Life and War with Mikey Fatboy Delgado

Aug 7

The Ships — CP Cavafy

From Imagination to the Blank Page. A difficult crossing, the waters dangerous. At first sight the distance seems small, yet what a long voyage it is, and how injurious sometimes for the ships that undertake it.
     The first injury derives from the highly fragile nature of the merchandise that the ships transport. In the marketplaces of Imagination most of the best things are made of fine glass and diaphanous tiles, and despite all the care in the world, many break on the way, and many break when unloaded on the shore. Moreover, any such injury is irreversible, because it is out of the question for the ship to turn back and take delivery of things equal in quality. There is no chance of finding the same shop that sold them. In the marketplaces of Imagination, the shops are large and luxurious but not long-lasting. Their transactions are short-lived, they dispose of their merchandise quickly and immediately liquidate. It is very rare for a returning ship to find the same exporters with the same goods.
     Another injury derives from the capacity of the ships. They leave the harbors of the opulent continents fully loaded, and then, when they reach the open sea, they are forced to throw out a part of the load in order to save the whole. Thus, almost no ship manages to carry intact as many treasures as it took on. The discarded goods are of course those of the least value, but it happens sometimes that the sailors, in their great haste, make mistakes and throw precious things overboard.
     And upon reaching the white paper port, additional sacrifices are necessary. The customs officials arrive and inspect a product and consider whether they should allow it to be unloaded; some other product is not permitted ashore; and some goods they admit only in small quantities. A country has its laws. Not all merchandise has free entry, and contraband is strictly forbidden. The importation of wine is restricted, because the continents from which the ships come produce wines and spirits from grapes that grow and mature in more generous temperatures. The customs officials do not want these alcoholic products in the least. They are highly intoxicating. They are not appropriate for all palates. Besides, there is a local company that has the monopoly in wine. It produces a beverage that has the color of wine and the taste of water, and this you can drink the day long without being affected at all. It is an old company. It is held in great esteem, and its stock is always overpriced.
     Still, let us be pleased when the ships enter the harbor, even with all these sacrifices. Because, after all, with vigilance and great care, the number of broken or discarded goods can be reduced during the course of the voyage. Also, the laws of the country and the customs regulations, though oppressive in large measure, are not entirely prohibitive, and a good part of the cargo gets unloaded. Furthermore, the customs officials are not infallible: some of the merchandise gets through in mislabeled boxes that say one thing on the outside and contain something else; and, after all, some choice wines are imported for select symposia.
     Something else is sad, very sad. That is when certain huge ships go by with coral decorations and ebony masts, with great white and red flags unfurled, full of treasures, ships that do not even approach the harbor either because all of their cargo is forbidden or because the harbor is not deep enough to receive them. So they continue on their way. A favorable wind fills their silk sails, the sun burnishes the glory of their golden prows, and they sail out of sight calmly, majestically, distancing themselves forever from us and our cramped harbor.
     Fortunately, these ships are very scarce. During our lifetime we see two or three of them at most. And we forget them quickly. Equal to the radiance of the vision is the swiftness of its passing. And after a few years have gone by, if—as we sit passively gazing at the light or listening to the silence—if someday certain inspiring verses return by chance to our mind’s hearing, we do not recognize them at first and we torment our memory trying to recollect where we heard them before. With great effort the old remembrance is awakened, and we recall that those verses are from the song chanted by the sailors, handsome as the heroes of the Iliad, when the great, the exquisite ships would go by on their way—who knows where.

(Translated by Edmund Keeley/Dimitri Gondicas

The Essential Cavafy. Selected and with an Introduction by Edmund Keeley. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Notes by George Savidis. The Ecco Press, New Jersey 1995)

Jul 31


By day we wait for war again. We listen
 for radio items that make no sense: for lists,
numbers, archaic words and usages…clues
to the call-up of reserves. We walk barefoot
to the supermarket, watch lovers inflaming
each other. We imagine those women turning
to catch us peeping as they wave their men off to war.

At night we sit on the flat roof listening
to the distant sea. How the noise of the daylight hours
disrupts the senses. Late at night when it’s quiet
we can smell the ocean from here. We can taste it
on the salty breeze. We have learnt to say omelette,
matches, the time, because the women here are beautiful,
slowly, I don’t understand.

The English-language newspaper writes often
of terrorist incursions in the north. We imagine
Bedouin trackers and their private photographs
of dead fedayeen lined up like fishing trophies
between the smiling hunters. We debate the foolishness
of travelling to the border to buy matchboxes full of kif,
 and we go just the same.

We communicate with Galilean Arab girls there
in nods
and smiles. They reward our earnest attention
with golden-teeth grins
and we wonder about their strong
thighs, and what if things
were just different enough for them
to yearn to come into the trees
with us, or for us to slip
into their lives as serious prospects.
On the train back south
we talk of how the death of Elvis shook us,
even though
none of us can stand rock and roll.

We talk of how we might extract the morphine from Diocalm.
We talk of the wonderment of Fantasia on drug-addled
senses. Catching our drawn faces reflected in the window
between us and the night I wonder what the oldest Arab girl,
beautiful with those heavy breasts beneath her embroidered
Bedouin dress, must have thought of us today, as we sat
at the roadside café guzzling the cheapest red wine,
bleary-eyed, bullshitting.


Jul 27

life and war

Life and War with Mikey Fatboy Delgado

What is it with those people who live over there? We were saying down the pub last night that the problem over there is that it’s too hot, mate. It’s like when you’re on holiday in Spain and you sit on the beach all day necking bottles of that San Miguel. It does send you a bit loopy and, be fair, we’re only over there for a couple of weeks. Imagine if we were in the sun all the time like those Iraqi lads, we’d be as potty as they are.  And it’s not just Iraq, it’s the whole area. It’s like going south of the river at the weekend. Those Israelis had to chop some more of the Arabs living in their country tonight for taking the piss after they’ve been told to simmer down. Anymore pissing about and we’ll chop the lot of you. Kill one of ours and we’ll do fifty of yours. You can’t fault that can you? They don’t fuck about, those Israeli lads. It’s like they’ve been taking lessons from Davey Ribnecklace Gallagher. Step on their feet at the bar and they’ll have your fucking legs off, mate.


Jun 20

the afternoon’s incessant chatter

Fanatics discuss matches in memory
and Marjorie watches the football float slowly
across the pale blue eggshell of sky,
above the straining hearts of the hand-holding lovers,
past the tightened throats of stranded defenders
betrayed and adrift in no man’s land.

Marjorie talks to herself about how the ball
never came down, about how in the time
it takes to light a cigarette it has transmogrified
into a dark bird, with a delta, and swift,
and has ascended above the stadium’s rim,
fleeing the afternoon’s incessant chatter.
Marjorie holds her hand flat across her brow
to block the glare, to see the bird buffeted into tumbling
by the frenzied air, like sweet papers, like a cellophane bird
in the wake of a train. The ball itself, but for its plotted line,
barely registers. It skips the way a flat stone might skim
above a green smooth ocean after leaving the arm
of a boy on the shore. The body of the crowd,
a raucous channel packed with boats bobbing at anchor,
in slow motion twists and gasps to see
the same ball do the same thing again and again .

At half-time talk is of the shadow of the stadium roof,
of how it leaves one small oval of the crowd golden
in the last light cast at sunset. Marjorie imagines
hearing him speak of how in the language
of the heavily-armed state the word for ball
is the word for bullet, and how the poor deserve
their misery. The striker – “he’s gone down
like Capa’s militiaman for a penalty” -
holds their attention instead. No-one links
the shot of the dead ball specialist rebounding
from the marshalled wall, and the fusillade
which felled the puppet emperor Ferdinand
as he held the hand of his white-shirted general.


spain v spain (Cerro Muriano, Sept 1936)

mexico v mexico (June 1867)

Jun 13

from Life and War with Mikey Fatboy Delgado

Bush flies onto that aircraft carrier all dressed up like some fucker out of Top Gun, only with Bush he just looks like the back end of a fucking pantomime horse in all that gear, mate. He’s a scream. You can’t help finding him comical. Not like old Blair. And the geezer on the BBC news made us laugh when he was commentating on it and he said that Bush did his national service by flying round Texas a couple of times and then ducking out of going to Vietnam.

I like Bush when he’s making his speeches. He’s a scream. He’s like a cheeky little kid. He always looks like there’s some fucker behind him tickling his arse with a feather. He looks like he wants to burst out laughing at the crap those bods have written for him to tell the American people. Not like Blair. Blair looks like he doesn’t think anyone’s going to swallow what he’s got to say but his eyes are bulging and his arms are flapping about because he really wants them to. “I say this to you..” or “I want to make this perfectly fucking clear..” and crap like that. And Blair just looks fucking stupid when his people slap a guitar in his hand and try and make him look a cool fella for the young people to get into. He just looks like an area manager for British Home Stores in a grey suit holding a guitar. Shape up, Tony, for fuck’s sake.

But that speech old Bush gave on that ship was funny as fuck, mate. That guff about freedom and darkness and captives and light. He looked like he wanted to fall over side ways. He’d be much happier telling it straight. “These motherfuckers fronted us up so we bombed the shit out of them. Did we get the right ones? I don’t know, but if we didn’t we’ll bomb the fuck out of them till they learn who’s the fucking daddy. God Bless America.”

Jun 1

A confession at line 16


Maybe that’s when you know you’re old,
when they turn to you when another kid
goes missing, and they turn to you
when the manhunt is on the tv news
and you see the hedges being beaten and
parted with long sticks, and you look intently
at everyone you can see at the scene, and everyone
in all the photos they show of all the other scenes
in the missing girl’s or boy’s life, and maybe
there’s a fat guy or a tall guy or a woman smoking
a cigarette so hungrily, and people say to me
 “do you think they did it?”  and sometimes I do
or sometimes I don’t, or someone else in the montage
of scenes appears more than once and even
on a still photo has an air about them
above and beyond that of mere pose.

The intensity of what it is to be human is somehow
evidently leaking from them, something
has become disabled, some protective function,
and despite the voluntary unspoken pact never
to speak of such things – for what good would it do –
medical treatments get sold. But all that aside,
that trait didn’t make someone guilty of visiting
 an ultimate brutality on another and anyway,
my success rate from the armchair was pretty good,
I’d say. No character type is immune
 from exercising savagery. And with suspicions
 comes discussion, extrapolation, escalation.

 It could be that I felt weary because as I watched the sticks
 beating the bushes I just didn’t care who did it. I was doing
 my best not to think about it at all. I no longer wanted
to discuss stuff like this, no more than I wanted
 to make a case for Easton Ellis having surely had
to retreat into an intense interior life for quite some time
in order to bring back what Bateman liked to do in detail,
and questions of whether this interior would have been
hugely sexual, or anyway masturbatory. I’m not a theorist.

But you, reader, know how this is. You have found yourself
talking about Neruda again. You are hoping by the end
she will love If You Forget Me but know too that she
will forget you and you will forget her.
You will heal of each other and recede
to scar tissue which is fine and pale and still,
even after the sun. No one has a body
like hers, her map of psychic wounds. Crossed swords
everywhere, the arrowheads to the heart, the broken snapped
arrow shafts like porcupine spears. She may know
you are plotting again when  you
hear your own voice asking her if
she’s read him, that man, Neruda.

 We’ve all done it, surely, lived these odes
where the thing is one day, two things.
I forgot where I lived, even the name of the town.
Maybe that’s when you know you’re old,
even when they are looking for missing people,
even when she rang and talked about her boyfriend,
even when there were cities I wanted to see
for some sort of beauty I imagined existed there,
even when those intelligent guessers say that they
have discovered the start of something,
even with my knuckles white on the steering wheel,
I would go to the woods and stand naked and still
among the trees, hoping someone would see me

May 19
A Companion Reader to The Chilcot ReportCan’t wait for the Chilcot Report? Read the Unofficial Appendix while you wait. A snapshot of the state of the nation back then.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. £7.99 The Book Depository £7.99, includes free delivery worldwide Before Hutton, before Butler, before Chilcot,Mikey Fatboy Delgado was looking into the matter… In the spring of 2003 the Iraq war is underway andMikey is almost all in favour of it. It makes for goodtelevision and is improving his sex life. If only the BBCwould sort out those green pictures of fighting in thedark he might even be prepared to cough up for a licence.And if only corrupt policing and the amount that Blair grinsweren’t so unsettling he would be able to relax and enjoywatching the highlights of the fighting more. ***************“Saddam has bitten the kids and pissed onthe mat and eaten our ganja and he won’tstop fucking barking, so bosh, ta-ta, thanksfor all the fish, and fucking goodnight Irene.Your services are no longer required, Saddam.You are going up the motorway, pal.”***********************

A Companion Reader to The Chilcot Report

Can’t wait for the Chilcot Report?

Read the Unofficial Appendix while you wait.
A snapshot of the state of the nation back then.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. £7.99
The Book Depository £7.99, includes free delivery worldwide

Before Hutton, before Butler, before Chilcot,
Mikey Fatboy Delgado was looking into the matter…
In the spring of 2003 the Iraq war is underway and
Mikey is almost all in favour of it. It makes for good
television and is improving his sex life. If only the BBC
would sort out those green pictures of fighting in the
dark he might even be prepared to cough up for a licence.
And if only corrupt policing and the amount that Blair grins
weren’t so unsettling he would be able to relax and enjoy
watching the highlights of the fighting more.

“Saddam has bitten the kids and pissed on
the mat and eaten our ganja and he won’t
stop fucking barking, so bosh, ta-ta, thanks
for all the fish, and fucking goodnight Irene.
Your services are no longer required, Saddam.
You are going up the motorway, pal.”


May 2

 andrea and xtina elegant crooning


Apr 28

unreleased young lana

Apr 22

paolo and chaplin whipping up a storm

Apr 21
This year’s anthology of short stories from the Willesden Herald International Short Story Prize. Stories from  Jo Barker Scott, Joan Brennan, Gina Challen, Nick Holdstock, CG Menon, Dan Powell, Angela Sherlock, Megan Taylor, Medina Tenour Whiteman, Lindsay Waller-Wilkinson.



This year’s anthology of short stories from the Willesden Herald International Short Story Prize. Stories from  Jo Barker Scott, Joan Brennan, Gina Challen, Nick Holdstock, CG Menon, Dan Powell, Angela Sherlock, Megan Taylor, Medina Tenour Whiteman, Lindsay Waller-Wilkinson.


Apr 17

That winter

That winter the cows would surround us
in the darkness, feeling like omens
against our fearful skins, fat tongues unrolling
to taste us, fermented straw-mist on their breaths
and ours, them coming through the thick mists
on our hillside, us across fields returning
to the cottage from drowning our terror.
Sometimes on no-moon nights the jigsaws
of their hides appeared so quietly from the dark
there was almost no time to scream and scream
as they bumped and pushed us from their peace.
Now they are long dead. Still their generations
do the same. Their children know us, harry us.


Apr 3
uptown localmfd

uptown local

Apr 1
berryman’s bookmfd


berryman’s book

Mar 31
start the day wellmfd

start the day well

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