Friday, 23 December 2011

A People Week

Well, once you extrapolate it, you're of the same demographic, and it is the busiest shopping day of the year. He flattened it slightly, one of those days where it seems like a Generation Game conveyor belt brings a string of tenuously-linked ex-people. Or now people, Or next people. Once is nice, twice is refreshing, third you begin to analyse. You're in a soap, and in any given episode, everyone that lives on the Square Street Close seems to come into the shop for a card gift book. My, today of all days, of all 365 days today is the one we all needa card book gift in order for us to gather like swarming beasts as though something is going to happen, or some force whirls us together. With them it's the writers, with us, the world.

Why do these people come into our lives? Our habitual or best friends seem to colour our pages on a permanent if patchy basis. The tone is kept sweet, topped up intermittenty, some times very internittmently (work, ills, geography). The guests of yesterday seem to drop dabs of pigment on a previously wet space, drips blotting and filtering, adding extra intention, diversity, and sometimes tangential brightness. You don't fit, you don't mean the sky or the earth, the birds or the picnic, but you add to my picture.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

One of those days

It's when the objects you usually love look flat and cold. It's like closing one eye and only seeing in two dimensions, flattened shapes, rendered forms, where there used to be physical and emotional abundance. I don't want to put on an oufit. I don't care for quenching combinations, I don't want to paint my face in shades of normal with accents of the look, because I don't feel normal and I can't see the look. I want to draw a cartoon bag and cut some holes in it and put it on. I might tie a woolly belt around the middle, or I might not. I'll make a similar head covering, not too itchy, made a rough cool linen, with enough gap for vision, breathing and ingestion, but hidden enough from the world to suggest cowering, and caves.

I can't go to the canal side cafe because I am not carrying the plumage of display and flaunting a casual perfection. I am raw and open, seeping cleansing fluids, melding, meshing, nature happening. I'm shocking. I would cause questions. I don't want to put on a fine face when I don't feel fine. Think of how many people all over the city aren't letting themselves out into the world today, how many people are paralized by a lack of time, direction, desperation. One day before I give myself back to my definition. One perfect day is happening now, only I'm swollen and puffy and behind and just fucking tired actually.

"If you don't like your job, find another one. Stop looking for the love of your life, they'll be there when you start doing the things that you love." So much pressure to make everything perfect, and once you've made everything perfect, you'll be some sort of supreme being.

Thursday, 17 November 2011


There's a filter which comes off when illness sets in. Interaction with the world softens, edges become candy floss fuzzy, delicate, porous, possibly sweet possibly salty, depending on the stage of illness (salty at the start, jagged attack at the gullet, sweet at the end as the juices start to caramelise and hang out in gaps in your face). Maybe it's more like popcorn, you're a walking popped kernel, all gaps and crags and places for the world to nest in. Ideas are free to roam, thoughts too, you feel like a child exploring a man-made bedroom underworld, all chairs and sheets and secrets.

When you're ill, logic falls by the wayside. Logic is in the gutter, kicking leaves and butts like an excluded year 10, bored and aware that no-one really cares that it's not at school today. Unemployed, impotent, excess. Logical left brain, is seemingly useless. Raucous right brain, is having a lovely fun time. It's as though the logical side of your self is absolutely involved with the operating of the body, Tom Hanks all serious as the captain of the ship, leaving the fun side to just play out. I walk past the school and see the mini people in glee, utter freedom, I'm jealous.

When you're ill, your ego, Ahamkara, takes it the worst. The part which normally acts as your super-shell, an annoying parent holding you back from both things that are actually bad for you (insert socially unacceptable situation) as well as things that would actually be very character forming (learning by doing/falling etc). The ego sits in bed, coughing and spluttering and moaning for pity, the intellect wants to play out in the sunshine like a 5 year old who really does not know what's happenning next, the mind admits that bed and iPlayer is the only option. With biscuits.

I was reading my book yesterday, aware of my fluffy outer layer, corroborating with my imagina4tion, pooling their resources for a ticket to good times. That part of my head which usually resists your meaning, other people's pictures and possibilities, today I take it on. Today I realise there's enough room in this brain for the two of us, and more, there's enough room for ideas ad infinitum, and so sweet they are too, they make a sundae with my own sweet ill juices. I'm cosy in all my coat layers, heading back to work prematurely, and I'm making a new little world. I'm reshaping my brain over here on the last but one seat on the drivers side on the top deck of the 73. I smile smugly around, I'm still ill, and I like it.

The downside, as one gets to work, back to rational life, well everything is so much harder. I seem to have both gone dyslexic and dropped several sets in maths and English I can't add up my two Cash v/s Card figures without the aid of Excel's dumb tools, I can't seem to transcribe telephone conversations onto Post-its, I cannot make hierarchical decisions with the Outlook flags and their shades of importance in red. But there's a cake downstairs I made, look how good my outfit is today, I really want to know how to curl my hair like yours, and can I please open the cardboard pinhole camera and give it a go? The screen hurts my face but life seems so alive right now.

Thursday, 10 November 2011


Starting is like joining the motorway; you see a gap in the traffic, and you just have to go for it and get in there. There's no stopping, no reversing, no options except ahead. There will never be an ideal time when the motorway is completely empty, and you can career on in any fashion you please. And faster. If you thought you were going fast enough, well you're not, go at least half as fast again. Also, you will never be master of it; it's dangerous, precarious, it waits to receive you, it allows you, it exists for you. Start, join, get involved, as they say.

I got home an hour ago after a thoroughly enjoyable morning of walking, swimming, a haircut, and a stroll around the often-too-lovely locale looking for posh stock cubes. The swimming was free by some trick of my out-of-date working tax credit still being loaded onto my membership card (a heavy repayment burden, but hey, free swimming!), and when things are free you both enjoy them more and expect less. I skipped to my haircut and am quite pleased with her skill and our chat, we talked figs, philosophies and visual intelligences, there was free cake as it was Thursday, and I found a kind of kin I wouldn't have predicted from the outset.

I got some satisfactory stock cubes and headed back, eating the scraps of rye bread piled with salmon and reduced avocado, as the French onions caramelised. There's a gap here, I felt. A constellation. Magical timing when things feel exciting and open and daunting and possible. Where everything's in line, you're in the car, you can see the sign for the motorway, you can see that there's going to be a chance to make things happen. It's one of those oft-parodied blue motorway signs, chunky white writing and smooth arrows directing you to The Zone, 300 yards. Oh, but hang on, I just need to watch my onions so they caramelise and don't burn, for a bit longer, so I'll just read Stylist and listen to Radio 3 raging war for a bit. Notice the non specified time of said 'bit'.

A little (?) later, the flow has ebbed, the potential got wet it seems, the baton floats in the foam, you didn't catch it then? Didn't keep it dry and honor it? Is the gap so small that it commands me? In fragile times, it seems so. The Zone is a delicate offering, sitting on a velvet cushion edged in gems, wafting around the room on a posh tray like a pile of not-for-you-madam Forerro Rocher. Look, people will point and Ladies will giggle, the Zone! How special if feels when it brushes past you, look how close it came, did you see how close it came to me, it was like this close!!

Not quite sure where this is going. Yes I am that's a lie. Where am I going I said last night, as he shoved me into a move I didn't recognise, Nowhere, he said, our feet hovered, shuffled. Yes I am, I countered, I'm going everywhere! Everywhere and nowhere. I was kind of still, not twirling it was true, but my feet were gentle and preparing to be everywhere, unfurling grossly like a pearl in a tea cup. So here I am again. I don't know where I'm going but I'm going to really try and give this time because not doing it is really choking me up. I'm going to honor it.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

I hung on the side, quietly contented, a warmth of laughter still resonating. I drew to the door to see her familiar blond flash, watched it slope to the bar, and wondered whether to make contact. It seems it's now commonplace to be jealous of people who were not yet alive by one's first conscious favourite year of the eighties. Or any year of the eighties. He stood vaguely in front of me, all hair and t-shirts, reminding me of you again, again. Why are you everywhere lately? Everywhere and no-where.

Why was I so dry? Why did I have nothing to say to anyone? I bought this amazing Oulipo Compendium, I could've shared, Have you got anything exciting happening with the Design Festival, cool boy with compass? Instead I hung on the radiator cover, balancing achy femoral heads, feeling glad I was A Person again, not just A Job. I was warmed, like a bun under the grill on low, not yet toasty. Not yet ready, still quite an empty shell.

I hate these moments. You're so super aware of yourself that that awareness is all there is. The rest is on holiday. The rest is on the forbidden Cyprus beach holiday. On lunch. In the bath. Out in the back garden too far away to call. All there is is you being you. No references, no hung beliefs, just a naked idea, a framework less its weight, not yet bearing the guise of fact. I'm in hibernation, you can't shout, I've been internet shopping all afternoon (for money) and I've given my entire consideration to the screen. I'm not normally like this. I can be A Person. But right now I'm also slightly A Job.

I got the bus out of town to the chip shop.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

How Necessary Is A Relationship?

How necessary is a relationship? We're looking at the proposal in a severely limited, Hollywood rom-com kind of way, an internet dating kind of way, a mortgages and dogs kind of way, a him and her kind of way, a lead and a follow kind of way, a black and white kind of way. Coupled up or singled out, that's the way I went in, and I came away with a new set of potentials. Not either or. Not binary. Not this or that. It expanded my thoughts on the matter for the first time in months.

I walked back from the recycling bins, noticing the detritus on high balconies, the leaves on the trees, and just felt like I had a lot to be self-satisfied with. I sat in the kitchen with delicious soup heated by the new perfect porridge pan, a warm bowl of romance for one, and it's not sad actually, it's fucking perfect and if anyone else was here it would be actually slightly ruined. It's no fun when they're not enjoying the film as much as you are. It actually ruins it for you. Romance is not dead, and it's not just for two. At all.

You're lucky you caught us, she said, as I checked the sign and clock through the glass. I pretended I hadn't done this pre-check, fully believing the 'open' sign, (unlike the confusing sign earlier, 'Sorry we are open'). We shut at five but we've just been chatting, she said, and I could see how eight hours together wasn't enough for this pair, after we'd talked moth prevention for over fifteen minutes I didn't want to leave either. Eight years of dry cleaning, seven years of sale rail, twenty minutes of moth tips, six part-eaten admissions, two amazing friends. I wondered whether they talked dry cleaning all day, because with them, I certainly could've.

They said on Wednesday night that good friendships, like theirs, seem to continue way back before you literally knew each other, and continue to some infinite point long after death. I watched them watching each other read, a glow from both. To see two people in respect and awe of each other is quite voyeuristic heaven. Contrast this with overseeing a romantic couple merging into one; bodies and styles locked, a street pair that fuse into ultimate dullness, two separates amalgamate into a waste. Fit them one body with four limbs, rolling down the street, two wholes rendered new useless.

How necessary is a relationship? Necessary enough to connect with other humans but not lose yourself. Necessary to support and nurture but not hold up or drag down. Necessary to inspire and spur on, help fill in the gaps, not fill them with selfish glue. The romance is all about you. Not yous. Relationship does not mean sex. They don't have a class called How Necessary Is Sex, but maybe they should. Relationships are free and all over the place, and you can make them in the dry cleaners at 5.29 on a Saturday. Or indeed take up the 84 year old's offer of the role as his part-time girlfriend.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

The new ego

Oh how I worship at my own altar since I know that she loves me! I didn't shout, at the point in the evening last night where it may have fitted, my thought in her 'conversation', well Goethe's thought in my moment in her conversation. My veins coursed with potential, there's a point that fits, and, you, don't take it. Where does that energy go? They were talking about soap operas and Mike Leigh films and I didn't feel it was appropriate to shout out, didn't know if my point was just to prove I had a point, to prove to myself I had a memory (a memory! A good one!) without choice.

The point, is I didn't shout it. Again I didn't say something I had formed in my head, didn't do something I could minute-momentarily see as correct, something kept me back, restrained me. The ego. The ego is not always out for your best interests, naughty, naughty ego. I don't like this trick it's playing on me at the moment. An over-arching sense of self-awareness, a person-proofer, a social filter hiked up to a million. No, I won't press if they speak mostly French in Antwerp, ask whether you're familiar with soaking pulses overnight, say that you look totally melt-worthy in that suit. I'll step back into my up tight self and keep all these wonderings in, because they're not worth anything.

Isn't it much more fun when you're under slept and hung over, saying things you didn't know you thought, let alone meant? The ego grumbles under a cold thin bed sheet and too much gin, and you're free to be as loose as you please! What's that? I'm fun today? I know I'm fun today, I feel a bit mental to be honest, but isn't it also, fun! Maybe I've been sleeping too much lately, my devotion to good dincharya perhaps a little too meticulous. It is perhaps odd that I was up before the light outside my window went off. This is an extreme version. Perhaps I also tricked the ego this morning, peeled open the sheets to the first birdsong before it even stirred.

She was talking about the mind, intellect and ego. I was glad this was around two thousand years ago and not just a modern Freudian thing. It started on the course, seeing this weird outside version of myself, just another comparison of paper and pens to bring to the sharing table. It poured out from creativity into the everyday (if at all discernible). I'm standing in my own way! I shouted last night as I spun round a corner at high speed to bedtime castigating my quotation refrain. The thing is I don't know if I said it, or thought it, was it in, or out, did I stop it, or did it pour out riotously while the ego wasn't looking? More of this please.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Going Out again

I honestly tried to go out. Twice or so a year I feel strong enough, weird enough, foreign enough to head out the door alone on a traditional Night Out, without so much as a bag or coat for props. I ran to the bus stop with bulging dress pockets, hopefully countering the bulge I made all by myself from the dress's seams. The deadline was 10pm free entry. I merged into the crowds, counting bus stops in minutes, gambled to get off at this stop and run, rather than wait for the next one which might catch the lights. I ran the last bit, sloped into the door, and got told not only was it three pounds all night, but the gig I'm looking for isn't on.

Now, I've done this before. I've been had by the Digital Age and it's virtual 'flyers', unless it's in print it's not in, print, and facebook events are 'subject to change' but most normal people can track this on a smart phone. Not me with my 2002 Nokia. Shit, I scolded, storming back down the high street toward the bus stop I ran from, picturing the piles of old Guardian Guides on the kitchen table, willing traps for getting the wrong week. I walked a mile before I realised I'd been at the wrong place. A venue prefixed with a The seems to be boxed off into one giant venue of The Definite Article, non-important non-places, aka The Place To Be. Shit! I scolded again. It's not the gin and lychee I just drank, it's foolishness.

Once at The correct venue, I pleaded stupidity to save 5 quid. I'm not proud, in the face of a twenty-two year old girl with clip board and parody John Waters mustache. She wafted the clip board at me, I saw the line up. The band weren't on it. I felt STUPID. I topped up my Oyster and bought a street Pimms. Something made me double check my error; were this band not on tonight? I asked, they canceled, she deadpanned. Triple reasons for failure but I was glad to not just be an idiot. I added baklava to my Pimms and got the bus to find some dancing.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

A Change

Since booking the course I have rested so insanely easy with myself that I'm scared for the time when I am no longer bathed in this contentment. If I hadn't heard of the Three Marriages I might in fact myself be alluding to the three marriages; work, relationships and the self, and how when in supreme balance you just feel so, light. Add no carbs and we're talking lite light. My 30s dress and this nail varnish and that book on the ratten chair next to the blooming tomatoes so perfect I just think it could all end at this moment and I'd die quite happy. I got my new license in the post this week and counted how many more dire photos until death; it didn't feel heavy but plain.

I've been floating all week. After watching an old coffee crush read in a new context on Monday, I just thought, that's it, this chasm between me and them, this ugly hero-worship that I'm slopping about in, this me being in the performers area as an admin and you being in the performers area as a talented truth, well it's got to stop. No more. After the reading I treated myself to solo Vietnamese (on a Monday!) and looked up the courses she mentioned. I checked my Croatia-bound week in August, and 'one possible female shared space, please call Dan' plus a tutor I am inspired by, made my heart rush. I want this, I thought. I think I really want this. It doesn't feel like a excuse or a trend following or a peer pressure or a trial or a suffering, but it feels like a chance. I have a chance to close this gap between where I am and where I want to be, and if it doesn't work, then not only have I tried but I will gladly go back to the day job because it's actually brilliant. I have a brilliant day job thanks and you'd want it.

I've been blaming the day job for my disquiet (yet another book I half-started...) for some weeks now, probably as it's the only thing I've had within grasp. The self was medicated with yoga but didn't yoke so much as curdle, the bliss coating the hard ground and running off the sides wastefully in the light of day. Relationships were dealt with trepidatiously. Not that 'a pull' (as she so lovingly put it) is the epitome and sole goal of 'relationships', but it's felt like it. So this week I started to Talk To Boys. Find ways to talk and engage and a reason to speak. In the tent at 1.30am it was a self-rhetorical question, is this band running over? Because I'd like to talk to you about my knowledge of the following band, and perhaps you will find me not only scintillating but cute, as I coincidentally find you on my better side.

I talked to the coffee crush author the day after, I need a reason I need a reason, I panted as he crowd-weaved, I made one up, another self-rhetoric which worked, despite not delivering a phone number or card swap. That was his girlfiend or his agent, I didn't know. The next day at dancing I pursued an old crush by way of his 'Virgina is for lovers' t-shirt. I was really pushing my luck and didn't work our if he had got married since I last saw him, or whether the ex-lover he went to Virginia with was also his ex-fiance. He withheld the vitals but did set me up a double-handed high-five that I wasn't quite cool enough to reciprocate. Yesterday I eyed up a gay boy before I knew he was, and another courier crush clocked me as he ran a bus lane on red and mistook my 'whoa that was close' for a, 'whoa you are hot'. It was funny. As it should be. I lay in bed last Friday asking for a change, and it came. I'm both watching it happen and not standing in its way.

*self-rhetoric is not the right word but I can't think what is. A question asked with a known answer as a conversational device*

Sunday, 17 July 2011


I lay in bed on Friday night, and called for a change. Out loud, I spoke to myself that change would happen, a new skin would form, a truer idea of the world with new inspirations and less old crap to drag around. I've been bored with myself for a while. It dangles it's legs on the council estate wall, bashing calves against bricks with pointing-sharp edges scraping skin. I'm bored. I'm hanging round waiting for something to happen. I called for a change and closed my eyes.

On the bus down from dropping off the car I saw streets in fresh lights, angles from anew, paths from another perspective. I made readjusted maps of the area in my head and cheered internally from the sight of the lights of the Rio, some pokey Dan Flavins above the rooftops. I'm here in that same old, but I'm seeing in different new. All it takes is a bit of country air, some truths, some laughs, some inspiration to help me ignite mine. I was banging on about humour not working in a vacuum. Neither do ideas or happiness. No man is an island. Senses are only made by reiterations and swaps and shares and generosities and illuminations and sparks. You can't make them happen. They are the ether.

I watched him surrounded by three girls on Friday; a sparkly jacket, a luscious head of hair, a familiar warm embrace. I watched like a fanatic, covertly in the room full of louche festival-goers. My jealousy questioned itself. I felt so far away from them, my context here paid and not born. It displeased me and I wasn't comfortable. I laughed at several versions of 'comedy' under other guises, and felt disatisfied that my way is not always actually that funny, and for this I was obviously doomed. I walked back to the tent chattering invisibly about my talentless, senseless existence. It didn't plague me, it was, just displeasing.

When the work bit finished I enjoyed watching several things that did please me, a mix that would usually happen over two weeks doing so between 10pm and 3am. I was reminded of that thing he said about the good stuff being inspirational, the so-so stuff just being frustratingly wasteful and confusing morally. I talked to strangers and enjoyed a new freedom. I chose a stranger who looked cute. I told him I was waiting for my bad patch to move along and that it hadn't happened yet, but it was probably happening at that precise moment. Free-flowing freedom is what drives me, potentials warming gently, the universe delivering.

It involves some effort. It involves stepping out of the habitual way things are set, recognising that this set is just one way, not the way. Her words made me want to be faithful to the sage again, to trust in something other than my weak ego. He asked me if I was available to work in coffee, it looped back to my 'finding value' in that time. Sometimes you just have to step into what you've got with the aid of a higher power. Offer a warmth to life and see if it mirrors. There has been a change I'm sure.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

A scam?

Her face is still burning into me, like the face from the horror movie poster by the Basak Supermarket (which incidently came into my dream last night, along with carbohydrate-based meals). It's been over an hour and a half and I'm stuck in a groove of weighing up whether I should trust her, whether she's a hugely talented faker, whether twenty five quid is a worthy price for being made into a fool, Googling her pieces for some sort of lead to the truth. I think truth is the one thing I aim for, and open ends keep me dangerously hanging, brain whirring, a torture continuum.

I gave a stranger twenty five quid like it was £2. After saying just two days ago that I hate charity, never having given a penny to a homeless person and never warming to leaflet pleas, there I was on the way home from the car boot, head in bargain cookbooks, when an honesty pulled at my arm. I connected with it's real desperation, wherever it came from, and sat her on the wall by Tesco. A broken-looking thing, all bruises and swollen ankles, mashed in nail varnish and smudged eyeshadow, she jarred on the sunny Sunday street. She told (stories) as I listened and conferred with myself, wading in my views which were far from straight-up.

Perhaps I went out to spend some money this morning, and the car boot didn't provide objects. Perhaps I bought a person today, like the adopted-granddaughter my nan has in Africa, who's handwritten letters are likely scrawled by a left-handed scammer. Whatever. It teaches me a separate lesson, that even after an activity has passed, I must continue to process it and run in through until ultimate truths are reached. What I need to do is sacrifice the search, and all the effort it takes. Sometimes truth doesn't deliver.

I just followed a piece to Homerton Hospital admissions department, her maybe-I-didn't-quite-catch-it name wasn't on the discharged list. Maybe she was an excellent fake. Maybe she took the notes back to her mates in Maccy's and got full breakfasts all round. She definitely needed it. Maybe true fakes are the most true of all. I wasn't pressured into giving her money, in the moment, on the wall there. My cynic sat back for once, as I saw us the same. I don't care if I got robbed of one purple and one blue. I don't, really. It makes my cookbooks non-bargains if anything, or covers the ballet-lindy-ballet I didn't do this week because of my shoulder. But the truth, hanging, hurts. And which column does it fit in my accounts?

Saturday, 2 July 2011

The Sneeze

This might be a little ridiculous, but I felt there was, really, some sort of, block. For just over two weeks, I've felt angry, pent-up, wrong, wound, bound, bored, blocked. I've been living for the weekends, realing (sic) in the weeks, I am this now? I'm blocked, bored, bound wound wrong. I don't know why! I'm making up little excuses in my head, seeing outside of the situation at suitable points to 'tell myself,(pause), it's OK (capital letters)', but I feel like all I need is a good shake. Put me in a bin bag and raffle me off. What sentiment.

Well it turns out, all I needed was a good sneeze. I just sneezed, cheered, kicked shoes off / folded legs up, signed out of Google and into Mac, here I am. I sneezed and I just felt free. I really did. It surprised me, it came up without my noticing, atop a belly churning avocado feta egg breakfast with nettle, and there is was. It was a sneeze. And it felt like the most freeing thing in the world.

To contextualise, I haven't been able to sneeze since Tuesday 21 June. Every time I've welled up for perfection, something has reeled me in; refrained; tightened; refused. I've sat there underwhelmed, disappointed, angry, pent-up, wrong,wound,bound,etc,etc. Carried on with my day, but ever so slightly more, tense. Tension in the arms, the sneeze moved down perhaps. Why shouldn't the body sympathise with itself? As a massage moves a knot outwards and away, the sneeze seemed to hide in the wrists. The hands are where the words come out. The words are where the work happens.

I am communicating daily. I speak barely a word. I am best wishes and hopefully's and my apologies and looking forward to's. Still words are happening. I told her I would start again tonight, two days ago. To begin, begin, he said. Don't be scared of the unknown it said, dull the ego and align. Everything takes practice, from making the perfect cup of tea, puffing the perfect pillow, to writing things both substantial and (not). I am not practicing, hence I am not improving nor trying to improve. Making one's own blocks seems foolish. If I should need an ego-driven result, I'll think of the excitation of having something to say when I next see them, placing myself contemporarily.

Saturday, 16 April 2011


There's a story in everything, you just have to be looking for it. The birds are always in the trees, but you only hear them call when you're listening out for it. There's an awareness to be taken in everything, if you let yourself feel it in your own hands. Smells are particularly overwhelming when ill, nearly choked in the chemical products section of the discount store. Funny how taste is absent. Salt is good.

I made it out of the house for the first time proper in five days. I managed to buy a paper and ingredients without exhausting myself too much. Economics student, she asked, it took me a while to realise she nodded at my pink paper. I just like the magazines, I told her half heartedly. Walking past F Cooke's I wondered is now the time? It was, I double backed by the community garden and sloped in, unsure how I'd be received with the FT and these glasses. It was fine. A girl in late teens slopped me out a small pie (meat flavour) and mash, with liquor, yes. What it was exactly I'm not sure, a kind of watery parsley sauce. Extra salt and it was amazing.

The girl chatted about some guys passing on the street, kids she'd grown up with, look who has a job, she prided herself. They dipped into the door and I admired her power. She was sure as hell breaking the Personality at Work Act, swearing away as she swept sawdust, why sawdust, you know it's the third time someone's asked that today. Sorry I said, no don't be, I should know why it's there but I don't. She sings exact lyrics to bad r'n'b, and I kind of enjoyed it. She was one of my longest conversations all week. The first was was my parents, oddly.

I love Hoxton Street. Even if there are six police hanging out south waiting for something to come up. Even if I do feel awkward that my hair is this flowing and straight without relaxer. Despite existing in the very throes of a certain middle, I know where I'm from, I know about working. Pie and mash for half the price of posh corned beef in town, ready meals and digestives in place of homemade lasagnes and organic puddings, a whole week of iPlayer and Streetmate re-runs instead of activities I usually call culture. They're all the same really. This bout has loosened me up a little.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Slipped context

Amazing how quickly your context falls out when you get ill. You don't have to be anywhere, don't have to see anyone, so I'm going nowhere and not seen a friend for days. Is that a ready meal, she accused, and was right to, and yes there are chocolate digestives in the orange-lipped jar, and yes I did have two types of 'sauce' on my roast potatoes last night. Blurry contexts indeed. I walked past the reformed meat and Italian packages, these things still didn't break sense, but the chicken dopiaza just called out from amongst the panoply of Express atrocities.

Not normally would I eat crumpets and biscuits for lunch, and something which came from a factory and tasted rather sugary for a curry supposedly 2-chili-rated for dinner, though I did make pilau from scratch. Not normally would I watch Candy Cabs, Birds Britannica, A History of Celtic Britain, The Crimson Petal and the White, Railway Walks, Masterchef and two episodes of Eastenders. Not normally would I feel best for not leaving the house (through the front door) for two days. Not normally would I not brush my teeth or wash my face. Some things just make more sense when you're struggling to forget your body. Distraction techniques. Bad food, bad television, bad grooming. I don't need to condition my existence. I feel like shit hence I'm alive.

Strangely these are some of the things which make less sense when trying to be mindful. I spent the class on Tuesday, wishing I could leave my body, un-notice aches in wrists(!) and other parts which are normally self-governing. It felt like a taste of being old, clearing away chairs and almost needing a sleep directly. The other people there, and I'm generalising here, are high speed achievers, who just need to chill out. How nice it is to stretch, thought one, how nice it is to, think one thing at a time, another. It seemed we didn't have the same angle. I'm merging my body and mind several times a day several activities a week, and my problem is a one track mind, eating it's own possibilities quicker than I'm getting down these digestives.

The busy rushing world in which those city people are rapt, the calls of work and tasks and hobbies and people, buffers of our being, take them all away and one makes less sense. We can't talk about my lipstick, your sandwich, that record player, this event. Take it all away and you're left with your self. The same self you find shooting warrior arms diagonally adjacent over plane trail on a path in Kent, reciting poetry in a field, lying on an incline basking as nothing else matters but now. The same self now coughs up yellow and cries old lover indulgences, a lonesome example of what results when you take the extras away. This touching base with the body results in a certain elation on wellness. It would just be nice to not have to resort to ready meals.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Let problems evolve pt 2

What a month. You'll never know. It was a blur. All the time I was totally conscious of following a higher truth, watching my ego tussle with the sage, forgetting I was real and wallowing in some dark place. Trying to find value in Those Years. Options suddenly overwhelmed. Nigel said change takes time and things are sticky whilst it's happening. I'm seeing a Graham Greene quote behind my eyelids: When we are unsure, we are alive. Another one, it's OK to not have it all figured out yet, as long as you're still figuring...

There's been no middle ground this month. There's been utter despair, confusion and fright, memory lapses, skin freaks. There's been fresh freedom over rolling hills and blue skies, big boots, no make up and an air of renewing. I consulted the sage three times. The first time took me to external help, totally placed right. The second told me of shocks, there were indeed shocks, a loosening of the self, I got lost for a couple of days. It was quite scary. I took a train and ten miles. The third and current told of my quiet revolution. It's changing, just look ahead and upwards, carry on, on, let the world reform around you. What could be more comforting that that? Let problems evolve, I kept thinking.

It's changing. Not You. You is a new kind of bundle, an untied thing, not a bunch. A handful of slightly disparate parts, hanging together, wafting through an expanse of time. I watched his talk glad of it's timing; I'm loose in my being, you're not only corroborating my crazy, you're actually making it into science. I asked Science next day at work. Science indeed understood. You isn't concrete. Result isn't singular. It's a rolling collection of maybes maynots fun fear and all the rest. Not this or that. This. Or. That. But things. Let problems evolve, I said. You're not dying, it should be fun.

So I quit my job. I was unemployed for twenty one hours. For some reason I had to sleep on each stage of this decision. Job offer, sleep, quit Monmouth, sleep, accept job, sleep. I woke up again satisfied and fine. Today brought old niggles I've no longer the authority to talk down, I just watched them. I sat in the cafe, unsure, made my alternative deal to which came a happy all round result. Three heavy potentials came to one offer, one refusal, one possibility. The problems seemed to tie themselves up. I will go and browse the determinism book tomorrow. Science carried my left through and the sage twirled the right. There's no longer just one way only the way.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

My new unconscious

He constellated my matters, placing wine glasses in triadic opposition. Now move the person and issue to where you want them, he toyed, chin in hand I'm sure, and I didn't fully confide but moved the issue closer and the person well away. You need to find a place in your heart for this person, he corroborated. I was annoyed. Not banish him and laugh at his greyness? Anyway I was instantly addicted to the playfulness of it.

I don't rate Freud, I said, there in Freud's dining room, recalling Matthew Brannon's recommended book. I just don't think I have an unconscious, I don't think problems and their friendly solutions are just hanging out in there waiting to be discovered and applied. I wondered if he was the first person to talk of such solutions, or perhaps the first one to make news with it. I discovered later in the week that Patanjali was onto a similar thing in 200BC. There's a reason for the adjective Freudian and the non-adjective of Patanjalian. And the size of that house in Hampstead.

What repression is it to say 'I have no unconscious'? Just because I can arrange (quite clumsily) my problems in the conscious realm, doesn't mean that's all there is. Imagine if this was all there was? Not even This, as This in itself is an act of drawing from said unconscious. Would I be writing these words without a keyboard or pen? Would I hell. I'd not be talking to myself out loud either. I'd probably just be prancing round the kitchen to something tacky on Smooth FM waiting for my egg to poach.

To bite me back, perhaps the spirit of the doctor remained you know where, but I spent the rest of the week dreaming. Two plane crashes, some dying grandparents and some licentious affairs. And day-dreaming about Liverpool, ruining a couple of jugs of milk. On Liverpool! I thought you were supposed to push things away by trying to remember them, like that phone number or spot you holidayed at in 1987. Or perhaps it's that don't-think-of-a-polar-bear-and-it's-all-you-can-think? Or maybe it's just a strain of that Conscious Conversation?

There is some dichotomy here between the idea of mindfulness and said conversation. I see the former as a Westernised, pay-per-view version of the latter. You're almost doing it, but you're doing it by rote and a handy CD rather than being it. I don't want to be one of those People Who Write Lists and Still Get Fuck All Done. But if you don't make a list somewhere, physically, mentally, consciously, unconsciously, how do we know where we're going?

A while back I was quite concerned with my writing being mere catharsis, sitting back next to my eustachian tubes (damn things on my mind), waiting for keys and ink to help it out. What was this prophetic fallacy, something both hallowed and limited to me having an arbitrary hour late on weeknight to release? There's really no mystery. Whilst believing in Now, Being, all that, we must believe too in the now we don't yet know, brewing back up in some dark magical place we can't yet fathom. My new unconscious sits back there like a chicken oyster and I bathe it in best wishes.

Sunday, 13 February 2011


We were boiling down my etymology. I poured out my lavender scented tea and missed my reflection in the mirror, smoothing jam onto doughy chunks. Her coffee split onto the saucer, she doesn't drink milk normally and this croissant wasn't good. The air was fresh and I was late, the sun dried my tetchiness. She questioned and landed on class. I told her how it wasn't cool to be clever, so I never tried any more than my straight-A default. I wanted to fit in, but from a late early age I attempted a curve at different. I didn't tell her this. I spent the day trying to pinpoint my causality.

Later in the week, his friend recommended her psychologist mum's book for the shop. They'd always talk about Life around the kitchen table, she reflected warmly, my discontent glowered slightly. They used to tell me to stop thinking, I blurted. Really? They used to tell me, you think too much, I corrected. An interesting slip, I thought. I dunked tea bag with finger tips and thought about this. I thought about this more throughout the day. I was congratulated on scholarly successes, encouraged outside them, but there was always this dark place named Too Much. What would there be if there wasn't life? If it was too much aged eight then what about now?

Today he mentioned the limbic system, again, nodding confirmation to his wife who mentioned it last. He attributed the early years to our later expulsions, how his affection for kinky sex was down to something (unsaid) in his childhood. Headscarves, rollers, who knows what, I don't care to imagine what. It made good sense, being able to call myself the almost absolute opposite of kinky, no, not even finding a bit o kink in near-celibacy. Him up there, getting off on his PVC dress with protruding pierced breasts that I'm now tempted to Google but know I don't want to go those net nethers he mention.

A purely happy upbringing as mine has nothing to process, no excretion to be made. In it's own context, my childhood was extremely rosy; attention, encouragement, time, love. All the good stuff. Still, she dug deeper. There has to be something, she pushed, can you think of anything. I spent the week thinking. Freud stroked my chin. I'm tempted to call her to tell her about the cessation of thinking, but there's no need as next remedy's destiny has been laid. Graphites 6c chimes nicely with my going to her fancy dress party as a Staedtler 2b pencil.

Sunday, 6 February 2011


I dont have a lot of faith in the world as it is at the moment, so something as small ish as a personal theft throws me like a lifestage breakdown. I fell against the churchyard railings, crumpled under stinging eyes and disbeleif, crying wildly like May 2009 on the kitchen floor. Passersby passed by and I realised how we don't really care about each other. Was it instinctive to feel this bad about being robbed of what was mine, or was it more instinctive in fact to hunt and procure goods to further oneself. In short, was I the more intelligent one here, or were they?

I walked out of Waitrose pretty smug, with a bag full of bargains. Then, a moment of incredulity where, is this real, am I in a film, am I outside Waitrose, am I in a dream, am I in my life, are my eyes broken, there's a bit missing from my bike? Silver Thomson 27.2 by 330 (swoon) seatpost and an inherited Brooks Honey Team Pro S Saddle. Did I leave them in the supermarket next to the deli counter with the friendly boy with a lisp, no he doesn't have a freezer full of meat because they're not allowed to buy anything before the end of the day! No. I didn't take it off. I popped in for some Seville oranges and popped out with discounted meat minus £180 worth of parts.

Shit? Fuck? What the fuck? God (heavy on the 'oh')? An unfamiliar exclamation. I noticed the Big Issue seller, noticed his collection of spent d-locks, felt suspicisous towards him, having seen his Search For the Forgotten Pound amonsgt the trolleys fifteen minutes earlier. Had I not given my last pound to Street Smart in Giant Robot, I would've given it to him, I'd thought. Perhaps then he would've 'kept an eye on' my transport. I never give to charity, and apparently today I gave to totally the wrong charity, double misplaced philanthropy. Damn Steven Fry.

I calmly asked Big Issue if he saw anything, spied his teeth, we conversed but I wasn't there, he hadn't seen. I needed humanity, compassion, generosity, that list. A guy with stripes and a St John bag unlocked his bike, it looked worthy of a survey, how long was yours here, I asked, playing petty detective. He was warm but I wasted time. A security guard took my enquiry as a woman on her way out confessed to seeing two guys with my goods walking That Way five minutes ago. A Hunt. I hoiked the heavy meat into my back, damning its misbalance, clipped in and tried not to topple backwards. Two rib steaks, two plaice fillets, oranges, apples and a whole duck (with giblets). Fucking meat. No longer winnings but a weighty reminder of loss.

Now, fixed, no saddle, plus meat, on ballet calves, and slight mania, equals difficult. I talked myself down as I found left foot, don't sit down, he'd said, don't sit down, I thought. I headed That Way. Then it turned into two. I took one and felt my chances halve. I shouted at strangers, amazed by my own power. Those days you really melt into a crowd? It's because you want to. The day you want to be heard they're listening before you've realised you're talking. I scanned bodies, those in twos, chose small roads, not the City, why would you go to the City if you had to steal? I got off at the graveyard, passed couples and a man, a woman with a dog. Jarred bars into bars and collapsed next to stones.

Serves me right for being a greedy middle class fucker who wants two batches of homemade organic thick cut marmalade, right? If only the woman hadn't wrestled her child into my way en route to the citrus section, perhaps I hadn't seen the half price birds? If I hadn't fondled the light, dry fruit, old objects dying in the crate, the last of the crop, wondering if I could get results from substandard ingredients (they're so fucking light! There can't be any juice in there!) If only I hadn't asked deli boy for the smaller piece of plaice, I like the light skin, not orange speckled, is it one half of the same fish? If only I'd have missed the 26day matured rib steaks, re-queued up for them behind a guy wanting 3 ribs that had to be chopped from a rack. Had I not checked the back of the chocolate packets for percentages and impurities, calculating their grams per pound, speculated on my strength for abstention when there's 400g of temptation in my baking cupboard.

I trekked my calves to Brick Lane on a fruitless mission. The carbon copies riled my anger, though it felt good to have a plain emotion for once, this equals that, rather than a boring story of why I'm this or why I'm that. You take my shit and I'm really upset actually. It's the way we get through days, making automatic decisions based on past evidences. If I do this, I'm safe, if I do that, I'm in danger. Growing up we build our morals and beliefs around us like chicken wire cages of papier mache, delicate structures we put in place to make our sense. Things once complicated become learned, and we nurture our basis of what is Good and True. My day was beautiful thus far. Why does it so often turn?

Moral implications aside, and despite involving the police, more to honor the existential role of the Waitrose security staff than anything, what makes the tears come is the attachment. Some things age and develop a patina of love, become a metaphor for time, merging with us to the point where (I am you, You are me etc etc). Money is merely figures, but miles of saddle time grow a personal history with which we exchange and merge. It's like your house being robbed, I told him, only not so bad obviously. A bike is a strange beast. If you really love it, really love it, it sits somewhere between family heirloom and blood relative. You hurt my bike, well I'd rather take a wound where red literally comes. It's like that.

I've slept on it. I'm not happy about the botched replacement, or troubling Islington police with a trifle occurrence (a hundred pounds, for a saddle, yes, sir). It doesn't 'serve me right', I'm not accepting your heartless attempt at empathy with a mirrored experience, I shalln't adjust my moral graph in totality. The images of the lost goods are burned on my brain, glowing stronger almost than their literalness. The Platonic ideal lifts them to a place they never quite touched in reality, where, after the shine wore off, these bits of machinery had become quite invisible. The replacement B17 S will be here by Friday. It's black with black rails and is going to look pretty cool, probably better. I wont replace the post, the frivolity is through. Three years is a good innings, and change is always best.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Hot chocolate at The Wolseley

On paper, today was a triumph. A morning of volunteering followed by Monday's glistening chicken (leeks) stew and some granny bread and butter. A quick blow dry and a late hop to the bus, for Blue Valentine at a Parisian-feeling basement screening. An indulgent friend's shoulder over a hot chocolate (Gourmand) at The Wolseley. A quick eyeshadow purchase in Selfridges on a stop-off enroute to dancing. A shotgun 73 seat with Lydia Davies. On paper, pretty amazing. As a glance into someone else's window of life, like the snippets you get on N1 streets into lush impossible basements of advertisement perfection, pretty envy-inducing self-indulgent loveliness. In reality, a bit of a jarring ran through it.

I lay in and threw on clothes below a messy head that I'm starting to grow into, just. A uncomfortable job at monster glove hands, an unsure partenership on a table of lovely children. A realisation that when she found my notebook, she probably read the blurb of me bitching about her (not that I've had stomach enough to retrace this bile past the first sentence), to recognise it as mine (fuck). I ate nearly half a local loaf, the butter, the marmalade, making it unstoppable. I washed my hair and put on my now-mono look, the red lipstick singing to my fringed eyes like a habit I don't want to become addicted to. Date, he asked, of course not, I derided. I left late, wondering why when I'm paid I make it but when I'm free I'm loose.

All became fine once she embraced me and I watched a film which showed some beautiful despair. She listened to my over-processed thoughts and indulged my dilemmas. I fell dangerously in love, mixing silver carafes of molten chocolate and hot milk in a tall glass, overhearing international conversations from people who lived this normality. I swanned to the toilet, sorry bathroom it's called here, spying on cake towers and cute waiters, smiling to myself, proud to be allowed and somehow look right here. I checked my phone, I found your painting behind the freezer, it's lovely, she said. I glowed.

London called and I prowled the rich ways, Piccadilly, Bond Street, Marylebone. I danced seriously, selecting my shots, picking partners by way of an absurd solipsism. It was hot. He wasn't there. Dharma pinned me back and I hardly needed it anyway. The day was closing. I played with my hair in the toilets and decided it was time. Returning to the hall, there he was. He asked me to dance, my lipstick faded and hair mussed, I was unready. His moved jarred, we didn't fit, my hair felt stiff and my lips dry. What to say, I thought, not too hard. I'm so excited about this band, he spoke for me, I just booked them for my wedding. A glee washed over me that bought our counts together. I didn't care. I longed for this freedom, but wondered if I am ultimately only looking for the opposite of a positive outcome. I took air and toasted the sky.

Today was ok. I've been worried about my right brain, logicalising it's glueyness, trying to work through it's inaction. Trying being the word. Trying not allowing. He left me asking if I was a Creative Type the other day, and this had been troubling me somewhat. Where's my frigging evidence, I started asking myself, the person doing a million things but having most trouble with the main event. Sometimes the version on paper doesn't tell the most exciting or true story. Either way The Wolesley broke me. A dangerous love affair began, on the reserve bench for dark days, an eat-in Tiffany's.

Monday, 31 January 2011

Stilling the ego

Despite being conscious of my desire to fall on an off-day, despite treading lightly through the vagrancies and maybes and itches, within a few hours there I was falling. Again. Though this time I was somehow a spectatator, chiming with what he said about the concept of allocentricism, the ability to empathise not just with others, but with your Self. I got in the shower and said no, even though it knocked. I put on moisturiser and felt dramatically sorry for myself, checking I was just this side of beautiful though watery eyes. I felt pressured and heavy to perform, an old problem with which I am both held up and bored.

I ate some of last night's stewed red cabbage, with chicken bits dipped into mayonnaise, and memories of warm holidays nineteen ninety eight. A colour came from the food, a reality. Still the ego and start a conscious conversation with the Sage, it said. I liked that bit. Why be so hard on yourself? Why must creativeness be put under historical pressure. Am I not Not Doing This Anymore? Despite the falling, aided by the watching, it shortened, with effort, to a little under four hours. I went to spy on the coal tits and their nest outside my window, learned their call, and felt a conversation begin.

I get overwhelmed. All the balancing that I do and am, when weak, becomes difficult to sustain. History and present and pleasure and reward and work and proper principles, all mixed up in bad quantities on a scale with a duff CR3032 battery. RESET. It won't reset. I'll just guess. I'll read the Review, I'll look at Vogue, I'll get lost looking up non-urgent shit on the internet. Hours will pass plus two breakfasts and no speech and I've inputted thoughts but not done any action. I'm in bed at half twelve because no-one needs me today. Today? And whence starts the next problem...

I liked what she said about not 'being' your feelings. Like on tired days at Monmouth I am almost living the memory of 2009. Like cleaning the bins on my first day back, the desire to fall tapped on my shoulder and I tried to shrug it off but instead it fell rattling into the steel receptacle, in turn making more non-intelligent work. I had spent weeks cultivating the proper principle, awakening the right brain, and here I was being paid to pretend I am all left. Every way has a right but only in the realm of the logical left. Remember that thing I said about we're only brains, she told me, well that really disturbed me. It did me too.

I'm picturing pine cone pineal glands. I'm picturing duvet-cover-dharma-corners. Snap. Come on, you know where you should be. But when I'm even logicalising this act of 'imagination', am I still pretty far away from it? I watched the kids relish in ridiculous plots and wished I could. I watched the puppeteer in anthropomorphic glee and countered my jealously with inspiration. I sifted through the aphorism posters with a too-close jarring. I'm not feeling creative at the moment, I told her. And at least I know this, and am boiling down the episodic spinning. All that's left is to start that conscious conversation.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Proper principles

My stomach still flipped. It was totally annoying actually, perpetrating this sea of calm that I seem to be floating on without any effort. My insides turned inside, like the sneeze-diaphragm-flip. Butterflies. It's almost like a sneeze that didn't happen and then turns into fizz and you get that incredible frustration with the way things should be. You get a grump on as you missed a sneeze just because you were serving a customer. I almost forgot about the Customer today, almost rising to his rile with some retort that would've been so so dangerous. It's funny how I'm paid to annul my humanness, my instincts for what is good and true.

He didn't want to share the eponymous table eight even though there was only four of them on there. He shifted uneasy, pretending to budge but not actually moving at all. Diffuse the situation I thought, but you're a cunt, I also thought, and you're fucking rude, and I'm a person here actually you fucking bastard, you think you have any right over me just because you're having a 'meeting' with a foolscap pad and I'm wearing an apron. But I didn't say any of these things I just moved away and went back to filters because I was as close to thinking as saying these things, a kind of triad of constraint where I could too easily have taken the other plane.

It fizzed down into me and bedded down. I had to internalise the problem because I was getting paid to ssh my humanness. Spend all this time adhering to proper principle, and then have to sit on it because the time so isn't right. My stomach flipped when he came in. I watched him meander along the counter, wishes to all, then he came to the front and before I realised I'd been ignored. My crest had well and truly fallen. Most disappointing. I found myself clawing onto the proper principles, unable to decode which one was the answer to this here question. Compassion remedies Judgment; Attachment requires Generosity. This time is was Resistance. I Let Go. It was two hours later, but as soon as I let go, told her, she's going to help me, I felt fueled for the rest of the day.

Problems are like knots. Sometimes several layers are in play, like a knot out of cotton, knotted over with embroidery thread, bound in tapestry yarn. Each layer has it's own problem. Some things we can only act on the problem in hand, to reveal the further issues underneath. He's not a straight case. I don't interpret that rudeness direct. Told as a story, it doesn't bode well, but we are more complicated than that. I cried in the shower last Monday. My legs were aching like five years ago and it hurt as a memory and as a reality. From then on I got better. Sometimes you have to work backwards, because it's still working.