Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Another Little Endian

I woke up with that phrase running through my head. Had to Google it. What I thought might be some cosmic concept about the end of days, when the universe finally interplodes and starts again from diddly, turned out to be a term for data storage.

Disappointed, I read on. Little Endian stores the least important value first while Big Endian does the opposite. Then they store data in any order anyway. By the time I got to the bit about Reduced Information Set, TCP/IP and the extremely good reasons for these arrangements, I was ready to go back to bed.

Afterwards, though, it occurred to me that, when it comes to eating I'm Little Endian. In fact, I'm pretty sure we can divide the human race into Big and Little Endian eaters. Provided they have enough to eat, that is.

When I eat food, pizza, for example, I eat the least tasty parts first. I eat the crusty bits before the cheesy stuff. I save the best (in my estimation) till last. But I know of those who get wired in to the cheese and pepperoni straight away. They might even leave the crusty bits. To me that's impatience, but each to their own.

Maybe I'll start a Little Endian Food Forum or maybe set up a Facebook page. If that sounds suitably pointless, consider this. The internet is Little Endian in its data storage. If its use is too, what else should we expect? The least important things have priority, then everything else is chucked in at random. Oh what a world! 

I think my Big End has gone.
© BH 2010

Actually, it's a bit OCD. I fully admit, part of me is further up the male-spectrum-behaviour chart than many. I mean, I do like sorting screws. Or nails for that matter. Maybe it's a man thing. Sorting the CDs into alphabetical order of the years of the composer's birth.

In my case, how I eat pizza. It's not a curse. I enjoy it. It's logical to me.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Oh, yeah. What'd I Say?

(for the Wilderness Children - and all their mothers and fathers)

But they sing and, singing, love.
Although they take our children 
and slide guitars and synthesisers in their little souls,
rock and roll is raw and real.
It reaches in where text-books never did.
It answers our cries for release from danger,
for comfort in our animalness.
Radios of the world align.
Little ferrite rods are marching.
Copper wires turn into staves
on which the tunes are hung.

Sung in tongues, the hiss of questions come in rhyme —

Sing about this dreamy stuff —
Hush away that loveless ache…
Will the beat be just enough
To give back what we take?

This jive is a dangerous dance,
These creatures sing of chance
That turns a bomb into a saxophone,
Makes laser into Movietone.

Who lulls the monster's many heads to sleep?
Looks for its chains?
Music being both volcano and symphony
Seethes and sooths the savage human heart.

© BH 1988 

I wrote this to go with a single, if I recall. I can't find it. All I have is a flexi-disk distributed with the fanzine Sowing Seeds #5. (The Wilderness Children "There's A Good Time A-Comin'"/"On the West Coast" (Choabie Records, DOSS I). 1987. It's here. There's another cartoon in the fanzine - The Only Adventure of 12-inch O'Toole - which is not as rude as you think. But it's another story.
I also learned that Fraser Reid who played guitar has recently died. I worked with Fraser when him and Andrea lived in Mid Craigie in Dundee. I did the cartoons at his request. Long time ago. We lost touch not so long ago, as our Christmas card lists decayed.
Sad that he's gone. You can read more about Fraser here.

Monday, 8 November 2010


Seed heads hold themselves ready
As the sky birds descend
Beaks gaping 
To devour the arched grass harvest.

The clouds of heaven turn from the north
Or run in the westerlies' face
With ragged grey haste
To where the rain they carry must fall.

Trees leak life from their leaves
Which curl brown at the edges
Until blood stains the canopy 
And the intervening space
Where wind blows it bare.

Branches, sparrow-black with birds,
Bend under the weight of November
And the fruit of summer is torn
Flesh from seed
Until the ground is slick beneath them.

Terminal season: this autumn,
Where near-death winter comes at last
To seal the fate of growth.

But the seeds that fall lie 
In the damp furrowed earth
Patient to the last.
© BH 2010

Something seasonal. Not meant to be bleak, really, more sober yet hopeful.

Monday, 30 August 2010


Scumdadio Ectoplasm sat in the neoprene terminal, his eyes fixed on the dark-reflecting windows. On the nearby benches other travellers sat with the same vacancy papering their features: a non-look. Under the fluoro-glare the Caucasian skin films to parchment and the Affro fades to deeper black. Over by the coffee-stat a woman, face Goth-white, black hair framing it, rubbed talon-seal on her nails and blew them dry. This was also a gesture of self-satisfaction. Scumdadio mused his wicked musement: “She likes the little of herself she knows, at least.”

In the deep, parallel rain, the bug-jets roared, lifted into the strato-smog and were gone. Naked lights in the distance reflected themselves in prismy drops rolling down the tri-glaze. “Time enough,” thought Scumdadio and fell asleep.

In the deep, parallel rain, Scumdadio dreamed that the bug-jets roared, lifted into the strato-smog. There was no difference between the reality he dreamed and the cold tarmac lake outside. Yet the heartless beat of the rain caused his imagining to rise to another height, He saw the sky open in an offering of plenty. Sun and indigo blue broke the rag of clouds and drenched the ground.

Scumdadio woke. His dream had come true and, like all dreams, its coming was commonplace. The sun shone as if it had never been obscured. The deep blue heaven ached for the stars of night. It was all under control. Even the bug-jet fumbling its way to planet-fall was utterly and cataclysmically normal.

© BH 1992

Just thought you needed to know a bit about Scumdadio. He came to this place in 1992, some say from the future. Maybe he came to 1992 from now. We have no way of knowing.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Cream of Stonciousness

In this empty room, I am virtually alone. In the cybernetic gloom, I digitally atone. In the vestigial universe of wires and relays. Here I slip into nothing much at all. I have nothing to say, a pencil for my thoughts, and a sharp tongue for more immediate words.

This is cream of stonciousness writing, some might say automatic. Long live Uncle Marcel, dear old Georgio and Max, the Birdman. How I miss their antics. It was like this: Max and his friend Rene were in New York. For a dare, I dare say. The cloud ceiling was low and the sky clung to the scrapers. Dusk was coming in. Planes went slipping wild across the sky that remained, king-konging off the Empire State and the Chrysler Buildings. Debris seemed to percolate down, in a kind of slow motion, toward street level. Credibility Street. And the truth is it never reached there. Who can say what the answer was to that? A ancient biplane, careening into an office (it could happen). The giant monkey, tight-fisted with his Fay Wray, her, screaming like the devil. A beautiful pair of lungs for a lady. (That's no lady that was my co-star). And the twisting wreckage of fuselage? This, striking the glass barrier? No barrier at all. The real carnage: the plane in the administrative concourse. (It did happen) Here and there the flying corps fly past, curious. And Kong, the displaced beast to end all displaced beasts, clung to the flagpole at the top of the Empire State and took his medicine. They say it was lead poisoning that got him in the end. After falling all those tall storeys, it was the ground broke his fall. His neck? Brass, it was not. Broken, most likely, like his heart. Tough at the top. Even tougher at the bottom. It could only happen in Hollywood. 

In the empty room
Virtually alone in cybernetic gloom,
In a vestigial universe of wires and relays,
I slip into nothing at all.
I had nothing to say:
A pencil for my thoughts,
A rough instrument for recording
The lighter moments;
A sharp tongue to twist around the words
Those blunt and dull and spoken words.

Alone the walls take time,
Written under yellow light,
And waste it for the approaching night.

© BH 2001

I wrote this in 2001. I think words settle a bit over time and become more readable. Luckily the letters stay in the same order.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010


Somniferod peeled the onion until it bled. Darkness hid his tears. One by one the skins came loose and fell from his hands to the floor somewhere by his feet. Red onion, blood, and weeping. This was how the beating of his vegetable heart stuttered to an end, pouring out its liquid life as heaving sobs wracked his ribs.

Somniferod was not an old man, only bent. He was not a foolish man, merely consumed by scant regard for convenience. In his withered hands the onion skins were the pages of a book he had long desired to write, parchment notions consigned to tears. Caustic juices sublimated vapours which stung his eyes and his soul stung with them. Art for whose sake? Artifice and construction. He flayed the acrid flesh but made no sense of it. The works of nature remained ineffable. All he could do was rip them up and even then his fingers shook. In short he was afraid.

I write like
I Write Like by MĂ©moires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

© BH 2009

I pasted this into the I Write Like website at Flattering to be Joycean. I tried with another clip and came out like Arthur C Clark. I suspect if I were to try again I would be the literary twin of Chalky N Cheese. Note to cyberspace (empty): I must post more here if only to use my pixels better. Mustn't waste the little blighters or they get all blocky and then your image becomes tarnished.

Monday, 21 June 2010


What are we like?

Every step:
Mere mimicry.
Bowed in homage
We lay borrowed tribute.

Second-hand lives,
Vicarious breaths,
Even our heartbeats thunder
One after the other
In repetitive imitation.

Who is like us?
Not one.
Everyone is dead.

We created God in our image
And He despised us for it.
We became powerful
Beyond compare
Now mirrors everywhere
Blind us with our own reflection.

We were our own fathers
Our own mothers
Even our own children.

Something so perfect
Rises in the imagination
And draws us into change.

But change erodes the dream.
Being somehow inadequate.

In becoming we forget the truth.

Made up of likenesses
We lose sight of who we were.

We have nothing like the courage
To let ourselves be.
© BH 2010

Write something new and there is a requirement to let it mature. There will be hatchet work on this in the future.

'I may butcher the English language but I don't mince my words…'

So I said once but then I was a mumbling bastard.

This piece was written to reflect the word 'emulating' which word is the fifth in an alphabetic poem cycle based on a poem called 'Initialising'. I described it as a 'multi-layered poem cycle designed for the web'.

LIke most things it languishes unfinished in a corner of cyberspace. That, you see, is the nub of it. Cyberspace does not exist. It has no being. All that goes on there is an endless process of becoming. It is flux without now.

In fact, didn't the Victorians describe diarrhoea as 'flux'?

I rest my case.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Dream Elephants

There have been cities
To live in
Where you go
To find the elephants of your life
In parks
And dark back alleys.

And I have thought
While hunting
How mad it would be
To be caught between the crazy elephant
And the shallow grey sea.

Yes, they are large
And barely visible
Except out of the side of an eye
Or when you are between sleeps
And they strangle and crush you.

© BH 1970

It was a long time ago, I know, but Henri read this. How else could I ask for his autograph? A slip of paper shoved under his nose would have been crass and hardly hip. Besides after you've shared several pints in the back room of Ma Cameron's, it would be nothing short of weird.

So we weaved our way through the afternoon haze toward my digs. Adrian ogled the girls from Albyn School for Girls, as a matter of course. In my half-attic room just below its huge cupola in Gilcomston Place, I shyly gave him the poem, scribbled on a scrap of notebook paper.

I think he sensed the autograph scenario. He nodded but passed no comment. He wrote on it: 'A very nice poem,' and signed it 'A Elephant'.

I put the manuscript in a very safe place so I could treasure it always. Then I grew up or the poem got lost. I'll never know which.