Sunday, August 13, 2006

August is here, and with the onset of winter my thoughts turn to acquaintances old and new, the fact that there are only 170 shopping days left till Christmas (I’ll have a two quid CD voucher for Thornton Heath “Help the Aged”, please) and the need to take stock and reflect upon what one has been and done thus far.


This reflective mood has probably been brought on by the fact that I caught up with one of my oldest and cheapest friends, notoriously ireful midget Ashley Davies (he won "Coventry’s Most Hostile Man" award five years running and is considered something of a medical marvel with the largest organ in his body being his spleen (second largest is, of course, his bile duct)) on his annual peregrination from the land of the sinking Budvar. He was, as usual, gracious enough to remind me of various shameful episodes from my university years, ( episodes I have largely repressed, I suspect) when seven of us lived in a pokey death-trap behind a Pizza place in Leeds Six. (charmingly, our landlord went to jail for statutory rape about two months after we moved in. I once had to open the door to the pregnant, statutorily raped fourteen-year-olds’ father and sundry male family members demanding to know where he was and suggesting, in fairly direct terms that I express their displeasure to him next time he came around and reveal that they would be seeking redress. “Will do, will do, no problem,” I repeated, dry-mouthed for what seemed like seventeen-hours as they re-sheathed the Stanley knives. Ahh, University!)

It transpires that the seeds of Wyatting were bearing early fruit, even back then, when asked by a “posh” friend, Jo ( I mean she really was posh, photo in Hong Kong Tattler and all that, this isn’t my parochialism showing through because she ate the peas off her knife or some such) if I could do a compilation for her equally posh, Public-school boyfriend who was off to Sandhurst (or summat) and who “quite liked Pearl Jam” and “ this “grunge” stuff." ( I was her token "alternative" friend, all the best people had a provincial Goth as an aquaintance that year, darling.)

Apparently I immediately set about filling up a C90 (them was the days!) with Whitehouse, Ramleh, Skullflower, Neubatuen’s “Ich Bins” “A” by the Butthole Surfers “LA Blues”, Skinny Puppy and a “Strafe fur Rebellion” track that largely consisted of fifteen minutes of a dog barking and a car starting up, then, just to pour salt in the wound, stuck the opening thirty seconds of the just-released, “Smells like teen spirit” on the last inch of tape before it ran out.

Tut, tut! I’m not proud, really. Yes alright of COURSE I am.

I can only insincerely apologize, and while I’m in a contrite mood I would also like to insincerely, publicly apologize to Shudder to Think for my disgraceful behaviour at their gig at Leed’s Duchess of York in 1995, not solely for the expressive, highly individual manner in which I danced throughout their performance, (I was the only person who did so, eventually creating a crescent of empty space stage- front in which I could express my enthusiasm more fully through the aformentioned medium, truly Terpsichore was mistress of my soul at that moment! Twas either she or Mistress Biddenden, (an especially potent Scrumpy, a horrendous beverage the colour and consistency of cheap cooking oil that smells of dung and tastes as though it’s flavoured with essence of un-mucked stable,)) nor entirely for my repeated, very loud observations about how hairy Craig Wedren’s back, shoulders and torso were (especially in comparison to his shaven bonce, initially it seemed to my Biddenden’s bewitched eyes that he was in fact wearing a comedy gorilla suit but had taken the mask off. I mean he really is hairy this geezer, if you shaved him head to toe you could stuff a King-sized duvet and still have some left over for the pillows), nor, indeed, for my obliviously bellowing requests for songs that they had already played two or three numbers before, but perhaps more pointedly, for my post-gig behaviour when I decided that the summit of their ambitions would be to encounter me, on the tail end of an all day Cider-thon awaiting them backstage. Thus I inveigled my way into the “dressing room” to await them. I soon got bored (they may possibly have been avoiding me and loitering elsewhere) when they didn’t turn up, then promptly nicked the rider, in this case a crate of beer that I quite fancied, carried it out through the pub in full sight of band and bar staff only to immediately drop it to the pavement outside the door, smashing everything, before disappearing into a passing taxi with no money.
Tut, Tut, I....Actually I am chidlishly and inordinately impressed with myself for that one, so why pretend otherwise, eh?

Looking back I have a sneaking suspicion that these kinds of things may have subtly contributed to the decline of the relationship I was in at that time. Hmmmmmm!


With regard to Billy’s suggestion in the comment box below re: my scepticism over the latest Heathrow outrage, (I’m assuming that’s Billy Rammsel, one of Ireland’s most promising young poets, hero of the overlooked, masterpiece novel White Diaspora (never read it myself, heard good things about it though!) and a man who has shared with the Impostume many a moment of character building, Barcelona-based privation). What can I say? Yes of course the appalling catastrophe that we have luckily been saved from seems plausible on one level for all the reasons mentioned, but on another, well, there’s just something so contrived and poorly stage-managed about the whole affair, some level on which it doesn’t convince, something which feels poorly scripted and acted without real inner conviction. Something of the absurd bathos of it all was captured in the Metro’s report on the day, a timeline, which concluded “ 5:00 George Bush thanks Britain for “busting this plot” by “Islamic Fascists”. The Police raid a bungalow in High Wycombe.”

Fine, I understand the asymmetry of this particular “war” but one of the side-effects of the asymmetry in situations like this is that it produces comedy, let's face it. There is a rambunctious, mordant slapstick to the repeated cock-ups, fudgings and denials (shooting Brazilians, the Ricin plot, the dawn raids that produce no evidence…)

There’s also the extent to which it feeds into personal/institutional fantasies of power. I look for example at John Reid (looking very different these days to his time in “The Jesus and Mary Chain”) and my suspicion (not very scientific, that!) tells me that here is a man who has spent his whole life wanting to be a great, hard-bitten Churchillian, crisis-manager. Andrew Jareki’s (brilliant) “ Capturing the Friedmans” gives a chillingly prescient example of the extent to which certain types of institutions create a need for offenders/crimes, ("otherwise, so why are we here?" It’s not so different to the post I have about managers, really,) and that the public, keen to collude with authority/ coerced by it, often travesty there own insights/ memories in order to support the institutional fantasy. ("If they’re saying it, it must be them that’s right and me that’s wrong.").

On the other hand, all of the above could simply be an enormously sophisticated plot on the part of the Blair government to really prevent the terrorists from “disrupting” us. You know how they’re always banging on about the fact that the terrorists have really won once we start being frightened and changing the way we behave etc, so perhaps the Government are deliberately making it look as unconvincing and poorly conceived as possible in order to increase our scepticism and thus our resistance to fear. If so, they’re doing brilliantly and it will have been one of this government’s few notable successes. In which case, well done Mr Blair, I don’t believe word of it, just exactly as you hoped I wouldn’t!

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