Careers guidance

I am the thing your parents warned you about
on dark nights
at halloween

I am the curse of wasted talent
of bad temper and inner

I am why you should keep focus,
push yourself, and make your belief
your goal

Amended 15 May 2005

I was in the back as the car sped down side streets away from the hotel, down main streets until we were given one final look at the Fred and Ginger building, and once again I marvelled at how the modernity of its entinwing concrete and glass had somehow retained sympathy with the surroundings.

Up the hill. The glorious facade of the station – or was it the museum? – was on the left. Something else for next time. And she jumped on the brakes as the car careered right, into a cobbled street.

“A short cut!”

She always did this, tried to find new routes or short cuts, and claimed that she was making time when I could see the seconds fall away in waste.

Gwen Penguin And The Sticks Of Death

Once upon a time there was a little penguin, called Gwen, who lived with her family in an icy lair next to the other penguins.

Recently, they had been visited by Walter Penguin, on one of his adventures around the globe. And he’d brought them gifts.

[image of GP’s house, GP looking out of the window at the other penguins, all of whom are smoking, mother and father penguin behind her. ]

Gwen Penguin liked nothing more than to play with her friends and enjoy the spontaneity of youth. After all, there was precious little of it, and eventually she would have to take on responsibilities like growing enough broccoli for her family.

One day, Gwen Penguin went outside to play with her friends, Colin, Basil, and Anthea penguins. They waddled slowly up to her, coughing.

“Hello, cough, Gwen Penguin,” said Colin.

“Hello Colin,” said Gwen. “Oh, Anthea Penguin, you’re looking so cool today. And slim.”

Anthea penguin was leaning up against the side of one of the igloos, wearing a pair of dark glasses. She was holding something in her hand.

Basil Penguin leaned forward, and showed Gwen Penguin a pack of strange white sticks.

“What are those?” asked Gwen Penguin, ever curious.

“Colin got them from Walter Penguin, when he visited last week. They’re called cigarettes. They make you look cool and stay slim.”

“Yes, and you need them to be popular!” said Anthea Penguin, turning her head away so that she didn’t appear too interested.

Gwen Penguin was very excitied at this. She was always interested in finding more ways of looking cool, and as a young penguin the pressures on her to look slim were paramount.

“Can I have one?” asked Gwen Penguin, excitedly.

And so Gwen Penguin smoked her first cigarette, and felt very grown up as she had managed to light it without melting the iceberg.

The next day, when Gwen Penguin woke up, she noticed that it was very quiet outside.

Colin Penguin was at the door. He was very pale.

“Gwen Penguin, come quickly! Something terrible has happened.”

Gwen and Colin waddled as fast as they could across the ice, and found that Anthea and Basil were lying on their backs, quite still.

“They’ve been like this since this morning” said Colin.

Gwen Penguin hurried back to her icy lair, to see her parents.

“Mother, Father!” she shouted. “What’s happened? Anthea and Basil are mouldering on the ice, and their feet are being nibbled by rats!”

“That’s because they were smoking cigarettes” said Gwen Penguin’s mother.

“So that’s how they keep you slim” thought Gwen Penguin. “By making your feathers rot and your bits be eaten by rats. I don’t like the sound of that.”

“I don’t like it either,”” said Colin, who had an eery ability to read Gwen Penguin’s mind. “For me, cigarettes were just one stage before hard drugs. Do you have twenty pence for a train fare? Or a cup of tea?”

“I think you’d better go off to rehab,” said Gwen Penguin.

And after that, whenever Gwen Penguin wanted tobacco products, she had snuff. Although she later learned that this gave an increased risk that her beak might fall off.

(Sometime in 1997ish)

A hollow echo shakes my dreams. I am no longer scared, merely curious. Who whispers to me? The watch ticks manically, and a gentle hum comes form the electronic clock. To some, sleep is an everyday occurrence. It is of this that I dream.

Gwen Penguin and the Valley of the Cod is being illustrated.


We might have to leave out the final paragraph.

Tonight I get to add a new kitchen to my list of debts. Woo.

Haven’t written anything for ages, as I realised I am talentless and empty. Also, I’ve been busy. On Thursday there is a screening for a recent film on which I worked. Its at the local independent cinema.