With neither a whimper or a bang…

Evening all! Here’s a bit of verse from Steve… and let’s all spare a minute to think about what Chumbawamba might be doing now…


After “Tubthumping”

He drives the G.t.i., he drives the mini car,
He drives the hot hatch, he drives the 4 by 4,
He likes the country road, he likes the freeway,
He likes the autobahn, he likes the motorway,

He hates cars that drive too bloody close behind,
He hates cars that cut in every bloody time…

I ride the tricycle, I ride the bicycle,
I ride the moped, I ride the roller skates,
I ride the Honda Cub, I ride the Yamaha,
I walk the pavement, I walk the footpath…

I get knocked down but I get up again.

She walks the sidewalk, she walks the moonwalk,
She walks the catwalk, she walks the cakewalk,
She walks the walk that’s the talk of the walker’s talk,
She walks the walk that’s the talk of the stalker’s walk,

She sings songs that remind her of the early days
She sings songs that remind her of the pearly ways

She sings Oh Fannie May, Freddie Mac, Michele Bach-

I get knocked down but I get up again.

They write the free verse, they write the blank verse,
They write the nonce verse, they write the per-verse,
They write encomia, epithalamia,
They write dithyrambs to academia,

They sing lines that remind them of the half rhymes,
They sing rhymes that remind them of the rich rhymes

They sing Oh Hymenea, mater misericord-

I get knocked down, I don€™t get up again.

It’s a hit

<![CDATA[Evening peeps! Tonight we’ve got a short story from author Antony Wootten.

Sit back, relax and enjoy…



I pressed the accelerator and felt the Volvo surge forwards, the windscreen wipers slashing their way through sheets of rain like a Machete through dense undergrowth. I realised I was sweating. This was insane! I never lost my head like this, not when I was in the forces and not in my… more recent work. I had to get a fucking grip. The narrow road curved beneath a crag and I felt the car twitch as the tyres skittered slightly on the wet tarmac. I glanced at the clock as the car straightened, and I opened up the power again, pressing forwards towards the town. I had less than eight minutes.
On the passenger seat, the knife lay, still wrapped in the blood-soaked cloth. In the darkness, I couldn€™t even tell whether or not it had stained the seat, but, seeing a straight stretch of road before me, I grabbed the bundle and stuffed it into the glove compartment. I€™d have to clear up any mess later on. There was no time right now. Close-up hits always took it out of me; it was much simpler to kill from a distance, with a gun. But my last hit, just ten minutes ago, had become unexpectedly complicated. I€™d had to get right up close, and open his throat. I hadn€™t had chance to prepare for the mess. Normally, I€™d have had a fresh set of clothes in the car, but not today. That was clumsy, especially given where I had to go next. If there was blood on my clothes, it would give me away.
I had just four minutes now, and my heart was actually thundering. I had to clear my head or I€™d mess the whole thing up. There was so much riding on it; I€™d already let the boss down more than once recently. I had to get this one right.
Around me now, the town streaked by. A red light; I ran it. A horn; I gave them the finger and threw the car round a corner. A lorry; I hit the brake hard, bracing my back against the seat as the ABS kicked in and I guided the car between lorry and bus… Several more frantic manoeuvres as I hurtled deeper into the town€™s sprawl. At last, the tower block loomed before me, and I brought the car to a halt.
I almost dropped the key as I switched off the ignition and and flung open the door. I had to compose myself. This was ridiculous! I was practically panicking. Glancing at the clock one last time, I saw I had only moments left. The deadline was rushing at me, so I grabbed the package from the back seat, and the crow bar, and hurried towards the tall building, the package tucked under my jacket to keep it out of the rain. I knew I couldn€™t use the front door; he€™d be arriving any moment and I€™d blow the whole thing if I was spotted now. So I scaled the wire fence and hurried round the side of the tower block. I found the door to the fire exit, and glanced back around the corner just in time to see a black hatchback pull into the car park. I knew that must be him. With a few frantic jerks on the crowbar, I forced open the fire exit and hurried inside. I flung the crowbar into the dark space beneath the stairs and I could still hear the ringing of metal on concrete when I reached the second floor. I paused for breath, remembering a time when I€™d have climbed a tower block stairwell without breaking a sweat. Thank God I was only heading for the fourth floor.
When at last I arrived, I was gasping for air, but I didn€™t have time to recover. I eased open the blank fire-door and peered into the space beyond, where the two heavily graffitied lift doors stood side by side. I heard the soft chime which told me one lift was arriving, and without any further hesitation, I slipped through the door and round the corner. Behind me, the lift wheezed open, and voices spilled out. I ran the length of the corridor, fumbling in my pocket for the key the boss had given me yesterday along with the words, €œLet me down again and I€™ll fucking kill you.€ I managed to slip it in the lock, glancing behind me at the corner I€™d just come round. The corridor was still empty, but would only be for another second or two.
I suddenly remembered to give the four-beat knock, just in case; then, I pushed the door open and slipped into the darkness of the flat, clicking it shut behind me.
€œIt€™s me,€ I hissed into the darkness. €œStay down.€
€œBloody €˜ell, Mike,€ came a voice. I couldn€™t see him but I knew it was Tim, my oldest friend. We€™d served in the Middle East together, seen plenty of action there. €œCuttin€™ it a bit fine aren€™t you? We saw €˜em pull up!€
€œShut up,€ I said. €œThey€™re right behind me.€
I made straight for the pale glow of the kitchen area, slamming my shin into the unseen corner of a coffee table and sending something flying.
I limped round the end of the counter which partially divided the lounge from the kitchen, and dropped to the floor, desperately trying to control my breathing. There was someone else nearby, but I couldn€™t see who. I heard a few quiet voices and a snigger. I shushed them crossly.
I heard the door open. I removed the package from inside my jacket and put it on the floor beside me. The light came on and I heard his voice, his high, rippling giggle.
And this was the moment I€™d come for. It seemed to happen so slowly: I stood, revealing my presence, and gazed at my little boy. He was looking down at the photos I€™d knocked off the coffee table, but his mother€™s hard, brown eyes were pointing straight at me. And then the room was full of people, appearing from behind the sofa, from the curtains, the bathroom, the kitchen.
€œSurprise!€ They cacophonied.
David was stunned into silence for a moment, then his gorgeous smile sprang into life as his aunts, uncles, cousins and friends laughed and clapped and all spoke at once.
And he saw me.
€œDad!€ I laughed and moved towards him with my arms wide, and everyone seemed to part for us. He threw himself into my embrace and I whirled him round with delighted enthusiasm. I kissed him and cried out, €œHappy birthday, son!€ I sat him on the counter top and handed him his present. I hadn€™t even had time to get wrapping paper for it; it was still in the packaging it had arrived in. €œHere you go,€ I said. €œSorry I haven€™t wrapped it.€ He smiled and tore into it. I looked past him at his mother. She was standing there, arms folded, giving me that €˜I hate you€™ look, and now the room was full of excited people who didn€™t quite know whether or not it was alright to speak.
€œHello, Boss,€ I said. I’d always called her that, even back when things were good between us.
€œDon€™t call me that, Mike,€ she warned.
David pulled his new football top from the wrapping paper. €Thanks, Dad,€ he said.
€œThat€™s alright, son,€ I grinned. €œTell you what,€ I said, as I took off my jacket and loosened my tie, €œwork€™s been going pretty well recently.€ That was as much for his mother€™s ears as his. And, if I€™m to be honest, everyone else€™s too. €œI€™ll take you shopping tomorrow, maybe get you that bike you wanted.€ Behind David, the boss sighed and shook her head. Nothing was ever good enough for her.
€œDad,€ David said, but I was busy out glaring the boss, and enjoying the spell we had cast over the rest of the people in the room. €œDad,€ David said again, but I had just noticed the way Tim had moved across next to her, and she€™d given him that warm, welcoming look she used to give me, and everyone seemed to be staring at me. €œDad.€
€œWhat?€ I said, instantly regretting the note of anger in my voice, but everyone was staring at me and I was starting to feel paranoid, defensive.
€œWhy€™s your shirt got that red hand print on it?€]]

Why, hello there!

We’ve been away for a little while, fighting Brent council who are trying to knock down the Mothership, Willesden Green Library, and after that we had a little lie down and a cry. But we’re back for the long haul with a poem from resident rapscallion Lynsey Rose. You can also read Lynsey’s rather excitable TV blog Exitainment here as well as her poetry blog Extol. We won’t feature any from Extol here, though, because we like to give you something a little different here at the Green Press. Now stop mucking about, Lynsey, writing is a serious business… the floor’s yours.


In the city
post five-thirty

young men in suits

loosen their ties and
their legs

In bars named after
chemical elements

where the drinks
cost a tenner a go.

And girls with
super-short skirts

and hair cut by
Japanese boys

in space age salons
with fish tanks for walls

buy high heels in
Covent Garden boutiques.

In Brent
my sliver of town

where a
one bedroom flat

costs the same as
a cottage in the country

diversity equals
an angry white face

and an angry black face
waiting for a bus.