Free Market Slaves

If you look at my previous post you might have gotten the idea that I am a sex fuelled hedonist. Well, if not I’m gonna try and try until I make it there. It’s only lack of book sales that is holding me back. 

But let’s talk about the “new capitalism” which is the buzz on the economic block. I hear Euro politicoids talking about “Fairness” as if the concept had just arrived on their desks with all the kick-ass imperative of a memo from Rupert Murdoch. Before all the social class, religion, nationalism and wealth difference poisons and divides kids – they know about fairness and justice at the age of three. Just try telling a toddler he took his brother’s chocolate biscuit when he knows his sibling took it himself and framed him.

 So – how is it that something so atavistic, so recurrent and ingrained in mankind has been subverted and lost in our teeming world of worshipped and applauded greed? I heard PM Cameron today declaring that Europe was falling behind the productive capacity of China. Oh no – maybe our systems of democracy, health and safety, social care, civil rights, conditions of work and wages are holding us back? Dear me – there is the answer then. Let’s all race to the bottom. The finest time of Britain and the Empire was when slaves were bartered for gold,  children started work at the age of nine and life expectancy was 25years. At least it would get rid of a few rival novelists on Amazon.

A few months ago a case of “human slavery” was discovered in the UK. There was wailing and a general gnashing of teeth. The political class were astounded and outraged. However, it was not a surprise to some of us. If you want another story here is a link to a terrible tragedy in 2004. At a time of my life when I was  destitute I went to work as a turkey process hand. It was tough. Let me say that again – it was tough enough to break your bloody heart.  I wrote a story because fiction is far more powerful than “News” because that happens somewhere else. The girl in the story is unattractive and therefore could not work as a prostitute which is the fate of most trafficked females. That does not mean she won’t be used and raped by her “masters”.  The story is “Sub Prime” and is as true as a story can be. Ironically it is something of a best-seller although I have never wanted money from it. I have published it with an audio track, read by a dear friend.  I cannot read it myself because it makes me cry so much. 

This week-end Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th January, “Sub-Prime” is free on Amazon, along with its MP3 audiobook that will also play on the Kindle (I have also have a free romance novel on the same promo).

Click here for my FREE books on Amazon USA
Click here for my FREE books on Amazon UK

Emma Thinx: Keep the bones out of the bonus

Whatever – so what eh?

I have a regular good old ding-dong (London-speak for heated discussion) with one of the lads on my bus. He’s a challenged, disadvantaged kid with little going for him. Some mornings he finishes his breakfast of Red Bull and cigarette by tossing the can onto an area of littered grass and mud outside the run-down block of flats where he lives. The can then adds to an accidental collage of fast-food wrappers, dog excrement and an eclectic sprinkling of marketing driven “packaging”. 

He then inhales deeply on his cigarette, grinds the stub into the road, clears his tortured lungs, spits theatrically and boards the bus. Many a time, me being a judgemental bourgeois old cow/Romantic Novelist, I chide him for his conduct. OOOOOh ! I do hate litter. He shrugs and says “Whatever – so what eh?”

I ponder this matter quite often. Yesterday a bus job came up that involved me picking up some folks from a pre-school. Bright little souls aged between 3 and 5  with their parents were waiting outside the school to board the bus. Opposite the entrance there was a dilapidated housing block, awaiting refurbishment. It has been a long wait and I guess it could be a lot longer yet. The picture above is the view that these kids were looking at. Maybe we should think about how the seeds and attitudes will grow.

Emma thinx: By the eyes of the child arrives the vision of the man.

Death! Plop.

OK Literatti – let’s get down on some poetry. Today I have been busy on a whole new project of compiling and editing a book of poetry on behalf of Gallo-Romano Media. Regulars will have heard me rattling on about my mate Oscar Sparrow whom I have known for many years. He’s a bit kinda prickly to be honest and is a tree book hard-liner. On account of that he’s scuffed along in a bedragglement of small press pamphlets, anthologies and Arts Council artsfarts. (An artsfart is a form of poetry only read by South American ant-eaters)  Eventually I have persuaded him to put out a small collection of his poems via Rosina’s media outfit. Everyone knows that no one reads poetry except other poets and they don’t like it cos they didn’t write it themselves. I’m officially gonna be credited as editor and a small contributor.  He believed that he has sold his soul to the forces of Mammon but he cheered up when we assured him that no one would read it and he wouldn’t get paid. It is at moments like that you know you are in the presence of a true poet. I wish Oscar were my brother so that I could love him.

There was a poet called Theophilus Marzials (1850 – 1920) who is sometimes accused of having written the world’s worst poem. In his day he was a successful writer and it only since his death that the critteratti have spiked into him. Oscar uses this as an argument against having any form of success in this world. Now, I like Theo’s poem and so you know what I’m talking about – here it is.

A Tragedy

Theophilus Marzials

Death! Plop.

The barges down in the river flop.

Flop, plop.
Above, beneath.

From the slimy branches the grey drips drop,
As they scraggle black on the thin grey sky,
Where the black cloud rack-hackles drizzle and fly
To the oozy waters, that lounge and flop
On the black scrag piles, where the loose cords plop,
As the raw wind whines in the thin tree-top.

Plop, plop.
And scudding by

The boatmen call out hoy! and hey!
All is running water and sky,

And my head shrieks — “Stop,”
And my heart shrieks — “Die.”

*          *          *          *          *
My thought is running out of my head;
My love is running out of my heart,
My soul runs after, and leaves me as dead,
For my life runs after to catch them — and fled
They all are every one! — and I stand, and start,
At the water that oozes up, plop and plop,
On the barges that flop
                              And dizzy me dead.
I might reel and drop.
                                                Dead.And the shrill wind whines in the thin tree-top
                           Flop, plop.
*          *          *          *          *
A curse on him.
                            Ugh! yet I knew — I knew —
If a woman is false can a friend be true?
It was only a lie from beginning to end —

My Devil — My “Friend”

I had trusted the whole of my living to!

Ugh; and I knew!

So what do I care,

And my head is empty as air —

I can do,
I can dare,
(Plop, plop
The barges flop
Drip drop.)

I can dare! I can dare!

And let myself all run away with my head
And stop.

Plop, flop.


Just read on from “slimy branches” through to “thin tree top.” To me it is a poem teeming with drippy droppiness and flappy ploppy flopshiousness. Of course, its absolute lusciousness of vocab kinda does away with the sentiment of TRAGEDY which he is trying to capture. I like it because a guy wrote it when he had trouble with a woman and whatever was going on this trace of of love remains and I am here reading it and talking about it. Theo – you were a man who wrote poems. Time has made you a poet in my heart. Over to to you guys……

More international MARKET people all day talking about what they want the world to do. Is there any further point in the pretence of having meaningful national democratic governments?

Emma thinx: Economic Feudalism – the noble savage serving the savage noble.

Pick Of The Crop

Every billboard on every street and on the side of every bus is announcing the Coming. Tomorrow it will be here. Have you got yours yet? I guess you folks all know that MW 3 “Call Of Duty” is launched on Tuesday 8th November. Of course I was aware of all this. Well, I could see that these ads were plastered everywhere and that they looked like they had been stuck up using a bucket of mud. To the horror of the anger management lads on the bus I did not know that this was a deliberate effect and that the product was a computer game for the sex box 360. It’s all about grunge, squalor and violence. I must admit that in a world where films are seen as sensational if you get a full nipple exposure, it astonishes me that “gaming” revels in psychopathic violence seemingly as a celebration and a joy. If you wanna see a clip this is the trailer.

I have no right to pontificate on such matters. The closest I have come to warfare is when my mother took me to the January Sales in Croydon, South London. In those days “The Sales” actually offered bargains. We queued from about 6 am. The plan was to attack the doors as soon as they were unbolted. My mother was going to run flat out for a winter coat. My job was to drop back and obstruct pursuers by running far slower in a zig zag. It worked and ever since I have had a kind of interest in military tactics. However, this was not the master blaster machine gunning engagement of “Call of Duty”. I guess that it was not real war either. But what I want to know is whether proper brave soldiers, serving or vets, want to play these games? Is there a problem when violence is fun and painless? I bet there are all manner of studies and I really would like to know, but there again I’d like to know so many things about human behaviour.

 I mean does anyone have a child and say to themselves “I want to bring this kid up to be kind, modest and honest as a priority”? Should one not say “I want my kid to big themselves up, muscle to the front and get rich/ important /successful/ admired/be a bishop with a palace/martyr/ etc.” I am not a Christian but I have no argument with their outline propositions. In a world where there is no sign of the meek inheriting, to what extent should you influence your kids to be meek? I’ve been a parent and I am a grandparent and I just dunno. Do I say “Go snatch it kids” or do I say “Maybe someone needs it more – hang back and help them.” ? I am a hard line Atheist, Buddhist, lighter of cathedral candles, pinko commie, semi revolutionary property owning hedonist. I have no special insights.

As I passed a run down take-away pizza store tonight in my bus, light spilled out onto the footway. I glanced into the empty shop  to see a large moustachioed man at the counter poised to serve his next hungry customer. Obviously a slice of pepperoni had become lodged up his nostril and he was attempting to gouge it out with what looked like his thumb and several fingers. The meat feast could be a no-no. 

Emma thinx: Don’t solve the problem until the solution gets you noticed. 

Mein Hair



In the world of high finance around which my life revolves, I am constantly hearing the term “Haircut”. Seemingly this means to write off a portion of a debt owed to you. Unfortunate banks are likely to have to accept major haircuts on loans made to Greece. Luckily, the banks will be “re-capitalised” by governments if it looks like they will fail as a result. So boys and girls – who do you think will end up with the bald eagle hair-do in the end? Um – that’s a tough one. All these affairs of state got me thinking about the hair styles of European leaders and I do believe I have spotted a pattern. Exhaustive research has shown that a tidy haircut leads to financial ruin. Just compare the coiffure quotient bias (known as the cqb amongst insiders) between Angela Merkel of Germany (Solvent) and Silvio Berlusconi of Italy (Indebted and struggling). When you see evidence this profound you will realise that the market rule is “If you don’t want to take a haircut, avoid leaders who obviously know a few hairdressers”. The most startling proof comes when you look at George Papandreou of Greece. Now that’s what I call a haircut. The poor guy has given his all. Dear old Great Britain who kinda stumbles around trying to find the key to the last of the kids money boxes remains afloat while the markets accept the bluff. A quick glance at the Cameron Coiff should steady the exchanges for now while we look for that damn key. By the way girls – can you see how the term “haircut” is dripping with macho don’t give a billion kind of swagger. I’m gonna tell my own creditors that they have won a free re-style.

I’m getting a bit peeved with product pricing. A pack of prawns last week at ASDA was the same price that it had been in March. Hoorah and jolly hockey sticks! The only difference was that the weight had reduced by 100 grammes. This is an enormous increase. I had earlier noted that chicken breast fillets had been similarly reduced in pack weight. So, what is going on? Do they think we don’t notice. Having been out of the UK for a while the jump is obvious. I guess if you just plop the same stuff in your trolley week in week out you may not spot the difference. So come on guys -d’ya fink we’re like stoopid or summink?

Emma thinx: Tosstesterone – the ultimate field event steroid.

Culcha Vulcha

Dear me – I think I’ve been missing something for the past 24 years or so. Once I had realised that I had completely wasted my opportunity to be educated I kinda figured that clever people read clever books and listened to Beethoven, at least until they were ready for Bartók.  Until recently I think I had been becoming more and more SERIOUS. I soon realised that the kids on the bus were not ready for the Shostakovitch cello sonata  . To be honest I’m never been sure if I genuinely like this stuff or not or whether I’m just a bit up myself. Anyway check out that guy doing the Gershwin piano.

But the kids voted out the culcha and it’s been WAVE 105 all the way each and every day. Well, this morning I heard a song that made me feel so happy. I had the kids singing along and cranked it up to full volume. If you were at the traffic lights this morning next to boom box bus with the warbling old Doris at the wheel I don’t care. I rushed home and downloaded “Deleted Scenes From The Cutting Room Floor” by Caro Emerald. This is super album that makes you wanna dance, kiss and wiggle ya waggle. Oh if you like Caro Emerald you’ll like a French singer called ZAZ. This song “je veux” sung in the street in true “Chanteuse” tradition is a joy. If you love Paris and la langue francaise it’s a little gem.

Older people are having more and better sex according to a new survey. Over 70% of males and females over 60 say they’re having more fun than ever. Ho hum – that’s great but should we not be looking at the life style of the consumption driven brat tortured middle-agers who live in a blur of work and tail chasing? For late boomers like me it was possible to dream of saving up your life for later.(Actually I saved it up for a rolling infinite NOW).  As pensions dwindle and opportunities atrophy these younger folk ought to think about having some decent sex TODAY. I wrote a poem about this issue. Check out “Boomer” here.

News on the radio that Dyslexic cops are to receive special notebooks. What I want to know is why every time I’ve been booked for speeding the officer has recorded all my details perfectly leaving no loopholes. Surely once in my life I deserve a dyslexic ticket that allows me to beat the rap. 

Emma thinx: Chill –  there’ll be another NOW along in a while.

The Overall Effect

“Ee’s just doin ‘is teef but the lift’s broke,” came the voice of intercom mom from floor 23 of the concrete sky. We all waited on the bus as the lad made his way down the steps. At last he arrived dressed in the same clothes that he always wears. It’s fashion sport wear and it’s always clean. I think it’s all he possesses. Mom must strip him off as soon as he gets in and poke it in the washing machine. Poverty is relative of course. Seemingly there are now 7 billion of us and the world can no longer feed us. When I see these poor kids and how they cling to the lifeboat of fashion even at the expense of food, I realise that the soul/status/ego/self image of each person is both our joy and our agony. It is a perversity to see the anorexic vision of  catwalk model beauty amidst the plenty and the Fast food/Big Biz/glamour glitz worshipped by the poor.

Yesterday afternoon I watched snatches of the first ever Indian Formula One Grand prix. How lucky they are that the Gods of Guzzle have handed them  the golden gladiators of radiators. Oh yes – the land of Shiva is now the land of GP diva. I’m a bit wary of making liberal arty farty capital out of the whole car racing circus. Probably it makes no difference but to me India has always seemed a land of advanced spirituality – beyond the brand and logo of plastered bill board overalls. And yet the taste of madness is sweet you know. Those childhood orgies of fallen conkers, hoarded simply because they were there, run on into adulthood and are delicious. The scream of wasteful engines and the kingfisher flash of  wealth are seductive. Seventeen thousand revs of orgasmic horsepower speak louder than a quiet voice of thought groping out for some gentle insight. Rip the rubber and ram it home to the chequered flag. Think simple and get the goods. That’s the true grand prize. Who am I to say different? At one stage of the race a car stopped at the edge of the circuit. Suddenly a mob hurtled towards the high grilled fence and pressed their faces against the metal in an agony to touch that far far world of the man with sponsored boots and million dollar gloves. These two worlds will never collide – provided that the fences hold.

 A very disturbing film is out on DVD about the life of  the racing driver Ayrton Senna. I’m not sure if it was meant to worry me but I kept posing a Wagnerian question “Where is there for defeated gods?” Many folk saw him as a GOD. That would be very difficult for a guy who simply drove cars in the name of a cigarette brand would it not?

Oh no – trouble in the temple. The Dean of St Paul’s cathedral has resigned over the strife around the anti-money changer demo on the steps. I love St Paul’s cathedral and have so often lit candles to the lovely building echoing choirboy fake-up-kid-yourself-spirituality God. Seemingly the elders of the temple can’t agree over whether or not to support the protests. I can see that this is a tough one. You get some kind of hippy guy show up with a few rough looking supporters and they go on about wealth and greed. Yup, even old Pontious Pilate was perplexed. He kinda fixed things up in the end though.

Emma thinx: Bossmosis – How the higher sucks out the lower.

Passage to Taillebourg

There’s something so exciting about discovery. Imagine having the chance to find the source of the Nile or even America. Of course there were Africans and Native Indians who used to wander about such places on their way to work every day. I guess they didn’t know that anyone wanted to know about where they were. Nowadays, in the car at least I have Sat Naff. Huge satellites orbit the Earth some 12,000 miles away and they know where the source of everything is. Nevertheless today I got out my bike and set out to discover my own personal equivalent of the Northwest Passage. My aims were slightly more modest and amounted to finding a route from St Savinien to Taillebourg, not using the normal road. It was almost like stepping back into history as I encountered the little hamlet of Coulogné-Sur-Charente. I only have a couple of full days left here in France before I head back north for the madness of it all in the traffic with my bus. As I sit in the queues and bad tempered road ragers blare horns and shake fists I will re-live my moments of slightly woodsmoked  air and the whizz of my bike as I opened the South East passage of my own little world. If you are looking for a holiday in Europe and you don’t want the tourist trample come to Charente Maritime.

I do wish the Brits would stop belly-aching about Europe. OK – there are problems but all this “We want the trade and the advantages but we don’t want to join in” is getting tedious. I do not want to go on about politics but if you look at the World Atlas you will see Great Britain (The Disunited Kingdom) a few miles to the north of France. That’s where we are guys. Prime minister Cameron is sitting on a very sharp fence that threatens to slice right into his leadership regions. John Major called the anti European faction “The Bastards”. Oddly enough that was more or less what the French called William the Conqueror. 

If you are in France Leclerc supermarkets have some great prices for whole sides of French pork. They are also well priced for Boeuf Bourginon and other casserole beef  cuts. 

Emma thinx: United we stand, but only because there are no seats.

I Think Therefore I Spam

Oh what joy it is to be home, if only for a few days. My tanks are filling with that long shadow/warm sun mellow ecstasy which still lives on this far south. We arrived back in France to find that a friend was moving house today. The affair had been in the wind for a while and suddenly the dam of expectation broke, the lawyers dipped their quills and the peasant mob moved in to finish the job. It’s only when you live in France that you realise just how anal the Anglo Saxons are about everything. Here, one day things will unfold. No one knows which day but everyone lives and hopes. By the time it happens there are dozens of people who share the expectation. When the time comes, everyone moves into gear and somehow everything is achieved. No one is allotted any duty and no one is in charge. In rural France most people have vans. Those who do not have vans have trailers. This obviates the need for any furniture removal businesses. In fact, when you think about it, most of the services we think we need and have to pay for only exist because folk don’t know one another. Gilles gave a hand rebuilding beds and I suggested that I cook dinner since there would be plenty else going on. Sometimes things go wrong…….

At about 1 o’clock I was about to put a chicken casserole in the oven to cook slowly for a few hours. The guests appeared at the door. Yes – you spotted the problem. They had come for lunch, thinking that when an English person says dinner, they mean lunch – because everyone knows that the English get it wrong. Accordingly they had double guessed my supposed error. I had single guessed that they knew I did not make that error. Look – this is no problem. You take some tagliatelle, a tin of Spam, a jar of Dolmio  pasta sauce, a tin of chopped tomatoes, some garlic, some Parmigiana cheese and a baguette. In 15 minutes a dish of  Spamastia Fantasia a l’Anglaise was served. Very few people have served Spam to the French. The meal disappeared and plates were cleaned with bread. I kinda felt that my life had not been in vain. 

Later, I took a ride on my bike. There is a field nearby still filled with wild flowers. These days I can no longer do poetry. Life has kicked it out of me and the jingle jangle of road traffic, commercial pop radio, hair dryers, mobile phones, work schedules and world noise blunts me down to a stub. It does this to all of us and we call it getting by and survival. Writing Romance is a different state of mind. It is about escape. You have to see that from which you wish to escape. So, I went to the field of flowers. The sky was a perfect blue and the heavens a dome of azure over my head. Under that  same dome all things lived in the only ways they could. A hawk hovered, a mouse scurried and the flowers ….well, the flowers simply blew in the wind as the world turned and the vacuums drew in the pressures and the strong sowed the seeds of their failure in the defeat of the currently weak. And when all the hour glasses are turned again and all the cards are shuffled, the flowers will blow in the wind. I took a short video which is a kind of a poem. It says nothing but itself.

Emma thinx: Make a deal with time while you can still negotiate.

Walk On The Wild Side

“Ee’s just gonna do ‘is teef,” came intercom voice from floor 23, “ee’s bein’ a right little sh*t to me ee is. Ee’s in an ‘orrible mood.”
Oh no – anger management issues in the sky village tower block. I wait in the bus. The lad appears, turns and lobs a half consumed can of breakfast Red Bull at the wall and stamps towards me. A lady runs out from the doors dressed in a dressing gown. She has no shoes.
“Pick that up!”she yells, turning to me. “Ee wasn’t brought up like that. I had to follow him down in case he ran off or summink.”
I glanced at the boy. He looked surly and troubled. I wish he had run off. The woman looks tired and strained. Her face and voice are smoked out. The contest of life is winning on points and she’s hanging on the ropes ducking as many blows as she can. You kinda feel that the referee should stop the fight. My life is wonderful. I am a lucky privileged person. My heart goes out to this poor woman. I bet she’s on her own. I give her a warm look, hoping I don’t look like a posho being a feel-good kind liberal. She shrugs and goes back to her cell in the sky village. I wonder if she has the cash for some fags to dull the agony of daytime TV.

I’m getting very concerned about the British High Street. I think most High Streets will soon be renamed as Low Streets. Out of town malls and retail complexes are turning town centres into lines of charity shops, Tanning salons, Nail bars, Tattoo and piercing studios and of course Fish pedicure clinics. Well, I tell you one thing – even if I had a fish with feet, there’s no way that I would take it to a clinic to be pampered. The government appear to share some of my concerns, at least from the public health view point. Seemingly a high percentage of  body piercings become infected. Also there is the problem of parents bringing their babies to be pierced. I mean – is it just me or are there other people who don’t like looking  someone in the eye and being distracted by lip, nostril, chin  and eyebrow studs or rings? You cannot get your genitals or nipples pierced until you are 16 years old. Apparently up to 10 per cent of adults in the UK have this kind of piercing. What is going on here? Who will be the first President or Prime Minister to have facial piercings or tattoos? The punctured generation will soon be the total electorate. Instead of putting a cross on the ballot paper you will have to make a hole through it.

Dire warnings about Hepatitis and Aids risks associated with feet eating fish have appeared in the press. I guess the fish aren’t too happy either. Are feet part of a proper balanced diet?

Emma thinx: Legitimise your anger. Call someone else a bastard.