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I surrendered to the knowledge I wasn't going to sleep a good forty minutes before the morning alarm, to get stuck into the coffee and to try a new, sensitive technique with Malice, my wilful and capricious water tank. Suddenly, she purred responsively to my caress; reeking an animal stench, I began to entertain wistful, wild, ambitious hopes of bathing in her febrile, generous warmth. Malice responded with heightened sensitivity to my demands - began to rumble passionately, running her fevered, steamy gushes of love and piqued desire.
Confident in my mastery of her devotions, I brewed another pot. Ambled insouciantly back to Malice's moist embrace. Allowed myself a shiver while leaning to break the surface of the spite she'd seeped from her tenderest parts for me.
Like a grave.
What could I do?
I bathed in it. I'm sure it will be healthy for me. Malice only wants what's right for me, what I deserve. It's not her fault I annoy her, make her do these things. Provoke her.
Next week I'll buy her a new jacket, a fleece. Make it clear how I feel. Not think back to the flexible limbs of my combi boiler, or his pliable responsiveness.
Remain stoic. And cold. Very very very cold.
Despite the locale, the move went without incident, and the place still looks good (Pink Nasty aside).
In fact, the only blip in the entire place is the Great British water system. After a few years of the rare continental delights of a decent strong shower, I'm back at square one, trying to cajole the tempestuous attentions of a capricious and jealous immersion heater into giving up the love I need.
The shower attachment has an air of never having been taken seriously by anyone, and longs for a little attention and gallantry - bare untreated absorbent wooden shelves drilled into the wall directly beneath the rusted uncared for rose, an absent shower curtain vacantly gapes its protective lack, compounded by polished wood floors, lying defeated, expecting maltreatment beneath my ungrateful tread. Shyah, right, that's a power shower.
Last night I failed to communicate my needs to the hot water tank's H spot, hungry as it was for my ministrations. She retaliated sulkily, offering me an icy shoulder and a stream of lukewarm murk.
I relented to defeat and retired ignominiously to my half lit bedless nest: pillows, duvets and cushions arranged in a cocoon shape on the floor. I sprayed a familiar burst of an old perfume. Pulled out a sheepskin rug to lie upon.
I am hereby taking the Swiftocratic Oath.Signed
By swearing this oath, I am forever sealing my rights to sit at home, do nothing, or anything, that I choose to do.
I declare my freedom from the pressure of people who call themselves friends to socialize, not to be anti-social, but to be myself. I am a recluse.
It is my God-Given right to sit at home, and I'm choosing to take that oath.
I pay $1,131.75 per month for my home, and there's nothing better to do with my home but sit in it.
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Bogus Landlady just rang me - she has keys to the new Temporary Abode that she was pretending is hers, she has a tenancy agreement written in jelly on rice paper, and she's waiting to let me in to get the keys, even though I was sure she'd run off to Hawaii on my deposit. She's real! The new Temporary Abode is real!
Oooo oooo ooo000ooo000oo000oo
"Our deepest fear is NOT that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, NOT our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?'; Actually, who are you NOT to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world."This is way better than Christmas. I got all the furniture I wanted to have in the Division of Spoils, and I'm not too fussed that Tybalt gets about #2K more stuff than me, and she's promised to bring back the old VCR she'd sneaked out, as long as she gets the ritzy expensive one.
Nelson Mandela, 1994 Inaugural Address
Oooo oooo ooo000ooo000oo000oo
I'm sitting around waiting for the faulty heating system to heat enough water for a shower. I got it together to scrub the kitchen a while ago, but this has to be the first time in my entire life I've been tempted to do some reports for work rather than sort out my home life. Procrastination in reverse!
Waiting about for Tybalt to make an appearance so we can divide the spoils and come to an agreement of who gets what stuff from the flat's contents. I should also be packing stuff up for moving house tomorrow - Schwester Snowflake is coming over to help get the stuff there, and Krystal will be there to give me cups of tea once I've unpacked, but it needs to actually be packed into boxes and shit before all that.
All of which is why I've packed - in toto - zip. So far. And I'm sitting blogging instead of getting on with it.
I'm bricking it, actually.
No web access except at work, from Monday, and I hate looking at blogs at work. I have a deal with myself that if I work hard as I can, every minute that I'm there - no breaks or lunch hours, then I can walk out at three o clock each day without guilt or work to take home. It doesn't exactly mean I'm up to date most of the time, but it is a better life than previous years, where I'd take work home and allow myself three nights off to socialise a week.
Dammit, need to stop wandering off into flights of rumination and just get on with stuff. The damn cats move faster than me at this point.
Okay, so yesterday I did my possibly last ever drive north through the Blackwall Tunnel. It was so utterly depressing that I videoed an eighth of the ultimate journey home.
Now I'll waste a good hour trying to get that link to work. Hah. Bet Tybalt's arrival coincides with me being reduced to toenail picking. Desperately trying to pretend today will not happen. Oh hurry up and come, tomorrow.
Marge Simpson's sisters? Shyah, sure they're sisters.
Mister Magoo? Or just a confirmed bachelor?
Velma was a given, but the blond guy in Scooby Doo? You can't tell me that bouffant hair and ultra white tight shirt wasn't saying something.
One Smurfette for a whole gay village of Smurfs?
Mister Benn - yeah right, goes into a cubicle and discovers an exciting new world of fulfilment and red indian outfits.
Marmalade Atkins - boy did I have a baby-dyke crush on her.
There's something just a little too eager about the speed with which Bugs slips into a pink slip.
Tintin - Jimmy Somerville haircut and that poodle... pffft.
I have a meeting somewhere I'm not sure of from six till seven. I'm supposed to be in a suit. Sod that. I'm in combats, boots and an oversized sweater that I've slept in.
If I get the train, traditionally, I try to arrive four hours late if it's snowing, so that the boss doesn't get too comfortable. It also means I'll have to walk - or rather, tentatively slip and slide to the address I'm not totally sure about - to the meeting. I'm willing to bet I'd be an hour late for that.
Hmmm. Train has coffee and croissants. Car has heater and black ice. Train has cancellation excuses. Car has traffic jam excuses. No gloves - Tybalt chucked em away. Croissants. Coffee. Train wins.
The Booker is shit. Shit books win. Shit books make the list. Good books rarely ever get nominated. The shortlist is always crappily done - they couldn't help but select DBC Pierre after leaving out any main heavyweight competitors this year.
You can tell which one's going to win, anyway, regardless of quality or readability - a Booker book is recognisably pompous and over egged, much like an Academy Best Picture is literary, epic, and has a panoply of A listers in it doing overly 'dramatic' turns.
The Whitbread should be shit. The Whitbread is patchy - a game of chance. Some years it's laughable, but increasingly, this oddly unequal popularity contest is turning out more winners than losers. I like the way children's books are left to thrash it out against adult books, poetry, anything. No boundaries. Its very inequality seems to be managing to turn out the books that *should* have won the other prizes - you know, the literary prizes not judged by a panel of bollock brained celebs.
I never notice The Pulitzer coming out, so I don't know that it's definitely shit, but I doubt it, because I've never read a Pulitzer fiction winner that wasn't life changingly good. Okay, it's restricted to American literature, but Americans have been the global artistic and intellectual masters of the novel form for the previous fifty years anyway, so there's no real loss there, surely? If you read some Nabokov instead of all that Heinlein, you'd know that.
Which all brings me back to The Big Sodding Read. I've ranted before about the dire intellectual state of a country that can only vote for children's books or Jane Thicko Austen in its list of all time favourites. But there's something more that has been bugging me. It's that even at the time, I failed to point out that The Lord of the Rings is shit.
I know I shall offend the geek nerd corner, but really - that is not decent writing. Nice picturesque films, blokes. But the writing? It's shit.
F'r instance, case in point: I have no teevee in my new Temporary Abode (or bed, or washing machine, come to that). I could take the big bastard swanky widescreen digital effort we have here, with its video and dvd player. But if I do that - especially given that I watch teevee about three times a year - I'm taking something that Tybalt is hugely more invested in, and staking a territorial claim on it.
Kinda: You want it? Come get it... sorta thing.
There's a medium sized portable teevee and video in a cupboard that's not being used. I could easily take that, and p'raps buy myself a cheap dvd player. (What? Mix and match with the other one? They're different colours for gawdssakes. I am gay, you know.)
But if I took the portable, I'm saying: I don't want the teevee I paid half of a thousand knicker for. You have it. I haven't given you enough ridiculously ostentatious gifts over the years to match the sanity you've already taken without thanks or forgiveness. Here, have some more.
That just wouldn't do.
Added to this who-gets-the-good-piece debate, there's other stuff too emotionally loaded to slice up, a la King Solomon - a stupidly expensive chest of drawers which took Tybalt forever to put together and is worth around #500. She did so over a weekend when I was defiantly out racing around and getting blotto with pals she didn't like and had 'forbidden' me to see. Yet she doesn't want it - it reminds her of the agonising irritation of painstakingly putting it together, on her own. I love the thing, even though I always felt it was assembled as some sort of reproach to me. Yes please, I'll take that one, thanks. The other, ugly, chest of drawers was #30 secondhand from a junk shop in Holloway Road. So what does Tybalt get that's worth as much moulah as the poncey drawers?
JatB suggested that rather than feeling aggrieved that I have to take the (goddamn bloody sodding blinking bloody) cats, we take one each. Now there's a lawyer's mind... Split them up? Not going to happen. Who'd have the naughty one? Who gets the puker? Some things can't be split fairly.
Without a bed in my new Temporary Abode, the problem of who gets what becomes more immediate for me. Inevitably I wondered - possessively - about the king size bed here that's too big (lack of snuggles - always a bad sign in a relationship), and has suddenly plunging midnight wooden slats which wake you up by tumbling you earthwards at innopportune moments. No way will the flat look like the yuppie show home we've been trying to simulate without a big bed in it.
I do also have two cheap single beds in the spare room which stack. Thought about taking the smaller one from underneath. The bedrooms here would still contain beds, but at least I wouldn't be sleeping on the floor in my new Temporary Abode. I'm going to feel dislocated enough without severe sleep deprivation on top.
However I was defeated somewhat by the prospect of lugging a mattress down six flights of stairs, across a freezing dank and dirty yard and fitting it into my fairly big (but not a bloody tardis) car. Unlikely.
Unlikely in a Del Boy Trotter shaking his head, clucking his tongue and sucking his breath in sharply impossible way.
My dad offered to come up and help move it. Blimey - I don't want to see my dad having a heart attack hefting bloody stupid mattresses up and down the stairs just because I was dumb enough to get dumped by Tybalt.
And there again, I'm five foot ten, this is a five foot eleven single bed. Given the heat seeking cat-missiles, as well as room for pillow leverage, I'd spend more of my time hanging off the edge of the too short mattress while the moggies enjoy the fruits of my duvet than I spent comfortably asleep.
Profligate that I am, I avoided the entire issue by purchasing a cheap as piss (but not as wet) double bed from Argos, deliverable next Monday afternoon (I'm going to sneak out of work and hope the bribes I'm preparing for the customers will shut them up about it). That means one night sleeping rough on the manky floor, and then I'll own five beds, total. Ag.
I suppose it will match the three hoovers. (Start running a hotel?)
Perhaps in a way arbitrary divisions would be as fair as anything else I considered?
See, I thought perhaps if I got the contents of both bedrooms, including computers, and Tybalt got the contents of the living room and kitchen, it might be roughly equal value. But even without a bed to sleep on, I can see there's fuck all point in having four beds.
Next avenue of enquiry had me dividing every room into North and South, with one person getting each room's southerly contents. The South side turned out to be vastly more wealthy than the North (you'd have thought a Lancastrian childhood would have prepared me for that...), so there's no way I'm even suggesting that one.
I want what I want, and I don't want to be mean, or to lose out on what I can't have. This week's question for me is: How do we do this? Especially how do we apportion ownership of the things from our lives together without it feeling like a C section?
How do we make this omelette with these here eggs?
Yeah, that's right, I tried it.
So. My map is clearly a picture of a sphincter. Ah.
Fuelling my paranoiac mood swings are the omens of ill fortune, which are coming thick and fast:
Omen 1: no sleep. My lesbian neighbours have houseguests. Loud, raucous houseguests who take full advantage of London's nightlife, then find themselves locked out in the small hours. The logical solution is to lean drunkenly on Vanessa's doorbell for fifteen minutes solid when you're locked out of your house at four in the morning, isn't it? Two days in a row?Maybe they're bad omens. P'raps I'm just a cynic.
Omen 2: dirty corporate sneaking around. Harv asked me to spend today taking sneaky photos of promotional displays of Uncle Ben's rice in a variety of supermarkets, for a German marketing firm. Paranoia already twitching, I decided to wander round with the camera at waist level, idly scratching the button as I repeatedly stroll up and down the pasta aisles. Accidentally switch camera onto video record. Start checking what I've snapped in checkout queue of supermarket number 3, and find it's a swooping, tumbling, rollercoaster death ride of horror, only in a supermarket, and with pot noodle artillery bombardment. Video replay shows that the cleaning lady by the spatchcock chickens spotted my subterfuge early on. Still, I didn't get arrested.
Omen 3: stalker. About six years ago, I had an underage stalker - used to follow me around with a camera, bother me all the time, ineffectually, ring me up constantly, and tried to break into my house to see me. I told her to leave me be, and all went quiet. Walking into the supermarket near Temporary Abode, I ask a portly assistant where the cat food is. Cue lurid technicolour intro to Cape Fear playing behind my eyes, as stalker wearing a supermarket uniform turns round. I chat politely with stalker. "So, how's the stalking going? What've you been doing with yourself? Got much time for stalking these days?" She's been working here four years. Seems aggrieved at me about this. Fair enough, I'd rather stalk me than pack rows of tights onto shelves as well.
Omen 4: plunged helplessly back into a pre-telephonic era. BT telephoned me to demand overdue payment. I explained the by now familiar get out clause: "I know it seems unreasonable, but Tybalt packed it into one of several thousand boxes, and I can't find it unless she starts speaking to me again." It didn't work on the boss at work, but seems strangely hypnotic for BT guy, who sounds like Liam Neeson.
I start panicking because I've forgotten to stop paying for dial-up access, since getting a broadband account with a different company last July. Temporary Abode has no phone line, but does have cable. Will I be paying for three different internet connections by the end of the week?
Seems not: the minute I upload 400 blurry photographs of Dolmio / Uncle Ben's / Pot Noodle / my hip, my broadband modem breaks. Argh. Am forced to rely on chinese takeaway and pistachio kulfi for amusement until I remember I can still use the dial up.
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Type 24: Partially Gentrified Multi-Ethnic Areas
Found almost exclusively in Inner London.
That's the first time I've seen the word 'exclusive' in conjunction with 'Inner London'. It has an unusual ring to it, much like a sharp unlikely blow from an unexpected hammer.
These highly cosmopolitan neighbourhoods contain a mix of rich and poor and people from different ethnic backgrounds living side by side. They are found in large concentrations in areas such as Islington, Hackney, Haringey and Lambeth.
Or in other words, everywhere pikey-but-gentrified that I've already tried living, yeah? Shabby bedsitter estate number 15; I'm going to run out of bits of London to live in soon.
Heavy ITV viewing Low
Good. No commoners, then. (Except for when I want to watch 'I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here' next week, to see Jordan and Johnny Rotten bitchslap each other to prove who's the better media whore.)
Ownership of stocks and shares Low
No yuppies, either. Rah. Although that means further to drive to Waitrose.
Microwave purchases High
Yay for readymeals. I wonder if there'll be a General Municipal Bing at six o clock.
Buying home with a mortgage Low
Yeah, well, it's not exactly desirable, sarf east Lunnun, roight? If you were going to invest twenty five years of your moulah in a building, you'd probably want to avoid anywhere so pikey, too.
2+ Car Ownership Low
Population Aged 0-14 Medium
Good. Means I can get into the sweet shops past the anti-little-bugger-security.
The age profile of these neighbourhoods peaks in the 25-44 group.
Sounds horribly quarter life crisis ... be alert for Alpha course buttonholers, then.
There are also above average levels of 0-4 year olds and 15-24 year olds, but 40% fewer than average over 65 year olds.
No need for a cull, then. I'll leave the flame thrower in my east end home, and expect everyone to be capable of striding at speed along the pavements with no more need for shoving the weak from my path.
There are above average proportions of single person households, especially single non-pensioners, and households with 6 or more members, but below average proportions of household sizes in between these two extremes.
Every single flat I looked at was owned or occupied by divorced people, so that sounds right. I guess Imelda Marcos aside, there's a limited market for shoebox rentals.
Ethnically, these are very mixed areas. The proportion of the population who are black is over 10 times the average, and there are also above average proportions of people from Asian ethnic groups.
Strange, I thought it was a white-caribbean-turkish area. Asian? Okay, so I know I'm moving away from an area that's 97% Asian, but blimey, I haven't seen more than fifty Asians on the streets down there in ten years.
The Socio-Economic Profile is biased towards the higher status occupations, with above average proportions of professionals and white collar workers. There are also above average proportions of people with academic qualifications, degrees in particular. Travel to work journeys are most likely to be by rail.
Jeez, so we can all swap dog eared copies of Shakespeare favourites on the walk to the shiatsu masseuse, yah? If there's all these graduates living there, how come I only meet the thickies and inbreeds at work, huh? Do I smell funny?
Despite the heavy consumption of bacon and fish in these areas, overall, some people are more than twice as likely as average to have a mainly vegetarian diet.
Argh! Argh! No! Smelly, dirty veggies. Ugh! I already spotted two wholefood shops. You know what that means: farts a lot, and holier than thou, leftier than thou, more arrogantly, annoyingly liberal than thou. I did think there were rather high concentrates of SWP members in the area, if my colleagues are any indication.
Wait a minute - high bacon consumption? Ahhhhh - hypocritical lying smug bastard vegetarians, then. Oh, that's all right. That sounds quite human.
They are very keen to try new brands although they are less likely than average to buy new gadgets and appliances. They like to keep up to date with technological developments, and they like to get off the beaten track when they go on holiday. They are keener than average on radio and press advertising.
Oh dear, this isn't going to help me kick my worryingly middle aged Radio Four habit. It's been snowballing already, and that's when I live in a student area. I'll be the one braying at the sound of Woman's Hour, daily, within eight weeks.
By far the most striking aspect of the housing profile is the proportion of homes which are converted flats; at 46% of homes, this is nearly 12 times higher than average. In addition, the proportion of bedsits is over 9 times the average. Consequently, the number of small dwellings with 1 or 2 rooms is very high. There are virtually no detached homes in these neighbourhoods and the proportion of semis is also very small.
Unless you live in the Big Rich Fucker Houses facing the royal park, yeah. Then all bets are off, because you probably mowed down Mr Demographic Survey with your SUV while running Jemima and Jack to prep school, what what.
In terms of tenure, all forms of rental are important here. The proportion of homes rented from housing associations is over 5 times the average, and the rate of furnished rental is 4.6 times the average.
Does it count as furnished if I don't have a bed or a chair?
Car ownership is relatively low - 56% of adults have no car.
Sounds like they're all tofu munching sheep shagging hippies, that's why.
There are, however, over 5 times more cars than average costing over #20,000 and over twice as many company cars. Purchase rates on most Durables are low, with the exception of microwaves which are bought by 77% more people than average.
No doubt I'll not have to repeat my Important Advice about putting hot chocolate in the microwave, then. Cars that cost #20K? That's bloody stupid, that is. Nah, I have a 'London Car' - looks like shite, cost me fifty pee, and you're not worried about scraping it all up the side of a shiny Merc, if that's what it takes to bust into the traffic jam. I love that moment where you fix the other driver with a steely eye and a shit eating grin that says 'it'll cost you a packet to repair that.'
The income profile reflects the mix of people living in these neighbourhoods. There are high proportions of people earning under #5,000 per annum, a peak in the #20-25,000 band and another in the #40,000+ band. Overall, ownership of Financial products is below the national figure, though 61% more people than average are opening new savings accounts. I was thinking of opening a supermarket loyalty card. Forty pee off if I spend #5 million on toasted muffins, or summat.
2.6 times more homes than average have cable television, and the ownership of satellite television is slightly above average. The profile of daily paper readership again reflects the mixed nature of the population. The titles which have above average readership levels are The Guardian, The Independent, The Mirror and The Sun. The Sunday papers which are more popular than average here are The Observer, The Sunday Times and The Sunday Mirror. ITV viewing is very light, but commercial radio listening is heavy.
I've only ever seen people reading The Sport round there, myself, but if you say they can read long words, I suppose they can read long words. I read the Times and the Torygraph. But only for the pictures. I hate Sunday papers - if the locals read that many of the ten ton multi-insert broadsheet biggies, let's hope there's a massive recycling collection on Mondays.
On the whole, slightly fewer than average holidays are taken in these neighbourhoods, though winter holidays and long holidays are much more popular.
Povvies, eh? Can't afford Lanzarote in season.
People are also 4 times more likely than average to stay in their own holiday home or timeshare, and more than twice as likely as average to visit a far-flung destination.
Depends what you count as far flung. Skegness is a fair drive. Actually, central London is a fair old journey from this place.
Propensity to visit pubs and restaurants is slightly above average,
Yeah, well, they're all single dads, aren't they, marking time between divorced-dad Saturdays, by the sound of it. At least the busty barmaid has to talk to them.
but people are 50% more likely than average to regularly drink wine at home.
Oh stop taunting me with it.
People here are not particularly sporty, although a few sports have above average participation rates - tennis, athletics, dancing and table tennis.
All cheapy, then. Wait a mo - dancing? Dancing? What kind of dancing? Mick Jagger dancing in the streets? MC Hammer dancing? Square dancing? Morris dancing? Oh please oh please oh please let there be drag queen afternoon tea dances.
Cinema, theatre and art galleries are all much more popular than average.
Coooooooool. Well, it would be, if I believed a word of it. Mr Demographic survey rolled up at your door, and you hypocritical bacon snarfing buggers all lied, dincha, you all pulled the door too against your XBox, your home cinema, your broadband connection for streaming porn and your dartsboard, covered up your 'Beginners Guide to Drinking Too Much Lager Without Puking' handbook, tried to look cultural and lied through your damn teeth at him, dincha? I would've.
Food and Drink
The proportion of people doing their grocery shopping on foot is 45% above average.
Until I get there, shyah. Think I'm carrying a shopping bag ten yards from the corner store? Puh. I'm driving my lardy arse to the hypermarket, where I can drink MaxPAx cappucino, eat cold, greasily breaded turkey drummers, and eyeball racks of cheap #2 nylon shirts while I shop.
Freezer ownership is below average, though consumption of frozen beefburgers is extremely high.
Frozen beefburgers? Frozen? Puh-lease. Haven't you people gotten into venison yet?
Other popular food products are ground coffee,
fresh and dried pasta, fruit juice, bacon, fresh fish and fresh fruit. The most popular drinks product by far is table wine, though draught beer and gin are also more popular than average.
Gin. Now that's more like it. Although it's a fairly good job I don't drink anymore, given the sheer numbers of clients within a five mile radius, it's always better to live next door to old ladies who have gin. For emergency medicinal purposes.
Thank christ for partially gentrified, because, if I click on the map just four streets away, the profile becomes horrendous - all unemployment, teevee dinners, and car crime.
Item: The traffic wardens are murder round here - last year I had to pay #300 to get my car unclamped after it spent 16 minutes in the wrong bay outside my front door. Today, I had to get into the doctor's to pick up a prescription, there were no spaces, it was pissing down, so I parked illegally on the corner, and ran in the rain.
Erratum: I parked illegally in front of the illegally parked, occupied, council car clamping van. They finished their sandwiches, and slunk off in shame.
Item: Ringing up prospective landlords and saying 'before you get too excited, I have two cats. Yes or no?' is quite funny.
Item: Assured by Dave that #650pcm isn't a terrible price for one or two bedroom flats in zone 3, and assured by my customers that I'd be mugged, killed raped and bombed in Peckham, Penge or Anerley, I found three flats to look at tomorrow night, with the possibility of moving in on Sunday. I worked out what 'pieceful', 'w/m', 'f/kitchen' and 'OSP' meant, but I have no idea why flat number three is 'p/b'.
Evaluation: No tube station nearby. I'll be living in the middle of nowhere, and while I'm paying the mortgage here on top, I won't have the money to escape. But it'll be dead leafy and green.
Item: I shall be living near work. That means I know fairly well (in an 'and I don't want to know them any better, thank you') at least two thousand people who live or have recently lived there. I know, because I just got out my calculator and made sure.
Priority: Eeek. Thank god I don't drink any more.
Item: I was supposed to finish this report, see, five weeks ago, but I dragged my feet and dragged my feet, and now it's up against the last deadline. And Wickedex has put it in a box somewhere I can't find.
Action: Oh shitshitshitshitshit.
Item: I'm going to change all the pseudonyms on here. HarvardBoy is already Harv. Ernesto just has to become Coriander. Duch really must stay the same, I'm afraid.
Assessment: I need a new name for Wickedex.
Item: Speaking of whom, I don't think she was happy to find me in when she arrived this afternoon. She said 'what are you doing here', turned round and left. It took two phone calls, a lot of screaming and me hanging up to find out. Apparently I'm so selfish that it will take her forever to forget 'this' (ie, me being too depressed to clear out boxes last weekend). She was all Boy, this shall not excuse the injuries that thou hast done to me*. Pffft. Take forever, then. I shan't be there to care.
*Addendum: Actually, that's it. That's the name. Tybalt.
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.