Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Social media

It isn't life
it is one dimension of life
onto which we project
another two
of our own construction

Fleshing in the gaps
when what we need in our real life
is to realise that a like
is not the same thing
as a physical hug

Concepts of truth
and emotion blur
tribes form and fight
over words misread,

And always
as in any conflict
someone gets rich
And innocents suffer.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Smarten up, comrades!

There's a world to be won
If we find the right form
Of words to Unite us as one
If we can just set it down
With paper and pen
That'll be our utopia begun

If we state our cause clearly
With BBC tongue
And the best Windsor knot in our tie
Then they'll see us as equals
And partners we'll be
We'll no longer in poverty die

For they'll happily share out
The spoils from their hoard
If we just dress up smart and talk nice
They'll realise we're right
If we professionalise
We won't even have to ask twice

Don't you throw bricks through Windows!
You're stuck in a past
When the bosses were different from now
Just polish your shoes
And iron your shirt
It will all work out different somehow

And if they ignore us
We'll just smarten up more
For that's obviously what we've had wrong
Internationale offends them?
We'd best change the words
And sing a consensual song

We'll join their committees
And sign the reports
Saying something must change but no rush
And you at the back crying
Please just bear with us
Our partners work better with hush

We'll accept their honours
To change things from the Lords
Change is gradual, but don't you feel down
For I definitely think
They now listen far more
To me in my plush ermine gown

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Dundee TUC

My rather dubious contribution to the celebrations of the 150th anniversary year of Dundee Trades Council.  The tune when sung is the same one Matt McGinn co-opted for "Big Sammy",  but I can't for the life of me think what the original song to the tune is. Anybody know?

Until the Law crumbles
together we'll stand
fir fair treatment at work and at hame
fir the folk ae oor city
an a' roond the world
we loudly,  wi' pride state oor claim.

We stand wi' oor comrades
Dundee TUC
We know that together we'll win
For as brothers and sisters
They can't break oor will
The trades council will never give in

Though long years they hae passed
There's nae stour on us
As we march wi oor banner held high
Fir a slight against one
Is a slight against a',
united wi one voice we cry

Those that came before us
we proodly reca' -
Their spirit lives on in oor fight.
Dundee's brave Brigaders,
Union weemin and men -
Their struggles were hard,  but were right.

A radical history
Still relevant noo
Fir today workers must fight back yet
Tae protect oor rights
Against them wid tak a',
At Trades Council, oor goals they are set

So behind oor shared banner
we march doon the hill
roond the city we mak our voice heard
Fir workers and weans
fir auld folks an a'
For an equal, and just, better world

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


2 am and wide awake
That's when the cringes come
Sneaking out from back of brain
They swarm,  they buzz,  they hum

I then remember and regret
Such tiny little things
None but me recall them now
But darkness gives them wings

A song sung loud with words misheard
In front of special girl
Though twenty-five years have now past
I cringe now as thoughts twirl

Or when I stood 'fore crowded room
And Freud swapped "left"  for "right"
Bad when talking politics
My thoughts remind tonight

That sitcom moment when lass told
Of friend for whom she lusted
I thought it me,  I had it wrong
My thoughts cannot be trusted

My cringing thoughts and memories
They don't leave room for cheer
And focus often on disgrace
On id set free by beer

They twist and turn and stab at self
No dark stone left unturned
Any notion of self worth
By inquisition burned

By light of day I'd laugh at them
Or at least contextualise
See them for what they really are
But night is cruel. It lies.


"Thanks very much
for the inconvenience

An email full of courtesies.
substantially devoid of content
other than my name
do you call it a signature if typed?
Is self content?

I read it back over before sending.
proof reading
an email
saying thanks

(I mean,  come on!)

I wonder
how my life came to this

courteous, vacuous,
bland,  attentive

I was going to change the world.

(and then,  reflection)

"I love you with every boner in my body

With all of the wit
and sophisticated understatement
that you might expect from
an idiot child
seventeen year old virgin 
with undiagnosed ADHD,
I used to sign off uni emails with that.

All of them.


Quite how *that* was
going  to change the world
eludes me now,  but I think
it was something
to do with challenging norms.

... Yeah... 'bout that...

Probably more just being a bit awful,
Seventeen year old Hamish.

The world was going to change me on that one.

Probably for the best that it did.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Can your history be about me?

By the Broch, outside Keiss, there stands a memorial.
Without words it recalls work past about past,
Tells the tale of one gentleman amateur's fascinating fascination.

a story more explicitly told up the road in an old school,
In a series of snippets of pleading letters.
One side of a conversation divorced from response.

He had his people dig,  and others build,  each time, 
a memorial to amateur archaeological endeavour,  his endeavour, 
writing large the human frailty that seeks permanence in face of death.

He seems to have actually done a fairly sensitive job for his time and training,
But I can't help but wish I had the money to throw up a permanent memorial every time I think I've done something worthwhile...

A Scottish way of putting it.

The manny, in front of a room full of folk,
Told us that "the sun didn't not shine"
And it struck me Scottish in a way.

His point was made,  it came across With a great
clarity that betrayed more than what
He was maybe trying to tell us.

It didn't not shine, like he had expected,
Like we are raised to expect that things
Gang aft aglay whenever we hope.

But it didn't not shine, and baldy heads burnt,
And maybe it won't not shine on us
So remember your factor 40,
and remember to hope.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Brighton stream of consciousness

A burrito eating barman
On a quiet Brighton street
Idly people watches
Tapping time with restless feet
Shop lights sparkle in the dusk
As hipsters pass him by
A single star far overhead
Looks down from darkening sky
The poet pauses,  drafts a line
Then heads on to his bed
While Brighton buzzes on and on
The writer rests his head

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

A girl and her bell

There's a story to tell
of a girl and her bell
that she shook with
a very loud clang
of how the girl fell
down a dark dingy well
and was saved when
her bell loudly rang

While out walking one day
she just happened to stray
into woods of which
grown ups had warned her
in a clearing she found
a dark hole in the ground
and fell down
when a frog landed on her

But her bell was to hand
the loudest in the land
and a woodsman was
passing and listening
he ran to her aid
and a rescue was made
he got a reward made of gold
that was glistening

But the lass was no fool
she could see it's not cool
not to listen to
warnings of danger
she still carries that bell
but now warns of the well
to us all be we
family or stranger.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

The baby's plea

Please,  be gentle,  never nip
loosen up your big strong grip
baby's glad to say hello, 
but asks you please to always know
that though my hair is nice to stroke
that soft spot is not there to poke
And though I need our mum's attention
there is something I should mention
she loves you too,  as much as me
I love you too,  that love will grow
If only you don't squeeze me so...