Zombies v Real Anger


Tues 17th April

 Lisa: “I couldn’t sleep coz I had a migraine, hurty boobs and real anger”

“Real anger?”

“Yes.”

No further explanation was offered. But a can of worms was offered round.

“I told Dom I had to be bathed in warm milk, fed chocolate and put to bed. He fetched me a fat free yogurt and left me to go upstairs to bed.”

The real anger became evident as the day wore on. Lisa’s world had drained of all fun, and she was in danger of being sent home to bed with no tea, if only we could find a lion tamer. Even the inanimate internet was to blame, as she shouted at the laptop screen;

“I’ll kill you unless you show me some dancing dogs.”

This has the same impotent power as my granddad shouting “I’ll set the dogs on you” down the microscopic phoneline to nuisance callers.

 Wed 18th

I may have scared the newsagent. There are many times when a dry sense of humour can get you in trouble.

“I thnk I have won a bit on this lottery ticket”

He takes it off me, scans it in. His eyebrows raise

“A little?! You’ve won nine hundred and sixty…”

The seconds stretch on interminably. My legs start to wobble.

“…pence” he finishes off, looking up and flashing me a cheeky smile.

“You bastard!” I say.

Next day, I see him on the street on my way to work. I had not planned for this, so my words are unprepared;

“I’ll get you back for that, by the way!” I stutter as he passes.

“For what?” he says with apprehension

“The lottery ticket”

“Oh” he replies, walking past hastily and trying to laugh.

Oh no, what have I started? My dry delivery and social awk. have made it sound like a cold blooded threat. I better avoid him for a while.

Ah well, as long as I act naturally next time, it’ll all be forgotten.

The next time I see him, he is safe behind his counter. As I make my exit, he calls me back.

“I’m pretty hard to get back, you know” he warns. Finally, the ball is in his court. I can stop now and he won’t be scared of me.

“That sounds like a challenge..” I reply.

Me and my big mouth!

Wed 18th

Went to a nutrition fair in the university union today, ostensibly to support one of my students who was involved, but really to get a free lunch.

There really is no such thing though, because as I approached each morsel-laden stall, I realized that I would have to feign interest as I talk to the student stall-holders for a minimum of 5 minutes before asking to sample their goods.

Damn social etiquette, I want my lunch!

One stall was manned (literally) by two Greek gods, whose treacle skin burst steroidally out of their skinnyfit tshirts. Of course, when they talked it became clear that they were plebs, but for a while, these twin pillars of genetic perfection stood, arms crossed, surveyjng a world that was theirs for the taking.

My first impulse was to run to the  flawed prettiness of next stall’s two girls. Herein lies the essential difference between viewing beautiful boys and beautiful girls: pain.  In the case of boys, my narcissism is reflected back painfully into my face, but with girls the experience of objectifying is a warm and fuzzy (like wielding a mauve lightsabre, or a soft focus semi-erection). The key here is power: better looking boys confiscate it; pretty girls seem to offer it on a plate.

Anyway, my retreat to the next stall meant that for 5 minutes I listened attentively about the miracle that is pomegranate smoothies, during which I waited for an inch of purple sludge to make its way along the complementary cup to my mouth.

The next stall along had made high fibre cakes into the shape of poo and heaped them in a potty. While this would have put most people off, my love of cake had me shovelling the dense turd in and complimenting the chefs as dark matter cascaded from my mouth.

This appetiser was followed by a taster of kangaroo meat and a catch up with the student, whose autism means that life is essentially a re-enactment of slapstick films.

As we shook hands, he went

“BZZZZZ”

and cackled to himself.

His other favourite is

“MNMNMNMNMNMNMN”

in the vicinity of computers like Buck Rogers’ robot:

Oh to have such simple, retro pleasures.

Sat 21st

Esther’s grumpiness has reached an all time high. My silent prayers are no longer enough: It’s time to defer to a power higher than god- the maxillofacial doctor at the Royal Hallamshire.

We take the lift to floor I, where the doctor promised we would be at the front of the queue, only to find a bench full of casualties each twisted in their own form of agony. One guy is doubled over, cradling his head on a bloody tracksuit top; another is wheelchair-bound with lips so fat they droop under their own weight, and an accusatory leg he can’t bend at the knee. Next to us is a girl with pink hair whose unreadable expression leads me to the conclusion that she’s had a stroke. She should take up poker.

Esther’s painkillers are about to run out.

“Better not take anymore” I reason, “He needs to know how much pain your in. Plus I’m sure he’ll give you some kickass new ones that you can have straight away.”

Her lip wobbles as she agrees. At the dim distant end of the corridor, a figure with long dark hair and blue dressing gown is zigzagging aimlessly this way. Esther peeks past me at her, then flattens herself against the wall in terror. The Ring has a lot to answer for.

From the other side ambles an old man with deep gouges across one side of his face.

“He must have stroked his cat the wrong way” I say.

This is not entirely far-fetched: Linda’s dopey countenance will transform into a wildcat’s snarl if you stroke her in the wrong place. “Back and not the sides” is Esther’s smug motto whenever  I stroke her and Linda’s tail starts ominously to lash from side to side.

In the ward opposite our bench there’s a twenty-something guy whose scalp has been stitched back on with huge Frankenstein zigzags. His friends keep rushing out to tell the nurse that “his head is leaking.”

As the pain takes hold, Esther’s legs shudder and her sharp intakes of breath get more frequent. I bury my head in World War Z.

Finally, after 4 hours, the 12 year old doctor calls Esther and I in. Esther’s social phobia tends to make her get a bit tongue tied and understate how bad she’s feeling, so I keep adding the things she’s been moaning in my ear about.

“Stop it!” she says when he leaves the room.

“What?”

“You’re embarrassing me! Stop talking for me!”

“Fine!”

You can bet that we’ll get home and once we’re alone she will let rip about how much it hurts. I haven’t seen Grizzly Man but I can guess how that guy felt. After all this time, he just gives her some antibiotics and puts a dressing on her tooth-hole.

“This is going to hurt a bit, and it looks like horse-hair” the doctor says cheerily.

“That’s good, you like horses” I say, equally cheerily.

Esther just glares.

As we wait for her prescription, I dare to ask for a pain update.

“Imagine if this room was full of mints and they were left to rot for a hundred years into a nugget the size of a pea. That’s what this dressing tastes like” she says.

Yummy.

Boring, Ugly and Ill as Sin


DEC 26th


Ugh. So ill today, like I’ve been drinking STRYCHNINE. My stomach is bruised. One nostril whistles like an icy cave on a mountaintop.
Esther goes to do family things, and I stay in bed. “Have you got money on your phone so I can text you and say ‘Baby, what are you doing now?’” I ask.
“Hmm” she replies. As well as being rubbish at Public Displays of Affection (PDAs), she is incapable of Text Affection (TAs).
I think ‘right, now I am going to find some real porn. This will cheer me up’. Halfway through a shower scene I feel really sick and have to go to sleep. The sound of sticky balls slapping against bumcheeks haunts my dreams, like some feverish jungle drumbeat that goes faster and faster as I am burned alive.

"Please can we at least hold hands?"

Esther goes to her parents for a family meal. After a couple of hours, she texts saying, “This is horrible. I want to come home”. This is as near to a TA as I’m likely to get, but I must not get excited. I text her back some alibi “I feel poorly and I need you to come back”.
An hour later, she’s back. “Jesus” she says, letting out air, “That was like being with the Royle family, only it’s not as fun if you’re actually there.”
“What happened?” I ask.
“Mum went crazy because she couldn’t find the special spoon she’d got to serve the trifle. She screamed ‘I can’t have any lovely trifle if I don’t have that knife’ and couldn’t be consoled”. Time to leave.

"I don't know what you're smiling at, you've just ruined pudding!"

I’ve just finished All Families Are Psychotic by Douglas Coupland. I don’t think I want to read anything by him ever again because he depresses the shit out of me. If you can’t be American, rich and happy, there’s no hope for any of us.

A sample:
Wade thought about his father. What would the world have to offer Ted Drummond, and the men like him, a man whose usefulness to the culture had vanished somewhere around the time of Windows 95?

Slit my wrists now please.

And:
I believed the script I was handed. And then one day in the early 1980s I hit a red light in North Vancouver and ding! I understood that I was now forever in life’s minus columns and the plus column was over.

The only thing that makes me carry on reading is because it sounds exotic to a lower middle class British suburbanite like me.

Hmm let’s see what would happen if we transported it to, let’s say, Rotherham or Stoke on Trent. Here’s how the novel starts:

Janet opened her eyes. – Florida’s prehistoric glare dazzled outside the motel window. A dog barked; a car honked; a man was singing a snatch of Spanish song. She absentmindedly touched the scar from the bullet wound beneath her left rib cage.

Here’s the grime remix:

Tracey opened her eyes- South Yorkshire’s grey smog hung thickly outside the dirty double-glazed window of the Sally Army hostel. A dog yelped as its Big Issue vendor owner kicked it; a car revved and ‘music’ that made her bowels move penetrated the room; a crazy man was shouting the names of God’s favourite meals. She absentmindedly touched the half-eaten scab from the Tenants Super can slash beneath her third belly fold.

I have been floored by this LIVE AID ’85 documentary
I am actually crying now because I miss the optimism of Bob Geldof, who really believed that he could change something about the world with some bands.
Why can it never be recreated? Because we no longer have the optimism. We have gone from a ‘WE’ decade to a ‘WHO AM I’ epoch, a ‘WHY?’ era.

The Darkness, Jamelia, Dido, Travis and Ms Dynamite. They sure knew how to pick ’em for posterity!

Note to self: It’s one of the Mysteries of the World, Rowan Atkinson’s transformation from sexy bastard as Black Adder to sexless geek Mr Bean. Perhaps I too can go from the latter to the former?

We take poverty, disease and misery for granted. We have become ‘compassion fatigued’, brought up by the generation that had the last sense of purpose: a viable future. Our inheritance is apathy. There’s bad shit out there, but we can’t do owt about it. May as well get fucked.

I feel cheated. Did I ever believe in anything?
I used to love animals- but only to collect books about them like a colonial hoarder.
I used to believe in vegetarianism, and I was brought up to feel deep empathy for animals, our house was full of them. But I don’t feel that anymore. I can stuff my face with meat with only a tinge of guilt, not enough to put me off.

I feel love for every single band that sang at live aid. Such decadent faith and belief would be instantly cut down by the bitter chavs of cynicism now.
Fundraising has been hijacked- the ‘Live Aid effect’ is one of many styles available to ad companies to flog iPads or car insurance or Nokia phones.
People cared about the Falklands War, about the first Iraq War, about the future, about other people. Now we don’t give a flying fuck. We’ve still got some people who act all earnest- socialists and feminists and Tories. But underneath, everyone is status-driven but blank, vacant, inert like some suavely-jacketed potato. Bollocks.

The only answer is to refuse to answer, to say ‘no comment’.

80s pop is life affirming. Noughties pop is bitter, angry and botoxed.
Compare:

With:

One’s fun to look at and fun to hear, the other is kind of traumatic to watch, (though) fun on the ear. The cartoon shizzle injects some black humour into a prison-rape-murder movie. Don’t girls just wanna have good clean fun no more?

Right.

I’ve just taken 2 ibuprofen and 2 paracetamol now, so the wet cheeked inelegant gushing part of my illness should soon subside, and I will be able to feel no sadness or joy. I will become how I am at my natural state. Merely existing.

As I try to sleep, I can hear the pets snoring (Linda a high pitched nasal snort, Goldie an almost human ‘pufff’). I can hear Esther letting out long breaths of pent up worry.
I am left with the memory of 2 things from today in this darkened room. The sight of a skinny teenage boy with an unusually large and girthy cock, fucking a teenage girl in a shower where the water isn’t running. She looks like she’s sat on an uncomfortable fence waiting for the bus. I think I lost a bit of my soul watching it. The balls go ‘slap, slap, slap-slap, slap-slap, slap, slap’ against her arse and the camera zooms round from a balls-eye-view to a front view of this girl who is kind of unsure where to look. ‘Right’ she seems to think, ‘I’d better make out that I’m really enjoying this’ and she does the whole eyes closed, gasp routine. I get bored and fast forward the video-suddenly they are out of the shower, sat on the toilet and his huge cock seems no nearer to coming. Jesus. Why choose this location? It’s like fucking in a bus shelter or a bank queue- and all I can think is ‘why isn’t the shower on?’ and ‘Does straddling the toilet make either of them need a poo?’ These are non-places (Auge)- they look the same everywhere you go, they are purely functional, where we spend most of our time, but where we spend the least time personalising.
The sound of slapping testicles mixes in my head with the slow-mo footage of starving Ethiopian babies, their stomachs swollen in the ridiculous illusion of obesity, and their tear stained faces covered in dirt and flies. “Give me your money,” shouts a dishevelled Bob Geldof, slamming his hand down on the table.
Slap slap slap. Should I groan now? Ok, ‘aaah’ ‘oooh’. “Fuck this, pick up the phone now and give me your money” Bob growls.
I want to cry for the loss of innocence in both films- the faces in front of the cameras look strangely confused, as if asked to perform something embarrassing in front of a stranger.
What would Bob Geldof be like in bed? An angry young man, pummelling away until he’s satisfied, cursing you as a capitalist whore? Paula Yates could have told us.

"Wouldn't you like to know"

Not a Cure for insomnia: turned the TV on to watch Medium- about a woman who every time her heads hits the pillow is transported to some psycho’s head and has to save someone from certain death. A walking advert for staying up all night. We may all want to be good Samaritans, but if we were forced into the role permanently, we’d go apeshit in a short while.
The 80s had Miami Vice- the Noughties had Misfits. Is one more honest or truthful than the other? Was Miami Vice escapist fluff, and Misfits (and Inbetweeners) is the gritty, shitty truth of our times? Are they merely signs that we’ve plummeted from a time of sexy optimism to one of bitchy pessimism and sarcasm? Or that feminism and identity politics have deflated the masculine ego in culture, and it’s no longer believable to be so happy and full of yourself? Life is shit and you’re a chauvinist pig if you don’t think so?

The pain is lifting like steam from piss…

 

Answers on a stolen postcard please, I’m currently indisposed.

 

Happy Boring and Ugly- Xmas Special


Xmas Day:



Today’s Agenda: Sweet FA watching The Time Machine and TOTP. And a banquet.

What actually happened: lots of pain.

Today feels like my first adult Christmas. I feel like shit, and I can’t eat anything (especially not chocolate), and I am not excited about presents in the slightest. Instead, I’m bored and uncomfortable and goddamn tetchy.
All I can do is lay like a limp roast parsnip and watch TV while everyone (Lisa, Dom, Devo, Goldie, Esther and their parents) bustles around me in stress/hysteria. Even my old favourite movie won’t cheer me up:

The Time Machine.

A Victorian explorer travels into the way distant future (the cozy year 800,000) and finds a load of blonde haired blue eyed babes living like big kids. Turns out that humanity was all for nothing though, because they are merely jail-bait for the ugly mofos who live underground and do all the grafting.

Best Quote (thanks IMDB):

What have you done? Thousands of years of building and rebuilding, creating and recreating so you can let it crumble to dust. A million years of sensitive men dying for their dreams… FOR WHAT? So you can swim and dance and play.”

If the future is for a race of beautiful young people who have no worries and no conscience, it sounds like a fair pay-off to me. Surely the whole purpose of knowledge is to somehow find a way to return to our innocent childlike state of imagination and freedom? What finer gift could there be for culture than to produce the opposite of culture (no, not ‘popular culture’)- pure unmediated being: Giggling and frolicking like sexy lambs.
But oh no, Mr Victorian Neo-Liberal doesn’t want that. He wants us to suffer with knowledge, to aspire to greater and greater things. But this is what has made us grow weary by the late 2oth century. H.G.Wells failed to predict that progress would go out of fashion that we would become bored with the future and jaded by the pressure to constantly better ourselves.

Ah. Top of the Pops. I watch it religiously every year, knowing full well that out of the 20 songs played, I can stomach only 5 and out of those I will like only 2. What were they this year?
(1) Tinie Tempah- Pass out

And…Hmm do I really want to admit this one…yes fuck it, they’ve basically all seen my cock, and this is no more embarrassing:
(2) Take That-the Flood


Like everyone, I crave a bit of homoerotic sportsmanship of a cold winter’s day. Warms you up in all the right places. Like this, my all-time favourite movie scene:

Talking of gayness, I was going to watch The Queen’s Speech for it’s archaic, kitsch value (not coz I’m like a royalist, that would ruin my street cred. litrally). But I didn’t. It’s too hard to live your life ironically.
Apparently it emphasised the unifying powers of sport. Fucking crock of shit. The royals use croquet and polo to separate the chaff from the wheat, not bring us together. Take That’s vid is proof that ONLY people who get their hands dirty in life can achieve a life worth living. Sweaty=Happy. At least, that’s how I justify my pungent BO.

Instead, I caught N-Dubz Dappy’s alt. message on E4.

His best line: “Forgive me if I have painted a somewhat gloomy picture, but I am just real innit”
This may have to be adopted as the tagline for my blog…
Brilliant. I never thought a boy who looks like an upside-down acorn could dispense sense, but there we have it. And who knew he was a royalist?

Next year, I shall have to film my own message to the nation.

Delete as appropriate: Boring and/or Ugly 11


Dec 22nd

Another nookie-less night. In the morning, Esther says, “I was horny last night from watching The Walking Dead. But then you showed me your bum boil.”
I ignored the necrophiliac overtones, and just thought ‘Goddammit’. It’s really sore you see, and I wanted a second opinion ‘Does it look normal? Is it cancer?’ The window for sex was slammed shut in my face. Can we play doctors and nurses?

We trudge down to Lisa’s. She is flustered. Just before we arrived, Dom was in the bath and Lisa had just picked her spots in the formation of

(1) a unibrow,

(2) a beard, and

(3) a moustache.

Quite fetching, don't you think?

Then Dom’s manager, Barry, knocked on the door. Lisa had to answer with her bright pink facial hair, let him in and make a cuppa. Then she scurried back upstairs.

Xmas shopping for the insane: Lisa and Esther’s grandma wants them to buy her some ‘Round-to-its’. Apparently they are plates that you buy when someone says ‘I just haven’t got around to it’. So far, the search has come up blank. Whoever gets this prezzie is going to be thrilled.

Esther cut my hair last night. Now I look like a gay US marine. Every time I take my hat off, it’s to the internal soundtrack of ‘he’s in the army now’, serenaded by Muscle Marys descending from helicopters into the arms of winking Naval officers with pert salutes.

Devo has started to demand Lisa to vacate his favourite chair next to the radiator. He goes up to her, and walks in a circle and sits down. First of all, she got up to let him out. No, he was still there. He had climbed on her chair and made himself comfy. She pushed him off and he did his dance again. She stood up to get him some food and he hopped up again, curling into a tight ball. “He wants my bloody chair!” she realized. It’s the best, warmest seat in the house, and if you get up from it, it’s gone.

We popped into NatWest today to ask why I’m not a millionaire yet. Esther had a rare glimpse of belongingness in the bank while she waited for me with Goldie. A downs syndrome woman came over and grinned ‘it’s a doggy’ ‘She’s a bit shy’ replied Esther. ‘She’s a bit shy’ echoed the woman, and giggled. If only all conversations were this easy, then I’d be able to socialize properly.

Dec 24th


It just said on the news that to combat snow, trains will be fitted with skirts, which they can blow warm air underneath. This sounds like some middle-aged CEO’s dirty dream to me. How kitsch. It’s the last remnant of a faded masculinity that was happy with a flash of knickers. Today’s bloke demands hi-def tits n ass as the *bare* minimum.

Risque circa 1962

The girls go to collect the turkey for Roney’s butchers. It’s massive. It won’t fit in the freezer, so they try to put it out in the garden in a big plastic box. You don’t need a freezer in this weather. “But what if someone nicks it?” says Esther. “Let’s put it in the shed!” Weasel and Kung Fu (their names in babyspeak) are Esther and Lisa’s parents. They stride purposefully into the garden, parent mode turned up to 11.
“No!” shouts Lisa, “There’s dogshit everywhere out there, watch your step!”
The main problem with dogs you see is that every morning without fail, they need to be let out into the garden to empty their bowels. 365 days a year. That’s a lot of shit, and the longer you leave it to pick up, the more daunting it becomes. Surely something will eat it all? Nope. It sits there forever. Nature is wank.
“Well I can tell Devo is getting all the right minerals,” says Weasel, studying the rancid piles.
Esther’s family are natural physical comedians. I would pay to watch them. The simplest things take on Kafkaesque complexity.

“The door’s frozen shut” says Esther, “Let’s prize it open.” She puts her boot on the wall and pulls. Only after a second pair of hands join in does it finally jar open.

“Right, now we need some bricks to put on the box” shouts Esther.
“Ok”, then the frustrated sound of straining muscles happens. “Gnnnnng!” Weasel groans, her teeth clenched in effort.

The best example of anyone ever making this noise is Arnie in Total Recall when he get’s sucked out onto the surface of Mars and his eyes pop out…

The teeth-clenched straining echoes down the terrace. “The bricks are frozen to the ground” she shouts and laughs in an out-of-control way. They are starting to get hysterical.

“Is there anything I can do for you?” says Weasel, once the turkey has been defeated. “Yes. Commit me” answers Lisa.
Her mum heads upstairs to go to the toilet “Don’t let Devo up your bottom” yells Lisa after her.

How to use your kitchen to help you choose a retro slang phrase for the day:


"Actually, you look more like cauliflower"

1. Lay like broccoli (Pretty Woman)

2. Make like a banana and split (©Vienna Famous 2010)

3. Like butter wouldn’t melt

4. You say potato, I say potato. This one only makes sense when spoken in different accents

5. You got any dough?

6. Peachy

7. You’re the apple of my eye. No darling, that’s a cataract.

8. Apples and pears. Does anyone actually speak cockney, or is it a myth made up for tourists?

9. Now we’re cookin’ on gas. A personal favourite, obviously predating the microwave.

10. My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard (Kelis). Sorry I don’t speak innuendo…

11. I should coco(a)

12. Honey pie

13. Something’s fishy around here

14. The milk of human kindness. Semi-skimmed? (See no.10)

15. Sweet like chocolate (Shanks and Bigfoot)/Sweet Like Tropicana (Dizzee Rascal)

Just you try it!

16. Let’s play hide the sausage! No, I have never used this one.

17. I’m gonna make mincemeat out of you!

18. Egg on your face, big disgrace (Queen)

19. Hey honey! Yes, sugar…?

20. Chocolate Rain