Tuesday, 27 April 2010


Since this is a big week for Oil City Confidential, here is a bit of Lee juvenilia. This is the introduction to stories and pictures by various members of the Utterly Club, later the Weasel Club alluded to by Rico. It shows our obsession with crazy journeys as illustrated by 'The Map of the World' [see previous blog entry and OCC sequence]. I like the tongue in cheek pomposity of the aim to investigate the effect of absurdness on everybody. This was written when Lee was fourteen, a few months before the Jug Band's first 'world tour' of Kent which included Meopham, Harvel, Trottiscliffe, and a grass verge just outside Wrotham.
More soon...
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Thursday, 22 April 2010

Unscarred Skies

Blue sky unscarred by contrails.
Volcanic dust settles on my stall.

When travel becomes more difficult it will be a worthwhile activity again. These days it is pointless as everywhere is becoming the same.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Harry does something illegal with a pheasant.

After a hard day on the market I decide to drive down to Stathern Stores for a bottle of Merlot. It's a lovely evening with pretty clouds turning amber over Nottingham. A lovely evening for a cock pheasant to go for a walk, too, and show off his pretty feathers. At the crest of Stathern Hill the pheasant, no doubt made reckless by the spring surge of hormones, charges across the road. Thunk! I hit him. I stop. He's not dead. His wings are fluttering furiously, but he can't fly. He has one eye, missing. Blood drips from his beak. He's damaged beyond repair. Maimed.

It's my clear duty to dispatch him. I try to neck him as I would a chicken, but his neck seems to be different from that of a chicken's, more flexible. I twist and yank his head. But he remains alive. The one eye looks at me. I try stamping on his head. This doesn't work either as his head sinks into the damp turf of the verge. Rather than ending his suffering I am intensifying it. The one eye looks at me. I am pheasant bane, pheasant nemesis. I feel a pang of horror. This pheasant who, a few minutes ago was strutting about so full of himself, is having a very, very bad day. And it's my fault.

More than ever it's important to give him the coup de grace. I pick up an a stick, position it over his neck and stamp hard. There's a brief spasm of nerves and he goes still. Dead. I feel relieved. I drop him in the foot well of the car and take him home. The next day Sharon's Dad butchers him and we make a very tasty pheasant casserole. So he didn't die in vain.

Later, up the pub, when I tell people about the incident, they delight in telling me what I did was illegal. If you hit a pheasant you can't pick it up but the bloke behind can. And don't show any sympathy for the pheasant.

Me? I even dream about the damn thing. A couple of nights later a giant game bird with a piece of flint in its beak attacks Sharon. I have to fight it off. Revenge of the birds? What does it all mean?

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

'Just another day on Earth'

Early Sunday morning. Stare at my tea. Stupor.

Willpower gets me out the door.

The spring air is moist, fragrant, laced with bird song. I breathe it in. It feels more like a drink of fresh water when you're thirsty. I'm jolted into wakefulness. Think God it's so beautiful!
I start up the motor. The chunky revving of the diesel engine is reassuring, a solid noise, a going to work noise that chases away the spindly fears of the night.

On the eastern horizon the sun is a smudge of pink. As I pass Eaton Grange a muntjac scuttles into the hedge. No one else on the road until I reach the A1. There's little traffic there: the odd rusty Tranny heading for a Sunday gaff, a Hamburger waggon or two, a BMW hurtling south at high speed. I turn on the radio. The religious programme on R4. It's all Easter stuff and paedo priests. I turn off the radio in case it taints the day. Listen instead to 'The Astounding Eyes of Rita', Middle Eastern music featuring oud, bass clarinet and various other instruments. Sinuous, curving, melancholy ecstatic music.

As I pass Stamford I peel the foil off my breakfast sandwich and savour it: smoked salmon, salad in gritty brown bread. I sip jasmine tea from my thermos cup. A little ritual. Don't allow myself this pleasure until I see the spires of Stamford churches. Consider one of the ironies of my life: I love old churches but loathe the singsong pontifications of priests and clergymen. Or should that be clergypersons?

Little pleasures. Finding a parking space on Jesus Lane. Church bells celebrating Easter. Talking to Greg about music. Drinking a coffee from his little waggon. Talking to Mike who sells treen about the geology of Leicester. Did you realise that granite is radioactive? Chatting to some students with that braying upper class accent that can be rather grating, about philosophy. Nietzsche's being taught now, you know, one of them tells me. The sun shining. Eating my couscous salad after sprinkling some hot chili sauce over it. Selling one of pewter repousse Sharon's Green Men. Packing up without a hitch. Driving home without the diversion through Huntingdon that made me late home last week. Listening to 'Pick of the Week' on R 4.

And then arriving in my local -The Wheel Inn- licking my lips in anticipation and drinking a nice hoppy bitter and eating their superb home made chips served with their delicious home made ketchup. Exchanging banter with a few other customers. Meeting Sharon, John and Thomas there.

Little pleasures adding up to a feeling that this day was a good day, another day on earth that was worth living and enjoying.

p.s Treen?

Thursday, 1 April 2010

The Map of the World.

Posted by Picasa This is the map of the world that Lee Collinson [aka Brilleaux] and myself produced one day at school when we should have been doing proper school work. This map makes a brief appearance in the film 'Oil city Confidential'. Canvey Island is in the centre coloured green.
Again this has nothing to do with markets but I love this pic so in it goes.

Oil City Confidential & Cognitive Ego Therapy

Chris Fenwick, 'arry [Me that is], Rico Daniels and the Canvey Club.
This is where we used to busk in the late sixties along with Lee Brilleaux and John Sparkes. Reactivated memories of this period of my life helped restore my sense of self worth.

Rico, the Salvager being interviewed by Julien Temple. Location: Hadleigh Castle.

Getting out of the Big Black Hole, continued...

Yes, Oil City helped. Got a phone call from George Hencken when I was off work with depression. At first I thought it was OCC. Health phoning up to arrange for my statutory brain check, but then Dr. Feelgood was mentioned and I was snapped out of my depressive stupor. A film! Would I go down to Canvey Island and be interviewed?! YES! ABSOLUTELY!*

So went down and took part in the filming. It was great. I really enjoyed myself. I met lots of people I hadn't met for years. There was beer, laughter, chatter. And no one treated me like something the cat had sicked up on the carpet. Julien Temple, George, old Feelgoods, Rico 'Le Salvager' talked to me as though I was a bona fide human being. That was the most therapeutic thing.

Cognitive stuff:

These guys are cool

They think I'm OK

These guys are cooler* than my bosses

[Who think I'm not OK]

So I'll go with their opinion:

I am OK.

By the way Rico's been ill recently but is now recovering. Best Wishes to you Rico. You're an inspiration! Google 'Le Salvager' to see his award winning trailer for his Discovery Channel series.

Look out for the film which is about the story of Dr. Feelgood. One of the best live bands ever.
I appear in it briefly I'm very proud to say.
More cognitive stuff:

I am cool* enough to be in this film.

Therefore I am not the repulsive emotional cripple I thought I was.

That's how the mind works! The restoration of self confidence!

Market trading connection [as Market Trading is what is what this blog is ostensibly about]? When I got my confidence back I was able to come back to market trading and enjoy it. It's not the sort of thing you can do if you are unsure of yourself.

*I never actually used the expression 'Absolutely' [too cliched] but it seemed appropriate in the context.
* Please allow for a degree of irony here.