Wood Green chopping city

I’ve shown you how to chip,
I’ve shown you how to chop,
I’ve shown you how to dice and slice.

These sad people who spend
all their time chopping stuff up
in the kitchen – all you need’s just
three cuts across like this.
You won’t find an onion chopper any quicker!

They’re not cheap.
If you’re looking for cheap stuff getahtofere.
I’ve been using this same machine
on my demonstrations for fifteen years.

And you get a free spirally cutter, look –
you can use the peel for earrings.
There’s a booklet with both words and pictures
so if you can’t read the words, just look at the pictures.

They’re £24.95 on TV,
so you’re saving almost a fiver.
If you can’t afford it today,
stick to the knife,
don’t bother me,
Not bein’ rude,
but I don’t have to live in your house.

The patter of a cockney guy demonstrating an elaborate kitchen vegetable cutting machine in Wood Green Shopping City, London, 2004. Submitted by Richard Tyrone Jones.

Scientific American

You sink into their brains
a little socket with a screw on it
and the electrode can then
be screwed deeper and deeper
into the brainstem,

and you can test at any moment
according to the depth,
which goes at fractions of the mm,
what you’re stimulating,

and these creatures are not
merely stimulated by wire,
they’re fitted with a miniature
radio receiver so that they can be
communicated with at a distance.

The technique is very ingenious.
I mean you could press a button
and a sleeping chicken would jump up
and run about, or an active chicken

would suddenly sit down and go to sleep,
or a hen would sit down and act
like she’s hatching out an egg,
or a fighting rooster would go into depression.

Taken from Aldous Huxley’s speech “The Ultimate Revolution“, given on 20th March 1962 at Berkeley Language Center. Submitted by Howie Good.

Glance sideways

Glance sideways into the wings,
and you see the tacky preparations
for the triumphant public event.

You see your beautiful suit deconstructed,
the tailor’s chalk lines, the unsecured seams.
You see that your life is a charade,
that the scenery is cardboard,
that the paint is peeling,
the red carpet fraying

and if you linger you will notice the oily devotion
fade from the faces of your subjects,
and you will see their retreating backs
as they turn up their collars
and button their coats

and walk away into real life.

(From Royal Bodies by Hilary Mantel. Submitted by Angi Holden)

Poets say

science takes away
from the beauty of stars –
mere globs
of gas atoms

Nothing is “mere”.
I too see the stars
on a desert night
and feel them.

But do I see less or more?

What is the pattern,
or the meaning,
or why?

It does not do harm
to the mystery
to know a little more about it.

Far more marvellous
is the truth
than any artists
of the past
imagined it.

From The Feynman Lectures on Physics (1964). Submitted by Lisa Oliver.

Mother Tongue

John have you got your umbrella
I think it’s going to rain. Can you
come play with me? If I told you
once I told you a hundred times.

Things here just aren’t the same without
Mother, I will now sign your
affectionate brother James. Oh
what am I going to do? So

I said to her I said if he
thinks she’s going to stand for that but
then there’s his arthritis poor thing
and no work. I love you. I hate

you. I hate liver. Joan dear did
you feed the sheep, don’t just stand around
mooning. Tell me what they said, tell
me what you did. Oh how my feet

do hurt. My heart is breaking. Touch
me here, touch me again. Once bit
twice shy. You look like what the cat
dragged in. What a beautiful night.

Good morning, hello, goodbye, have
a nice day, thanks. God damn you to
hell you lying cheat. Pass the soy
sauce please. Oh shit. Is it grandma’s

own sweet pretty dear? What am I
going to tell her? There there don’t
cry. Go to sleep now, go to sleep….
Don’t go to sleep!

Taken from a commencement address given by Ursula le Guin at Bryn Mawr College, 1986. Submitted by Jim.

The Cut

When I was first elected as a
councillor in Cambridge – many years ago,
I went to a budget survey meeting
with the public in a local shopping
centre which the then Labour council had

I was handed a form which gave a list
of spending areas for the budget
debate. It said:

Please tick all those areas where
you would like to see more spending.

I am a small state Conservative in
some ways, and I found many items on
which I wanted to spend more. I was
terribly aware of what went on in
my ward – the lack of provision for young
people, the need to do more in many
areas – and I wanted to tick
many boxes.

However, the Labour council had
sensibly included a proviso,
which said:

All we ask is that for every
box you tick to give more money,
you identify another
item on which you want to spend

Extract from a speech by MP Graham Stuart given in the House of Commons on the 19th January 2011. Submitted by Marika Rose.