Never Too Late!

Never Too Late!
any resemblance to anyone real or imaginary is mere bad luck
we are all lying in the gutter, but some of us are trying to get up


the bizarre poetry of happenstance


Dead Blogs that I Knew and Loved

This blog post - torn living and still beating (?? - an odd choice of words, surely?) from the proceedings of the American Center for Surreal and Paranoid Life - will serve as a singular resting place where anyone can drop off (and find) DEAD BLOGS.

Dead blogs can be a treasure trove of interest to those who look carefully.

So when you find an interesting dead blog on the internet, (and let's define "dead blog" as any blog that has been inactive for longer than three months any blog that is dead), pick up the link to that blog and give it a proper place to rest.

Dump the link HERE in this post's comments section, henceforth known as the GRAVEYARD OF DEAD BLOGS.

Or leave some flowers.

Let this be a place where others can view the dead blogs, and pay their respects to interesting ideas and thoughts gone by. (You will also find some dead blogs that I knew and loved, still listed in the 'Arbitrary blogworld sampler' in the sidebar.)

The silence... they say, is deafening



-I can't write about B, because if C found out, he might shoot D, or at least all hell would break loose, and last time someone ended up being tortured by the police for 3 days and V almost got their throat cut
-I can't write about G, because if he ever saw what I had to say, his head might explode or he might have an apoplectic fit or something, and even though he's a bastard, I actually almost feel sorry for the poor guy, and he almost got shot a week or two ago anyway, and must have been half scared to death
-I don't want to write about E, because F might be jealous
-I don't want to write about I, because that would just give everyone a headache
-Q can't publish the report we've been working on for two years, presumably because they're genuinely terrified of the XYZ, even though everyone is finally coming out and saying that stuff openly now anyway, and now I'm wondering if we'll ever see that $10,000 or whatever it was
-And without that $10,000, who else could conceivably be creatively thought to owe me money? Who could I invoice, and for what? G is probably still in shock, and besides, I haven't been in direct contact for a year. And Z, well, the less said the better, and I'm implicitly sort of sworn to silence anyway
-And so on and on

You see, it makes it all a bit difficult to write anything about anything.


Obfuscate and fictionalise

Dawn comes earlier each day.

It is a long time now since this realgem thing began. As with many journals, when things were the most interesting there was least time to write. And, of course, just when things got interesting, I had to start worrying about certain hostile surveillance efforts too...

Such an incomprehensible vastness and variety of human experience. These days I feel very small and insignificant, contemplating its enormity, contemplating humanity, contemplating infinity. Whatever stories I may have to tell hardly seem to matter.

It surprises me when I occasionally hear someone has spent time reading through this document... rarely, but it still sometimes happens... (if you do set out to do that, please remember that much time has passed... people change, cities and countries change... although a certain similar quality remains in sleepless early dawns...)

Even though I think I have actually avoided mention of most of the truly outlandish events that have somehow transpired, there is something in common with most of these very occasional readers. They seem to think I am a fictional character.


The link in the sidebar has been fixed. Click on the Applied Solipsism ribbon to discover what Applied Solipsism can do for you.

Pseudorandom Estonian quilts

At the top of this page you can see that blogger search bar thing with its "Next blog" button/link. If this page bores you, try clicking it and see what you get. Once upon a time it took me on a worldwide journey of random jumps through the minds of an incomprehensible selection of random people. Now you will find it offering you endless blogs in Estonian, one after the other, or offer you a world of blogs written by people whose main interest is knitting shawls or quilts. Yes, endless blogs about quilts. It seems to find a random theme and then stick to it.

(Is this the fault of the infamous random() function, which is not really random at all, and will compromise any cryptographic keystream?)

I still maintain that Facebook killed the internet. Strong statement, you say? Then why are all the blogs that "Next blog" takes you through idle, most recently updated in 2009? They are all busy clicking "Likes" and "Shares", like so many lab rats pressing levers for food, or electric stimulation of pleasure centres in their brains.


Can't Get Loose

karaoke version...

Why does it terrify me so, all the empty pages waiting to be filled?

Nature Boy in industrial north London


oh for them good old days of the internet....


i got home and walked up the stairs and she came out of the shower still damp, timing of the gods. i pushed her against the door and kissed her. if i hadn't had my hands full with a red velvet embroidered bedspread and an oil painting of a sofa i would have pulled open her dressing gown and pushed her back into the shower. she pushed me away and laughed and said: you're drunk you crazy, and escaped downstairs.

two other people said the same thing immediately afterwards when they saw me.

however, i am absolutely, deadly, seriously, 100% certain that i was not drunk.

i sit on the floor, but sometimes i have guests who like sitting like european people do. i'm not about to clutter my floor and cover up my best afghan silk qilim (a gift from a certain shady colonel-saheb, colonel of what we're not sure, but that's another story) with bulky armchairs. but now i've at least indulged them with an abstract painting of a sofa which i found in a skip.



The one notebook that I cannot lose...

Having recently lost three, from my collection of manymany; but three I would rather have kept. This one lives in an electronic cloud, though, and it would take an accident of rather cataclysmic proportions to wipe it out.

I should have £20,000 on my account, even allowing for the extravagant spending. I have about £100, and my shoes are wearing out. I should feel strong and walk proud, muscles in my arms like bundles of electric cable. I walk in a chaotic shambling quick-march like an exhausted soldier on Pervitin,[redacted]
things that would certainly, from certain quarters, merit a quick pistol-shot to keep hidden forever. I witness, from a privileged spot, stories that may or may not make the history books; histories which, it suddenly occurs to me with an unpleasant jolt, I am supposed to be writing.

We have secrets, but secrets we cannot sell. [redacted]
The woman I loved, I realise now that she's gone, was never really ever there; she was some sort of a distant fantasy, sporadically reified.

It is the end of another day. The light was beautiful today, a peculiar incandescence suffusing everything with a golden glow. [redacted]

My faithful readers...


Txt msg blues

The crash of thunder has died away, the smell of electricity fades from the air. I am spent from climaxing across the voluptuous dark sky in lightning bolts. The evening sun re-emerges and banishes my occult fever. My eyes flicker like fluorescent strip lights when the grid voltage is too low, or like will-o'-the-wisp swamp lights dancing like sick midges.

There is no return. Nothing is true; there is no day of reckoning. Forgetfulness lurks in the dead tall reeds, the waters lap darkly, the oars creak, the fish neither care nor remember. The rain begins again.

My words are cheap opium dreams, stolen from lost travelers seeking nothing but the warmth of a ragged blanket for another shivering night on another endless road, wracked by the lonely lust of devildom - dust and spiders and spider venom.


“That famous writer’s block is a myth as far as I’m concerned. I think bad writers must have a great difficulty writing. They don’t want to do it. They have become writers out of reasons of ambition. It must be a great strain to them to make marks on a page when they really have nothing much to say, and don’t enjoy doing it. I’m not so sure what I have to say but I certainly enjoy making sentences.”
— Gore Vidal (RIP)

I can't seem to settle down anywhere

'Where are you from?'
'What do you mean?'
'I mean where were you brought up?'
'Terminal 1, Frankfurt-am-Main airport. And we lived for a while in Dubai Terminal 3 as well.'



Lazy has begun adding the occasional new post, again.... realgem endures, yet...

But there is other work to be done... In the meantime, may I leave you with documentary-maker Adam Curtis's wonderful blog, The Medium and the Message, and its epic and unusual history of foreign involvement in the country of Afghanistan, Kabul: City Number One, rich with unknown history, supplemented by clips of rare footage from the depths of the BBC's archives.

(It occurs to me that Afghanistan, appropriately enough somehow for a country which in many ways occupies a different historical era from most of the readers of this blog, has its very own time zone at +4h30 GMT.)


job description

stationed behind a protective sangaar of empty beer bottles

or a lone whiskey glass standing sentry

in the bar over the valley, nestled between the two peaks. un sitio muy defendable, cuando llega el apocalipsis.

church bell begins as soon as i start to write. maybe sounds more like a gong, or someone banging a piece of scrap metal with a hammer.

-reasonable knowledge of matters afghanistan linguistic, political, historical, social and military

-plausible written expression in english

-no objection to ocasionally smuggling small quantities of illegal materials or incriminating documents through dubai airport or illegal amounts of currency through london or european airports

-willingness to risk life, limb or liberty for the chance of travel, possibly adventure and a near-nominal remuneration. generous expenses account, on the other hand.

-knowledge of farsi, pashtu, urdu desirable

dubai airport

the only reason i mention dubai so much, despite it being a despicable place, is because i have done so much writing while trapped in its airport. i met a zimbabwean with a revoked passport who had been stuck in there for a month, once.

i like the airport. i like airports and train and bus stations in general, the sensation of being an in-between place, people from across the human spectrum going to other places. dubai airport, in particular, apart from the free wifi and cheap duty free, has the added hidden buzz of spies, businessmen, 'consultants', 'contractors', mercenaries, strange people on inscrutable missions; snatches of overheard muttered conversations in the so-called irish pub rich with obscure references to things most people don't know or don't want to know about. elegantly suited corporate travellers , arabs in dazzling white gowns wearing backward baseball caps, balochis in sandals and shalwar qamiz and cloth bundles of luggage tied up with rope, young indian men in flares and shirts open at the neck, dazzlingly beautiful arab girls in tight jeans and jingling with gold and platinum jewellery.

a kuwaiti girl with the offhand manner of command of some sheikh's or emir's or prince's daughter ordering ice cream in the food court, sitting at the table across from me, leaning back to stretch her back and shoulders and show off her ohmigod beautiful tits for me, the wonderful kind of departure lounge flirtation that can never go anywhere.

huge black guy with the manner of a marine sgt in a dyncorp t-shirt, herding a crowd of filipino and bangla contract workers for a big fob somewhere off a bus onto an afghan-bound flight, lining them all up and scanning them all with a handheld barcode reader.

i am still in the room, listening to the voice droning on outside

"nutting is a very wonderful english thing.

king harold nutted prince william or whatever he was. that's the real story of what went on in hastings. and then they took out an arrow and shot him. but first he nutted him.

you couldn't nut anybody. but the mentalist could. he could nut someone."


The old people in the ancient village (which huddles from the winds in between the two tallest peaks) have tottered up the hill to howl at the moon. A drunk plays mournful blues harp in the street, like a film noir cliche. I can't sleep.
"I was here when the ameobas started, I spoke to them, I've been here millions of years.
I killed my brother and my sister. I cut out their hearts cause I knew that was the best way.
No I could never do that. i could never become a fly. I was buzzing around the kitchen earlier."

(Well, okay, but look out for hot light bulbs and candles, I say)

(I think we're having a fly moment here. we have no way of knowing that we haven't been sitting here miserably drunk forever. just like a fly circling endlessly and aimlessly, forgetting everything that happened a few seconds ago)

I don't really speak Farsi; however, I am fluent in a language of my own invention which, on occasion, is mutually comprehensible with farsi.


Democracy is another religion like the universal and catholic Church of the Middle Ages, when the black death raged across Europe and strange apocalyptic sects wandered the land, demented with fear and ergotism, lashing themselves with whips and appealing to heaven, praying to God to save them. Reminds me awful lot of certain futile protests, with people shouting themselves hoarse, as if only they shout the right slogan with enough fervor something will change. What difference????? Neither will change anything.

At least not until there are cars upside down burning, molotov cocktails impacting on police APCs.

"Political power grows from the barrel of a gun." (Mao Tse Tung)

"Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win." (Sun Tzu)


the writing life

it is the same everywhere. the forests are under assault. the last remotenesses crumble.

and what is this constant feed of information doing to me? doing to you?
new types of conceptual filters... (that is why so much of history seems so insane; seen through their conceptual filters at the time, it made sense.... perhaps...) new types of conceptual filters for a new type of world. 

the ability to ignore has never been so important.
writing leads to discoveries, and 'words build bridges into unexplored regions'[quote a. hitler] (both for the reader and the writer, the speaker and the listener), apart from its ability to bring pleasure, wonder or emotion to whoever should read it.

and then why disvalue it so much? that with all this staring into glowing rectangles, not even an hour, a stingy half-an-hour given to the art? cause 'i practised by art til i'm blue in the face, man...' ('my heart's on the plate...') [roots manuva, chin high]
it's still a typewriter. with a few little extras. don't forget your origins.


Back again and then

[panic stalks even the bare hills here
it never quite leaves me]

Lazy never continued the story he began with 'The Return', below...

It was tapped out in the freezing cold glorious glittering sun and crystal sky Kabul dawn (preternaturally clear, for one morning the smog and smoke has blown away and the far high mountains are visible clad in snow) shivering in the office, twisted and drunk and two days and nights sleepless through three countries.

The dynamics of the situation are...


Stay tuned. Maintain radio contact. Keep a low profile. Practise all relevant anti-surveillance techniques. Stay calm, and never admit to anything. Don't worry, we will meet again.


"خانه دوست كجاست؟" در فلق بود كه پرسيد سوار.
آسمان مكثي كرد.
رهگذر شاخه نوري كه به لب داشت به تاريكي شن‌ها بخشيد
و به انگشت نشان داد سپيداري و گفت:

"نرسيده به درخت،
كوچه باغي است كه از خواب خدا سبزتر است
و در آن عشق به اندازه پرهاي صداقت آبي است
مي‌روي تا ته آن كوچه كه از پشت بلوغ، سر به در مي‌آرد،
پس به سمت گل تنهايي مي‌پيچي،
دو قدم مانده به گل،
پاي فواره جاويد اساطير زمين مي‌ماني
و تو را ترسي شفاف فرا مي‌گيرد.
در صميميت سيال فضا، خش‌خشي مي‌شنوي:
كودكي مي‌بيني
رفته از كاج بلندي بالا، جوجه بردارد از لانه نور
و از او مي‌پرسي
خانه دوست كجاست."

“Where is the friend’s house?” asked the horseman just at dawn.
The heavens paused.
A wayfarer took the bright branch from his lips,
conferred it on the darkness of the sands,
pointed with his finger to a poplar tree and said,
“Just before that tree
there is a garden path greener than God’s dreams.
In it there is love as wide as the blue wings of true friendship.
You go on to the end of the path that takes up again
just beyond maturity,
then turn toward the flower of loneliness.
Two steps before the flower,
stop at the eternal fountain of earthly myth.
There a transparent terror will seize you,
and in the sincerity of the streaming heavens
you will hear a rustling.
High up in a pine tree,
you will see a child
who will lift a chick out of a nest of light.
Ask him,
“Where is the friend’s house?”


"Well, wishing you godspeed..."

"Godspeed? What speed is that?"

"Oh, about 120 mph or so..."

(Approximately the terminal velocity of a human body in free-fall)


oh dear, blogger has screwed up my lovely template somehow while updating to this new interface. both interface and template served me perfectly well for years and years now, who knows what is going on...

in haste... but realgem is still here!