Elan Mudrow


The heated horizon

Produces an allure.

My eyes follow

its linear line, moving with

the melodic narrative–

There are other voices—here

Where hills make outlines.

Harmony is horizontal–

A dialogic freeway.

It is the rain

That stops streets

And plays with the oil

Leftover from sentences

Blocks and paragraphs

Stories—cities, maps, the membranes

Of the lay out to thought


The horizon burns, it must.

To maintain its fix.

Pierces a way inside

Leaving me to forget

How notes are placed

on top of one another–

They are not static, all is noise

Counterpoint and polyrhythms

Bouncing off other events–

Experience, a lose few chapters

Their print flying off, landing

On edges, never settled

Remaining, vibrating

Rubbing itself in tension

Spewing multiplicity


The horizon ignites

A promise of finality

Of oneness with meaning

A road that flirts with following

Doesn’t know where it leads.

Only a traveller has a…

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They met monthly

By the knitters at their desks and tables

Swapping fables, about

Their lives living alone,

How it always seemed slightly cold at home

And telling how good it is

To find a cappuccino haven

Or a boozy den

To talk, flirt, smile

And keep everything at bay for a while.


Time by time,

The venue would be different

‘How did you sleep last night?’

‘The neighbour kept me up, coughing,

And coffee by coffee by coffee,

I got through the day at work

And the thought of him and her

Put me off for another month.’

A month is nature’s most consistent cycle,

It’s when worlds shimmer and progress gets made.


‘Me, I think I’m just sad’,

The other replied.

‘I had to wait the other day and watched TV through someone’s window,

And I dream of authority, the parents of my youth,

Teachers, my reckless soul lost on life’s path.

Once a month, it’s nice to have you at my side’.

They each had a car

Which could take them relatively far,

Anarchy of this kind reigned in the country

Where our projects are ours & we build on what’s broken down.


And their projects were theirs

That’s what created the separation,

Forms the kind of relations,

You get living in the city

Meeting monthly for coffee

Pretending to be civilized

And it’s not that we’re not

But life wasn’t always this planned

And another month has gone –

Downhill for you, uphill for me. 

…And my love’s no secret anymore

The date, 7 June 1954. A man weathered by the trials of life sits down by his bed to indulge the forbidden fruit. There is a feeling of faint nervousness; he has handled cyanide before and knows the toxicity will certainly become unbearable. He picks up the apple and takes several quick bites – he never wants to see the sight of another needle – and resumes lying down on the bed.  Doris Day’s Secret Love fades away on the radio and all of a sudden; there is nothing.

We can only speculate on the manner of Alan Turing’s death. Aged just 41, the wartime code-breaker and computer scientist committed a lonely suicide two years after his conviction for ‘gross indecency’ for engaging in homosexual acts (in private).

Turing lived a life of communication, characterised by his invaluable service to British Technology research, and to the Government during the War. An eccentric character by all accounts he adopted the mathematic and scientific tradition in a time where fellow academics Wittgenstein and Russell were flourishing and developing their publicly controversial theories at Cambridge (Turing’s Alma Mata and theirs).  Turing developed his maths skills graduating with a first class honours from Cambridge at the age of 21. Synthesising his colossal understanding of mathematics with computer technology, Turing developed ‘Turing Machines’ which could perform any possible mathematic computation as an algorithm and produced many important papers in the development of computer science before the breakout of the War.

Wartime. In 1939 at the outbreak of WWII, Turing positioned himself at Bletchley Park for work decrypting German ciphers, secretly developing the technology used and anticipating further actions for deciphering the Enigma code.  One of the most important machines developed was done so within weeks of his arrival at Bletchley Park named the Turing-Welchman Bombe, which looked for contradictions in German logical Enigma messages and could then be explored in more detail.  About his time at Bletchley  Park, fellow cryptanalyst Hugh Alexander wrote ‘Turing’s work was the biggest factor in Hut 8’s success…many of us in Hut 8 felt that the magnitude of Turing’s contribution was never fully realized by the outside world’. [1] Post-War in London, Turing significantly helped in the early development of computers, known back then as the developing Automatic Computing Engine, on which a lot of later machines were modelled. The computers he worked on were among the first to store programs and even blurred the lines between science and fiction when he designed the Turing Test which aimed to test for artificial intelligence if it bore certain similarities with Humans.

Alan Turing’s career came to a halt just when it was flourishing. A conviction for indecency in 1952 after admitting a homosexual affair meant that he was to undergo hormone injections to destroy his libido and/or attempt to turn him into a Woman (this perhaps being an undesired outcome) – through the growth of breasts. Needless to say, this pitiful fall from grace led to his dismissal from his cryptographic consultancy. We can scarcely imagine the tattered ruins of Turing’s life at the time of his death in 1954.

This year 2012 has officially been designated the Alan Turing Year, marking 100 years since his birth. Is there much we can learn from the story? Suppositions of the past are simply that and it is naturally hard now to make sense of how a generation could be so cruel to a man who made an invaluable contribution to the War effort (even Gordon Brown apologised on behalf of the Government for the whole affair in 2009).  I believe there are two areas in which Turing made a considerable advancement: the development of computer technology and the struggle for LGBT rights.  A little over a decade after Turing’s death, homosexuality was legalised and I think in part through the openness of the likes of Turing which stressed the fact that gay people were normal people in society and of course, contributed massively. A classic English oddity who should have lived for double his lifetime and would probably now be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts should be remembered this year – his story and his love, never to be a secret – his name, honoured!

Graffiti in toilets

Believe it or not, you can learn a lot

about life from the graffiti in toilets.

What better place to say what’s on your mind

To read when pissing, in a small space confined?


‘Prove to me God exists.’

‘Prove to me he doesn’t!’ A rebuffal

Precise, although unfair – and could only be found in the library bogs.

Clearly some of these places have had talent come to visit – a poet or artiste,

Clearly implementing two instruments at once

And dashing them both over the walls.


This is meant to be a public space,

So why do they humiliate us when we need it the least?

So now, I’ll have forever etched in my head: ‘Bi lad? Cock fun? 0752010882’ – one number too short.

‘Hull FC til I die!’ is all well and good, but what am I supposed to do with ‘only dead fish swim with the stream’?

Now I never trust a man carrying a pen round’ in his back pocket.


It is a bizarre thing, the graffiti, and the things I have learned,

they leave me wondering to myself:

What are the ladies toilets like?


Office Party



Tim is here, with his yellow lager beer

Around about, looking 10 year old boy scout,

Why can’t we just be adults for three nights a year,

Drinking here’s allowed – don’t get too loud n’ proud


Funny renaissance dance, Fizzy wine from France

Can’t we do some work? You’re 40, please stop

The flirt – and the scandal office kiss, stand

In yellow lager piss

Tim Tim is near, let’s quickly disappear.


Laugh at the boss, his jokes and the dross

Talking here and there, but no politics do share

When can we have the dance off, the hangover begin

It’s the office party joys, no hint of chagrin!

I was prompted to start thinking about my favourite sinister characters and personalities through being reminded of Paddy Considine’s character as Mona’s brother, Phil in My Summer of Love (2004), in an attempt at my latest philosophy assignment.

The character is brilliantly acted – an underlying theme of people concealing their real personality or identity is revealed toward the end of the film, and the tension brought about by his sinister disposition is intense! Forget Ledger’s Joker, Paddy Considine is probably one of the best examples I have seen who, through what can only be drawing on his own character traits (it is partly facial expression, partly the accent and tone, etc which contribute to the impression), is able to create such feelings of foreboding, apprehension and sinisterness; and in many different roles.   Look at A room for Romeo Brass or Dead Man’s Shoes (both directed by Shane Meadows) for further examples of what I mean – and to Meadows’ credit, it is the undercurrents of boredness and apathy, and the bizarre mentality of the small Northern Town, that combines with dysfunctional characters and families to produce the general sinister feeling that all is not well.

This is a feeling I enjoy most from characters (mostly from movies) as it is so unsettling and unsure, it doesn’t even know that it is.  We know something is up, and with Considine there is always a psychological element that he is just a little bit nuts, which is actually often demonstrated by his characters’ violent and scary mood-swings, indicating that he is really just a cynic who is working on at least more than one level. This is the genuine thrill I like in this type of character depiction – once the darker character is given away (all their flaws, all their personality exposed), they simply that, and become uninteresting (like Voldemort in the last few Harry Potter books). Perhaps I enjoy it because we do conceal ourselves – me, definitely when I might meet different people, or even some people I know.

I am sort of looking for more examples (as I mentioned this is not too far away from my actual work), even just for the general feeling of sinisterness. I really think Billy Bob Thornton does a good job in The ManWho Knew Too Much and A Simple Plan (his real personality is, if not sinister itself, taking itself seriously) as well as Nick Nolte in U-Turn (possibly my favourite film), Robin Williams in  One Hour Photo, Barry Foster in Hitchcock’s Frenzy and several of Steve Buscemi’s roles.  If you don’t understand, and it helps, Hugh Laurie is exactly the opposite of what I’m talking about!  Darkness of the mind, roll on…