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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Onwards + Upwards...

It's great! It's Fantastic! It's Rapid! And it's a show stopper!

My home-made-extra-cycle is on the road. I've been out and about on the extended bike this week and it has turned heads everywhere I've been. A lot of people think it is some kind of tandem, others tell me it's crazy! But everyone agrees, they havn't seen anything quite like it before. Well, I have to say that I didn't invent it. Credit where credit is due, the good ol' boys at should get all the applause! If, and I hope you do, want to find out about this great thing I'm blogging on about! You should clink the link above and take a look at the wonderful slideshow the Xtracycle people have put together. I also, have had lots of photos taken of me riding my back-yard-special-home-made-extra-cycle.
I've been monitoring the FreeCycle mailings this past week and there's been some good things given away. I got in on the act myself after recieving a pc monitor, as mentioned last week. So, when a young girl came knocking on my door this week asking if I had an old radio she could listen to, I was only too happy to oblige and presented her with a working radio/cassette/cd player. The next thing I had the pleasure of giving away was a hand made bookcase, which was badly in need of a coat of paint and you guessed it, a new home. The third and final item on my gift list this week was a pair of Buzz Lightyear curtains, the young lady who took them away informed me that she intended to recycle them into a pair of matching Ra Ra skirts.
It's been a good week on the poetry front! As regular readers of this blog and STSTS.. already know, I have linked to a performance poetry web site called Write Out Loud! I put my profile on their site last week and this week I managed to upload a photo of me performing in a funny hat. So, if (and you really don't want to do this!) you want to see what I look like, you can clink the link in the right hand side bar or PRESS HERE. When you reach the Write Out Loud page you need to click on Poets' Showcase then click on Andy Sewina aka Danny Wise and you'll see my profile and something you wished you hadn't. Anyhow, on STSTS.. this week I have placed/posted two new poems. One is a love poem! Are you sure? Of course I'm sure, it's a love poem to my secret lover! She knows who she is! Don't you? Even I'm getting confused now! But a poem is a poem is a poem is a poem! Isn't it? Poetic licence, and all that jazz! The second poem is an off-the-wall advert kind of affair, almost a 'found poem' only I made it up, back in the days when I was writing one or two song lyrics a day. I thought, 'If I could just play that guitar, that's gathering dust in the corner...'
Techno overload! seems to be the order of the day, I managed to load-up/post a photo on one site, as mentioned earlier, then when I attempted to add one to my blogger profile the whole techno what? thing went mad! Resulting in me having to create this blog in aol as opposed to Mozilla Firefox as I usually do. So, if Proper Joe's looks a bit different this tuesday, it's probably because it is! This photo thing is really getting to me now! It was so easy to send a photo to Write Out Loud and so impossible to do the same thing at blogger! I really don't know where I went wrong, so I guess I'll try again in a few days time. Watch this space!
Andy Gilbert came to my house today (not the Leicestershire business man) with three bags of horse manure! How green's that? Not only did he supply the muck, he also dug it into my front garden for me! He didn't stop there, No, Andy Gilbert is really green, so green that everybody who knows him, calls him Green Gilbert! He then planted some rosemary that he had grown from his own cuttings and he followed that up with a gladioli plant that he had drained himself. Next, he cut back my roses with his special seceteurs and finally he brushed up all the mess he had made on the path! Leaving me to say a GREAT BIG Thank-You! To Mister Green Gilbert!
How's the On-demand-non-diet going then? Just trundling along, I say. This is my eighth week, having completed seven weeks by last monday morning. It's not difficult to continue, in fact it is quite easy, perhaps too easy, I think sometimes. I was reading about some of the London fashion models and how they think that they need to be wafer thin/slim, American size zero, to be allowed onto the catwalk. Some of these girls, and they are just girls, teenagers for the most part, literally starve themselves to capture the look! The worrying thing I read was that some of them are on a very similar eating order/disorder to me. I am taking high-protiens and little else and the weight/pounds falls off. My plan is to lose the weight first - then go on the diet! The diet, of course, will be my new eating regime, that I will embark upon after May Day when I have reached my target weight. The worrying thing about the girls was that, they're at the same place as me now, i.e they don't feel hungry anymore because all that protien acts like some kind of hunger suppressant. The difference with me, is that I can/will stop, when I reach my target. The poor model girls can't/won't, if they want to keep working.
Remember the book and the filum, The Day of The Jackal? Or how about The Odessa File? Or perhaps The Forth Protocol? Well all of the above and many many more thrillers were written by, you guessed it? Frederic Forsyth. The author, and I'm told, controversial journalist, was born on, you're right again, August 25 1938. Frederic Forsyth has won the Edgar Allan Poe Award on more than one occasion. You can find out more about him on this Dutch website or you can clink the link in the side-bar. Don't forget, if you share the same birthday, Aug25, as Frederic Forsyth and I do, you can either leave a comment at the bottom of this post or you can e-mail me at: and I'll give you a BIG write-up on this blogspot!
It's late at night, my eyes are red, it's time for me, to go to bed! So, what's been happening in Manchester this week? Well, Nic and I got to go to a party in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, it was in memory of our writer friend Eric Topp, who sadly died five years ago aged only 34. It was a somewhat nostalgic night as there were friends/writers there who we hadn't seen for a long time.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Come What May!...

I mentioned that I had joined Manchester Free Cycle a couple of weeks ago on this blog! Well today I made my first acquisition, a computer monitor. I had noticed that quite a few old crt screens are being given away as people upgrade to the newer flat-screen technology. I found that I needed a moniter as I have two very old computers, both inherited, that I now need to recover information from as I am compiling a book for Nicola entitled Fifty Bites! No, it's not a vampire novel or anything of that ilk. It is quite simply a collection of the first fifty editorials from her monthly Newsletter Raw Meat. So, a very BIG thank-you to the kind man who donated the crt monitor that will make this project a whole lot easier. And oh yes! if you want to get some FREE stuff why don't you check out your local free cycle? You can clink the link to Manchester Free Cycle here!
So, what's new on the STSTS.. blog this Tuesday? This week I have posted the title poem from my Salford collection, it's called Cowardy custards. It is an observational true-life portrait of a gang of little kids on Salford Ski Slope. (Bet not many people know about that.) Also, this week I have linked to WriteOutLoud which is a belting site promoting performance poetry. They very generously agreed to accept my profile and have listed me on their great site. I have had some photo's taken and guess what? I'm going to post them as soon as poss not only on WriteOutLoud but also on STSTS! So, if you really wanna know what I look like...
Well, I've had a really good week on the cycling front, I haven't located a Ziggy Bike yet but I have built (almost!) my own version of the American xtracycle. I put it together from a couple of old cycles I bought for bobbins when I was a member of Manchester Lets. In case you don't know Lets stands for Local Exchange Trading System and bobbins and threads were the currency that the Manchester Lets people traded in. I bought two cycles from another member about ten years ago, a gents sports bike for myself and a ladies racer for Nic's live-in helper. Anyhow, I sawed the ladies bike in half and stripped everything off the frame. I then inserted a wheel axel in the bottom bracket and bolted it up tight between the rear drop-outs of the mens frame, after removing the back wheel, of course. I then put the back wheel onto the bolt-on bit of the ladies frame and BINGO! I had my very own extra cycle! Well? Not quite, there was a little more to do, like extending the gear cable and rear brake cable, not to mention the chain. Then when I tried it I found the dual-frame needed strenthening. I used a makeshift threaded bolt and four nuts, after drilling a hole thru the seat tube on both frames. It does work, but really it needs welding. You can buy a kit from Xtracycle in America for about $400 that does the job properly but who's going to invest that much candy in a cycle in Manchester when a bike is stolen every 37 seconds in Britain.
Canal what? Not me! No it was those Coronation Street people, showing off the oldest proper canal in Britain the Bridgewater, at Castlefield basin, this week just gone. If you saw the episode with Ashley's wife and her new friend walking under the Victorian overhead railway lines that is. If you missed that one then you may well have caught a glimpse of the Manchester Ship Canal a couple of episodes later. Corra used the Lowry gallery at Salford Quays as a hotel in a sordid scene with an escort girl! The girl in question was Les Battersby's wayward daughter and the ship canal scene was when Les and his ex wife Janice arrived in a private-hire taxi (mini-cab) outside the fictional Bowden Hotel. See, it wasn't me! canal walking, was it? In case you don't know, I should explain Coronation Street is a long running British soap opera made in Manchester by Granada Tv and has been running for well over forty years!
This weeks Green Gilbert nomination goes to Andy Gilbert a business consultant from Leicestershire. He plans to give-away £65,000 that he won on a Tv show. He says that he is going to give £1,000 each to sixty-five deserving people. Don't bother sending in a begging letter because Mr Gilbert has ideas of his own as to who he should distribute the loot to. How green is that? Well, he's not just giving the money away because he's a 'nice chap' he's doing it so he can write a book about the whole experience and hopefully make ten times the prize money. A case of 'Cast your bread upon the waters and in many days it will be returned to you tenfold' perhaps!
I have now reached the half way stage on my non-diet, I still haven't weighed myself but the flab continues to melt. The eating regime is ok, it doesn't bother me that I have to cook a gourmet meal each evening for some of Europes most critical starvers, namely Nic + Jack. What I have noticed though is that portion size plays a big part in weight control. I cook less food than before but still there is some left over most days. In the past I would have eaten up any left-overs in addition to eating a larger plate of food than Nic or Jack. So, I can see that this is an area I will have to deal with after I start my life changing diet on May Day! I have completed six weeks of the projected twelve that I have set aside to reach my target weight. Three months isn't a long time in anybody's life but I can tell you when your counting the days - IT DRAGS!
Guess what? You guessed it! City are out of the FA cup! and that's official! So, what have they got to play for this season? Well, good question! The answer of course is simply survival! They now find themselves in a relegation battle near the foot of the premiership. The only good news is that we actually won away from home at the weekend after losing the previous six. It's strange how people, myself included, say 'they' when talking about their team losing and 'we' when they're winning. I had a kick about with Jack and his friends the other day and I would really like to play in a competitive match again - maybe I can start an old codgers league!

Mia Zapata born August 25 1965. Mia was the lead singer with Seattle indie band The Gits. Sadly, she was raped and murdered just four days before my son Jack was born in July 1993. If you would like to find out more about this unique singer you can clink the link above to The Gits web site.
If your birthday falls on the same day as mine and Mia's, August 25, you can write in and I'll post your details on this blog! That's all folks!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Can't do, won't do!

Everybody in my family, all of my brothers and all of their children and all of their friends are BLUES! and in Manchester that means we are City fans, supporters, spectators, followers, call us what you will but we are BLUE! all the way through. That is until last week, when my Jack came home with a Uni-ted! shirt. It's not his fault really as he hadn't been to many matches and didn't see himself as a football follower at all. I must say though, that all of the games he has been to were to watch City. The sad thing is that Jack has only just taken up playing football and when he went to buy a kit, with his own money, the shop wanted £45 for a City shirt and only £20 for last seasons United change strip in blue. Well, I did tell him to make sure he got a blue shirt, so you're quite right - it's my fault.
Last week I mentioned that my birthday was on August 25. And I asked if anybody else shared the same aniversary? Well, it seems that quite a lot of people do. So, each week I intend to feature one of the amazing people who were born on the same day of the year as me. Just to give you an idea of who I'm talking about, I'm going to chuck some names into the ring. Billy Ray Cyrus 1961, Elvis Costello 1954, Gene Simmons 1949, Leonard Bernstein 1918. Well, as you can see there are a few singers and songwriters on my list, want some more? How about actors? They don't come much bigger than this one! Sean Connery 1930, Writers? How about Frederick Forsyth 1938, or Martin Amis 1949. Film directors? Tim Burton 1958. Models? Claudia Schiffer 1970. On the downside, I've been told that Atilla the Hun was also born on this day, I'll have to research that one myself! Finally, let's not forget Mia Zapata 1965. And of course, Grandmaster Gareth from Misty's Big Adventure. Gareth Jones 1980.
Just to let you know that the lift thing finally got SORTED! You may remember me moaning about Nicola's lift (that's elevator in USA) keeping me awake at night, it had an awful buzzing noise like a de-tuned radio and the only solution was to turn the damned thing off. The problem was, the switch had been installed downstairs at the top of my front room chimney breast nine feet high and well out of my reach. The answer was of course to have the switch moved to the upstairs bedroom where I could control it myself. So, how long did it take? Well, just thirty minutes for the certified electrician to fix it and nine months of waiting for his certified self to appear! Still it's SORTED now!
My really bad poetry blog gets updated on a tuesday, more or less at the same time as Proper Joe's. So, what's on STSTS this week? Well, I've put a song lyric from a stupid song that I've been singing round the house for the last seven or eight years or so. It's called Shirley and it's subtitled She's such a nice girl. you can clink the link if you want to check it out but I will warn you...
Everybody's going really green these days and cycling is the big thing. We all want the latest bike, the fastest or the shiniest or the most comfortable one we can find. Jack has a BMX so does Nicola's helper Jessica. Ruth, Nic's other helper has an old 1970's Puch mini-cycle, which is a fine looking machine, complete with dynamo to work the fore and aft lights. I ride a bog standard MTB but I would like to make/buy a Ziggy bike so we/I can take Nic on trips with us in the wheelchair she calls Ziggy. I was looking at wheelchair cycles (Ziggy Bikes) on the internet and there are some interesting ones available, at a price! And guess what? We've got one - a picture of one that is, as a screensaver on this computer.
How's the non-diet going? Very well, thanks for asking! This is week six and I can't say that time is flying - if anything, it's dragging a bit and the monotony of high protiens period! is beginning to bore me. For example, we went to Nic's Dad's 'seventieth birthday do' the other night at a restaurant in the Manchester suburb of Didsbury Village. All very nice, but there wasn't much on the menu that I could eat. Just take the night off, and start again tomorrow, it won't kill you! will it? Well, no! It won't kill me, but according to Dr Stillman (my non-diet guru) just one scoop of ice cream could set me back three days. So, no I didn't take the night off, I just did the boring thing and ordered the steamed mussels!
I used to write/edit a daft funzine called Space Travel for Beginners. In this publication we had a character called Green Gilbert and I was just thinking that it might be fun to resurrect him as he's been lying dormant for much too long. So, watch this space! By the way, I must tell you that I first met Green Gilbert many years ago when I was the school milk monitor. My job was to put the straws into the 1/3rd. pint bottles by piercing the silver top with the straw and to hand out the strawed bottles to the girls in my class. Well, there was one lad in my class called Smiffy, everybody called him Whiffy! Anyway, Whiffy hated girls and do you know what he did to their milk? He carefully peeled off the silver top and spat a dirty big greeny (green gilbert) into the milk, stirred it in with the straw and expertly replaced the top.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Hi, and welcome back to Proper Joe's. Nicola's Newsletter Raw Meat.. is online from today and this issue RM#78 is dedicated to the memory of our writer friend Eric Topp. Eric died five years ago, aged only 34. Amazingly, he had written thirteen novels. Three of them have been published posthumously. You can clink the link to Nicola's blog/Newsletter at:
I would be telling pork pies if I said I didn't have a beer belly, 'cos I do look like a roly poly. But the good news is, that I haven't actually had a beer for over four weeks. In fact no alcohol has so much as passed my lips over the last thirty days. So, even though I may appear to have a beer belly - there's no beer in it! Have I missed it? Not really, but I am getting a bit sick and tired of drinking diet coke. You see, as my regular readers will tell you, I'm on a non-diet. What do I mean by the term 'non-diet'? Good question, but I'm glad you asked. You see, what I'm doing against all medical advice, (don't try this at home) is losing the weight first and then going on the diet.
Diet to order, eat on demand! call it what you will but this non-diet is the easiest way for most people to shed excess fat fast. You can eat as much as you wish, as many times during the day as you desire, without any weighing out or counting calories. In addition to the generous amount of food you can consume, you can also drink as many cups of tea or coffee as you like and unlimited quantities of diet cola/other non-calorific sodas. But just like in real life there are some rules to follow. Water is the BIG one. You must drink a minimum of four pints of water every day. That's eight 10 oz glasses! The other thing is, that the food you eat must be chicken, fish, seafoods, eggs, skimmed milk cheeses, lean meat, no fat, no carbohydrates, no dairy, no bread, no sugar, no milk in your tea or coffee. I guess you get the picture.
So, I'm now on week five of The Doctors Quick Weight Loss Diet and although I've not bothered to weigh myself since the end of the first week, I can confidently report that I'm well on course to reach my target weight by May Day. In fact, I believe that I'm doing so well that it may only take me eight weeks to achieve my goal, instead of the twelve weeks that I had anticipated. Three days ago I managed to squeeze into the next size down jeans. I'm sitting here at the keyboard in 32 inch waist jeans, ok I've got a big fat beer style belly lurking over the top of them but nonetheless...
I've mentioned this before, I know, and I apologise in advance for potentially boring you. Exercise is a new thing to me, of course we all take exercise to some degree. Walking, cycling, household chores etc. and personally I've played a lot of football in the past - but the point I'm trying to make is that I never saw the bread + butter, run of the mill type of activities as exercise. Not like the things I have started doing recently, like press-ups and sit-ups and stretching and lifting a few light weights. These exercise things are amazing, just a few minutes of discipline gives you the same satisfaction as eating a meal. How's that for a Proper Joe's trick?
I don't know if any of you ever clink the link to my really bad poetry blog: StraightTalkingStreetTalkingSweet... but the links are here if you want to get really bored!
Before I go out into the wet Manchester night, I've just had a great idea! My birthday is on August the 25th. And I've just realised that I'm not alone! Hundreds, thousands, perhaps millions of people share that same aniversary. Maybe even you! So, if you are one of the chosen few people who share August 25 as their birthday, please leave a comment on this blog! Hey and if you've got your own web site why don't we do an exchange link? Readers, please write in with your ideas of how I/we might develop this idea.