Odds and Sods

Some Lesser-Known Collective Nouns

A distraction of smartphones.
A reckoning of spreadsheets.
An indolence of poets.
A conspiracy of subtweets.
 
A pile of haemorrhoids.
A bunion of personal trainers.
A grope of presidents.
A condescension of mansplainers.
 
An abundance of foodbanks.
An underfunding of schools.
A pathy of voters.
A cabinet of fools.
 
A collection correction of pedants.
A sesquipedality of long words.
An invention of collective nouns.
An oven glove of non sequiturs.

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Hold my hand while we jump off this cliff

‘Let’s jump off this cliff – it’ll be fun! A right laugh!’
urged all the people (well, I mean just over half
of those who had bothered to speak up at all).
I peered down at the rocks; it was a long way to fall.

I said, ‘This cliff’s more than three hundred feet high
and my doctor tells me if I jump I will die.’
‘Cliff-jumping’s fine!’ they said. ‘Don’t trust doctors, trust us!
We read all about it on the side of a bus.’

Worried, I met up with my local MP.
I shared my concerns. He was forced to agree:
‘Why the rocks below would smash you to bits!
Where did you get this idea of jumping off cliffs?’

‘It was the will of some of the people,’ I said
and his expression changed to another instead.
‘I think,’ he revised, ‘you’re being melodramatic.
The problem is you. You’re undemocratic.’

On the clifftop, we waited. In silence we stood.
Then a voice: ‘Remind me, why is cliff-jumping good?’
But we looked down at our shoes, baffled and stumped.
Then, out of embarrassment, we held hands and jumped.

Football’s Getting Homesick Blues

Harry’s gone for placement, dishin’ out the medicine,
Nation’s in the basement, despairin’ at the government,
The man in the waistcoat, looks out, jumps up,
Shoulder’s feeling pretty rough, readjusts his shirt cuffs.

You’re out, kids, but look what you did,
God knows when you’ll be doin’ it again,
Approached it the right way, makin’ lots of new friends,
Man in an England cap in the Wig and Pen
Goes and turns the sound down: that’s enough, thanks, Glenn.

Stones rocks, shirt red, Maguire leaps, big head,
Trippier in the heat puts balls in the box but
Think about how you play, don’t give the ball away,
The people in the pub say Raheem’ll score one day.

You’re out, kids, but look what you did,
Walk on your tip toes, tuck in your elbows,
Watch out for the long throws, dictate how the game flows
Keep the door closed, confidence grows,
It helps to have a proper plan and know which way the kicks go.

Ah, Dele sick, Dele well, group stages farewell
Team, squad, country gel, three lions, hearts swell,
Work hard, Lingard, get back now, Kyle,
Dig in, use guile, workin’ out our own style.

Look out, kids, you’re gonna get hit
By foulers, cheaters, penalty spot abusers,
Turnin’-up-the-heaters,
Pickford leapin’ and stickin’ out his left hand,
Build a team of leaders. Who was markin’ Mina?

Ah, get through, keep on, advance, romance,
Fortnite dance, IKEA, no fear, football gets near,
Free-kick, freak out, hearts lift, chance come, chance missed,
It’s grippin’, it’s gruelin’ but they’ve not picked up Mandzukic.

You’re out, kids, but look what you did,
Don’t hide down a manhole, think of all you handled,
Avoidin’ all the scandals, leadin’ by example,
Now see what you’ve begun, it’s time to move on,
Hard work, teamwork, relightin’ the candle.

Ten Rules for Aspiring Poets

1. Poetry does not have to rhyme.
Well, at least not all the time always.

2. Metaphors are great!
But mixing them is not so good.
If they start to fly in all directions,
then nip them in the bud.

3. Focus and concentration
are important skills to hone.
Turn the wi-fi off.
Don’t get distracted by your ph-

4. Avoid clichés like the plague.

5. Don’t do stuff that’s too vague.

6. The use of needlessly long words
may result in reader alienation.
Rein in your sesquipedalianism
in case it should cause obfuscation.

6. Always proof-read you’re work.
Accuracy can be it’s own reward!
And remember that the penis
mightier than the sword.

8. Haiku look easy
but plan ahead or you may
run out of sylla

9. Never ever follow rules.

Selected Proverbs

A fool and his hair are soon parted.
Do not put all your baskets on one egg.
People who live in glasshouses shouldn’t.
Summer comes before a Fall.

Don’t count your line drawings before they are hatched.
History repeats itself.
If at first you don’t suck seed, try, try a grain.
Incidents will happen.

A flat tyre will get you nowhere.
A watched pot gathers no moss.
Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to be Fish
and he’ll ask Kayleigh whether it’s too late to say he’s sorry.

He who hesitates is … um …
Don’t get mad, get even madder.
A leotard cannot change its spots.
History repeats itself.

Shameless Promotional Message

My bank manager has told me that I need to promote my book some more now that I’ve given up my proper job – or I’ll soon find myself on the breadline.

So, here’s a photo of it. It can be found in shops, some of which are mentioned in the link below:

Click here to find some of the places where you can buy my book

It publishes in paperback in the US tomorrow.

Thanks very much,

Brian

*End of shameless promotional message*

Paperback edition

Number Five Forty-Three

There’s a hole in my life where you really should be
Because I’m stuck on you but you’re not stuck on me.
Until I possess you, I shall never be free,
Panini sticker number five forty-three.

I don’t care for your Neymar or Lionel Messi.
You can shove your Ronaldo – of him, I’ve got three.
It’s not about quality but quantity for me,
and I have zero of Gabriel Gomez, you see.

And now my money’s all gone, unfortunately.
The bailiffs are here and my family’s left me.
But it was worth every penny, I’m sure you’ll agree
For Gabriel Gomez, number five forty-three.

Fixtures

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love nothing more
than to commune with Mother Nature.
But what can I do? It’s out of my hands:
Nigeria are playing Croatia.
 
What’s that? Another meal on your own?
You’re quite right, there is nothing bleaker.
But this is the big one. I’ve waited all day.
Switzerland – Costa Rica.
 
Sorry I shall miss your mum’s funeral
but I should be there in time for the wake.
Do understand, it’s Morocco – Iran
and for both teams there’s so much at stake.
 
I see that you’ve filed for divorce.
I’ll sign the papers as soon as I can,
just ten minutes more (plus time added on)
of Colombia versus Japan.

The Unsound Alphabet

The question ‘Can you spell that for me, please?’
when I am on the phone and ill at ease
is enough to fill my heart with dread
because the words that pop into my head

come randomly, unplanned, frenetic:
my examples panicked, unphonetic.
I should take time to think. Just wait a while.
But no, ‘A,’ I will blurt, ‘as in … “aisle”.’

“Bdellium” I declare to illustrate B
(bravo for knowing that’s gum from a tree).
No Charlie for me, rather “Czar” I will cry.
My D is “Djibouti”. My E is an “eye”.

At least with F, I cannot go wrong
although “floccinaucinihilipilification” is probably too long.
It’s like aural GBH. “Gnat” and “honour” don’t work.
My choice for I must be starting to “irk”.

For reasons unclear, my J is a “Juan”.
Of all the Ks I could choose, “knee” is the one.
For L, a place-name! But not Lima, oh no:
“Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.”

‘That’s right, M,’ I blather, ‘as in “mnemonic”.’
People generally “ngwee”, my N is moronic.
“Ouija” I offer. No Oscar for me.
For P, “pterodactyl”, for Q I use “quay”.

Which is the right “right” to write? It’s a farce!
They must think I’m talking out of my Rs.
I declare ‘S as in “sea”.’ I can’t take it back,
like T for “Tchaikovsky”, a tough nut to crack.

Then there’s “urn” and “volk”, I know it’s far-fetched.
My W attempt makes me feel such a “wretch”.
I talk of “Xylophones”, “Yttrium” and old “Zaragoza”.
All hopeless, unsound. I just shouldn’t bother.

She’s Opted Out of Me

She’s unsubscribed from all my lists.
She tells me I will not be missed.
She’d only joined when she was pissed.
She’s opted out of me.

She’s updated all her preferences.
She’s removed me from her references.
She can’t see what my relevance is.
She’s opted out of me.

She says that she is sick of me.
She claims she wants some privacy.
I’ve opted into misery
Now she’s opted out of me.