Why I Write

I’m going to start with a piece of advice. Windmills of Your Mind is a haunting and beautiful song that lodged itself in my head nearly 40 years and, I am sure, will never leave. It is, however, a song that has rather more than its fair share of bad interpretations. The bad ones are all bad for the same reason; they are too slow, stretching the melancholy of the lyrics into sickly and maudlin sentimentalism. This is a song that needs to be suing at a tempo that reflects these lyrics. These are full of motion. They are also, as we see as the song develops, about the remorseless passage of time. Noel Harrison’s interpretation, whilst not perfect, captures this and its 2 minutes 18 seconds are just about right. My advice is, therefore, to stick to this version but of you want to look elsewhere avoid all those versions that stretch the song out to 3 minutes plus. In particular avoid Barbra Streisand’s version.

It is with this song that I want to start, One section, in particular, speaks tom me with increasing power as I grow older:

“Lovers walk along the shore

And leave their footprints in the sand.

Was the sound of distant drumming

Just the fingers of your hand?

Pictures in a hallway,

A fragment of a song,

Half remembered names and faces

But to whom do they belong?”

Consider the fragments of songs. My life, like that of everyone of my age has had its particular soundtrack and particular songs take me back to places and times, not all of them places I want to return to. The last part is the most striking of all. I am constantly reminded of the number of people I have known, family members, people at school, at university, at work, friends who have come into my life and, in many cases, drifted out of it again.  There are those I remember well, those who are simply “half-remembered names and faces.” Even the half remembering can be troublesome or maybe burdensome. Who were they fir me? How have they influenced my life? Where are they now? Do they remember me or even half remember me? At times it seems that these people, or maybe the years of life already lived that they represent, weigh heavily on my spirit. There are days when I will suddenly remember someone from the past and start to think about them.  Sometimes when I do this I feel that memories can be destructive of memory, the sheer number of them defying any attempt to order them and make them into the coherent whole that, for me, is memory.

This is really why I write, to make sense of tall and recreate my own past. When I write I may well be living in it but a creative and ordered sense of living in it, that, I find empowering, I am taking back control from an oppressive melancholy and to misquote another song “I free my mind, I free my soul.”

Writing fiction takes this a stage further and helps me to mould my lived experience into new realities. Like reading, like learning a new language it is a genuine broadening of experience, an enrichment of my life.

And those who are half remembered are in there somewhere. I may have given them a new name, a remembered face and placed them in sexual contexts they never dreamt of, (or maybe they did!). But they are there as one day, dear reader, you may too, when time has continued its remorseless progression and

“You are suddenly aware,

That the autumn leaves are turning

To the colour of her hair.”

.

The Rock That Doesn’t Roll

I’m still looking for the perfect diner experience. You know, the one where you were dress up in your 50s finery, all circle skirts and petticoats, jump in a classic  car and head off to a place with the perfect decors, shakes to die for, burgers that melt in your mouth. A place where you admire the period cars outside the window and where you think that, as soon as you’ve eaten, you’re going to get up and jive or swish away to your heart’s content. So my perfect diner is a place run by people who understand that the vibe is as important as the food, who know how to give vintage looking lads and lassies  not just a good meal but a couple of hours in the 1950s. Rock 66 in East Birmingham is the latest to disappoint, all the more so as, with a little care and attention to detail, it could have been good.

The diner is a small place on a corner just opposite the Aldi at Ward End, where Alum Rock Road meets the Outer Circle. A trek into the East Birmingham Badlands for me. First impressions are not bad. Décor wise it looks like a proper diner and if the colour scheme is a bit odd at least you feel encouraged as you sit down. .

And the food really wasn’t bad, at least to begin with. My shake was good, thick and creamy, making me glad I’d been for a run earlier to burn up the calories, whilst my partner and I shared a starter of king prawns fried in breadcrumbs that was just about perfect, crispy, tasty and brought to the table piping hot.   The burgers didn’t quite reach those heights but were satisfactory, if not much more than that.

But what about the vibe? This was the big disappointment. The service was desultory and inattentive and I really don’t appreciate having to try to attract the attention of the waiting staff every time I want something.  Should I really have to ask for the menu if I want to order a dessert?

Did I say the décor looked reasonably authentic? Well two televisions playing MTV were really out of place. This is where imagination and attention to detail come in. How about a period jukebox? How about some proper period music? I asked about this and was met with blank looks. And this is the problem with Rock 66. It is run by people who are really going through the motions, who don’t feel the vintage vibe as you and I do, people who don’t have it in their soul. So it may (Alum) Rock but it just doesn’t roll.

Verdict: I would eat there again if I happened to be in the area but it is not worth a special journey. Score 5 out of 10

 

Cutting the Sage Derby

This story arose from a challenge I took on last week to write a short story involving cheese.

CUTTING THE SAGE DERBY

I was about to order when a man’s voice interjected

“Excuse me, I was next.”

I looked around startled and the only words I could find were to apologise.

“I’m sorry I…”

“No worries” he said.

He brushed past me as he went up to the counter, a little too firmly, I thought, to be entirely unintended. I watched him order a wide selection of cheeses, there was Jarlsberg, Roquefort, Gruyere, the stinking Alsatian Munster, Reblochon, Shropshire Blue, Sage Derby. Observing him I decided that he was about 15 years younger than me, trim. Bearded and well….he obviously didn’t eat that much cheese. A connoisseur definitely. He picked up his jute shopping bag, now bulging with cheese, took his plastic bag of cheese and smiled as he made to walk past me.

“You know your cheeses don’t you?” I observed in a conciliatory tone.

He smiled.

“Well yes. Actually I’m having a few friends round for cheese and wine tomorrow evening. Would you like to come?”

The following evening I walked the short distance to his house, two bottles of Gewurztraminer clanking in a plastic bag as I went.

“I’ve got a confession to make” he said as we clinked glasses and looked at the cheese laid out on the table. “I said I was having a few friends round. In fact there’s only going to be us.”

“And your friends?”

“I kind of uninvited them.”

He smiled.

“And if I hadn’t come?”

“That was a risk it was well worth taking.”

He took the wine glass out of my hand and placed it on the table.

We kissed. I buried my face in his luxuriant facial hair, pushed back against him, forcing my tongue in deep. After a while he struggled free and said

“We really can’t let this cheese go to waste can we?”

On the table he had laid out the cheeses on wooden boards. He took a piece of Sage Derby and with the knife carved it into a green veined cock. I dropped my skirt and took up handfuls of the soft goats cheese and smothered my mound in it. He knelt before me, licking it off eagerly before tonguing my swollen clit. He moved down to nibble gently, teasingly at my labia before sliding the Sage Derby dildo into my rapidly dilating pussy. Slowly, cautiously at first, then gradually picking up

the tempo, he slid it in and out. He pulled it out, and offered it to me. I sucked, gently, felt the cheese soften in my mouth, gently tongue whipped the end, then bit off a chunk, swallowed it with my sour juices as I did so. .

I took a piece of Gruyere from the board, placed two fingers in the largest hole and rubbed gently to widen it. I slipped it over his cock and moved it backwards and forwards. As his prick hardened and swelled, the cheese broke and I caught the pieces in my hand, put them in my mouth, chewing slowly before dragging him forward and placing my mouth over his, passing the cheese from mouth to mouth. With a violence that caught me by surprise he pushed me back onto the table. I felt a Camembert squeezed under my back, its ripening softness gushing from the crust. Biscuits fragmented under my buttocks as he forced my legs apart and climbed on top to fuck me, slow and hard, slow and hard, then gathering in speed and intensity as he moved in and out until the orgasm ripped through me and I could see nothing but green veins of ecstasy pulsing through me, to every corner of my body like the sage spreading through a Derby cheese.

As he withdrew he sent come spilling onto a piece of Reblochon. I licked greedily and ate.

“I presume you’ve planned dessert?” I asked.

 

No Trumps at the Ace Cafe

This is a chapter from a novella I am working on. Claire, my heroine, is a young lady with a passion for vintage who sets out to find her perfect man and have loads of good sex as she does so……..

Claire was delighted at Dorothy’s news but it had the effect of increasing her own frustration. She redoubled her man hunt. Her encounters so far had been unsatisfying. So she placed an advert in the personals section of a classic car magazine.

‘Lovely fifties girl. Has Zodiac, will travel. Seeks mechanic with a piston for her cylinder.’

There were just two replies and only one of these seemed worth following up. She soon found herself driving down to London for a rendez-vous with a man called Paul at the Ace Cafe. It was the evening of the monthly Mark Two Consul/Zephyr/Zodiac meet. There would be loads of sexy cars and Claire  hoped too that Paul, with his Zephyr, would be the man of her dreams. She was day dreaming even before the day she had arranged to go down to London to meet Paul. She imagined the traditional semi they would live in with the period furniture, the box television set with the nine inch screen, the his and hers Zodiac and Zephyr parked on the drive.

 

She wore a skirt to drive down the M40 to London, cruising at a stately 55 mph, with her left hand

down her front playing with herself. It was going to be a long drive back if she didn’t score and, in

any event, she needed to be wet enough to do it quickly, round the back of the cafe or maybe on his backseat after dark. Either way, she was going to be gagging for it. She was going to be ready.

 

The Ace Cafe is a London motoring legend, located on the North Circular Road. Claire had long planned to go down, to one of the Owners’ Club meets. Claire enjoyed petrolhead talk. She knew her stuff. It’s just that she felt that a girl does need a little looking after and surely a man should be able to look after her car in exchange for his home-baked treats, the pleasure of having a woman as striking and as stylish as Claire on his arm, most of all for being able to have sex every day and three times most days. It was Claire’s first visit and when she pulled onto the forecourt and parked her Zodiac among a bevy of its brothers and sisters and Ford Consul cousins, there were hosts of admiring looks. And not just for the car. A crowd soon gathered round. One man stood away from the crowd looking a little unsure of himself. He waited until Claire withdrew a little way to light a cigarette and introduced himself.

 

‘Hi I’m Paul. You must be the girl in need of a piston.’

Claire smiled. ‘I certainly am. I hope it’s a big one and that it throbs and gets really really hard.’

‘Well’ laughed Paul nervously, ‘I’ve got loads of spares in my boot. Would you like to have a look?’

Claire was puzzled by this. Surely he didn’t mean piston literally? Sadly he did and opened the boot

of his Zephyr to reveal a mass of Ford spares chucked in any old how.

 

‘This here is a layshaft for a Consul gearbox’ he explained with a smile ‘and this is a Mark Three

Zephyr steering box and this, I got this at an autojumble…. how much were you looking to pay?’

‘Paul’ she said crossly. ‘I have come from the Black Country to see you and your car. The least you

can do is take me inside and buy me something to eat.’

 

Inside the Ace Cafe Claire ordered a burger and a banana milkshake. She was going to do things in proper fifties style. Paul seemed suddenly nervous as if Claire’s intentions were slowly dawning on him. As the drinks arrived and he could see whatever Claire wanted was to be put off for half an hour or so he relaxed. Although clearly shy he began to talk animatedly about his interest in cars. Claire tried to steer the conversation round to sex but he didn’t get the hint. Then Paul asked

 

‘Why does a girl like you drive a Zodiac?’

 

‘I love the Fifties’ she said, ‘the styles the fashions, the cars. And the Mark Two Zodiac is perfect for sex. Bench seats front and rear, a big throbbing six pot to get me in the mood. It turns heads. It’s not only men that can use big cars to pull you know.’

 

She looked at Paul who was clearly a little uncomfortable. Claire continued.

‘I will clean and wash and iron. I love being a girl and I will pamper my man. All I ask in return is that my man look after my car and looks after me, that he brings me flower, hugs me when am I sad and, most of all,’ she leaned forward again to continue in a whisper, ‘is always ready to fuck me. I need sex every day, lots of it, and if you don’t want it as much as I do then you’re not the man for me.’

Paul continued to look gormless. He shuffled nervously in his chair as Claire sucked intently on her straw and looked at him.

‘I’m sorry Claire I didn’t realise I…’

Claire ate a last mouthful of burger and said

‘I’ve driven down from Dudley to see you. I haven’t been fucked for four weeks. What are you going to do?’

‘Well I suppose, if you really wanted to…’

‘I do want to’ said Claire fixing him with a stare. ‘Do you want to?’

‘Yes’ said Paul quietly.

‘I’m going to pop to the loo. I’ll text you when the coast’s clear. If anyone sees you and asks what you’re doing, I’m stuck and you’re coming to help me. Alright?’

Paul was shaking as Claire strode off . Paul watched her go, listened to the heels clattering up the metal stairs like a ringing out of hos doom. It seemed like an age but was in fact only thirty seconds before his phone buzzed and shook on the formica topped table. He put it in his pocket and went off to his fate.

As he entered the ladies the door of the first cubicle opened and he was pulled inside. He heard the latch slide in behind him as Claire put her arms round him and pulled his face towards hers and slide her tongue into his mouth.

Paul was unused to sexually assertive woman, or at least to those who didn’t take money off you. As they kissed Claire let her skirt fall around her ankles and took Paul’s hand and guided it to her pussy. Pausing from kissing him she whispered

‘Put a finger inside and feel if I’m wet enough.’

Paul did as he was told. He said

‘You’re quite wet.’

‘I played with myself all the way down the M1 just to be ready. Before I set off I lay on the bonnet and felt the vibration of the engine against me. Six cylinders, six rock hard pistons going in and out. What does that remind you of?’

Paul said nothing.

‘It’s the sexiest car I’ve ever had. I’ve got Ford publicity brochures at home and thee are shots of women in fifties dresses and driving gloves and I bet you’ve seen them too, dreamed of fucking them, I bet you lie in bed with pictures of them and play with yourself. I’m like them, I’m your dream come true. Satisfy me now and you can have me in my Zodiac next time, and I’ll wank you with my leather driving gloves and you can come all over the seat, and I’ll lick it up and……feel me again’

Paul put a finger in.

‘How many fingers?’

Paul tried with two, then three, then four and Claire whispered

‘I’m going to lean over the loo and you can take me from behind. I’m so wet you’ll go straight in. I want it deep and slow’

Claire took a condom out of her handbag and handed it to him.

‘If you’re a good boy I’ll put it on with my tongue next time I see you.’

She let her panties fall on top of her skirt turned away from Paul; and bent over the toilet. She heard him fumble with the condom wrapper then heard him roll it on. So he had used one before. That was a relief. She felt his hands on her buttocks and the fumbling of his penis searching for the right opening.

With a touch of impatience she reached beneath her crotch seized the hardening member and guided into her.

‘In deep and work slowly’ she gasped and let out a sigh as Paul set to work.

‘I’m sorry I’ve slipped out.’

‘Then try again’ hissed Claire.

‘Think about your car, if that turns you on more than me, think about a piston moving in and out of the cylinder, think about McPherson struts, think about any fucking thing but shag me. Give it to me hard.’

As Paul fumbled again she felt tears of frustration running down her cheeks.

‘Please Paul. Please, just fuck me and when I’ve come you can go home. I just need you inside me. Please.’

He moved in again and entered Claire unaided and she gasped with pleasure as she felt at last the piston enter her cylinder and move in and out.

‘What’s the firing order in a Mark Two Zodiac?’ she asked him as he warmed to his task.

‘1 5 3 6 2 4’ Paul answered without thinking.

‘Good boy’ said Claire, ‘now give me the six strokes quick and hard. I want to feel you thump against my buttocks.’

Paul withdrew until his swelling penis was right at the edge of Claire’s labia then thrust back in hard/

‘One’ he shouted. Then he repeated the action, and Claire felt a surge of pleasure coursing through her as he said

‘Five’ and Claire was suddenly far away from the toilets of the Ace Cafe; she was suddenly on Beachy Head on a summer’s day as the wind blew across the grass and she lay, legs apart on the bonnet feeling the engine at her back as a man (Paul?) worked his way in and out, straining every last muscle for her pleasure. She closed her eyes and waited for the orgasm that was waiting to explode.

Then Paul slipped out.

‘What’s happened?’ asked Claire angrily.

‘I’m sorry, I’ve gone soft…………I ……….. I only ever do it with, you know and they have no expectations just as long as I pay and they make no demands, they are kind to me but you…you want it so much.’

He began to cry.

‘I’m sorry I can’t be a real man for you Claire.’

Claire pulled him close, placed his head against her little breasts, kissed him on the top of the head and said

‘It’s alright Paul. You’re a very nice man and I’m sure you’ll find someone just right for you.’

Paul freed himself from her embrace, hoisted up his trousers and left hurriedly, not wanting to see Claire again in this moment of humiliation. Claire waited till he had gone and shouted

‘FUCK’ as loudly as she could. She beat the wall with her fist. Then she looked at the floor.

‘He could have taken the condom with him’ she thought as she picked up the used rubber with distaste, wrapped it in a piece of toilet paper and flushed it down the toilet. She went outside. She needed a cigarette.

It was late when she arrived home. In the bedroom, with the big welcoming double bed that was not getting the use it needed, she took the laminated Ace Cafe menu card and wrote on it in marker pen.

‘PAUL = ZERO. I WANT TO CRY’

She inserted it into her Man Hunt exercise book which she threw angrily against the wall. She shouted again

‘FUCK’ and climbed into bed. She played with her clit and dreamed of sex on the bonnet at Beachy Head before going to sleep.