a crooked, brittle wasp still remains in the windowsill, a vague reminder of summer that once was. the house is silent except from the usual creaking and sighing in the timber beams. outside the sky is steel gray, an impenetrable haze. still it lets through a thin and spiky rain.
when the heather is blooming, the summer is over, my grandmother always used to say. but the heather is now wilted and gone like everything else. an era always relieves another, but it’s hard to notice the transitions unless life-changing events occurs. something did occur in my life. but time has not moved in any direction, it is only we two who no longer concern each other.
so I tell myself it’s important to sit down in new corners of the floor. I drum my fingers on the cat’s belly, allowing my brain to take its course. dullness of mind. throbbing eardrums and dumb jaw joints.
I am going to be whole again. recreate an ego, an ego you can cup your hands around and say yes, there you are, I can really feel you. build towers and red lights out of my annihilated person. turn my tentacles outwards and then inwards, in convex and concave movements. recreate receptors to my fingertips. recognise myself alone with plastic gestures.
I tell you a story that happened to me
One day as I went down to Youghal by the sea.
The sun it was bright and the day it was warm.
Says I, “A quiet pint wouldn’t do me no harm.”
I went in and I called for a bottle of stout.
Says the barman, “I’m sorry, the beer is sold out.
Try whiskey or Paddy, ten years in the wood.”
Says I, “I ‘ll try cider, I hear that it’s good.”
Oh never, oh never, oh never again,
If I live to be hundred or hundred and ten
For I fell to the ground and I couldn’t get up
After drinking a quart of the Johnny Jump Up.
I cycled to Paris a few months ago. it seems like an elaborate lie nowadays since I spend most of my time locked underground in the tube.
two healthy friends and I on city bikes without gear, very unprofessional looking, covering the dirt-tracks of Morden, the south England seafront and miles and miles of picturesque French countryside to the point where I grew slightly sick from the sight of castles and windmills.
but we felt very empowered. until we reached the New Haven ferry to Dieppe and stumbled upon our counterparts – three male members of the cycling community. they had shiny Nike water bottles, red tights and matching cycle bags full of useful equipment. all we carried was a broken pump and some knickers. I tried to look less like a twelve year old boy with a peanut head on a school hike and rolled up the sleeves of my boyfriend’s laid off jumper – the only moment when men in tights have made me feel body-conscious. ‘where are you off to?’ they asked us. ‘Paris’ we proudly replied. it turned out they were planning to reach Paris that same evening. we were hoping to get there in three days.
and their goal was not France. or even in Europe. these cycling gods were riding all the way to fucking Thailand.
after that I stopped bragging on facebook and just got on with it
In The Picture of Dorian Gray the main character, a pretty Victorian dandy, is spellbound by his beautiful portrait and makes a vain wish to remain young while the portrait grows old. Like the average psychopath, Dorian is egocentric and impulsive, lacks empathy and enjoys the conquests of superficial charm in the upper social circles of Victorian London while leading a separate life of opium addiction and criminality. The decadence and degradation of the coldhearted playboy doesn’t reflect upon his flawless appearance and while his corrupted acquaintances turn old and ugly, Dorian continues to roam the unmarked streets and dodgy neighbourhoods of east London with the face of an angel.
Oscar Wilde, like his sneaky fictional invention, had to hide aspects of his private life from public view, but rather than opium he sought male prostitutes of underground Soho and the love of a spoilt Lord. Apart from some ambiguous references to homosexuality in The Picture of Dorian Gray (a persistent indifference towards attractive ladies, a house in the gay-hangout Algiers shared with his flamboyant best friend and the portraitist’s burning devotion for his subject) Dorian’s main infatuation is himself.
The obvious appeal of the book lies in the flamboyant decadence, guilt-ridden vanity and dirty secrets, but the descriptions of a labyrinth-like east London of nameless alleyways and unruly gin palaces are as intriguing. Although I constantly get lost in east London (unlike Dorian I’m yet to discover the hipster secrets and pop-up cafés and clubs of Dalston), it sounds quite fun rambling around unlit dead-end streets off your face on opium.
After reading The Picture of Dorian Gray I had a weird longing to live in a conservative society with a rigorous class system and royalist attitudes in order to succumb to the subversive pleasures of decadence. Imagine Victorian London – the working class occupy the east end, while the rich thrive in Chelsea and gays hook up in Soho. And then I realised that all I need is a bit of opium. Or perhaps some crack – the modern day equivalent.
recently fell inlove with the film ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ – 30s runaways epitomising 60s style among Texan dust, impotence, phallic guns, not-so-fast car chases and the odd cold blooded murder.