The Hickie by Liz Lochhead

I came across this poem by Scottish poet and dramatist Liz Lochhead, as it was referenced in Lanark. It just caught me at the right moment and I thought I would share it.

The Hickie

I mouth
sorry in the mirror when I see
the mark I must have made just now
loving you.
Easy to say it's alright
like blasphemy is for believers but
even in our
situation simple etiquette says
love should leave us both unmarked.
You are on loan to me like a library book
and we both know it.
Fine if you love both of us
but neither of us must too much show it.

In my misted mirror
you trace two toothprints
on the skin of your shoulder and sure
you're almost quick enough
to smile out bright and clear for me
as if it was O.K.

Friends again, together in this bathroom
we finish washing love away.

Have you lost the love for Facebook?

I signed up for Facebook years ago and for a while it consumed my life. I hunted down old school friends, then after that I added people I barely spoke to at school, and eventually I ended up accepting Friend Requests from completely random people I am not sure I have ever met. To keep the buzz going I was ‘Liking’ pages and adding games like a mad man, and then, suddenly, it hit me: I was bored.
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Do words mean the same to say as to hear?

That old adage about us all seeing the colour red differently* got me thinking, what about words and interpretation?

We use words as currency or placeholders to sum up different emotions in shorthand. The problem with this is in the interpretation - although the words we use commonly should have a common meaning for them to be effective, we in fact all have our own interpretations. 

Take the straightforward word “grumpy” - what does this mean to you? If someone described you as grumpy would they be saying that you be upset, depressed, angry, frustrated ... ? I debated this with a friend recently and we both disagreed fundamentally about the specifics, so I want to know what you think?

How would you describe grumpy?

*Apparently this is rot and we do in fact see almost the same colour as each other ...


On a related note, this is fascinating  Linguistic relativity and the color naming debate

A short story: Student broke; never worn

Eight years ago my brother wrote me a short story, I found it the other day and as it made me smile, want to share it with you. 

Let me tell you a story. It is a somewhat pitiable lament, entwined within a sense of almost Dickensian pathos and torrid Swiftian allegory. Late yesterday, I strolled in to the library feigning an air of calm nonchalance and arrogant indifference. As I ascended the stairs towards the electronic turnstile with its harsh gatekeeper, my step faltered. I became aware of the cloying sweat on my brow and the thundering, jackhammer beat of my heart. I reached a hand into my pocket and gripped the solitary object within; a talisman.

I knew it well. One pound in British Sterling; a single ingot of dull metal, my only connection to the world of commerce and society. 'Nemo me impune lacessit'. The words meant nothing to me, and, yet, the solemn principles they expounded and stern, timeless reality they heralded had brought me to this place. I gave thought to the truth and virtue of my mission, my endeavour. My resolve strengthened, I approached the library warden with a brash confidence born of the desperation of my plight. I dared a furtive glance towards the man; instead of the grim overseer my fear-addled brain had conjured, I saw rather a pathetic figure of a man, a slovenly dullard grown listless and unwary in the endless throes of a shambolic life.

Forgetting my fear, I sneered in disgust at the fool. This oaf would not prevent me from carrying out my intent. I passed through the gate and into the library proper.

I could feel the indolent stares of librarians and their assistants on me, passive glares; annoyed at one entering their domain so late. Questioning they were, but not suspicious, oh never suspicious. Fools. The few remaining students didn't look up as I passed, their bleary-eyed gazes aglow with the eerie luminesence of their computer screens. I walked casually into the bathroom, afire with the righteous neccessity of my mission this night. It was empty. I skulked across the grimy tiled flooring like a graverobber, fully aware of the tenuous morality, the inherently wicked nature of my imminent theft. I tentatively pushed ajar a cubicle door, steeling myself against the rank foulness of such a place. My eyes alighted on a treasure so sacred that I wept like a zealot in the presence of his god. Toilet paper. Yes, reader, low-grade, free-to-all toilet paper had called me here on this fateful eve and I meant to have it all.

I paused, suddenly feeling absurd, ashamed, indecent. What was I doing here in a men's lavatory, fully prepared to fill my bag to the brim with soft paper. Glancing down at the dispenser, my thoughts went to the coin in my pocket; to the look of disdain cast me by the ghastly shop clerk as she recited the hated mantra "The Andrex is one pound twenty, love" in a guttural Glasgow brogue (My blood still burned with the need to hunt her down like a dog and...). I suddenly gripped the dispenser. With the frantic strength of a madman, I wrenched it open, filling my bag. When it was over, I stared down mockingly at the empty dispenser. Composing myself, I walked hastily from the scene of my crime. In a daze, I found myself on the street. The paper in my bag felt like cursed Inca gold... and I felt like a total fucking loser.

Ah, but such is my life and these sordid excursions are sometimes neccessary when in dire straits.

Which 'you' would you be for a day?

Search your name in Google and you find all manner of people with the same name but utterly different lives, it got me thinking: if I could swap with another Mark Jennings for a day, who would it be?

I wonder who you would be? Go on, give it a go. Drop me a comment back on which 'you' you would be for a day.


Me? I would like to be this chap Violin, Viola & Cello Maker.

Why I chose FreshNetworks

On the 8th November I am proud to take on the role of Account Director at FreshNetworks, one of Europe’s leading social media agencies.

I chose them because I consider FreshNetworks to be the most authentic agency in the market, because the people I met resonated with my own values of trust, respect, authenticity and challenge and because the remit allows me to make an impact at such an exciting time for the agency. Making things clearer, measurable and results based is a passion for me: nice to start from a shared place.

So, a new chapter starts. Thank you for your support, your care and your interest – it has made all the difference.

Straw poll, who listens to podcasts regularly?

I am ambivalent about podcasts and wanted to get some views. On 22nd April I tweeted “Straw poll, who listens to podcasts regularly?”

I don’t pretend this is any more that a straw poll but even so the stats were interesting.

Of the 25 replies 68% said YES, with 32% NO.

Of those who listened, and shared more information, 27% listened daily, 46% weekly and 27% listened every so often.

Thanks to those who took part. I am interested in further comments here or @markofrespect on Twitter.