The Joy of the Debut

There’s that fearlessness, and it is to do with the invention on the fly, the trammelled ways have not yet been put in place. It can be gauche or breathtaking in equal measure and it is art’s taking your first unaided steps, the tottering around. Is it because it is unbounded by expectations: I think so. There’s a freedom of limb, of mind, of voice that rarely returns. After this the world of people wanting something like this, or something like that, and you can’t catch this quicksilver again. It’s like bottling magic, impossible, that swagger that comes from looking at the task with the calm eyes of

But then they take it away

And it will never return?


And I ask myself the same question all the time, that is, do I have the Will to Effect this Change or is it an oblique and faded strategy that bears no meaning on anything real and achievable.

Good the bread and the facile wine and

That choice at least is made

Oh Sunny Day

Sunny day, a cloudless sky. I amble from street to street. What kind of bliss is this, an end to the time to come and a compression (and then expansion) into the present moment of existence. A stillness that comes with the beating sun that can’t exist in the rain, the damp, the frost, the mildewed broken walls of a crumbling history. I’m crumbling too (I can feel it) and the one thing about Time is that it only moves forward, forever and ever, Amen: May your Lord be your Witness.

And still: and still.

States: 2

If anyone drank that much water they’d die.

America, then.

My cab driver from Lanham to Dulles airport is from Ethiopia and drives on this hot June day with all the windows down at over the speed limit, which feels oddly liberating after the solid week of air con, warm, dry air whipping into my face and hair, this cab scuffed and torn, the transmission going, the brake barely working. “I quit soon,” he says, and I can see that Uber and Lyft have destroyed this idea of making a living. Still the air whistles into the cab and the meter is whirring onwards until the total equates to exactly all the cash I have left in my wallet, a fitting metaphor and then it’s just me with my luggage on the giant on-ramp that is Dulles’ Kiss and Ride Departures drop zone, and there’s nowhere to sit outside (there very rarely is) almost as if people are afraid of merging, liminal zone to liminal zone is over, here, everywhere, unless the market demands it.


Here I am, in the USA. I’m sat in the hotel lobby of the Courtyard Marriott, Landover, MA. The lobby doubles as The Bistro, which is the one-location all purpose breakfast lunch and dinner locale. It’s the bar. The Bistro is important. I am sat drinking a pomegranate Izze and waiting overly long for a meal, reading a book on “Change” by the ASTD. This is what was once known as the American Society of Training Directors. The book is full colour. The drink is red. The food is late. The air-con is cranked so high that I have had to put on a scarf. A man is clearing his throat as he eats and he sounds like a goat, a small, old goat. Here I am.

Review : McIlhenny Co Tabasco Pepper Sauce Chipotle

I’m a fan of chilli sauces.  I haven’t posted in a while (various things) but buying a new chilli sauce, albeit one that I have tried before made me feel like posting a review.  This particular sauce was on offer at Sainsbury’s today, which, by the way, has declined somewhat in its offerings, choice and general randomness.  The coffee section is dominated by Taylors of Harrogate blandness and Costa/Starb*cks ‘house’ varietals.  This isn’t the kind of world that I want to see, but perhaps it is the kind of world that the average Sainsbury’s shopper wants to see, and thus, the buyer(s) have either cottoned on, or been co-erced into abandoning their whimsy.  I digress.

tabasco in light on keyboard/©mattu

It’s a thick sauce, with a small neck, and so the first attempt at shaking some directly into my mouth fails.  The sauce is, like many top quality and high end chilli sauces, fermented for taste.  The Tabasco company age their sauces too, and in this case, there is the added dimension of smoke which is imparted from the classic smoky chilli, the chipotle.  I shake the bottle and try again.

Out come a few drops, onto my tongue and, accidentally, onto my face.  Ignore the burning on my face: there are rich notes of spice, of smoke, of salt (perhaps too much salt) and there is a balancing sweetness.  The ingredients don’t hint at this, and the sweetness is surprising and in some ways, disappointing.  In the long run, it is probably necessary.  All in all, a good, solid mark for this, which is reflected in its price and cultural cachet.  People don’t look down on you for having a bottle of this at the table, in the same way that they do if you have a bottle of Encona or Dunn’s River.  Which of course, is classist nonsense, because both of those sauces and their varietals are very good.  HP chilli sauce, on the other hand, what are you thinking


Mattress Watch

So many mattresses on the street. In the middle of the street, on the corners. Dumped, folded, crooked up and sat awkward. Each one a soul, maybe two, and then all change. Why do people obsess about changing the mattress? They’ll use the same sofa, same kitchen, same furniture. But change the mattress! So they go out on the street, the sign of rentiers.  Life.