A memory of a friend

“You’re such a tory.” He sneered and waved his bottle of beer at me like a boozy lightsaber flat on batteries.

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.

“Pedders, I…”

But he, like a monkey swinging through a communist forest had already reached for another branch.

“You think it’s okay for people to suffer while you fudging (He didn’t say ‘fudging’) tories live the high life? Huh?”

We were seated on the stern of a narrowboat, puttering through the english countryside on one of the most beautiful days of 2015. Pedders had removed his shirt, in his mind becoming a sexual flytrap to any of the middle aged women who were coming up the canal in the opposite direction.

“She defo wanted a piece.” Pedders said as he turned to watch the flustered elderly woman pass by.

“She can hear you mate.”

“Well,” Pedders, never to be unsettled by such annoyances as the sensibilities of narrow boat life, shrugged. “She did want a piece.” He smiled and winked at the escaping boat which I noticed had sped up.

His head snapped back round. “Anyway, you think it’s alright for people to go to food banks whilst bankers drink champagne in hot tubs in the alps?”

I briefly thought of the squat little woman who was the manager of my bank bobbing around like a plump wrinkled pea with white capped mountains in the background. I wished I hadn’t.

Not for the first time on this trip, I considered pushing Pedders into the canal for just a little peace. Instead, I turned my face to the sun, took a swig of beer and let his socialist rant break over me.

Most that read this will have been lucky enough to know the friend I depict here. Tragically this friend recently left our midsts. For those of you who knew him, my heart felt sympathy goes out to you and yet, even more sympathy goes out to those who didn’t know him. He was a rare and beautiful human, thoughtful, kind with a burning need for justice and, ultimately, a disappointment that justice wasn’t forthcoming in the world.

In itself, this snapshot memory I have shown you does not do him justice, it is a fragment of the person he was but, it is my fragment to remember, and when I do it makes me smile.

This didn’t say much, but it said a little. Sometimes that is enough.

But seriously, I was so close to pushing him in the water.

For Neil Pedly, my departed friend.

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11 reasons why dating a blind guy is awesome

11 reasons why dating a blind guy is awesome

The bar was steamy and full of the scent of alcohol, perfume and sweat. I threw a smile her way and hoped to hell I wasn’t smiling at the wrong person.. Again.

I cleared my throat, it was time to escalate this situation, simply standing there, poised with a Scotch and looking dashing probably wasn’t going to close this deal. I touched her lightly on the forearm and leant in.

“You’re beautiful you know?”

She giggled and I heard the smile in her voice as she looked up at me and said:

“Oh Olz, that’s lovely. Thank you.…”

She paused. Angel Olz, my guardian in these situations and perpetually balanced on my left shoulder stirred. He’d smelled smoke, heard a bump in the night, felt the changing of the wind. In short, he new that something was amiss.

“Hang on a second, how do you know I’m beautiful? You can’t see me.”

I felt the conversational scree on which I was standing begin to shift. I took a swig of my drink, coughed as it went down the wrong way before plonking the glass back down on the slick bar.

“I can hear it in your voice?” I considered what I had just said and removed the question mark.

“I can hear it in your voice.” Yes, that sounded better. Far more self assured. Angel Olz punched the air and grinned. Two pompoms appeared in his hands as he went into a cheerleader routine.

“I don’t believe you.”

“You smell nice.” Angel Olz paused, pompoms spread and frowned.

“So you’re complimenting my perfume?”

I felt the rockslide still beneath my feet as I hit firmer ground.

“Yes, yes I am.” Angel Olz gave me a wide smile and a thumbs up.

“But then, you’re not complimenting me are you, just my perfume?”

I scrambled for something to say. It had been going so well, laughter, flirting, physical contact and with that thought, my big stupid mouth opened. Angel Olz leapt forward, pompoms extended to plug the widening hole… But, he was too late.

“I felt your side boob as you were guiding me?”

Angel Olz put his face in his hands and began to weep.

. There was a disturbance in the air, a waft of intoxicating perfume before the gin and tonic splashed into my face.

I sighed, sucked at my damp collar and thought, not for the first time:

“This dating lark is hard.”

Blind dating

It’s difficult for anyone to meet the right person, sighted or not. People will often avoid asking the questions which they should ask. In any relationship we look for common ground and sometimes, when it’s hard to find, we have to build the foundations ourselves. We need to get the big awkward questions out the way so we can move on, especially in the dating situations. Questions like:

  • “How much can you actually see?”

  • “Can you manage to use the toilet alone?”

  • “Do you need help with cutting up your food?”

  • “Would you like another scotch?”

I, self appointed ambassador for all Face Feelers. (Blind people), aim debunk these points of contention and, hopefully, in my own little way, make the world just that little bit better.

As an aside, a girl did actually make me feel her face at the weekend, she then felt mine even though she could see.

“Mummy, why are those two people rubbing each other’s faces?” Asks fictional child.

“Stop looking,” Replies the overweight and flustered mother. “They must be high.”

So, I’d like to take this opportunity to explain why dating a blind guy is actually pretty damn great.

In marketing they have a billion and sixty-three acronyms, that’s not an exaggeration, I counted them, one of which is USP, unique Selling Point. So, to all the girls out there that wonder what the benefits of dating a blind guy are, here goes:

1. Your looks

You’re just as beautiful first thing in the morning as you are when you are ready to go out: This is actually a chat-up line I’ve used a few times, all the better because it’s true. Sadly it can work both ways so some girlfriends will take advantage to go out looking like they’ve just woken up, bed breath and all… Gross.

2. Dinner dates

At dinner you can have half a jar of spaghetti on your face, parmesan in your hair and a courgette protruding from your bra and I really won’t care… That is, right up until you start attracting seagulls.

3. Other women

Not that I’m a polygamous man by nature, but I can’t have my head turned by another woman unless caught off guard by an errant handbag or any other similar violations of my personal space.

4. Power cuts

Think about it… In the dark I’m a demon in more ways than one ;)… Whilst your still fumbling around for a flashlight I’ve already opened a bottle of wine, whipped up a delicious midnight snack and popped on my Spongebob onesie before I return to take your hand and lead you through the dark. Hey, you do it for me.

5. I make you look good.

There is a certain cool factor to looking after others. In the past I have been treated like a fabulous accessory with women fighting over who gets to guide me. Plus, by helping out a blind guy you get some serious karmic credit which means you can totally push old people out the way at supermarket checkouts without feeling an ounce of guilt.

6. We can skip queues

It’s kinda funny that this happens as I’m pretty sure blind people can queue just as well as anyone else but, hey, I’ll take it and you should too though, with a warning. I have also been refused and consequently kicked out of nightclubs for arguing that I should only pay half price as I can’t see the shitty decor.

7. Your outfits

Don’t push this point. Eventually I will work out if you’re wearing, say, scuba gear or a clown costume.

8. Drunken stability

I can be used as a support if you are unsteady on your feet due to alcohol. The great thing is that it still looks like you’re helping me.

9. I’m entitled to a guide dog

Everyone loves dogs and, if you don’t, well, we’re probably not going to get on. Just remember, the date is with me, not the dog…

10. Your driving

Until you start swearing, swerving and slamming on the anchors, I will be none the wiser that you are a danger to hedges,, pedestrians and, more importantly, me.

11. Loving acts of kindness

Whilst sleeping, you can draw a penis on my forehead and I won’t know for days.

If you want to read further adventures of Olz, check out Invisible Shores – South America, a blind backpackers muddled memoirs.

Art is subjective… #100WordTales

New year’s day has come and gone. Well wishing has faded to a murmur and new year’s resolutions flutter their and amniotic fluid slicked wings in a hope that they’ll last more than a couple of weeks.

This time of year is the time when writers review their goals, a perfect time to start that book, or that play, all the while focusing on the completed article, imagining the interviews, the accolades and maybe the cameo in the film version… Believe me, I’ve been there and will be again. We resolve to talk about it too, rather than doing anything as ridiculous as actually, well, write it.

All over the internet blogs open like hungry maws waiting to snap at internet pedestrians heels, gobbling away that commodity we value so much, time.

And so, my blog will join that bouquet of carnivorous blooms and, dear reader, if you have come this far, your soul is mine!…

You may have noticed that over the last couple of weeks I’ve been writing flash fiction; but a hundred words, a concept introduced to me by a friend. It’s a challenge which I find fascinating, to be able to condense an idea into something you’ll read in under a minute and yet will survive longer than those fledgling new year’s resolutions? Well, I’m game. Here is my latest 100 word story, maybe this carnivorous internet bloom will bare fruit after all…

This one is entitled… Art is subjective, and, if I were to tell you what it was about, well, that would be cheating wouldn’t it?

Art is subjective

They always ran away screaming and he never understood why. What he did understand was that it broke his artists heart. All that time, seeking the majesty in their faces, in their posture. Teasing out their soul to lay bare on the canvas. He saw beyond the frills and decorations, passed the wrinkles and wattles to their essence, their component beauty.

He could still hear the fading clack of high heels as his latest model sped away. He sighed, carefully lifted the portrait, took it into his private gallery and hung it with all the other paintings of dismembered corpses.

Harbinger

It was a chilly Monday morning when the man in the dark trench coat, limped up the garden path to deliver the news. I stood at the kitchen window with a steaming cup of black coffee in my hand. I watched as he unlatched the garden gate and opened it with a squeal of protesting hinges. I watched as he carefully closed it behind him and started his slow progress to my front door. I watched as he noticed me watching, I saw it in his eyes, and it was then that I knew that my wife was finally dead.

A memory of snow

“A long time ago, in the very depths of Earth’s winter, we had a festival. People sang carols, ate delicious food and exchanged gifts, and it would snow.”

“Snow?” The child’s eyes were wide as she gazed at her grandfather.

“Yes, snow; pure white, cold as ice. It fell in pretty flakes from the sky and settled until the snow was thick and blanketed everything. Every house, every road, every field, every tree, until the whole world was pure white.” He sighed. “It was just beautiful.”

“Do you miss it Grandpa? Earth I mean?”

The old man could only nod.

Get your copies by ChristmasInvisible Shores: South America: Amazon.co.uk: Oliver Kennett

So, it is here… Rather than mess about giving it a big build up… I’ve just sent you the order page… Do with it as you will…

Merry Christmas…

Olz X

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Invisible Shores: South AmericaPaperback – 13 Nov 2015

by Oliver Kennett (Author)

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Holding the baby… An author’s perspective

Winter has certainly come. I had to break the ice on the toilet this morning and snap several unfortunate dogs off lamp posts.

I know I keep saying this but, the book is nearly here! But it is this time. The proofs arrived yesterday and today I will be posting them out to a lucky few, who I will then hound mercilessly to read and check for any overlooked errors.

I do have a book cover but, well, I think you can wait a couple of weeks. It looks fantastic, or so I’m told. It’s very exciting.

If I’m honest, I wasn’t too bothered about the whole, holding the final book, thing. A lot of authors say that it is a great feeling to touch something which they have created, a conceptual concept made physical. My thinking was, well, I could be holding any book but, as usual, the world prooved me wrong. It was good to know that weight in my hand was a real book which I had created. I assume it could be compared, though distantly, with holding your child for the first time, though this papery sporn is quieter and smells better.

I’m also looking to do the audio book. I’m tossing up whether to have a professional read it for your listening pleasure or to do it myself. I’d rather do it myself but my reading speed in brail isn’t great so I’ll have to have a think about how I can make it work. I’m sure there is a way.

Until next time, which I hope will be the announcement that the book is now available to buy, keep warm, keep safe and keep reading.

O X

If you’re squeamish… Probably better that you don’t read this

Hi,

All is going to plan with Invisible Shores and it should be out by the end of the month and, ofcourse, I’ll keep you updated. Until then here is a little story I wrote a couple of years back.

It’s always struck me that murder would be most easily done at this time of year, for who suspects the slumped corpse on halloween or the percussive crack on bonfire night?

This will be a little dark, and will be a little twisted. Hope you enjoy.

O

BONFIRE

It came in the instant between now.. and now. The man in the dark suit did not see his attacker and by the time the needle was pulled from his arm, the paralysis had spread.

He is no more than an Armani clad puppet that lolls and flops as it is dragged from the alley. I observe, I see all, and will claim all, so, in this moment, I follow the stooped silhouette that is stark against the street light.

I follow now, I have business this night. Above rooftops, the sky is brilliant, great spreading pools of colour, explosions like gods applauding, that is, if there were any gods apart from me.

An engine thrums to life, headlights swing across a shop front, the mannequins appear startled in the harsh light, before the blush of night reclaims them. The rear lights of the Renault lure me on.

Through this night of sparkling stars we speed, phantoms of our own devising. The hedgerows sweeping past, their branches are uncertain claws. The car slows, turns, and this is the field. A great bonfire roars in its centre.

The embers fly, fading from white, to silver, to gold and orange before fading to the sly red of a dragons eye. Small, gloved fingers clutch a spitting, hissing wand of light. “J”, an “a”, an “m”, an “e” and finally an “s”. And now, there is a scream.

The rocket slips the grasp of gravity and hurtles towards the stars. It’s flight slows, and now slower, and now slower still. Gravity reaches high with invisible hands to reclaim the fugitive, which suddenly bursts into sound and light until gravity’s hands clutch only a charred husk.

Other hands have been busy, on the rear seat of the Renault sprawls a life sized doll; an absurd, bulging creature made of sacking and straw.

Polished shoes poke through the bottom of the baggy trousers, while clumpy gloves complete the arms. The head, a balloon, it swells and contracts, swells and contracts… “I’m back!” The man shouts.

Children surround him. “Have you got him, have you got the Guy Fawkes?” He kneels to hug the enquiring child. “Shall we throw him on?” It is a stage whisper and the children shout: “Yes, yes, yes!” While a silent voice screams: “No, no, no!” , “Let me!” the man intercepts reaching hands, “I’ll take him.”

He stoops, and rises with the guy in his arms. He capers, the children laugh, “Its not that heavy,” observes a girl in a pink bobble hat, “he’s just made of straw.

The man continues to smile, and totter beneath the burden, the children laugh again as they follow him to the dancing flames. “After three?” “One …” The children say, “two” they cry, “Three” they scream … The clothes of the guy catch quickly, flashing from dull brown into flickering orange, and then something beneath the sacking begins to crisp.

I look down on the blackening guy. The rubber of the balloon has melted. I can now see the shape of the secret hidden within..And now, to business.

Invisible Shores – South America… Coming soon

Hi!

I need to begin by apologising for my prolonged silence. My book writing has been on hold for a time whilst I’ve been focused on other ventures. Last you probably heard was that ‘Invisible Shores’, the book about myself and two friends travelling around South America, was on it’s way… That was well over a year ago, maybe two.

Now, it really is on it’s way. After incessant bullying from friends and family it has been dragged out of storage and beaten like a ginger… Uh, rug. Yesterday it flapped off to be proofed and laid out for printing. It will be out by the end of next month. Of course, I’ll let you know closer to the time and pray that you buy it and read it with a favourable eye.

Thanks for sticking around. I promise not to abandon you again.

O x

Oh God, not God…

This week I have mostly been ranting about God… A terrible and ill advised habit of mine. That reminds me of a book I was going to right for people addicted to nuns, ‘kicking the habit’… Anyway, I digress. It all started with me reading A prayer for Owen Meany, a book which I highly recommend. It deals with faith, friendship and errant baseballs.

I am not a religious man, but what this book made me think was that faith is it’s own reward, to understand that we are small, we are insignificant and yet we are part of something great and huge and full of wonder, well that’s pretty cool. There are many routes to this of course, science is one, to be fascinated by everything in our existence from small to huge, well that’s going to give you the view that there is something behind it all.

It’s mbar isn’t it? I am so affected by books or films… I watched Ironman and thought myself to be some multimillionaire genius… Which I’m not, despite the rumours. I read a book about friendship and faith and now I’m galavanting about making friends and blathering about God and what it is to believe… You should have seen me after I read The devil wears Prada

Aside from preaching at people about some invisible rubbish… I fell out of a sink… I’d like to elaborate, but I feel you may judge me harshly dear reader… The book cover is also coming along. I’m starting another project, I’ll let you know about it soon. Have a good weekend. O