Tag Archives: john rhodes

Over, Under, Sideways Down

Over time I often find

The little things I left behind

Under rocks the crawly things

A world of seething wriggling life

Sideways glances withering looks

My word my heart a hidden nook

Down down a spiralling chase

Will I forgive that mocking face


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Hidden deep amidst the lull
Still shines her golden heart
Even though through time it dulls
Together or far apart.

I want to see those eyes glow again
And see that joyous smile
Until I do I’ll settle back
And wait and wish awhile.

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A Perception of Age

How old do you feel, how old do you think and how old do you look?  Each have their different perspective’s and differing answers I imagine.

Me well I feel different ages on different days depending on the circumstances, so today I feel about 60 give a take a few years either way; of course not being 60 and being a good decade away from that age I can’t know exactly how that feels (and for those of you that are around about this venerable age I welcome your thoughts on being 60 ish).  Basically I feel older than I am, a touch weary and my bones ache from the inside out.

My mind thinks I’m about 25 though sometimes I will admit to nearly 30; I’m conscious of being a little different, I’ve had nearly 30 years of existence and experience and that has to have some effect but my core self is still the same if a little jaded at the edges.

I think I look younger than I am (though when I grow a beard full of gingery white and grey bits I think I look way older!).  If I had to put an age to me I’d say late 30’s early 40’s but I could be fooling myself; if I look in the mirror after a particularly bad day I would amend that to match how I probably feel at that moment (matching the above).

I love to observe other people and I often wonder how old people are.  I am often surprised when I learn the real ages of people which usually tend to be younger than I originally imagined.  Sometimes it’s greying hair that does it which always adds a few years.  Other times it may well be a weathered face and many times the ravages of years of smoking can make a person age sooner.

I often, like many teenagers, worried about my acne but now I learn that this was actually a benefit, my skin having a touch more natural lubrication is now still soft (and still a pain to shave, it is very rare I scrape my face and don’t end up with little red  blotches of blood).  I suppose it’s the Ying and Yang of life, a natural balance.  But I can see the bags developing and I don’t think I’ll be able to claim a younger age for long, my really age is slowly dragging my imagined one up to it.

How old are you?


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Max Wall – The New Style Guru!

I now have conclusive proof that a star of yesterday, indeed a veritable god of the music hall , is now the guru of fashion for many teenage girls the world over!

It suddenly hit me on a little shopping trip with my lovely wife as she grazed the ladies section of Primark.  I spent the time daydreaming as you do and nodding in all the right places (though it has to be said she nearly bought some quite garish leggings in a not very subtle mix of pink yellow and indigo).

As my mind meandered around various topics that included my next meal, if I’d ever get to mow the grass this year without risking electrocution and the intricate minutiae of world politics I noticed various gangs of young ladies, mobiles/cells clutched to breast, arms linked.  They hunted in packs, orange faces aglow, each with matching ‘bun’ hairstyles (though they did have some variety with blonde, ginger or black colour quite popular) with lower extremities crammed into tight leggings that looked as though they’d had an argument with the feet department.

Some ladies did have quit sensible shoes (delicate sandals etc.)  but others had quite plainly decided to were slightly heavier foot attire (just in case they were trampled by any careless heavy footed fellow shoppers I presume).  And for the life of me I couldn’t at first decide what or who they looked like!

Then it hit me.  Well slightly after my wife anyway – she didn’t appreciate the way my eyes were following the said lady gangs and being unable to read my mind had decided it was a lust thing rather than a puzzle thing!  The slap across my face did the trick and lo and behold the face of Max Wall appeared!

Now dear old Max has not been with us since 1990 – 23 years can you believe it!  So I very much doubt these fashion conscious young people will have heard of the comedian who died aged 82.  Max’s trade mark silly walk and tight leggings made them roll with laughter for many years but how clever of some fashionista, some savvy young designer to see a market for such garb…  now if only I could find another long-lost star to raise to these exalted heights of teenage coolness?  Here are a few suggestions:

Jules Leotard (yes a real person before you scoff)

Sir George Robey

Jimmy Cricket?

Ah well lets see shall we and if  you have any suggestions I would be ever so glad to see.

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It’s Only Rock’n’roll…

Some of you may be aware but I do a bit of singing and strumming of the old guitar.  I’m not brilliant but I think I have something, enough to make me pick the thing up every couple of years and spend some time practicing with the general aim of getting out there and playing some tunes live, a gig or two maybe to feel the adrenaline pumping…  Most of the time other things get in the way; real life mainly paying the bills, ids, wife, family, work, gardening, decorating, dog walking….

I suppose I do better than many who dream of rock’n’roll stardom but end up selling all their gear, sadly never to touch an e-string again.  I’ve never given up just lowered my ambitions; I keep up a small sliver of hope (it’s hung in the loft next to my amps, bass and spare guitar) and try to maintain my MySpace, YouTube and other sites (though most of them are geared towards my writing mainly these days which looks likely to be as successful a personal endeavour as my musical one…).  I did once have a lady comedian who’d actually appeared on TV (in an episode of Jonathan Creek none-the-less) pick one of my songs on MySpace for her song of the week!  Ah stardom!  You do hear of people being discovered, long-lost treasures hidden away but given the vast size of web these days as it groans under the weight of budding ‘stars’ I think I may have to wait a very long time to be discovered!

I decided the other day it was about time that I dipped back into my rock’n’roll days and get back in touch with Andy my sparring partner in my first band days round 1987 along with Will our guitarist.  We started off without a real drummer but did have a wonderful little drum machine!

We were the Candidates for a short while and I managed to blag us some good gigs at the local Bradford Queens Hall – I felt quite brave marching in to the guy’s office – I forget his name but he later left the role under a very big black cloud.  I still remember his thinning blond hair, white Miami Vice suit and thick glasses which magnified his eyes to an alarming size.  Anyway he gave us a gig and it could have been quite a good one to tell our children about!  We were down to support The Levellers who went on to score a few hits and quite a big following.  Instead they pulled out (couldn’t take the competition I think) and instead we supported Jester Turtle (a South African band of who I can now find no record of existing apart from in the dusty corners of my mind – I remember tight zebra trousers and permed mullets and a vaguely Africa meets Abba feel to their music).

Andy was in the last band I played live with (apart from a quickly rehearsed works bands I fronted for a 40th party bash for a fellow colleague when we played Love is All Around).  The Lost Patrol died in 1991 live on stage, thanks to the efforts of our drummer a thin mustachioed chap who decided he needed a pint or ten to play spot on.  He was quite wrong of course, it did hinder his timing a touch and as he got faster and faster me and Andy tried and failed to keep up.  We’d managed to fill the place, again the Bradford Queens Hall cellar bar, with 500 paying customers.  This was partly down to an excellent write-up (by yours truly) hailing us as Bradford’s next big thing and to our support band’s larger group of supporters!  We went on last of course and managed to clear the place in half an hour (it should have been at least an hour) which saved us having to sign any autographs afterwards and meant we could split the profits (a fiver each after costs – PA, security, rider etc – no we didn’t pay the drummer, in fact we never saw him again) and get home in time for a mug of cocoa and the 9 o’clock news!

I do have a record of my solo spot the night before – I’d not been able to get my band colleagues to agree to do a full gig so I did it alone (there was no money involved just a pint – I basically turned up, plugged in and played!)


The massive nerve induced headache subsided after about a week and I’ve only ever done solo spots since (apart from the one off gig mentioned above).  And of course another local band stole our thunder and became the best band from Bradford or thereabouts – to be fair Terrorvision were a little more together than us and their drummer could keep time.

Back to Andy.  He introduced me to a whole range of musical styles, a universe of artists I’d either only briefly heard of or not at all.  He was heavily into eclectic music collecting  and his tastes ranged from Stevie Nicks to Sonic Youth, Velvet Underground to the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  He was John Lennon to my Paul McCartney – I was the soft poppy guy he was the razors edge.  I loved the way he played bass.

I’m now back in touch with him and I can’t believe it’s 26 years since we practiced in his basement.  At least we tried and even though we didn’t make it we still have those memories of trying.

Anyway time to do some practice – and boy do I need it…

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Animal Tales

Once upon a time in a land of people with voices honeyed with the grit of the north and peppered with the laconic wit of the midlands, a man was teased and tortured by the beasts that dwelled within his home.

The king was a mild looking creature of pure white fluff but his eyes could either drown a person in love or instill fear in equal measure.  Oliver ruled with an iron paw, his sabre sharp claws always ready to extend and gently taunt the poor man.  The very worst part of the man’s day was usuallly in the early hours when the rest of the world was at peace and the silver moon sent gentle light through the partly open curtains.

The king was often inpatient for his morning meal and a gentle stroll in his grounds.  The man needed to serve not slumber so several jabs and a couple of well aimed head-butts were all that were needed to get the servant up and moving.

The rest of the beasts were less controlling though the dog could use his big doleful eyes to wind the man around his paw digits, the budgie used constant high-pitched instruction to wear him down and the hamster simply stared, and stared and stared!



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The Right Signals

Today I shall be starting with a rant, something I rarely do in public and usually only when driven to it by my perception of something ridiculous, absurd or plain stupid.  This is usually when behind the wheel of a car but does sometimes happen when I’m a mere passenger (in a car or a bus it doesn’t really matter).

Now I have to admit I am not ranting out of a sense of my own perfection I am not perfect and like all humans (yes I am actually human though sometimes I do wonder, perhaps I’m an alien whose mind was wiped clean or a new species born from humanity but ever so slightly different – then I tell myself to cease the deranged day dreams and get back to driving) I make mistakes every now and then.

I have mixed my colours (reds, blues and whites) in a washing machine and ended up with a lovely pink shirt (very fashionable I’ve heard though not really to my taste).  I have started my car and somehow managed to lock the doors but still been firmly and securely stood at the side of the car, my mouth dropped open in amazement at my stupidity!  I have let my children draw on my face and forgotten completely as I rushed out of the door to go to work (I wondered why so many people seemed happy that day with most people greeting me with hesitant but vibrant smiles).  And I have on occasion forgotten to signal when either changing direction or at a junction – for this I apologise profusely and it makes me feel ever so guilty it really does.

I have noticed an increasing number of people who seem incapable of indicating.  I am not sure if it is a one-off occasion (as with me above and to you people I also apologise profusely and I do understand completely how each evening you now spend some time in tortured anguish over the guilt).

What I am certain of is that there are far too many people not doing it to tell me that most of them simply don’t want to, don’t care or have forgotten that not only is it helpful to other road users to know which direction you intend to go but also one of the things you get tested on when you pass your test.

Of course it could be that they’ve not passed their test which means they simply won’t know which I suppose I can excuse; if you’ve not studied the highway code taken lessons or taken a test then of course you’re not going to know what that little stick connected to the steering wheel is for are you?

The majority of people I’m sure must have passed their test at some point.  So why do they sit there at a junction as traffic drives steadily past, with a look of pained anxiety on their faces, desperate to pull out and wondering why nobody seems willing to oblige?  I have a little rule I usually use – if somebody is waiting to pull out and I can let them do so safely then I will, as long as they are indicating!

There has been a couple of occasions when a car has sat there indicating correctly and I’ve slowed down half a mile down the road, flashed my lights madly, waved my hands etc. only for the person to calmly sit there seemingly waiting for a much bigger gap!  But that type of person is a lot rarer.

I am trying not to let other people’s’ driving annoy me.  Put simply there is not a lot I can do about it, I don’t have a blue light I can pop on the roof, I don’t have a machine gun installed in my car grill and getting angry tends to make me sweat far too much (which then means I have to use the washing machine a little more and I get more pink shirts).

Safe driving everybody.


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