Monday, 17 December 2007

Peckham and an acute feeling of repulsion and pity

We went to go see a good 'ol holiday season blockbuster on Saturday night. It seems like an appropriate thing to do when feeling gritty on the inside from a fairly debauched evening the night before. We drove to the Peckham multiplex because once inside it is a nice, spacious cinema and, above all, it is cheap and convenient. I don't like Peckham, or at least the bits I've seen. This is not snobbish. The level(s) on which I find Peckham offensive are purely down to the basic senses; smell, taste and most of all sight. On previous ill-conceived journeys through Peckham, I have consistently felt the urge to be sick all over its greasy pavements, littered with the oily bones of fried chickens. There are many, many butchers stalls in Peckham, which seem to be unrefrigerated. The stench of slowly deteriorating meat is choking, and in the summer, the air is thick with insects thriving off the rot. There are fish markets and fried chicken shops in between the meat markets, and these varying odours come together in a terrific cacophony of stench.

Anyway, on this occasion, we had heard about free parking at the back of the cinema. Having on our last trip gotten a 50 quid parking fine, we decided that to investigate free parking would be a safer option. We drove round to find a five storey car park glowing in the dark with the shadow-swallowing light of a hundred flourescent tubes. A sign beside the entrance said that free parking for the cinema was available on floor five. Being cautious we decided to do what the sign says and circled through the deserted car park up to the fifth floor. It felt like we were driving through the weathered remains of the skeleton of a massive, prehistoric beast. We parked our car next to the only other car there and headed for the lifts. There were three elevators, and we waited patiently for one to admit us. Having pressed a scuffed looking button we heard much groaning and mechanical misfiring before the middle elevators grim mouth gaped open before us, as though silently screaming. Inside it was gloomy (most of the lights were out) and cold. The walls looked as though they had been attacked with keys. The doors shut, and in the darkness I felt I had been swallowed. The doors shut and nothing happened. Pj tried pressing buttons and seeing him press the buttons repeatedly without anything happening immediately made me panic and I leapt at the "open doors" button. Thankfully the doors complied and groaned open. I was out of there like a cat out of a bag. I headed straight for the stairwell overwhelmed by a false sense of relief. Pj laughed behind me.

The stairwell like the rest of that ruined building, was bare concrete and strip lighting. We descended one floor and could see shadows pooling around the corner. The light was out on that floor. On the convex mirror on the wall ahead I noticed a shape on the stair. As I turned the corner I found its living reflection, slumped against the concrete, in the dark. It was a junkie who had obviously sought out the most lonely dark place in the world, this bare, bitterly cold stairwell. His trousers were pulled down to his knees, revealing blueish white thighs. There was a small needle sticking straight out of his fleshless inner thigh. His face was covered in a red beard. somewhere between the hat and the beard were a pair of blue watery eyes atop gaunt cheekbones. The eyes looked like they were fixed on a distant point behind us. Just watching back at us, like we were characters on a movie screen. I stopped on the second stair and Pj stood behind me. "Let's not go this way."

I walked straight passed Pj still stood on the landing and walked briskly back to the car. Very briskly and purposefully. Pj followed me and as we got back to the car, Pj giggled and I whined "Please can we get out of here." We got back in the car and circled back down. We parked outside.
We laughed as if to shake off the image of that bare thigh. We grimaced and laughed. All the way through that family blockbuster I felt those fish-like eyes staring back. It was sick.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Gerald the Half Fish.

Gerald is only half a fish
with a three second memory
on a serving dish.
he has no tail
but he has got a face
so he knows he's Gerald
he's Gerald the plaice.
He's got a modest fish brain
with which to ponder
why he persists
in living longer.
he feels an absence
where his tail used to be
filled with organs and bones
and arteries.
every three seconds
Gerald reaches a conclusion
for being half a fish
he can have no illusions;
for him -
is not to reason why!
for him -
is just to do and die.

I'm going to illustrate this and give it to kids at christmas.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Dogs in Hats and Something Fictitious.

Walking up out of the ground from the Tube station today, I saw a woman in front of me put up her umbrella. The wind immediately whipped it upside down and it smacked to the floor, and drove the wind almost maliciously into her face. The squat fat woman fretted and two large hulking builders laughed loudly as they walked by. The woman glanced back at them peevishly as she righted her umbrella, but just as they passed they said "did you see that dog?" and as their laddish hollering faded I looked up and realised that I had a picture of a dog wearing a hat on my umbrella.

Also -
"The cat dashed across the dirt road and leapt the fence.I screamed at Tom to get the cat, to get the fucking cat, as shots misfired behind me and the car squealed and stalled. He looked back over his shoulder briefly and then turned to run. The rifle looked heavy by his side and he ran, lumbering close to the ground round the corner and out of sight. Left and right of me stood rusted cars and rusted houses, all tumbling earthwards with the steady downward draw of decay. I sensed a presence behind the windows, but nothing moved, like a parade of comatose faces. I staggered and then stopped running and bent close to the dirt, so I could smell it as it baked in the noonday heat. I felt the sweat on my neck and thought I might die here. Crouched close to the ground I looked back over my shoulder at my father-in-law behind the wheel of the battered VW at the end of the street. The rifle poked up next to him and the pieces of the dog I loved bound up in plastic bags on the back seat. He gripped the wheel tightly and he looked at one moment confused, and the next angry. I saw Tom's back as he vaulted onto a shambolic patio where a table was set with ruined, week-old dinners. Flies hummed and hung like clouds, while stringy looking birds pecked at the road where insects writhed through the dust, aiding and thriving off the pervasive decay. He disappeared through the patio doors and emerged again a second later with the frantic cat clawing at his grip. Rifle in one hand he ran behind the house and a second later appeared across the street. I ran to him and he pushed the cat towards me and we both ran as fast as we could down the street away from the car and the volatile madness it could barely contain. He held the rifle and I gripped the squirming fur and claws close to my chest and we ran away filled with fear and rage."

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Word of the Day

Main Entry: frot·teur·ism
Pronunciation: -"iz-&m
Function: noun
: the paraphiliac practice of achieving sexual stimulation or orgasm by touching and rubbing against a person without the person's consent and usually in a public place called also frottage

Thank you Candice, I love you kitten!

Monday, 26 November 2007

Car-Wrecked Poem

Her face is bruised, she keeps touching her nose because it feels strange, it is in the wrong place.
A tooth is untethered and she spits it to the ground.
She looks at it on the hot asphalt and thinks it looks aborted.
The sun is hot as she shambles onwards towards the shade of an overpass.
The asphalt burns through her plimsoles.
She's on the shoulder of a highway that reaches from her to the horizon in each direction, and is dissected by other highways and overpasses,
like blood vessels of a greater organism.

She feels small.

There is no room here for anything other than asphalt and concrete, nowhere to get away from the threat of engines.
Among so much metal and speed and rough concrete
she feels vulnerable in her fleshy soft pink body.
Traffic booms around her in every direction, and out of the drone she discerns a pulse.
It starts in her chest.
A broad man lumbers toward her along the shoulder of the highway, he's sweaty and covered in grease
like a mechanic.
He's wearing a peak cap with a Ferrari symbol on the front and a louche smile. She thinks
I've seen that fucking cap before.

Behind him in the shade of the overpass is a pile of limbs and a pile of car crash fuselage.
There is a sign post next to each displaying prices for every item; legs are worth five, steering columns are worth 10, arms are worth only two and so on. Gear sticks, feet, exhausts, fenders.
She thinks the car parts are worth more.
She hears a screech as a Volvo slides past her colliding with the concrete barrier almost instantaneously, carrying with it a gust of wind that touches her face and spits up dirt that stings.
She rubs her eyes. The air is thick and choking,
it burns when she draws it into her lungs, as if the pain and terror of the wrecking was sublimated by the intense heat of collision, now filling her atmosphere.
The mechanic ambles past her towards the crash scene, glass crunching underfoot.
He begins working, efficiently dismantling the wreck as though it were stage scenery. He's making two piles. He's like a spider in a web;

There's nothing left under that cap but instinct.

She feels sick. He smiles and sweats. The traffic flows on. Her nose bleeds.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Square Holes

I like this little digression in the beginning of Brave New World

(Round pegs in square holes tend to have dangerous thoughts about the social system and to infect others with their discontents.)

The whole sentences is a parentheses. I like that. When I got home last night my cat came running through the cat flap after me, out of the veil of rain and gothic gloom outside. She ran up to me with tail upright and face upturned, beads of water clinging to her kitty fur. Feed me. I did and after she ate she sat on the floor and licked and watched me. I often think she seems part owl, part snake and to a lesser degree, part cat. I went to pick her up and her little face looked stricken. In my arms I could feel her small body tense up. She gripped me with her pin-cushion paws and her jaw dropped open in a rictus of feline rage, her ears went back and her eyes yellowed and soured and she lunged at my arm like a viper. She is an insolent little thing. She is a round peg.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Natalie the Mute

A childhood friend found me on facebook today. We were friends during the pre-school years, when we were left to run and play and finger paint and make cards for old people out of macaroni and pipe cleaners. Old people and children are two sides of the same coin. Natalie was a profoundly neurotic child. She couldn't speak to strangers, and was thus surrounded by strangers. She had gotten to know me because our fathers were involved in business together and our mothers got along ok, so we were thrown together a lot, both relegated to the children's table at dinner parties, our legs swinging under the table-top where food lay scattered amongst crayons. When she was not cowed into silence by the dreadful presence of strangers, she would rage against her family. She would insist I stay over, when I wanted to go home, she would kick and scream and wail and hide until my mother and her mother agreed. When we started "big" school she would speak to me in my ear and I would have to translate for whoever she was vicariously addressing while her saucer eyes stared and her little fingers twisted together. This included teachers. Even being 5 years old I felt embarrassed. One day Natalie had the misfortune of falling foul of a particularly disgruntled teacher who was notorious for beating bad children with a little child-sized cricket bat, or at least threatening to. Her name was Miss Truter, an old, obese spinster and a grotesque Dahl-esque sort of character. Miss Truter insisted that Natalie answer back. She kept insisting until her voice boomed in her 40-a-day drawl and her massive bosom trembled. Her face turned crimson which offset her purple-shadowed eyes in a terribly menacing way. Natalie stared back mutely and pissed herself.

Shortly after that incident Natalie disappeared. She was reportedly transferred to a school for kids with learning disabilities and thus was set off on a divergent path that would cause her to be much maligned and ostracized right into beginnings of adulthood. Shortly after she left school her father made off with money from my fathers business which sent our family into a financial shit storm the details of which are hazy to me.When she showed up at high school for orientation many years later I barely recognized her from the pretty blond blue-eyed girl who whispered in public and screamed in private. She was fat; thick all over, thick limbed, thick necked, thick lipped. She still lisped and spoke almost inaudibly. We said hello on that first awkward day and avoided one another for the next five years, partly due to a tacit understanding between us and partly due to the her being grouped as a "special requirements" pupil and thus bundled in with the slow witted, socially dysfunctional kids with muddy backgrounds. There were rumours I'm not sure how I came by that she was abused by her father who was a terrible drunk. If it wasn't outright abuse there was certainly something psychologically amiss in that family. Natalie had a little sister called Jessica, who could just about speak enough swear words to curse her father. "Fuck you" has never sounded quite so terrifying as when spoken by a four year old to her father with all the withering hate of a fully-fledged, scorned woman. Poor Natalie and her fiery little sister, I wonder if they still rage, privately. They seemed so muted and hunched when I last saw them, I couldn't imagine them having anything more to say.

Chapter One

John Glanton had felt tethered to a life that no longer held any meaning. He sensed he was in his decline, and as time carried him towards the grave instead of being afraid he was losing his fear, fear was being replaced by constant morbid fixations with death. Thoughts of grand scale destruction loomed large in his mind. While eating dinner, brushing his teeth, fucking his girlfriend, he thought of the last moments before a nuclear strike, the feel of his skin boiling and his head expanding into nothing.

It was accepted that John Glanton was a successful man, a face people knew. He was familiar to every household because he was the national evening news reader. He had always been lucky, nothing had been much of an effort for him. Talented and good-looking, opportunities and women fell at his feet ever since he passed puberty. Even now, as he approached his 50th birthday, people admired how well he aged, how his thick, greying hair made him look sophisticated and wise and how elegantly he could turn a phrase. All the qualities needed for a newsreader, a stern and authoritarian televisual entity.

Arriving at the studio that evening, John wiped a cold sweat from his brow. His hands shook and he braced himself for the barrage of attention, the make-up girl Suzie, the ever-changing runners with cups of coffee like buckets of mud, the set manager Anne, with her lonely eyes, briskly briefing him on the job that lay ahead. As he stepped through a small door at the back of the studio he could feel the sweat down his back. He felt a mild panic. Suzie approached him in her naturally good-natured way, and called "There you are John! Let's get you done and dusted, no delay!"
"Evening Suzie" whispered John, hearing doom in his own voice.
Suzie pulled a rack from across the room, hung with suits and shirts like wasted bodies. She picked one out and hung it next to the chair where John now sat. She looked over at him, for the first time she felt pity for him - for the first time she noticed his age.
"John you haven't shaved! We'll have to sort that out first."
"Sorry Suzie, I'm not myself today."
"Well let's see what we can do to make you feel more...yourself!"

Suzie, always professional, asked no questions and did a good job of smoothing his features and colouring the death away from he eyes and cheeks. Soon John was propped up behind the desk, in a fresh suit and a new face. Sad Anne whispered in his ear piece;
"Ready on three, John".
John felt confused.
His heart thumped out the words jesus creeping shit.
"...three and...."
His face mechanically arranged itself and his eyes focused on the auto cue, he was a seasoned professional, even with his own mind AWOL. He read the digital scrolling letters, dipping his voice and pausing between perfectly executed sentences. Anne bares her teeth behind her clipbook as John reads "At least 13 Afghan civilians have been killed in a Nato air strike near Kabul".

John reads, his heart pounds, he begins to feel enraged at the hollow words of terror that fall from his lips like sombre goodbyes to something that was once familiar, but had since become strange and grotesque. He thinks what the hell does it mean. John stops reading.
The auto cue continues to scroll, Anne frowns as the anxiety rises in her throat like bile. John massages his forehead with one large hand as if trying to coax sense from it. Everyone is waiting, somewhere between curiosity and panic. Anne sees the deranged uncertainty in John's face and begins gesturing emphatically, like a concerned parent waving from the shore as their child swims away from them into deep, shark filled waters. John looks straight at her and she stops and waits. He straightens his tie and carefully straightens the papers on his desk, and begins:
"Dear, faithful audience, I can't...I can't."
John pauses and runs a bear-like hand through his thick greying hair.
John raises one fist and spits the words "this world is SHIT. TV is SHIT. And you are all morons for letting this thing enter your conscious with no fucking thought! You just CONSUME like fucking ANIMALS! Like meat tied to a pair of eyes! Dull, vacant, all-consuming..." Here Johns voice cracked and trailed off. He coughed quietly. A incongruous feeble little cough from a large angry bear of a man.
Everyone watches for his next move. John stands up and tears his papers, they are blank apart from a doodle of a cat drawn by some bored runner, its' leering face now cleaved in two. he turns and punches a hole clean through the beige set wall sending a sound man fleeing, and the three clocks labeled London, New York and Tokyo dislodged and nudged off their axis, New York crashing to the ground. He grabs his fist back as blood seeps from the knuckles and wails "YOU DUMB FUCKS". He tears his blazer off and flings it at scattering runners. Two set hands run on and grab his arms, he takes a swing at one and knocks him to the floor as transmission cuts to a commercial for tampons; a young woman in a striking red evening gown ,with an unreasonably perfect smile giggles while saying "I feel more...myself!" before turning away and floundering off on the arm of a homosexual-looking man.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

walking on wet leaves lately feels like walking on thousands of small dead frogs.

It's autumn. I felt sick earlier and went to the loo and just sat in the cubicle with my forehead between my knees and my pants around my ankles. I felt ill and thought I might die, I thought this would be a pretty ridiculous way to do die, it would be stupid and meaningless to die with my lower body exposed so obscenely. Then the ill feeling subsided and I noticed my fringe is too long and thought about feeling fat and got up and let myself out of the cubicle and washed my hands. Walking back to my desk I thought that death never shuts up in my head. I watched Gunter Van Hagan or whatever his name is - Dr Death would be more appropriate than any conceivable name of this earthly world - he has a show with the inspired title "Autopsy". It takes on an investigative and educational tone, but is blatantly there to satisfy our collective morbid fascinations. And whats so wrong with that? If anyone found an eviscerated body slumped over the hood of a crumpled car on a highway they would stare, trying to glean from that lifeless gore something of the abyss beyond. Theres a brilliant mexican photographer, Enrique Metinedes , who took photographs of accident scenes, often before emergency services had arrived. Nothing could be more mesmerizing than the concept of death offered up on a weekday afternoon. But back to Dr Death. I do love anatomy, although I could not name the muscles and bones and could not explain the functions of them. He had a body of an old man with his face covered for anonymity. This body had not been through the usual plastination process, because it was wet looking. His skin was marbled grey and blue and his old mouth gaped open. They put an endoscope down his throat and displayed images of the dead tissue on large flat screens behind him. They then filled his leg with fake blood and cut a big vain with a knife so that the gloopy, plasticy red stuff flowed and then spurted in a clean arc. This was to demonstrate where to stab someone if you intend to kill them or something. Apparently it would kill you in three minutes. We are very close to death indeed walking around with veins in our legs that could destroy us within three minutes. They also cut a body clean in half from crotch to head in order to demonstrate how small our wind pipes are and how close to death we are when eating or putting "foreign objects" in our mouths. They showed pictures of swollen lips still smeared with lipstick, faces punched up so bad they couldn't breath. Anyway, I'm too tired to think but I'm pretty happy today. I've been listening to thee more shallows. I like them. I like blood meridian.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Two Things I Saw Today That Made Me Glad.

I like to think there's a story between the two.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Tollgate Cafe

There was a short period of time, after I had dropped out of university in Cape Town and moved to London to live with my now husband but before I landed a decent-ish media job-with-a-future, where I worked in a little cafe, called the Tollgate Cafe. It was owned and managed by an Iranian, the head chef was Moroccan, the kitchen hand Korean, and my fellow waitress was Polish. I was the only person there whose first language was English. The Korean was a nice guy who had worked with the previous owner for years before she sold it on. But the Iranian was rude and abrupt and had no idea about how to run a cafe. They would get very angry at each other and shout in broken, frustrated English until they gave up trying and slunk away to opposite corners. The Korean worked from 6 in the morning to 6 at night every day, 7 days a week. He pretty much did all of the work while the Moroccan talked and smoked. The Moroccan made snide comments about the Korean, which did not go unheard and there were similar useless, feeble outbursts. One time I thought the Korean was going to kill the Moroccan, a timid man when not thoroughly provoked, he was all the more terrifying when his eyes blazed and his face turned crimson with 40 years of rage simmering in his gut. I asked him why he worked so hard and through much struggling of his foreign tongue said his family were poor and had no work, and what he earned in this trifling cafe paid for them to live and go to school and wear shoes in Korea. The Moroccan wore pointy boots, he had very small feet and hands, like a woman's. In fact he was small in general, like his growth was stunted at 14. I thought that is why he was an asshole to everyone. His lips curled when he spoke, like a sneer disguised as a smile. There was an element of something predatory and sexual about him that made me wince outright, but he was basically a lonely, bitter and weak old man. The Iranian, on the other hand, was terrifying. I never wanted to be left on my own with him, he had a murderous look. When he spoke he stood very close, so close you could smell his awful body and breath. He did this to intimidate others, it was effective. He mumbled when he spoke, as if he was too lazy to articulate the cobbled together sentences, and when you didn't understand he refused to repeat himself. He always looked tired and would gesture desultorily at customers confused by his behaviour and mumbled words. The Polish girl was very sweet. She was round and pink with big blue eyes like a doll, and a fiendish smoking habit. She swore under her breath a lot at the Iranian. She always helped me. This was a very queer time for me. One of those times that have a sound and a smell. Even though I only worked for four hours some days it felt exhausting, I hated the work and I hated the interlopers I worked amongst with whom I could barely communicate. I felt like I was a long way from home and alone. When I feel useless now I think of how much space I've put between me and then and I feel slightly better.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Pre-Lunchtime Musings.

gah my head hurts. It feels like a great pressure is being applied to the crown of my head. I suppose that is gravity, but I'm sure I'm not usually so acutely aware of it. My eyes feel like they may burst from my skull. Something in this office smells of the elderly. That smell that exists between the skin and the clothes of the elderly, that you can smell when stood near to them and they move and the air is suddenly expelled from them, air that has remained in these pockets and folds for an amount of time, enough time to take on an odour of stagnant smelling slow death. I watched the rubgy this weekend, which is something I normally don't do because I have a natural aversion to the weird culture of The Sports Fan. The colours, the battle-cries, the solidarity between vicarious winners and losers. But rugby I can watch, it turns out. Those men built like oxes, grass stained and bleeding. Rugby is not a game for anyone, like football which I find dull as fuck and the fans even more alarmingly over-zealous. At least, you can appreciate that these men are made to play rugby and nothing else. There's no posturing or much celebrity. It's rough. My head hurts. Blood Meridian is an excellent book, I'm not even halfway in and I feel safe saying that. I want to read more but am trapped at this desk like a cripple in a wheelchair.
"Anything going on?"
"Not as yet my darling."

Lunchtime soon.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Bob Takes a Cigarette Break in a Doorway on Old Compton St.

Bob draws on his cigarette and wonders what cancer feels like.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Wild at Heart and Weird on Top.

There's an advertisement on my email page that has a picture of a bear and these words:

"Some people want to drain his bile
through a permanent wound in his abdomen.
is that ok with you?"


Monday, 8 October 2007

Super Monday Fun Times

I feel hostile today. Not in a bad way, but really in a sort of bemused way. I came in 15 minutes late. I missed 15 minutes of nothing, I got to spend 15 more minutes with my book and private thoughts. I think it was worth the disappointed look from my boss. He knows there's nothing for me to do at 9.30 in the morning.
So my colleague comes in, sits next to me, time passes. Still nothing happens so I pick up my nail file and smooth the jagged edges of the nail I broke yesterday when it collided with a desk, my hand not being in the place my eyes told me it was. My eyes lie without remorse.
I absently work at the nail, which is now shorter than the others. Like an ugly step-child. I begin smoothing away the rest of my fingernails. I remember my colleague can't bear the sound. The thought occurs to me as I feel her eyes settle on me, seeking my attention, quietly desperate to remind me of the infraction. They stay on me, on my hand working slowly, on the quiet grinding of the nail file. I ignore her. I blow the nail dust away like ashes, feel the smooth edges. Finally her eyes turn away. I feel a sardonic grin bloom inside my chest but my face is blank and I carry on smoothing jagged edges, making each nail ugly to suit the one that wound up broken.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

The Andromeda Strain

I watched the Andromeda Strain today, directed by Robert Wise with visual affects by one of my favourite people in movie making history, Douglas Trumbull. It was an incredible film, and one I've not heard much about. The opening sequences focus on a tiny remote town in which (almost) all the inhabitants have died pretty much instantaneously. It's eerily beautiful; shots of the windswept dusty town of Piedmont dotted with fallen figures, a mechanic slumped over the hood of a car, children face down in the dirt beside one another, washing still flapping in the wind under blue skies.

Much of the film takes place in a secret Laboratory designed to deal with biological warfare. The sets are wonderful. I love nothing more than sci fi done well. I wish Douglas Trumball still worked in films, CGI has made everything possible, but at the same time made it all a bit shit. Blade Runner is a beautiful film, a whole city constructed on a miniature scale, lit by millions of fiber optics, combined with incredible matte painting, the world created has substance and an atmosphere all its own. It's dirty and real, but if it were made today I feel that all that incredible imagination and skill that came out of those limitations would all be usurped by some 3D geeks who'll turn it into something slick and flashy, just because they can. Why do I work for a visual effects company again...?

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Gutter Birds

Squawking obscenities in cawing bird voices and flying at my head, beady-eyed faces full of leering malice.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Ho Hum...

cups lose their liquid before
they reach my lips
leaving messages on my shirt collar:
I can't help but make a mess of things.

Bored Mumbling

I just zoned out and stared at the space between my computer screen and my giant old wacom pad for about 5 minutes. I'll never get that time back. I resent how much time I deliberately waste every day. I feel my youth round my neck like a dead weight, constantly thinking I need to make the most of something, this moment here? This moment is shit. All I can hear is the hum of air conditioners, aimless murmers of colleagues, my own fingers tapping at these little keys like a clumsy pianist. If I were at home I'd be playing the piano, fumbling my way through a page of Chopin, not because I like the way it sounds when I play it but because I can imagine the way it should sound and if even a fraction of that, for a split second is produced by my fingers it makes me momentarily happy. If I were at home I'd find a way to be productive. But I'm at work, I've got keep up the alacritous pretense, even when I'm asleep on the inside. I've got to look busy. Bugger.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Cat's Claw

There is a small red wound in my arm. It is a puncture from a cat's claw, like a big bee sting. My cat got angry and ran all over our small flat, her fur on end, her ears laid back, looking the way I feel a lot of the time these days. Wide eyed, furious, like tiger trapped in a body that is too small.

Monday, 24 September 2007

I Heart My Kitty / Men Are Trouble

Gloomy Daybreaking

I've just gone downstairs to get myself a foul, bitter cup of soupy coffee. I rarely drink the coffee at work. It comes from an old, abused espresso machine. I place the cup in the right position, hit a button and hear a collection of pipes and mechanisms grinding into action, moments before the pissy liquid is produced like the jet stream of an old dog. I mix lots of sugar in it, and a fair amount of milk but nothing seems to disguise the taste of detergent build up and stale coffee. This was the cup of coffee I had this morning, bitter and pungent, offensive to every one of the senses. A very suitable taste for such a morning.
I get the underground into work everyday but only for a couple of stops. Although this seems to be more than enough time to irreversibly piss me off. Getting on to the cramped vessel this morning, I asked very politely if a woman who was obstructing the aisle could move so as to allow a few more people on. She looked back at me blankly and said "No. There's no space" when clearly there was. She looked like an accountant, her hair was pulled back in a tight bun, it seemed to pull her features back with it making her taut and unsmiling. Like a cruel headmistress. Like Someone who would kick a puppy. So taken aback by such selfishness all I could mutter was a petty "well if you'd rather have us all crammed over here fine...". FINE. I got a few sympathetic looks from people around me. People taking sides in a little silent battle of futile wills. I loathe the passive aggressive mutterings of London commuters. I hate that I am one of them. I hate people. I'll drown thoughts of them in acrid cups of coffee which burn my lips and wonder how I can escape this.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

A letter from Steely Dan to Wes Andersen

No seriously - have a look here.

Wes Andersen's giving a Q&A for the London Film Festival. I really want to go. My friend Stuart is involved in this event somehow. He said he'll get me a ticket, but he said it in an awfully casual way. I want to draw up a little contract he can sign to make sure he's not going to forget. But then I risk alienating him completely.

hmm...what a pickle...

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

I've been trapped in a cycle of blog reading...

...and most stuff that's popular seems repetitive in its quirkiness and cuteness. Especially the cuteness-belying-darkness-and-ennui slant.

Quirkiness makes a lot of shit appealing. In fact you could probably actually stick some sad-looking eyes, a hat and a miniature Guardian newspaper on a real turd and render it quirky! Thus making it an overnight blogging sensation, newspaper headlines (probably in the Guardian) would read "Isn't it Novel!?" And I'd say no it's not, its a fucking turd I've just placed it in a "quirky" context - don't you see? Isn't this device totally transparent? Can't you see that at the heart of this idea, is shit?

In the unlikely event of someone reading my blog, please don't be offended because you're friend writes a cute blog from the point of view of a moose or something, and you think its fantastic. I don't mean to generalize and maybe the fucking moose blog is brilliant.

Who am I anyway?

Monday, 17 September 2007

Henry Goes to the Shop to Escape the Increasingly Pervasive Atmosphere of Isolation and Doom in his South London Flat

Tired and Bored

Today I wrote a poem and sent it off to someone. I can't tell what I think about things I write. If I took that poem and left it in a drawer for me to find again a year from now I might be able to give an opinion on it.

I'm inclined to think it's bad but I won't let that stop me. No sir.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Venting the Spleen

In the free train paper on Monday there was a picture of Britney Spears, in fishnets, stiletto boots and a spangly knickers+bra combo. She was squatting over a male dancer who looked slightly harassed. Her back was arched and her mouth was a little way open, in an overtly sexual way, a genuine cum face which makes one feel dirty just to look upon it. The blurb underneath said that her comeback at the MTV music awards was panned by critics*, it went on to say that witnesses said she looked overweight and was not miming her lyrics properly. My friend and I were reading the same newspaper, wincing over the horrendous decline of the micky mouse star that was. She said "oooh thats not nice!" and I said "yeah, she's too fat". Then there was this little silence and miss p said "she's not too fat.."
Uh Oh...this is where my ridiculous body standards and those of normal happy people collide. Miss p is a lovely girl, with big bunny rabbit eyes and something else behind them - is it wisdom? Something like it anyway. Something that betokens a down-to-earth pleasantly cultivated sensibility. A genuinely nice person, even when she exposes a nasty sentiment like jealousy she does it in such charming way you'd never think less of her for it. Of course, she's right, the real issue isn't simply that she's large by MTV standards, it is that she's a broken ex-pop star that can't seem to handle growing up. Her desperate slutting about on MTV is the issue, not that she's gained a few pounds. But to me, desperate failure and a little bit of fat are inseparable. I must seem awfully morose and spiteful to her, despite all my attempts to edit my thoughts before they spill out of me and into those little silences.

*Just what kind of critics do you get at the MTV awards?

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

A Night on the Town

I lean down to place the cool glass between my feet. Somewhere in front of me a band is playing, fretting they're half hour upon the stage. Twisted egos vying for adulation, falling short, shrugged off like the unwanted lustful attention of a drunk slapper. My bead necklace hangs floorwards, first cajoled by the forces of the earth, then rapidly coerced. The beads dig into my neck uncomfortably pulling me towards to the black glacial surface at my feet. I pass out, into the narrow but infinitely deep pool. Its depth and darkness is total but I can feel the cold walls on either side of me covered by the faces of clocks, as I sink like a drowned Alice. I wake up angry, another day behind me. Flowers of red have bloomed across my neck and my heart has hardened a little more against the words I speak in boredom. I close down. I want to go home until I've found something to say to these confident souls.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Mother F**king

This one time I upset my mother worse than ever before. I had written a story for a 'creative writing' exam about her, sometime during the purgatory years of high school. It contained waffling teenage prose about Bob Dylan's "Jokerman" and bottles and bottles of white wine she consumed during the witching hour, her irreconcilable issues with her father and mother which have burdened her since birth, her catholic school upbringing where the nuns would rap children across the knuckles for answering and not answering a question and where children would urinate involuntarily in fear. All this I scribbled across my lined A4 page hurriedly before my time ran out. Ah my newly acquired adolescent bitterness! Somewhere I wrote she'd "grown fat with domesticity". It was a stupid story, but my teacher thought it was marvelous and put it in the school magazine where my mother and everyone within our microcosm found it. She was horrified. She must've wondered why she endured the pain of childbirth and the tedium of child-raising only to have this girl-child spit back at her. I felt terrible, there were feeble attempts to deny it was about her, and eventually it was pushed under the rug. I'm waiting for Time to make it funny. When the day comes I will laugh until I'm sick.

Monday, 3 September 2007

The Time I saw Sutcliffe Jugend...

My ears were torn apart and bleeding, but the sound rumbling through my chest like an earth quake was visceral and immediately disorientating. Layers of frequencies ranged from long piercing pins to blunt clawing growls, accompanied by a fascistic personality barking like a tommy guns' rattle. I'm not sure what his incendiary ranting was about. It was like a deranged rally where the point is the rage and rant itself, nevermind the ideology. It was music for the deaf. I recognized snatches of it but never a coherent stream. I also saw Sonic Youth play Daydream Nation who were...oddly comforting, like nostalgia.

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Henry's Dream

Henry woke up with the slow realisation that he was on his bathroom floor in a pool of vomit. The weak light entering from the skylight above him indicated he had been in this situation for at least 4 hours, and soon he would have to wipe the clammy, boozy sweat from his brow and heave himself off the floor and onwards through another day at the office. These realities came back to him like the returning tide, carrying away the horrors his subconcious had knitted together in his dreams. One scene from such a dream was stubbornly vivid and unforgettable, a recurring sequence of images driving knives into his conscience. It begins with Henry walking through a cramped corridor, invoking a sense of fear and the desire to move forward with a desperation bordering on mania. This corridor eventually ends in a heavy wooden door, which opens onto a small, smoky room. At the front of this room is a small stage, and in the center, lit by a harsh spotlight, is Cheryl. She is alone, although Henry gets the sense that he’s just missed the party. He’s looking directly at Cheryl, but she’s not acknowledging him. She’s looking out into the dark corners with her usual bovine expression. upon closer inspection, he notices she’s wearing a lot of make-up, messily applied, creating a caricature of her blunt features, painting lips and eyes where her own assets fall short. She's wearing a glittering dress with a plunging neckline, from which shapeless massive tits strain against delicate fabric. A slit up one side reveals a massive thigh, flesh folding in on itself once before pinching together at the knee. She begins singing, in an embarrassed, wavering voice, a Dire Straights song which Henry often enjoyed whilst drunk in his Mercedes - but which he could not tolerate at any other time. Her small awkward voice rises to a shrill wail and a pained cry as her flesh tears apart from her massive, expanding weight. Excruciatingly slowly, each layer of viscera, fat and muscle exposes itself as her cries finally give way to gurgles. At this point Henry laughs and claps loudly, whooping with delight, pleased with the show.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

"Big Dave's Gusset"

A message sprawling over a great warehouse wall
beside train tracks
I like to think this wall will stand forever
while the cool glass towers
and stone monuments to achievement
disintegrate to their bare elements
and people devolved
will dwell amongst this detritus
like rats in its cold crevices
in the shadow of this sturdy wall
with its scrawled message
"Big Dave's Gusset"
the last historical artifact
senseless and perverse
kept close to their dumb hearts.

Monday, 6 August 2007


From 'On the Road':

'The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous Roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.'
I'm not one of these people, but I wish I was.

The Final Misadventure of a Soho Pigeon

We spotted the pigeon on Friday from a toilet window that looks out over a few low rooftops, chimneys and air-conditioning units. This peculiar landscape, caught between various sheer walls of taller, greater buildings, is covered in that ubiquitous spiders' web of pigeon netting, which gives it an oddly sci-fi aspect, if you have an imagination so uninspired and anemic as mine. The pigeon had its wings pinned to its sides as it had tried to squirm through one square of the spiders' web, it had got halfway and could go no further in either direction. It's head nodded back and forth, its feathers looked patchy and greasy. It lay in a pool of its own blood. It made soft and persistent cooing noises while it's fellow gutter-birds looked on with dumb indifference. The futility of this birds final moments gave my friday afternoon a deranged feeling of poignancy.
It's lifeless tangled corpse was still there this morning. I could no longer discern a head or a tail, it's greasy filthy feathers sprang up in odd directions like it had been buffeted by high winds.

Friday, 3 August 2007

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Start at the Beginning

This blog business is new to me. I've resisted the temptation to pitch one more clamouring ego into "cyberspace"(why does that phrase seem so dated and inappropriate?) for so long, but have lately become so tortured by the tedium of my job that requires me to sit facing this hateful machine on daily basis, that I have no better option than to inflict upon strangers the "grunts and squeeks" of my thoughts as they spill out my poor befuddled brain and down the gutters of blogs that have gone before, for your edification and delight no doubt. To introduce myself, I am a young girl living in London, as achieving nothing in London somehow seems more acceptable than achieving nothing in some small town. At least I've traveled to achieve nothing. Perhaps I just feel satisfied being in a position to observe greatness rather than be involved, thats right - my husband calls me a "non-participator". London is a great place for observing the greatness of others, it is also a great place for cultivating a misanthropic attitude. The one allows for the other, it's a state of equilibrium, clinging to those rare flashes of brilliance, the shock of recognition, witnessing an unselfish act but at the same time the constant shit-and-piss reality of gormless humanity staring you blankly in the face.

Hey Ho another day to toil away.