Spain: Gay clones, rubbish graffiti, and a ‘private’ pool


Day 1

We touchdown in thick drizzly clouds. My iPhone told us it would be a sunny 24°C here. My iPhone lied.
The stag party in front rises in pitch.

“Whose idea was Barcelona?” one stag crows. “Fucking chump!”

Spain smells of sickly sweet granny talcum powder mixed with strawberries & cream boiled sweets.

There’s lots of cute lost in translation graffiti saying things like “SPERM” and “mixed media.” The clouds start to clear, and there are parakeets. And palm trees. And youths with mullets. The food shops are called SUPERMEERCAT (well, almost) and the announcements on the Metro sample Electricity by OMD. I’m starting to like this place.

We’re renting a private villa with a swimming pool, so Esther can hide from the world in style and minimal clothes.
We’ve been contacting our villa’s owner via email.

“Check in is from 6-7pm. Ring my son Sergio from airport if you want,” he’d written, “he speaks good English.”

Me: “Shall I ring Sergio?”
Esther: “No, he’ll be there at the villa at 6, he’s expecting us.”
Me: “Are you sure we shouldn’t ring him?”
Esther: “Yes.”

We get a train to Sitges, the nearest town to the villa. The entire population is made up of gay clones with big beards and shaved heads.

Coincidentally, I have exactly the same hairstyle.

“Where are all the fem gays?” I think aloud. I’m getting dizzy from all the testosterone in the air. It’s all bears. And no goldilocks.

There’s a man wearing a t-shirt that says “Bear Construction” on it.
Another man has a picture of one on his.

We have a coke on the strand and watch the waxed abs of the sea and the endless hairy abs of the bromancing bears in the briefest briefs I’ve ever seen.

“It must feel nice for you here,” says Esther, “being fancied.”
“Maybe. Is it a relief for you,” I say, “not being stared at.”
“I guess so. It’s like I’m invisible. I imagine if we were here for a while I’d start to feel really ugly.”
Truth be told, I feel like a minibar in a room full of fridge-freezers.

"You there!"

“You there!”

We watch a younger Spanish man with an umbrella. He starts chatting to a big hairy man who could eat him up. The big man laughs and pats his shoulder, squeezing lingeringly. It’s like watching a lion toying with a hyena. They walk on a bit before the big man heads off in a different direction.
The umbrella man walks back and loiters against the sea wall.
Two older, chunkier men stop near him and he starts chatting to them.

“I think he’s a rent boy,” Esther says.
“How much for a threesome?” I voiceover.
Another couple joins the convo.
“How much for a fivesome?”
They laugh and then move on.
“Too much.”

“I wonder if the umbrella is gay code for ‘For Sale’?” muses Esther, “Oh look, this guy has got an umbrella and a jumper over his shoulders. I wonder what that means.”
“He wears a condom?” I say.

About 5.30pm, we get a cab to the villa which takes us up and up through the hills, past desert scrubland and coniferous sprawls and mini chateaus and crumbling postcard farmhouses in 80s Ralph Lauren colours.
It costs €27.

We’re getting a bus back.

As we’re early, we sit with our food shopping and rucksacks at the end of the road and wait.

“Do we look normal?” Esther says.
“I don’t know.” I say. “I never know.”
Bang on 6pm, we go and ring the bell.
No one comes.
We wait.

The beer I had in town is making me dance.
“I have to wee,” I say.
“Hold it in,” hisses Esther, looking at the villas around us, “please.”
“I can’t. I’m going to go up that hill.”
“Well, be quick.”
I walk until I think I’m out of sight. But I can still hear Esther’s stern voice.
“Hurry. I don’t want you pissing against a tree to be the first thing they see!”
My wee seems to go on forever, but finally, I run back down.
We wait.

Neither of our phones work here.
It starts to dawn on me what’s happening.
I’m going to have to go knocking on villa doors.

“Go and knock on all the doors,” orders Esther.
She watches me disappear up the road.

Dogs are going mental in every garden.
I choose a house where kids are running around outside.
When I ring, three tiny children open the gate with their huge guard dog.
They talk fast Spanish at me.

“Habla Inglais?” I ask.
They look at each other.
“Where are your parents?” I ask.
They babble at me cutely.
“Father and mother,” I say, raising my palms, “mama and papa?”
“Mami et papi?” says the boy.
“Yes, mami et papi,” I say, “can you get them?”
I point at the house and then at me.
The little girl twirls her fingers in the guard dog’s hair and stares blankly. The dog starts to lick my fingers.
“I’m sorry,” I say, walking away, “I don’t know how to say goodbye.”

They chatter to each other, staring after me down the road.
“I think there’s a phone up the road,” Esther says, “I saw it on Google StreetView.”
She’s been virtually up and down these roads for weeks in preparation for the holiday.
So we walk in single file up the tiny hard shoulder because there are no pavements anywhere.
There isn’t a phone, just lots of unfinished concrete and breezeblocks and signs with the Olympic symbol on.
There are acres of vineyards and white pine forests, and the few villas are all new-build holiday homes with interiors that look like kitsch pre-industrial cottages.

I read later that the Olympics were in Barcelona in 1993. I guess everything around here was built in a hurry for that, and the builders left in a hurry when the money and tourists sloped off.

Eventually, I ring the children’s doorbell again, planning to mime a phone and say “mami et papi” until they go and get them.
A woman’s voice comes over the intercom. I think it’s a video one, and as I try to talk into it, I imagine my shaved head and wispy beard looming on the monitor.

“Hola?” she says warily.
“Hola…habla Inglais?”
“Non,” she says definitively.
“Erm, telefono por favor?”
Silence. “…Una momenta.”
There’s a heated discussion behind the gate, then a chavvy man answers in a vest.
“Hola,” I say, trying to smile innocently, doing the phones4U sign, “telefono por favor?”
I show him the email from the man, pointing at the No Signal sign on my stupid phone.
“Una momenta,” he says, closing the door and restarting the heated debate in loud whispers.
Thankfully, he reappears and keys the number into his phone.

5 minutes later, Sergio is here.
10 minute later, we’re alone in our new house.
It’s massive, with 7 bedrooms, all of which are locked apart from ours.
There’s a pool out the back, and a chicken coop, and a spiral staircase, and a vegetable patch full of massive green tomatoes.

On the first night, we get massacred by tiny mosquitoes with stripy legs.
Esther spends the first of many nights scratching meatily at her calves and moaning.

Day 2

After running around the place like fools, discovering the pool is freezing cold, looking in cupboards and drawers (especially the ones with a big sign on that says “PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH THIS”), we have a 2 hour-long brunch on the wicker chairs overlooking our olive tree grove, before going for an afternoon nap. A siesta.

“Have you realised how my daily routine is perfect for this country,” says Esther.

I’m snoring away when I hear something heavy hit the pillow.
My eyes flicker open to see that something scuttling past my head.
Before I know it, I’m out of bed and across the room, back against the wall.
I appear to be moaning.
“It’s only my hand, silly!” says Esther giggling, “I was just trying to pull the duvet up over you. Sorry.”
I look around the room suspiciously.
“Are you sure it’s not a tarantula?”
“No, it was my hand.”
I come back to the bed and check under the pillows.
“It was my hand!”
I still don’t trust her, so I get up and go for a walk.

There are no pavements anywhere. I walk up a bank and into a field of lush crops. Massive butterflies lurch up from baked mud in every direction. I give up trying to chase and photograph them, and cut through the woods.
The only things that grow here are sinister succulents with evil leaves as high as horses and as tough as fascist epaulettes. Soon I’m surrounded by scratchy, vicious plants. I’m in my shorts.
I want to be back at the villa, not tearing my shins through bush bullies.

I make it back to the road and try to find a short cut.
The only people I see are a woman in her 50s wearing a shocking pink trackie top under a Hoxton facelift, talking to a small chubby boy. It sounds like she’s either interrogating or propositioning him.
They stop and stare, slack-jawed.
I prepare to say “Hola,” in a friendly, probably camp way.
They turn their backs on me, so I keep walking.

"Offensive pastry"

“Offensive pastry”

Back at the villa, I play with the massive TV.
There are over 2000 TV channels.
The only English one shows back-to-back Friends.
The rest are German.
There’s one with German girls singing folk songs to boys on horses.
There’s one with a dirty old man in a flat cap shouting at the camera as topless girls primp and pose behind him.
I watch Twilight in German for a while. What an unsexy language it is. If only Bieber and One Direction were German, they never would have made it over the border.

Later, I rescue a big grasshopper out of the pool and in return she lets me photograph her. She knows how to work it.

Esther spends half an hour lowering herself into the water.

“Oops, I’ve done a wee,” she says halfway through. She hasn’t even got her bottom fully under yet.
This is why I hate sharing her bath water. She usually only tells she had an accident in it afterwards, with a cute grin and a little “Oops, I forgot.”

When she’s fully in the pool, she screams.
“What are those?!”
There are 2 water boatmen swimming around in there. I don’t know how the hell they got in there, seeing as they can’t fly.
“They’re coming for me!” she yelps.
“Don’t be silly, they just want to be your friends.”
“No! Get them away from me!”
I watch and laugh.

Day 3

Sitges again.

We go on the beach, where there are no less than 4 topless women and the rest have string bikinis. This isn’t even the nudist beach. All the men are topless too; tanned, and hairy.
I suddenly realise how Celtish we are. Pink, with belly tyres and no muscle definition.
After a few minutes, Esther gets grumpy.
“I’m going over there!” she says, stomping off towards the road. “I want to go back to the villa, I hate people.”

Back at the villa, Esther watches my attempts to swim.
“Is it imperative that you spit while you do it?”
“Yes, if I don’t want to drown. Why don’t you teach me how to do the breast stroke?”
She shows me. It’s not what I meant.

“Oh I get it,” she says after several more attempts, “swimming requires co-ordination. That’s why you can’t do it.”

As I doggy-paddle up and down, I realize that men spend their adult lives finding someone with the right voice for their conscience.
So now, as I go about my daily business, Esther’s voice keeps up a helpful and authoritative narrative that stops me from feeling too lonely or too carefree.
‘No!” it says, “think what’s likely.”
[It’s only recently that I realized there is philosophical precedent to Esther’s catchphrase: Occam’s Razor holds that the most probably explanation is usually the correct one. I’m not going to tell her, it’ll only go to her head.]

Later, I find a dead water boatman in the chlorine filter.
“There were 2 in the pool,” I say, wringing my hands, “Where’s the other one? Have I killed its partner?”
“Don’t be so silly,” says Esther. “Name me one insect that mates for life.”
I can’t.

I think of spiders, though they’re not insects, then I remember that the females eat the males after sex.

It’s always the case that the things you hate the most are most like you.

After ten minutes of searching, I realise there are actually 4 water boatmen in the pool. Thank fuck for that- the other one was just a gooseberry.

There are 4 eggs in the chicken coop. The chickens are staring at me, so for something to say, I show them what’s in my hands and say “thank you.” But then I think I was rubbing it in their faces that I stole their babies.
“Well, they shouldn’t have let them go cold,” I think to myself. I don’t feel any better.

Day 4

It’s hot and Esther is snoozing, so I decide to have a naked swim. I look all around, checking for telephoto lenses or giggling children, then whip off my jean shorts and boxers.

As soon as I hit the water, my penis and balls shrivel, like a timelapse shot of how a grape becomes a raisin.
Oh well, no-one’s looking.

I do a few lengths before I hear a loud noise, and look up to see all the shutters shoot up on the one villa that overlooks us, the villa which is only half built.

"Don't look, it's pointing at us!"

“Don’t look, it’s pointing at us!”

It must be the estate agents showing people round.

Shit shit shit.

I tread water in the deep end, trying to pretend I haven’t noticed.
Then a woman comes out into the garden talking on her phone.
I start to get annoyed.

It’s a private pool – I can swim naked if I want.

I look down at my child’s penis.

I do my version of the breaststroke for a few lengths, making sure that I turn with my bits concealed, belly down.
After 4 or 5 lengths, I’m knackered and starting to get hungry.

Dammit, I want to get out.
There’s only one thing for it.
I manhandle my bits until it’s an acceptable size, but then it keeps on growing, so I have to flounder around in the cold water till it goes down again. It’s so cold that it starts to shrivel instantly.

I heave myself up the ladder and into the sunlight, imagining that I’m Phoebe Cates in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
I walk leisurely over to the decking area and slowly put on my shorts as if they’re an afterthought.

Ridgmont High

Day 5

I go for another walk while Esther lazes in her airless mosquito-proofed room (towel rolled up as draught excluder; windows shut tight). I pass a gang of local teenagers in a beer garden. All the boys have shaved temples and a longer Mohawky bit on top, with a curly rat’s tail at the back. Proper trailer trash.
They make funny noises when I walk past, so I grit my teeth, that thing handsome men do in films that makes their jaw muscles stick out, but in my face only produces a kind of sunken slump.

Unlike the nice, innocent graff of Sitges and Barcelona, I’m starting to see anarchist As and swastikas around here, on the semi-rural unfinished surfaces.

"Death Fucking Master!"

“Does it say ‘I love tourists?'”

According to Google, this one says either:
“Death fucking master”
“Fucking loved to death”
Or
”To death male prostitute loved”

I’m going for the second one, it sounds quite sweet.

Everywhere is so dry, all the riverbeds are barren and it’s making me thirsty. I can’t stop thinking about getting a cold coke from the trailer trash bar. I wonder if the mullets are anarchists or Nazis, and which one is least scary.
I give in and walk back to the bar.

As I’m walking away guzzling the ice cold brown poison, I realise with acute embarrassment that I’m wearing a vintage “Enjoy Coca Cola” t shirt.
I must look like a rubbish walking advert.

"Enjoy Coca-Cola"

“Enjoy Coca-Cola”

After afternoon tea of white chocolate-dipped Orios, we watch The Purge. It gets my dander right up.

“Torture ‘em,” I scream, “feed them their own ears and such!”

Esther remains impassive. She knows not to indulge my adrenaline fantasies. And she saw me cry when I accidentally killed a mosquito last night.
Adrenaline and testosterone are such afflictions. It takes ages to calm down after seeing men hit men on TV.
I keep getting the desire to watch Jason Statham movies end to end. It always goes away when I start watching one.

Day 6

While we wait for the rickety minibus to Sitges again, two police cars screech up next to us. A man and a woman get out of the closest one. He ignores us, but the woman says “bon dia.”
She has blonde hair plaited at the back and is very imposing.
“She’s impressive,” Esther says, “blonde and handsome.”

They stand at the junction and stop every black car that drives past, with a harsh whistle and authoritative hand gesture.
Esther & I cower by the wall, feeling like we’re in the middle of some sting operation and a mistimed smile could get us arrested.

Finally, the ‘Plana’ minibus arrives.
“Quesilla dos billete a Sitges” I say in a rubbish accent. I’ve been rehearsing that the whole time we were waiting. The busdriver grunts and I just say “Sitges” until he agrees.

We look a right pair. Esther has to hold her period-swollen boobs while I cushion my cake-filled moobs as we lurch over endless speed bumps and up and down hills.

Luckily, it seems that only old women and young girls use public transport in Spain.

I read in my Lonely Planet guide that most Spanish housewives are on the dole. And that Spain has the lowest fertility rate of any country in the world. There’s something weird going on here.

Sitges is snided with chunky clones again. Some are so tanned they’re nearly black.

We see a gay guy on his own, wearing a t-shirt with moths on. The kind I would wear.
“An MIT gay,” Esther says, “poor thing.”
We watch his lonely trawl along the strand for while and wander off. There’s one vintage shop in Sitges, and we spend about an hour in there trawling through stuff.
We end up spending about €40 in there. As we leave, I try to sound more Spanish by lisping.
“Grathee,” I lisp, “muthas grathee”. It feels very weird to deliberately do what I’m scared of doing accidentally.

Today’s matinee is Lars and the Real Girl. I take great pleasure in seeing The Gos looking frumpy.

"Mwahahaha"

“Mwahahaha”

“He’s always smirking,” says Esther, “it’s really annoying.”
I also realize that Talking Heads are the best band that has ever lived. What a noughties think to think.

When Esther opens the door to the outside toilet, a gecko scuttles from behind a plantpot and hides under the hose pipe holder. I spend half an hour trying to shove my phone up there to take flash photos (nothing shows up on them), and banging it with the pool skimmer to make it run out. Nothing works. I end up believing it was never there in the first place.

“Wildlife is just too wild,” I moan, “I’m fed up of trying to see birds who don’t want to be looked at, and trying to catch butterflies that don’t want to be touched. I’ve had it with nature. The mofos can come to me from now on.”

Our evening film is Branded.
The actor’s face makes my jaw ache. I’ve only ever had this before with Rooney Mara. So attractive it hurts.
His deep black rock pools for eyes. His ability to grow a thick beard overnight.
I can’t bear the idea of Esther drinking him up with her eyes, those bumps and caverns in his bone structure where desire lurks like lizards.

“He makes my face ache,” I admit to her, “he’s too good looking.”
“Yuck,” says Esther, “he looks like a skeleton.”
“B-but his cheeks…”
“Sunken like a skull. Disgusting.”
Well alrighty then.

"Meet my brother, he's older and fatter"

“Meet my brother, he’s older and fatter”

While Esther goes out for a fag, I turn the overhead fan on full, trying to recreate that scene in Apocalypse Now.
I find that if I flick my eyes quickly from right to left, I can momentarily pick out an individual blade from the blur as it passes by. Of course as soon as I realize this, it becomes almost impossible.
I try whipping my whole head round to see if that’s better but it only makes me sick, so I try imagining I am a paraplegic and can only move my eyes. They roll around like marbles in a plughole and start to ache.
My whole body has gone rigid with effort. This isn’t making me relaxed and ready for bed at all.
At this point, I notice a spider, which was once over Esther’s side of the bed, now over mine.

“Keep to your own side, fucker,” I snarl, hiding my terror. It doesn’t.
Esther comes back and sees me staring up.
“If you don’t stop looking at it, I’ll turn the light out and then you won’t know when it’s coming for you.”
“But I read that they climb down in the night and drink from the dribble at the side of your mouth,” I say in rising pitch.
“In that case it will already have done that every night this week, so get used to it.”
I lie in the dark, waiting.

Day 7. Last day.

Esther: “I dreamt I took the police exam and failed, and then I cried and said, “I’m mentally ill, you have to let me take it again.” And then I failed again.”

Then she says those three little words. The ones that fill me with terror.
“Let’s make lists.”

“Come on,” she adds, “it’s what helps ill brains.”
My brain isn’t ill, it’s normal. Mental illness is a normal response to the world.
“I keep thinking how if I fast forward a week,” I tell her, “it will be me sat somewhere else; then another week, me sat another place, and so on, forever.”
“Healthy brains don’t think like that, “ she says, “they just get on with it.”
“I wish I could infect healthy people with my worry,” I say, “see how they like it.”

We get presents for the folks. I get a wind up donkey that hops with its back legs. It’s for my parents.
When we get back to the villa, we wind it up. When I look up, Esther has a funny expression. Oh no, I recognize it.
“I really want it,” she says in her baby voice, “please, we can get your parents something else…”
There’s no point arguing.
“You bugger,” I say, “What the hell am I going to get them now?”
“We’ll find something,” she says, winding it up again, that look passing over her face like a butterfly of innocence. “I’m going to call it lavabo.”

It’s Catalan for washbasin.

Typical.

On the plane back, there are two girls behind us are saying Jimmy Carr things but without any irony, like:

“I’d love to sleep in a shack.” And

“I love monsoon floods, they’re so refreshing.”

#ThirdWordProblemFirstWorldFetish

The Duty Free trolley is selling a perfume called Urban Decay.
What’s going on?
This ranks along with The Health & Postcode Lotteries as something life-sapping and depressing made into something money-sapping and depressing.
Someone is having a cosmic joke. Well, I want in.

Here’s what my perfume is going to be called: Slum Smells for Infidels.

"Still Live with Horse"

“Still Live with Horse”

Boring and Ugly Crimbo Special: 1st Anniversary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


22nd December

I’m not sure I’m getting the point of The News. I’m sure it’s meant to be sad and gritty, but all I can think about is clothes and how good people look when they die young.

The Stephen Lawrence enquiry has revealed some great 90s clothes collected as evidence. With a 90s revival nearing the end, I am still in love with the clothes I would have been wearing back then had I been cool.

What an outfit! Jazzy jacket, sparkly cardi, pink polo shirt and high waisted acid-wash jeans. When I look round today and see all these draw-string grey tracky bottoms, v neck t shirts and silly bobble hats, I despair. Think about it people- do you really want to die dressed head-to-toe in Primark?

 

24th December

A relationship is a relay team, and each couple passes on their own make of baton. Ours is misery and irritation. All last night and this morning, Esther has had the full blown grumps.

“What’s the point? Christmas day is just like any other- we’ll get up, eat till we’re sick, walk the dogs, watch TV and go to sleep”

The thing is, when I think about it, that’s true. Coz Esther doesn’t work, this isn’t a holiday or a treat for her. It’s just another day.I cling onto hope when Weasel and Kung Fu, Esther’s parents, ring up and invite us for coffee.

Surely she won’t dare ruin their day too?

Of course she will- that’s her sacred role in the sisterhood.

We go for Eggnog Lattes in Starbucks with them and Lisa. Weasel has promised to buy a winter hat for Esther. She gets out the brochure for her to choose from.

Weasel- “Choose your top 4 from here”

“I don’t want one” she petulates (this should be a word- I’ve written it, so now it is)

A look of weary resignation flits across Weasels face. Lisa rolls her eyes.

“Give it here then” Esther chides, snatching the leaflet from Kung Fu’s hand, and without seeming to look, scrawls numbers next to  pictures.

“You didn’t even look at that!” says Lisa in horror

“Yes I did; white’s the best colour, so I chose the whitest then numbered down from there”.

We are clearly dealing with a genius here, for whom simple tasks like this are odious and best treated with contempt. She is Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon in foreshortened female form.

"Whosoever invented this should be flayed alive!"

Well you know what, now it’s time for my go with the bastard baton. It always changes from red to green in my hand though- from misanthropy to jealousy when passed from a middle to an only child. a week ago we paid £15 for the runtiest tree we could find. It leans over drunkenly like my erection.

Now, on Christmas Eve, the trees that were for sale at the bottom of our road have been abandoned. Lisa and Dom can take their pick, and choose one 3 times the size of ours, for free! In what universe are the poor allowed to triumph over the rich with such smugness? What’s the point of having ostentatious spending, if other people are going to get the same stuff for free??

I know I should be thinking “It warms the cockles of my heart to see the Tiny Tim’s of the world smiling”

But instead it’s “I want a tree that big! Maybe I should have two trees, then I’ll win!” Winning in my mind is a vague concept, something to do with the unhindered accumulation of stuff. I guess it comes from the entitlement of being the golden child backed into a corner by a real world full of grasping hands.

Suffice to say, when we both got home we had snapped the baton in half and carved each others faces with it.

Esther- “I’m not going to wrap your presents…”

Me- “Why not?”

Esther- “Coz I hate wrapping presents. I can’t be bothered”

Me- “Well, we can put them in plastic bags at least…?”

Esther- “I can do what I like. You can do what you like”

She stomps upstairs for a snooze.

“Don’t go to sleep” I call after her plaintively

“Why not?”

“Erm, because we can go and watch Christmas TV…?”

“I’m bored of TV”

“We can…tidy up?”

This isn’t going to work. She grunts and disappears. Why can’t I think of anything to do anymore? My excitement is draining away. What’s the point of anything?

I trudge upstairs to bed.

TO BE CONTINUED…

The Stockport Shenanigan


Finally, Lady Gaga has released a new single. I play ‘Born this Way’ and am chronically underwhelmed. I can feel the wool being lifted, the spell being broken- from  this moment I have ceased to be a Lady Gaga fan. I no longer know what I ever saw in her.

Her lustre has fallen away like clothes off dyspraxic stripper.

My dream started this defection- I picked a side and joined the Madonna Army. It’s like the Jesus Army, but with a better God. Born This Way is a Tesco Value Express Yourself.

"Oh fuck, the gods are gonna kick off!"

This weekend, I had a reunion with the only 2 friends I had at school: Harvey (because he looks like JFK’s assassin) and Dave (because he’s an everyman, a cipher).

As we sat round a pub table in Heaton Moor, a suburb’s suburb, I got to thinking: we each represent a different lifestyle, and each of us is a sloppy mixture of failure and achievement. I am drifting through life, chasing pleasure and numbing myself to pain. Harvey took the genius-savant route, wearing wolf masks to Cambridge and flying high in Hong Kong. Dave took perhaps the most stable route, finding a career and starting a family. Next to Dave, we both look like fuckups. He has brothers and sisters- we are only children. Fantasy is always preferable to reality for us.

"sweet and sour?"

Harvey went to Cambridge and had Stephen Hawking as his personal tutor. His method of teaching often involved ordering in Chinese Takeaway for the class. Then he got addicted to online gambling and rogue physics and was kicked out. He went to work for a major banking firm on the nth floor of a Honk Kong Skyscraper. He is a FILTH (Failed in London Try Honk Kong), a dirty capitalist, a purveyer of CEO’s wet dreams and sticky pauper’s nightmares. He always carries around a book on theoretical physics. This time he also has with him ‘Traders Guns & Money‘, about

“the mega-trillion-dollar derivatives market, the one economists say might be next to collapse on our heads”

Harvey may be sticking his celery in the next double dip. He tells us how he has had to run for his life from a ‘beast’ in the outskirts of Hong Kong. “I was out walking at dusk and I heard something in the bushes. It sounded like a growling monster, and was shit scared so I ran and ran and tripped over and ran. I called a cab and as I waited on the road, I could hear more of them out there in the bushes. Logic would say it was a wild boar, but I think it was a man-eating beast.”

"Please get bigger, I promise I wont look"

We rounded the night off with a little boundary bashing. Dave had gone to bed and I was sat drunkenly with Harvey. I decided I wanted to show him my penis. I warned him beforehand, and tried to get a sychronised pants-down on the count of 3. However, on the first attempt, I was alone in my nakedness. My penis had been replaced by a cocktail sausage lying in a bed of straw.

“I can do better than that”, Harvey said with relish. He unearthed a beached brown whale, languishing on tanned thighs.

“I’m a 7.5 incher” he said matter of factly. My cocktail sausage shrivelled in agreement.

We watched some porn on his Ipad, marvelling at the high definition and sleek finish. An asian girl was being impaled. As my sausage stirred, I said “Quick, look, this is more like it”

As both our pairs of eyes fell on my crotch, the growth reversed and it hid amongst the straw like a spooked mini guinea pig. Speaking of which, Dave had a guinea called Alfie. He thought he was a dog. What’s it all about, Alfie?

Well there was no getting away from it. Harvey had a big cock.

“May I?” I said politely, reaching across, and lifting it. It was a thing of, if not beauty, then wonder. It felt heavy and warm, substantial and soft. I laid it back down.

It was a bit of a non-sequitur so we went to pass out in the guest bedroom.

Another box ticked? One can go through life without ever touching a same-sex sexypart. We see them, thanks to Channel 4 and YouPorn, but they are mythical, massive, virtual. It was a moment that made sense, holding Harvey’s helmet.

We went to sleep in a bunk bed. The next day it drizzled and my head hurt. Dave was monosyllabic; I was morose, and Harvey marvelled at the weather.

“This is amazing!” He said, eyeing the sky. “You just don’t get this kind of weather anywhere else. Let’s go for a hike!”

This chipper celebration of our mundane Northernness was irritating. “No thanks” we replied. Holidaying in misery is the only way to enjoy it.

Instead, I turn my attention to Alfie.

“Make him make that noise that guineapigs make” I say.

Dave goes over to a draw and pulls out a carrot. Alfie sniffs the air. Dave starts to peel the carrot, and Alfie starts

“Weet weet weet weet”

Simple pleasures.

Parental Guidance: No Olds Beyond this Point


Hear Ye! Hear Ye! I made it to Esther’s fifth base last night (how many bases are there?)- the final one anyway. I was a free-baser. I covered all the bases. I was totally addicted to base.

"Stop: Are you over 18?"

After a quiet weekend, the girls were craving some socialising, and around 7, Esther got a conspiratorial text from Lisa, and she went down to hers for a wine-fuelled girly chat. I started to get very bored, and before I knew it, I had accidentally Google the word ‘showering’ and selected the video format. Oh no, I thought, as I watched, I can’t get these images out my head now, I am like a biased jury, so I’d better use it to spice up my own well overdue shower scene. I did this instead of ringing my granddad, which I had been ordered to do by my mother. I tried hard not to think of either family member as I touched my member.

 

A little later, I decided to watch Less Than Zero, the film of Bret “American Psycho” Easton Ellis’s first novel. Robert Downey Jr. spends the whole film fucked off his face, sleeping on beaches and puking down toilets and getting darker and darker eye bags. It’s all about the vacuous, nihilistic, decadent club scene in Cali in the 80s. It’s about much the same mental turmoil as is laid out in this blog- being young(ish) and bored and filling the time with self-made misery and danger in an attempt to provoke some emotion in our dulled creature-comforted brains.

"I'm wet and wild"

Anyway, it was just getting to the bleakest bit with dying and crying, and I get a text from Esther:

“I’m coming home. Meet me at the door with a blindfold. Don’t say anything”.

Christ, I was scared! As I have told you before, I make a clumsy and ineffectual lover, and the thought of being blind and dumb while trying to maintain Esther’s sexual interest made a chill run down my spine.

Time for a wee I though, and as I was finishing, I heard her come in the door. Shit, I wasn’t ready with the blindfold. I’ve failed again.

Quickly, I put a scarf round my head and felt my way gingerly out of the bathroom. I could hear Esther walking slowly up the stairs.
After what felt like ages, I felt the end of the wall and pulled my self onto the landing, thinking that I look more like a mime artist than a lothario.

(Listen to the voiceover in this video. And they say teenagers don’t believe in magic any more…)

Esther’s footsteps stopped abruptly. She giggled. My penis shrunk a little more. Or my little penis shrunk more.

“The blindfold was for me, stupid!” she tittered.

Oh God. Oh Jesus why am I such a fool. everything below the waist started curling up. I uncovered my pink cheeks and put the scarf on her, and we made our way to the bedroom struggling to get past a confused dog blocking the doorway.

‘What the hell are they up to now?’ Goldie was thinking. ‘Some more monkey business no doubt’.

What happened next is rated 18+, and you will have to make the dog point to the relevant bits on a doll to find out the details. Suffice to say, that I made 2 deposits into the bank of wild oats that day, and today I am chafing.

"Swing Your Pants"

Mutual Masturbation starring Shaun Ryder and Kenneth Williams


Last Monday was apparently the “happiest day of the year”. It was Happy Monday, that celebrated day of old when Shaun Ryder woke up in his own vomit and decided to form a band. What a crock.

IMAO ‘the happiest day of the year’ only happens once a decade, when the Summer forgets to be so darn British and goes all out.

However illogically, most years just don’t have a best day, only lots of worst days.

Esther: "I'm out of here"

Me and Esther are moving house soon. This means downsizing, which means that Esther is going to get mean on my ass.

We start at the top of the house.

“We don’t need any stupid books!” she yells as I try to slip some into the ‘Keep’ box. “You can get books online now”
“But you can’t write on them or change them at all” I say falteringly. Why the hell do I want books?
“You can print them off” she retorts
“You might as well buy them if you’re going to do that!” Ha! I try to fault her logic
“Print it off then throw it away when you’ve read it. It’s so old fashioned to have books” She says scornfully.
I must work out more surreptitious ways to save my precious paper antiques.

“Old fashioned” really cuts me to the quick. My hip self image, with it’s jacket over the shoulder and ‘jazzy’ socks, starts to cry. Damn it.

I feel like Marty McFly being given a dressing down for his fashion sense:

Anyway why should I be taking advice from someone who only reads picture books?

I’ve got the girl of my dreams- and just like a dream, she’s pure illusion.

Our rules of interaction are:

  1. No caresses
  2. No kisses that last more than 1 second, with absolutely no trace of saliva.
  3. No groping or foreplay
  4. No sleeping naked
  5. No sex or it’s euphemisms: hanky panky, slap and tickle, how’s your father, rumpy pumpy etc

Plato would be proud of us. And Jesus. Shame they’re dead and I hate them.

We have a tea break from packing. In bed. Quietly, Esther gets under the duvet. I turn round, and before I can criticize she shouts

“No! No! No! No! Nothing is happening!” and buries her head under 3 pillows.

"Let's not bother moving house, let's just snooze"

Instead I watch the news. “Closing libraries will kill communities!” is the Liberal crusade of the week. Bullshit. Libraries are just full of mentally ill people who have nowhere else to go. Sheffield City Library has its own regulars: a man who sets up shop next to the Frank Zappa books and conducts a tea party with his multiple personalities, several people who pretend to read comics while they blatantly stare at normals over their glasses, people who try and have a shower in the toilet wash basin (one limb at a time). Oh and people who like to complain about the absence of porn in the video collection.

And then there’s the zero emission neo-hippies who come in with their fold up bikes and faint whiff of hemp, who hover like angry flies around the ‘Environment’ section and sneer at the materialists ogling the chick lit.
Where would these lost souls go instead? The public toilets? Charity shops probably, to get naked in the changing room or to repeatedly ask if any of the clothes are made with organic cotton.

Whenever I start to rant, I want a write a Manifesto. So far, all I can think of is:

  1. Bring back beatings for freaks. My dad used to be chased down the road for being a longhair. Now, anything goes and no-one gives a shit what you wear. I just wished people cared enough to want to hit me.
  2. Bring back Trevor and Simon: the gay Vic and Bob?

The thing that always pissed me off about accounts of the free-lovin’ 60s is that it was always so hetero. Gayness isn’t even considered; radical politics went with ultra-conservative sexuality. Boring. If you are really interested in deconstructing the personality and experiementing with non-normative ways of living, surely trying out same sex relationships is a no brainer? But no, it remained a taboo, and this is what makes me mad! Get over yourselves, you’re just a horny square trying to get unlimited booty calls!

Thinking like this made me wonder if I would enjoy gay sex.

I was discussing foursomes with my good friends Demi and George, and I realised that I am willing to have a penis up my bum, if at the same time I have my penis in a vagina.

And vice versa. Or some spit roasting; I do like KFC.

“Yes” George said, reminiscing, “I do quite like it with a finger up me”.

Whatever feels nice goes, I say.

Mutual masturbation might also be of interest (“Like this? Have you tried our other sexual favours?”). Apparently when Kenneth Williams first went to a gay bar, he was so excited that he ran down the street shouting “mutual masturbation” until the police were called.

Comeback no. 64: “Do you sit on someone’s face with that bum?” I’m not sure yet what context this will suit, but I’m convinced there is one.

I had a stroke, but you couldn’t reach


Here is a faithful record of the unfaithful dream that I had last night:

Our house was haunted. The sound of stiletto heels echoed down the hallway floorboards and I ran after them into the kitchen. But there was nothing.

"Oh Oh you're in trouble with Esther"

I became very scared, but then got distracted by finding a picture disc 12 inch by Shampoo from 2011. “Wow, they’ve reformed” I thought.

"How dare you surpass your 15 year love for me!"

Back to the goosepimples. I realised as I became more and more terrified that I was completely and utterly and clinically madly in love with a girl who wasn’t Esther. I felt a yearning like a koala for its favourite tree, or a chip’s desire to lie with mushy peas, or a sloth’s desperation for an extension on their essay. Intense.

Every atom of my being was involved in this sweaty lust and longing. Each pore became a mouth singing  ‘I love her I love her I love her’ like a million-strong microscopic boyband. Oh God, this feeling was worse than running out of pudding or some hellish comedown or even a year of Monday mornings lining up like happy slappers forever.

"Quick- she's falling in love"

I had the intellectual runs. Hot thoughts were spurting out of me like: She is the only person I’ve ever loved, the only person who makes me suffer a rapid succession of micro-strokes when I see her, starting in my eye and radiating down past my penis and into the ground.

But I can’t have her. I was mad with sadness, I started to melt like a microwaved snowman and I woke up with my face screwed into the pillow, tears mixing with the usual slobber in a pool that stuck my features into the expression of misery they felt.

Then I had to go to work and like with all dreams, the feeling faded and I found a packet of wine gums in my pocket and felt a bit better. Also my student told me about his visit to the Sistine chapel to see Leonardo Di Caprio’s paintings, which I greatly enjoyed. If only that was true.

But like my dream, it’s an impossible thing and I can’t waste my life wishing it into existence. And it’s a fatal mistake to take dreams as reality, as Marion Cotillard found in Inception

Militant in Meadowhall


"I just don't know who I am anymore"

Just got back from Meadowhall. I wanted to buy some self esteem at any price. But all I got was half price narcissism and 33% extra free self loathing. And some socks n that.

I saw lots of people who I can only describe as consistent. Chavs, Emos, wannabe WAGs, Goth-Lite, Emo-Chav. They all knew who they were (on the outside at least): they had the uniform sorted out, no mistakes.
In comparison I feel like a style Frankenstein, with odd bits from different eras stuck together, with no conception of a whole. I want a fucking uniform.


"I'm a vewy angwy young man"

I have tried being militant but it always goes awry. I’m really jealous of Christians and Young Socialists and Goths who can turn off their brains and follow a code regardless of how ridiculous and/or anachronistic it is.
First I had a rule that everything I bought that wasn’t food had to come from a charity shop. This meant that I became obsessed with Help the Aged’s special book and record shop. I used to go nearly every day and finger through the vinyl in the hope of spotting a record from the infinite ‘must have’ list in my head. This was compiled from overhearing middle-aged men talking in the pub, and from middle aged men writing in The Guardian.
I would buy a record, let’s say ‘The Clash’ and take it home, my hands shaking in trepidation. Here was a cultural relic; a touchstone, and I could feel the angst of a generation fizzing under my fingertips. I’d put it on and brace myself- I’m enjoying this, I’d tell myself. This is a GOOD album. Other people say so. There are more of them than me. I can picture them all, rocking in agreement.
So here’s my shock confession. I hate the Clash. I don’t like reggae so why would I want a shitty white boy version of it. Plus they have no style. The Sex Pistols win hands down, for their ugliness, ambition and also their pop. Write a proper song Strummer! Oh wait, you’re dead.

"I is a WASTA"

Sheffield seems to be populated by Men Who Like The Clash. Everywhere you go there’s someone who’s personality was hard wired by White Riot or London Calling. It’s like some fucking Masonic society- get over it! Like Scroobius Pip eloquently said “ The Clash? just a band”


You wouldn’t have caught Paul Simenon, Strummer or the other one advertising I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter (it would have to be the bitter rival of Anchor, for old time’s sake). Some people say Johnny Rotten is a sell out- but that only means something if you’re still clinging onto the idea that punk can change the world- but after ‘I Wish I was A Punk Rocker with Flowers in my Hair’ how can you think the message is still getting through?

That’s like singing I Wish I Wore My Klan Outfit to the Notting Hill Carnival. How can someone get it so wrong?

“In ’77 and ’69 revolution was in the air
I was born to late to a world that doesn’t care
I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair”

What we lack as a generation is context. You know, that crucial bit of extra knowledge that makes everything make sense. The past has been reduced to a pick ‘n’ mix, a jumble of possible styles and causes you can choose to dress in. So it makes sense that old Sandi could lump hippies and punks together because Topshop does too. Who cares if one advocated nothingness and destruction (no future), while the other wanted a universal conscientiousness (a utopian future)? History has become a Sale Rail of symbols. Why believe in anything any more?

I’m basically a trash whore, a music pansy, a soft lad.

I made myself buy the so-called classic albums because I have no taste of my own you see. I am a vessel, filled by other people’s likes and dislikes. If I am asked about something I should know about, let’s say The Godfather I-III, I have to apologise profusely and take my red cheeks elsewhere. Or else pretend. But that gets me into trouble. To escape the tedium of shaking my head at the many things I don’t know about, I have taken to throwing a few “yeah’s” and nods in. But then comes the more detailed interrogation, sorry, conversation, where you have to say what bits you enjoyed the most and give an opinion about its worth. This is where I am left stuttering.