Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Audience No. 2


It dawned on me at about six-thirty in the morning that I must have been pedalling for hours, or at least for a great deal longer than I had thought. After a while the things I'd seen on the way had begun to condense into a continuous blur, and I just carried on pedalling, never stopping, never considering, never taking anything in, just passing everything.

In the large thriving cities, I weaved my own way amongst huge towers. I felt safe, in the days that I was there I had no trouble overcoming things, no roads too steep, no paths too rugged or potholed to navigate. I felt safe in the company of these great city buildings, their glittering glass facades reflected the transparency of obstacles I confronted - no hidden meanings, no confusion. Everything gaily crystal clear. In fact, things were so see through that I never thought to address the signs actually on the windows - obviously visible, but out of focus. If anything ever hinted that it might go wrong... I felt OK, the reinforced concrete my pillow, the titanic steel coursing through the towers my backbone.

I suppose that by (what I thought was) the end of the night I had noticed that there were no longer any buildings. Cities had turned to towns had turned to carrier bag villages and shopping trolley hamlets. Panic consumed me, I told myself that I could not cope in the limbo of this wilderness. I pedalled on until I realised that I was not even pedalling any more, I was speeding down a severe decline into suffocating darkness, I threw my arms about in the pitch black, but no arms knocked against anything, no hands clasped the brakes, no fingers wrapped themselves around a torch, no recognisable forms made their presence known, only white noise and impenetrable silence.


After night after night in this cursed limbo I knew not myself, until after however many hour long minutes and fifty-two day weeks my gaze was stirred by a luminous white dove of a hand in the darkness, a balled fist furling and unfurling. I reluctantly approached it, and it took hold of my arm and thrust me into a high room somewhere with pale white walls and a view over a cityscape. The city, the city.

- You do understand that I can only point you in the right direction. I am inhuman, I am to be related to anonymously, and there is precious little I can to do to help you, but I will always be here, on Tuesdays from one to a quarter past four and on Wednesdays until three.

I understood, and I was told that I would soon once again be allowed out into the city. I had lost my bicycle, and I hoped I never wanted to find it. Outside I was able to see thousands of little details that I had sorely missed. Large expanses of grimey rooftops under puddles that reflected the sky, tangled electric vines entwining themselves with other cables, feminine satellite dishes that flirted with radio transmitters, stained lace curtain-twitching voyeurs, Messerschmitt sparrows, gargoyle ravens, grotesque crows, two mating pigeons and a small child at street level holding his mother's hand in tears, the other pallid little paw pointing up at a solitary red balloon floating up on a warm breeze to join the chorus.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Doing Death


I dreamed that I had died, or that I had had sex, I can't remember. It all started when I followed a girl in her early twenties, that I knew very well, followed her into a bathroom somewhere with the intention of doing one or the other. 

Long brown hair, a black leotard tucked into sky blue drainpipes, but in such a way that you can spy soft hips exposed above the jeans because of the shape of the leotard. Teasingly and paradoxically voyeuristic. The hair is swept round to fall only over one side of the neck and expose a milkily vulnerable nape, the coy frown is shaded by the perfectly curled eyebrows, pointing to a spotless forehead. Cute little black watch, big gold south london earrings and a gap in her teeth. Cute little black tennis shoes - how confrontational - and a bum that makes everyone's legs go like jelly.

She turned her back to me and pulled down each shoulder of the leotard so that it hung by her waist. She moved further away and pressed herself against the cold tiles - all white skin against shiny black faux marble.


‘I want to have conversations that mean something, relationships that mean something, meals, movies, walks in the park, sex that means something,’ she said. ‘But I can’t explain away my passionate distaste for that, that intrusive intimacy of it all.’ She said this while twirling a loose strand of cotton around her silkily feline fingers. And so this is where it begun, how she did it, with her back turned to everything. 'And I want all this before I die.'

I regret never being able to make any sense of this, fumbling about and stumbling over unidentifiable objects in the ambiguous dark she used to create when she spoke like she did.

'Sex and death are, in my opinion, the two most inherently and inextricably linked themes in art and literature. So why not in real life? I can pretend the intimacy is foregone as long as there is sex and death. Although you must remember, of course, this is a sweeping generalisation.' 

I considered this, but again gave up after a few minutes of painful silence, accepting that I was never going to be able to understand what she was going on about. Why should the two be linked so inherently and inextricably in real life? Because she says so, it seems. Ignore the wildly unlikely. She has not killed anyone she has made love to, nor has she made love to anyone she has killed for that matter. Does she think of death during sex? The martyrdom of virginity or the sacrificed cherry lying rotting next to the fruit bowl? Dying during childbirth, Judith and Holofernes, revenge, black widows, mantises, disease, erotic asphyxiation, or even something totally unrelated - a car accident, drowning, self-immolation? The list is endless, It could be anything, and none of these. And I must remember, of course, it was a sweeping generalisation.

But then she hates the intimacy of it all, she has her back turned, yet beckons me forward. Her skin is warm and the tiles cold. She will kick me, hit me, scream at me, and as I turn to leave she will wrap both arms around my neck and drag me to the ground. What is she thinking when we fuck on the floor? What will the cleaner find in the morning - an errant pair of underwear or an arm in the bath? 


Saturday, 4 September 2010



I was once standing in front of a large mirror, but at such an angle that I wasn't able to see my reflection - rather the large expanse of empty room before me. After a while, this room began to fill with people. Sometimes one, now two or three, once even four, they all trickled steadily in and occupied chairs and tables in front of me.

An imperiously decorated carpet was pierced here and there with the indentations of the legs of quasi-rococo chairs, tobacco stained lace curtains drooped lugubriously from their rails, and a lethargic black greyhound sat with its head between its paws under a mahogany table taken by a young couple that leaned towards each other frequently to share a kiss and exchange trivially mundane sweet nothings. 

After a long while, a man approached me from across the room, and I was about to talk to him when another man behind me interrupted him. He told me he had been waiting for me, but I had never seen him before. I tried to ignore him, looking at the man in the mirror. He was tall, and I suppose once relatively good looking. Whiskery clumps of skin hung limply from high cheekbones, watery eyes sat deep in charcoal rings, a withered shadow of a human being. He hovered about on the spot, constantly changing his stance and struggling to keep his balance. He was clearly very drunk.
I was fascinated by this atrophied human being before me, but this fucking man behind wouldn't shut up. I felt every growled, alcoholic syllable find its way into my ears, my nose, the nape of my neck. He talked for what felt like hours without stopping, telling me everything. Everything I was supposed to know about, to remember. At long last, the man in the mirror held up a hand for him to stop, a hand covered in white and purple scars of varying sizes.

"What happened to your hands?" I asked.
Finally the usurper allowed the reflection an entry. "I can't help it. It's my way of making myself feel better when I'm down, sad, upset, pissed off, pissed, angry, lost, sad, very drunk, upset, and/or generally lacking in self esteem.

"I start with my hands first. I want to mutilate them the way I feel mutilated. Mutilated by whom? I don't know. That's 'the root of the problem', as they say. I enjoy the irony of the perpetrator turning on himself - the executors their own victims. These are all my problems you see; they are my mind's own conceptions, thus I deal with them. I feel better to punish myself for my own, my very own sins, - that aren't even sins.

"I just want to cut things to remind myself I'm still alive, to see the blood. Given time, the resulting scars will remind me of when I was still alive."

I interjected. "But if they are problems you yourself have created, surely you can be the one that solves them, and peacefully so, rather than by resorting to self-inflicted corporal punishment."
- "Ah you see it's not all that simple. I am like the sorcerer's apprentice; in trying to deal with one problem by cheating the system or taking shortcuts, I have created a much bigger one, one that is by now far beyond the limits of my control. I do not feel self-determining any longer, so the scars remind me of the last bastion of which I am in control of: I may have lost the mental battle, but I am still in charge of my body - the cosmetic mutilation is a reminder of who is boss, so to speak."

He is certainly logical, but recklessly so. "And turning to alcohol for, how was it that you described it earlier, ah yes - 'numbing consultation,' was one of these unsustainable and Pyrrhic shortcuts?"


"And what about other drugs? Are you on medication for anything?"
"Yes and yes, but all irrelevant. You've probably ascertained that I'm not here to muse about the past, and besides, I am tiring of this, everything."

"So why is it that you're here?" I asked, noticing at the same time that the heavy breather behind me was holding something shiny and metallic by his side.

"Why," came the reply.  "For us."

Monday, 16 August 2010

Cielo verde/In and Out and In and Out


I hovered cautiously across the concourse and onto a busy platform. Like a great shimmering blanket draped over two long, high parallel walls a glass roof sprawled over the station, an incubated sanctuary - momentary respite for weary engines. An unsightly pigeon tottered along one of the gargantuan iron arches supporting the roof. To me, there has always been a pleasing juxtaposition there - vaguely art nouveau swirls and gothic revival brickwork amongst great dormant arches: symbols of the fearsome omnipotence of nineteenth century industry.

I pulled down the lip of my hat and retreated into a caldarium of steam released from the great old locomotive, poised regally in a deeply rich burgundy. Another once great machine in its final days, waiting to be replaced by the new electric locomotives. In the haze my mind wandered to thoughts of the night before. The express train was delayed, a man had died on the on line, and we waited, silently still, in the dark, for hours. A fatality they said. Heavy and suffocating green light fell into the unlit carriages and onto our faces. I became insufferably bored. I took 4 or 5 sleeping pills, I can’t remember, and sunk into my seat, stubbornly fighting the urge to drift off. 


In the cafe I stood up and pulled aside a chair for the girl that had arrived at my table. She smiled at me cautiously, expectantly, waiting for me to speak first, and then sat down carefully as I hung her coat and hat over the back of her chair. I said nothing, and so with a resigned sigh she took off her little silk gloves with lace trimming and laid them out, one on top of the other, on the pearl white table cloth. I moved the flowers to one side so that I might better see her face. She laid both her hands flat on the round table before she spoke.

«Well nice to see you, I'm glad we are to be civil.»
«I appreciate how you might find things...» (she paused momentarily as if to ensure that she chose the right words) «...difficult, but I must think of myself as well - what I should like to do. I am reluctant to say this, but I feel that I speak fairly and with good conscience when I say that you are a burden to me.»
"The overloaded sidecar to your Royal Enfield, if you like."
«I do wish you needn't be so churlish, James.»

I briefly opened my eyes lethargically as the train passed over a particularly uneven stretch of track. Whether it was out of proud facetiousness or simply from facing the omnipotent musk of defeat is of no consequence, but it is certain that it was my fault that the rest of the supper passed without much conversation, and we stood in silence as we waited for her car.


I felt terrible when I eventually woke up, and even worse for allowing a dream, pure fantasy, to warp the perspective I had of reality. Yet I knew that the fantasy bore a startling similarity to what will most likely happen someday.
Here comes your man, I thought. A red faced man of about 23 alighted in the middle of the platform, put on his hat and walked brusquely towards the exit. She left me for him? Really? I waited for a few seconds, and stepped out of the shadows and steam. 

In the bright August sun I watched the man put his suitcase in the back of a little black Alfa Giulietta. There was no doubting it was her car. I frowned and started my engine, pulling out behind them onto the road out of town. 

Monday, 21 June 2010



She alights, and canters down the platform to the ticket barriers. The gilded clouds move at double speed, and the night sky smothers all like a delicate silk veil. 

She looks over her shoulder, and there he is, pacing behind her. Like an apparition, maybe. Just a thought. But when she looks again, he has not followed her down the steps. 

Rows of terraced houses lie about like the charred wreckage of spent coke; the broken lights of the 24 hour store flicker; soft music wafts by intermittently with the wind. There he is pacing behind. 

She rounds the corner, and he's gone. Her heels clack on concrete, and as she approaches the railway bridge she thinks she can see headlights fade and die. 

She passes the car, searching through the windows, but it's dark inside and she can't make out a face. There is only the soft ticking of an engine recently gunned and killed. 

Closer, but first the towering branches and howling treetops of the heath. Her heels click faster - hair in her face and dancing dry leaves. 

All too quickly he is upon her. She is forced into the bracken by a rough hand, now on her handbag, now on her neck. Her little blue beret lands in the grass, and a large, gold, heart-shaped earring comes undone but doesn't fall out. All the while he taunts her, what he will do to her, his previous conquests, the lousy police, muttering glibly and disgustingly in a way that only a man could. 

But she is ready - she stoops for a heel and brings it back up serenely into his rosy temple. He falls, and she straightens up, putting on her shoe before kicking him in the head, twice, three times. 

She slips her dainty fingers into her little lace gloves, and touches two fingers to her forehead, each shoulder, her crotch. Your last time. She shoots him in his.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Aéro Dynamik

Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis, Sonata of the Sea. Finale, 1908

It was their second anniversary. Not of their wedding, mind, but of the night at the café near the beach in Brighton where Antoine had asked Bilinda if she would go out with him (in his silky Parisian timbre, nuanced with the regrettably false yet stereotypical presuppositions of a talented and sensuous lover). 

Later that night Antoine had sat at the foot of the bed while Bilinda slept, rubbing his eyes until they were sore as he swallowed the lugubrious epiphany that this was the apotheosis of his life. 
What a twat. He had just indulged in what - in his eccentrically transmuted words - was 'the pinnacle of heterosexual coitus', and yet all he could do was lament the thought that it might never be that good again. Yes, it was pretty good, but, twat. 

As an anniversary celebration, much to the initial disapproval of Bilinda, Antoine had arranged that they go skydiving, ensemble. Eventually she had come round to the idea, and so on the 22nd of August 2010 they found themselves sitting abreast several thousand feet in the air, simultaneously on the brink of shitting themselves. Unconventionally romantic.

The time came for them to jump. "So I look ready?" asked Antoine, smiling nervously at his dearest. 

"You could do up the flies of your jumpsuit."

"You might have reminded me of this earlier," tutted Antoine, his not-quite-perfect command of English leading him to infer that 'this' was some recurring malevolent problem. 

The petite silver aeroplane carved its solitary course across a cloudless sky, and the couple jumped hand in hand before splitting apart at twelve-thousand feet. 

At ten-thousand feet they floated closer together, still tied to their instructors, and at eight-thousand feet they kissed for a further few hundred. 

At however many-thousand feet Bilinda's parachute burst open above the emerald fields and chalky white oast houses of Kent, and she stared, exopthalmic, at the spiralling form of Antoine. At four-thousand feet, Antoine had become a black speck to her eyes, and at one-thousand he was more of a red blotch on the otherwise spotless rural expanse. 

As soon as she and her instructor landed she tore herself from her strapping and hurried, in tears, to where his broken body lay. Predictably, his parachute had never opened, and so she unravelled it from its crumpled package on his behalf to find the words 'WILL YOU MARRIAGE ME?' crudely spray-painted on the day-glo nylon. And thus, she took his limp hand in holy matrimony.

Sunday, 16 May 2010



'I'm just going to the loo' says Kylie. 
     She walks wobblily into the bathroom and sits down on the toilet, balloon in one hand, canister in the other. While taking a piss, she fixes up a double balloon and sucks the whole thing into her lungs. Her mind, sight and hearing all throb as she inhales, and she forgets where she is. It is ecstasy.
     Letting the flaccid and empty balloon slip through her fingers and fall to the floor, she tilts her back against the wall and puts a cigarette between her wet lips. She clicks open the lighter and her head blows up.

     Twenty minutes pass, and Jason is prostrated on top of the black satin sheets wondering where Kylie is. Wet trusses of bleached white hair dangle before his sunny blue eyes. He rises from the bed, slips on a pair of black jeans and picks up the silver revolver before stumbling to the bathroom. 
     He finds her limp, naked and headless body slumped over the toilet, but still sitting relatively upright against the wall. Blood and grey matter squish between his toes as he edges tentatively further into the room. He affords his eyes time to ruefully peruse the scene before offering his verbal assessment of the situation. 
     'Deep,' is the lengthily uttered conclusion.

     He looks about him surreptitiously. He really needs to go himself but cannot bear the thought of touching the body. No one is about, no would know, so why not? With this in mind, he unzips and starts to piss, and a golden rainbow of urine glitters as it cascades between Kylie's legs into the bowl, shattering the silence of death in the room like a bullet through a sheet of ice. 
     A wasp watches Jason voyeuristically from his perch on the window. This precious moment is their secret. It is their single, shared, fleeting snippet of irrevocable solace before the advent of a new dawn of pain for both of them. 
    Jason looks about again. Again, no one would know. Justifying his actions as a lover's gift, he points upwards slightly so that the last drops fall onto Kylie's stomach, before shaking, swatting the wasp, calling the ambulance, putting the nozzle of the gun into his mouth and firing. 


Thursday, 6 May 2010

Famous Paintings Explained

Beato Angelico - Annunciation, c.1436-45
This is the fresco that really put the 'beat' in Beato Angelico, and this aural accompaniment is strongly recommended forthwith. One of many reproductions of the annunciation that Fra Angelico completed in his lifetime, this is one of the most important to art historians today for not only does it prove that disco has been alive and well for two millennia, it also is highly controversial in that it contests the theory of immaculate conception. 

Followed by party-goers in the top left-hand corner of the painting, the angel Gabriel is depicted having just arrived to the party that the Virgin has thrown in honour of a new wardrobe that Joseph has just been commissioned to make for a wealthy local landowner. Note the disco lights on the ceiling, the portable mini Casio tape player on Mary's lap, and most importantly the dance moves - the Virgin demonstrates the classic Macarena, whilst Gabriel shakes his fingers as he gets down to the beat. 

The painting's controversial element comes in the small inscription that used to be in the bottom right-hand corner of the painting (before it was defaced by pious monks in the eighteenth century). The inscription claimed that there was in fact no immaculate conception, but conversely that at some point during the festivities frankincense was slipped into Mary's drink, leading her to think later that Jesus was the product of a virgin birth, and not the outcome of date-rape as Fra Angelico believed.

Vada Scoparti's Diary

Sorry I haven't been in touch for a while. I've been busy with work, busy with partying and busy with getting busy. LOL. So I met a new guy. At first I was somewhat hesitant, because he is like, black, but actually he's quite a nice guy. And the rumours are true.* 

So anyway, we met at Baa Bar, and he started daggering me to that Kid Cudi tune. Turns out he's on my course, I know, right? Weird, cos there's only three black guys on the course so I'm surprised he hasn't noticed me before. Back to Baa Bar though, I think the clincher was that he had some fucking mega meow meow. 

*He's fucking hung.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Famous Paintings Explained

Gian Girolamo Savoldo - La Maddalena, c.1535-40, Oil on canvas, National Gallery
Returning to the sepulchre, this image captures Mary Magdalen in turning to see the barely clothed Christ who has just risen again. In this sensual, sexually charged depiction, the artist juxtaposes his own lascivious desires with a novel yet wildly misinformed interpretation of a verse from St. Luke's Gospel. The passage in question loosely narrates the point that the Magdalen emerges from the shadows of uncertainty to recognise the resurrected Christ, calling him 'Rabboni', the Hebrew for 'teacher'. 

However, due a monumental mistranslation somewhere along the line, Savoldo was led to believe that the Magdalen had in fact growled lecherously at Christ - 'Raaaar, bone me!' Recent X-Ray scans of the painting have uncovered some telling revelations, notably that originally Mary Magdalen had been portrayed removing her suspenders and readying herself to receive - which accounts for the fact that her left knee is raised up close to her face (and is not, as some critics have said, her right arm). 

The fervently pious patron rejected the image however, and so to save the commission Savoldo was forced to cover the Magdalen with the silver cloak seen shimmering on the canvas today. 

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Ardent Speculation

'That's the main problem with the Trident Drizzler you see,' postulates Dave as he clambers out of the shower scratching his greying whiskers. 'With the T400 you don't get this kind of limescale build-up, but with older models I'm afraid things aren't so jazzy.' The latest in a long line of unwashed householders stares at him blankly. 

'How has my Eton education left me such a wet spanner?' Dave soliloquises as he restores the dripping tools to the Berlingo. And so he pooters along through Hammersmith on his way to the next job sighing as he passes a snake of voters outside a polling station. Alas! So many painful memories, so many heart-wrenching visions of what could of been!
'Fucking fuck!' concludes Gordon as he fumbles around for the tap. Having never quite become accustomed to blindness he has just taken a shit in the bath for the second time in a week. Downstairs Sarah is again twisting the knife in the Ed Balls voodoo doll to no avail. 

Nick on the other hand stretches his feet out over the desk at No. 10. He is on the line to Mark Zuckerberg and Myspace Tom to thank them for their unwavering support in his successful second campaign. Vince meanwhile downloads pictures of women in varying states of undress, their modesty preserved only by the occasional pocket calculator. 

Friday, 8 January 2010