There can't be that many individual souls. Not souls like mine. There isn't room. There can't be.

Either a municipal bog is a private place or it isn't. If it is a private place in which to shit, how is it not a private place in which to fellate?

Few people in one's life ever go quite away. They turn up again like characters in a Simon Raven novel. It is as if Fate is a movie producer who cannot afford to keep introducing new characters into the script but must get as many scenes out of every actor as possible.

You want poetry, first you have to muck in with humanity, you have to fight with paper and pencil for weeks and weeks until your heart bleeds: verses aren't channelled into your head by angels or muses or sprites of nature.

Those who rule the world get so little opportunity to run about and laugh and play in it.

I was born Mary Patterson, but then I married and naturally took my husband's name, so now I'm Neil Patterson.

In a dung heap, even a plastic bead can gleam like a sapphire.

All gone. All anger quelled, all desire drained, all thirst slaked, all madness past.

Nobody seems to understand that in such matters the tact and sympathy should come from the one who is about to die, not the poor bugger who has to take the news.

The puzzle that besets me is best expressed by the following statements. a: None of what follows ever happened b: All of what follows is entirely true.

The class erupted into noisy laughter and, since I was always, and have always been, determined that merriment should never be seen to be at my expense, I joined in and accepted my star with as much pleased dignity as I could muster.

If I had a large amount of money I should certainly found a hospital for those whose grip upon the world is so tenuous that they can be severely offended by words and phrases and yet remain all unoffended by the injustice, violence and oppression that howls daily about our ears.

My mother has an absolute passion for sour fruit and can strip a gooseberry bush quicker than a priest can strip a choirboy.

Glory never arrives through the front door. She sneaks in uninvited round the back or through an upstairs window while you are sleeping.

My first meeting with you only confirmed what I first suspected. You are a fraud, a charlatan and a shyster. My favourite kind of person, in fact.

If you go looking for loonies and religious fanatics and dropouts and freaks, I dare say you'll find it.

You've just had the most imponderable joy of watching charlieissocoollike, which makes you, like, cool.

Everyone else new you ever meet, and this continues through life, is stronger than you are, knows the system better and sees right through to the back of your brain and finds what they see to be wholly inadequate. Everyone you encounter carries, as it were, a huge club behind their back, while all you hold behind yours is a weedy cotton-bud.

I like to wake up each morning and not know what I think, that I may reinvent myself in some way.

How dare you? How dare you create a world in which there is such misery that is not our fault? It's not right. It's utterly, utterly evil. Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid god who creates a world which is so full of injustice and pain.

Nowadays a lot of what was wrong with me would no doubt be ascribed to Attention Deficit Disorder, tartrazine food colouring, dairy produce and air pollution. A few hundred years earlier it would have been demons, still the best analogy I think, but not much help when it comes to a cure.

That one can love another of the same gender, that is what the homophobe really cannot stand.

My father was all brain and little heart.

I feel I would love to close down for a number of years in some way and just be in the country making pork pies and chutneys and never have to poke my head out of the parapet.

Little girls grow up to be women, little boys grow up to be little boys.

You have already achieved the English-Language poet's most important goal: you can read, Write and speak English well enough to understand this sentence.

There is so much we can learn from TV. It's a window on the world.

Nature admits no hierarchy of beauty or usefulness or importance.

Is that where it all went wrong? Or is it where it all went right?

Wine can be a wiser teacher than ink, and banter is often better than books.

I found it all about as arousing as a Tupperware party.

Literature is the only access to truth we have on this planet.

A university is not, thank heavens, a place for vocational instruction, it has nothing to do with training for a working life and career, it is a place for education, something quite different.

Hold the newsreader's nose squarely, waiter, or friendly milk will countermand my trousers.

As someone who worked hard for a Labour victory in the 90s, do I regret it? Not really. It was bound to happen. And it'll happen with the next government, and the one after it. Because all governments serve us. They serve the filth.

Like a Frenchman, far from home, catching a whiff of Gauloise.

I was happy there. Which is to say I was not unhappy there. Unhappiness and happiness I have always been able to carry about with me, irrespective of place and people, because I have never joined in.

There is no particular Socratic or Dimechian or Kantian way to live your life. They don't offer ethical codes and standards by which to live your life.

Love in all eight tones and all five semitones of the word's full octave.

I shouldn't be saying this - high treason, really - but I sometimes wonder if Americans aren't fooled by our accent into detecting brilliance that may not really be there.

Pomposity and indignation grow in old age, like nostril hairs and earlobes.

But if one could go back in time, I'd love to have been directed by Howard Hawks, who's one of my great heroes. One of the greatest directors there ever was. He directed probably one of the greatest westerns of all time in 'Rio Bravo'.

The point is that a pleasure which leaves you satisfied stops being a pleasure the moment it has been enjoyed. You are now sated, there is nothing more to be got from it. Sex and food are pleasures of this kind. What follows? A touch of afterglow if you are that sort of person, but mostly guilt, flatulence and self-disgust.

Well, we all know how satisfying it is to recite the shortcomings and hollowness of others - especially those who have money and recognition where we have none. It is certainly more pleasurable than inspecting our own shortcomings.

Catholic versus Protestant, essentially. It's that kind of fight. ... And it goes on to this day. Will we never learn? Who knows? Religion. Shit it.

Other people's tears were more than Adrian could cope with. Did you put an arm round them? Did you pretend not to notice?

The tribal belonging, the sexual association, the sense of party – these are what popular music offer, and they have always been exclusion zones for me. Partly because of my musical constipation – can't dance, can't join in the chorus – partly because of my sense of physical self, feeling a fool, tall, uncoordinated and gangly.

If I had been psychopathic enough to feel no remorse or religious enough to believe in redemption through a divine outside agency, perhaps I should have been happier; as it was I had neither the consolation that I was free of guilt, nor the conviction that I could ever be forgiven.

They are just 100 per cent bear, whereas human beings feel we're not 100 per cent human, that we're always letting ourselves down. We're constantly striving towards something, to some fulfilment.