Tuesday, April 29, 2008


The wooden box looks too small to hold a woman of eighty-eight years and such a fearsome personality, but apparently it does. Just as the four solemn men lift the box from the hearse a small, grey aunt insists they replace it and move her tiny wreath on top in parity with my mother’s.

They’re all here; the flotsam and jetsam from one side of a family in name only, willfully dreaming of unlikely riches, the corned beef sandwiches (to follow) and the slower death of small talk.

My mother is the only person to cry during the service and that may be more than many of us receive or deserve. Just an afternoon back on the narrow streets of my youth, reminding me why I am somewhere else, not necessarily better, but different from here.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Saaarthsea Common (Football fanzine column circa 1989)

Lust Doctor Memories 3: "Got up at 7.15. Johnno and Billy came over and Johnno was hungover. Drove to services and had a piss and fry up at Happy Eater. This bird in a red and white striped uniform (decent jugs) gave Johnny the eye. He couldn't be arsed. Went to a boozer a mile from the ground at 11.10 and had six pints. Saw Beardo in there and he told me Minty had to stay at home. Funny, thought I saw Minty at services."

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

In The Know

Dean Martin knew, but if you asked him he just smiled and said, “Maybe kid, maybe.”

And Sammy Davis Jr knew, but he always shrugged with his usual jive “Don’t know nothing about THAT, man.”

Of course, Frank Sinatra knew, but he would screw up his eyes and shoot you a look that made you remember your place.

No-one said anything, but it was always understood.

And that, it seemed, was enough for everyone.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Free the Hawk Moth

Lust Doctor Memories 2: The bar is absolutely rammed, jam-packed with unofficial alcoholics and prettyish girls with not enough money to buy drinks (or so they say). One lass told me her male friends don’t ever let her put her hand in her pocket. I just smiled at her and said, ‘Try’. At home these girls delicate purses are filled with pristine notes and disorientated moths struggling for air, the Queen’s face the last thing they see before they black out, breathlessly, into the abyss.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Loose ends

On a Bank Holiday Monday those singletons of London not piggybacking on their coupled-up friends picnics or drinking themselves to a slow death on red leather seats in the capital's gastropubs can be found sitting badly on ergonomic chairs in front of high-res computer screens.

Their eyes straining to make out Times New Roman as they order themselves online gifts to fill the void or engage in truthless, tittle tattle in chatrooms with other lonely souls feigning self-confidence amid a vacuum of doubt. Keyboard warriors and hidden roses dancing an invisible tango.

And if no-one is out there they can always chat to I-God; the interactive deity based in Canada (clearly fearing global warming or a nuclear holocaust). Like most gods he is frustratingly cryptic allowing zealots to fill in the gaps as suits them best.

Asked to ‘define good?’
I-God replied: ‘the opposite of Evil’.

Did he mean Knievel? The opposite of that is a pedestrian in tan slacks.

Roll on Tuesday.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

All bloke party

Lust Doctor Memories 1: There are only guys at this party. If a Jimmy Sommerville CD starts playing I am jumping out the window...I don’t care how far up we are. Oh, there’s a girl….quite nice looking…seems to be enjoying herself….holding a baby. Doubt she’s even a girl. Oh really? Sorry, I just can’t wait 17 years for this party to get interesting. Thank you for the warm Hofmeister.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

What’s The Time Guy

Those within a five metre radius were acutely aware of What’s The Time Guy and his invasion into their body space. One could not ignore his blank, hard-boiled egg eyes, doughy face and hairless, melon-shaped head, the deliberate way he dragged his slovenly frame up and down Haverstock Hill on slow motion auto-pilot; a bizarre cameo appearance in the lives of those who were raised to look away.

The more savvy pedestrians would assess their escape route and instigate a subtle about turn or impromptu road-cross (often risking mild traffic and the enraged screech of 4x4 horns) or dive into the doorways of packed ethnic restaurants and ‘We saw you coming’ retail outlets to avoid uncomfortable interaction with the discombobulated mind of the man known by some of the local hip kids as ‘The WTTG’ (What’s The Time Guy) due to his habit of asking passing pedestrians the time despite the existence of an ostentatious dayglo watch strapped tightly on the chub of his bulbous left wrist.

His greatest thrill came by standing directly in front of his prey and allowing his blank gaze to wash over them in tranquil lunacy. Before his victim (often a single teenage girl texting or young mother encumbered by pram and limited in movement) could react he would ask ‘Could you tell me the time, please?’ Many recoiled or froze expecting the WTTG’s large, clammy hands to find a resting place around their neck or on their breasts; others toppled backwards with their cappuccinos into the eye of a brown frothy explosion or simply bounced off his blubbery frame as he refused (or was mentally unable) to give ground.

However dangerous the WTTG might be to the women of Haverstock Hill, his existence was derived by an undiluteable sadness; whatever it was that rested inside him and tortured his soul from within would never be tamed in this world by either touch or kindness until his timely oblivion. In his way, he knew and that was why he kept asking his question in perpetuity as, even faced with the truth, he had to make sure.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The writer and the lover

“I just pitched a story about 24 hours in the life of a Victorian antique chair. It’s kind of like James Joyce’s Ulysses…but through the eyes of quality furniture. As if the furniture…wait for it…has feelings.”

“Sounds a-mazing,” drawled Tristan as the waitress lay down their lunch plates with a simple nod as if to underline a simple job done for apparently simplistic people. “What was the feedback?”

“They l-o-v-e it. Said my descriptive powers were a-mazing and that the sad finale in the auction room rendered them paralysed with emotion, plum-sized lumps in their throats. They apparently wept when it was discovered the chair was a 1970s reproduction and therefore worthless.”

“You mean despite its furnitureal hubris the 'antique chair' had no memory that it was a fake? Sounds confusing so it’s a powerful concept,” replied Tristan, successfully digging out a brown avocado stone with his fork.

“So how’s the love life this week? What was her name…Shona? Sharia?”

“Shindip, she’s Indian, even though I stated a preference for Caucasians at the dating agency, but they said they didn’t have that as a category so it was a racial lucky dip. It was hard work really. I felt like I was at a job interview when all I ever wanted was a temporary position.”

“I bet,” guffawed Hugo demolishing the Mozzarella first, out of respect for the buffalo who had grudgingly created it with a squat and a grunt. “Women in their late twenties become even more single-minded in their search for a mate…especially when they can get 50% of every damn thing. I should know. I wish my ex had got half of that herpes.”

“In-deed…so I tried to ditch and run.”

“Ah, what did you tell her you did for a ‘fake’ living?”

“Orange boiler suits.”

“Orange boiler suits? You said that?"

“As soon as I thought it wasn’t going anywhere. I told her I made them for the US in Guantanamo. Disturbingly, she seemed impressed.”

“What did she say?”

“Sounds profitable. You must be making a bomb. I told her we don’t joke about that…especially as our Business Development Manager looks like Richard Reid and wears Size 12 shoes. I told him, 'shave the beard or you’ll be cavity searched at every airport on the globe', but he thinks the chin fur makes him look distinguished. Well, let me tell you, no-one looks dignified with a gloved hand wiggling up their arse. Anyway, I'm taking her to the NFT next week.”