Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Waking Martha

Last day of May, and it's the beginning of a short, very intense week.

Two artists are arriving from outer space to communicate their plans to save humanity from boredom, and their bizarre requirements must be accommodated. The artists will be disguised as a bear and a parrot, and it is imperative that I do not give the bear peanuts and the parrot honey. I am strugglng to resolve this task with my desire to completely unwind before taking up next month's theme, by sitting on a park bench in the early morning summer sun to celebrate the final month of the year's ascendency to solstice. My milk-white sack of skin requires a regular searing UV top-up, or else when the americans put the big mirrors in space and ration sunlight, I will not be able to photosynthesise.

Then there is the little matter of a certain person's birthday. Her wish being for the holiday and anniversary rituals to be observed simultaneously, I have found a location where we can visit the rest of the world from a single place. This will mean that once the artists have been catered for, we will necessarily be leaving the comfort of our secluded city nook, and involving ourselves in a soapless pasture teeming with dangerous species. The fear of insects buzzing on beer and marijuana, and the awful stings and bites I will doubtless sustain from these intoxicated exoskeletal bullies, is causing my heart to bump my ribs at least two beats per minute faster.

Finally there is the small matter of Martha. Martha is 199 years old, and she is healthy, but asleep. I have been instructed to proceed upon the task of her resuscitation. She lies deeply buried at the moment, and has to be coaxed out over several weeks. She cannot be dragooned, or hurried, or in any way ordered to awaken. Local hoodlums are afraid of her, but she seems to like me. Thankfully my training over the past year has prepared me for this most sacred task, but even after a month of unwinding, I am going to need a brief holiday, more of a sun tan, and nerves of steel before I can begin.

I can only offer up my faithful promise to you, dear reader, that I will assemble the best possible outdoor gear for the occasion. If you have any prayers to hand, and a shred of generosity in you, offer them up now.

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Monday, May 30, 2005

Every British Citizen Will Pay For My Sex

I sit behind protective layers.

The small inner-city apartment where I live is safely above street level, four floors up, the entrance tucked away from the main road, protected by an entryphone system and large industrial-strength steel and glass doors. Above me, a plaster ceiling, a slate tile roof. To my left, a wooden front door, to my right, glass window. Behind and in front, brick walls. Below me, wool carpet, vinyl, concrete floor. Around my body, cotton, leather.

This morning, half-awake, on a lazy public holiday morning, I laughed long and loud at the inadvertent comic brilliance of the enterprising Romanian who composed the following:

Britain pays for queen's sex!

The Expenses of British Queen Elizabeth II for the last year increased from 34, 9 billion pound sterling till 77, 3 billions. It is double more in contrast with past year.

Perhaps, the most outrageous item of the expenses considers so-called "escort services", simply sexual amusements of the queen.

"Every British citizen will pay for my sex" - this sensational news has been said some hours before.

Directly to this news

Dear old Queen Liz, a sexual leech. Is this your revenge on the tabloids?

On my lap, my iBook. I use Eudora and this excellent application's built-in spam filter sends most junk email straight into my junk folder. Before it even gets to my Mac, SpamAssassin 2.63 determines its value on the server and flags up likely spam.

From: "BBC News" resgskerg@sundodgers.com
To: "xxxxxxxxxxx" < xxxxxxxxxxx >
Subject: Britain pays for queen's sex!
Date: Mon, 30 May 2005 11:21:52 +0000
X-Originating-IP: 58.195.172.180
X-Spam-Flag: YES
X-Spam-Checker-Version: SpamAssassin 2.63 (2004-01-11) on xxxxxxxxxxx
X-Spam-Level: *****
X-Spam-Status: Yes, hits=5.9 required=5.0 tests=DATE_IN_FUTURE_03_06,
HTML_20_30,HTML_MESSAGE,MIME_HTML_ONLY,RAZOR2_CF_RANGE_51_100,
RAZOR2_CHECK,TO_ADDRESS_EQ_REAL autolearn=no version=2.63
X-Spam-Report:
* 0.0 TO_ADDRESS_EQ_REAL To: repeats address as real name
* 0.0 HTML_MESSAGE BODY: HTML included in message
* 0.5 HTML_20_30 BODY: Message is 20% to 30% HTML
* 1.6 RAZOR2_CF_RANGE_51_100 BODY: Razor2 gives confidence between 51 and 100
* [cf: 100]
* 0.1 MIME_HTML_ONLY BODY: Message only has text/html MIME parts
* 0.9 RAZOR2_CHECK Listed in Razor2 (http://razor.sf.net/)
* 2.8 DATE_IN_FUTURE_03_06 Date: is 3 to 6 hours after Received: date

I would improve SpamAssassin by adding this single line:

* 2.9 ENTERTAIN_CHECK Listed in FunSpam (http://funspam.net/)

Spammers cloak their identity, of course, for nefarious, sometimes criminal, reasons. Many more of us bloggers choose the anonymity of a nom-de-plume, for reasons of safety, to prevent job loss, out of genuine shyness, to defy closer inspection, a badge to fend off the mundane. A pen-name can set you free to be the person inside, if that person requires release, or it can be a signifier of aspects of yourself. RuKsaK explains his blog name, for example, as an amalgam of the places he has lived.

Two of my favourite artists, one literary, the other visual and conceptual, both had alternative names - Flann O'Brien (right) the Irishman who wrote The Third Policeman, also published under Myles na Gopaleen (Myles of the Small Horses) and Marcel Duchamp (left), the Frenchman who reinvented art used Rose Sélavy as his female counterpart.

The inventive capacity of the human mind in the mistaken belief of its own inevitable victory never ceases to amaze me. The fact that spam now represents as much as 80% of all email says something marvellously scary about human endeavour and lack of judgement. It is somehow analagous to the way that even though we know that the Amazonian rainforest is being destroyed before our very eyes - almost a fifth has now been cleared (read: wiped off the face of the earth never to return) - we type Amazon into a web browser to buy books made of paper.

If we could harness the combined intelligence of spammers, we surely could resist this awful death by drowning that we experience. We might choose to make a religious response to the awful loss, fall on our grateful knees in thanks, and start to love our abusers, desiring to embrace them, cherishing this degradation.



Sometimes, layers of protection must be discarded for us to be happily naked, exposed to the real world, feeling the warm rays of the UV-rich sun on our bodies in blissful disregard of social formula. What can we do, when almost everything is waste and discard, except like Kurt, take the scraps and try to turn them into something wonderful and extraordinary, something we can be proud of and allowed to love.

Now I am going to come clean now about an aspect of my blogging. SURE DOING in SURROUNDED I AM. I sit protected behind an alter-ego, who is called Ribbonfish Hazelwood.

My small, unimportant addition to this marvellous artistic convention is fired by words that are discarded, found in junk email. In the name of Ribbonfish, I dedicate it Rose, to Myles, and most of all, to Kurt Schwitters. It is my wartime house of electronic bus tickets.

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Friday, May 27, 2005

Is That Gorgeous Or What?

London: the hottest day in May for 50 years, and we are suddenly sweltering in Mediterranean heat.



This is from yesterday evening - Holloway Road evening sky beckoning the summer.

I went to the London preview of the excellent Sonar last night at Fabric, and saw/listened to Durutti Column, Hot Chips and Jamie Liddell. I couldn't stop laughing, for some strange reason. Amazing what detoxing does (eventually) for your mood.

I wrote a long post earlier today, a real-life story, adolescent memories with explicit sexual references. I decided not to publish it, a first for Blog of Funk. Not because I have suddenly become shy, but simply because there are things afoot which shall make feet more than mere 12 inches. Which is all I am saying right now!

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Thursday, May 26, 2005

Excellent Urban Behaviour

"Kimmy, I'm talking to her, I'm telling her what she did is wrong, and there's no need to hit her!"

An exasperated response on a 7.30am sunny street corner by a large determined woman, who every day walks like a Mama Duck with her three school-uniformed girl ducklings down the Holloway Road. Usually she marches at a regular pace, too slow for the oldest, the youngest putting on spurts of speed every ten paces to keep up. The middle child does ok, for a change, in this walk-to-school sibling set up. This morning was clearly not a good morning.

I have often caught her interrogatory glance as I stroll by on my return from the station in leather jacket and shades - she always keeps her face set but she is for some reason curious about me and often clocks me from afar, only averting her scrutiny when I come within range of a few paces. Perhaps she is severely myopic, although she doesn't look it. I sometimes wonder whether I should one day acknowledge the thousand times we have passed by over the last three years.

"Good morning, madam, girls, and congratulations! Today is the One Thousandth Time we have walked within inches of each other saying absolutely nothing!"

With a flamboyant flourish I would then pull out from my pocket a large printed and embossed certificate, I would place a fabulous medal on a bright blue ribbon around her neck, I would, if the going was good, even give her a dry peck on the cheek, standing back afterwards to beam broadly, encouraging the girls to congratulate their mother on her success. "Well done!" I would raise and deepen my voice for appropriate emphasis, hand out small posies of flowers for the girls, and as bystanders at the bus stop looked on, draw them into appreciation of the moment.

"This woman," I would state grandly, "manages that most difficult of tasks, day after day, without recognition, and without profit." Pausing to let that sink in, I would reduce my volume just enough to keep it above the traffic noise. "She provides breakfast. She delivers safely to school, and brings home at the end of the day. She prevents violence, dispenses justice, and copes with injury and bilious vomit. And yet...."

Here a pause, allowing the gravity of the moment to assume Greek tragedy proportions.

"And yet..." allowing the voice to soften and show compassion, implying just a hint of the human struggle we all experience, "We haven't a clue who she is."

Signalling for the playback to begin, as violins and brass ascend around us, I would bring the event to a stunning climax. "It gives me the greatest pleasure to present whoever this woman is with a Medal and Certificate of Excellence in Urban Behaviour, First Class, No Holds Barred. May God Bless her and all who stare back at her."

Tears, cheers, the bus queue applauding, shopkeepers out on the step, smiling. Mama Duck experiencing the joy of recognition with the shock of exposure. Strangers moved to approach and shake her hand. Triumphant, I would withdraw unnoticed, leaving Kimmy proud, the little one thrilled but slightly lost, and the middle one wondering about the effects of sibling rivalry on her ability to work well in groups and her future employment prospects.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Three Fifteen Blues

Woke up this morning
It was three fifteen a.m.
Woke up this morning
Was only three fifteen a.m.
I ain't sleeping no more in this bed
Coz last night the strangest dream came

Dreamt I was a wizard named Woo-aah
With blond hair and a table
In my dream I was a wizard called Woo-aah
With long blond hair and a table
I can't sleep no more in this bed
Coz oh my, my mind ain't too stable

I was running all around this crazy scene
And I still don't know what it mean
I was running running running around this mad scene
Oh Lordy just what can it mean
Was it blue cheese-eating in my bed
That woke me at three fifteen

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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Trout On A Bed Of Twiglets

With warm maple syrup drizzled all over it.

Just a thought.

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Eruptions, Pendulums, Perfume

All this unwinding has been getting to me, and not entirely in a good way. Maybe it coincides with yesterday's full moon, perhaps it is a result of the detox regime releasing trapped energies deep within my molten psyche. Maybe it's just because I am a complete curmudgeon on a bad day to make up for being so extremely delightful the rest of the time, or perhaps it's just the mighty pendulum of emotional nature swinging back the other way.

I suppose blowing one's top is better than apathy. In certain cases it can even be justified. Mostly however it only adds to the sum total of utter bollocks in a world full of sweaty swingers of no particular use.

My timing was impeccable - bedtime - at the point when we were anticipating comfort and respose. The S.O.S. signals started and I leapt the defense of my defenses, prepared to die for the country I call my ego, ready to take on the cohorts of evil and defy those who would take and use my precious children for breakfast garnish.

When it was all over, the utter certainty I had held was a shrunken thing, a popped balloon on the floor of my stupid party. I had one good reason to be angry, but ninety nine not to be. Darkness was in my heart, Satan was my best friend, and woe betide anyone who criticised my banjo playing. No it wasn't about banjo playing, that was a metaphor. Pay attention, will you, and stop interrupting!

Later, in the patch-up moments where mournful regrets fly home like mint-and-cocoa-scented doves to coo and roost and ruffle feathers, I did the simple exercise, impossible in the heat and drama of the eruption, of reversing the accusations of bad behaviour, so that I tested myself for integrity, and watched my pride slide inexorably down the slopes, wiping out my villages and vineyards, until it was cool, solid black shame. No excuses.

Why is that we see in others the worst of ourselves? How does that mad mirror work? Like patriotic americans accusing Iraqis of insurgency in their own country, in our misguided anger, the best among us become stupid stupid stupid people. Would these glorious patriots capitulate if Iraqi soldiers patrolled the streets of Illinois? Would they not hate them for the deaths, interrogations, mock executions, sexual degradations, and being forced to wipe their ass on the Gospel? Would they not secretly cheer the carbombs of San Diego and mortars of Manhattan, and wish these 'liberators' gone? Of course they fucking would, or else, they would be unpatriotic collaborators betraying everything they held dear.

How ever bad your own shit smells, it has the glorious privilege of being exactly that - YOURS, and nobody else should tell you how many turds to crap in which pot when. Except, however good and right and intelligent we are, we all do that, don't we, in the name of improvement, in the name of holy righteousness, knowing that our cause is mighty and just, that our particular violence is condoned, and that our own shit smells like a cocktail of holy water and Chanel #4.

I am sorry. Three words that do little to repair the damage, but there they are, anyway.

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Sunday, May 22, 2005

Weekend Wonderland


I wouldn't normally post anything on a Sunday, being my day of rust, where I allow cool salt water to drip down the steep steel sides of my abandon, but I have had a weekend of such beauty and pleasure I feel I must share it with you.

Yesterday I went to Brighton with GGF where we walked on the beach until the sun came out. I found a box of bullets washed up on the shore. We talked seriously with the tide as out as it crashed smoothly on Brighton's steep pebble beach, washing away the week's tensions; I collected shell fragments and pieces of smooth green glass (as you do) which now litter my living room.

Then we went to the Brighton Dome where we witnessed a remarkable event - Harold Budd's last concert. He was joined by a list of numinous notables including Bill Nelson, Robin Guthrie, Jah Wobble, John Foxx, and the The Balanescu Quartet. The first half (actually two hours) was just sublime. The audience were rapt, one subtly evoked mood following another, with the great man pottering on and off stage like a friendly old music teacher, bringing on his pop collaborators. The second half was a 35 minute arthouse ambient jam which veered from crazy to inspired to painful (feedback problems), with Jah Wobble who played the most sexy bass line in 5 time that I have ever heard in my life. The audience cheered at the end, and I have been high ever since. Thank the funk for video-equipped camera phones - a lo-fi bootleg I shall treasure. [Budd fans: ask me.]

On the train back to London, yesterday being the FA Cup Final (the most watched sporting event in the world, which I ignored, having given up football) there were so many pissed up teenagers that the journey took an extra hour - it normally takes around an hour to complete - because the little darlings insisted on pulling the emergency cord. Lovely. It didn't matter. We were entertained by a group of women of certain ages and states of inebriation who took to telling the teenies that their hoods were illegal and hitting on the nice guy opposite us who tried desperately to read his book, A History of Medieval Torture, without interruption.

Today, after sleeping in, enjoying a wonderful late breakfast of mushrooms, tomatoes and halloumi on toast, and returning to bed once fortified to examine each other's finer details, we went to Hampstead Heath and viewed the rhododendrons in full bloom in the Kenwood House garden. A riot of colour and smell, we were intoxicated by them, we drank tea and ate nutty flan, yoghurt and berries and made happy observations about life the universe and our fortunate place in it. Now, I am going to cook tuna steaks to go with new potatoes and salad. Marvellous. What a way to truly unwind.

















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Friday, May 20, 2005

Ferrari And The Rainless Summer

"If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got" said the fortune cookie at the end of a particularly rich Chinese meal. I was MSG'd with an incipient throbber of a headache and staring across at CJ, a woman I had met online and who had persuaded me to meet her in Chiswick.

CJ was an artist and sometime writer, who messaged me one day at random. We had talked on and off for several weeks. She drove a fabulous red sports car, a slim, low-slung rumbling red Ferrari, in which she met me with a flourish at Turnham Green station as I stood in the warm ending of the summer afternoon, watching the shadows lengthen. I got into the car and she drove to the restaurant, chatting easily.

It was a date, I was single, she was single, and we were having somewhat overpriced fun in this somewhat posh district of west London. CJ told stories in her cute ex-pat German accent with British irony and a throaty laugh, her long red nails waving around her as she punctuated her speech with European emphasis. She wore a long black designer dress in some unnameable rustly fabric from Kensington, which showed off her Rubens bosom and ski-slope cleavage to good effect, funky black sandals, and interesting and expensive perfume. I guessed, something from New York, since she told me she had just returned from there.

The meal ended and it was 10pm, still light at this time of year. Replete and wishing I wasn't, I suggested a walk along the river, which is pleasant that far west, but CJ suggested her place so strongly that I conceded without a fuss. She drove enthusiastically fast down three streets, then spent longer parking than we had journeying. She had a beautiful garden flat situated in a leafy street full of nice family cars less smart than hers. We entered into dark rooms crammed full of intricate objets-d'art, books both contemporary (Houellebecq) and classic (Crowley), and lots of photographs, paintings, relief sculptures, which I quickly realised were hers.

"Let's have tea in the garden," she said, that most British of phrases. She made it sound like that guy who chops up cadavers in public - "Let's heff tea in da garten." The small city plot, strategically lit with candles, oil lamps and hidden electrics, a large table under two mature lime trees, was secluded, almost entirely protected from view. The main surreal feature of the garden was the chaise-longue, half-buried and covered in astro-turf. I sat upon it and wished I hadn't - water soaked straight through my thin cotton Pierre Cardin slacks and I felt embarassed enough to go to the toilet and pat myself drier.

CJ was busy boiling water in an eccentric copper kettle and talking non-stop, saw me go past her, noticed my arse-disaster, and I saw her smirk. She was pouring tea into cups when I came out, and when we went back into the garden carrrying our steaming brew, she indicated a seat which was dry. We chatted, I relaxed, tried to lose my headache and my full belly. She had cats, they came, they were petted. She remarked glowingly that they LIKED me! All animals like me, wild, tame, you name it. They can smell that I am one of them. It was coming up to 10.30pm. She put on some Nick Cage at low volume, leant forward so that the night shadow deepened the crevasse of her ample bust, and spraying pheremones like a garden sprinkler, started to make it very clear that we should spend the night in the garden, perhaps later retiring to her bed.

I liked her, but I knew from moment #1 there would be no physical relationship. She was clearly a. lonely b. neurotic and c. (from her many stories) totally messed up about men, relationships, and sex, not necessarily in that order. Good material for art, bad material for a lover. Also, she was just too damn big for me, so I couldn't even enjoy the one night. I can admire a woman built like that, but my sexual responses require some basic prompts, like decent muscle and skin tone, and although I have occasionally romped with and fondled fuller figures, the dimpled, corpulant excess of a body used to eating, drinking and smoking just does not do it for me. Still, it was a pleasant summer's evening, CJ was witty and intelligent, she obviously found me charming, we got along for a few hours without being bored, and I didn't want to offend her. I explained gently that I was tired, it was late, and I wasn't that kind of boy. That was when I realised she had no intention of letting me go.

Her first tactic (unwise) was to ask me if I was Man enough, or what? This fatal beginning is guaranteed to lose me every time. My simple answer is: No. I am Deek enough for anything, anyone, anytime, but Man, no, sorry, I don't do Man. That took five minutes. Then she changed subject and started talking intensely about Atomised, one of the books on her shelf. Had I read it? No. I really should. Doubtless. (I since have - it's a good book.) It questioned social mores. It was sexy. What sort of sex did I like? My head clanged like a dustbin lid. Why wasn't she non-smoking and slender? I would have knocked back a couple of painkillers and spent the next 5 hours expertly removing all traces of lust. I like all forms of sex, I announced calmly, with the exception of bondage, which bores me. Her eyebrow arched, she slightly narrowed her eyes (unwise) clearly calculating what to offer in order to keep me.

She abruptly rose, and said, "More tea?" and I said, just as promptly, "Well, I have to be going soon, the last train leaves in 15 minutes.." and she stopped on the path to the kitchen and turned, legs planted wide, looking suddenly operatic. "Why do you have to go?" she demanded, petulantly, like a child. "Do you not like me?" "Um, yes," I said, "just don't want to hit the sack with you right now." "Then stay!" she cried.

I knew then that with the train leaving in 7 minutes, I needed to insist on getting out, so I made up a story about having to rise at 6am the next day for an important blah, and speaking at breakneck speed to confuse her, I moved past her into the toilet, locked the door. I breathed, ran the cold, splashed my aching temples. Exiting, she was sat in front of her computer. "You know about these, don't you?" "Yes." "Can you help me with it?" All innocence. "Another time, I have to get to the station now." 4 minutes. "I'll give you a lift." I almost declined, then realised that I didn't know where I was exactly, so with some misgivings I said, "OK, but we'll have to go now or I'll miss it."

She wasted time, changing shoes which she didn't need to do, and we left. She wasted more time getting out of the parking space in a series of fast, miniscule moves which felt rather like the jerks and shudders of an injured not-quite-roadkill. Finally, she set off, turned a few corners, and I had the sinking feeling she was going to drive me anywhere but the station.

As we came to the bridge, I saw that she had artfully organised her route so that we were sitting at a red light on the opposite side of a wide road to the station entrance as the last minute approached. She was sort of crooning now, and I realised that she thought she had done enough to delay and keep me. My head was bang-bang-banging like she wanted me to, and I knew I was vulnerable. "Did you ever try anal sex?" she asked out of nowhere. Jesus, full marks for trying, I thought, but her manipulative neediness was blotting out all considerations apart from escape. "Sure!" I said, suddenly bright with hope. I had seen a gap in the traffic in the rear-view mirror. "Bye!" I kissed her on the cheek, just missing her too-late attempt to plant her red-lipsticked mouth on mine, leaped out of the open-top without bothering to open the door, ran full-pelt across the road narrowly missing an oncoming truck, leapfrogged the ticket barrier, ran down the concrete steps, jumped onto the last carriage of the final train home, and collapsed on a seat as the doors went peep-peep-peep-peep-peep and closed.

My heart was pounding, but as Chiswick receded and Islington neared, I thanked my lucky stars for Ferrari and the rainless summer.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Thy World's Fetish Wonders

Amateurs / Anal / Asian / Big Tits / Bisexual / Bizarre / Black / Blonde / Blowjobs / Bondage / Catfights / Clit Clips / Couples / Cross Dressing / Cumshots / Dildos / Doctor Games / Double Penetration / Dripping Wax / Enemas / Facials / Fat Girls / Fetish / Fisting / Foot / Fucking / Glasses / Groupsex / Gyno / Hairy / High Heels / Incest / Interracial / Latex / Latinas / Lesbians / Masturbation / Mature / Muffdiving / Black Women / Nipple Clips / Outdoor / Panties / Watersports / Piercing / Sex in public / Redhaired / Shaving / Trannies / SM / Smoking / Strap-ons / Tattoos / Teen / Titfucks / Thy / Uniforms / Upskirt / Voyeur / Spanking /
It's not often I read junk mail, but this little baby popped up this morning and I had to cast my heathen eye over it.

It's all there, isn't it, in the supermarket of vicarious sex? Plastic film-wrapped pre-washed categorised and available for download from your local Fetish Mega-Site, which has free parking, although from then on, whenever you drive your car, you won't be entirely certain it's actually taking you where you want to go. It could have become a zombie vehicle, the wheel controlled by a kiddie-script, it's direction at the whim of the Great God Spam.

Does anyone remember when spam was canned processed meat of the bright pink, stomach-ache-inducing variety, brother of corned beef, and cousin to Shippam's Fish Paste? Now I rarely give it a second glance, my email program deals enthusiastically with 99% of it, and it's only the fact that a few genuine emails sometimes get caught in the friendly fire that causes me to scan my junkmail folder from time to time, in order to rescue the grains of wheat from the spam chaff.

I started to run through the list in a funky and totally spontaneous mental-ticking-off kind of style... I put some loud reggae music on as I did so, "Legalise It" sang Pete Tosh, in his plaintive, melodious yearning voice, and the itchy rhythm kicked me off, saying Yes to everything I could remember experiencing in time with the music.

"Birds eat it....." Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes "Goats love to play with it" Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes - "Even the lawyers do" and I had lots of fun until I got to Thy. Thy what? It threw me, I missed the off-beat.

thy P Pronunciation Key (th)
adj. The possessive form of thou1.
Used as a modifier before a noun.

[Middle English, variant of thin, thine, from Old English thn. See tu- in Indo-European Roots.]


Verily, I was impaled upon this incongruity, utterly Byroned, totally Kiplinged, completely Shakespeared, and so as Pete continued to warble about the medical benefits of the herb, I started to wonder what literary sex practise was described herein. My english took on a life of most ancient carnal expectation, and I went to that most beautiful part of the Bible, top ranking, up there with the the Mad Professor's Beatitudes and the King Tubby and the Lord's Prayer - Song of Solomon:. Now here's some really sexy thy:

I have compared thee, O my love,
to a company of horses in Pharaoh's chariots.
Thy cheeks are comely with rows of jewels,
thy neck with chains of gold.
We will make thee borders of gold with studs of silver.
While the king sitteth at his table,
my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof.
A bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me;
he shall lie all night betwixt my breasts.
My beloved is unto me as a cluster of camphire
in the vineyards of Engedi.
Behold, thou art fair, my love;
behold, thou art fair;
thou hast doves' eyes.
Behold, thou art fair, my beloved, yea, pleasant:
also our bed is green.
The beams of our house are cedar, and our rafters of fir.
[snip]
thy hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from mount Gilead.
Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn,
which came up from the washing;
whereof every one bear twins,
and none is barren among them.
Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet,
and thy speech is comely:
thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate within thy locks.
Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armoury,
whereon there hang a thousand bucklers,
all shields of mighty men.
Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins,
which feed among the lilies.


I would be so chuffed to find romantic religious material on a sex site. Do you think they really mean Thai? I hope not, how predictable that would be. Mind you, if you ordered Thai, and it turned out to be a recitation of the Song of Solomon in drag, would you complain? I think I feel a business idea coming on.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Ronaldo In Palestine

My respect for Ronaldo, the great Brazilian footballing capybara, has risen. The BBC have a superb series of pictures showing his visit to Ramallah.

My gorgeous girlfriend has friends and relatives living there. It's a nightmare of checkpoints and curfews and random violence, and it is characterised by the resident population's great fortitude and complete determination not to allow the occupiers to win. As Peter Ustinov said, the Jews were the first victims of the Nazis, the Palestinians are the last.

Peter Ustinov and Ronaldo - can you tell which is which?


Detox news: I went for a run. I am really looking forward to next weekend, and the beer and wine I shall not be drinking... Detox means: no coffee, alchohol, sweets, high fat food, meat. There's no pressing need for this, it's just vanity. I want my babysoft skin to stay on my body. I want to continue to sing like an angel and make music with the enthusiasm of a man half my age. I want to remain svelte. I want to write a book. I found an agent here in London who is interested. This is all the inspiration I need.

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Monday, May 16, 2005

Pity Me Quick!

I am about to detox. I bought a bottle of champagne to celebrate. We drank it earlier. Blogging is my last vice of the evening.

Wish me luck. Send puppies and shoehorns.

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Give It Up

"What is behind you: 4 of Cups. Boredom, discontent, dissatisfaction. A mood of glutted apathy shrouded you. Feelings of yearning for something which was, at that moment, too generously fulfilled, turned into rejection, revulsion, and vexation. The foul temperament indicated may have extended from a persistent nagging to intense forms of strife, spite, and embitterment. Overcoming sightless inertia helps you see tangible opportunities."

I awoke at 5am today, light streaming in through my dreaming-into-wakening thoughts. Gah. Once my brain is engaged, which takes milliseconds not minutes, it is useless for me to attempt the final hour and a half rest I am rightfully due, so trying not to worry too much about tiredness later in the day, I got up. Leaving the bedroom silently, I went next door to where the day things live. They fell quietly back into place as soon as I entered the bright morning room, careful not to give any sign of the abandoned revelry that happens during the night when we are not looking.

Without questioning what I was doing, I went straight to my iBook, lifted the white plastic lid on my online life, and typed in the Mystic Games URL. I need to know. I want to see. I am not even awake yet (that's a lie: I am awake, I am in control, I am choosing to do this) but I am going through the motions. I choose: Tarot: Popular 1910 deck: Celtic Cross Spread.

Celtic Cross, spreads straight from the fridge, delicious on warm toast. I am doing this, I realise, before my head has a chance to wake up completely and censor me.

I am supposed to have to given this up, but like my old friend said to me once, what are you doing in the barbershop if you don't want a haircut?

I feel surprisingly little guilt at this irrationality, not just because I feel surprisingly little guilt anymore about anything. Fortune telling, readings, divination, these are things I purport to have put behind me during the Great Rational Phase which coincided with my therapy, but actually, like an alcoholic sneaking a pint, I have sometimes dabbled - backslid - whilst definitely not allowing it replace careful cogitation, and consequent measured, sane action.

I have consciously forsworn my garish wizard's cloak with it's swirling esoteric emblems for a stylish navy blue showerproof jacket by Balmain, Paris.

Recently I have indeed been unwinding, and some of it has been more like unravelling, which although occassionally chaotic, is no bad thing. My therapist once said to me, wracked at the time with the kind of pain that comes from pulling rotten psychological teeth, "You will probably become distressed when you first start to let go - the process is likely to increase your anxiety in the short term." He was right, and now I find myself many moons later, remembering his wisdom, as represented by the King of Cups, he makes a swan song appearance, soothing me on the water, as unseen currents pull and twist my little boat towards a shore I know not where.

As I repeated myself like Pavlov's poor puppy, I remembered the list of things I no longer do, by way of reassurance. I no longer read my personal daily horoscope, I no longer use esoteric methods to balance the books, emotional or financial, and I no longer offer up advice to people using the tools of divination and the skills of interpretation which I have developed over 25 years. My I Ching readings are down to one a year. Honestly.

And after all this excuse making, and rationalisation, and hand-wringing, having lifted the lid as best I can and peeked into that dark, do I believe any of it?



Of course I do, it's my future, after all!

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Friday, May 13, 2005

We Are Normal And We Want Our Freedom

I am a lesbian trapped in a man's body. I am not a mumsy, round, cardiganed lesbian, I am a muscled, lithe dominatrix, dressed in black leather, I carry nipple-clamps and lube in my handbag, and I never smile. I am supremely self-determined. I am not even 100% lesbian, I just shag whoever I want, whenever I want, and because my stern commanding gaze will not be brooked, women and men, straight gay or indeterminate, all fall into my consummate erotic control.

They beg me not to stop, and I take nothing from their requests.

I was buying wine in Old Compton Street, Soho, which is the gay street of the West End. Old Compton has Patisserie Valerie selling the best coffee and cream cakes in town, and the street often feels like it might really be from somewhere else, like Brazil, or Prague, the atmosphere is so louche and extravagant. I was looking at some red rioja, some white rioja, wondering whether I should buy them both - one for now, one for later - when my inner lesbian walked in.

She was soft-spoken, wore a short leather skirt and long boots, and the classic double Venus earring. She had a simple request - Czech absinthe. Now, this is the stuff that has wormwood in it, the stuff that used to be illegal, before Tony Blair's son demanded and got the law changed after the gutter-snogging episode. This stuff will cause middle-class propriety to vanish like the stains on your stainless steel kitchen unit, the one that put those funny red stripes on your upper thighs that time. This absinthe, drunk in Spain on a works outing, caused 55 year-old Bernadette to jump onto the table and dance lewdly with the waiter, pulling his dark head into her flouncy dress and corkscrewing his nose into her fragrant inner folds. Before passing out she screamed that the mice on the table were ruining her tango. Remembering this, I looked across discretely.

She had a calm, polite demeanour, and completely ignored me, and so I took full advantage of my weighing up procedure, hiding my fascination for her behind an apparent obsession with Spanish wine. My chirpy male sales assistant was happy to desert me temporarily in order to attend her. A light shone in his eyes as he retrieved not one but two examples of the high-class psychoactive liquor, and he took pains to explain in detail the differences between them. But the way she looked at his enthusiasm was cool, like the spider who need not rush. She observed, said practically nothing, while he did the work. She was two inches shorter than me but her heels lifted her to my height exactly. She was atop a watchtower, allowing the minions to scamper around her, impregnable.

It's a cliché that heterosexual men fancy lesbians. The threat of other men is absent, and male fantasies are all about penile gratification - "and now here's what you REALLY want, girls". This is an adolescent concept best left at that age. I felt nothing like sexual attraction for my inner lesbian, no interest in her playing a role in some future orgiastic event, just admiration, pride in her chic, subtle, sexy appearance, and in the way she used such a small amount of energy to achieve her ends, and a sense of affinity. Seeing her, I had instant knowledge that the degree of separation between us was slight. She was my anima, yet in the form of animus. I wanted to be her - I was her.

My gender was being thoroughly bent, and the borders of myself shifted, but it felt delicious. What better place for me to exist, a straight man with degrees in oral sex and funk, in the body of the coolest lesbian on the planet? "My mother made me lesbian! - if I gave her the wool, would she make me one?" went the old joke. I didn't have any wool. I didn't need any wool. In folklore, when you meet your doppelganger, you die. What happens when you meet your inner lesbian in Soho? You live all the more.

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Thursday, May 12, 2005

Sunny Sarny Bar



Holloway Road, not quite opposite Islington Central Library.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Ooowite?

People don't say "Hello" anymore, or even "Hi", they make a strained estuary sound forced through facial muscles more used to showing displeasure or disgust for the sake of protection. Eyebrows level, mouth corners glued to teeth, unless you are kith or kin, the best you get is the traditional London recognition sound of "ooowite".

It is supposed to be a question but it is said as a statement. "Ooowite?" is the more considerate form of the phrase, implying as it does more genuine concern for your wellbeing.

"Ooowite," she said blankly as she went to pass me, but I could tell she was not alright. She was tired and the great dark skunk-induced rings under her eyes looked more ominous than usual. "I am fine, how are you?" It was a slight shock to us both, this formal middle-class rejoinder, and it was uttered and out in the open before I could grab it back.

She looked like an overgrown baby in a romper suit, the only part of her body showing the obligatory gap between the pubis and the navel. I estimated her to be anywhere between 16 and 20 years old, strangely timeless in that brief moment before men and babies take the rest of her life. We were walking through the slalom railings, put there to prevent teenagers on stolen 'peds racing in the carpark. This meant we were suffering physical proximity, my black leather jacket passing within centimetres of her 100% unnatural fibre mint-ice-cream-coloured daywear.

She looked up at me, her own surprisingly clear grey eyes scanning left and right across my smiling face in swift anxiety. Realising I meant it, she said, "Been in hospital." She said, "They didn't know what was wrong." Wishing I had stuck to formula but nonetheless now concerned I said, "Whittington?" and she nodded. "I've been there" I said sagely, trying to find a way of extracting the information without losing the entire morning to the exchange. "Did they sort you out in the end?"

She looked suddenly very sad and far older. "Got to go back for tests." Without wanting to probe further, but not wanting to leave the poor girl in the lurch, I said, "You must be worried, that's tough." She hardened her face and twisted her neck around, as if expecting the test results to sneak up behind her. Looking back at me, starting to fidget and frown, she said, "Yeah, I might not come back."

Shit, I thought, she means it. The final trip to hospital, the failure to return. She is living with this fear of sickness, of death, of the unknown. I was moved, didn't know what to say. Then she said, "I might stay with her."

"Sorry?" I said, completely confused. "There's rooms for you to stay over. I might just stay there with her. She's 78, everyone else is at work." "Let's hope she's OK" I floundered lamely. "See ya!" she smiled, she moved past me, and we parted.

She's not dying, it's her bloody grandmother, I shouted gently to myself. I walked on, mentally weighing up the verbal exchange and marvelling at the misconstrued meanings, and at how the shift in concern had occurred, wishing I hadn't asked her how she really was, but glad I had in fact done so.

I didn't intend to confront mortality, I was just being more friendly than usual as a consequence of being less wound up. Formulas of greeting and recognition, I realised, serve many more purposes than just to establish and maintain civil relations. They tell someone you know who they are and that you accept their right to be there. They keep you connected to the health of the community. Vary them at your peril.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Snapping Shadows

On weekday mornings, we follow a ritual. I get out of bed first. I only ever respond to my own alarm, the same travel-sized triangular black and red casio with the big thumb-size snooze button that I bought in Wood Green in 1982. It bleeps, quiet at first, growing louder if ignored, finally emitting a long unbroken dream-piercing retro electronic call to greet the day.

I don robe, visit WC, then make tea. I take GGF's tea in to her where she still lies motionless, and I say "Tea." I leave her tea somewhere it cannot be easily spilt, and I take my own next door.



Sitting with that blank-eyed, am-I-really-awake stare, I use the tea-head trick of sipping the top millimetre from the steaming cup with a lot of air so it doesn't burn, making that I-know-it's-hot-but-I-need-tea slurp, a tiny gasp of delicious anticipation as hot tea meets arid night tongue. Sipping, cradling the cup, I stare out onto the day and take stock. I have at least five minutes before noises off announce the arrival of GGF. In a series of delicate moves, we dress, make provision for the day, and in around twenty five minutes, we are ready to leave.

Generally, I don't have to commute very far, if at all, but GGF has to get to Pimlico, and this means the Victoria Line. She gets to school early, usually an hour and a half before the children, and often leaves two hours after them. I walk with her to Highbury station. It's a seven minute journey, which we both enjoy. In the sun, in the rain, it gives me a peek at the world, we chat, we kiss goodbye at the station, and I walk back, often turning the seven minutes into fifteen.



On my way to the station, I walk due south into the sun. Seven in the morning, this time of year, on a fine day, I wear shades. On my way back, I see my shadow ahead of me, a moving diagonal, my body five metres long, my elongated pin head thrown upon walls and telephone boxes. I see the same faces, fresh awake, heading for the hole which will suck them down into their day jobs. I watch red-uniformed children straggling and bumbling along, trailing bags and ties, clotting like blood around bus stops.

Burials and bombs and demolitions and developments have all played their part in the re-making of this part of Islington. There is a glory in London's confusion, so that a stranger never knows whether a pleasant or unpleasant vista will greet them around the next corner. I often veer off the Holloway Road, take the pretty route. This small patch of London was formed by Parliamentary decree, some still handsome streets laid out around the Chapel of Rest which became St Mary Magdalene's in the 1850s. You can read about the the life people led here before the 20th century changed everything in Grossmith's comedy, Diary of a Nobody.

Snapping shadows as I walked back, feeling the chill of streets not yet sunny, walking back through the oldest part of this corner of civilisation, it came to me this morning that somehow, against all expections, after 21 years residency, I have finally arrived in the place where I live. I have been waiting to leave for over two decades, and instead, I find that I am in love, and staying. I don't know whether this represents self-acceptance or defeat. Perhaps these roots will provide a canopy.

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Monday, May 09, 2005

Gentlemen & Women

Looking back on the past month, I am still slightly astonished that I propelled myself into politics with that amount of gusto. Gusto is a tasty sauce, a kind of wind-assisted pesto. All energy should eventually come from such renewable italian sauces. This sort of drivel has been knocking around my head for days as a result of letting go of the strictures of conformity, which after all was never my strong point.

So in the spirit of unwinding, I stayed home Saturday and read a book, watched a DVD, ate chicken soup, drank some red wine, then yesterday went down to the canal and walked in the sun. I am still recovering from my headcold and the GGF is in the throes of the same virus, so we meandered rather than danced along, but still covered a couple of miles, enjoyed the locks and the boats and the ducklings. May mornings are still cold, rain showers come and go, but London in springtime is a beautiful place.









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Sunday, May 08, 2005

Farewell, Politics

Deek Deekster discusses nuts, politicians, politics and podcasting with International Bicycle Thief and rounds up coverage of UK election 2005 from Funk.

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Friday, May 06, 2005

A Tremendous Honour And Privilege

It has been a tremendous honour and privilege to take part in the period drama of national transition.

I am watching today's TV with tea and ice cream, laughing at Peter Snow and the mad BBC Graphics.

Chastised Blair, biting his lip, promising to do better - like Thatcher he's adopted the royal "we" - "We.. I, the Government" he said on the steps of Number 10, and "we've got to listen to the people" in that earnest voice of his. And that about summed it up for me. King Blair let off with a spanking. Pull your socks up, bring the troops home, stop the US bombing Iran, and make sure Palestine gets the West Bank back in full, you bad man.

Then the surprise of Michael Howard's magisterial statement of stepping down, having turned around his party's fortunes, determining to make sure the Conservative leadership selection process was reformed before he did so.

The LibDem massive has been bigged up, Charles Kennedy's frowning red face and confident stomp making him look just like a ginger partridge. He looks so lary! He's promising to make 3 party politics a reality. Actually that's a big change on the political map, and they won't be able to force ID cards on us so easily. A return to more truly parliamentary government is surely a good thing.

It took all the Labour big guns to win this, from Gordon Brown, instantly brought in from the cold to be a massive electoral asset, to prominent anti-war politicians like Robin Cook and Tony Benn. Will there be enough cohesion in the Labour party to survive Blair's passing?

This ritual loss of a night's sleep and obsession with minutiae is something 24 hour news media has bred in some of the population but by no means all.

Earlier I overheard the following conversation: "Who won?" "Same lot." "You vote?" "Na." "Me neither."

I think I might have another cup of tea.

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Unwinding

Having played my tiny part in the creaking, groaning, shuddering collective spasm we call self-determination, I need to recover. I have not worked so hard in a long while. The count was interesting and I am glad I went. Emily Thornberry won by a whisker, my local patch has a Labour MP, and the country has a third successive Labour government. I took some pictures, drank a couple of beers, came home, chatted on IRC, watched the TV, and crashed about 3.30am.




In the middle of the campaign, I began to think about what it was that propelled all these people, I began to identify with these gluttons for punishment and power, and I recalled JG saying to me, think of the size of the wound. He was talking about George Bush.



The desire to rise to the top of the pile, the taking on of responsibility, the wielding of authority. Is it all at root just about the need to be feel important, to be at the centre, to be the man or the woman upon whom so much depends? It made me think about the value of personal and social attainment, and in the middle of writing my bloggist reportage, I wrote this little ditty:

---------------------------------

The Wound Of Not Being Recognised

It is so lovely to be recognised, a tremendous boost to self-esteem.
He is looking at the big car he's going to drive, and the heavies and the beauties
And the diplomatic ladies

It's the wound of not being recognised. Poor motherless children
they run around your feet, banging that old beatup bucket

And we'll all join in their games just to keep happy
ever since he was ignored he's always been the one to score

I'm your man or woman for the job
with the right keyfob
Blue lights like on westwing it's a regimental thing
and everywhere you go a thousand people need to know
you're on show, and oh how good it feels

making a claptrap racket, filling up pockets and packets
with black looks and padded jackets

It's the wound of not being recognised. Poor motherless children
they run around your feet, banging that old beatup bucket

There is nothing to replace the winner of this race
the smile upon the face, day of glory, paperchase

---------------------------------

I'm not sure it's finished, and maybe it is really a song, but that doesn't really matter. It doesn't have to be finished, or held up to factual scrutiny. I do not have to fit my writing anymore into formats of political analyis or reporting, and having for 4 weeks put the revolution at the disposal of poetry, I am now happy to leave the revolution where it is and enjoy for a while the poetry of London in Spring.

This month, I will be unwinding.

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Thursday, May 05, 2005

Funky Election Night Special

I have my official green Islington press invite to the most boring event you can possibly imagine, the Counting of Votes, Media Viewing Area only. I'm heading up there when the polls close, don't know how long I will stay.

I went and voted this afternoon. I think that locally the turnout is up on last time round here, so that's good.

I wish I was excited as the election and my involvement in it came to it's fabulous climax, but I am instead saddened by some news which has me sighing, about a young neighbour who is probably not going to last very much longer. It's not the sort of thing I want to write about right now, and it is one time that I am gladdest to not be on my own. My gorgeous girlfriend is moved herself, sympathetic and compassionate, and it's times like this I realise how much she means to me.

Hey hum, pray if you will. Meanwhile, I have been recording a band called the Wild Uncles. You heard that name here first.

Let's hope this election night ends well, which for me means, we are still ruled by a socially progressive government. When I get back, I'll spark up an IRC channel and post it here for anyone who wants to chat as we go through our collective national spasm.

My IRC for tonight is irc.nightstar.net channel #ukbloggers

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Deek Deekster Retires From Politics

Today I am announcing my retirement from politics.

Beginning tomorrow, 6th May 2005, for the next month, I shall be unwinding.

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Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Success


I have been weary and suffering a cold, often over the past few days feeling petulant, tired and frustrated, and relying on the good nature of my colleagues and loved ones to insert the feeding tubes and mop my furrowed brow with a soft cloth soaked in cool liniment. At least, that's what I think was happening.

This past month has been a struggle. I still haven't tracked down the last two interviewees, the UKIP and the Independent candidates. But without struggle, there is no gain, and generally I can say my month of politics has been a success, especially considering everything else I've been up to whilst covering the election, like eating, sleeping, reinventing my domestic life, paying bills, walking in bluebell woods. I was running a fever and it was a rather surreal experience, the colour and scent spacing me right out. Viruses can be a powerful psychedelic.

Joining the great movement towards democratic inclusion that blogging, podcasting, DV cams, mobile phones offer has been more than a good exercise. I have enjoyed meeting the candidates and conducting interviews, and despite mild exhaustion, I now know that my endeavour has been valuable, specifically because of this comment from Ollie. When I read it, I couldn't stop smiling.
Thanks for making available these series of podcasts with the candidates in my constituency - much appreciated. I'm planning on listening to each one before casting my vote on Thursday. I've been away from Islington a lot recently so I've managed to avoid any direct canvassing from the candidates - and election flyers are not something I read. Hence your podcasts will probably be my primary tool for making the decision.

--
Posted by Ollie to Five at 5/3/2005 10:59:53 PM

This alone makes my efforts worthwhile.

I've also had some realisations about these strange and colourful people who seek public office, recognition, attainment beyond the usual, which I shall share with you in conclusion.

Plan A: tomorrow night gain entry to the count and the declaration. This is my final hurdle, and my legs are aching with the effort. After calling various numbers at the Town Hall, I spoke to the local council press geezer Rob yesterday. I am vieing with a journalist from Sweden, he told me, although quite why a Swedish journo should be deemed more worthy than me, I cannot say. I've lived here 21 years for fuck's sake. He really didn't want to listen to why I should be there, didn't promise to let me in, made a big thing about how it wasn't his decision and joked about charging me £55. There is also the spacious nature of the Sobel Centre, into which surely can fit a single blogger. I felt like spitting, thanked him politely for his "help" and decided to wait and see.

I'm in a position now to apply for an NUJ (National Union of Journalists) card - Five has been a genuine independent political news outlet for the duration, it's syndicated feed carried alongside the established quality media, Guardian, Observer, and the BBC, republished on BNN, as well as linked and linking to multiple other excellent blogs and sites - and so I have to decide what to do with it now I've set it up. I don't necessarily want to write news, at least not in terms of modern news media, but the wonderful thing is that this month, having to explain to people exactly what I am doing, why I write and where it is read, I have realised I am a journalist, in the tradition of Sam Pepys, living here and observing and writing about my London life, it's crazy pace, beauty, shenanigans, decadance, invention, fortune, savagery, poverty and splendour. Writing is a part of my life, and I take it as seriously as I take living.

Plan B: if I don't get to be there in person with assembled political hopefuls and assorted TV crews and card-carrying journalists on the night, I am going to do what everyone else does which is stay home and watch the election unfold on TV, in which case I'll be online tomorrow (Thursday) night (GMT) and happily live chat with anyone who wants to show up. Watch this space, ye brethren, and despair not, for the future, or at least a funky bit of it, is in our hands.

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