My barber is a right stoner. In hindsight, it’s most probably not a good idea to have someone cutting your hair under the influence but a visit is always entertaining and a master class in patience.

Mr Snips certainly knows the meaning of a leisurely haircut. No flashing scissors and production line head shearing here. It’s more of a leisurely probe through the follicles along with numerous breaks when he simply disappears into the adjoining kitchen for a smoke.

I went in today and after ten minutes off he goes. You could set a clock by it. A couple of minutes later I smell toast and the sound of him munching away while I sit dressed up in the chair like a shop dummy with a half shorn head. It’s not as thought I’m going to run off, is it? I hear him spark up and another couple minutes pass.

He drifts back in and carries on cutting my hair as if nothing’s happened. His brother comes in 20 minutes later and off he goes again for a smoke. Forty minutes later and he still hasn’t finished. I only asked for a short back and sides, not a red carpet job.

Someone else comes. One of stoner’s strange menagerie of friends. He looks like Boris Karloff and sits dead eyed and monosyllabic by the back wall saying nothing while stoner chirrups on about life to him. Same old shit. His holiday in Cyprus. Football. Traffic jams. Moaning about his utility bills. Boris raises his eyebrows and coughs at selected points but says nothing for the entire one sided conversation before asking for a cigarette and leaving.

I’m spoilt for choice between this and the world’s most miserable cafe down the drag. Shakespeare would love it.


The new era is already here:
Here the new time begins anew.
The new era happens every day,
Every day is a new world,
A new calendar.
All great moments, all great eras,
Are just every moment
And every day writ large.
Thousands of years of loving, failing, killing,
Creating, surprising, oppressing,
And thinking ought now to start
To bear fruit, to deliver their rich harvest.

Will you be at the harvest,
Among the gatherers of new fruits?
Then you must begin today to remake
Your mental and spiritual world,
And join the warriors and celebrants
Of freedom, realisers of great dreams.

You can’t remake the world
Without remaking yourself.
Each new era begins within.
It is an inward event,
With unsuspected possibilities
For inner liberation.
We could use it to turn on
Our inward lights.
We could use it to use even the dark
And negative things positively.
We could use the new era
To clean our eyes,
To see the world differently,
To see ourselves more clearly.
Only free people can make a free world.
Infect the world with your light.
Help fulfill the golden prophecies.
Press forward the human genius.
Our future is greater than our past.

Ben Okri


Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now?  Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?

When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day.  This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life —

What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?

William Stafford


Took up running again after being talked into competing in a half marathon. Should be interesting after just four weeks of wheezy lung busting canters.

I imagine myself as a slightly dog eared cheetah loping through the velt of Hackney Marshes. A silent fleeting shadow. However, it took a passing comment from a little kid to crash the fantasy.

“Look mum! Look! It’s someone from the Paralympics.”

“Sshh. that’s for disabled people.”

I knew I was slow but for ferk’s sake.


‘Four things never come back: the spoken word, the spent arrow, the past and the neglected opportunity.’

Omar Idn Al-Halif



‘Fight one more round. When your feet are so tired that you have to shuffle back to the center of the ring, fight one more round. When your arms are so tired that you can hardly lift your hands to come on guard, fight one more round. When your nose is bleeding and your eyes are black and you are so tired that you wish that your opponent would crack you one on the jaw and put you to sleep, fight one more round – remembering that the man who always fights one more round is never whipped.’

James L. Corbett


‘Do not fear life as you do not fear the stars or the evening breeze. We are all here for a purpose and everything happens for a reason.’



“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.

Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

The Velveteen Rabbit

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