Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Day five inside a lion costume

It is my fifth day inside a lion suit. Last Tuesday, Donald Trump ordered two of his bodyguards to hold me down while his Columbian maid sewed me into the costume. Later that afternoon I was presented as a gift to Trump's nine year old son, Barron, who rides me around the house and occasionally hunts me with nerf guns.

At breakfast I ask Donald how long I must stay inside the costume.

How long do lions live?”

I don't know.

When lions invent the internet you can look it up.”

The conversation takes a disturbing turn towards the recent activities of Trump's two older sons, Donald Jnr and Eric, who are both avid big game hunters.

I am lying down on my haunches at the foot of the table, beneath the loosely-pleated hem of the gold-embroidered cloth. Barron bends down in his chair and proffers a cupped hand filled with milk-sodden Cheerios.

Don't worry,” he whispers loudly in my ear. “You are a magic lion who will never die.”

As I slink away between the marbled Doric columns and pad out of the breakfast room, I hear Barron ask his father:

Daddy, can lions breathe underwater?”

In the east gallery I encounter Warren, a former member of the secret service who has been sewn into a bear costume. He tells me that he has been sold to the Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin. He is due to be shipped out to Moscow tomorrow.

Phone the Democratic National Convention,” he says. “Tell them to get word to Bernie Saunders. In the past he has always stood up for lions and bears.”

He scratches the number into the zebra-skin wallpaper. It takes me three attempts to dial it correctly with my cumbersome paws.

A woman who introduces herself as Debbie Wasserman Schultz answers the phone. When I ask for Bernie Saunders she tells me that nobody by that name works there and hangs up.

Later I read in the paper about an intercepted email from the League of African Herbivores to the DNC, offering to endorse Hillary Clinton to the tune of $2million, if she runs for President on an anti-lion platform and appoints an antelope as head of the United States Postal Service.

That evening on The Daily Show, Trevor Noah asks Bernie Saunders for his opinion on Hillary's willingness to throw lions under the bus for the sake of a couple of million in change.

That is why we must we must elect Hillary Clinton, so that can she can address the corruption in the Democratic Party,” replies Bernie.

In the adjoining room I hear Trump and a potential campaign donor discussing the possibility of dyeing my fur red.  

Monday, 18 July 2016

Alex Fiedler writes to The Beach Boys on the subject of tomatoes

I know that you'll feel better when you send us in your letter and tell us the name of your favourite vegetable.”

- The Beach Boys (Vegetables)


Dear Brian, Carl, Denis, Mike, Al, Bruce, and Mr Van Dyke Parks,

As suggested in the lyrics to your song 'Vegetables' I have written this letter informing you of the name of my favourite vegetable, in the hope that doing so will make me feel better about life.

You know, if I am being completely honest I have to say that it's the tomato. Now there are some people who claim that the tomato isn't a vegetable but a fruit and these are generally the same people who pronounce it “tomayto”.

In my heart I feel that this is a communist plot against our hard-working American tomato farmers, both at home and on plantations overseas in Vietnam. If the tomato is a fruit then why don't we eat it with ice cream?

You know what? I'm feeling a little better already.

Give my regards to Rhonda, Barbara Ann, Caroline and all the other swinging California girls.

Alex Fiedler.

September 27th, 1967

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Rayleigh or R'lyeh?

In an attempt to dispel some of the confusion between the town of Rayleigh in Essex, and the sunken corpse city of R'lyeh I have created the following infogram:

Rayleigh, Essex, UK

General Description: Successive 20th and 21st century housing estates and developments, shopping amenities, stadium, leisure centre, golf club, swimming pool, indoor karting track, an historic cottage built by the Dutch, and a windmill.

Home To: The Rayleigh Boys football team. Rayleigh Brass Band

Recent historical events of note: “Reality TV stars to open Rayleigh trampoline park next month” (Southend Echo - 28th January, 2016)

Town Motto: “IN RELIQUIAM LABORAMUS” (We work for the future)

R'lyeh, Southern Pacific Ocean

General Description: “Weedy Cyclopean masonry which can be nothing less than the tangible substance of earth's supreme terror.”

Home To: The cosmic entity, Cthulhu – High Priest of the Great Old Ones, The Great Dreamer, The Sleeper of R'lyeh

Recent historical events of note: That one time Cthulhu woke up and chased after a boatload of sailors

Town Motto: “Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn” (In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming)

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

This time last year I was sleeping rough in London. This is what I learned

1) An extraordinary number of informal lunchtime business meetings take place on the traffic island, outside the Royal Exchange, at Bank Junction.

2) Toilets that don't require payment to use are few and far between.

3) Sources of drinking water are equally hard to come by. You need to start collecting empty water bottles from the trash so that you can store a supply.

4) Even in the summer it gets cold at night. If you get cold then it's very difficult to get warm again. Pick up the free newspapers outside railway stations and use them to stuff your clothes.

5) A sheet of cardboard makes an incredible difference as an insulator and as a cushion between you and whatever hard and uncomfortable surface you happen to be sleeping on. You can pull a collapsed box out of the recycling bundles that the shops put out on the kerb, or you grab one from the cages outside the supermarkets.

6) If you place your ear to the ground in certain parts of London you will hear the sound of the tube trains passing by underneath. Sometimes you will also hear the platform announcements.

7) Your teeth and the inside of your mouth will be the first thing to go

8) After two days without food you will completely lose your appetite.

9) As you lose weight your trousers will slip down and begin to chaff. Make sure that you secure them properly around your waist or you will lose all the skin on your inner thighs and they will stick together when you walk.

10) Parts of London that are populated and generally safe during the day become less so after the crowds depart – e.g. the South Bank, along by The National Theatre.

11) Your biggest human threat is other homeless people. You will be a source of entertainment for drunken arseholes. Everybody else will ignore you.

12) You will win most confrontations by standing your ground and not being afraid to hit back if necessary.

13) The old city of London is generally safe at night but it's harder to find places to sleep that are out of the line of sight.

14) London is a big place. If you don't want to be found, you will not be found.

15) You will never see the places where you slept rough in quite the same way again.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Elegy to Nigel Farage

Elegy to Nigel Farage

We saw you
and we hoped
you were a mirage

a trick of the light

the worst of human nature
given momentary substance
by the sunshine
that warped itself around
curls of beer sweat
rising from the tattooed shoulders
of a fat, shaven-headed man
with no discernible neck,
hunched over his
Wednesday morning pint
in the concrete beer garden
of a pub with a flat roof,
home to a roving Rottweiler
named 'Tosser' by its owners.

Batted back and forth
between the narrow horizon line
of the bar
and the border fortification
of a listing cement wall
about to snap off
from its foundations

Where the old sagas
have been bartered
away piecemeal,
diminished to watered-down
skirmishes between
rival football firms

and the Polish deli opposite
is feared as
the vanguard of some
encroaching army.