It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad, mad, mad, mad, mad, mad, mad…what was I saying?


"Baybee, let's make love conceptuallee"

“Baybee, let’s make love conceptuallee…”

Dream:
It’s Christmas Day and a black and white TOTP from 1964 is on TV. Jack Duckworth from Corrie is singing “Baby, Baby” and almost crying. Everyone laughs at how shit it is, but I want to cry because behind him on the studio wall there’s a banner that says “Feminist Deconstruction” and I realize with a jolt that he means what he’s crooning.

Wed 8th

It’s important before you do something exciting and important not to make yourself nervous by acting out of the blue. So, just before I get on the train I get Esther to cut all my hair off.

I’m coming down for my ex-housemate’s first solo art show- BLUE PLAGUE (named after the Tory lurgey we’ve all been infected with).  WestLane South gallery is a renovated shop, replete with artists, poets and jolly artisans. Like the only child I am, I expect Lisa to entertain me and pamper me. When she dares to socialise with other people, I stand in the corner, trying not to look anyone in the eye lest they think I have a problem with social interaction.

Godiva, my sister from a different blister, is out tonight. We hug and gabble about stuff and follow the art crowd to the local pub (there’s a curfew on the gallery as there’s an old lady living upstairs). There’s some kind of war of wills going on between the eccentrics- one is staring and batting his eyelashes aggressively at another who’s saying “fuck off, stop it,” which just makes him flirt viciously at him even more.

"You WILL fancy me!"

“You WILL fancy me!”

On our way home, I run into a shopping centre in Stratford in search of a toilet- what I find is an ecosystem of incongruous subcultures, living peacefully side by side. There are gorgeous graceful black kids rollerskating backwards past benches overflowing with alcoholics, and odd conceptual artpieces lurking between them- whole tribes of office chairs lashed together.

In the middle of the night, I steal into Godiva’s kitchen for a glass of water, and terrify her boyf, Joe. He’s sat in his boxers, holding a a glass full of ice cubes and closing his eyes. As he opens his eyes, he sees my nighttime face looming over him and spasms in terror, his ice cubes leaping into the air.

Thurs 9th
I’ve been drinking too much tea because every time I buy a pint I try and blow it to cool it down.
I’m definitely in London. I know this because of the scary man on the next table who’s angry with me for sitting down.

“Fackin’ cahnt! Why can’t he fackin’ cahnt sit over there?”

My neck has gone rigid with fear. At least that means I can’t accidentally turn and catch his eye. Thankfully, his topic of conversation moves on to more abstract victims.

“Fackin’ Claire Balding. What a fackin’ ugly cahnt. Must be a fackin’ dyke, no cahnt that ugly can get a man!”

Fri 10th

Lisa: “Something weird has been happening. Whenever I look at the digibox, the light changes colour. Even if I wake up in the middle of the night, it flashes from green to red. It knows that I’m going mad.”

Sat 11th
I’m reading The Comforters by Muriel Spark. There’s a woman in it who can hear the narrator speaking her thoughts. It’s a man’s voice.
If I could choose, who would I have as the voice in my head?
I wouldn’t go for the obvious ones like David Attenborough or Morgan Freeman. They are too authoritative. I need a ditherer.

I think I’ll choose David Bellamy, the sadly neglected plant pariah.

Mon 14th
Esther is out for drinks with Lisa. This means there is no one to slap my hand and change channels when I put Paranormal Witness on. Within a minute, the flesh on my scalp is starting to crawl with terror. Please god, someone turn over! But no one’s there.
It’s about a family who move into a house where there’s a strange set of doors halfway up the cellar wall. Behind them there’s an unlit room filled with earth.
I want my mummy.
At night, something comes from there and pushes the mother down into her mattress so she can’t scream. I’m petrified.

“PLEASE STOP ME WATCHING PARANORMAL WITNESS” I text Esther.

“DON’T BE SUCH A BIG BABY” she replies.

Finally the adverts come on, and I am released. I ring my mummy and put Golden Globes on in the background. It’s good to hear her voice. Before long though I become fatally distracted by Jodie Foster’s rambling speech. It’s so confusing and sounds so momentous I switch off from my mum’s voice and try and follow it, but I can’t.
I love Jodie Foster, she’s more of a man than I’ll ever be.
I want to cry, even though I don’t get what she’s going on about.
I always want to cry.

I try to go to sleep, but there’s a draught that feels like an icy finger pointing at the peak of my forehead. Every way I turn, it’s still there.

When Esther gets back, I tell her about the ghost that lives in the dark earthy room.
“You mean one like that half room full of rubble in our cellar!?” Esther says.
Christ, I forget that we have one too!

Suddenly there’s phonecall. It’s Lisa.

“I’m really scared because I can smell nail polish really strong,” she says.
“It’s probably just some glue Dom was using to make guitars,” reassures Esther.
“No, it’s overpowering, I can’t stay here!”
“In the olden days, having a really strong smell of nail polish was a sign of madness,” says Esther.
What? Oh God no!” Lisa is panicking. “Please can I come and sleep in the dog bed in your room?”

Within ten minutes, the room is full of me, Esther, and Linda on the bed, and Goldie and Devo flanking Lisa on the dog bed.

It’s an hour till I have to get up for work.

smelly smell

Tues 15th
Through the window at work I keep seeing a van marked “SHEFFIELD MOBILE CCTV UNIT” passing by in hot pursuit of something. Isn’t that just like someone running along with a big camcorder?

Wed 16th
There’s been a helicopter crash in London, but all I notice is the reporter saying;

“Many people dispersed to nearby coffee shops. They were in shock.”

I imagine them all sitting along the window tables, mochas trembling in their hands.

Every 3rd person I see on the street these days is carrying a hot bevvy. Someone should design gloves with a coffee cup already sewn in…

Thurs 17th
First day of snow. The world is a tabula rasa, and yet the only things someone has been brave enough to write are:

“CAR”

and underneath it, as if getting ever more daring;

“YOLO”

on a car windscreen.
Is this the start of the great ideas drought of 2013?

Fri 18th
Lisa has started saying ‘the’ whenever she gets a bad thought. She’s chosen this word as it has no emotional content.
‘the’ she says, while we have a cup of tea, ‘the. the, the.’

Dream:
I’m in a retirement home where all Carry On fans get sent. All the Carry On stars end up here as well, but for them it’s a living hell because every time there’s a birthday they have to act out a scene from their movies.

"Carry On Carrying On...FOR EVER!"

“Carry On Carrying On…FOR EVER!”

The Arse-End of the Week


Saturday  10th July

It’s time for breakfast. I go down and let the dog out and pour cat biscuits into her and the cat’s bowl. Then I make a cup of tea and bring breakfast up to the bedroom.

This is Esther’s queue to get up and sit on the toilet. There’s a low, queer rasping sound.
“Oops. My bumhole’s still asleep” she titters to herself.
This is another example of the strange world of Esther, where the laws of science and common sense are warped into their own donkey logic, which she digs her heels into and will not budge from.

Here are a few of her stock phrases:

“My legs are full of bood” (her standard moan when it’s her time of the month)

“Carole Caplan says…” (when she wishes to express some universal truth, as proclaimed by Cherie Blair’s former life guru)

“It’s liver downtime” (so no-one can challenge her when it’s time for a snooze)

“I’ve gone sugar-blind” (after eating too many sweets. Usually used to express why she can’t do something important)

“I’m paralysed” (this is why she can never make us a cup of tea straight after a snooze)

“Are their parents still together?” (this question is the first in a series that allow her to completely analyze and deconstruct someone’s identity)

Last night, Esther fixed her glasses, which had broken in two because she is incapable of looking after her things. But what she didn’t tell me till this morning was that having superglued the two halves together, she put them on and realised they were now glued to her face. While I was downstairs letting the dog out, she was having a tug of war to rip the plastic frames from her nose. Knowing I would be angry at her carelessness, she heard me returning and yanked them off and sat there as if nothing had happened.

Having told me this, she’s now doing her facial exercises. This is the first time I’ve seen them. She looks like an old woman with no teeth, or a gurn champion.

Sunday 11th July

Today our anti-social dog walk in the park is interrupted by a bunch of dirty hippies laying around listening to ambient house, a zombie genre that can never die, and merely mills around aimlessly, never really going anywhere. If we let Devo off now, he would return within seconds with a mixture of blood, dribble and food on his face having licked, nipped and nibbled each and every lolling hippy. That would have put some life into them! The lethargy is contagious. Back at home, we snooze 3 to a bed, before sitting around the kitchen in a stupor. Dane sends me a link to Santana performing Soul Sacrifice on Youtube. He is a dirty hippy too. They are everywhere.

Dom arrives and says “turn it up”. Esther bites back, “turn it down”. After a while, Lisa’s littlest-sister voice pipes up.

“How small would the band have to be to sound this loud?” asks Lisa seriously.

Dom takes a second to answer “That makes no sense at all”

“You know, if the band could only be as loud as this computer, how miniature would the people and their instruments have to be?”

“Shut the fuck up” says Dom.

It’s time to let the dog out, and I often like to sing my own version of the Baha Men classic:

“Who let the dogs out?

I-I-I did!”

 

Camp as you like


"at night, Katy Perry is replaced by a normal woman"

“It’s horrible what people do when they think that no-one’s looking. It’s perverted” says Lisa. She is talking about the circus elephant who was beaten with a metal bar by its trainer. I can’t stop thinking about what I get up to, alone, with baited breath, in the witching hours. Actually, I am usually hauling my slug like body out of bed the few feet it takes to reach our en suite toilet for a wee. And then back to bed to squeeze my legs down the bed past the dog’s slumbering mass. Perverted, huh.

Lisa’s fact of the week: “It’s terrible what used to happen to prostitutes. They’d get diseases that made their faces turn black and bits drop off. It didn’t stop the men calling though”.

Shudder.

I just heard a serial killer’s poem on the news:

“Poor old Melissa

Chopped her up in bits”

Apparently John Sweeney used to get stoned off his gourd and write poetry and paint pictures all about maiming his lovers. He called himself “a manimal – twisted, confused, and very dysfunctional”

“A search of premises connected to him yielded two sawn-off shotguns, a Luger pistol, a bamboo garrotte and a hoard of more than 300 vividly violent drawings and poems depicting bloody attacks on female victims and police.

One drawing entitled The Scalp Hunter showed a female skull hanging from a belt and an axe. A poem written on the back of a scratchcard read: “Poor old Melissa, chopped her up in bits, food to feed the fish, Amsterdam was the pits.” Removing correction fluid from a drawing, police revealed a gravestone with “RIP Melissa Halstod born 12th December 56. Died – “.

So what are we to make of the creative output of monsters? Hitler’s watercolours (and Prince Charles’s come to think of it); Charles Manson’s songs; Fred West’s tea cosies?

We can’t help thinking ‘the hand that did this did that‘ and imagining all kinds of bad shit. Vicarious living, that’s called. It’s what we do because life is too safe and controlled. We are bored of our creature comforts: secretly we want to pull the stuffing out of our leather sofas so the unfinished wood snarls at our thighs, we want to smash the TV and stick our shaky fists into the smouldering box. Well, I do anyway.

If that sounds like fun, may I recommend the Black Bloc, a jolly society for bored young people who want to smash the shops that decline their credit cards.

"Down with colourful clothing"

Lisa had a dream that Devo could talk. She said “Devo, what are you thinking?”

He cocked his head to one side and mimicked her back “Devo, what are you thinking?” in a freaky ‘I am your superior’ bitchy voice. She woke up with a cold sweat.

What would stick insects sound like if they could talk? Exactly like Woody Allen, I bet.

"Run for your lives!"

This 5 a day thing is getting me down. I’m so far behind, I will never catch up. It’s like failing a school test every day for the rest of your life. It eats away at my esteem. I feel like a fruit fool, a legume loser.

I am now on a diet. This means I eat fruit and watch my calories and you can find me looking miserably at cakes, and blanking chocolate bars as if I never knew them.

Low moments in my self image no. 1:

When Esther’s parents said I remind them of Frank in Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em. Here he is:

"Ooh Betty"

On top of this, my tutor suggested the other week that I look into ‘camp’.

Thanks.

I should have said “I do- Every time I look in the mirror, darling” and swished my minimal hair. I’m in good company…

 

 

What’s Polish for Devo?


Devo has become obsessed with an Alsatian called Pogo that he meets in the park. Their friendship dynamic involves Devo annoying the hell out of Pogo, and then Pogo knocking him to the ground and making him cower.

Pogo’s owner is a para-military-looking Polish man.
Yesterday, Devo headbutted the man in the balls so hard that he fell to his knees.
“It’s ok, he is too small to make me hard” he reassured Lisa and Esther in broken English.
They presumed this was a bad translation.
The girls were on their own, and the Polish man asked to meet them at 12 the next day. Presuming it was for the dog’s sake, they agreed.
The next day, Lisa has forgotten and at 1pm she sets off to the park with Dom. As they near the entrance, she seems the fed up Polish man looking up and down the road. As he spots her, and them Dom, he quickly turns and disappears up the road.

How can you tell between being friendly and consenting to marriage, Lisa thinks.

Yesterday, we met up again with the Pole. He seems to have accepted that he cannot take any of us. He called Goldie “the queen mother” because she is old and slow and dignified. If you could see her you would know this is a stroke of genius.

"Biscuit please"

He suddenly goes marching off into the woods “You smell that? That is wild garlic”. He marches to a bunch of leaves, pulls one up, and sniffs. “Not this” he says and marches off again. Finally he has found the garlic. He offers me some to smell.

Why do we not learn this stuff at school? We are like urban foxes who only know how to hang out by the Subway bins. We are rubbish at being wild.

It is both scary and exciting the way that Europeans do everything you wish you could but are trained not to as a good, upstanding Englishperson. Balls to that. I want to act like a big kid, sniffing plants and forcing poetry into mundanity. I am on the bus and a boy next to me has his right leg resting on his left knee (I’m sure there’s a word for this).

His foot is pointed towards me, inches from my knee. His shoe looks fucking massive. Dammit, my size 11s are feeling inadequate for once. I want to mirror his position and press my sole to his and compare sizes. I almost do it, but chicken out.

Is it normal to want to strike up a conversation with bigfoot? Is it normal to feel drawn to giants and want to ask exactly how high?

At some stage Esther and Lisa are going to have to find a new park, because they can no longer scurry past anonymously if there is someone who expects them to chat like normal functional adults. The stuttering snippets of convo so far are the outer limit of their capabilities, not the precursor to casual friendship that mr Polish man expects.

Such is the life of a social phobe.

Esther and me walk Devo and Goldie today. We always keep Devo on a lead until we are safely on the big field where he can harass other dogs and chase sticks rather than eating small children and biting bottoms.

As we unleash him, he gallops across the field and stops in his tracks. He’s smelled something nice. He throws himself on the grass and begins to furiously rub himself again and again.

Oh God, he’s found some duck shit, we think.

Dogs seem to love having greasy, stinky duck faeces on their necks. Eau de toilette indeed.

I start to walk over to stop him, and he ignores my shouts and claps and writhes in ecstasy on this patch of ground.

As I come up to him, I see a lump of flesh. It is round and pink with bits of fur stuck in it. It is the top half of a rat. And it stinks of rancid cheese, quite like my bottom does.

“Get away from it” I shout “you filthy fucker”

I chase him off it and the stench worsens. Esther and me gag, and throw sticks in all directions to make him forget about it.

On the way back, Esther runs ahead and makes Dom run a bath for the little filth hound. His coat is put straight in the bin. Meat and cheese are off the menu for today.

Why can’t animals ever finish off their dinners? It’s rude to leave stuff on your plate. It’s like if you sacrifice your child to God, and when you climb up the temple steps you realise that only the arms and head have been bitten off. “My baby was not a gingerbread man” you shout. It’s just not right.

"Go ahead, make my day!"

 

“Dogs are people too”


 

"Mummy, do I look pretty?"

Lisa bought matching rain coats for Devo and Goldie. One is red, the other yellow. Both have detachable hoods. Today they swapped the hoods over, and took them proudly on their walk.

Halfway down the road, they kept getting very odd looks, especially by men. They looked at each other and then down at the colour coded dogs. Suddenly they realised what they must look like to other people: two 30 something women who have dressed up their dogs to look like children. Two crazy spinsters living a fucked up fantasy world of anthropomorphic perversity.
Quickly before more people noticed, they took the coats off and hurried on their way.

The dogs got soaking wet, but at least their owners reclaimed their dignity.

"Nudes are so this season"

Money Making Scheme no. 14: I want to open a trendy clothes shop called ‘The Emperor’s New Boutique’, and all the mocha sipping, Clogg wearing, utility chic-ing, Honda driving, wallet overflowing neo-yuppies that these ridiculous hair salons and ugly clothes shops full of ugly clothes keep popping up to cater for will pile in and throw their AMEX plastic at my laughing greedy face. And I will sell them NOTHING! Hahahahahahahaha!

I am getting very pissed off with birds. Every time I walk past a tree or bush, I can hear hundreds of them whistling, tweeting and blogging all over the shop. But can I see a single feathery fucker? Can I Bo Diddley! I demand to see your cute fluffy faces now!

The worse thing is that some fuckers know when you’re looking for them- woodpeckers and treecreepers walk around the other side of the trunk when you try to catch them. How infuriating!

Everything else has been tamed and commercialised, why can’t they do that with wild birds? I want instant gratification with tits, thrushes and blackbirds. (All of which sound like euphemisms and innuendos.)

There should be a law against things looking cute if you can’t touch them. Only ugly, featherless and slimy things should be allowed to be wild.

“Naff off you ugly little fucker”

Dirty Pants and Doggy Treats


Lisa told us that Devo has developed a habit of running into the bathroom and grabbing her peeled-off knickers and taking them to his dog bed for a thorough chewing.

My parents bought Esther a pink plaid sleep-suit for Christmas, and she now wears it all night and most of the morning. In order to spend as much time as possible in it, she has cut a handy slit so she can wee without having to remove the suit.

I still haven’t found my bag from the weekend, although my coat has turned up. I am preparing myself to grieve for my extended family: niece ipod and her jelly babies, uncle diary, and smutty great grandad scarf.

I often wish I could meet myself when I’m out and tipsy: I could slap some sense into myself if I’m being a cunt, or maybe giggle at my stupid jokes. I could even check myself out for some homoerotic frisson. Yes I think I would have liked me on Saturday night.

Devo Meets His Match


"You ruined my life you bastards!"

Life would be a lot more interesting if witches and vampires existed wouldn’t it? Buffy sort of ruined reality for me, I’m afraid. I should have become a delusional goth but instead I became a dismayed loner. Well maybe we don’t have to pretend anymore:

Lisa got back from walking Devo today and told us a wild story about some wild-cats. She had taken Devo to see a friend and on the way home Devo was suddenly surrounded by a street gang of cats, backs arched, hissing, and very, very, pissed off.

Lisa became more and more animated as she re-enacted the scene. The lights seemed to dim as she talked, like a candle-lit character in an Edgar Allen Poe story.

Suddenly she rears up, doing an impression of a psychotic cat, hissing like a rock’n’roll snake:

“HISSSSSSS!”

“WTF? Cats hunting in a pack?” we ask disbelievingly, moving closer as the room darkens around us.

It seems that they had wandered into the Sheffield Serengeti. There was 4 or 5 of them around him, and it sounded like the bushes were full of them, rustling and hissing. They were circling around Devo like a bunch of evil mothers and he was quivering like reeds in a gale.

His long legs and cheeky smile weren’t going to get him out of this one.

Suddenly remembering she had opposable thumbs and legs that worked, Lisa yanked his lead and dragged him past the mad moggies and they fled the scene. “OMG, that was some fucked up feline shit” Devo said (in a Brooklyn accent) when they had got a safe distance away.

“Stop talking, you’re a dog” replied Lisa.

I have to write a dissertation soon. I am considering doing the most self-indulgent, narcissistic, lazy thing ever: a blog about music videos and how they have shaped my personality. So, I would post videos that have changed the way I see the world or made me get ‘style’ (and then forget it again) etc…

I can’t decide if this is a sickening product of mental illness or a worthy way to spend time. What do you think?