting over it seems somewhat undignified; the cooking action is dramatic enough! The final comparison to the art of poetry is, of course, good.

Here then, published for the very first time, is the recipe, in the clearest form in which I can attempt to record such a ‘movable feast':


Olive oil
Vegetables including tomatoes (if that is a vegetable), garlic and onions.
Tin of fish (may work with fresh, who knows?) which might be pilchards or mackerel; tuna fish tends to be rather dry. Could be in brine or tomato sauce, as available.
Mustard, chili and/or  hot pepper bean paste by Sunchang Gochujang, that you can get from that Korean supermarket opposite Tesco’s on St Marys Street.
Tin of chopped tomatoes.
Italian herbs, salt and pepper etc to taste.
Spaghetti or, for even greater health benefits, rice.
(Leave out the fish if you’re a pescatarian or whatever you call it)


Heat olive oil in a big pan and gently fry vegetables in it, starting with garlic, onions and such hard wearing items as carrots and greens. Add hot spicy items, then whatever remaining vegetables are available (sweetcorn? Lemon?), finally introducing real and then tinned tomatoes, seasoned with salt, pepper and basil.
The aim is to have something with enough liquid to gently simmer and reduce while the spaghetti or rice is prepared. So add wine, beer or lemonade as available, maybe even Greek yoghurt or cream.
Cook your starchy items and combine the two as appropriate.
And that’s it! Bon appetite!


I did once, with this dish in mind, buy 10 tins of mackerel as a long term economy measure, but that was going too far!


[No cookery book for the foreseeable, but the poem featured in this clip can be enjoyed in rather more suitable form by purchasing the collection featured  here: with-love-from-jpf/  Go on, try it!]










The Malevolent Brain

Use your brain or your brain

Will use you up

How many of us are disengaged from reality

Solving each new problem

With the same faulty mechanisms?

Distracted by the relentless machinery

Of a brain poorly maintained,

Which runs its casually input perceptions

Through synaesthetic synapses sparking sputteringly

Along a badly wired mainframe.

No wonder people feel the need

To switch off and get ‘brainless’.

The brain can feel like a vicious animal

Burrowing its way through your skull

Trying to break free of the body’s pull.

For grown-ups only!


Dishonored Lady ( 1947 ) Full Movie

It’s interesting to note that Anais Nin, as she mentions in her journal, was friendly with Hedy Lamarr around this time. What a sight those two must’ve made wandering around town!
The heroine of this little picture is also sensitive, intelligent and attractively neurotic.
The plot is as good as an episode of ‘Law and Order’ if you like that sort of thing (I do!), with a murder and courtroom revelations!
Directed by Robert Stevenson, with some of the soundtrack music by Wagner, I think.
Beware, this film is for adults only, and advocates absolute honesty. It also illustrates the value of leaving a chap a nice note before flying off.

The Vote for Scotland

The Prime Minister has demonstrated his grasp of the language of the common people, as he would doubtlessly describe the citizens of Scotland, by begging them not to vote in favour of Scottish Independence, “just to give the f-ing Tories a good kicking.”

So the question arises: would a yes vote give the Tories a good kicking, and would it be worth it?

Mr Cameron has already indicated that he will not resign if he ends up presiding over the breaking up of the United Kingdom. However, if he does end up doing that resignation would surely be his only honourable course of action. Disgust at the present government and Westminster regime must surely be a major factor in the recent swing towards a Yes vote.

The shock of such a radical change (and you know how we hate change here in England!) might begin to make people down South think hard about what our country has become. Or shall we just allow the present Westminster government to provide its usual generous support to any banks and businesses that flee a newly independent Scotland to come closer to their benefactor, who has so much money to spare thanks to its ruthless savings on benefits, education, free health care etc – the sort of thing that such a newly liberated Scotland might be tempted to squander its wealth upon?

Choosing whether to vote Yes or No remains a very complex decision, so the prospect of an extremely high turn out for this vote is truly heartening. Either way, people will be reminded that democratic elections can sometimes make a real difference.

I’m only a quarter Scots myself, and more England based, so I don’t get a vote, but will watch how things unfold with sympathetic interest, concern and my usual hopefulness for the future.

After three hundred years of suffering the consequences of allowing England to poach its royal head of state, this might be an opportunity to renegotiate that deal.

And if our plucky friends North of the border end up feeling isolated by the continuing hostility of Westminster, they may be consoled by cementing ties with Europe and establishing their country as an independent member of a more generous, modern and widespread family of nations.

As for giving the aforementioned Tories (not forgetting their coalition allies the Lib Dems) a good kicking, well those of us that remain and survive can at least look forward to the impending General Election.

A Poem without any Words

One day I want to make a poem without any words

No similes or metaphors to hide behind

Not showing off or attempting to justify myself

An honest moment of communication with the world

Something that helps people see with fresh eyes

That in some subtle way changes lives.


One day I want to make a poem without any words

No metre or rhyme to lull the senses

Not a parody or a satire or a moral tract,

A living monumental composition or bit of work

Something different for each person that finds it

That helps to clarify some thought.


One day I want to make a poem without any words

No observations or stories you’ve heard before

Not a plea for understanding or love

A simple moment from anybody’s life

Something like a memory but stronger

That can overcome the tyrannies of time.


I say I want to make a poem without any words

And you say, quite reasonably, “But a poem must have words

So why not make a piece of music or some other wordless form of art?”

Well, as a poet I have to make things out of Words

And one day, instead of hearing or reading what I’ve written

I want you to feel and understand what shouldn’t be forgotten

Every Day

All these days when I do seem to’ve done nothing

I have, at least, been loving you

As I have ever since I first saw you

And thought, yes, that’s who I’ve been looking for all this time

There she is, all done and dusted, forget about it!

As I continue to attempt to do

While you do your best to surprise and bemuse me

Amuse me and elude me, for now,

Till I’m driven sufficiently wild enough to cast aside all caution,

Or, excitement worn down, dust settled

Ready to get on with it in some sensible way,

Whatever that life we make together is.

Meanwhile, loving you continues as simply as breathing

And is, thankfully, for much of the time, rather more interesting.

Fear of the Future

The past is a bottomless treasure trove

Of makings and doings and endless natural processes

When I look back I see the lives of which I’m a part

But the future, the future is only death.


I can connect with the past

Things that have happened have affected me

I can see where I have come from

But where I’m going is all dark.


Days gone by were sweet or cruel

Memories and histories can be revised, renewed.

One tries to learn from the past

But what comes next is just a blank.


When I think of the past I feel bigger

Stronger for having survived it

But to think of the future

Is waiting for the axe to fall.

Another mistresspiece from Mae West I’ve often enjoyed your Weekend movie slot, so here’s a classic movie you may not have seen:

Klondike Annie  another mistresspiece from Mae West.
(also on my tumblr

Been waiting ages to find this on the tube. Thanks so much, Classic film channel for sharing this, based on her stage play. Mae is the most self confident woman you’ll ever see on screen. She’s well supported by Director Raol Walsh and costars Victor McLaglen and  Reed, and Annie, of course.
West is perfectly in control of her film, as always, and gives a superb performance, dreadful but compelling, and plays demure charmingly here as well.
The most I know about Mae West comes from Jill Watts biography ‘Mae West An Icon in Black and White’ (Oxford University Press, 2001).
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