Monday, April 28, 2008

Helpless Weird Writer

My friend George Szirtes has tagged me as a fellow "helpless weird writer" to tell 6 random facts about myself. The idea of "random" facts is a rather strange one and not easy to arrive at. I suppose I should try and spin an interior bottle and see which one of my brain cells it ends up pointing at. Well here goes:

(1) I have an ashtray on my desk (I don't smoke) made out of petrified wood. My Dad bought it back for me from Uruguay and it still has the label on of the shop where he bought it. On the whole, the idea of being petrified is preferable to me than that of being incinerated or buried. I quite like the idea of people bashing bits off me to take home and put on their mantlepieces or use as doorstops.

(2) I'm going to have a plant for which I provided the first ever description included in "A Field Guide to Surreal Botany" which will be published by Two Cranes Press for the Surreal Botanists Association. The plant in question is "Couch Kelp".

(3) I once had a girlfriend whose surname was Porn. We never got past kissing.

(4) My first ever time away from home was on a PGL holiday in Wales. One day we went pony trekking in the hills and the saddle of the boy on the pony in front of me was too loose. He toppled sideways and ended up hanging upside down underneath his pony.

(5) One of my early poems, written when I was about sixteen, had a line in it about 'latex seaweed'. I showed it to a friend and he, for some reason, found this very funny. It became a running joke for him. From that moment on, I realised poetry could make a difference in the world.

(6) When I was at boarding school, I passed the time by writing letters to politicians and celebrities. Sometimes I wrote the letters in the name of friends (asking what I'd have to do to become a member of the House of Commons, for example), and sometimes in my own name. One letter I wrote to Mary Whitehouse asking for a signed photograph and praising her as a "shining knight against pornography" was published in a book called "Fan Mail". It was my first ever publication. She did indeed send a photograph which I treasure to this day.

Hope that is weird, helpless and random enough.


Lucy said...

I am still somewhat nonplussed by the idea that for him to have tagged you, someone must have tagged George Szirtes for a meme...

Anyway, your bottle spinning is particularly rewarding, this did make me laugh! Loved the image of the PGL boy hanging off his pony, do PGL holidays still exist? They were such a stand-by of exasperated middle-class parents!

Our sad and unattractive Dutch bulb-growing neighbour has a mail-order Thai wife called Wannaporn, I thought perhaps it was the name of the website whence he obtained her, but no, 'tis really her name.

I challenge you to publish that signed photo of MW here.

Jonathan Wonham said...

Hello Lucy

When I went to look for the photograph in the book, it had gone. How helpless, random and weird is that? You'll have to make do with the one above that I found on the internet. The one I used to have was of her in her garden and was somewhat easier on the eye.