The Ugg Boots have gone!!!
I mean, so has everything else - looks like I've been burgled by neat-thieves - but they're gone! Rah!
The first gig I ever went to was at the Mean Fiddler in 1991. I'd been to loads of festivals, and I'd followed local bands about making puppy eyes on a regular basis, I'd even played extremely badly alongside three or four indie chart toppers on their worst, most drunken gigs, but weirdly, despite living with a musician who'd charted, (once, heh), I'd never been as a punter to a proper single big name gig. So for my first gig ever, nervy, wired, not a bit drunk on gassy beer from Irish pubs, I chose Henry Rollins.
Here's what AllMusic has to say about Rollins:
Styles American Underground, College Rock, Alternative Metal, United States of America, Alternative Pop/RockYeah, well 1992 was a pivotal year for me, too, but in 91 I was still germinating. Although the sugar was turning to alcohol by then.
Tones Fiery, Passionate, Thuggish, Aggressive, Literate, Cathartic, Bleak, Volatile
In the '90s, Henry Rollins emerged as a post-punk renaissance man ... Since Black Flag's breakup in 1986, Rollins has been relentlessly busy, recording albums with the Rollins Band, writing books and poetry, performing spoken-word tours, writing a magazine column in Details, acting in several movies, and appearing on radio programs and, less frequently, as an MTV VJ. The Rollins Band's records are uncompromising, intense, cathartic fusions of hard rock, funk, post-punk noise, and jazz experimentalism, with Rollins shouting angry, biting self-examinations and accusations over the grind.
Similar Artists: Greg Ginn The Red Hot Chili Peppers Minutemen Jane's Addiction Husker Du Gone Fugazi R.E.M. Shudder to Think Jawbox Sonic Youth Faith No More Dinosaur Jr.
Roots and Influences: Minor Threat The Velvet Underground Thin Lizzy Suicide Led Zeppelin Dead Kennedys Black Sabbath Bad Brains Iggy Pop Phil Lynott Ted Nugent
1991 was a pivotal year for Rollins, for better and worse. The Rollins Band inked a deal with Imago that promised much-improved distribution, and also appeared on the Lollapalooza tour. But in December of that year, Rollins and his best friend, Joe Cole, were held up by gunmen waiting outside of Rollins' L.A. home. Cole was fatally shot in the head; the devastating trauma of the incident never quite left Rollins, and occasionally (though indirectly) informed his subsequent work.
Stripped to the waist, skinheaded, monobrowed, rippling with muscles and tats covering his entire spine and calves, in cycling shorts and nothing else (these were the days before Kiedis made such displays acceptable), a pitbull terrier in human form, Rollins looked like a bad case of steroids gone wrong. My eyes boggled and the thought flashed through my mind: "Fuck me, it's Buster Bloodvessel. Oh God."
I was certain I'd be slinking away from a neo nazi mosh pit within twenty seconds, trying not to be noticed.
Wrong. He was thrash, and it was electric. He stood barefoot on the stage and screamed, bent over double, till his undeniably mentally disturbed looking face seemed to be spitting the words directly at the stage floor, a few inches away from his nose. Each lyric was screamed in this contorted pose.
Okay, so the energy convinced me to stay for two or three tracks. Infectious. I pictured the boyf nodding sagely in a 'jazz' fashion, laughed cruelly, and bopped up and down excitably. Didn't matter what the music was like, the buzz was energised.
Then, between songs, Rollins talked. And talked and talked. He talked about what had happened to Cale. How seeing your best friends brains blown over your shirt make you reassess whether you want to act like a new metal dickhead all your life. He read some of his poetry on the matter.
He analysed how he felt. He weighed up relationships he had with his family, with his friends, with friends of his friends. He blogged aloud, essentially. It was intriguing: this thrash merchant, this angry looking single neuronned purveyor of white noise, was articulate. Emotionally aware. Intelligent even.
But what really captured me wasn't any of these things. It was his humour. He knew how he looked, and he played with it. With my expectations. Just when he'd suckered me into the New Man, emotionalguyintouchwithhisfeelings thing, just when we were eating up all the details of his therapy, he turned to the issue of a pal's girlfriend, whom he'd never really connected with. He analysed the difficulties they'd faced, and explained his decision to put the past behind him, and document his newfound feelings and understanding of her in a song. I was ready for a slowie on the rebirth of a friendship - a poem in acapella format.
"one - two - three - four - crouch: YOU FUCKING BITCH - I HOPE YOU DIE - YOU FUCKING BITCH."
God, I thought I was going to piss myself laughing.
I came out of my first proper gig ever walking about two feet above the ground, pogoed my way into the chippy and picked up the bloke. Bounced, shouted and laughed my way home.
I let the alarm go off at five in the morning, and let it continue to drone itself into exhaustion, emitting another screech every ten minutes till six forty-five.
It wasn't that I was tired - I'd gone to bed at half six the night before, figuring that lying awake staring through the window at the tree branches across the night sky was going to be more fruitful than pretending there was anything to be gained by sitting in the darkened front room listening to the reverberating echo of the neighbour's playstation game.
I just lay there, like ice, wondering if I'd ever get out of bed again. If I was ever going to go to work again. If anything would change if I didn't. Eventually I reasoned that it would be humane to tip a giant bag of cat food out in the kitchen and turn the bath taps on before going to bed and boring myself inescapably with my sheer me-ness, till death released me from the utter tedium of being myself.
I got up in the end, simply because if I stayed there, a social conscience would have forced me to contact a medical professional, for my own well being, and in the end it seemed less fuss just to give in and go along with the pretence that reality is still real. If you know what I mean. That any of the tedious stuff matters.
Don't get me wrong, I don't feel sad, or upset, and I'm not about to do anything stupid. I'm just incapable of doing anything at all. I eat things that I know will make me sick, for something to do. I sleep almost all the time. Really simple things seem beyond me. (I've washed the BNPSEA sweater about four times this week, because I keep failing to hang it up to dry.)
I like my job, and I'm good at it - one of the best. I even got a raise this week, for outstanding performance, for god's sake. But I can't summon up the empathy to care if I'm there or if I'm not.
That's new, because no matter how horrific or over-emotional things got over the last few months, I could always rely on the frantic pace of work to cheer me up and snap me out of it. To take me away from being me, and into a safer territory of being there for other people.
I wondered if it was the time of year - it's notoriously grim, grey and stern looking till March or April, here. Most people seem to have emerged from Christmas with gritted teeth and a spark of fire in their eye, as if it's going to take guts to get through it till Spring.
No doubt having to come face to face with Wickedex every single day, as she removes my things from the steadily emptying flat doesn't help. Each room is gradually being wiped clean of its personality and its resonance, until it stands bare and white, for me to echo in. I know for sure it's been utterly mind blowingly difficult for her, too. But that doesn't explain why I spend my weekend lying prostrated, teeth grinding slightly, refusing to move.
Then I wondered if sleeping all the time is itself a symptom of a depression. It's an easy way to hide. And I've been getting the stupidest most basic things wrong, lately. This morning, I forgot the way to work, got lost and missed the eight fifteen meeting. (The one I've missed every week since October, somehow.) I forgot the way.
I've worked at this place since 1994. If there's one thing I fear deep within my bones I will never ever forget, it's the way to Catford. It's beyond belief that I should look around me and not know where I am on this journey, but that's exactly what happened this dank and steely Monday morning.
So at the third meeting in a row after work, when I stupidly managed to inflict upon myself the worst paper cut in history - blood spurting everywhere, real thick gobbets of it, and all round my mouth too, because without a tissue or a plaster, I kept trying to lick it up - I decided to talk to my newly-minted boss, Peachykeenyboy, about all the extra work projects he's been ladling on me.
I told him about splitting up with my partner of nine year's standing last October, about not sleeping, then sleeping too much, and about having her here daily to sort my chaotic flat out to sell it, and trying to find another. I took care to say that the reason I was telling him this was not for pity but to set a context for my behaviour: catching so many bugs and colds, for being late with reports, and for forgetting things. That he might need to give me more reminders than other people this year. And that if he gave me extra work, on top of any reasonable expectations, he shouldn't be surprised if I didn't do it.
I pointed out that I didn't care if it didn't get done. I didn't care if he thought that was crap. That I thought they were stupid for ladling extra pressure consistently onto someone they knew was having a hard time at the moment. And I pointed out that I don't tend to tell people when things are getting too hard, I just push myself harder till I go under.
I mean, really, has that line ever worked on an employer? The truth line?
He thanked me for being honest, and gave me another job to do. I trudged out, carrying a pile of memos and folders, trying to remember the deadlines for this report, that poster, the other data collection. Dripping thick scarlet blood on his carpet. As I left, he pointed out that his life was difficult too. After all, he had a lot of highlighter stock to count up. Someone had stolen his coloured pens, he was convinced of it.
It's not like they're not already well known, or they've just started up - it's just that I learn something when I read them, and I keep on going back again. That's a good blog in my book.
The Gorgeous Lovelies of Bitchfest have nommed me up for the Hit Whore Bitchie. I have to agree it's true - I mean, just look at that Link Whore list over there .... can I be any more obvious? In fact have you ever seen a blog without my comments on it?
Cheers to Yidaho for the heads up - and if I win, I promise to cry like Gwyneth. Into my beer.
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I used to really be sullen as fuck at the hairdresser's - it's one of the ancestral trades learnt at my granny's knee, so I'm familiar enough with the mystical delights of beer shampoo and a vented blow drier not to respect what's being done to my head, because, given enough mirrors, and probably an extra limb extruding from my spine, I can do it myself. My customary hairdresser banter tended to run a varied line ranging wildly from "it's just shit, innit", through "that's not short enough, do it again", to an eloquent "no."
At least, until my first East End haircut. Tower Hamlets being somewhat rough, the salon round the corner generally holds obvious signs of anything from a recent scuffle to a violent brawl. On one particular occasion, I sat in my winching chair, and noticed that several of the sinks had recently been ripped forcefully from the walls and one of the mirrors was cracked just below head height. Regardless, I wittily quipped "no" at camp hairdresser, as he proceeded to dye a lump of my fringe bright yellow.
A frizzyhaired frowsy looking woman came in forty minutes early for her cut, and asked if she could be seen earlier. Camp 'stylist' politely explained to 'Modom' that this would not be possible. Frizzyhair woman pulled an annoyed face, then bumbled off to do some shopping till she could be seen.
As she exited the 'salon', camp stylist's face metamorphosed so rapidly he could well have been possessed by the evil spirit of Bob Monkhouse.
"Bitch!" he hissed, swooping right down to my ear - "she's going to get a shit haircut now."
With that he minced off to find another pint of hairspray. This one line was all it took to get me chittering like a squirrel denied its nuts. By the time I paid up, not only did I know about his last three holidays in Ibiza, I'd cooed and burbled like a retard over photos of his entire extended family, in a paroxysm of socially discomfited horror about what he might do to my head. (At the minimum, I was experiencing unprompted mental visions of myself wearing a Chelsea smile.)
I can't decide who was the more stupid, him or me.
Wednesday: My farts smell of stir fried beef. So that's all right then.
Thursday: Cat's happyfarts smell of cabbage. She doesn't eat cabbage.
Who the hell is feeding the cat this stuff?
You have decided that I am your prisoner. I never ever go out. Except for those few times I got between Wickedex's legs, dashed down the stairs straight into a fight between some monstrous rabid cats.
Still, some sights are arresting. Some days I manage a glimpse of what life might be like if I didn't have a fucker like you locking the door.
Yours, The Cat
I live on the wall at the end of your street. I try to explain why half your street is Georgian terrace, but every now and then is a modern building, looking out of place. Why there's a sign by the tube memorialising all the dead.
I do my level best to remind you that there are worse things than selling your poncey yuppie flat at a vast profit and moving on. But do you fucking notice? Look up more, woman.
With regards, The Sign.
You're a Londoner so I irritate you. I've heard you slagging me off and saying you've seen me eat sick. Flying rat, you called me. And you voted for that bastard mayor who banned pigeon feed.
But I have other issues. I can't swim, see. I have to stand at the side and watch the world get their bread. Maybe it's not so great in there. Maybe the bigger birds peck at you, or nick all the good stuff. Maybe it's icy cold, and you have to fight the others to get to your crumbs.
I know there's nothing I can do about it, but some days you have to dream.
I remain, The Pigeon
In the last few days, almost everything I own has disappeared from my flat, spirited away by the engine that is Wickedex; the walls have changed colour, and I can see out of (some) of the windows for the first time in three years. My kitchen is now blue, my hallway is brown, and I possess no music, nail varnish, perfume, tights, dvds or nasty messy videos.
Suddenly, I only have a few books, and they're only one row deep on the suddenly visible shelves. There isn't a small dark hole that opens directly into the attic and makes weird windy rustles any more. My bathroom tiles look like they could be white and not grey. I only have four hair products, and they're kept in a silver box - there's no space in my cabinets for five year old Nurofen or half used shampoo. There's bits of rubble, plaster and boxes over many many floor surfaces, but my cupboards are all empty, or colour coded and regimented.
My back yard contains the smashed remains of a three seater sofa, a cupboard, and a six foot high furry cat tree. Somewhere in the depths of Big Yellow Hell is a cabinet containing carboard box after box after box after box of my mistakes, but for now, it's padlocked, alarmed, and I don't have to open it again till I've spent a hundred and seventy five thousand pounds more.
Sounds like a deal to me.
Yesterday I deleted seven and a half thousand emails. Then I threw away all the music I'd collected in my teens and twenties. Every bit. After that, I listened to an orchestral piece that was left in my car, that I can't stop listening to again and again.
Currently, my day is all pain, hate, anger, upheaval, loss, separation, denial - all extreme emotions, and it's the most wearing thing. I spend every minute of my day trying to numb and deaden everything back into that droning routine, because too much drama is exhausting to the emotions, the spirit and the self. It has the same effect. I blog to get away from it.
Sorry, that's completely irrelevant, I know, it just struck me that we were both feeling emotionally anaesthetised, but for the most separate of reasons.
JatB came over with a tube of Jaffa cakes for me, and told me I look and sound terrible, which makes it alright for me not to go into work tomorrow, either.
Wickedex and Melons decided not to come over and pile everything into their van today, so I got to sleep all day, while they twisted slowly slowly in the wind.
I heard from my Schwester Snowflake, sur le telephoneo. That's yer actual French, that is.
I got email that set the Thames on fire from loads of people - a friend in Spain, Tess, Dee, Nik, Yidaho, Martin, Looby, Miss London, SarahSpace, ooh, loads of people.
I cuddled my schnuffalicious cats.
You betcha sweet bippy that I nominated all of these people for the Bloggies, and you're all too late to get me back, ha ha ha ha ha ha, so put a sock in it:
Web Frog, Looby, A Trip Down the Shops, I'll Talk to Myself, Blah blah blah, Eurotrash, Not You The Other One, Creepy Lesbo, Countin Flowers, Empty Fridge Light, Belle de Jour, Friendly Stranger's Beer, Too Much Too Little, Lactose Incompetent, Scorpio Girl, Smitten, The Purple Pen, Boyhowdy, Peeling Wallpaper, and Uffish Thoughts.
And can I be bothered to type out URLs for anything in this post? Bugger off, my Jaffa cake high has just run down, and I couldn't run a whelk stall this moment. I'm going to bed.
Sniffle. Pass me the Nurofen.
BBC: Chemicals from underarm deodorants and other cosmetics can build up inside the body, according to a study.I always felt filthy-dirty (say it in an irish accent, please) for not using deodorants. It seems to be a modern disease to feel unclean unless you've shoved a stick of wet carcinogenic soap substitute into your pits to mask that you haven't actually washed enough.
British researchers have found traces of chemicals called parabens in tissue taken from women with breast cancer.
While there is no evidence they cause cancer, the scientists have called for the use of parabens to be reviewed.
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1) In the last 3 years how long (Alaskan trekking expeditions excepted) have you gone without washing your hair?
One day. My hair mings if I don't wash it every day.
2) How long past its sell-by is the oldest item in your fridge?
There's an aubergine that's three weeks old. I couldn't swear to the parmesan, either.
3) How many items are there on your bedroom floor that shouldn?t be there?
Do we count cats? More than a thousand. My house is being 'spring cleaned' by my Wickedex, which in effect means if she has a temporary fit of rage at me or any memory of me, things get thrown at my bed. Yesterday: every coat I ever owned. The day before: curtains.
4) How long do you go before cleaning behind the U-bend?
Three months, and that's me trying.
5) The patter of tiny feet tell you the mice are back. How long till you can be bothered to put down traps / poison?
One day. I shriek like a wally - a real girlie high-pitched shriek and jump high if I see a mouse. Back when I first came out, and was trying to be butch, this was highly embarassing. Now I've accepted that I'm irrefutably a girlie girl, where are the mice? Exactly.
6) The cast of Will & Grace are coming over for supper. How long will you take to clean beforehand? How long should you take?
My friend Harvardboy pretty much is the cast of Will and Grace, blended. I got into a habit of only ever tidying up if he was coming round, because he doesn't do tact, and names and shames loudly. So I know for a fact that it takes four hours. When he emigrated, I had to grow up and occasionally clean for myself.
7) There?s a dead computer monitor in the corner of the bathroom. How long will it take you to have it disposed of?
Nine months. It might prove useful. I could collect toenail clippings on it. Actually, I have two dead computers at the moment. I think Wickedex threw one out this week that had been out of action for two years. Oh dear.
8) How long do you go before cleaning the kitchen floor?
Twelve months. It's not that dirty! I sweep it occasionally. But clean it? I've only done that once.
9) Carrying the laundry through a pair of worn socks falls off in the hall. How long can they stay there without feeling an urge to pick them up?
Two minutes. Ugh. Socks are dooooorrrrrrrty.
10) How long can a saucepan of vegetable soup remain covered and undisturbed on top of the stove?
One day. And then I feel rank. I hate bad hygiene when it comes to food. Vegetarians are the worst - their fridges are health hazards. Yeeeuch.
11) You see a cockroach. How long till you?re on the phone to the bug man?
A millisecond. I can't stand them. Ugh. Shivering at the thought.
I once lived above a chip shop in Wood Green (the greek one on Turnpike Lane, if you're wondering) that was utterly infested with cockroaches. Arabic flatmate would leave stews out all night, and they'd go into a feeding frenzy. I had to switch lights on and stamp feet at the doorway before entering the kitchen, to encourage them to hide. Unfortunately insect brains are small, so they'd hide their heads behind a bit of lettuce, leaving the other two inches in full view. Hideous.
A few years ago, I dreamt there was a roach in my kitchen here, and freaked - everything I eat comes out of sealed tupperware containers, now.
12) Do you have dirt under your fingernails right now?
I ate too many clementines, and my left thumbnail has turned slightly orange. It's minging.
So ... what? Am I a lazy slut, or an honorary gay man?