Monday, August 28, 2006

I don't know what it is about my countenance that inspires these kinds of confessions but they sure make the commute more interesting.

I met an irishman from the same part of Ulster that some of my ancestors fled generations ago. Apprently I am genetically predisposed to horse theivery but that's another story. Me and my companion chatted about ireland and scotland and america. He then asked me if there would be a problem getting into the US with 'multiple firearms offences'. I said the only people who don't have firearm convictions are pinkos and queers and Uncle Sam would consider such charges a mark of honour to any foreigner visiting his shores (unless of course he's darker than a hamburger bun). He seemed relieved at this answer and, before he got off at his stop, he made the sign of the cross over me. Yes. God bless me indeed.

Friday, August 25, 2006

There I sat on the train down to London to find a flat for the next two years. In front of me there was a little girl and her father. Behind me an old Yorkshire man sat beside his middle aged daughter. The father entertained the little girl with a portable DVD player and children’s shows. Occasionally she would get excited by the programme she was watching and shout or sing. Her father would kindly admonish her and her tone would lower back to her inside voice. At one point, she shouted with the glee only a child can muster, “I want to fly like a fish. I will have beautiful wings!” At the time my mind was occupied on my own desires. My biggest want was that I could find something a little better than the dingy student studio flats that were in my price range. How very dull do are dreams become.

I did find a very nice one bedroom flat in an amazing part of London. Yesterday, I was in the park surrounded by red deer looking at the London skyline. So, I can only wish that the little girl from the train also has her wish fulfilled, and she can fly like a fish on her beautiful wings.

The old man was also entertaining. He was a garrulous little man, and the shrinking and wrinkling of age had made him adorable. The whole train car smiled when his thick Yorkshire brogue was heard. Two things he said stand out most.

After a couple gave them their seat which was closest to the exit and easy for him to toddle into, he said, “The world is full of good people and I’ve just met two more.”

Talking to the little girl, he said, “It’s all right for you, I don’t have a big daddy to look after me.” I’m not sure what they were talking about, but I understand the advantage of big daddies.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

She sat at the bar like a dollop of human shit. The brown blouse was not a wise choice. The rolls of fat filled the synthetic fabric like sausage in a casing and looked like a series of extruded coils. A big rosé drinking turd. Instead of steam she emanated cigarette smoke. She croaked orders for more wine and matches in a voice thickly covered in tar and nicotine grease. Most people have distinct facial features. Noses. Lips. Cheeks. But hers seemed sculpted lazily from the soft waddle of flesh pushed up from her neck by some hateful god.
Did someone love her or merely tolerate her? Was she really lovely once you got to know her or was she truly repulsive in spirit as she was in appearance? The arguments began to favour the latter as I sat alone getting drunk at the table behind her listening to the horrible voice that flatuated from her lips. Most declarations were on the inadequacies and stupidities of the people she has had to endure. Lazy immigrants. Bad holidays with unsympathetic guides. And useless men. She continued to foul the air of pub with an unending enumeration of the inconveniences and affronts that had accosted her person.
Suddenly I have the urge to hug and kiss her without her consent. This compulsion is not out of affection, but from that same need that pushes men to wrestle alligators or eat fugu. That attraction to the thrill of danger and the knowledge that reasonable men would not dare follow your self destructive path.
My imagination shoots off with vivid hyperactivity. I see myself nuzzling up to her sweaty neck, choking on the smell of stale cigarettes, body odour, and a sickly sweet perfume bought at a boot sale. Her corpulent flesh yields like bread dough and then I cannot imagine anymore. I squeeze my eyes tightly shut. I open them to see the bouncer throwing out a drunk who pissed himself at the bar. I wish I thought of that.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

This is my new neighbour.

Monday, August 07, 2006

“Jimmy. What the fuck are you doing with that fuck off big knife?”

“It’s not a knife. It’s a machete. I’m going to teach someone a lesson.”

“Don’t be a cunt, Jimmy. Who are you talking about?”

“That cunt of a tree in hunter’s park by the toilets. You know over where I have my bed roll.”

“A tree? You bastard. I thought you were off to go murder. You dumb bastard. What’s wrong with you, son. What do you want to go and hack up some tree for? Calling a tree a person. Jesus. Sit down and calm yourself. Have a sip of this and tell me what’s got up your arse.”

“You ken what tree I’m saying.”


“Last night. I was going back to my camp behind the benches over in the brush by the lavvies.”


“I’m ready for my forty winks like. I was up at the Port O’ Leith with the boys. Colin had a bit of luck. The lucky bastard had a twenty to one come in. He was buying drinks like he printed the money himself. Well, you can ken the state Colin’s kindness put me in. After they chuck us out I make my way to the park to sleep it off. Well, I never made it. That fucking bastard tree took a swing at me and I spent the night ass over tits on the ground. My face was covered in blood; I had a knot the size of a football on my head. I thought I had been murdered. I stagger up. Not knowing the fuck happened to me. The damn pigs just happen to be passing and the nick me because they don’t know what else to do. I just got out and now I got me a score to settle.”

“Jimmy. Bloody hell. You’re a mess. Tell you what come up and have a drink with me. After you get a drink in you, if you still want to kill your tree. You can have at it. Okay.”


Sunday, August 06, 2006

For the past two and a half weeks I have played host to a young (15years old) cousin of mine. I am an only child and it was great having a little brother for awhile. The best part was the telekinesis I developed. I would will something with my mind and it would happen. I would say things like ‘Can you hand me that phone?’ and the phone would magically appear in my hands. My house never had such clean dishes. They would fly into the dishwasher on my slightest whim. Having the little human around also made me aware of a few facts about myself. Firstly, I cuss way too much. I have the mouth of a trucker in heavy traffic and am not fit to be around children until I can master the expression ‘darnit’, ‘shucks’ and ‘poo’ as the automatic reaction to unfavourable situations. Also, I was a bad kid. I thought I was a relatively well behaved kid, but I had to keep telling him ‘but don’t you do that’ and ‘please forget that I said that it is illegal and not nice’.

I also learned how entertaining death metal madlibs is. This is a game you can play with any p2p program like soulseek or What you do is get a medical dictionary or think of a gruesome word. Type it the word or phrase in the search field. Some black metal artist will have already thought of an entertaining title containing that. I can only hope that it was with some irony that the song ‘consume the rancid gore’ was penned. Every permutation of gross out title has been thought of.

P.S. I forgot to say this but I wasn’t particularly excited about my birthday (now two and a half weeks ago), but all the little messages and emails people sent made me so. Thanks one and all. That will teach me to be such a grump.

Friday, August 04, 2006

The festival and all its accoutrements has returned. Droves of American high-school theatre groups plague the city with their flyers and their 'theatrical behavior'. The town chatters in a thousand and one languages and all of them babbling amazement at the city I have somehow been lucky enough to call home for the last four years. I have already seen some great shows. I went to a jazz open session. The house band invited anyone in the audience to come up and jam. Modulo one unfortunate incident the results were incredible. The incident I mention concerned an Australian girl. How do I know she was Australian? Because the first thing she giggled was that she was Australian and she hadn't sung with a band in four years (god please make it another four years before she thrusts her talentless larynx upon the stage again). She giggled and babbled as the band struck up her requested tune of 'Fever'. She knew the chorus and that's it. So here we have some silly little girl who wanted attention standing in front of a group of people who have dedicated themselves for years to hone their art. They have to playback up to someone who should be lifting their shirt for mardi gras beads, not mumbling the lines to a jazz standard. So, it is now my mission to find the themed bar she works at and as she pours a pint of beer, I will flick a dried cat turd at her which is the metaphorical equivalent to what she did to those musicians when they were working.

However there was justice to be had that night. After a couple tenor sax players played a few tunes, another singer asked to perform. There was a palatable discontent in the room that remained until the nervous and shy singer, who held the lyrics in her hand on a crumpled piece of paper, belted out screaming Jay's words, 'I put a spell on you'. That girl had soul and lungs to match. Once the song was over there was the loudest cheer yet heard. The band invited her to do another song which was just as good but I don't know the name of it or the original artist. She got another huge applause when she stepped of the stage. Moments later, the Australian with male companion sulked out.

The final songs also had a singer. A middle aged woman named Rene. She must have been a professional becomes she knew how to control the audience and the drunk piano player. She moved everyone like chess pieces. She invited the shy singer, Iona, back of the stage to sing 'What a difference a day makes'. Rene sang everything with a fierce sensuality that made me blush on every tune. Iona seemed nervous to be singing a song she had not prepared for but Rene was amazing with her patience and encouragement. Once Iona gets the confidence to match her pipes, she'll do alright.

For me, it was an amazing evening. Musicians perform a magic I cannot fathom and when you see them perform these feats it really closes in on witnessing the sublime.