Esther meets Bjork. Bjork melts Esther


"Before performing, Bjork will only eat 80s cassette tapes"

Last night, my parents treated us to tickets to see Bjork play in Manchester. Esther had jumped at the chance when it was offered a couple of weeks ago, but now it was the actual day and she was starting to panic.

“Maybe your parents won’t mind if I don’t come” she says hopefully while we get ready.

I refuse to even grunt my disapproval. She isn’t getting out of it that easy.

I realise I must be getting anxious too, because nothing I try on looks normal. How could I not have noticed that I am a pot-bellied pinhead with a whole wardrobe specially designed to accentuate these flaws?

I finally have to put on the least wrong outfit, and we set off; only for Esther to fall flat on her arse at the bottom of the road.

“Ow” she moans, holding her ankle, “maybe I can’t go now?”

After a brief moment of sympathy, I realise it’s a trap.

“You’ll be fine” I say.

The rest of the journey passes without too much moaning. Apart from me panicking about spending an hour on the train with nothing to read. Esther goes for a fag and re-appears with a Heat magazine.

‘The new one’s out tomorrow’ I thought, ‘this is old news’. But I just smiled and said thankyou.  A treat from Esther is a not to be sneered at.

We waited for half an hour in the sticky gloom of some warehouse in the backstreets of Manchester. The bar ran out of lager twice while I was waiting in the queue. Then came a big ‘oooh’ and 20 or so people took to the stage. Which one was she?

“Lots of Bjorks” someone muttered behind me. I pointed out a funny one with a giant ginger afro. After some shuffling about, it turned out that was her. She had a drawn on chinstrap too, and a glittery a-line dress that made her look like a space mermaid.

"Bjork's bro in a 'fro"

“I love you B”

said an overfamiliar bloke, and the crowd guffawed. She ignored it.

Bjork’s first song was called Thunderbolt. A big Faraday cage came down from the ceiling and massive lightning bolts shot across it to add hellish percussion to the music.

Esther clung onto my arm in fear.

“My dad would shit himself if he was here” she said.

Well my dad’s tougher than your dad- he was here and loving it! Bjork’s throng turned out to be a choir of Aryan beauties who wailed like it was the end of the world, and shuffled like an apocalyptic chaingang.

"Frying tonight!"

Up above, there was a circle of projection screens showing squids filling each other’s multiple orifices with multiple tentacles, mushrooms growing, dnas dangling and moons waxing and waning. The main theme seemed to be sex: things going in holes and things fusing and growing.It was like all the mating bits from nature documentaries segued together and set to volcano-pop.

After about 30 mins of this, I felt a feeble hand plucking at my t shirt.

“I’m too hot” moaned Esther looking like her petite frame had melted into a 2-dimensional placard of herself, “I have to go outside”.

Well, she had done well so far.

The rest of the concert (do people still say that anymore?) was good, but I couldn’t shake the worry that Esther had passed out in the heat or was quivering in the shadows as her social phobia took the reigns. Luckily, I found her outside, smiling and having blown herself back up again to 3D.

A fun day out was had by all.

This ain’t music, it’s war!


Friendships used to be made or broke on which band you liked.
While everyone was busy getting into grunge (Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden but NOT Guns N Roses- I was ridiculed for showing an interest in Spaghetti Junction), I had somehow wandered up the wrong musical cul-de-sac and was listening to Top 10 Hits of the 60s and ABBA.

Weirdly enough, i managed to find someone else as prematurely aged as me, and me and Rufus used to lock ourselves away in his parent’s living room and watch ABBA Gold Video Hits on repeat. Surprisingly, we never touched each other while tapping our feet to Chiquitita. ABBA ought to be the soundtrack to everyone’s bi-curious phase.

Later. Rufus got into Queen and forced me to listen to tape after tape of them while we had a sleepover. Their proggy histrionics made me feel sick. I hated them, and knew at that point that our friendship was doomed. A few months later, he moved to Gloucestershire to live with the other exiled Queen fans.

An equally divisive moment was the epoch-making, y-front moistening thrill of BRITPOP NOW, BBC’s showcase of all the best New Wave of New Wave bands. Something was finally happening! I went to school the next day and felt like I had found my style tribe.

“Did you see Britpop Now??” I asked sweatily

“It was shit” said Robert, my sometime friend.

“But what about Elastica? And PJ Harvey? They were amazing!”

“They looked like MEN” he said, with disgust. Something about them had made him recoil in horror. That same something was coursing through my veins like the sexiest kind of death.

He was outta my life after that. A few years ater, I saw him working in the local leisure centre. He was a frickin’ steroid muscle mary, and I knew I had made the right choice.

I knew I was headed somewhere dark, and angsty and uncomfortable but I’d rather go there than sport-science land where insensitive dullards are trained to make successes of their lives by renouncing the extremes of anxiety and euphoria. As Polly says, “hell ain’t half full, take me with you…”

What a positive parable, you may be thinking. So, if you stick to your guns, you can always find freaks like yourself without having to compromise. Well, actually, now I hang round with a load of people who know nothing of my dark camp past and my love of the worst of pop- they only get to see the so-bad-it’s-good stuff that I am allowed to like. If they knew the full horrors on those Hits of the 60s tapes, I would be instantly cast out of hipsterland into the gutter of un-ironic bad taste. But I shall sing this song quietly to myself and shuffle off into the night…

Bye bye fans! It was lovely knowing you.

Enoch Powell, genial host of X Factor


Existentialists are getting younger these days. Last week, I overheard a little girl skipping along in the park next to her dad:
Little girl: “Sometimes I think I want to kill myself”
The Dad remains quiet.

I love laughing at clueless old people. They make it so easy. I’m sure they have a chuckle about clueless young fools like me too.

My Grandad, watching X Factor: “That Enoch Powell is a bit hard on the kids!”

Yes Grandad, Simon Cowell is making them all sing a musical version of ‘Rivers of Blood’ next week.

"Next!"

Am I the only man (man? ha!) to have a phobia of eating bananas in public? How on earth do you stop it looking like you love cock? Normally, I like playing around with the idea that I’m gay. Especially when it makes Esther mad. But I want to be a sex object when I want to be, not inadvertantly and for someone else’s pleasure. It must be wank being a woman (so to speak). How do you ever escape from the eyes looking staring, winking, probing?

Anyway, back to bananas:

For a start, you have to unpeel the fucker like a giant yellow foreskin.

Then how to start eating? Do you go for the tip, or snap it off to make any watching pervs wince? Some of the giant genetically modified ones look like porn cocks, absurd in girth and length. They make me feel really inadequate. Everyone’s got it in for someone. In these instances, I’ve got it in for the fruit. I want to demolish it to teach it a lesson. The only thing size does is make you first for the chop.

"Circumcised"

Freud said “everything longer than it is wide is phallic”. But then he was a man. And men apparently can’t get over sex. Rumpy pumpy, hows your father, beast with two backs, slap and tickle.

Yesterday I went round the Manchester Met Fine Art degree show.It was all so-so. Not enough superficial shock and one dimensional sensationalism for me. My hopes were briefly lifted when I saw a little booth “Adults Only: Contains Sexual Material” written outside it. I quickly pushed through the heavy black curtain into the clammy, confined space to find a middle-aged man craning over a small table. Seeing me, he scarpered. The table said “Sorry we have run out of pictures, more coming tomorrow”.

Dang it.

Another piece I saw had a girl recreating key looks from the last 50 years in a periodic table of identities. The passport size photos ranged from 60s Hollywood starlet to 2010s Abercrombie and Fitch nonce.  What a shit age to live in, I thought. I showed the picture to Esther.

“Cindy fucking Sherman” she said with a sneer.

This piece is titled "Feinin's prosthetic body after Cindy Sherman' photograph, "Untitled #255"". I just think it is funny.

Bad Head Day


I’m tetchy today.
“What’s up with you now?” asks long-suffering Esther, with barely concealed irritation. Actually, it’s not concealed at all.
“I’m wearing all the wrong clothes” I mutter. I imagined that when I left the house, I would be wearing something understated and quietly elegant, that looks “nice”. Instead, everything feels ill-fitting and uncomfortable. Looking back, I think it’s my brain that’s ill-fitting.

"Does my brain look big in this?"

Everything is annoying me.

“Pathetic little mummy’s boy” I snarl at Devo, who is curled up in luxury on the sofa, gumming Lisa’s dressing gown like a blissful baby. PAH!

Under my breath, I mutter “I wish I could do that”

Babies are lucky bastards. Every need is catered for; every spiky thing is rounded off. How can the rest of life compete with that?

You start off a baby and you end up that way too, said Shakespeare. The older you get, the more you end up needing your bum wiping and your food mashing up for you.

Lisa and Esther are getting utterly despondent about having to clean their Gromy’s house every week.

Last time they went, Lisa said;

“It’s about time for your electric chair, isn’t it?”

What she meant (of course?) was a mobility scooter. But what her Freudian slip meant was a lethal piece of furniture.

Esther and her cousin, Britney, were chatting about Gromy yesterday after tea. Me and her boyf Justin sat in bemused silence.

“I reckon she’ll live to be 100” said Brit,

“If she lives past 100, I’m killing myself” says Esther resolutely. “It’s me or her.”

“Don’t worry, if she reaches 100, I’ll take over” reassures Britney.

After this had been decided, we moved on to ghost stories. The tension is building. We’ve had some high quality tales so far. I decide to mine the rich vein of odd things my mum has told me.

“My mum once slept in a hotel built on a Victorian pet cemetery”, I start,

“But she didn’t find that out till the morning after her dream…”

I am forced to abandon the story because everyone is laughing at me. I try a new one.

“Oh, and she saw the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in the park near her dad’s house…Oh, wait, it was only one of them…”

I have to abandon that one too. These are meant to be scary not funny, god-damn-it. I give up.

I am temporarily distracted by The Whistling Man of Sharrowvale. Every so often, when me and Esther are sat in bed, we hear a funny repeated whistle out there in the street. First of all, we assumed it was a little old man who was too shy to call his dog by name, and was whistling his pet in for the night. How sweet, we thought.

However, I saw him a few days later and he is a young, blonde haired, sporty man that walks along and whistles sharply and nervously every 30 seconds along the way.

Esther has decided that he has Whistle Tourettes. Now we know this, it is really tempting to whistle back and see what happens.

I think she has Thought Tourettes- she just can’t stop thinking out loud. It really is a problem.

Bite Me! Please!


"Oi! Don't blog about me or else!"

Last night I dreamt that my parents were murdered by a mob of arsonists who I had outraged with my blog. They included my fashion designer friend Viv, and a stony faced Thomas Turgoose, who loitered outside my house with a can of petrol and his anaemic face glistening in the moonlight.

I shall have to watch what I say from now on. But I think the horse has already left the building on that one.

I had the day off today. I spent the morning watching Rescue 999, and there was a boy who had been bitten by an Adder.

“That’s not fair!” I muttered.

“I bet you wish that was you, don’t you?” Esther said, adding

“I bet you’d like to get bitten by a bittern”

How does she manage to get inside my head so easily? Am I that predictable?

Anyway, it got me thinking what British wild animals I’d like to be nipped, gummed and snarled at by. Here’s my Top 5 (in descending order of likeliness):

  1. A Pony
  2. A Stag Beetle’s stag bits
  3. An Adder
  4. A Bittern (for pun’s sake)
  5. Esther. Well, any physical contact would do. I want a vampire girlfriend!

Bittern, yesterday: "Oh no you fricking don't"

Apparently, Lisa was stalked by a Robin in Endcliffe Park while she waited for Esther outside the Doctors. She found it sitting on the pavememnt behind her, giving her the evils. She moved away a few metres and looked back- it had moved closer and was sat in a tree next to her.

She breathed a sigh of relief when Esther returned.

“I was beginning to feel uncomfortable” she admitted.

 

Outside the Royal Hallamshire, there’s a massive plaque that shouts: ARS LONGA VITA BREVIS.

I looked it up. It means “ART IS LONG, LIFE IS SHORT”.

Imagine heading into the hospital to visit your sick relative, and here’s a sculpture laughing at the feebleness of life, saying,

“Ha! I’ll still be here when you and your puny offspring are plantfood!”

Perhaps it’s meant to be reassuring. We are all grains of dust giving the universe temporary conjunctivitis etc.

But doesn’t it make you just want to smash it’s laughing granite face? No wonder the NHS is going to pot, if these are the kind of motivational slogans being put around the place.

"Right back atcha"

How not to live your life?


"I just don't have time to do my laundry"

Does anyone iron their clothes anymore? I bought a tshirt from a charity shop last wek, and the woman said “Ooh, that’s lovely and soft. At least you won’t have to iron it!”

“No” I agreed, acting like I too have to juggle the demands of keeping myself looking shipshape. The last time I touched an iron was sometime in the mid 90s. What is the point of ironing a tshirt? Am I living my life all wrong?

Oh well, it’s too late now to change. Like I told my bosom buddy, Theresa Warpaint, I shall have to try again next life. I’ve always been a bit smelly and creased, like me or lump me.

"My avatar is exactly the same as me coz I'm perfect"

While my mum was here, she reminded of the embarrassment I had put her through as a small child on a packed bus when I had spent the journey demanding loudly

“Say “my bum-bum””,

over and over again. And also, on another bus journey, I had wriggled in my seat next to her so much she started to call me Seal Boy.

If I was her I would have made us walk everywhere. I’m glad my mum was nicer than me, and put up with me being an arse. Thanks mum!

What is it with kids and bottoms? When we went to babysit Esther’s nieces and nephew, he had a new catchphrase:

“Farty farty bum bum”

followed by hysterical laughter. Now, this was my kind of humour! I really am rubbish at babysitting because I can’t pretend i don’t find every naughty thing they do hilarious. While Esther tries to maintain order, I am busy making things worse by giggling and thinking of comebacks.

I’m not sure I ever grew out of the bum-obsession I had as a child. Bottom humour is one of my specialities. To Esther’s disgust, I describe each poo I have in great detail. For a more satisfying fart, I discovered that parting my buttocks felt really nice. I was refining my technique when Esther got wind of it (arf arf!) and made me promise to never do it again, on pain of instant break-up.

I realised the other day that one of the signs of true love is when you like the smell of both of your farts, especially when they combine. However, having a dog and cat on the bed can mean that you get up to 4 farts at a time, and have to sift through the individua odours to work out which belongs to your true love, and is fair game to savour.

I went to the cornershop with Lisa and the dogs earlier, and she waited outside while I bought some dog food. It was meant to be a strict straight in/out errand, but the overfriendly shopkeeper had other ideas.

“Do you play the guitar?” he asked

“No, not really. I’ve got one, but I can’t play it”

“You show me” he said, handing me an acoustic guitar somehow stashed behind the counter. “I will learn from watching you”

I played for time, holding the guitar and desperately trying to remember any chords. I once taught myself all of them, but then didn’t know what to do next, so I stopped playing.

“Well, first you have to learn the chords” I said, switching to teacher mode. ‘E’ is the simplest chord, it only uses 2 strings. My fingers fumbled around trying to remember which 2 strings. I strummed what I thought was E and it sounded terrible.

“It’s best off watching how to play on the internet” I said quickly, and tried to hand the thing back.

“No, no, you play some more” he shrugs, and sits down to watch. Oh God.

“No it’s ok”. I dumped the guitar on a pile of Sheffield Star’s, paid for my Pedigree Chum and left, sharpish.

“You took ages” complained Lisa outside.

“Yeah, sorry. He made me play his guitar”.

"This picture has no relevance to the above"

Theresa Warpaint, Patron Saint of Invisible Men


"Get the hint- make like a tree"

Lovely dimple-chinned, wrist-slittingly angsty Theresa from Warpaint was in my dream last night. Well actually, she spent most of the time trying to find the exit.
At first, I thought, if she can only see me in this outfit, she would be instantly seduced. But how I looked in my head obviously bore no relation to reality because she ran for her life.
I spent the rest of what would have been an exciting day in epic-land stalking her, and attempting to come up with a witty remark next time I ‘accidentally’ bumped into her that would set her heart racing, and make her bitterly regret snubbing me.

By the time I had engineered her into looking at me, all I had come up with was:

“meet you in the next life”, with a knowing smile,

which she fake-smiled back at and brushed past (that’s how much I had cornered her- she had to get past me to leave). Thinking back, it sounded like a death threat, which could be followed by my personal favourite; “I’ll fuck you harder when you’re dead” (Vienna Famous, 2001).

Dammit why am I not cool?? Dear father, who art in Macclesfield, please give me the power of stylish insolence and let me pass forth from this day as a natural at life”.

Today, for example, 3 very uncool things happened to me.

(1) I dropped all the cards out of my wallet onto the pavement.

(2) Having dropped them, I couldn’t pick them up properly because they seemed to have glued themselves to the hot tarmac. As I crouched there, all I could think was “If I can pick them up in the next 10 seconds, I will have restored my effortless nonchalance”. 30 seconds later, all I could hope for was suppressed laughter.

(3) Esther asked me to buy some bamboo screening to make our garden neighbour-proof. She wanted some 2 metre x 3 metre stuff, and I felt all manly and grown up carrying it along like it was no trouble and my baggy linen shirt hid not orange-peel moobs but compact, hot, beefcake. But then I had to get on the bus, and I couldn’t find my student card (50p with/£1.30 without. You do the tight-fisted neurotic math), or my change in my tiny 2-sizes-too-small skinny jean shorts , so I had to use my free hand to puke out the contents of my wallet onto the busdriver’s little money tray.

 

I realised today, in the tropical Sheffield heat, that I don’t appear to have style. Nor do I have the knack of walking, talking or sitting down properly. A half hearted attempt to look like a 30s aristocrat, coupled with impulse buys from Primark and H&M’s Spring/Summer 2011 “wank indie rip-off” collection, has made me into the invisible man.

As I walk down the street, I am confronted by emos, townies, goths, chavs and hipsters and all of them look past me blankly. It’s like in Terminator 2 when we see how Arnie sees the world: in little outlined sections that pull up files from his hardware “encyclopedia of puny meat sacks”- (AKA human beings). Only there isn’t a file for “mediocre stylish asexual blob” in the brains of everyone who sees me. Their eyes glance over my surface, and instantly forget what they saw.

"Look, I'm here! Stop pretending you can't see me. I'M HERE!!!"

Oh boohoo.

In other news, my lovely mother has been staying over, and cooking me and Esther the first vegetables we’ve had in weeks. Esther’s rule of “only cook things that take less than 20 mins in the microwave” has really given our jaws a break from chewing. Finally though, we had some proper roughage. I shall expect my belly to pay back the complement soon and father me a solid and self-contained stool.

Oh I want to be dark and sullen and uncouth like all the bad boys are. Instead, I am the yin to their yang, all sweetness and light and stuttering self-deprecation. Men often divide the female species into “wives” and “mistresses”. Women do the same- “a bit of rough” satisfies their need for toilet-sink breaking shags, while the sweet new man at home babysits the kids. I’ve never got much sex because I don’t look the type- I’m too stable (ha!) and naive (true) and tame looking to turn anyone on, including me. I can’t even masturbate properly because my willy finds me looking at it a turn off.

Dear John, what am I to do?