Tuesday, November 30, 2004

My pants 

(18 more posts before shutdown)

My poor pants*. They don't know whether they're coming or going; they don't know whether they're wet or dry, whether they're being washed or being aired. What they're indisputably not doing is being weared**.

My flat is still on the market (we've worked out a way to move on the sale of The One's flat alone... but sustaining two mortgages will be little short of crippling, so selling mine too is becoming a matter of some urgency) - in fact, it's on the market with two estate agents. Consequently it's available for viewings all day every day (come: view! Take a look around! Picture yourself living here! Picture your sofa there, picture your pictures on the walls! Picture yourself cooking in my kitchen, sleeping in my bedroom, washing your face in my sink! View! View... and then buy!) and, because I work from home, I often get minimal notice that people are on their way round. Of course I don't want to be here when they view... so I've been doing a lot of sitting in the pub by myself of an afternoon.

Anyway. I've been trying to keep the place in a state of some tidiness and attractiveness, but sometimes things can slip. Like - when I do washing. On Friday I washed my pants; on Friday evening I put them out to dry on the little rack by the radiator. I had heard nothing of weekend viewings and figured I'd be ok. Friday night I went to a gig with The One, leaving pants out and steaming. At 8pm I get a message - can we do a viewing at 10am Saturday?

The One lives a good hour and a half away from my flat, right across the city. So for the first time since God knows when, I find myself up at eight on a weekend morning and training, bussing and legging it across all London town in order to get here in time to hide the pants. Back in the machine they go, and I'm out of the flat again by 9-45 to meet P for a spot of breakfast.

I'm back by 11 and the pants - still damp - are duly replaced on the rack. At 11-30 I get a call: can we do a viewing at midday? Pants - back in the machine. Me - back to The One's to prepare for the dinner party that night.

When I return to the flat on Sunday evening, the pants have been in the damp washing machine all weekend... and so I wash them again. Sunday night - pants are back on the rack.

Monday morning I get another call. Can we do a viewing at one and then another at three? Pants - back in the machine.

It's now Tuesday lunchtime and I've just put the pants back on the rack after washing them all for the third time in five days. I've also been wearing the same pair since Sunday. One more viewing and I'm microwaving the bastards.

* Pants - not in the American sense of trousers, but in the British sense of... undergarments. Smalls. Trolleys. Particulars.

** Yes, I know that strictly speaking weared is not a word - but it rhymes better.


Monday, November 29, 2004

Hangover supplemental 

(19 more posts before shutdown)

The thing about hangovers is this: they work on opposites. They fuck you up physically, sure, and the physical symptoms are too obvious and too immediate to warrant any kind of explanation (bent double over the porcelain, reaching for the bucket under the bed, crouched fetal on the bathroom floor...) - but it's the mental symptoms that do you, in the end. The mental afflictions associated with the hangover - they're what fuck you. And it's because they work on opposites.

When you're hungover you can't stay asleep... and yet waking is hell. You can't lie down - the rollercoasters! - and yet you can't stand up for falling back down. You're freezing cold... and boiling hot. You sweat... and shiver. A cigarette seems like the only thing that can save you... and as soon as you light one you want to throw up again. A drink, a hair of the dog that bit you, could top you up and sort you out... and yet the very thought of the pub knocks you sideways. Same with Full English Breakfasts. Same with Children's TV. Same with social interaction. Same with being alive.

And that's the thing about hangovers and opposites. Hangovers fuck you up because they remind you more poignantly, more immediately, of humanity, of what it is to be alive right now, than anything else. The hangover is a thrillingly potent affirmation of life - look at me! To live through this, to survive this, to be conscious of this pain, this misery, this self-inflicted hell... now THAT is proof that I'm truly alive! Touch me! I'm sick! - and yet, when you're hungover, all you really want to do is die...

When you're hungover you're far more alive than when you're drunk - every single cell in your being is screaming its existence, weeping and gnashing and begging you for mercy... and all you want to do is stop. All you want to do is make it all numb and quiet and dead. When you're hungover you're conscious of every single facet of your existence... and you're weeping for oblivion. That's the thing about hangovers and opposites. That's why hangovers are hell.


Sunday, November 28, 2004

Tonight I have been mostly... 

(20 more posts before shutdown)

...lying in the bath in a flickering candlelit semi-dark, listening to Gilles Peterson and sweating off the hangover.

Today's hangover was hell; today's hangover was war. It started off as localised skirmishes around the back of the eyes as I struggled into consciousness, it started with border troubles at the temples and at my nerve-endings; and by midday had developed into serious political instability around my stomach. Initial attempts to diffuse the situation by flooding the area with peacekeepers in the form of Nurofen, Lemsip, weapons-grade coffee and Marlboro red, only worsened the civil unrest - all it did was make my hangover angry. By mid-afternoon my hangover upped the ante and invaded the rest of my body. The situation went global... and there was nothing to do but run the bath, soak the shivering wreck of my being and let the fucker exhaust itself. It's now 12 hours since I woke and I feel the battle may be turning in my favour. The sun also rises. Some day this war's gonna end, son.

As so often with these things, the cause of all this distress was small enough. The One and I had a minor dinner party for three friends round her place last night (oh, we're so in our thirties and work in the media). Naturally we didn't want to have a running-to-the-off-license situation... so naturally we bought six bottles of wine and 24 beers just in case no one actually brought any booze of their own. Of course we started cooking, tidying, preparing around 1pm yesterday... so of course we started drinking the wine ourselves at around 3pm. And nobody arrived till 8pm. And they brought champagne.

The party itself was lovely - but The One and I were comprehensively hammered before the soup was finished. I remember challenging all comers to a game of tennis (?). I remember doing my impression of a cat. I remember telling someone about my brief career as a purveyor of class A drugs to the upper classes (another time, kids). I remember demonstrating how Ewoks dance. I don't remember anyone going home... but I do remember insisting I do the washing up before going to bed as The One crashed out on the sofa. I remember having the fantastic idea of pouring all the odd bits of wine left over into one glass so I could keep drinking as I washed up all the other glasses. I remember having to do four separate loads of washing and drying because it seemed we'd used every single goddamn knife and fork and spoon and plate and bowl and pan and dish in South London. I remember The One asking me what time it was as I woke her up and put her to bed. I remember telling her 4am and I was just going to smoke one last cigarette and finish the last glass of wine before joining her... and then suddenly it seemed to be this morning and my body was in social, physical and economic meltdown.

And now? Now all soapy and mellow from the bath what I really fancy is a glass of merlot. But I'm not going to do that. I'm going to go to bed. I'm going to go to bed and read until I fall asleep... because that - and not cat-impressions and drug stories and pissed sporting challenges and ewok-dancing and obsessive washing up until four in the morning - is what adults do.


Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Sundae girl 

(21 more posts before shutdown)

Oh - and before I leave this to finish the Merlot and watch Rambo (no, really!) - Raspberry, my love, I promise to bring my old opinionated know-all head out of retirement one last time to tell you why People Who Read Harry Potter Are Dangerous Social Inadequates And Are Probably Responsible In No Small Way For How Fucked Up Things Are Getting Globally.

Um, just not today ok? Sylvester Stallone's been dropped back in 'Nam and he ain't bloody happy about it!

PS - I will say this though. The War Against Terror - has there ever been a better acronym?


Like a venereal disease 

(22 more posts before shutdown)

So then, there's a new fad in town and (loth as I normally am to gaze at anyone's navel but my own) I'm far too tired after spending the day writing about
* Victoria Beckham
* When Men Are Ready To Commit
* Next week's album releases
* The Truth About Flying Saucers
to bother thinking of anything original of my own to say. So... the way it works is this. A very fine man mentioned me when he did this, so I have to mention three weblogs I enjoy reading, and we all mutually masturbate ourselves (metaphorically speaking, natch) into a nice warm fuzz of literary achievement...

(Sorry - that sounded way harsher than it was supposed to. I was just trying to give myself spurious ironic distance. I love it really.)

First: The Hun. Or the Odd Child. She's got bags of talent and almost no direction whatsoever and I like that about her most. She also takes shedloads of drugs and has a fairly filthy sex life and I like that about her too. And I think she's everything that's good and bad about this medium - horrifically self-obsessed, monstrously narcissistic... but entertaining enough to make it a virtue. One day she'll start writing about something other than herself - and it will either be brilliant... or terrible. Until then she's a sharp shining shaft of potential.

Second: Tamara. I fell in love with Tamara almost as soon as I read her. (Actually, to be perfectly honest, I fell in lust with the idea of Tamara and Allie's Californian chick-flat: the pyjama parties! the steamy secrets of the shower room! the giggled intimacies and... ok, I'll stop there.) Um, anyway, once I'd got over that I fell in love with Tamara. She does short sentences perfectly. No, really. I mean: perfectly. She's beautifully honest, refrains from unnecessary self-pity, swears pithily and in another life I would happily attempt a trans-Atlantic seduction. And if all this is making you want to vomit... remember that at the beginning and the end of it all is the fact that I consider her the best writer I read on the web.

Third: Newly Single. Or rather - Newly Shaggable. (Form an orderly queue ladies - and watch out for the fluffers.) And not because he's written about terrible experiences with great dignity and nothing in the way of self-bigging-up hyperbole; and not even because he's not attempted to ascribe any great meaning to what he's going through (a trap most bloggers seem to fall into) - but simply, fundamentally, because he seems like a Good Bloke. He reminds me of my eldest brother, in fact. He's... brilliantly English, in all the best senses of the word. And if I were to meet him in real life we wouldn't even talk about this self-indulgent nonsense. We'd talk about football, and chicks, we'd talk about kebabs and Belgian beer: and I can't think of a better recommendation for reading anyone's blog than that.

So there we have it. Another little blog-fad passed on... like a venereal disease in the underpants of your hard drive. Scrub your smalls well tonight, liebchen!


Friday, November 19, 2004

Beer and football and violence 

(23 more posts before shutdown)

I'm having a night off tonight. (By which I mean I'm having a night in with a bottle of £4.99 Australian red, as opposed to a night out with the boys and the Guinness.) It's a self-improvement thing; an economy thing; it is, as Homer Simpson so beautifully puts it, drinking with the Lord.

To be honest I'm exhausted after the England match on wednesday. If the atmosphere in the Bernabau stadium, Madrid, was, um, heady to say the least; the vibe in the pub in London's fashionable East London where we watched it was also somewhat strained. To wit - too much Guinness and lager, too much tension, too close to actual, immediate violence.

It was S. He was wound up. Work things, chick things, whatever (who knows?). The football was obviously not helping matters - seeing England not only play badly but subject to horrific racial abuse is not conducive to a relaxing pint - but, really, P, M, Ourkid, D, K, and M's brother (and myself) all seemed to be coping well enough. Not so S.

We were sat in the kind of corridor bit between the big screen and the bar. It was a squeeze to get past.

Random Large Shaven Headed Man (RLSHM) bumps into S: Oh, sorry, mate...
S: What?
RLSHM: Sorry.
S: You think that's good enough?
RLSHM: What?
RLSHM: What?
S: I do NOT appreciate being elbowed in the back.
RLSHM: What?
S: You think it's funny? Elbowing me in the back - you think that's funny?
RLSHM: You fucking what?
Me, P, K, etc: Alright mate, don't worry about it...
RLSHM: Wanker.
S: What you say? WHAT YOU FUCKING SAY?


This continued on broadly the same theme for, ooh, 90 minutes or so. Ahh, the fun. How anyone made it home without a trip to Casualty still eludes me.


Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Oh, by the way... 

(24 more posts before shutdown)

We're not going to Australia. The One turned the job down. We've spurned adventure in favour of... bliss.


The last rant 

(25 more posts before shutdown)

Call it disillusionment. Call it boredom. Call it... anything you want to, baby, but I've been thinking about why I do this and I'm having trouble coming up with any viable answers.

So at the beginning it was a laugh and I didn't expect anyone to read. And then I realised some people were reading and I started showing off. And all through that time it was a big penis-waving "look at me!" ethos that drove my nocturnal literary emissions - look how drunk I got last night! Look how in love I am! Look! Look! Look!

And then I started getting bored with telling drunken stories and in love stories and realised that even more people were reading and started trying to educate. This is the theory of the Anti-One. This is the theory of Pornography. This is what I think and I'm right because I'm cleverer than you. (I am cleverer than you, by the way.) And then... and then I started with the politics and now, frankly, I'm bored to tears.

I am bored to tears with my own blog.

Look. I write for a living. All I do to earn money is write stuff. Sometimes I write what I'm told - what do you want me to think? What line do you want me to take? - and sometimes I'm told to write what I think. Either way, what I do, the way I pay for my beer and my sandwiches, my bread and my circuses, the roof above my head, is write.

And, to cut a fucking rambling point short, I'm tired of having to think of new and interesting things to educate you with. I'm tired of having to explain the theory of the Anti-One, the theory of pornography, of why you shouldn't vote republican or even why Harry Potter is such a dangerous little shit... I'm tired of doing it because that's what I do for a living anyway.

So here's the deal. From now on - no more theories, no more politics, no more education and no more judgement. From now on it's just about what it was in the beginning... look at me! I'm shitfaced again!


Tuesday, November 09, 2004

World of twist 

(26 more posts before shutdown)

There's a documentary on tonight; it's about how man landed on Mars. (Or Venus or somewhere.) Or might have done. It's part of a series about man landing on various planets. Or how he might have done. And how it might have looked, what might have happened, how it might have been done.

It might have been very thrilling, the world might have gasped - ooh! - the men involved (and women, let's not get totally down on the chicks here; yer average Doris might be just as adept with a space pod as the next man. Or woman) might have gone on to become leaders, presidents, ambassadors for a whole new age of tolerance and understanding... hey! The world might have been a beautiful place.


A year or two ago the British TV sensation was a series called Walking With Dinosaurs. Shot and presented in the style of all natural history films since Attenborough, it followed the lives and loves, the births and deaths of various stegasauruses (stegasauri?), diplodocuses etc with remarkably candid and lifelike effect. Except of course, it was all made up. At best it was guesswork. We don't even know what goddamn colour these animals were.

But didn't they look pretty!

I saw another documentary recently. It was about what might happen if there's another Ice Age. The oceans might rise up and flatten East Coast America, wipe out Japan; Europe might be crushed under the unstoppable weight of an unstoppable ice cap moving unstoppably southwards. All human and animal life might be obliterated.

Like wiv those dinosaurs innit.

What is it with all this conjecture? We live in an age of supposeds. These documentaries, these "natural history" shows, are based solely around what might have been, what might have happened, what might be true. There are no facts. Or if there are they're used only as stepping stones to fantasy and are therefore debased, rendered redundant. (Man walked on the moon. The moon is in space. Therefore... man could go anywhere in space!)

These aren't films I'm talking about. These programmes are calling themselves documentaries. They're literally pretending their fictionalised account of reality is reality.

Is the real world, the actual world, all the genuine history and recorded fact just too dull? Have we so fully explored the lives and loves, the births and deaths of all the actual animals in existence that we have to make up stuff about animals that died zillions of years ago (fuck the monkeys, give 'em pterodactyls!)? Are the real instances of genocide, huge-scale human suffering and natural catastrophe so dull that we have to invent scenarios exploring new ways to show assured human destruction (earthquakes in Turkey? Bollocks - let's have... an ice age!)? Are our achievements not so impressive that we have to pretend we've been to places we'll never go? (Holidays in the sun? Nah. Show 'em man walking on the sun)?

You want to know what I think? I think it's all symptomatic of how scared we all are. We're scared of reality, scared of what we've done to the real world; we're scared of ourselves, what we've become. And so, like children or victims of extreme trauma (self-imposed trauma, in our case) we're retreating into a little make-believe world, a fantasy world... where we Walk With Dinosaurs, where we surf the next Ice Age, where we explore whole new planets. And presumably, don't fuck them up quite so badly as this one.

(This by the way is why adults read children's books like Harry Potter - because they're too weak-minded to cope with the real world... but I won't start on that one. I'll leave the speccy little bastard for another day and another beating...)


Friday, November 05, 2004

Whizz! Crash! Bombs go off! 

(27 more posts before shutdown)

Fireworks! God, I love fireworks! The fifth of November, Guy Fawke's Night, and all across merrie old England the skies are lit like it's Day of the Triffids...

I got in from the pub at about 10-30 (I met ourkid, S and N for a few early evening looseners at around 6pm - once ourkid had told us about his childrens-ITV-presenter-snogging exploits of the night before (oh, yes!) everyone's thunder had been stolen somewhat and the evening petered out by 10pm) and I've spent the hour or so since cross-legged in front of my window with a glass of Bailey's, a pack of Marlboro, an ashtray and a tube of Pringles... gasping, ooh-ing, ahh-ing and generally losing myself in the wonder of the rockets, the whizzers, fizzers, boomers and blasters across the London skyline. Kids - I fucking love fireworks!

From my flat I can see the displays from Barbican to Finsbury Park, from Kentish Town to Hackney - and to say it's a full-on, lights-off, eyes-wide and window-open experience is to only get halfway there. It's blatantly the most fun I've had alone in my flat since last November 5th.

Which reminds me - tomorrow is The One and mine anniversary...


Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The Hollow Men 

(28 more posts before shutdown)

Oh, you stupid wankers. Everyone's laughing at you - and not in a good way, either.

This is the way the world ends - not with a bang but a whimper.


Monday, November 01, 2004

A letter to America 

(29 more posts before shutdown)

Dear Americans

Please, just for once, try not to do the stupid thing. Just for once: stop, look and listen before you vote. Just for once, put aside kneejerk prejudices, jerkass reactionism and asshole ignorance and THINK before you make a decision that could endanger yourselves and all those (few, dwindling) nations who consider themselves your allies.

I know neither candidate is exactly the right man. But just as surely as innocent deaths follow illegal invasions, as overbearing and ill-earned arrogance provokes nothing but scorn and hate, one of the men is overwhelming the wrong man.

Vote for the wrong man tomorrow and you will surely condemn yourselves to four years of pain, stupidity and a dumb slump into injurious self-pity. Vote for the wrong man tomorrow and you will inspire nothing more than contempt from the rest of the world - allies included. Vote for the wrong man tomorrow and you frankly deserve everything you get. I mean it: you've got a chance to turn the whole situation around - vote for the wrong man and IT WILL GET WORSE.

And if you don't know who the wrong man is... then you've already fucked up.

Sweet dreams - and don't have nightmares.


The World.

PS - Thanks for all the memories. You can have them back now... they may be all you'll have left.

PPS - We'll keep The Simpsons though, cheers.

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