31 December 2011

Happy new year

For my family, friends and Blog comrades across the world:

godt nytår
gelukkig nieuwjaar
bonne année
prost Neujahr
שנה טובה
ath bhliain faoi mhaise
felice anno nuovo
laimīgu Jauno gadu
 sâle no mobârak
szczęśliwego nowego roku
feliz ano novo
un an nou fericit
С Новым Годом
bliadhna mhath ur
 feliz año nuevo

Let's hope 2012 is not as shot as 2011. Sadly in some respects I fear it will be a lot worse, especially in relation to Iran

Something else new to listen to next year

This is MuHa. They are based in Nottiingham. The guitarist Dmitry is a friend of a friend of mine in Latvia.

As the drumbeats of war with Iran get louder...

Just a few words from three great Iranian women to ponder.

It is only through literature that one can put oneself in someone else’s shoes and understand the other’s different and contradictory sides and refrain from becoming too ruthless. Outside the sphere of literature only one aspect of individuals is revealed. But if you understand their different dimensions you cannot easily murder them. . .

Azar Nafisi - From Reading Lolita in Tehran

The idea of cultural relativism is nothing but an excuse to violate human rights.

Shirin Ebadi

It's time to mow the flowers,
don't procrastinate.
Fetch the sickles, come,
don't spare a single tulip in the fields.
The meadows are in bloom:
who has ever seen such insolence?
The grass is growing again:
step nowhere else but on its head.
Blossoms are opening on every branch,
exposing the happiness in their hearts:
such colorful exhibitions must be stopped.
Bring your scalpels to the meadow
to cut out the eyes of flowers.
So that none may see or desire,
let not a seeing eye remain.
I fear the narcissus is spreading corruption:
stop its displays in a golden bowl
on a six-sided tray.
What is the use of your ax,
if not to chop down the elm tree?
In the maple's branches
allow not a single bird a moment's rest.
My poems and the wild mint
bear messages and perfumes.
Don't let them create a riot with their wild singing.
My heart is greener than green,
flowers sprout from the mud and water of my being.
Don't let me stand, if you are the enemies of Spring.

Simin Behbahani, the Lioness of Iran

Translation. by Farzaneh Milani and Kaveh Safa, Strange Times, My Dear: The PEN Anthology of Contemporary Iranian Lit (Arcade). THis poem was found here

As much as I loathe the mullahs, Ahmadinejad and his lackeys, the Waffen SS-alikes that are the Revolutionary Guards and the Einsatzgrupen in being that are the Baseej militia units (I hope to see each and every one of these bastards crushed, but by the people of Iran), any pre-emptive strike on Iran would be a disaster. It legitimise each and every one of these scumbags and as the people fall in behind leaders it would destroy the opposition movement at a stroke.

Perhaps it is time for the hawks to take a step back and stop swinging their tiny little dicks for a moment. Perhaps it would allow time for the addled little brains to engage.

30 December 2011

The Spirit of Christmas in Hornchuch

As seen adorning a house in Osborne Road, Hornchurch. I wish  had seen it last week. Still better late than never!

My favourite Poor Mouth Post of 2011

I can't say that  the Poor Mouth is replete with erudition but I wuld choose this post as my favourite of 2011.

The First Cosmonaut

There has been a lot of speculation about whether the USSR attempted to send a cosmonaut into space before Yuri Gagarin. Most of the discussion has been within the realm of the conspiracy theorist and quite honestly, the supporting evidence is pretty thin… until now that is.

 model of a Vostok era cosmonaut

A new book published today reveals that there was in fact one partly successful space flight prior to Gagarin but the cosmonaut was so badly injured that Nikita Kruschev himself ordered the suppression of all records pertaining to the flight.

Ivan Ivanovich Maketov was born in Begemodsk, near Moscow, in 1923. Commissioned into the Red Air Force in 1941 he served with distinction and it was his exemplary war record that landed him a position as a test pilot for the Mikoyan Gurevitch design bureau.

In 1958 Maketov was one of six Air Force officers selected for cosmonaut training. Maketov was considered the most able candidate, better even than Gagarin and so it was no surprise whent he was selected for the first Vostok flight in March 1961.

Vostok 1 was launched on 9 March. Maketov made three successful orbits of the earth before returning to earth. During re entry, an electrc malfunction caused a fire in the capsule burning Maketov severely. Despite this he was able to bail out of the capsule but landed badly breaking his back, hip and legs.

An injured Matekov after bailing out of Vostok 1

Because of his injuries it was decided that a severely injured cosmonaut would not present the Soviet Union’ in the best light. All information about Maketov’s was suppressed. On 12 April Gagarin made his historic flight. His vessel was originally designated Vostok 2 but was renamed Vostok 1 as part of the cover up.

Maketov after reconstructive surgery

Maketov, spent two years undergoing rehabilitation after the incident but was unable to make a full recovery. Despite numerous reconstructive operations his face remained severely disigured. In 1963 he was granted a pension and flat in Sochi where he lived until his death in 1988.

The First Cosmonaut was written by scientist and aviation historian Matyob Govnovsky.. He had been was granted unprecedented access to the Soviet spacet archives. Even so he was shocked to discover several files on Maketov.

“There has been a lot of speculation about failed missions before Gagarin”, he said “It was a genuine shock to discover that the speculations were actually based in fact”.

Govnovsky has already petitioned the Russian government to erect a memorial to Maketov. “Gagarin was a true hero but so was Maketov. It would take nothing away from Gagarin’s achievement to erect a memorial to another true hero of space,” he said.

The First Cosmonaut was originally posted on 1/4/2011 (or 4/1/2011 if American)

People of the year:

Even in the worst of things some peole shine through. The riots that blighted many of our inner cities (and suburbs and a few towns large and not so large). Whatever the underlying causes of the riots the results where the same: idiots shitting on their own doorstep

Paulone Pearce struck a chord with her angry tirade.

Perhaps it is a cliche to say she was saying what a lot of people were thinking but in this case it is true

Tariq Jahan lost his son Haroon when a car ploughed into a group of young asians who were on the streets to defend  properties and businesses from looters. Tariq's anguished words the following day almost certainly calmed down what could have been a vicious escalation in violence in the Handsworth area of Birmingham.

It would be wrong to canonise Pauline and Tariq but what they said at the time and place were more powerful, heartfelt and sincere than any thousand watchword filled speeches from a politician or so called leader.

Take it Easy Hospital - Human Jungle

 Ash Koshanejad and Negar Shaghaghi starred in the wonderful Iranian film No One Knows About Persian Cats. They fled to the UK and claimed asylum here immeidately after filming. Ash had already been imprisoned for his part in an unauthorised rock concert in Tehran, Negar would have faced dire consequences. had she stayed. Iran's loss is Britain's gain in my view but it shouldn't be that way.

Amal Murkus, another singer to listen to in 2012

Forough Farrokhxad would still only be 78 years old

Damn I forgot that Forough Farrokhzad's birthday was yesterday. She would have been 78 had she not been taken from the world at such a young age. She died in a car crash in 1967, she was just 32.

Here is one of her poems. I am sure I have posted this before but what the hell.

The Wind-Up Doll

More than this, yes
more than this one can stay silent.

With a fixed gaze
like that of the dead
one can stare for long hours
at the smoke rising from a cigarette
at the shape of a cup
at a faded flower on the rug
at a fading slogan on the wall.
 One can draw back the drapes
with wrinkled fingers and watch
rain falling heavy in the alley
a child standing in a doorway
holding colorful kites
a rickety cart leaving the deserted square
in a noisy rush
 One can stand motionless
by the drapes—blind, deaf.
 One can cry out
with a voice quite false, quite remote
“I love…”
in a man’s domineering arms
one can be a healthy, beautiful female
With a body like a leather tablecloth
with two large and hard breasts,
in bed with a drunk, a madman, a tramp
one can stain the innocence of love.
One can degrade with guile
all the deep mysteries
one can keep on figuring out crossword puzzles
happily discover the inane answers
inane answers, yes—of five or six letters.
With bent head, one can
kneel a lifetime before the cold gilded grill of a tomb
one can find God in a nameless grave
one can trade one’s faith for a worthless coin
one can mold in the corner of a mosque
like an ancient reciter of pilgrim’s prayers.
one can be constant, like zero
whether adding, subtracting, or multiplying.
one can think of your --even your—eyes
in their cocoo of anger
as lusterless holes in a time-worn shoe.
one can dry up in one’s basin, like water.
 With shame one can hide the beauty of a moment’s togetherness
at the bottom of a chest
like an old, funny looking snapshot,
in a day’s empty frame one can display
the picture of an execution, a crucifixion, or a martyrdom,
One can cover the crake in the wall with a mask
one can cope with images more hollow than these.
 One can be like a wind-up doll
and look at the world with eyes of glass,
one can lie for years in lace and tinsel
a body stuffed with straw
inside a felt-lined box,
at every lustful touch
for no reason at all
one can give out a cry
“Ah, so happy am I!”’ 

29 December 2011

It's all good,,, the music anyway


The Devil's Coachman

Triste Vals

The Beat that my Heart Skipped

30, Ahem. Glorious Years

How could I have let Xmas pass without mentioning this.... but  cast yourself
back to The run up to Christmas of 1981. I was just back from my first term at Southampton University due to meet an old school friend and a couple of upper sixth girls from the Frances Bardsley school in Romford, whom we both through knew via the local CND group , for a drink at the Ship in Gidea Park (consorting with non catholic girls, oh the humanity!).

ONe of the gils asked if they could bring along a rather quiet friend of theirs.I was happy for this to happen as there was no intention on my part to go on the pull anyway... And lot the quite girl in question was very quiet, slim and with very long hair.... I was smitten at first sight!

30 years later she is sat not far from me watching a recording of an Armstrong and Miller sitcom. She still puts up with my missing the toilet, my farting in bed (although she can match fart for fart!) and the same old shit repeated over and over again!

Who knows we may go mad one day and tie the knot, but several circles of Hell will probably have to freeze over first....

28 December 2011

Still the greatest living Briton

He's 93, he's Britain's only double Nobel laureate and he is worth a billion Simon Cowells, Jeremy Clarksons or any other worthless shitbag you can mention.... and yet very few Britons will be able to identify him (if you don't  know, just look down and check the tag to this post then look him up!).

It's a funny old world

All over the place

I am not in a very good place at the moment. My mood is all over the place. Perhaps I will stop blogging soon. perhaps I won't. There are things I want to say.

On a brighter note I have a number of ideas I am working through with Tim and Celena which should produce some excellent photos.... if I get them right that is.

That said there are still some nasty storm clouds on the horizon that could destroy everything.

27 December 2011

hiatus, possibly termination

The Poor Mouth is going on indefinite hiatus as of now. I am not sure when or if it will return. I would like to thank my regular readers for all the support you have shown down the years. I would like to carry on but right here, right now I just can't.

26 December 2011

New photos added to portfolio

 © Shaun P Downey 2011

I have added some new photos to my Portfolio blog. They are mainly from the two sessions with Tim (and Celena in the second session) . In addition I have added a photo each from the Hand of Glory and the  Love of a Good Woman series.

Slipped off this mortal coil 2011

Here's  my annual roundup of people who have died this year. Some are deeply lamented, some are unsung:


January saw the death of film composer, John Barry aged  77. But for him there would be another James Bond theme

Dorothy Thomspn, leading historian of the Chartist movement died on 29 January at the age of 87. She was also the widow of social historian E P Thompson

 Ugandan Gay Rights activist David Kato Kisule murdered by hompohobes on 26 January. Accused murderer Sidney Nsubuga Enoch was found guilty and sentenced to 30 years in prison on 10 November 201. Sadly the murderous attitudes towards gays across much of Africa remains as bad as it was


James Gruber, the last of the founding members of the Mattachine Society, died aged 82. The Mattachine Society were an early gay rights organisation founded in 1950.

Former Thin Lizzy guitarist (not to forget his long and successful solo career!) Died 6 February

Jane Russell died on 28 February at the age of 89. Need I say anymore?


Harry Coover, the inventor of superglue died on 26 March at the age of 94. Thanks to Harry, pranksters need look no further when they want to glue the testicles of a "mate" to any surface. Harry Coover you are one of the true greats!

Tawfik Towbi, the last surviving member the first Knesset.

Who is Tawfik Tubi? A Knesset member,
a Communist, an Arab who sits
in that House by full right...
That's democracy, not always easy,
but if we don't understand this part,
we haven't gotten anything at all

By poet Nathan Alberman

Former Elnad test Cricketer Fred Titmus died after a long illness on 23 March. He was 78 years old. What better tribute to the man than the Half Man Half Biscuit song

Channeling Kid Pambele

© Shaun P Downey 2011

Well it IS Boxing Day

Reality and impression differ

©Shaun O Downey 2011


© Shaun P Downey 2011

24 December 2011

Well it wouldn't be Christmas without a bit of Cthulhu

That's me done for until after Xmas. Here's wWishing all my readers a terror filled Christmas and a nightmare filled New Year. Then again the Tories seem to be doing this job well enough without my intervention....

23 December 2011

And more favourite photos of 2011

All photos © Shaun P Downey 2011

Young Love
Paris by night
Muse and vines
Muse at Modigliani's grave
The poet as La Fumeuse
Grape Hyacinth
Hand of Glory
Muse and Modigliani
Kimono Boy

© Shaun P Downey 2011

Three more photos from yesterday

© Shaun P Downey 2011

The best blog post of 2011

2011 seemed to be a year where the blogosphere slowed down. I was very sorry to see the passing of Modernity's and Renegade Eye's bogs. Ren gave this blog a big boost when the Poor Mouth was in it's early days, back when there was more politics and fewer photos.

MY general enthusiasm for blogging has fallen this year. That said 2011 saw more posts on the Poor Mouth than any other year but that is down to the sheer number of photos I've taken (more than 7,000 so far).  And March saw my millionth visitor, a Dane looking for porn but finding one of my photos of lily beetles in flagrante!

Oh and I won Knatolee's Hen Haiku competition, The prize was a delightful book she illustrated called Katie of the Sonoran Desert

While I would not pretend there has been any quality writing on this blog, the output of my favourite bloggers has remained consistently high.If I had to choose my favourite blog post of the year (which I am going to do or else this post would have even less point than it does!) I would have to go for The Art Class on Adventures, Ink.

Adventures, Ink is written by Susan of Phantsythat and deals with stories from a very rich life. Back in the early sixties when Susan  was just 17, she decided to make some extra money to take her to Europe by working as a life model.

Susan provides some sage advice about posing - do not stand on one leg, do not keep your arm above head height for too long and for pity's sake don't try any positions learned from calisthenics!

But perhaps the best advice is not to wander around naked in the break to see how the artists have drawn you and  certainly not to take them by surprise... unless you want to see them tip back out of their chair!

It is a delightful story which is made all the richer by Susan's wonderful line drawings/It is well worth checking out if you want a smile!

The last Friday cat post of 2011

My Sister's cat Lexi

Headscarf and Manteau?

© Shaun P Downey 2011

Well no but then Li is originally from Colombia, not Iran....

The Boy with the bruja mask

© Shaun P Downey 2011

And my favourite song of 2011

From the best album of the year - Let England Shake

Some more favourite photos of 2011

All photographs © Shaun P Downey 2011




Boy Blue


Tripping Down the Street

The Bruja arrives

Self portrait in cats eye




Insolent Boris


All Photographs © Shaun P Downey 2011
Once again if I say so myself it's been a good year for photography and it hasn't ended yet. I have a couple of hundred photos I took earlier today to sort through.