That eerie zone one enters

Where the slightest of miscalculations 

Will result in almost certain death; 

Or at least a bloody good maiming.

It’s not necessarily that time slows down. 

It’s only that the germane presents itself. 

And with such flimsy inputs, wouldn’t you also 

Fool your brain into slowing down a speeded-up situation?

It doesn’t matter whether it’s hitting 

The right racing line on a blind curve at 90 in the dark 

Or gauging the golden moment in a confrontation 

Before it turns critical; the sensation is always the same. 

Stepping over, almost imperceptibly, irrevocably into a world 

You can’t leave without first taking a throw of the dice.

What a week it’s been; first we had the English High Court make an official nonsense of Theresa May’s ludricrous tautology ‘Brexit means Brexit’ on 3 November and then across the pond on the 9th, we had the unedifying prospect of a Trump presidency crystallise into crazy reality.

Even though Euro-scepticism is very much the default position up here in Croppy Towers, the Brexit Referendum result in June was still received with more than a little despair by this venerable organ.

The dispatches from Croppy Towers have been frankly scant over the past couple of years and for that I apologise. Indeed, it's hard to know where to start after a hiatus of this magnitude but if there are still readers out there: they are owed some kind of an explanation; however mealy-mouthed such an excuse might be.

For openers, I no longer reside in sunny sarf east London. Of course, my heart remains in County Deptford but for now, Croppy Towers have relocated to Chelmsford in Essex.

Some hoary and perhaps whorey old readers may well recall that yours truly will happily admit to being a former altar boy (what can I say? I was young and I needed the money). But joshing aside, I was indeed an altar boy as a youngster and what's more, I even read at Mass, but only on week days; you had to work your way up to a reading at Sunday Mass you see.

One day, the priest came into the school.

With the vote almost upon us, there isn't a great deal that we in Croppy Towers can really add to the acres of print that have already covered the subject. Others, with greater eloquence and more at stake, have made the arguments under both constitutional and compassionate headings and they have been well made.

For those among you considering a career in contract killing, the recent release of a paper entitled 'Becoming a Hitman' by the Centre for Applied Criminology at Birmingham City University, could provide some handy hacks...

The paper, which is published in the Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 'discusses what might motivate someone to become a hitman'.

But before we get into any trouble with those nice Birmingham criminologists, we feel honour-bound to say that we're just kidding.

On May 17, it will be 41 years  since I visited Dublin as a boy of three going on four. We were there as a young family on a day out, having driven up in my father's little sky blue beetle. I remember my father singing The Battle Of New Orleans as we barrelled into the capital but I don't remember hearing the explosions in the city centre as we were leaving but my mother and father both did. 

What I do remember is fear, my parents' fear for their children as they left the bombed city behind.

It's been a while...

Lots of reasons for that but most of them in no way germane to the kind of schtick we normally purvey up here in Croppy Towers.

And as we're on the subject, exactly what kind of schtick was this questionable organ peddling in any event?

Looking back, a lot of it was probably sub-Brand polemic at best, based on the warm but woolly notion that somehow, there was still cause for optimism when it came to relying on the human capacity for empathy.

Leverage: a very elastic term, ambivalent even. When banks use it, they usually mean debt but when trade unionists talk about leverage, the word assumes an altogether higher purpose, or, depending on one’s perspective; it becomes a euphemism for intimidation.

The news recently that strikers at the Ineos-owned Grangemouth refinery had targeted the homes of managers for public protests raised some interesting questions about the changing nature of industrial disputes.