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…

 

 

Those Pesky Time Flies


"A late 20th Century torture device"

Esther found out that the Japanese earthquake has made our days a few micro seconds shorter FOREVER because it made us spin faster on our axis. Now she can’t stop thinking about this lost time.

“What if the next earthquake knocks us completely off our axis and we go spinning out into space?” she quivers.

“Well then, I guess we’re all fucked” I reply. No, I don’t actually because she’s the boss and such a quip would be considered insolent. Instead I comfort her with logic.

“That will never happen, I’m sure they would tell us etc”. At this point you conspiracy theorists will be sniggering at my naivety. As I have already told you, I think the man is misunderstood, and I enjoy the feeling of his/her big overprotective/oppressive arm round me. Oh how I wish I’d had a big brother to wrestle some sense into me. And to compare penis size with/ experiment with mutual masturbation. You know, the usual time-honoured family escapades.

“How many micro seconds are there in a second?” she asks

Google tells me there are 1 million.

“Oh, that’s rubbish” she mutters. “I don’t give a shit anymore”.

Real life always disappoints. Nobody discovers their junk is worth millions on Antique Roadshow. You don’t get model scouted on your way to Tesco. Getting high only leads to plummeting lower. Weird stuff that does happen is never the amazing things, always the mundane or sinister or depressing.

Thus, Lisa has become too scared to walk Devo in the cemetary in case the Polish man proposes. She has been forced to take affirmative action to point out to the overfriendly Pole that she is a taken woman.

He found her on facebook, and last week she agonised over a message that would put him straight. “I have a boyfriend” was all she could think of saying.

Unfortunately it only made him defensive. “I have a girlfriend too, of course” he wrote back. “Why should that stop us from meeting and talking?”

Lisa and Esther decided instead to avoid the park around the time he usually bumps into them.

"Goddammit, why isn't he looking at your beaver?"

I got really jealous the other week that he fancied Lisa and not Esther. “Why doesn’t he want you too?” I asked. “Maybe you’re not attractive enough” I thought. Fucked up as it sounds, I keep needing to know my girl is pretty to other people in order to have proof of my own attractiveness.

“You’re weird” says Lisa when she overhears me.

“Fuck off and get counselling” is Esther’s understandable reply.

A few days passed, and the girls managed to miss the Polack, thinking that maybe he had got the message and has backed off. Nipped his European openness in the bud so to speak, slapped a restraining order on his free spirit.

Today though, he finally caught up with them. He went aggro, singing raucous Polish songs to himself and throwing sticks at their heads, yelling “You should have safety helmets, hahaha”. He had replaced the behaviour of a lech with that of a sociopath.

“At least he had to stand further away to ‘accidentally’ throw sticks at us” Esther reasoned.

Is it better to be murdered than raped? Better to offend strangers than to have to pretend to be their friend? Better to throw sticks than to invite ridicule?

Adam Ant once went to his local for a quick pint, only to be bullied by chants of “ridicule is nothing to be scared of.”

When he could take no more, he slunk off home and returned with a gun in his hand and a righteous glint in his eyes.

Poor Adam. He’s just like me, but famous. He likes to rant and get naked, and he can’t take any flak.

He’s welcome round mine any time. I really want to ask him how to apply eye shadow convincingly.

Today I dared myself to walk round Topman with a pair of purple glasses with flip-up shades, flipped up proudly. I managed a quick circuit of the men’s bit, then fled down the stairs, pretending to multitask on my fone so I didn’t meet anyone in the eye.

This is phase one of operation ‘pompous, public and proud’. More to follow. Ridicule is nothing to be scared of. No pain no gain. Or, as Rihanna sang, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but chains and whips excite me”.

"I meant it metaphorically"

 

The Happy Medium. The Marvellous Mediocre.


"Look, there's me in the middle"

Apparently Esther’s experience of my penis is akin to Goldilocks’s breaking and entering experience at the 3 bears’s house.

While her first boyfriend’s cock was “longer and thinner”, her successive boyf’s member was “shorter and fatter” than mine, which apparently lies slap bang in the middle. Goldilocks has found the right pot of porridge.

So, either I have found someone with a miniature vagina, or she’s lying, or I do actually have a normal sized (erect) cock. Either way, it’s a winner.


Is it so bad to be neither brilliant or terrible, to just simply ‘do’? When Esther’s family friends first saw a picture of me, they said, “He’ll do”. For what I wonder? For Christmas dinner if they run our of turkeys? For sucking like a sugar daddy?

I am fit for purpose, reliable, reasonably priced (cakes are my only vice). I’m not Tesco Finest, but neither am I Buy One Get One Free. Or Buy One Get Three Free as I saw the other day. WTF?

We spend our first 40 years looking desperately at the young, rich and beautiful, and turning away from those uglier and poorer than we are. Everything that happens to our bodies after the age of 21 is shit. I missed my chance to be buff. Now I need to get the fuck over it.

"If I buy a Day Saver, can I go back the start again?"

Esther’s cat Emma died last week. She turned from an ADHD ASBO kitten with tourettes into a slow, silent old lady. Her tongue went from pink to white, and her black hair fell out. She died a different person than she had lived.

Her Emma-ness had been eaten away, or had faded, and all that was left was an imposter.

By the time we die, we expect to turn into a pathetic parody of ourselves: a weak, leaking burden who lives somewhere far removed from reality. Alzheimers, Parkinsons or Cancer will be having its way with our organs, and we will unintentionally hurt everyone we love by not being ourselves. This is our collective fate, unless something intervenes earlier.

“The Stupid Club” is a select group of cultural icons who died at the age of 27, preserving their beauty and virility forever. Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Sid Vicious, Janis Joplin, Marc Bolan. Its members are incapable of dealing with the onset of middle age. The latter part of ones twenties brings with it a devastating taster of things to come: first white hairs, buying NME and not knowing anyone in it, being rejected in favour of 21 year olds. These eternally 27 stars couldn’t imagine themselves being old, ugly and unable to function, and so topped themselves or were careless enough to die.

"Join the Bitch Club, it's way cooler"

I finally get Esther to watch The Runaways with me. I am glad that it is not overtly sexual, because then we she would make me turn it off. A turn on is a turn off. The best thing about the movie is their manager Kim Fowley who looks like Eddie Izzard’s big brother and he says exciting, fucked up, high falutin’ things like

Dog shit! Urine-stained dog shit! Rock ‘n’ roll is a blood sport, a sport of men. It’s for the people in the dark, the death cats, the masturbators, the outcasts who have no voice, no way of saying I hate this world, my father’s a faggot, fuck you, fuck authority – I want an orgasm! Now, growl! Moan! This ain’t women’s lib, kiddies – the is women’s libido! I wanna see the scratch marks down their fucking backs! Now, do it again. Again. Like your boyfriend just fucked your sister in your parent’s bed. LIKE YOU WANT A FUCKING ORGASM!

 

I want to dress like a Primark glam rocker, and be all style and no meaning.

As I drop off to sleep, I hear a sniffing sound. Esther’s got a bloody cold.

I turn over “Are you sniffing darling?” I murmur. Then the sniffs turn to sobs. Oh dear. She starts to sob and sniffle in earnest. All I can do is rub her back, in the knowledge that in normal situations my hand would be smacked away and it might now with extra force. “I want to hold Emma. But I can’t” she whispers.

Normally, I would try to find a solution. That’s what boys do apparently; they treat emotion like it’s a problem to be resolved, whereas girls empathise. I can’t solve the problem- we’ll never see Emma again. So I just wait for the emotions to come out and die down.

After a while, Esther says “Dakota Fanning looks like Emma,” she sniffs, “her facial expressions are the same. She’s a little lost girl with too much emotion”.

"FEED ME!"

The other day we tried to imagine what kind of voice Goldie would have if she could speak. It would have to be a frightened old lady, and we both shuddered at the thought.

Threadbare teddy bears get us used to when pets get old. Dead pets get us used to when people die. Dead people get us used to when we die.

If I get bigger and bigger pets, will I be less sad when my relatives die? If I have a bear, or an elk, will I not mind as much?

Whatever happens, I didn’t know Emma for very long, but I loved her. I don’t want to feel sad that’s she’s gone, I want to feel glad that I knew her at all. I just hope she doesn’t come back and get me for giving her an ASBO.

 

 

Don’t look at me with that tone of voice


"Look mummy, she's having tarantula cunnilingus! Doesn't she know that spiders don't have tongues?"

I was just in Spar. A family came in, and huddled round the newspaper stand.

“She’s been in Playboy” says the precocious 14 year old daughter.
Ok, I’m dealing with Liberal parents. I leaf through Heat and try to ignore them.
The girl takes her tweeny sister over to the lad’s mags.
“Oh my god look at Nuts!” she lisps, “I can’t believe she’s on the cover!”
I start to feel a bit sick in my feminist/prudish parts, and I have to walk down to the freezer section to cool off.

"Oh God! I haven't tried this flavour. Who am I??"

While I zone out with the Viennettas, I think ‘Should they know this stuff?‘ They know more than an (admittedly late flowering) 30 year old man about the Glamour Industry. Maybe their parents are porn stars, or refuse to have a lock on their bedroom door.

I often dismiss things as ‘just wrong’ because I wouldn’t want to do it. But who the fuck am I? Some kind of taste-maker?

"Another box ticked"

Is it right to cut yourself off from certain experiences?

Is it right to say ‘I will never try this’ and have done with it?
Fair enough, you may say, if we’re talking something BIG like heroin, or murder?

But where do you draw the line? If it’s legal? If it’s moral? If it’s mentioned in the Guardian?
“OMG, if you haven’t eaten Basking Shark buttocks, you’ve never tasted food”
Part of the middle class world-view is that everything is there for the taking: foreign countries provide interesting food promotions in Waitrose, and other cultures provide amusing anecdotes at dinner parties (“We were captured and raped by the janjaweed. It’s simply divine!”). Keeping up with the Smyth-Headingley’s requires single minded dedication to seeking out new experiences. A pathological need for MORE.

“1001 movies you must see before you die” “The Bucket List” “Must Haves”:
We’re constantly being told that we’re missing out.

Fuck off and leave me alone. If I go to my deathbed without having watched Citizen Kane, have I wasted my life? If I die before I try the Backwards Cowboy position, am I losing out?
Am I fuck. I refuse to believe your hype. I refuse to bully myself into trying stuff for the sake of ticking a box. If I’m not careful, I could lose faith in my own judgement- “I like this because NME gave it 10/10”.

I would quite like to be happy more than 50% of the time, and find a way to go bald gracefully, but that’s where my ambition for the future ends.

Getting older is a shift of perspective- you go from instant gratification (now!), to a 5/10/50 Year Plan (then!) where life becomes about Big Stuff: how to get to where you’re going, and whether it’ll be worth it when you get there.

"I'm a clean living motherfucker"

Also as you get old, your face becomes weathered. Your life is written in crow’s feet and saggy jowls. Your face betrays you, the fucker.

Apparently, Esther can instantly tell when I try to suppress my emotions. Apparently I have whenever I am mad, I get an “anger chin” and whenever I’ve done something naughty I get “guilty lips”. I wonder if each of my features is associated with a feeling: a horny nose? a peevish eyebrow? a cringing cheek?

Damnit, this means that she can read me like a (picture) book.

George Michael had the same problem. Poor bloke, his transparency made him the object of ridicule at discotheques.

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.

Quick Rant about Sex, Death and Whipping


Sex and Death are the two moral compasses by which politics, ethics and aesthetics habitually find direction. The cultural traumas we have inherited from the past cause us to feel guilty about not feeling guilty, and to perceive pain and suffering as the essence of reality. The over-saturation of words like poignant and haunting in the critical reception of art, films and music constructs a trauma oneupmanship whereby the most harrowing experiences are synonymous with the most authentic and worthwhile. This masochism reiterates the old modernist diatribe against the duping opiate of mass media which kills us slowly in the name of entertainment. After each World War, all meaningful representation was charged with carrying the burden of history. Thus popular culture and high art went their separate ways, serving as they did different classes their respective meat (hot superficiality to one and cold profundity to the other). The post modern trend for a blurring of boundaries between the sentimental and the austere has helped to dispel some of this attitude but self-flagellation seems to be inherent in the bourgeois self image.