Tuesday, March 28, 2006


The council turned up and took the cat. They had forms with them, paperwork with capitals, red ink at some point and health and safety slipped from lips like ectoplasm. Next I see headlines in The Evening Standard about a trade in council appropriations smuggled overseas. Why on earth would you want to do that? I’ve heard of recycled material, gathered in good faith by the environmental homeowners of Britain and found floating along tropical coastlines like an equation in some autistic algebra, but…I’m thinking that all my bridge parts are abroad somewhere and part of some damn project (ha, ha). I’d slipped a card with my address into the fabric wrapping the little dried cat, a small picture of me and a poem, an index of sentimental nonsense to bury the little corpse with. I wonder when that’ll come back at me?

Friday I meet up with an old friend of mine. He used to be a Womble in the seventies; he was in the Womble band. He was the guitarist, the one playing a flying V on Top Of the Pops. The Wombles brief brush with hot, furry outfits and novelty fame came to a crashing close with headlines like, ‘Wombles party drug lust bust’, or something along those lines ('scuse the pun) We had a few drinks in a pub in west London. He told me that a few nights before he’d been coming back from a club in Shoreditch early in the morning when he came across the corpse of a woman. It was raining. She had been disemboweled; her entrails lay splayed out in a trail indicating the direction of a drag. She had one leg missing and her dress had been pulled up over her head. He called the police who told him to stay put. When they arrived they questioned him and one officer was especially curious with what he’d said during his call, ‘I’ve a dead one ‘ere’. They thought this suspicious. It had turned out that the woman was a hit and run. My friend drew a sketch of what he’d seen and he was strangely surprised when he’d finished the drawing as if he’d been unaware that he was doing it. “Some ways in which we speak are truer than others,” he said.

The young son of my neighbour came by with a present for me. He’d made me little Plasticine tanks. He’d made five of them and I thought how perfect of him to provide me with that clear and perfect number. The pentad is a star, ten-sided and the formation of the first female number, number two, duality and the first male number, number three, unity and diversity. The boy, a young Russian is fascinated with dragons and knights, of conflict and I’m reminded of my own drawings as a child. Great armed star-fleets and their twisted wreckage, those ordered systems of disorder illuminating the terrible pattern of war in our fabric, sublimation’s for internal dispute. Those delightful, tiny models brought me back into the house and able to resolve a struggle that I’d had with some arrangements of things that had dried up in their departments of articulation.

On Sunday my friend Helium turned up and I had to surf the stairs as I lost contact with carpet and grazed a surfeit of insane newspapers that cascaded down beneath me. 'Go with the flow' I thought, as flock wallpaper dopplered in my peripheral vision, 'be the wave'. He’d come along with a couple of friends of his, a very natural Mancunian woman; a young nurse called Mandy and her friend. Mandy had an unrepressed immediacy about her that I found so refreshing. I was reminded just how little I know about how to behave these days, my friends are all complicated enough to leave me without the security of expectation and this brand of cynicism has been uniquely insidious. Anyway she was very sweet and I was a little embarrassed, as I usually am at the state of things. Hellie though was kind enough to put it all down to the chaotic mechanics of an artist’s mise en scene, but even he knows the truth of my deplorable domestic affairs. I’m afraid I might become like the brother of the American writer John Vernon whom he recorded in his ‘Book of Reasons’. Vernon had to pick through the rancid detritus of his sibling’s small and neglected home after he’d died, leaving Vernon as sole benefactor to clear it up ready for sale. He wrote by way of conclusion, ‘…that the book had been a way to comprehend a life that had left behind not splendid monuments but ordinary wreckage.’ We turn ourselves out into the world, manifesting ourselves into the material, constructing physical maps of madness, genius and sadness. And if I died tomorrow what would I leave behind?


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