I know, I know, long time no write… And do I have an excuse, well, apart from jetting half around the world to Japan (Kobe), and before that taking a short ski break? No, I am guilty as charged – I am, as ever, the lazy bastard who has nothing better to do with his time than write little poems and stories and consume too much alcohol.

Which is what you can really do in Japan – they have excellent beer (all kinds of brews, not just lager), but my personal favourite is saké, and lots of it, please. My hosts willingly plied me with all the alcoholic beverages they could muster – probably in the hope of numbing my brain enough so that I wouldn’t mind taking their son to karate school (and joining in).

Ever done karate? If you think jogging’s hard work, then don’t. You will be forced to stretch, and use, all those muscles, tendons and joints that, well, I’m pretty sure, aren’t actually meant to be used at all. You will run, jump, kick, punch, twirl, block and parry an imaginary opponent whom at the end you will beg for mercy. You will sweat, pant, wheeze and ache, and generally experience a level of discomfort normally associated with places like Guantanamo. That’s just the warm up.

Luckily we had a pressing engagement and had to leave the school after only an hour. I had difficulty walking for three days afterwards. If you want to get fit, and are a bonafide masochist, then karate is the sport for you. It is not the sport for me.

The best thing about Japan is the food. The worst thing about Japan is trying to read the menu (and the karate, but I think that’s the same anywhere….)

But now I’m back, safe and sound, in Germany and just getting back into my stride, whatever that might be. I’ve just dashed down a little piece of flash fiction for your perusal, and you can read it here. See you soon…

Turn it off

Hmm, I think I’ll scratch this week if I can. I wanted to do loads of things, all of which I couldn’t manage. What did I want to do this week? I wanted to go jogging. I wanted to test the new swine inoculation for the good of mankind. I wanted to write masses of startling poetry, ensuring my breakthrough into world literature. I wanted to finish my short story. I wanted to bring my accounts up to date. I wanted to cancel all my useless but expensive policies and clubs. I wanted to go to the pictures to see a film before it’s out on DVD. I wanted to meet up with some ex-colleagues and eat sushi with them. I wanted to buy a present for my well deserving nephew. In other words, I wanted to have a nice full, productive week.

And what did I end up with. Insomnia, that’s what. At the beginning of the week I went to the doctor for a check-up before the inoculation, only to be informed that I was in no fit state for such a brave undertaking, and that I am suffering from a (life threatening) dust allergy, which has to be dealt with first, and promptly puts me on steroids. Welcome to the world of body builders and weightlifters. A world of wandering between sleeplessness and madness, wild dreams and paranoia. And you can’t just stop taking the course, oh no, you have to slowly reduce. On the positive side I suppose I am breathing again. Sleep will have to wait till next week.

Oh, and my wife has gone on strike due to exhaustion.

Anyway, this put paid to all my good intentions for this week. I did write a poem about insomnia, but it was just a piece of  tired drivel, so I’m not going to put it up until I’ve improved it. Not wanting to leave you all in the lurch, I did manage a bit of flash fiction. You can read it here.

Other people have been much more productive this week. People like my good friend Clemens Krallmann and his band Golden Tone Radio. Here’s a little taste of them live in action, in Hamburg:

The Call

Today is cleaning day. Woke up this morning and informed my wife that I was feeling slightly groggy. She smiled and kissed me on the cheek, saying that I had exactly the same rights as any other employee. If I was sick and needed to take the day off, all I had to do was to go down to the doctors and get a sick note. And the cleaning could wait until tomorrow…

What cheered me up today was a mention of my name in a flash fiction contest held by Christian Yorke, which I entered a few weeks ago. My thanks to Chris for all his hard work – he got almost seventy entries which he had to judge – not an easy task. But special thanks for mentioning my piece – let’s face it, folks, nothing beats seeing your name out there. Well, apart from people paying you to put your name out there… This part might take a little longer than I bargained for. But if you’d like to read the piece you can see it here.

Actually, I quite like cleaning. It empties the mind of all things significant and allows me to indulge my admittedly badly developed anal characteristics. Reluctant to put off the inevitable I polished the chrome and dusted the surfaces, etcetera, etcetera. What was remarkable was that afterwards I went for a jog – so I couldn’t have been feeling that bad, after all. This is my newly acquired tiny piece of insanity – I have progressed from Wii jogging to actually braving the outdoors twenty minutes a day. It is hell, but I will persevere. I have found that the pain is just about bearable if you slow you pace down enough. Okay, other people call it walking, but hell, what do they know?