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The history of Manchester’s LGBT Centre on Sidney Street

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Random Flash of Xcitement

Random Flashes of Excitement

Too much melody obscures the song; with
Such a burden, no music can enchant
By vessels plain are noble thoughts conveyed.

She looked across the room,
Her glance the fragrant slap of mercury.

And just as carefully
The dance was by too many steps betrayed
Discreetly added space provides
The air that gives
The music and performers room to breathe.

21 Jun ’04: Today got to work to find pigeonhole full of paper – five separate Certificates-of-Conformity. There was also a memo form Belinda about misuse of computers and viruses etc. The bottom of the form included a declaration to be signed, confirming that ‘I have read and understood…’
I added a note pointing out that I had never been given access to a computer or e-mail address or relevant training. (Note: when I attended the interview for this job they told me that it was vital that the new staff member should have an excellent grasp of IT and that computers are involved at every stage of the job)

2 Jul ’04: Strange day at work yesterday – asked Dave about Vil 171 resin and discovered that we already have a red oxide primer based on it. So I got the retain sample and checked it, only to find there had been no hard pigment settlement or viscosity drift.
Gave Gill a tank sample report to type up, and she managed to make only two mistakes in the typed version.
Still no word from Rob about my computer training, or the transfer of all QC work over to the other side, or my monthly report submissions.

20 Jul ’04: Today got the handbook from Colin for the Eiger Mill. According to Flemo, it is cooled using a water tank mounted on the roof. Which might be full of dead pigeons or clumps of moss, which would explain why the paint emerges from the mill at 70 deg C. I checked several times.

20 Nov ’16: It’s Sunday morning – I have now been unemployed for about ten months, sent off dozens (perhaps hundreds) of job applications, attended eleven interviews, and have decided to erase my career history from Linkedin, since nobody seemed to be interested when it was all on there.
So far there are about six different cookery shows on TV at the same time, and two of them feature Gino D’Acampo.

9 Jan ’04: Memo from Steve M, saying that the Ministry of Defence are coming here next week to inspect the paint department. They’re also going to visit PPG, Leighs, and Beckers. And they want to come back at 3-monthyl intervals…or so he says.
(Note: Sterling has submitted a tender for an M-o-D contract to supply military coatings, and the details specify that this project is so grand that it will need collaboration between several firms, acting as a consortium. However, our Coatings Division consists of me, Joe, Andy and Kev, whereas the other firms are likely to have at least six senior qualified technical people plus a host of technicians)

Kev has also requested a new glossmeter (£1100) which doesn’t give the same results as mine.
Books we really should have at work, but don’t: Business Theory and Practice; How to write tech reports; Standard business letters; Teamwork and management skills; and Basics of Paint Technology.

21 Jan ’04: Well, next Monday we have four visitors from the MoD coming – so, to create the impression that the paint dept is huge and thriving, I am to be temporarily transferred upstairs.
We shall dress up the EPD lab to make it look like a paint lab. And to convince them that we have six people working on paint. I pointed out that having a girlie calendar on the wall probably wasn’t a good idea, but nobody seemed bothered.
Pay rise to 21643 before tax.

We’re still sending out paint with Certificates of Conformity to Def-Stan 80-7, even though this has now been superseded by Def-Stan 80-114.
A few months ago had complaint from Newage about the Epoxyshite Black varnish actually being clear. Rob asked me to check whether it was being stirred before filling-off. Anyway, I checked the formulation: very low P:B ratio during grind, with no dispersing additive. And the mix ratio is 17:1 with activator, so it probably undergoes flocculation during storage, giving the illusion of being a clear varnish.

26 Jan ’04: Today walked to work; transferred lots of my lab stuff up to the EPD lab to create the impression that it’s one glorious paint dept up there.
The MoD didn’t even bother looking at the lab.
At 4.35 Rob turned up in lab and asked me to come over to the boardroom to speak to the MoD people. Went in and sat helplessly while Steve M waffled on.
The four MoD bods were okay – didn’t give us a hard time. However, I reckon that Leigh, Becker’s etc will be able to put on a much better show than we did: ‘here’s our new colour computer’, ‘here’s our nine research chemists’, ‘here are our automotive finishes’, and ‘here’s our snappy detailed website.’

Song for Three (Leicester 2.30 a.m.)

Wouldn’t it be nice if I’d attended
A decent school where the teachers would
Make us listen to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’
Then let us construct mind-maps
Of Eastern European Geography
And Arthur Conan-Doyle’s moustache
And the Marx brothers’ hidden glove
And Gershwin and Rachmaninov
And the etymology of Scaramouche
And Golding’s own Beelzebub
And invite the scholars to produce
German translations of the song.

Wouldn’t it be splendid if I’d had
Two parents with some common sense
Who could do outrageous things, like
Hold sensible conversations
Remain sober for hours at a time
Remember the important
And forget the insignificant
Trust each other to trust their kids
And focus on the outside world without
Descending into panic every night.

I sometimes think that all creation
Pivots round a single line that reads
‘When every child on every street’
And so the empty-handed song proceeds
Down a cobbled road that never ends
Past a horde of memories and friends
Reflected in a canal that, like a lake
Skimmed by moonlight, brings to us
A sense of time and wonder and of doubt.

 

Kombucha Poetry

Nouvelette, Chapter One

Along the laboratory bench we saw a dozen or so glass flasks, each of them half-filled with some pale green liquid. The mouth of each flask was covered with silver foil, the protective collars throwing off tiny white glints as we approached.

‘And you say she had been working on these for the past fortnight?’

Doctor Keen paused before replying. ‘Yes, I think she wanted to complete the project before the end of this term.’

Peering into the flasks, we could see the silent lab equipment transformed into a mysterious, alien landscape. The liquid in some flasks was completely clear, while others showed a faint cloudiness.

Inspector Willow studied a page in his notebook. ‘There should be fourteen samples here’ He said. ‘Do you have any idea where the others have gone? Would there be any reason to move them to a different laboratory?’

Keen shook his head, lost for words. The Inspector turned to me: ‘What did you manage to find out about the hazard rating for this stuff?’

‘Well, they told me that it’s just a sort of cultivating broth, where you can grow microbes and things.’ Keen shot me a worried look. ‘Sorry’ I continued, ‘where you can generate a stable colony of bacteria, yeasts and fungal species.’

‘Yes’ said Willow, ‘but is it dangerous or not?’

‘We haven’t done any toxicology yet’ said Keen, ‘but if you drink this material it can cause liver damage and stomach cramps. We reckon it is harmless by skin contact, and the chlorine in ordinary tap water is enough to kill most of the flora.’

He led us out of the lab and down the corridor, past the drinks machine and the notice boards and the office doors, each with three or four different name signs crudely taped to the window. ‘Can you wait here a few minutes? We might get a chance to speak to Jenny’s partner.’

 Chapter Two

‘Are you sure these are the ones?’ asked Dr Transome, head librarian. He had brought a small trolley with several ancient-looking books of poetry. He placed a plastic frame on the table, explaining that the volumes were not allowed to be fully opened.

Jenny looked pleased: ‘Oh, these are great. We’re just going to recover some dust particles, like so…’ and here she produced a dainty clean paintbrush and began gently sweeping along the spine of the open book, collecting the unseen residue in a small plastic tray.

This procedure was repeated four times, and eventually she said that her work was finished. The librarian looked puzzled, and asked if she needed to read the volumes.

‘No, we are looking for material to inspire an art installation for a new hotel. They want to rename the luxury suites after famous writers, so I offered to design some customised pictures.’ She went on to explain how the dust from the books might contain mould spores which would grow in the plastic trays, and the shapes of the microbial colonies could suggest islands or continents on an imaginary map.

The resulting patches of mould would be examined under an electron microscope, to discern the basic physical structure; if this was detailed and interesting, she would create a series of embroidered collage panels to match the observed design. These could be made from felt or kombucha fabric (bacterial cellulose…)

Chapters Three onwards…

Continuation of story….Jenny has been growing kombucha tea membranes as part of a materials science project, to allow army personnel to grow tarpaulins in remote areas.

She also wanted to contribute to an art project so she obtained a Victorian printed copy of Shelley and used a paintbrush to collect dust from the pages, then added this to the kombucha broth. When the material started to form a membrane, she harvested this and pressed it to create a sheet of parchment. This was then printed with some of Shelley’s verse.

This was put on display as part of an exhibition, and one boy offered to read it out loud at a drama gathering. He did so, and was found dead in bed the next morning.
 

Journal Entry, 10 Oct 2002: Today at work, made some paint by mixing white and blue styrenated varnishes.

Had meeting with Caroline Scholes from Johnson Matthey.
One of the workers has been sacked for allegedly drinking meths in the solvent stores.

Sent a memo to Andrew F, asking about the new faxes and cert-of-conformity documents etc, with the new Altana logo instead of the old, prohibited Sterling logo. He didn’t reply, but then I was given a fax form which says ‘Altana-Varnish-Compounds’ rather than ‘Altana-Coatings-Sealants’ which has replaced the Rembrandtin logo.

13 Oct 2002: Friday rode down to Somercotes, got there cold and dark. On Sat morning went to Andy and Angie’s with Simon and Vicky for spag bol. Then to Nottingham, where we visited sex shops and a clothing emporium called ‘Void’, bought skirt and shoes.
The girls made me up to look like Frank N Furter in sussies and fishnets.
Got back to the Black Horse pub (after calling in at Tesco’s in full drag to buy some alcohol) and discovered that Manda had turned up earlier that day without telling me!

Drink, dance, black feather boa.
Mel should not wear light green.

14 Oct 2002:

Sex is the new drugs
Rock is the new roll
Paranoia is the new rhosis
And I’m sitting in a room full of chaos
Between one hungry night of strangers
Nudity and modesty in equal measure
I sacrifice myself to angels of pleasure
They steal my wings
To leather their nests
As I stumble through a forgotten sonata
To good, better, best
Unconcerned by any nameless danger
As I lurk in the torture chamber.
 

So anyway, Dave M is compiling safety sheet database of Coatings Division products but Steve Mayall has removed VA-line materials.
Something slightly interesting has happened at work. We have to remove the dipentene from our vinyl tower paint in order to evade the dead-fish hazard symbol on the label.
Rob was exasperated when I told him that there was no catalogue of sales issue numbers in my office.
Did some TGA and DSC on vinyl plus 10 percent alkyd based paint. Looks same as Becker’s.

16 Oct 2002: Last night with B- to cinema to see ‘One Hour Photo’. Elegant, restrained, disturbing. Then went to f’s Italian restaurant.

Today: buy MCN, go Cybercafe.
Tomorrow: laundryette-o-mat, German homework.

Today at work: after I was told that 51-line epoxy ester blue (for Prestolite) was made by tinting a white base, instead of co-grind listed on formulation, I asked Kev for formulation.
It turns out he has a private library of notebooks full of formulations. This particular one uses Sandosperse so it’s probably a good deal costlier than our computer-listed RM.
He’s also made a tinted varnish and ignored my instructions to provide a grind check sample.

‘The Bill’ showed two blokes kissing and attracted hundreds of complaints from irate viewers. Meanwhile, ‘Tipping the Velvet’ on BBC has attracted complaints because the lesbian sex scenes weren’t raunchy enough.

17 Oct 2002: Had call from Chemetall with a quote for pack of galvanised steel panels for testing. Asked him if it was okay to check film thickness with Elcometer Gauge. He said no, if you try to do that, the gauge will read the underlying steel and won’t be able to compensate for the surface roughness or the non-ferrous galv layer.

I said that someone in the coatings industry told me they always used this method – calibrate on smooth galv, then gritblast and apply four layers of paint – but he warned there were too many sources of error.

Left a note in Rob’s pigeonhole about 51-4685 Prestolite Blue not being made according to the batch formulation.

3 Nov 2002: Fri night MSC meeting: Graham C died recently. More debate about business cards for members. All had a good time in Paris. While waiting outside the club to get a cab home, we saw a guy being sucked off in the street. Nice.

Yesterday is another day! Today at work did spray-out and drawdown tests on my own special brew of Prestolite. Apparently the works have been secretly concocting a white epoxy ester base for tinting over.
But I discovered by accident that there is already an intermediate product (number 82) of white epoxy ester base.

21 Nov 2002: Today’s mail included fliers from Otto for his rally at Market Bosworth. However, it clashes with the MSC brunch and the GBMCC dinner, and the Derby Toy Run….

We supply some customers with isocyanate curing agents, packed into 5-litre plastic kegs by means of a pump. However, rather than fit the inlet hose into a 200-litre drum, we – or rather Andy – empties four drums into a 1000-litrre pan and then pumps material from this.
So we have a huge tub of NCO monomer sitting in the workshop, polluting the air and becoming contaminated with moisture etc.
And when the lads are filling out containers with this stuff, they drink tea.

In the news: Fire Brigades Union are planning to strike tomorrow morning. Employers have offered a 16 percent rise (actually spread out over several years and with modernisation terms attached).

5 Sep 2003: Steve M is away on hols so Hughie rang me to ask if I had a data sheet for some very old tower paint we’ve got in stock.
Anyway, I couldn’t find it so I went to see Sean M and asked if he had a copy. ‘No’ he said, ‘Go and see Rob.’
So went to see Rob who searched through his CD library for ten minutes before going to see Sean who – it turns out – had got it in his office.

Haven’t had any feedback of my Microdol memo. (There was a pallet with 49 unopened bags of Microdol extender pigment in the coatings warehouse, and I asked about working this stuff off in various products since it has been sitting there for two years at least.)

Our old friends The Rolling Stones are back on tour, proving that there is life after death. They have a marvellous back catalogue – all the newspaper reviews say their creative juices dried up in 1982.

Meanwhile, Dame David Bowie (mere stripling of 56) has a new album out.
Still making a determined effort to create new sound-worlds. He has several times tried to dump his established repertoire and move on; perhaps he should set up an academy for approved Bowie impersonators, leaving el maestro to continue his journey into the realm of undiscovered music…

 

 

Obscure Glaperos PP Zoid

Journal Entries April 2004:

It’s Mike’s wedding anniversary tonight so he’s out to dinner and I’m taking the machine in tomorrow 2 p.m. after the dentist at 12.00
Today’s newspapers: the Sun has got David Beckham on the front page – again – just cos he’s had a skinhead haircut.
We’ve seen all this before.
And they could have used page one to cover the war in Iraq, or the impending referendum on the EU constitution, or the dozen people arrested in Manchester as part of a counter-terror campaign.
On the Johnnie Walker show, he was reading out a listing for the TOGS weekend – ‘…and the fancy-dress theme is pantomime…’ – here he paused briefly so Sally Beausmann jumped straight in with ‘It’s midnight already and still no sign of Dick!’

30 Jan ’04: At work we’ve got six or seven pallets of Uretech stuff (moisture-cured PU resin) – all the out-of-date material brought into the paint shop.
Various batches – black, white and grey – being cut open and scraped into a couple of huge pans ready to be mixed and decanted and relabelled.
7 Jul ’06: First anniversary of the London tube bombings. Sarah Kennedy has just played ‘Captain of her Heart’ which took me back to 1986 when I was in my final year at Leicester Poly living in a small house that smelled of blue paint.
At work yesterday, Jemma remarked that one of her schoolfriends recalled being told by the teacher that all humans were originally black, and that God asked them all to bathe in the pool of goodness which turned them white. The slow and stupid ones, manageing only to wet the palms of their hands, remained black.
It only later occurred to me that this meant that there were no black pupils at that school – which sounds really bizarre.
I was told by Alan that everybody is to be awarded a 2.5 percent pay rise except myself ‘cos I haven’t been with the company for a full year.

29 May ’07: Posted cheque to WWF Credit Card – £250.
Posted job application to Dr Wang at Vertellus Biomaterials.
Had e-mail from Di, telling me that Nessie had passed away. Will send Elaine a condolence card – irises.
This morning I was chatting to Alastair and showed him some of my rally photos. He raised an eyebrow and said ‘I’d be careful about showing these to other people, they might…’ and he trailed off, obviously scared that I might say something wildly indiscreet.

The parents of Madelaine McCann (four-year-old girl abducted from holiday apartment in Portugal) have gone to see the Pope to get their daughter back. Well, I thought – if the Catholic Church doesn’t know about child sex abuse, who does?
But these parents are being remarkably media-savvy, setting up fundraising and publicity schemes. Not really overcome with grief.

4 Sep ’07: Have been at work (EC) for two years tomorrow; wot have I done during that time?
Antwerp (twice), Nuremberg (once), 3 funerals (Mel, Ian, Val).
Two distance learning business courses (RDI and OU), sold the CB and bought the Deauville, learned a bit about pigments, made a lot of bibles, joined the Manchester OCCA committee.

Composition in Black, Black and Black

Journal Entries, January 2008:

Ambient Necrolithic Vibes

From every major work of art
We feel the missing segments resonate
Our culture manages to leave us blind
While strangers, briefly passing, see the truth.

This can be my starting-point;
A sequence of analytical preludes
Small in taste and sharp design
Menaced by a cloud of empty verbs.

From time to time we overhear
A perfect storm of measured notes
That turn with skill from key to darker key
And burn the lover’s chariot of strokes.

Some Hollywood movies carry a simmering homoerotic ambience between the two male leads; however, the film Brokeback Mountain had no such ambiguity but rather a direct sexual liaison – but not really erotic.

And yesterday it was announced that Heath Ledger – one of the co-stars – has died from a suspected drugs overdose.

Also yesterday I had a call on my mobile from Laura at AI Claims, working for Avis Car Hire. Reference number 612658. When I rang them to enquire I was told that the car I had rented – and scratched – had been involved in an (unspecified) incident at the times and place where I had reported the damage.

Do tell, I barked down the phone. I have no recollection of being involved in an ‘incident’. Is this a matter for the police?

And now I arrived home tonight to find the wheelie-bins moved out to block the path leading to our back garden. An artificial flower was threaded through one of the bin lids, and the rubbish – a small multi-gym – was spread out behind them in a line.

Rang AI insurance to say that I was worried about my bike insurance being rendered invalid by a presence on my file of this non-existent incident.

Yesterday (how long ago that seems) I joined the others for the ‘Twelve Cities in Twelve Hours’ charity bike run. Left here at 5.30 a.m. and exactly 12 hours later I was riding through Stoke, so technically I fulfilled the goal.

Had trouble keeping group together so we got split up a few times. I lost the others then shot off to Derby where I caught them up again.

Rode back to Fringe and met up with Brett and Martin; most of the others were there.

Then today at work had snotty e-mail from D Tench – I had told him that my orange panels were full shade and 1/3 tint, but he didn’t believe me. Forwarded this to Adrian, Andrew and George, adding that I wasn’t sure how to proceed.

Darren made a strange comment today – apparently Iain Firth went ballistic when he found out that EC Pigments was looking for his replacement without asking him. And apparently I was the only candidate interviewed for the post.

Yesterday me and Brett went to see Sweeney Todd, the new film starring (deep breath) Johnny Depp Sasha Baron Cohen Helena Bonham-Carter Tim Spall and Alan Rickman.

Then last night v clear skies and this morning was frosty and at 10.50 I set off for Blackburn to join the Fred Hill run. Weather delightful, bright and clear, about 60 bikes on the run, went to Cathedral then a brisk ride out and back to the pub.

Today was the Manchester United-City Derby match – 50th anniversary of the Munich Plane Crash. Everyone was expecting trouble, but as it turned out all the fans observed a minute’s silence in good faith.

Logged on to the PRAS ‘Question and Answer’ forum where industry experts give replies to enquiries. Paul Anderson of PERA responded to a question about PP saying it was ‘very difficult to bond’ so I sent him an e-mail pointing out that primers could be used.

Today’s Independent has a discussion of the painting by Braque of the Rio Tinto Factory. Which reminds me of the time Dave W sent me that JPEG of Masons’ site during demolition with the fallen galvanised ducting looking like a Paul Nash painting.

 

Song Twelve

I travelled to an unfamiliar pub
To catch up with my long-forgotten past
When you and I were more than friends
In a sort of dream that sort of couldn’t last.

And there you weren’t; I watched
The anxious door, on and off
All night as strangers entered
And ignored me ‘til I’d had enough.  

 

A scumbled Art of Sci

 

(Why didn’t they use the right catalyst?)

Journal Entry, 13 Nov 2016: It’s Remembrance Sunday, and the nation fell silent at eleven o’clock today to pay tribute to the people who died in the First and Second World Wars, along with the other recent conflicts in the Middle East.

At work on Friday morning we congregated around the TV set mounted on the wall of the Blackfriars Restaurant to observe two minutes’ silence; and the same thing happened at football and rugby matches around the UK.

I recall a few years ago taking part in the Salvation Army Toy Run, when hundreds of bikers would ride en masse through Manchester, eventually arriving at the Trafford Centre to make donations of toys and money for needy children at Christmas.  This was one occasion when the eleventh fell on a Saturday, so we observed two minutes silence; hundreds of bikers standing motionless, the only sound coming from the distant motorway and a few balloons bobbing against petrol-tanks in the breeze.

I sometimes took photographs at this event, and in one picture we see a crowd of bikers standing outside the homeless shelter run by the Sally Army; in the distance, one could make out the super-de-luxe Hilton Hotel halfway through construction.

For the past three weeks I have been on a work experience placement (the sort of thing normally arranged for young jobless persons) at the Marriott Renaissance Hotel, helping out in the Maintenance Workshop and the Linen Room. This gave a fascinating insight into the backstage goings-on at a large city centre hotel; the supply chain and repair schedule, the timetabling of events, the dense networks of communication needed to maintain smooth running over a fourteen-storey building.

My journey to work each morning (what a lovely phrase that is!) takes twenty minutes by train, followed by a seventeen minute walk from Deansgate Station. The train is full of regular characters for whom I construct imaginary life stories. Sometimes the young ladies will place their expensive designer handbags on the seat next to them, in order to deter anyone from sitting there. Alas, I cannot help myself; a brisk request of ‘May I?’ as I ease myself backwards, leaving her just enough time to snatch the bag indignantly away.

Since I have only a modest allowance of internet access on my cellular telephone, I pass the journey by reading ‘The Vivisector’, Patrick White’s novel about a brutal, ill-mannered artist called Hurtle Duffield who is rescued from working-class squalor while still young. At one point in the book, Kathy and her boyfriend Clif visit the artist, and Kathy remarks to Hurtle: ‘Clif’s interested to see the paintings.’ adding  ‘Of course he doesn’t understand art. He’s a scientist.’

Are scientists really so immune to the charms of visual art as is often assumed? While working at the hotel, I was helping to clear out a dank warehouse full of broken furniture and abandoned picture-frames. Against one wall I noticed a tarpaulin covered with strange grey markings, and I realised that this was the protective sheet where room fittings had been placed when they were spray painted before being installed in the guest suites. The creases and folds in the canvas had produced a series of optical echoes, with feather-edged zones of light and dark giving the illusion of depth.

Was it art? Was it science? Could you use the patterns of overspray to deduce the shapes of the objects that had been so carefully painted? I could easily imagine the image before me, neatly framed, on the cover of a coffee-table book about Sigur Ros or Rammstein.

The word ‘scumble’ reminds me of a short story by John Wyndham in which two characters, numb with cold, attempt to start a fire using screwed-up (‘scumbled’) newspaper. And it appears again in an online blog about the collision of Art with Science:

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/symbiartic/sciart-scumble-november-2016/

The term ‘scumble’ refers to the overlaying of paint layers so that the underlying images remain visible; this technique is said to impart an impression of depth to the picture. A scientific concept, viewed from an artist’s perspective, might take on new significance. And the worlds of painting and music and sculpture and verse can suggest ideas for research projects in medicine and materials and power generation.

Working in the laundry department had a few moments of excitement: the bundled sheets and towels would emerge at high speed from the galvanised metal chute, landing on a sturdy rubber mat. In the past, I was told, the washing would land on the bare tiles with a deafening slap. The fastener on the service lift was gradually working loose, and I dreaded being inside there when it finally came adrift and the alarm would need to be pressed..
We had a tumble drier for the face cloths and bathrobes; some of the robes were expensive cotton, but others were pure fluffy polyester, and these would build up high levels of static electricity. They would emit a fiendish crackle as you pulled them out of the warm chamber.

The face cloths were thrown into a large plastic tub on castors before loading into the washer; this tub looked vaguely familiar, and after two days I realised that it was the same hundred-litre keg in which I used to prepare my five percent salt solution (stirred with the dedicated light-sabre) at Exova in Salford.

In case this was not sufficiently entertaining, we had a small radio playing Smooth FM, a station which played Lionel Richie, Karen Carpenter and Randy Crawford to the exclusion of all else. A fine soundtrack to the end of the world; for on Wednesday morning we awoke to the news that Donald Trump, loudmouth billionaire TV celebrity, had been elected President of the US. God shows his contempt for money by the people that he gives it to…

I wasn’t able to discern
The colour of the cobbled sky that day;
From the linen room, my field of view
Was filled entirely by hotel windows, their
Stern rectangular black regiment
Blotting out all other features. In front

Of the parade of windows,
Languid gulls made carefree arabesques,
A drifting sweep around some
Ever-shifting point of gravity. Then

Someone leaned from an open window
And threw a piece of bread into the air;
Abruptly magnetised, the gulls gave
Angry chase, flapping to fend off
T
he deadly spear of one another’s beak.

From time to time I find myself reminded,
By a perfect array of testing cells or other
Multitude of perfect squares, of that wall
Of windows where the gulls
Performed their dance of Winter just for me.