Coming a cropper with Jarvis Cocker


Apologies, it’s been a while. Let’s recap.

So, last month I found myself in the posh part of London with a banana in my hand and a nearly nude Syd Barret lookalike crouched in front of me, calling himself an anal virgin (how does one tell these things?). And yes dear reader, I penetrated him. In the mouth.

I felt dirty after this banana face-fuck, and so I should. After all, I only went along to see sex undressed as art.

Dazed & Confused has some good pics– everyone else had their cameras confiscated. You can read my full account at FLUX.

Phallic Fun

Phallic Fun

More recently, Goldie died. She was my first and my only dog, my doggy, the best in the world. I’ve never been so sad and inconsolable in my adult life. Esther was even worse, having got Goldie so she would have to leave the house at least once a day.

“I’ve lost my best friend, my job, and my child all at the same time,” she told me heartbreakingly.

And yes, I’m afraid God briefly lowered his ugly mug over the Velux of my mind.

“Promise you’ll never take her for granted again, and I’ll bring her back,” he cajoled, his beard scraping the glass like screaming trees.

And yes, I did consider it. Him.

But then I realised:

Taking life for granted is its chiefest pleasure.

What special hell life would be if every moment was spent appreciating what you’d got, doing the 719th Times Table in order to count your multifarious blessings, wracked with guilt for not enjoying that last crisp or for not thanking your poo before flushing for its splendid job of removing toxins.

I reached up and finger-wrote ‘No’ into my breath condensation, and God jogged on, assuaged at least for now (he never strays too far). That was a close call.

But the maths of man’s best friend is shocking. Dogs age 7 years for every human one, which means that she was 49 when we got her from the pound, much older & wiser than the new fools charged with looking after her.

But it also means that for every day we were with her, she was cantering off a week into the future, and we could never ever catch up.

That’s just plain unfair.

Shortly after, we moved house. In the space of a month, two of the great wire structures that suspend my papier-mache personality were plucked away: loved pets and lived places. I realised then just how much identity is tied to memory and memory is tied to place.

“But the next people who move in after us will get Goldie,” I sobbed to Esther, imagining that because she died in our old house, she was trapped there forever. The house where she remains is of course our minds, a home you’re only evicted from when you die (even insanity is just moving to a hotel while the flood damage is fixed). And she isn’t trapped there, unless I am trapped there too.

Night night my lovely doggy

Night night my lovely doggy

In less mordant moments, I also interviewed two of my heroes: Arthur Brown (see next month’s Artrocker) and Jarvis Cocker (see next month’s Now Then).

I was having a funny day when I met Arthur, and forgot how steep & long the hill was on the way to the pub where he was playing. By the time I got to speak to him, I had a puffy, strangulated voice that I just had to work with. I was led into a back room where he was there in a robe, touching his toes.

“Just two more,” Arthur says without stopping.

This was like one of those diva moments I’d heard of, when a star proves they’re a star by doing something socially inappropriate in front of you.

“Living in a van is hard!” Arthur says when he’s finished. “Want a cup of tea?”

I really wanted to be served tea by the God of Hellfire, but I already had a lemonade from the bar downstairs.

Arthur was a fascinating man, each answer to my questions coming after a period of silence where his great memory machine rumbled through the findings of 7 decades of life. His show afterwards was even better, silly and OTT and life affirming. My top 3 moments were:

  1. Shoving his mic down his pants and thrusting his fake erection at the crowd like a 7 year old boy.
  2. Stealing the keyboard and the keyboard player having to chase him across the stage, still managing to flawlessly play his arpeggios.
  3. Wearing the baggiest grandad trousers I’ve ever seen, like sagging psychedelic longjohns, and not caring.

I think Jarvis might be to blame for me coming to Sheffield. I can’t remember why I chose Sheffield Hallam University, but at the time I was obsessed with This is Hardcore, and Different Class before it. Blur and Oasis were ok, but Pulp and Suede’s lyrics were the ones I recited as I crept along the walls of the haunted house of teenagehood.

I spent all weekend re-listening to their songs and watching a sneak preview of the documentary that the interview is there to promote. By the day of the interview, I had 50 questions.

So imagine my confusion when I rang the number his PR had sent and heard this.

Jarvis: “Pablo? Pablo? Pablo?”

Me: “Hello Jarvis? Is that Jarvis?”

Jarvis: “Pablo? Pablo? Pablo?”

Me: “Jarvis? Jarvis?” etc

After a minute of this nonsense, I realised it wasn’t an initiation test for inexperienced interviewers and put the phone down.

“Erm, I think you may have sent me the wrong number for Jarvis,” I emailed the PR frantically.

5 minutes later, and 10 minutes into the interview time, she replied with a different number and I was through.

“Hello, I’ve just made some toast,” Jarvis told me.

“Oh, ok.” What am I sposed to do with that info? Oh, wait. “Shall I ring back in 5 minutes?”

“Make it 10.”

So I made myself a cuppa with slightly shaky hands, and rang back in precisely 14 minutes so that I didn’t seem too eager.

“You timed that just right,” he congratulated me in his impeccable and unflappable Northern voice.

…An hour later, we’d covered everything.

“I had a lot of questions.” I thought out loud, “but we seem to have covered them all.”

“Well, that’s good int it,” he said in a voice that always seemed to be skinny dipping in the adjacent pools of mockery and cameraderie.

“Maybe I’ll get to meet you at the film premiere,” I say coolly.

“Yeah, we’re trying to organise an afterparty somewhere…” Jarvis responds, sounding suspiciously like an invitation.

“Sounds amazing!” I say, and then, implausibly, “If they let me out!”

So that’s how I ended my interview: with something so forehead-scrunchingly weird, that having gone over it several hundred times, I still don’t know what I meant.

I think my logic went:

Quick, say something funny.

Say something funny that blokes laugh at.

Blokes laugh at things about wives.

What’s that thing about how wives are sposed to stop you having fun? Oh yeah, ‘my wife won’t let me out.’ Or something.

No time. Go with it.

Please don’t. But I did.

I don’t think I want to go to the afterparty anymore.

"Good one."

“Good one.”

Jarvis Cocker meets The Lord of Rage


Last week I went to a Romantic Fiction Writing Workshop. I hopped on the bus to nowhereville (Chapeltown) and made my way to the library, where I found our coven of schmaltz-peddlers. The class was lead by a Jacqueline Aurora, a woman who specialised in Historical Romance for Mills and Boon. Her first 2 novels concerned ‘the Great Viking raid of 855AD’.

“When I sent my first draft off, Mills and Boon asked me to make the Vikings more…diplomatic” she said.

I could see I was dealing with a master comedian here, because she kept a straight face throughout the session. Either that or she was clueless.

The group is made up of retired schoolteachers, a blushing 17 year old boy, and me. Most of them are chummy because they belong to a local writing group. There’s a woman who was rejected by Mills and Boon, her plaintive voice carrying years of hurt;

“But I don’t understand, I read all the Mills and Boon books and I copied down lots of phrases exactly in my book”

Methinks that’s the reason?

“But I just don’t understand” she keeps repeating.

Here was Jacqeline’s tip on storyline:

“I’ll tell you what your plot is right now: Girl meets boy, girl loses boy, girl gets boy back. Don’t bother trying to make it more complicated, all that matters is the details”

A little later, we have to come up with our hero. The ruddy-faced eco-warrior next to me pipes up:

“He is 5’8 with ruddy cheeks. He lost his wife in a logging accident and wants to take the company down”

“Stop right there” says Jacqueline, “he has to be over 5’8 or no-one will give a shit”

“B-but 5’8 is tall in my family”

“I don’t care- no one wants a short-arse hero”

 “Let me tell you mine,” says the wronged woman in the corner, “I see a rugged Italian man called Antonio. He has thick curly black hair which just touches the collar of his shirt. He teaches Italian and writes poetry”.

West St. on a Friday night is full of Antonio’s who will promise you poems and give you piles, I reflect wistfully.

I decide to base my hero on Prince William;

“He is a Prince and feels like his life has been mapped out for him by the media and the public. He falls in love with a girl below his station at university, but she finds it hard to take the publicity and so leaves him. He has become cruel in the wake of his mother’s suspicious death, and rejects her at first. Both of his parents ended up with someone else, and he hates the idea of betrayal. She realises that he is her only love and they marry in great ceremony”

“Yes” says Jacqueline. “Next.”

So now I have decided to take Friday off work every week to start my romance novel. Apparently there are 12 lines at Mills and Boon including porn (Blaze: “a promise of intimate journeys and complete satisfaction”), “medical romance” (!!), supernatural (latest title “Lord of Rage”) and light petting (“Cherish”).

"Never had domestic abuse seemed so appealing"

I’m sitting here now, in Nile’s cramped livingroom, shifting my weight every few seconds to reduce the ring-sting I’ve had since my mega-poo earlier today. I reflect on how different life could have been. Yesterday I committed a low level act of fan worship by spending 2 hours in the cold awaiting the appearance of Jarvis Cocker at Waterstones. When I got there around 3.30, the queue was large and consisted only of emos. Mistaking the middle of the queue for the end, I suffered the puny evil eyes of purple dyed children of the corn until I realised I was stood next to Holly, a friend from back in the day (2001-2, the Floral Shirt Years). We had wrung those halcyon days of every last buttery drop of debauchery, tomfoolery and inanity. Her companion was a droll commentator on remembrances of things passed.

“Where is all the 70s polyester and tight leather?” I asked, looking round at all the faux-faded denim and baggy hoodies. Age is cruel mistress, feeding you exquisite joy before holding you static while the world is sped up around you, finally releasing it’s grip to let you stumble to a mirror and scream in despair at what stares back.

Anyway, Jarvis finally arrived with his girlf and jack russell (senior) looking like a drowned rat. As he looked up at the queue that snaked round every available space in the shop I caught a micro-expression of horror. A woman came round the queue saying;

“He’s not going to write an essay so write our first name on a post-it note that I’m bringing round. And you can only take a photo of him but not with him”

Why bother being there at all I thought, if he’s just going to copy the name on the note and you can probably get a better picture off Google? Because I love him, came the quick and clammy answer. When I finally got to the table, all the droll comments I had planned went out of my head and I ended up blushing at my choice of ‘Vienna’ for a signee. As I mumbled about being a “failed celebrity from Psalter Lane”, I was transported into Jarv’s head looking up at a delusional loon who would strangle my idol for a taste of fame. He just didn’t get me.

“Don’t talk about Psalter Lane, you’ll make me cry” he said.

And then I was elbowed away by a tweenie. When I got a safe distance away, I looked down at what he’d written:

To Vienna

…Aaaaah!

Jarvis

What did he mean?

“That’s like the song” Esther said when I got home.

“Vienna, like the song” I thought dreamily.

Jarv had got me!

Clit Lit Bit My Tits


Last night, I dreamed that Esther left the room and I quickly turned over the TV to a porn channel. It was some ‘lesbian’ sex (where 2 straight women pretend to do what men imagine gay women do). They sat facing each other, and slowly out of their shaved bits came a strange, elongated clitoris.
It looked rather like the ‘foot’ that mussels have:

"Ooh baby"

It was also like when you squeeze a blackhead, and the puss spirals out and out of your pore without ending or breaking.

As I watched, it felt its way around, and then began to nuzzle the flaps of the other woman, like a miniature leech or parasite, looking for a way in.

It wasn’t sexy. It was more like a nature programme. It was wild. In ‘The Kids are Alright’, the mums get caught watching gay porn because they can tell that the women in ‘lesbian’ porn are straight, and it’s a turn-off. And because cocks are ‘external’ so you know when men are actually aroused.

In my dream, the clitoris had turned into a mini-penis. And their vaginas looked more like seafood.

"wet and wild"

Because the clit is so small, I think the cock stands in for the arousal of both men and women: if a big donkey-dick gets long and hard and goes in and out of the seafood, they must both be having pleasure (we think). But 2 women together- all they can do is ram their bits together surely, where is the pleasure in that huh? We can’t imagine non-penetrative pleasure.

(And men are incapable of telling a faked orgasm. Am Dram starts in the bedroom…)

2 days ago, I dreamed that Catherine from CSI was made up of 2 parts:

"Dang it, my lower part as gone and dropped off again"

A torso and legs. She could lift her top part off, and only then were her genitals visible. They looked like a wound on her soft stump. And then, to stop me from looking, she put her top half on again.

Porn has traumatised me. I never wanted to see so much and so graphically what is best left to the imagination. Our privates are designed for function, not form, but porno insists on ultra close ups of sweating holes as if the closer the camera gets, the more it turns us on. I don’t want to disappear up a japs eye/uterus. I don’t even want to see the ins and outs. I want, if anything, to be seduced by haf visible curves, to fall in love with a body bit by bit. I want to LIVE this song: