Fashion Comebacks: the Crinoline

The crinoline skirt is a garment set to make a comeback, and not before time. Teamed with roller skates or skateboard beneath its capacious flare, a woman can glide across a room with all the elegance of a ghost.

Bring back, bring back the crinoline!

So much that can be hid within:

A skateboard on which you can ride,

Some flowers from the countryside,

A cage of birds, a herd of sheep,

Some chocolate bars, an army jeep,

A soccer ball, electric bass,

A silk top hat, a doctor’s case,

Some bicycles, performing rats,

A pack of gum, some acrobats,

The London Eye, a mastodon,

The list goes on, and on and on…

Just think, you’d never ever be alone

Inside that garment’s cage of bone

So think about what you’d put in

The space inside a crinoline.

If you can’t find a full crinoline cage, this hoop is a reasonable alternative, although not on a windy day.

World Book Day

Today is a celebration of all things bookish, and a time for us to celebrate their impact on the world. Indeed, were it up to me, I would bestow a sainthood on William Caxton, the father of printing, for without the published word we would still be reading things scratched onto rocks and stones – which would have made tomes such as War and Peace, decidedly hard to read and write. Tolstoy would probably have required a mountain range at the very least. Then again, I imagine it would have been handy for outdoor types, who could have combined their love of climbing with a good read.

As a book addict, for me there is no greater delight than browsing a book shop. The combination of images, smells and the anticipation of a gripping new novel transport me to a kind of paradise. But of equal appeal is the second hand book emporium. Here one may wander through multi -coloured, towering stacks of books from bygone eras, and while they might not boast the enticing dust jacket designs of today, inside them the curious reader may discover a festival of fiction, fact and poetry.

So, to this end I was inspired to write the following:

Book Lives

The book looks so tattered,

So ancient and tired;

In a second hand shop,

On a shelf, unadmired:

But inside its grey pages

What gems I uncover!

Which shows you must not

Judge a book by its cover.

My own writing desk.

Poetry Live

Nowadays there are numerous poetry evenings (aka open mic nights) at hostelries and arts centres throughout the country, where poets and devotees of poetry meet to listen to poems read aloud. I myself have participated in a number of these events to some acclaim. However, there is one recurring problem: audiences are often slow to recognise the end of a poem. This results is something akin to an awkward silence, because by the time the audience has registered the poem has in fact concluded, the poet has given up all hope of applause and begun the next one.
Fortunately, a dear relative of mine came up with a simple and effective device for signifying a poem is over : the Clare Dooley Poetic Device for Inviting Applause.

The Clare Dooley Poetic Device. Testimonials given above.


Have at ye, poetaster!

The Madness! Poetry competition, now in its seventh year, is the brain child of children’s poet, Ed DeCaria. It is cunningly devised to entice children into engaging with poetry by enlisting them as judges, while at the same time driving the competing writers or “authletes” as mad as barnacles, by giving them only 36 hours to come up with a poem on a given topic. After each head-to-head, the authlete whose poem gets the most votes goes through to the next round.

I was in an unusually bucolic mood when I applied to join this carnival of lexical lunacy, and will most likely be regretting my impetuosity come Sunday when the mayhem begins. But let me not me a craven spirit show: it is quills at the ready and to coin a phrase the great bard himself probably wrote (then crossed out) Have at ye, poetaster!

My Favourite Things…

Spectral spiders spin ghostly webs.

Creaky old hinges, and cobwebs on ceilings,
Goosebumps and shivers and foreboding feelings,
Gigantic insects with multiple stings,
These are a few of my favourite things.
Ghouls in white dresses all covered in slashes,
Flowers that bloom then turn straight into ashes,
Dark monstrous creatures with huge flapping wings –
These are a few of my favourite things.

When the sun shines,
When the birds sing,
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favourite things
And then I feel really bad.

Musical boxes that play without warning,
Nightmares that stay even though day is dawning,
Weird wooden puppets that move without strings,
These are a few of my favourite things.
Dark dreary forests where creatures are creeping,
Howling at midnight that stops you from sleeping,
Something that’s lurking which suddenly springs –
These are a few of my favourite things.

Maria Von Trapp has dissimilar tastes to myself, but as they say: one man’s meat is another man’s poison.