Monthly Archives: March 2009

Vulgar Flower


Spitting carnation

Walking with flies undone

Spawning illegitimates

Giving the finger on Mother’s day

Mucking out in the garage

Greasy as a scratching

Grown up by ‘des idiots’

Acting like God’s gift

Wanted dead

For disturbing the peace

Of stylish nature



Filed under Mumbo Obsessions, Mumbo poems



Me: Knock knock.

Death: Who’s there?

Me: Me.

Death: Me who?

Me: Me with flu.

Death: I don’t really think you’re knocking on my door, do you?

Be an optimist. Help yourself.


Me: Knock knock?

God: Who’s there?

Me: Me.

God: Me who?

Me: I thought you knew everything.

God: Me who?

Me: Me with flu and good intentions and a gift basket of beard-grooming essentials.

God: OK. Come in and lie on the sofa. I’ll see what I can do.


Filed under Conversations

Stoner Athlete

Being an athlete totally suits my speed.

It’s about self-expression and the great outdoors- just me and my body in harmony with nature.

It’s also about sharing. Yeah, we compete but there’s a lot of love in the air after a race.

Every day I throw on a pair of shorts and a tee and go see my trainer.

He’s one serious dude. We hang out a lot. He suggests some sets and if I’m feeling it I do them. If I’m not we take a stroll and talk.

We get along great. We’ve been known to collapse together laughing in the park.

Grass is what I dig the most. Tarmac’s hard on the souls of the foot and that’s hard on my other soul too. Hey, I’ll head where you point me but I prefer to take it nice and easy and follow the marshmallow road.

Hurdling chose me. It’s far out, like being yanked up on a giant yo-yo every few strides: run a bit, wheeee!, run a bit, wheeee!, run a bit, wheeee!

Crashing is so totally not cool in the baby department. Makes me want to roll one up just thinking about it.

It’s kinda funny but my dog, Trippy, comes to the meets to watch and it gives me a real buzz. The track must look like a giant worm crawling with flies, to him.

To prepare I take a deep breath into my heart and become one with my shoes. I shake out my hair and loosen up my fingers. I search out the vibe and tune in. I never get the fear.

I concentrate hard when I’m competing but once in a while I’ll zone out. That’s generally when I’m getting lapped.

After a race I need to eat like a maniac: 2 steaks, fried eggs. And some special cakes, if I’m treating myself.

Then I like to chill out and lie on my back, looking at the stars, scoping out my place in the solar system.

Winning is a state of mind.

Sure, another guy may cross the line first but that doesn’t make you a loser.

Playing air guitar in the locker room makes you a loser. Or so they tell me.

Last year I was accused of taking drugs to inform my perharmance, perform my improvement… make me run quicker.

It was chronic. Which is to say, it was an involved time.

My trainer stayed solid, I weathered the storm and now I’m in a better place.

I’ve got an eye on the Olympics in London, I can’t lie.

But I’m not gonna let it stress me out.

I’m going to think of it as a journey and if it doesn’t work out I’ll take in some sights.

Me and Trippy looking out of the pupil of The London Eye.


Yeah, that’s right.

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Filed under Conversations, Uncategorized

The Lost Mr Men: Mr Credit Crunch


This is the sad story of Mr Credit Crunch.

Mr Credit Crunch lived in a little cottage in Commuter Town, while he had renovations done to his manor house, to put in an extra bedroom for his dog’s hairdresser and a botanical garden.

Not any more! Mr Shit, the bailiff came to take the house away from him.

Poor old Mr Credit Crunch.

He used to set his alarm for 4.30 a.m. in the morning every day so he could drive his Ferrari to the big city with his Blackberry.

Not any more! Because now he doesn’t have a car or a Blackberry or a desk to go to.

And I don’t think he’s going to need an alarm clock these days, do you?

Every morning for breakfast he used to have a large bowl of- you’ve guessed it!- cereal and amphetamines.

Not any more! Now he stretches one foot out of his sleeping bag and takes a huge slug of fresh air.

And do you know what?

It tastes a whole lot sweeter.

Because the story of Mr Credit Crunch is really not so sad after all.

You see, even though Mr Credit Crunch slept in silk pyjamas he didn’t have any friends.

He was too busy watching the markets to go to market.

He was more interested in the gentrification of the town than in its people.

He thought they smelt of manure and were stupid because they didn’t know where the Maldives were.

What a funny fellow!

But without a job to go to Mr Credit Crunch has all the time in the world to get to know his neighbours.

It turns out they all thought he was a bit of a tosser.

Now, though, they get along just fine.

There’s Mr Trust Fund. He’s very affable and doesn’t mind being tapped for a bite of lunch.

Next door to him lives Little Miss Gold Digger although, strangely, she hasn’t been quite so friendly since Mr Credit Crunch started sleeping in the church hall.

Then there’s Mr Retired. Gosh, Mr Credit Crunch can while away an entire afternoon listening to him.

Nowadays, Mr Credit Crunch is feeling rather hopeful about the future and wonders who needs to live in a silly old house anyway.

He dreams of working for a non-profit one day and doing his own composting.

He suspects that being broke might just bring him closer to the meaning of life and make him a better Mr Man.

So if you ever bump into Mr Credit Crunch you know what to say to him, don’t you?

‘Please can I have a coffee to go?!’


Filed under Mini mumbo, Mumbo Life, Uncategorized

MasterChef: The Other Final


John: Gregg, this Final has taken the premium Waitrose biscuit.

Quite the most extraordinary moments of erotic gastronomy ever to have been jiggled in a MasterChef climax.

Gregg: I couldn’t agree more. The whole series has been a money shot. I’m toe-curlingly sated. I could even do some cuddling right now.

John: But this isn’t for sissies- let’s be clear about that, Gregg.

Cooking Doesn’t Get Tougher Than This. Have I mentioned that already?

Gregg: It’s not actually possible to repeat that often enough. This show could be called ‘Hardcore Fascist Food’.

There’s absolutely nothing gay about it.

John: Tell me, what did you think of Diane?

Gregg: I think I’d give her one. She’s tasty. I like her cleavage.

John: But what about that dish?

When I saw her seducing the pureed Aboriginal broccoli onto a bed of sun-kissed celeriac effluvium I thought Mamma Mia was staging an impromptu matinee in my boxer shorts.

Gregg: I’m with you, John.

As soon as the spoon made contact with the back of my mouth the only thing I could think of was the Mother Superior singing ‘Climb Ev’ry Mountain’ in The Sound of Music.

Then there was a smooth sweetness kick-boxing my pleasure receptors, followed by the all-over body sensation of Cheryl Cole giving me a round-the-world wearing a pair of Dalmatian puppy gloves.

Suddenly, I was Rick Astley.

John: But you can’t ignore Brian. He’s ugly, I know, but the man lives food.

Gregg: His denim butter hair-pin pasties made me want to talk about nipple cream with Debbie McGee in a sage-green Bristol car.

John: What a morris-dancing, supercilious combination.

Christ, I’m almost angry.

Gregg: And the bergamot thumbprints? Was he having a laugh?

Did he want an ejaculation to thin out the sauce?

John: Right, I’ll be conjuring that one up in bed for at least a fortnight.

Gregg: Now, we need a moment’s silence for Luigi.

John: Struth, is he the Messiah?

Gregg: Or just a very naughty boy- he’s ruined food for me forever.

John: Unless he moves into my bedroom and re-creates nightly the pan-stroked carpet of marsupial cheese giblets I’m going to moon Smithfields and become a software engineer.

Gregg: What, I mean what, can you say about it?

John: Nothing. I’ve run out of adjectives.

I’d need to start touching you to communicate what that did to my taste buds.

Gregg: So Luigi’s the winner, right?

John: He’s been on a journey, for sure. The first day he was here he asked me what the oven was for.

Plus he’s got that rarest of ingredients.

Gregg: A goose’s golden egg?

John: No: he’ll give good press.


Filed under Conversations, Hungry Mumbo, Uncategorized

The Boss


Bruno: What’s on this week, Mummypenny?

Me: Nursery every morning, house stuff, bath-time.

Monday’s a big day for you: home for an early nap, then a ten-pin bowling birthday party.

Bruno: OK. Have you bought a present for that?

Me: Yes, I have.

Bruno: Good. Will a car be picking me up?

Me: No, we’ll take the underground.

Bruno: Fine. Bring a Mr. Man book so I can catch up on some reading.

How about Tuesday?

Me: I need you to make and sign some cards after breakfast- a couple of birthday ones and a get well one.

Bruno: Do I really need to do those? Couldn’t you do some daubing and I’ll sign my name?

Me: I suppose so but…

Bruno: Please do, I’ve got too much on.

What about Wednesday? Do I have a meeting?

Me: Actually, Wednesday I’d like you to come food shopping with me. I know it’s boring but it has to be done.

Bruno: I don’t think that’s a sensible use of my time.

I find it tedious and I don’t think you require my contribution.

Me: Not if you run away all the time, no.

Perhaps I’ll sort something out.

Bruno: Do it.

Thursday- will I have a playdate?

Me: You have two. I double-booked by mistake.

Bruno: Who is it?

Me: Harry at the Park Club or the little boy you met down the playground.

Bruno: Cancel the kid.

The Park Club’s nice- I’ll need to look smart.

Bob the Builder- no, strike that- the t-shirt with the guitar on.

Make sure it’s ironed.

Me: Ironed?

Bruno: Yes, is that a problem?

Me: No, it’s just…

Bruno: Solutions, Mummy.

Me: Yes, I’m sorry.

Bruno: What about the family? Do I have any time built in to see them this week?

Me: Not yet. But it would be nice to catch up with Auntie Adele in Bulgaria.

Bruno: Conference call it. Use the internet rates.

And I’d like to see Mole. Diary her for Friday.

Me: There isn’t a slot for that. You’re seeing the doctor in the afternoon.

Bruno: I’ll drop my nap then.

Me: Bruno…

Bruno: I don’t need 12 hours plus a siesta. Sir Alan grabs 4.

And why can’t the doctor come to me? Never mind.

Dinner on Friday- I’d like it on my lap; 3rd and Bird are on.

Me: You know, it’s better for your digestion to eat at the table.

Bruno: Goddamit, it’s a long week. I need some down time.

What did you have in mind- flashcards?

Me: No, I just thought…

Bruno: Well, don’t think. I don’t need you for that.

Tell me about the week-end.

Me: Ah, I was wondering…

Bruno: Yes?

Me: Can I have the morning off on Saturday?

Bruno: Again? Something special?

Me: No, just a few hours to sleep in.

Bruno: Fine. I’ll watch Shrek and eat bananas.

But if my nose is snotty you’ll need to wipe it. It’s in your contract.

Me: Of course.

Bruno: And one last thing… can you send some flowers to Violet?

Me: Bruno, she’s very young…

Bruno: Please, this is personal. Don’t let it interfere with the rest of our business.

Me: Very well. Is that everything?

Bruno: Yes. Thank you, Mummy.

I’ll have a ginger tea and a cuddle and you can get on with some admin.

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Filed under Mini mumbo, Uncategorized

Vicky Cristina Barcelona: A review


Filtered through city landscapes or the imaginative trips of time travel, Woody Allen’s pitch has been consistent:

Nerdy Jewish New Yorker talks beautiful women into bed with angst-ridden intellectual humour.

This is a film-maker for whom the word ‘schtick’ was invented. Woody owns naive narration, conspicuous cultural consumption, urbane conversation, serial infidelity- hell, even a whole musical genre.

No surprise then that looming over him has been a question worthy of a brace of sessions on his own therapist’s couch:

‘I keep having these dreams that I get old and I can’t star in my movies. How will they work? What about the women? Will I have to hand them over like sacrificial lambs? I’m feeling very anxious.’

Of course it’s been a nightmare realized and Allen movies have since struggled to retain charm in their creator’s absence.

VCB is no exception and though it might seem as though he’s handing his conquests to Javier Bardem, in fact, he keeps a firm grip on them from behind the camera, giving new meaning to the phrase ‘remote control’.

Occasionally the characters show signs of independent life but generally they are little more than ventriloquist dummies, such is the permeating stench of Allen.

(Although, thank the Lord, he’s stopped mutilating actors into doing impersonations of himself: is it possible to recall Kenneth Branagh in Celebrity without feeling somehow damaged?)

It makes him voyeur of his own movies and his audience voyeurs of him. He thinks he’s making emotional porn with clothes on. Instead we’re getting him as naked as the day he was born.

In VCB Vicky is his intellect and the distillation of societal mores.

The object of his desire, Cristina, is his heart: searching, experimental and ultimately dissatisfied.

Juan Antonio is the handsome artist he never was, Juan’s relationship with Maria-Elena a fantasy realized: the apotheosis of romantic love made possible by the introduction of a.n.other.

Woody knows that if combustible passion were sustained it would contradict itself and yet he is unwilling to settle for anything less.

In Juan Antonio and Maria-Elena’s relationship with Cristina he creates an attractive solution, the ‘missing ingredient’ through which to channel overwhelming emotional and physical desire.

But even this construct has a shelf-life, Woody now too jaded or too wise to yield completely to his ideal.

No love will ever be enough for him probably because he fears he will never be enough for love.

Unsurprisingly for a man who craves the stimulation of cities- a man given to explication and humour and analysis- his greatest fear is to be bored, his greatest desire to be satisfied.

But therein lies his problem, for he suspects that to be satisfied is to be bored or, worse, boring- the lowest of all life-forms.

The result is a restless soul and a film without a satisfactory ending: a compelling relationship that can’t survive, a dull one that does and a lost soul masquerading as a free spirit.

The performances are solid: Javier Bardem grounds his character in earthy magnetism.

Rebecca Hall has the brainy credentials to nail Vicky but remains too gangly schoolgirl to believably inspire flames of desire.

Scarlett Johansson, meanwhile, has a contemplative dreaminess that sells her convincingly as a wannabe bohemian artist and is, for my money, bar none the most sexually attractive starlet of her generation; there are scenes when she and the lense need to get a room.

Penelope Cruz is justly lauded as a rabid nutter although one suspects it’s not that much of a stretch. In this movie she accomplishes the unlikely feat of contextualizing her ex, Tom Cruise: Katie Holmes flosses every night, Scientology has structure; suddenly he makes sense!

Her unfeasible glamour renders her almost cartoonish. You want to see her photographed. You enjoy her flipping out. You even like her smoking. Most of all you fancy her for breakfast- over easy with Scarlett on top.

And this is why Woody Allen is so successful. He makes movies you want to watch about people you want or want to be. They are vivid, engaging, and tap into the emotional dilemmas that drive us all.

But with this one he resembles a man who is retreating to his artistic death bed, a smile playing on his lips at the delights of life, outlasted by a frown on his forehead at its disappointments.


Filed under Movie Mumbo