Tuesday, 26 February 2008


This is about the past, and how things were, written in the present:


Sometimes I think I do these things just so I have something funny to tell you guys in the morning," I giggle nervously, as I walk in to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee, wearing last night's clothes, to be greeted by raised eyebrows and slaps on the shoulders from my housemates.

Is that true? I ask myself. Is it all to the contribution of the great overriding project, the novel, the persona, the bohemian dream? Or is it just boredom, the boredom of liking the wrong one, the boredom of trying to fill the fucking void left by the wrong one, by the endless stream of laughing about it with my housemates when I get home in the morning.

Fuelled by jealousy and anger and a desire to be seen as full of a mysterious existential glamour, needing no one, needing nothing, so bruised already under the fresh cheeks and bright eyes as to click clack forward in my heeled pumps and take what I want to get my morning tale, delivered with yawns and black circles under my no longer quite so bright eyes, sipping on black coffee and sucking on a roll up. existentialist. glamour.

I see myself, not as I am. I see myself with a mouth slashed with red lipstick that doesn't slip off as the night wears on. I see heels pointed and sharp, pointed and sharp as I see my nails that I want to scratch down the backs that have slammed a door against me as I stand, not as I see myself, but as I am myself, crumpled, with one sock missing.

A dirty flow of karma moves me forward on this journey of clawing for the look, clawing for the aura. Hurt once, driven to hurt someone myself. Where does this leave you? Kicked out of bed one morning, sock missing, to slamming the door carelessly on the next one, in my heels, to being left to cry in my own bed by the wrong one, again. curled up against my cat, sobbing until he picks me up again and leaves me somewhere else, curled up, sobbing. where do you take revenge? on the willing and grateful mouths that take your lipstick off, play the revenge out on them. too scaredy cat to face the truth. to scaredy cat to avenge yourself on the ones who strum the hurt. too scaredy cat to fight them.

Modernity. the weight of it behind you in the mirror. clasp the bracelet to my arm and zip up the vintage dress - the vintage dress that makes me oh so modern and full of my modernity, in my confidence in adopting the past as part of the persona. bind the necklace through my neck and pull the hairbrush through my knotted hair, worn and torn from yesterday's pillows. modernity and its disposability.

I chuck away the razor that clears my legs and tut as I realise my 2 year old phone is going to need replacing any day now, now that the batery only lasts 6 hours. I look at the discarded tights on the floor and think they need chucking, before they ladder any further. it's so easy to throw things away! its fucking modernity. nothing lasts. we've got the weight of history on our shoulders, and what has it taught us? nothing lasts?

I let myself be taken home by the boy I know has had a crush on me. I kiss him in front of a friend I have a crush on, having the day before seen the wrong one with whom I'm in love kissing his ex girlfriend. I let myself be lowered on to the bed, giggling from the beer and from the absurdity of the theatre of it all. it's a French farce, it's a rhinoceros, and I want to laugh at the journey I have made to get here, until the boredom hits home again. the boredom of feeling someone crawling over me just so I can extract a revenge that won't even be recognised. even
my revenge is disposable.

does it matter, anyway? is it really hurting anyone? I think this as he kisses me, my brain telling my body what to do whilst it focuses herself on her musings. is it hurting anyone? I'm responsible for myself, and he seems to be enjoying himself. what does it matter. its disposable, its modernity. nothing lasts?

I get to the pub, wearing last night's clothes, circles under my eyes, ordering a pint. "Where were you last night?" laughs my housemate, mimicking concern.
I groan and take a sip of my pint. "Sometimes I think I just do these things so I have a funny story to tell you guys in the morning," I giggle, nervously. We sit in the sun, as more friends join us, I pose in my sunglasses and we remember times we have seen one another naked, a disposable nudity, now to be revealed to others, and it is hilarious and it is loving, because from there was born a beauty of this honest and frank love of friends. and as the sun beats down I think, what does it matter, anyway. it is a moment of beautiful revelation, as I recognise that right here is my happiness. here is my home.

When he calls I say I'm busy, when we see each other I flirt prettily, one eye on him, one eye on the friend, one thought with the wrong one and his ex. I stroll round a charity bookshop and buy a copy of Tess and in my summer dress and flip flops I feel happy, and I treasure the moments I have of this purity, taking as my own what was thrown away, a private revolution against the disposable.

where was it born, then? when yes stopped meaning yes. when no stopped meaning no. when everything in between got lost. the first awareness of being watched. the first waiting for the call that didn't come. the first stutter. the first secret. the first frightening obsession when you are cornered. how many times can you take that? how many times until you turn it into a funny story to be thrown away with last week's Heat and Guardian.

I wield the high heeled and red lip sticked power on another, exacting an unnoticed revenge and I feel so tired. my mind wanders to the charity bookshop, to the sunny exterior of the pub, as a clammy hand grips my breast and a wet tongue slides over my lips.

"What's the point anyway," a girl friend sighs to me, when she realises she has been left alone. "Is it just so you don't have to do things alone? But what is wrong with doing things alone?"
I sigh in recognition. I try and pinpoint romantic moments, sitting and walking in the park with the girl who later got obsessive and when once more, yes didn't mean yes. kissing behind the door with the wrong one and soaring over my own head as I realised with ecstasy that he didn't need the existentialist glamour, only to crash down again when I was curled up next to my cat. They're bodies and it is contact. what is important? Is it bodies? I remember all the happy moments, the sunny exterior of the pub, eating take away and play fights with my friends. All the city walks taken alone, with the loneliness a liberation as I saw sights I never expected and sipped cocktails I never tasted before, all done in solitude, all done with a sense of beautiful freedom. Were all the frightening nights an aid to destroy that space I cherished?

If modernity teaches us that nothing lasts, it also teaches us to cling tight so we aren't alone when the bomb comes. We aren't free from all the disposable things we buy.

Whilst I was busy wielding revenge, the friend I have a crush on at last nervously kisses my hand. from hand it isn't long until my legs are wrapped around him and we are lying, exhausted, on the bed. I wonder about our mutual friend who had a crush on me who I left breathless. I wonder if one will ever know about the other. I wonder if this story will be swapped between them, as I have just been.

this time, the heels are left behind. the bold and brave slash of lipstick across my mouth is a dirty smudge. it is all crumpled with one sock missing. a secret, he says. I should have expected. I knew what this was. I knew who was at home. But it leaves me confused. Who do I avenge this one on? I'm already half way through an avengment. My head is swimming! Has it gone too far?
what does it matter, anyway? he seemed to enjoy himself. I'm responsible for myself. its disposable. its modernity. but this one won't be funny story. this one will be avenged on some one else. the spectre of the wrong one with his ex hangs over me still.

I take myself out for lunch. I relish the solitude. I don't care if the waitress looks at me strangely. I would rather enjoy every mouthful of this salmon alone, then have to share it with someone with a big wallet that pays for it all. All. It is here that I am content, I realise. Here and on the sunny exterior of the pub. It doesn't need bodies.

Maybe it is all a colossal amount of self pity. When do we grow up? Hurt once, twice too many times and then, bam! I have to have revenge. But it isn't revenge, not really. It's carelessness.

Whose carelessness? Mine?

the watchers

It is only now, now that it is over, that I recognise the eyes that have followed me my life long day. from every angle, on every street, the watchers have followed me, until I was so used to their presence, that the performance became natural. what other way could there have been to behave.
It starts early, for us all. It starts with the first consciousness of self, with that, the arrival of the watchers. the first recognition in a pane of glass, the first hint of a reflection in a polished surface, the first time Eve saw her face in the pool in Eden, and the path for her was set. you start to watch. others start to watch. behind your eyes, staring back at you back to front, from the glass, the pool, the surface, gather the other eyes. you look back at them, you look past them. you block the eyes out of your consciousness, pretend they aren't looking. but you know they are there. from that first beginning
The watchers. they made me nervous, yet it was unconscious. so used I was to all their stares. I didn't realise or remember any other way. tightropes and precipices, were the only walkways open. so I learnt to walk them, until it was easy, the only way to walk. twirling on my toes, kicking out my heels behind me, putting my best foot forward. you absorb the eyes.
watched from every corner.
it is only now, now that it is over, that I recognise the eyes that have followed me my life long day. now that I have ended the performance. something has settled, in eyes that look back in to their double of mine with a frank honesty that breaks through the layers of watchers. play me songs on the stereo that I haven't heard, songs by girls who sound from the sixties and boys who sound from space, and my stomach settles. lift me down from the ropes and precipices and offer me an open stare that never watches.

Thursday, 21 February 2008


I'm just watching the Channel 4 news about Steve Wright being found guilty of the murder of the women in Ipswich.

A woman they interviewed said:

"Supporting prostitution is supporting violence and hatred of women. There is no place for it in a civilised society."

She was a former prostitute who left after being raped and beaten so badly she was in hospital and couldn't walk for days.

At the risk of sounding sanctimonious, i hope all those people who thought Billie Piper looked like she was having loads of fun in that TV show, and that prostitution is about consent, and not about sheer misogyny and power, feel sick with themselves.